Erika Christensen is opening up about her association with Scientology.
The actress, who is expecting her second child with husband Cole Maness, spoke with her Parenthood costar and on-screen brother Dax Shepard for an episode of his podcast, Armchair Expert, on Monday, when they discussed the religion.
“I can justify things in all kinds of different ways, but basically, like, as a Scientologist. And I definitely cannot speak for every Scientologist about anything because everybody has their own beliefs and comes at it from even other religions and all kinds of stuff. However, I don’t believe this is the first time I have lived on this planet and I basically think I’ve probably done absolutely everything before,” said Christensen, 35.
Christensen confirmed to Shepard that she was raised Scientologist, but clarified, “It’s funny because I really like to be specific about that too because it’s hard to raise someone as a Scientologist because it’s something that you do, it’s not something that you believe.”
She shared of her upbringing, “My parents definitely are Scientologists, approached parenting from a Scientology viewpoint. I know that now as an adult. I can see that in the way that they approached me as a kid and really tried to do what I’m doing now as a parent, which is trying to temper absolutely necessary discipline and rules and structure with fostering independent thought and freedom of personality. It has to be true for you. Don’t take anybody’s word for anything ever, basically, without being a cynic or without being some kind of paranoiac. It’s just: What do you have if you don’t have yourself?”
The former child actress, who was home-schooled, praised her parents for “making themselves safe to talk to” and revealed that they never told her “you need to go to church” but rather encouraged her to “check it out.”
“When I was 12, I started doing a bunch of the little introductory courses that they still have now that are maybe a few hours each,” she explained.
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When asked about Scientologists’ views on drugs and alcohol, Christensen confirmed that drinking is allowed, but drugs are “off the table.”
“Drinking and drugs and stuff like that, we basically think it’s counter-productive,” she explained.
“As the action of Scientology, when you are picking apart the chronology of your life and its effects upon you, it really helps to have that lucidity,” said the star. “It’s almost just selfish on my part. I want to be able to remember everything. I want to be smart,” she said, and added, “I want to consider that I’m always just driving toward my best self.”
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During the podcast interview, Shepard, who starred opposite Christensen for six seasons on Parenthood, also inquired about the criticism that the church has faced.
“I don’t think that it comes from an actual place of, like, your critiques,” explained Christensen, who said that she hasn’t consumed any of the criticism. “I don’t think it comes from critical thinking.”
Shepard also brought up the Emmy-winning and controversial Scientology documentary Going Clear, and posed the question of why his friends who are members of the religion won’t watch the film.
“Honestly it doesn’t have anything to do with … anything that I’ve ever learned about the group or organization as a group or organization,” she said.
“To be specific about [Going Clear], if somebody has read a book, read Dianetics or some Scientology book, and wants to philosophically tell me what they disagree with, cool. That is a totally different thing. … But specifically with that documentary, the documentary was based on a book, the book was not even published in certain English-speaking countries because the libel laws are stricter than they are here,” she shared.
Added Christensen, “There’s so much that is actually — talking about sources. … They have proved themselves to be irrelevant. …That’s what I look at mostly is the source and I get to evaluate the source and go, ‘Oh, okay, that person has been convicted of perjury previously.’ So no, there’s no relevance in what they’re saying.”