Entertainment Hollywood’s most secretive Scientologist breaks cover

Hollywood’s most secretive Scientologist breaks cover

In The Handmaid's Tale, Elisabeth Moss plays a woman forced to bear children for infertile couples. Photo: SBS
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Taking to Instagram to share a photo of herself at an event for The Handmaid’s Tale ahead of next month’s Emmy Awards, Elisabeth Moss thought she was just showing off her new lighter hair colour.

Instead, the post led to this year’s television It Girl revealing a side of herself she usually keeps private – her involvement with the Church of Scientology.

“Thank you for coming out everyone last night, your love and support of the show means more to us than I’ll ever be able to express in words. Truly,” she captioned the post.

“And now we get to go work on bringing you season 2!!! Which by the way is going to blow your minds…”

Fans flooded social media with praise for Moss, 35, who is up for an Emmy for her role on the hit dystopian series.

The actress, currently starring with Nicole Kidman in Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake: China Girl, personally answered some of the comments.

Instagram user moelybanks raised the notion that Gilead, the fictional fundamentalist religious society in The Handmaid’s Tale and Scientology “both believe that all outside sources (aka news) are wrong or evil”.

“Does it make you think twice about Scientology?” the fan asked.

In recent years, the actress has said her life within the controversial religion – whose best-known Hollywood acolytes include Tom Cruise and John Travolta – is “off limits”.

This time, she took the bait.

“That’s actually not true at all about Scientology,” Moss replied to the question.

“Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me. The most important things to me probably.”

Because of that, she said, “Gilead and THT hit me on a very personal level. Thanks for the interesting question!”

Introduced to Scientology by her family, the former Mad Men star said in a 2012 interview with British newspaper The Telegraph that “it’s not the same thing as going to church on Sunday”.

“It’s self-applied. It involves reading – you have to make a choice,” she explained.

Asked what drew her to the religion, she said some people use yoga to feel centred and others think being vegan makes them more authentic.

“Or there’s Buddhism or whatever,” said Moss. “I mean, I think that for me it’s one thing that has helped me at times, and it’s kind of as simple as that.”

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss poses during the 39th annual Church of Scientology anniversary gala in 2008. Photo: Getty

She was much less open last year, telling The Guardian that while she “gets the curiosity” with Scientology, her beliefs are nobody else’s business.

“I become fascinated with things that are none of my business as well,” said Moss.

“I am just fascinated when someone breaks up with somebody. I want to know all about it.

“I am very interested in what people are wearing, and all of that kind of thing, but you have a right to your privacy.”

At the Emmys, Moss could cross paths with outspoken former church member Leah Remini, whose documentary series Scientology and the Aftermath screened in Australia in February.

While under Scientology guidelines Moss “isn’t allowed to talk to me”, Remini told The Hollywood Reporter she would congratulate the actress if she wins.

“I don’t hold anything against Elisabeth Moss, other than that she’s continuing to support a group that is abusive and destroying families.”

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