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Elisabeth Moss makes rare comments about Scientology: It's 'misunderstood'

The "Handmaid's Tale" star credited the religion, which was founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, with teaching her how to communicate.
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Elisabeth Moss opened up about being a Scientologist during a new interview with The New Yorker.Rich Fury / Getty Images

Elisabeth Moss is defending Scientology against its detractors, calling the religion “misunderstood.”

During an interview with The New Yorker, the "Handmaid's Tale" star, 39, who rarely speaks publicly about Scientology, opened up about her long history with the religion, which was founded in the 20th century by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

“I don’t want to come off as being cagey,” Moss said of her involvement with the religion. “If you and I met, just hanging out as friends, I’m, like, an open book about it. (But) I don’t want people to be distracted by something when they’re watching me. I want them to be seeing the character. I feel like, when actors reveal too much of their lives, I’m sometimes watching something and I’m going, ‘Oh, I know that she just broke up with that person,’ or, ‘I know that she loves to do hot yoga,’ or whatever it is.”

Moss' parents joined Scientology before she was born, with Moss' involvement beginning when she was a child.

Moss plays June Osborne, a strong female character battling an oppressive and sexist government, in "The Handmaid's Tale."Sophie Giraud / Hulu

However, some of Moss' fans have trouble reconciling the fact that the actor, who plays a strong female character battling an oppressive and sexist government in "The Handmaid's Tale," is in real life a member of a group often accused of being a dangerous cult.

"People can obviously hold in their mind whatever they want to, and I can’t control that. If it’s not that, it’s going to be something else," Moss told the New Yorker.

The Emmy winner said she "would just encourage people to find out" about Scientology for themselves and not rely on media reports.

“I’ve certainly been guilty of reading an article or watching something and taking that as gospel," said Moss.

Moss later added that her acting work often reflects her personal values. “And obviously something like religious freedom and resistance against a theocracy is very important to me," she said.

The "Mad Men" alum, who credited Scientology for making her a better communicator, said the religion is more welcoming to newcomers than people may realize.

“It’s not really a closed-off religion,” she said. “It’s a place that is very open to, like, welcoming in somebody who wants to learn more about it. I think that’s the thing that is probably the most misunderstood.”

As for allegations of tensions between Moss and fellow Hollywood star and ex-Scientologist Leah Remini — who won multiple awards for her her anti-Scientology docu-series “Scientology and the Aftermath" — Moss advised fans again not to believe everything they read.

Moss disputed Remini’s 2017 claim to The Hollywood Reporter that the church forbids Moss to speak to Remini, who is now considered by church leaders to be an "antisocial personality."

“I have never received any request to talk to her,” said Moss. “So there hasn’t been an opportunity for her to say that. I don’t know her that well, so it’s not like we were friends.”

She also denied reports that she exited the room to avoid hearing Remini's speech after Remini won an award for the series at the 2017 Television Critics Association Awards.

“I went to the bathroom," Moss explained. "I wish it was more exciting than that."