Was Elizabeth Moss a Brainwashed Cult Member Playing a Brainwashed Cult Member in “The Handmaid’s Tale”?

Tony Ortega's Stereotypes

To hear Anti-Scientologists tell it, Elizabeth Moss was just a clueless & brainwashed Scientologist during her Emmy-winning performance portraying Offred in “The Handmaid’s Tale”. But is thinking with stereotypes about people in minority religions ever going to explain how Elizabeth Moss is such a great actress?

Having been a member of Scientology for 16 years, and then a critic of Scientology for the last 18 years, I’ve done a lot of thinking about Scientology and the lives of Scientologists. And if there is one thing that is utterly consistent with what I have seen in my 18 years out of Scientology, it’s that anti-Scientologists get stuck in ways of seeing Scientology that don’t explain what it actually is. And they never notice the mindset they are stuck in. They just keep putting their wrong assumptions there, over and over, trying to get others to take them up, too, and hate Scientology and Scientologists just as much as they do.

There is a word for this obstinate ignorance in the face of evidence which shatters the stereotypes they are thinking with but, for the life of me, I just can’t think of what it is right now.

Yes. Scientology – especially at the highest levels of its Sea Organization – as run by their leader David Miscavige, DOES QUALIFY as a totalitarian cult. But 85% to 90% of all Scientologists are not members of the Sea Organization and have never participated, nor would they, in the abuses that you see on Leah Remini’s “Scientology and the Aftermath”. They are good people who spend much of their lives doing things to help others.

Elizabeth Moss Scientology participation never included being a member of the Sea Organization, and from what is obvious in her spirited performance in The Handmade’s Tale, never fucking would be.

Anti-Scientologists such as Leah Remini, Mike Rinder and Tony Ortega, really need to stop stereotyping Scientologists.

But if they did, would they still be able to whip up people into a prejudiced and intolerant lather against them?

I don’t think so: History has shown that multi-layered and highly nuanced truths are not really good at whipping up mobs of people against minority religions. They’re boring and take too much thought. Anti-Scientologists need something simple that mean, angry people can understand. “Brainwashed in a Mind Control Cult” will do.

If you want to understand the controversy surrounding Scientology, don’t stop at the kindergarten stereotypes like “brainwashed cult member” that anti-Scientologists want to give you. Look at brilliant Scientology artists like Elizabeth Moss, Chic Corea, Neil Gaiman (no longer in, but grew up in it) and others. The stereotypes just don’t explain these people.

So the stereotypes must be wrong.

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26 Comments on "Was Elizabeth Moss a Brainwashed Cult Member Playing a Brainwashed Cult Member in “The Handmaid’s Tale”?"

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Alonzo, on what do you base your claim that “85% to 90% of all Scientologists are not members of the Sea Organization”?

I try to keep any eye on the best information on Scientology’s numbers, and by all accounts that points to Scientology now being 30% to 50% Sea Org. Out of an active total of 15,000 to 20,000 people in the CofS, there are around 3,500 SO in Southern California and 2,500 in Clearwater; if those numbers are a bit high, it’s compensated for by SO members in overseas locations, and a few scattered across the US, for a total of at least 5,000 (Chris Shelton’s number, based on counts he was privy to) to 6,000 (the CofS’ own claim).

It appears to me that Scientology has changed a lot in the last 18 years since you were directly involved. From many reports, there is a lot more control of remaining members through disconnection or the threat of disconnection, including a lot of policing on social media with members being ordered to “unfriend” designated SPs.

Also, I think you should take into consideration that Scientology celebrities, especially those who live in Southern California, exist in a special milieu with much more monitoring and control. For instance, Rathbun’s descriptions about what was done for and to people like Cruise and Kidman, describe treatment and an atmosphere very different from what regular members at local orgs experience.

I agree there’s nuance, and am just hoping to point out some of what I think you may be missing.


Here’s a weird reply to the 85% to 90 % percentage, if after one thinks about it, and completely opposite.

It’s actually 100%.

I make the above statement because 100% of the people who get involved in scientology are recruit material to join the Sea Org.

On the same token, everybody who gets involved in scientology is the effect of the Sea Org, Command Intention, and LRH and caused to do what Ron said. Those who do not agree or are persuaded are rejected as PTS/SP or no case gain.


ALL those alleged “estimates” about the total Scientology membership is just bullshit. The numbers either come out of nowhere using an anti-Scientology narrative, or from an “expert” like Christ Shelton or Ortega who have absolutely NO way of knowing that for certain. I don’t mean that the membership is in the millions like the CofS claims, and perhaps it is less than 100,00O worldwide. But 20,000? That’s just an unsupported claim. And we can’t just leave out those many inactive Scientologists as I was, who even though are not doing anything, still consider themselves as Scientologists and THINK as Scientologists.

Are we to trust in an “estimate” done by an anti-Scientologist? I don’t think so. Setting up that number at 40,000 – as it had been done by other more reliable sources, 5,000 out of that (the SO members) is a 12.5% of SO membership. And if we set it up at 30,000, then it is a 16.6%, close to what Alanzo claimed. And I would go even beyond to what Alanzo claimed and I would said that most of the problem was in the SO, yes, but most particularly at the Int Base (with more frequency) and at Flag (with less frequency). So it was even in a subculture within the subculture called “The Sea Organization”. The most crazy shit happened there. And as I said to Hemi, an individual and a short bunch of followers does not make Scientology. Saying “The Church” this or that is frequently a big generalization that steriotype the whole for the conduct of a few.


TC: “And as I said to Hemi, an individual and a short bunch of followers does not make Scientology.”
I thought exactly that for a long time, and I was wrong. Being an Indie (of sorts), and actually practicing Ron’s tech, or parts of it professionally, I craved for people to see that it is us who are Scientology, who get results and freedom doing so and not THEM in the CoS, bunch of silly distorters of most everything Ron (=scientology) said. Semantically you are right Peter, scient is what Ron said it was, as he created it. But factually, and for communication purposes a term is what it is considered to be by majority of people. Definitions of terms evolve and change with time. Tell 100 people at random in the street you are practicing scientology, 98 out of them will KNOW that you are part of the CoS. Right?
That’s why I am not a scientologist at all.. ๐Ÿ™‚ actually something quite opposite.
Even in Dror Center they finally understood that, and are waving this term “good buy”. It is no secret, they have written a new book with enirely different vocabulary and approach. They are no more scientologists. They work and behave entirely different. ENTIRELY.
And Peter, sadly, so sadly, it is not just a short bunch of followers. Sorry! Every single scientologist who PRACTICES it in the CoS, even as public, is a full follower and abides by and adopts the mindset, or…he is out or “disaffected”.
A bunch of former friends of mine, great people (at least they used to be) artists, creative, funny, who used to LOVE me as a brother and more, won’t talk to me, and I know it ‘kills’ them inside and they keep saying: “Why, why did Hemi did this horrible thing, why??? This horrible thing being writing a long rational letter criticizing the CoS and resigning. I mean, some of the things I write here to Al and Peter are much worse… ha ha ๐Ÿ™‚ but these intelligent people there are convinced that I have done a crime against humanity, which they can’t understand, because “Hemi is such a good man and great guy and friend”…!!
That is the mindset at the CoS, of all active members!! They are AFRAID to think differently, or they will be punished. This is one of the ways to implant people (Implant in question: Hemi is a horrible man who did horrible crimes) and brain wash them, using fear and duress. It is important to understand this. It doesn’t make scientologist bad people or monsters or anything else. They are just victims of an accident (which started as a beautiful ride) who wait to come round and heal.


Just to clarify: I meant all scientologists have similar mindset and attitude on certain crucial elements. But of course public, staf and SO are different in intensity, and of course have different lives. They are not all the same in various life features.
Only the basic implants:
The management is always right
Anybody criticizing or opposing IS an enemy and an SP.
The Org is more important than the other dynamics.
The mamnagement and its command intention should never be questioned!
Anybody criticizing scient does so because of OVERTS and crimes.
I am sure there are more…if anybody cares to add.
B.t.w. at the CoS (and indies too) a total MU on criticism even as originally defined by Ron, who thought rational criticism is actually very valuable.


Thetaclear, I’ve actually tried to track the numbers pretty diligently, and think there is a good basis for the 20,000 estimate.

The ARIS figure for 2008 was 25,000, which fits with reports from people like Jeff Hawkins and Steve Hall who had access to internal counts around that time. It also makes sense in terms of other information like the production run of 30,000 of the new e-meters. The closed, monitored Scientology group on Facebook has about 15,000 members, which likely includes virtually every CofS member with access to social media, almost certainly a majority, and possibly even a significant number who have actually dropped out and just not been culled.

The only 40,000 number I know of, comes from Jeff Hawkins, who said the IAS was trying to get their count up to that, at a point in the past when fewer than 20,000 members were really active. He now says that there has been enough shrinkage, that the number is under 20,000 internationally. Do you have a different source for that number?

Also, the census counts across the world are so low, that there can only be a small number of people other than CofS members who consider themselves scientologists. That fits with the observably tiny size of “independent” centers and communities, as well as attendance at indie gatherings and participation in indie online groups.

There are not enough large events anymore, or enough observable activity in the orgs, to provide any evidence for an active membership over 20,000. There are only about 135 local orgs worldwide, and many of them are struggling with active membership down to a few dozens (and unable to raise money for new buildings) while the handful of orgs with more activity seem to have a most a few hundred members. The org I was most familiar with, and which seems fairly average, had 50 to 70 really active members, and perhaps another 50 or so who had belonged to now-defunct outlying missions and might make the trek for “all hands” events – and yet had managed to raise enough money for an “ideal” building.


One of Hubbard;s Policy Letters was always to maintain friendly relationships with the environment. That picture you post is not very becoming of a scientogist, per LRH.


Very well written and observed, Alanzo. Bravo!
The word you are looking for is simple IMO – FIXED IDEAS. People just acquire these through life, unless enlightened or very wise. Another good term to call it is : Service Facsimile. People failed, (IMO in their spiritual quest), and this, being a painful failure, demands strong explanations and justifications. This is very human, but does not rekindle the quest or gets it back on the road. And THAT in my opinion is the main rascal of the plot!!!


Alonzo I believe you are still under L Rons hypnotic sway. You need to get some good ole fashioned religion. lol


There’s no such word but you could coin it – Scientology “Stereotypers”

Hey – When we were in scn we added “ness” to a dozen or more words and accepted them as King’s English, right?

There’s a catch, however – can you guess?


I would concur that all Scnists are not created equal. Its a gradient scale of insanity. Int base being the most insane. I would venture to say they practice a version of Scn that would be almost unrecognizable to a mission public. It is even debatable whether it can be called Scn.

Moving down the line to CLOs, less insane, but still batshit crazy. Class V orgs, for staff it can be pretty rough (from my experience), but for public, less so.

When I was on staff we always had a group of half-hearted public who viewed Scn more as a “self help” or “social” activity. They didn’t have the “big cog”. Subsequently, they avoided crush regging and heavy ethics. You have to buy into the Big Picture to subject yourself to Hubbard’s madness.

Coming up with numbers or percentages has always been difficult, so why bother? Suffice to say, a small percentage of Scnists experience the splendor of Int-style Scn mindfuck.

One of the cogs I had in my 30 years, is that the closer you get to RTC, the more fucked up it is. It is much harder to be a Scnist at an AO or SH, than at an org or mission.


statpush – “It’s a gradient scale of insanity.” funny – I think another major factor is when someone participated. Most people commenting on the blogs participated in scn after the sea org ramped up and DM took over. I blew in 1983 so maybe I got less insane and it was easier to put it in perspective. Maybe some people are “still crazy after all these years.” lol


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