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Elisabeth Moss in this week’s ‘Handmaid’ sure sounded like FBI testimony about Scientology

 
Numerous outlets have raised questions about actress Elisabeth Moss, a born-in Scientologist, playing the character Offred in the Hulu television series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which portrays an oppressive near-future dystopia.

“It’s ironic, isn’t it?” cult expert Rick Ross told Newsweek recently, “that The Handmaid’s Tale is often portrayed as a cult-like regime requiring endless devotion and control as a society, and yet Elisabeth Moss, a devoted Scientologist, is the star.”

We thought that assessment and several others (Anna Merlan’s was the first that we saw) raised the issue sufficiently, and we weren’t going to weigh in. But then, this week, in the sixth episode of the series, Moss’s character Offred gave such an ironic speech about the oppression she was living under, we couldn’t let it pass without comment.

In the scene, Offred decides to open up to the Mexican ambassador, a woman named Castillo, who had thanked Offred for her “candor” about what a pleasant life she was leading. With a moment away from her oppressors, Offred seizes the opportunity to tell Ms. Castillo what’s really going on — she’s a prisoner subject to physical abuse.

And immediately, when we saw that, we couldn’t help thinking of how much her description evoked what Scientology puts its “Sea Org” workers through.

In 2009 and 2010, the FBI investigated Scientology for human trafficking based on the way it treats its workers at its Sea Org bases, where members sign billion-year contracts and work 112-hour weeks for pennies an hour. Recently, a 285-page file detailing that investigation was obtained by Melissa Cronin at RadarOnline, and she’s shared it with us. Poring through it, you can see how seriously the FBI took the allegations by former Sea Org members who had managed to escape the church’s bases in California and Florida.

To show you what we mean, we’ve pulled out some excerpts from the investigation and juxtaposed them with Offred’s emotional testimony to the Mexican ambassador.

And keep in mind, although Scientology celebrities do get pampered, we’ve demonstrated repeatedly that they are generally aware of the conditions in the Sea Org — could Moss really have delivered these lines without thinking of what her own church is accused of?

 

 
Scientology is a confessing culture. Its members are so convinced that the “E-meter” — a simple skin-galvanism device — can read their minds, they believe that it is impossible to keep secrets from the church, as the FBI learned…

 

 

 
Offred admits that the seemingly peaceful place the Mexican ambassador sees actually hides a place of inhuman treatment. The FBI file is filled with various forms of mental and physical torture, and one of them is the way husbands and wives are often pitted against each other…

 

 

 
The ambassador (played by Zabryna Guevara) is taken aback, but Offred is only warming up, saying that she and the other handmaids are being held against their will. One of the things the FBI asked its informants the most was the concept that they were unable to leave the Sea Org bases freely. Well, you get the idea…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Like we said, it was a pretty remarkable performance, and it sure did feel familiar. Hey, Elisabeth, how did you prepare for the role, anyway? Been reading here at the Bunker?

 
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Countdown to Denver!

 

 
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans, and book your room soon!

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,755 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,858 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,352 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,392 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,104 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 630 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,719 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,859 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,179 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,154 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 510 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,812 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 919 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,321 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,194 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 775 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,280 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,524 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,633 days.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 19, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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