Scientology is making headlines again with the release of Lawrence Wright’s new book"Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief," and in the wake of the church’s bad publicity, "Parenthood" actress Erika Christensen is defending the controversial religion.
While appearing on her co-star Joy Bryant’s web series, the 30-year-old actress and lifelong member of the church took the opportunity to clear up misconceptions about the religion she calls a "huge part" of her life.
"[People assume] we’re some kind of closed group and we’re just the Hollywood religion … and we worship rabbits. I don’t actually know how many people think that," she joked.
Scientologists don’t worship rabbits, but members do believe that 75 million years ago,Xenu, dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy," sent billions of frozen souls on spaceships from his overpopulated planet to the bases of volcanoes on Earth. When the volcanoes erupted, the scattered souls or "thetans" found their way into human bodies, and their emotional issues haunt their human hosts, and Scientologists believe they must be purged through an expensive confessional practice called auditing.
Christensen grew up in the church and says she would have no problems introducing her future children to the religion.
"I would expose to them, like, this is what I do, which is how my parents did it, because my parents are Scientologists," she said, adding, "If I had to sum it up, the goal of Scientology is giving the person back to themselves. Like, your own power of choice."
Christensen, along with Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, is among the most high-profile members of the Church of Scientology, and its celebrity members are believed to give the religion, founded in 1953 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, an air of credibility and attraction.
And as Christensen defends her beliefs, the church’s most high-profile former member, director Paul Haggis, continues to speak out and told NBC’s Harry Smith that he was ashamed of his own stupidity and that he could be so blind about the organization for so many years.
When asked if Scientology is a cult, Haggis didn’t mince words.
"Oh, of course it is. It’s a system of beliefs and you’ve got all these folks inside this fortress who won’t look out, who won’t look at any criticism and can’t bear any investigation and thinks everyone is against them. How would you describe that? It’s a cult," he said.