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Parenthood Star Erika Christensen Gets Real About Growing Up in Scientology

More and more, our search for a deeper look into Scientology increases as stories, documentaries and exposés from former members or nonmembers hit the internet. Who wouldn’t want to know more about one of the most divisive religious groups in the world? But in a new interview, Parenthood alum and lifelong Scientology member Erika Christensen gets candid about her life in the church as well as the role her parents’ beliefs in Scientology played in shaping her childhood and how she’s approaching things now with her own children.

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The interview took place on her Parenthood costar Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, in an episode that released on Monday. While Christensen has spoken up about her involvement in Scientology in the past, this is the most open she’s been about how she came to her faith.

“My parents definitely are Scientologists, approached parenting from a Scientology viewpoint. I know that now as an adult. I can see that in the way that they approached me as a kid and really trying to do what I’m doing now as a parent,” Christensen said.

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She gave the caveat that one can’t really raise a child as a Scientologist, though. “I like to really be specific about that too because it’s hard to raise someone as a Scientologist because its something that you do; it’s not something that you believe,” she told Shepard.

Christensen wanted to be clear that her parents didn’t force their beliefs on her but asked her to take a look at Scientology for herself. “They were never like, ‘You need to go to church,’ or anything like that too. It was like, ‘This is what we’re interested in. These are some of the things that we believe. We think this is a good idea. Would you check it out?’ It was always a choice and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’”

Her comments to Shepard indicate that she’ll want her children (she has one daughter and is pregnant with her second child with husband Cole Maness) to make their own choices about Scientology, saying, “It has to be true for you. Don’t take anybody’s word for anything, ever, basically, without being a cynic or without being some kind of paranoiac. It’s just, what do you have if you don’t have yourself?”

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Christensen generally keeps her faith to herself, but she did speak up to defend the church when it underwent a wave of criticism in 2013. She has also appeared in at least one promotional video.

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