Celebrity Cult Survivors: Ellen Degeneres

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Ellen Degeneres

Ellen Degeneres, actress, comedienne, and talk show host, was raised in the Christian Science faith. The Church of Christ, Scientist is considered a heretical cult by mainline Protestants and Catholics. It is a faith healing sect, with religious prohibitions against vaccines and medical care.

“I was raised very, very strictly with Christian Science. I didn’t have a shot or an aspirin or anything until I was 13 years old. We had to go to church, do testimonies every Wednesday night.”
– Ellen Degeneres

Degeneres is far from the first or best known celebrity raised in the faith. Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Robin Williams all had early childhood exposure to Christian Science but did not claim it as their faith in adulthood. Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers, Robert Duvall, and Val Kilmer were all adult members, either since childhood or as converts.

When Degeneres was 13, her parents legally and physically separated, and her mother and she no longer attended services or adhered to church edicts. “My mother and father divorced and when they divorced I lived with my mother and then, kind of, we were not Christian Science anymore. And I took aspirin all the time. I was wild!”

Today she identities as spiritual but not religious, and says she believes in God and the golden rule. “The most important thing I saw every single week on the wall at Sunday school was the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ That’s what I got out of church and, to me, it’s still the way to live.”

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