The Netflix documentary The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist takes a closer look at the string of burglaries that shook up Hollywood in 2008 and 2009. A group of teenagers, later nicknamed the Bling Ring, targeted celebrities like Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, and Orlando Bloom by breaking into their homes and stealing their belongings. The documentary features interviews with former Bling Ring member Alexis Neiers and her mother, Andrea Arlington-Dunne. Both of them discuss the Church of Religious Science, to which Arlington-Dunne credits some of her family’s success, but what does the church teach?
Arlington-Dunne pursued becoming a minister for the Church of Religious Science
After Arlington-Dunne’s marriage to Alexis and Gabbie Neiers’ father, Michael, fell apart, she found herself struggling to make ends meet. Her financial situation became worse, and she eventually filed for bankruptcy. After that, however, Arlington-Dunne decided she want to become a minister for the Church of Religious Science.
In The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, Arlington-Dunne tells producers that the Church of Religious Science wasn’t a typical church. It focused on its members using their thoughts and emotions to manifest the goals they wanted to achieve in their lives. Arlington-Dunne created vision boards and wrote affirmations that would lead to her family’s success in the entertainment industry. Neiers describes it as “a cross between Buddhism and witchcraft.”
The Law of Attraction
One of the main teaching points within the Church of Religious Science revolves around the Law of Attraction. Established by Ernest Holmes in 1927, Holmes never intended for his teachings to evolve into a church but instead wanted to create an institution where he taught his ideas to others. The church takes snippets from religions like Christianity and Buddhism and combines them with the laws of science.
The Law of Attraction is the idea that a person who puts positive thoughts out into the world attracts positivity in their life while negative thoughts attract negativity. Arlington-Dunne leaned heavily into this belief and tells The Real Bling Ring producers that her vision board was a way to manifest the goals she wanted. However, Neiers scoffs and says her mom only believed in it because “she wanted to think away her problems.”
Like with almost any religion, the Church of Religious Science holds some controversial beliefs. Similar to Scientology, the Church of Religious Sciences doesn’t believe in the use of psychotropic drugs. Instead, members believe that people can heal themselves with the power of positive thinking and prayer.
The 2006 film ‘The Secret’ focuses on the beliefs of the Church of Religious Science
When Arlington-Dunne caught one of her daughters drunk at the age of 12, she punished her by only allowing her to watch a spirituality documentary named The Secret for an entire summer. The film features interviews with professionals in industries like quantum physics and psychology who claim that they used the Law of Attraction to achieve success in their lives. However, it starts to sound a little cultish when some of the interviewees claim that high-powered individuals work to keep “the secret” hidden from the general public.
Arlington-Dunne never states whether or not she’s a member of the church as of 2022, but she still has her trusty vision board. It’s likely safe to say she still believes in the Law of Attraction.
Check out The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, streaming exclusively on Netflix.