NEW YORK—Speaking publicly for the first time since her divorce, Katie Holmes told reporters Friday that her separation from Tom Cruise has at long last given her the chance to immerse herself completely in the practice of Scientology without the intense media scrutiny that comes with being married to one of the church’s most famous members.

The actress, mother of one, and devoted Scientologist said that while she was grateful to share a belief system with Cruise, the Mission: Impossible star’s high position within the church and busy acting career often made it difficult for her to study the works of L. Ron Hubbard with the full attention and religious fervor they deserve.

"I can't tell you how good it feels to just walk into a Scientology center, sit down at Sunday service, and recite the Creed of the Church like a regular person,” said Holmes, explaining that when she attended with Cruise she was forced to make small talk with prominent church members instead of focusing on Standard Tech. "Sometimes you just want to have your thetan levels measured in the privacy of your own auditing room without all the fuss, you know?"

"Tom is one of the most passionate and committed Scientologists I know, and that's something I've always admired about him," she added. "But frankly, all that attention made it almost impossible for me to quietly slip into a chapel for a couple hours, commune with the Eighth Dynamic, and reread The Way To Happiness in peace."

Offering a litany of her frustrations, Holmes told reporters that with her husband's busy shooting schedule, she found it hard to fit in more than two or three hours of auditing per week, which she claimed just isn’t enough for someone like herself who is totally committed to moving up the Bridge to Total Freedom.

In addition, Holmes said Cruise's A-list status often brought the couple into direct contact with numerous Suppressive Persons, who the actress claimed were actively trying to subvert her goal of spreading the Scientology movement worldwide.

"Tom’s career and the nonstop media attention surrounding our marriage were extraordinarily disruptive for me and my faith," said Holmes, adding that with her divorce proceedings concluded she now hopes to devote the extra time she has to achieving Clear. "I got through it by remembering LRH’s words: 'The whole agonized future of this planet, every man, woman and child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology.'"

Of particular concern to Holmes was the future of the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Suri, who Holmes was worried might not receive the intensive Scientologist education she required.

"Someday, Suri might want to join Sea Org, or spend 1 or 2 billion years working at Gold Base," Holmes said. "Trapped in a pampered celebrity existence, she would never get to have that experience. And what kind of a life would that be? I want to make sure Suri's life, like mine, is fully devoted to ridding her thetan of engrams, passing through the Wall of Fire, and achieving complete control over matter, energy, space, and time. This is something I have to do as a mother."

Holmes is scheduled to make one of her first major public appearances as a newly single woman at a gala "Psychiatry Kills" event Friday night in Manhattan.