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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where Are All the Scientologists? Part 2

Since the previous article on Where Are All the Scientologists? got such a strong reaction from some Scientologists, I thought I'd expand on it a bit.

Even today, with all the evidence against it, the Church of Scientology claims eight million members! Or sometimes more. Where did that figure come from?

According to an insider, sometime in the 60s or 70s at International Management, top management wanted to issue a press release about Scientology and they wanted to know how many Scientologists there were. Nobody knew. Not only didn't they know, but their records were so messed up there was absolutely no way to find out. What to do?

They just made it up, "Five million Scientologists world wide with more than three million in the U.S." They didn't know, but then, who could prove them wrong?

This fictitious number was picked up by others. For example the The Encyclopedia of American Religions (1991, Vol. 2:312) stated:
No precise [membership] figure... currently exists; however, church statistics of its membership were reported in 1977 to be more than 5 million with more than 3 million of those in U.S. Those figures represent a cumulative number of people who have participated in one or more of the church's programs or availed themselves of the church's services over a period of several years.
The next year, management asked the same question, "How many Scientologists now?" The insider tells me that the guys looked around and said "Um... five and a half million!" And so it went on, year after year. Management would come in and ask, "How many now?" and there'd be a small discussion, "How about six million?" "No, we said that last time, it has to be more!" "Then, how about six and a half?" "OK!" Then they'd give top management the answer, "Six and a half million now, sir!" It's based on nothing.

The numbers got pretty crazy at times.

In a reprint of Hubbard's book "Death's Deputy" in 1970, in the front cover it says that Hubbard also renowned as the founder of Scientology and the creator of "Dianetics" with an estimated 15 million adherents around the world.
As the numbers became more and more unreal, even mainstream press started questioning them. People wanted to have SOME evidence of that kind of Scientology membership.

While the Church of Scientology can't admit it lied all these years, it realized that it couldn't just keep arbitrarily adding millions to their membership numbers every few months -- so for many years now they've been stuck at "eight million". They can't increase the number, because it has become obvious they don't have those kind of numbers -- but they can't reduce the official numbers either without admitting they lied, or worse, that Scientology is shrinking. So the official pronouncements from the Church of Scientology usually talk about eight million.

Church of Scientology, Office of Special Affairs (OSA) senior official Mike Rinder said the following at a press conference on Dec 1997, in response to accusations made by former Scientologists:
If any of the things these people say are true, there would not be eight million Scientologists in the world today.
Actually, that is a very true statement, Mike. You see, the things people are saying about the Church of Scientology are true, and there aren't eight million Scientologists (and never were).

(By the way, Mike Rinder left Scientology recently and now has nothing more to do with the church.)

In 1992, Heber Jentzsch tried to explain how the membership numbers got so badly out of sync with reality. This is from Forrest Sawyer, on ABC Nightline, Feb. 14, 1992 interviewing Heber Jentzsch, President, Church of Scientology:
Sawyer. How do you get to call them members?

Jentzsch: Because they joined and they came in and they studied Scientology.

Sawyer: They took one course, maybe.

Jentzsch: Well, that's how valuable the course is. Eight million people, yes, over a period of the last - since 1954.
(By the way, Heber Jentzsch is reportedly now locked up at the International Base in Hemet California, unable to leave, unable to communicate with family and friends, a prisoner of Miscavige.)

So how many Scientologists are there really?

There are many independent and unbiased organizations working to count, classify and understand the various religious affiliations of people. These organizations have found out this exact information.

In 2001, the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) estimated 55,000 Scientologists in the U.S.

Other, more recent, religious surveys are no better for Scientology. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life completed a comprehensive survey based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older. The findings? Scientology didn't show up in enough numbers to even be mentioned. They noted religious affiliations down to less than 0.3%. This survey found, at the smallest numbers, Wiccan and Pagan -- but below that they stopped specifying.

Since the Church of Scientology has always stated that a majority of it's membership resides in the U.S., this doesn't bode well for totaling eight million world wide.

Indeed, as we look to official census statistics from other parts of the world, the numbers look even worse for Scientology.

The British 2001 Census reported only 1,525 Scientologists in Canada, 282 in New Zealand, and only 1781 in England and Wales.

According to the latest Australian Census, there are only 2508 Scientologists in the whole of Australia.

[EDIT] This just in from Germany: There was a proposal to ban Scientology in Germany. I've always opposed such a ban on the grounds that it gives Miscavige's Church of Scientology too much importance and stature. It turns out the German government thinks the same way. Referring to the prohibition lawsuit, Minister of the Interior K├Ârting said:
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has come to the insight that Scientology is anticonstitutional, but since Scientology is a small, insignificant organization, with just few members in Germany, the principle of proportionality must be retained. There would probably be no successful Scientology prohibition lawsuit, but the warnings and monitoring against Scientology will continue.
[Thanks to Simon for translating. Emphasis added by me.]
If anyone wants to locate and translate recent religious surveys from other parts of the world, I would appreciate it. However, we can safely assume the results would be quite similar.

Once again, the definitive answer to the question "Where are all the Scientologists?" is, "Gone!" David Miscavige is desperately looking for a different answer, but that isn't working. Reality is what is, not what you pretend it to be. Hint for Miscavige: You can't find Scientologists where there aren't any.

While it is undoubtedly true that the Church of Scientology membership numbers never were as high as they claimed, even during better times when L. Ron Hubbard was running the church, the numbers today are far fewer than many thought, and, from all the evidence, the numbers are still dropping. The latest verifiable figures are from 2001 and things have not gone well for the Church of Scientology since then.

For example, the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, used by the Church of Scientology for some of its big events holds over 6,000 people in the main auditorium. Many years ago the events would fill the main room and they had to provide an "overflow room" for those that couldn't get in. Today, the Church of Scientology can't even fill the main auditorium. As another example, in Clearwater, reportedly the second largest concentration of Scientologists in the U.S. after Los Angeles, they hold their "big event" in Ruth Eckerd Hall, which holds only 2,000 people.

The real answer to the question of how many Scientologists seems to garner a lot of denial from Scientologists, but this isn't opinion and it isn't speculation, this is fact from official sources. At a very generous estimate, Scientology's actual membership is considerably less than 1% of their claimed membership.

Fact are facts. Reality is reality. Of course, the Church of Scientology doesn't associate much with reality.


  1. Just Bill, you have outdone yourself!!!

  2. Thanks AnonLover!

    After all those demands for "show us proof!" from Scientologists, why do I get the impression they're not too happy when proof is provided?


  3. ...
    Is loving the deathly silence as response
    You are supposed to feel pwned now, correct?

    Well done.

  4. Another nail in the disgusting, insignificant little cult's coffin. Well done!

  5. For reference Jedi outnumber Scientologists around 100:1 in New Zealand.

  6. Nothing in this rant constitutes "proof" of anything. It's all the same "According to an insider..." unverifiable tall-tale-telling.

    Most Scientologists do not list themselves as such to Census-takers, now more than ever, thanks to the dangerous anti-Scientology nuts who have seemingly made it their life's obsessive mission to stalk, harass and threaten people in the so-called "evil cult".

    Similarly, the Org I'm affliated with gave out free Scientology bumper stickers to devout members a few years back, and yet almost no one put them on their cars, for fear that the stickers would attract dangerous anti-Scientology haters. The world is filled with confused people with masks and samurai swords, who believe everything they read on hateful internet blogs.

    On a side note, it's funny to note that if I respond and try to talk some sense into you, I get insulted by you and your gang of yes-men, but if I don't respond, they say they're "loving the deathly silence as response". And if I respond to the insults with harsh words of my own that offend your sensitivities, my post gets censored. It's pretty much a fixed game, like trying to communicate with schoolboy bullies who are dead set on beating you up no matter what you do or say.

  7. @Scientologist

    Absolutely hilarious! The Scientologist's answer to everything, "that's not proof!" No matter how factual it really is. I posted facts. I posted links to the actual evidence. But "Oh no! That's not proof!"

    You really are brainwashed!

    Those "Scientologists" who "do not list themselves as such to Census-takers" are ... wait for it ... not Scientologists. You think they are Scientologists because -- well, no one would ever leave Scientology!

    These surveys and census polls are confidential, yet, somehow, Scientologists don't admit their religion? Um... sure, whatever excuse you need to hold onto your flimsy belief that Scientology "is booming".

    Your "Scientologists" don't go to your events. Your "Scientologists" don't buy services. Your "Scientologists" don't tell surveyor that they are Scientolgists. Guess what? They aren't your Scientologists anymore. What part of reality don't you get?

    You whine that I've insulted you. When? I have never insulted you! Not ever! Is debating with you "insulting"? Is disagreeing with you "insulting"? Is finding fault with your arguments "insulting"? What is your definition of insult?

    You've insulted me, but I have never insulted you, not even in response.

    Now, I have presented FACTS to fully support my statements. I invite you to counter with any facts you wish to provide. This should be your response to my article: FACTS.

    I presented facts and the only response you come up with is ...

    absolutely nothing.

    Care to try again, Scientologist?

  8. @anonymous $cientologist,
    oh poor baby, no one wants to listen to your LIES!

    As a proud ex-scieno I know what happened when our org gave out bumper stickers -- we were too embarrassed to put them on our car. We did not want anyone to know we were $cientologists!

    You are lucky Just Bill posts your comments at all. I've tried to enter into discussion with scientology bloggers and they simply do not allow comments that don't push the party line. So stfu and gtfo.

    If you're OSA I hope you soon have the cognition and EP and get your sweet tuckus OUT. Your organization will not last much longer and life outside of it is pure freedom. What a relief to not be told everything to think and what a relief to be able to FEEL things again and to know LOVE.

  9. Oh come on. With lines like "Of course, the Church of Scientology doesn't associate much with reality", if you think this blog is not fundamentally insulting to Scientologists, then it's you who's talked yourself into a very special magical fantasy-land place of the mind, not I.

    By the way, despite being very active in my local Org, I don't attend most events, I haven't bought any services lately, and I haven't divulged my religious beliefs to any door-to-door survey, so by your warped standards, apparently I am not a Scientologist! LOL.

    I also must have blinked and missed the part where you provided factual evidence about the conspiracy-kook claim that Heber is being held prisoner in Golden Era Productions' offices. Double LOL.

    "According to an insider..." is NOT a fact.

    "The insider tells me that..." is NOT a fact.

    "Reportedly..." is NOT a fact.

    "While it is undoubtedly true..." is NOT a fact.

    "At a very generous estimate..." is NOT a fact.

    If you attempted this sort of vague nonsense in a serious, Harvard-style, scholarly debate, you would FAIL massively. Calling your opponent "brainwashed" would get you laughed out of the debate hall too.

  10. By the way, to anyone following along, this response by the Scientologists is an exact test on whether Scientology is fact-based or belief.

    If you debate with someone defending a fact-based system, and you provide proof, then that's it. The fact-based system must change to allow for the new facts.

    If you debate with a True Believer, any and all facts that conflict with his belief are automatically rejected. As is the case here.

    I asked for facts from a True Believer. He may respond with more blather, but he cannot provide any facts. He is a True Believer.

  11. Pardon me, but you totally neglected to respond with any facts!

    Sure, I've posted opinion, as opinion! And stated as such as you so clearly point out!

    But you totally ignore the FACTS I've presented and posted links to. Unbiased, independent sources for absolute facts!

    It is very, very ironic that you attempt to claim that I'm "failing" at this debate. You do have your fantasies, don't you?

    I've provided verified and verifiable FACTS and you've provided...


    Now, exactly how do you think debates are done?

    Oh, and people who hold to strange ideas that they have been "trained" in, despite real, verifiable and indisputable facts that directly contradict those beliefs may be, legitimately, described as "brainwashed".

    If you don't want to be perceived as "brainwashed", you might start by providing any facts for your beliefs. Any at all. Anything.

    I expect more blather, however.

  12. Let me add to my statement regarding the number of Scientologists:

    I've provided verified and verifiable FACTS and you, any other Scientologist, Miscavige's Church of Scientology and any of its representatives, in the church's entire history, have provided...


  13. Maybe the scientologist can share what Hubbard said about "proof" being an early form of aberration?

    "Anybody would know anything that was going on if he didn't have to
    prove it. Proof, conviction, is itself a very early level of

    As soon as you have to start proving things and convincing people of things, why then you have to get into agreement with them and in order to do this -- you have to Alter-is. You have to have something persist long enough for them to see it, so that they can then understand what it is. So in order for them to really understand what it is you can't possibly put up something that they understand what is, because if they saw completely what it was, it would disappear, so you would not have been able to have proven it.

    I hope you follow this very closely!

    Because actually what I am talking about here makes sense easily if
    strung together and looked at in a rational way.

    But if you try to Alter-is it, if you try to change it around, then
    you'll be able to remember it perfectly, but if you merely accept exactly what I am saying at each and every point, you know this already, so it won't exist.

    Now this is a very bad thing, I realize, so the best thing for me to do would be to color, if I really wanted this material to be remembered, to color the material so that it appeared to be something else than what it was. I could do that, for instance, by
    talking about your egg libidol, and your re-conscious. I could quote authorities who didn't exist. That's always best, you know.

    That's really a curve, you see. Nobody could ever see those, so they can't ever disappear.

    And I could quote these authorities which didn't exist but which you couldn't disprove and we could go on about the counter-reflex of the seratopol palsy and the og libidol, the bog libidol, the sog libidol and the mog libidol and how we would categorize these things as
    explanatory to the behavior of a feeshee preservation on the part of young alligators, and this nonsense of course would then be utterly comprehensible because it could be so remembered in every detail particularly if it were altered from what I was really
    talking about -- in trying to talk to you about turbo-electric systems, for example, with that amount of data injected into it".
    L Ron Hubbard
    The Pheonix Lectures

    Or, possibly the scientologist can explain what hubbard says about "truth"?

    You want a practical truth, one that you can work with and that will serve within the limits of your problem. And that's when it says all truth is relative. It said you could have a theoretical truth which was exact – theoretical – and you could simply do that this way: "I have a truth here that is exact. It is completely exact. It is exact to an error less than one over infinity. It is exactly exact and that is how exact it is," and nobody would be able to challenge you.

    You'd say, "All right. So you've got a truth there that's that exact. That's fine. That's fine. Now apply it."

    "Oh, we're not talking about application. I just happen to have an exact truth, that's all." There's no argument with that, because he's talking in an abstract or a theoretical.

    Now we look at the real universe. We look at the real universe of the preclear. We look at the no-less-real (often) universe of delusion. We look at these real universes and we want to know how accurate a truth must be. And it must be as accurate as the problem to which it's addressed.

    If you're going to run a track for a wheelbarrow from your back door down to your garage, it only has to be accurate within an inch or so, so that you can keep the wheelbarrow on the track. Say your boards are five inches wide. Well, it's all right to lay them down there a little inch this way and an inch that way. You'll still get that wheelbarrow through.

    It'd be silly, but there are many people who would get out there and they would get a transit, they might even get a theodolite, and they would measure with great care, and they would bevel these edges and they would get these edges in perfect condition and perfect alignment and find the exact distance along one edge of those boards to the garage. And
    they'd spend five days doing this so they could run five minutes' worth of wheelbarrow. And of course, the first time the wheelbarrow goes over all this he knocks it all out to a one-inch error anyhow.

    When we talk about truth, then, we are talking about something which is just relative to a problem or relative to another truth or relative to another fact within the limits of workability. How workable is it? Well, it has to be as true as it's workable. And that works the other way around. You say, "How true do you want a datum?"

    You want it true enough to be workable. Now, you can say, "I want this real true, good and true, very true..."

    You see, "true" is exact; you're not supposed to be able to do that in the English language. When you say "true," you mean an absolute. Absolutes are unobtainable.

    All right, we'll say a real truth. Well, that would be a truth which would fit into the reference of your problem, somewhat on the order of "This truth is workable to the degree that every time I work it, it works the same way. I use this truth to solve this problem, and every time I use this truth it works the same way. The result is within the reasonable limit of its application to this problem."

    LRH's "Perception of Truth" Lecture
    Logics 7--9 & 10--23
    12 November 1952

  14. Well, if you want to continue using the "it's just my opinion" ruse, then you should take extra care to present mere opinions as such, and not as quasi-facts ascribed to vague nameless non-entities. Meanwhile, you still insist that you're somehow simultaneously speaking "verified and verifiable facts".

    Great. So go verify them. Go on. I'll wait.

    It's easy to pile up unsubstantiated "According to an insider..." claims in an anonymous blog and then challenge me to disprove it, but you still don't get it. The burden of proof is on the person making the wacky accusations. They're YOUR claims, so YOU back them up if you can. But you don't. Because you can't. You WANT to believe Heber is being held prisoner at Int Base, so that's good enough for you, no pesky "proof" needed.

    If you proclaim here that penguins are purple, it's not up to me to go hunting for dox that say "penguins aren't purple" and present it to you; it's up to YOU to back up your own unsourced statements in the first place when someone calls B.S. on you.

    But you don't. Because you can't.

  15. @Scientologist.

    Now I am really sorry, but you are sounding so incredibly stupid now. I don't mean to be insulting of anyone, but your answers have departed reality and sanity.

    You are "demanding proof" when that's what I've provided. Actual religious surveys by unbiased, independent, reputable organizations. You ignore the proof. I've provided links to actual government census results. Obviously unbiased, independent and reputable sources. You ignore the proof.

    Then you actually claim that I've provided no proof and demand that I provide proof.

    Now that is incredibly stupid and dense. If providing highly verifiable and verified proof does not count as providing proof, then what ever would?

    You are done here. Don't bother responding. You are a Scientologist and like all Scientologists, all you can do is:
    1. BELIEVE
    2. Deny all facts
    3. Accuse others of lying.

    Fine. Do that somewhere else. We're dealing with FACTS here.

  16. to be fair....... i dont think the scilon was talkin bout the census thing in the last couple comments..... cuz he/she/it kept mentioning the heber jentztch thing and any stuff from anonymus insiders, not the census thing.............. ?

  17. No. My answers have been very much on point. The whole article is about there are very, very few Scientologists. THIS is what we are discussing. THIS is what I have provided proof concerning.

    He was trying to be "clever" by avoiding the main subject. It's a common tactic for "clever" Scientolgists: Change the focus, change the subject, make baseless accusations about something else, keep people moving away from the specific subject the "clever" Scientologist wants to bury.

    He was writing on this thread, which is specifically about how many Scientologists there are, and he accused me of providing no proof on this thread. Certainly is was intentional misdirection and mischaracterization.

    He completely failed because I kept talking about the subject of the article. There are less than 1% of the claimed members of Scientology by actual, verifiable evidence -- and there is nothing this poor Scientologist can do to change that fact or derail the thread from that subject.

    (He was getting a bit desperate there, towards the end, wasn't he?)

  18. @Scientologist:

    There is no evidence that Mario Majorski, the individual you referenced with your comment about "samurai swords", was ever influenced by "hateful internet blogs", as you call them.

    Isn't that a bit ironic, considering the complaints you're making here about the lack of "proof"? You chastise Just Bill for posting without "proof" but in the very same post, you blithely offer an accusation for which you do not have a shred of evidence?

    No, the one influence on Majorski that is clear is the influence of Scientology. Oh, didn't your higher-ups let you know about that part? Majorski was a Scientologist; in fact, he was listed as a plaintiff on Scientology's side of two 1993 lawsuits. He was still on the good side of Scientology in 2004, as he pre-paid for services at ASHO in that year and was listed in issue 318 of The Auditor as "WHO'S COMING TO THE SAINT HILL SPECIAL BRIEFING COURSE NEXT AT ASHO". Hmmm, I think I'd consider Scientology, which we know he was involved with, as a more likely influencer of his behavior than blogs, which we don't even know if he knew of their existence.

    Oh, and as for your claims that Scientologists are all over the place but they are too terrified to identify themselves even to a government census taker -- if there was any reason to think that was true, I guess we would have to conclude that one of the effects of studying Scientology and considering yourself a Scientologist is unreasoning paranoia. The Jewish people have suffered and still suffer a hell of a lot more targeted violence than the Scientologists in their self-pitying fantasies could ever dream of. Yet somehow the Jews keep showing up in government censuses in very large numbers.

    However, we don't have any reason to think that these "hiding Scientologists" ever existed. Oh, there might be a few, here and there, who consider themselves "real" Scientologists but are too afraid to own up to it. But the masses of them that you claim exist? Enough to explain the disparity between the numbers that Scientology claims, and the numbers everyone else comes up with? Absolutely no evidence. Hmmm, this is kind of a pattern with you, isn't it? Demand "proof" from others, but neglect to show a shred of evidence yourself?

  19. Too afraid? Where are 'Fear' and 'Victim' on the Tone Scale?

    Does this mean nobody in your Org is At Cause?

    Also, if you skip events and haven't taken any courses lately, how on earth are you active?

    How can you make the claim that, for many years now, masked people and sword-wielding lunatics have scared people into a lower condition? Heck, the sword-loony was one more Scientologist a few years ago.

    Now, can you honestly ask yourself, what the heck happened to this guy? Was his case mishandled? Did someone goof the floof? How was this not prevented?

    Remember, when you're ready to come out, an awful lot of us are ready to help.

  20. Even when presenting proof to a Scientologist, denial kicks in. IT JUST CAN'T BE! Scientology is supposed to naturally expand like crazy.
    Scientologists are shielded form the truth. And are themselves adding to their own lack of knowledge about what their own religion has been and is doing to people (OSA). And when they do find out (very rare) they justify it, because the "church" is ALWAYS right because IT JUST CAN'T BE!

  21. It is incredibly ironic that the Church of Scientology's "Road to Truth" requires such head-in-the-sand, information-avoidance, cut-communication action from adherents.

    Don't they see how this is the direct opposite of what should be happening on a purported "Road to Truth".

  22. I hope the scientologists are still reading this thread... I'm genuinely curious.

    I can see how scientologists wouldn't necessarily report as such on a census. I would report as 'pagan' because my own specific little group is too esoteric to mean anything to the people interpreting the study, and it falls under the pagan umbrella anyway (also, they'd be lucky to catch one of us in a random sampler). What would scientologists report as, so we can maybe see where you fall in the results?

    Also, I agree that polling data can be wildly inaccurate. Many households no longer have a landline, which makes most poll data skew to the older generation.

    However, I'm unwilling to take scientology's public numbers at face value, either. You say that you're an active scientologist, but you don't currently attend any events or take courses. What do active scientologists do?

    I'm suspicious of the large published figure because I don't see any proof that they're out there. I live in one of the top ten largest cities in the United States, and I've never seen a table on the street, been asked to take a test, even met someone who actually claimed to be a scientologist. I've been an undergrad and grad student at two of the largest universities downtown, and spend quite a bit of time in the major social spots. I've seen recruiters from most large, active religions, from fundamentalist christians, to mormons, to islam, but I've never seen a scientologist.

    I can't seem to find a good list of the current orgs and their locations. Is one available?

    The point about the buildings could go either way. Prime real estate is only an asset when it's being properly used, and I've seen a lot of people make the mistake of buying land they weren't able to make profitable. In a few years, we'll all know whether or not they were a good investment.

  23. Thanks for a good piece on demographics.
    The article explaining the origin of 'millions of members' is by Robert Vaughn Young:
    One thing you may not know is that in almost all the European countries where the CoS has a significant membership spokespersons have given membership numbers, and these don't add up to 'millions of members'.
    I have webpages on Scientology demographics, if anyone has data I've missed please send it in!

  24. Thanks hartley! Appreciate the additional data. The CoS has so many lies going, they don't always keep track.

    Love the Internet. The information won't die and will not be buried.

  25. I'm curious. Since most Scilon's have to use net nanny, wouldn't most of the apologists here be OSA or ex members?

  26. @rebelmacaque

    Well, that used to be very true, but my information is (and I must admit I am well informed about this) that regular Scientologists are reading the Internetz, without any NetNanny and without the knowledge or blessing of the church.

    They are looking. They are cautiously talking. They are asking questions.

    I know that this blog, and other unapproved sites are being read by Scientologists. I know because many have told me so. They don't post and they don't debate, they just read, learn and find even more questions they need to ask and get answered.

    I warmly welcome them and hope their quest for truth continues.

  27. @ rebelmacaque
    re the Scientology net nanny: such programs are Operating System specific, the Scientology one was for Windows 95 and was I think updated to Windows 98 but no further. The nanny was dropped at the same time as the other half of the scheme, the cookie cutter websites. The list of blocked items was never updated.

  28. The German Office for Protection of the Consitution is watching $cientology since years - and they've done some counting on the members. In their last report they said that there were around 6,000 $cientologists in Germany. Considered Germany has 82 Mio inhabitants the CO$ is obviously rather far away from their once stated goal of "clearing" Germany.

  29. Yes, indeed. Church of Scientology numbers are always many orders of magnitude inflated.

    Even the 6,000 member number seems a bit high to me. I suspect the numbers are quite a bit lower today.

  30. Just to add: the latest (2008) ARIS indicates that the number of self identified Scientologists in the USA has halved since 2001. There are no more than 50,000. No link unfortunately as the ARIS report left off Scientology as being too insignificant to include, but Anonymous obtained the data from the research team.

  31. @hartley

    Thanks for adding that. This is important information.

    The 2009 ARIS survey is now out and reports there are only 25,000 Scientologists in the US now. Compared to the count just a year ago, the collapse is significant.

  32. "The 2009 ARIS survey is now out and reports there are only 25,000 Scientologists in the US now."

    We are referring to the same survey. The 95% error rate is around 100%, so an accurate way to refer to the result is by using the upper limit, 'no more than 50,000'. '95% error', the default for polls and surveys, means that if the survey were repeated there is a 95% chance that the new result would also be less than 50,000.

  33. @hartley

    I understand what you're saying, but it's a bit confusing. Essentially, you're using the worst possible estimate in one direction.

    In other words, assuming a 95% error (which doesn't sound right to me) the count could be at most 48,750 and at the least 1,250. Which says nothing. It's just confusing.

    Since the ARIS best calculation, based on their current survey, their past surveys, and so on, is 25,000 Scientologists in the US, it is the most accurate, best calculation. I'll just go with that. There is no reason to doubt their accuracy.

  34. I'm a long time lurker of your excellent blog, and I thought you might want some more membership data. According to Geir Isene, Norway's only OTVIII who blew this summer, there are very few scientologists in Norway:

    The DSA says there are 200 Norwegian Scientologists. I say 50 – I know almost all of them.


    (Norway has a population of about 5 million.)

  35. Thanks. They can't hide from the truth.

  36. @Bill
    "I understand what you're saying"

    By what you wrote, you didn't! This bit of statistics is counter intuitive. Quoting "25,000" is misleading without including the high error spread, which is slightly over 100%. Election polls, the kind we are most familiar with, have an error spread of around 4%.
    This is NOT an 'error' on the part of ARIS, just a reflection of scientologists being a very small group which the survey was not designed to pick up.

  37. @Hartley

    Your quoting "50,000" was a bit more misleading since the actual ARIS survey specifically said 25,000. You didn't reference ARIS nor any possible % error at all in your original posting. All you used was this "50,000" figure.

    However, in subsequent postings, you have remedied that.

  38. NEWS:
    Over the last two years, three separate Insiders have given us figures on the real number of active Scientologists in MN, western WI, and the Dakotas. All estimated between 200 and 500, rather less than the official 5000+ given by former Org Director Brian Fesler (now a spokesman for Nashville's Org).
    We have confirmation that the number of active Scientologists in the area hovers around 200 at this point, including those who took courses in the last four years and haven't been heard from since. This comes straight from the Org's books.

  39. "The world is filled with confused people with masks and samurai swords, who believe everything they read on hateful internet blogs."

    And everything they experienced themselves. And everything they hear from fellow escapees of the CoS.

  40. Re: NEWS

    Thanks for the additional information. Since I wrote this post, the number of actual, active members of the Church of Scientology has gotten much, much less.

    We're hearing about so many people who have completely left the church in disgust, but have said nothing. The church doesn't know how many people have left, but they do know how many still follow orders, still show up for events, still buy everything they are ordered to buy, still send money to Miscavige -- and it isn't very many at all. They know, more than anyone else, they know.


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