Because of various problems with Blogger, I've copied everything as of November 26, 2012 over to WordPress. The new location is Ask the Scientologist. I am not deleting this blog and will still accept comments and answer questions here too, but any new articles will appear at the WordPress location. I apologize if this causes any problems.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Scientologists Don't Look

This is another mystery. Scientologists are taught, again and again, by L. Ron Hubbard to "Look, Don't Listen" and "What is true is what you, yourself, have found to be true."

This is, according to Hubbard, very, very important. Hubbard spent entire lectures and extensive written issues, stressing this exact concept. He even coined his own term for it, "obnosis", which he defined as "observing the obvious". Any Scientologist doing any significant training has done the "Obnosis Drill". The whole purpose of the drill is to look and observe what is really there, not what one thinks is there.

And yet...

Scientologists don't look. They simply do not look.

You see, Scientologists listen to what they are told by David Miscavige in his wondrous Scientology Events, but they never, ever go look for themselves.

Even when the situation is right there in front of them, they refuse to see it.

Scientologists are told, by Miscavige, that Scientology is booming everywhere. But that isn't happening where they can actually see it. They hear, from Miscavige, that things are wonderful, but what they could see if they looked at their local church, their local group, their friends, their own situation, does not show that. They believe what they are told despite what what is right in front of them.

Hubbard told them to "look, don't listen" but Scientologists will not look.

And the mystery deepens: Not only don't Scientologists look, but they believe what they are hearing has, somehow and by someone, been verified as "true", but they didn't verify it for themselves.

Scientologists are told, by Miscavige, that "Scientology's solutions" are improving bad situations all over the world. They are told by Miscavige that HIS technology is solving drug addiction, solving illiteracy, solving war and reforming criminals -- and they never, ever look. They believe it is true, but don't know of any real world examples themselves where such things have actually happened.

Scientologists listen and never look.

Miscavige tells all Scientologists that "major media", the Internet and, well, the rest of the world, are all liars and evil people who are out to destroy Scientology, and that looking anywhere but straight at David Miscavige is dangerous in the extreme. If Scientologists look anywhere but at Miscavige's Church of Scientology, they will get corrupted and will require "Ethics handlings" and special "security checking" before they become clean again (and that is very expensive).

And Scientologists, despite what Ron emphasized many times, cannot look at anything. They must only listen to Miscavige or, somehow, "be corrupted!"

But the mystery remains. Scientologists are told, directly from L. Ron Hubbard, that they must look, and not listen. Ron says that you must see what is really there, and not listen to what anyone says is there. Ron says that you cannot handle a situation if you listen. You can only handle situations if you look.

Scientologists are proud that their religion says that one should only accept as true what you, yourself, have found to be true...

But they don't practice this themselves. They accept, with blind faith, what they are told by Miscavige's Church of Scientology. They do not, will not and cannot look for themselves.

So, Scientologists, here is a brand new idea for you: Why don't you look, don't listen, like Ron told you to.

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.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why Do Scientologists Trust Miscavige?

This is truly one of the biggest mysteries about the Church of Scientology: Why do Scientologists trust David Miscavige?

Scientologists consider him right up there with L. Ron Hubbard, pretty much "Source". But why?

What has he done that warrants such absolute, blind faith?

I guess some Scientologists figure that, since he was "put in charge by Ron, he must be OK." The only problem with that belief is that it isn't true! He specifically was not "put in charge by Ron." When Ron died, there was a whole organizational hierarchy that was in place to run the Church of Scientology, with other people in charge. David Miscavige wasn't included. So, no, Ron didn't assign or approve Miscavige as head of the church. Didn't happen.

If Ron didn't particularly trust Miscavige with the job, why do Scientologists trust Miscavige?

Well, there is the story about how Miscavige "put down a mutiny of mission holders" back in 1982. That's the story from Miscavige. The mission holders have a completely different story. Scientologists will undoubtedly choose to believe Miscavige's version -- but there is something they should look at. Prior to Miscavige's take-over of the mission network, missions were in a period of sustained and exciting expansion. Prior to Miscavige's action, missions were springing up all over the place and they were huge. Since Miscavige's action, the mission network has fallen on very hard times, with missions closing rather than expanding or opening. Based on results, Miscavige factually destroyed the Mission Network and killed a huge period of expansion for Scientology. Is this a person to trust with running the Church of Scientology?

So, if Miscavige actually destroyed this vital Scientology expansion, why do Scientologists trust him?

Perhaps some Scientologists trust him so much because of the whole "Golden Age of Tech" that Miscavige developed -- a complete change in all Scientology training. Miscavige touts this as a "great achievement" and Scientologists believe him. Those who trained directly under Hubbard have a completely different view of things, but they are not allowed to voice any disagreements. Once again, "good" Scientologists will believe Miscavige's version -- however, they should look at the results of this "Golden Age of Tech". The results are depressing.

Some people have been completing their training under the new methods, but after that, things are not looking good. Auditors have stopped auditing and have dropped out of sight. Auditors and Case Supervisors have gotten into trouble for messing up cases. Today, there are far fewer auditors than before the "Golden Age of Tech". A "training improvement" that causes auditors to fail and stop auditing? That doesn't sound good.

But, despite the obvious problems with Miscavige's "improvements", Scientologists still trust him implicitly. Why?

He is "expanding Scientology" isn't he? As leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige's highest priority target from extant Hubbard orders, was to bring all churches to the "size of old Saint Hill" (the main organization when Scientology was booming). Scientologists will recall church after church receiving their recognition for "reaching the size of old Saint Hill". Then nothing. What happened? Did they make it? Are all the churches at that size now?

No. The few that did (barely) make it to that size, quickly collapsed to much smaller sizes almost immediately. Miscavige's "management" had artificially boosted these organizations just enough to "win" the award, but it was bad management since it fell apart immediately. At this time no church is even close to the size of "old Saint Hill". The most important orders from Hubbard are now in a drawer somewhere, ignored and forgotten.

The results of Miscavige's attempt to carry out Hubbard's big project to get all churches to the "size of old Saint Hill" -- nothing. No churches are at that size. Total failure!

Well, there is this new program to expand Scientology: Forcing the public Scientologists to cough up millions and millions of dollars to buy big buildings for their local church. Scientologists are told by Miscavige that this is a wild and wonderful success. Scientologists sincerely believe this view of things. But they should look at the results. What are the results? A few of these new buildings have been completed and opened. Very few. More new buildings have been purchased but not renovated. What happened?
  • The few churches that have newly renovated buildings are doing poorly -- they are not expanding. Because of the additional expenses associated with the newer, bigger buildings, their staff are paid little or nothing. It's a real struggle.
  • The churches that have purchased but not renovated their buildings are also in deep trouble. They have additional expenses, but find it difficult to make any money from their parishioners -- the parishioners have been tapped out on money.
  • The churches still working on buying new buildings are really struggling. Their parishioners have been hammered for money and more money -- so they're not taking courses either. It is an incredible struggle.
The result of Miscavige's "Ideal Org" program is to remove all available money from the Scientology public, leaving very little for them to buy services at the local church. The result of that has been to collapse all the local churches. Anyone could have predicted that, and this is exactly what has happened. The money for the new buildings goes to Miscavige and does not benefit the local church. If they collect enough money to buy a building, the ownership of that building is transferred to Miscavige's Int. Landlord and does not benefit the local church.

So, Miscavige is a total failure in expanding Scientology, and, in fact, every action he takes causes the Church of Scientology to shrink. There really is no reason anyone would trust a person with a track record like Miscavige's. So why do Scientologists still trust him so much?

Maybe some Scientologist will tell me.

But I'll tell you why I think Scientologists trust Miscavige despite his abysmal record. Based on my own experiences when I was a "loyal Scientologist", I think it's because David Miscavige is the one who controls all information to the loyal Scientologists. They are forbidden from reading or watching or listening to anything else. Miscavige controls the Scientology newsletters and magazines. Miscavige controls the press releases. Miscavige controls the Scientology events. And everything a Scientologist is allowed to see modestly proclaims David Miscavige as the most amazing and wonderful person in the whole world.

And, of course, Scientologists believe him and they trust him. He wouldn't lie to them, would he?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where Are All the Scientologists?

I overheard someone talking about a recent "big" Church of Scientology event in Los Angeles the other day. This was one of the biggest of the six yearly events that David Miscavige puts on for all Scientologists. The Scientologist was quite perplexed, "There are 40,000 Scientologists in Los Angeles, and, at best, we can only get 4,000 to the events. Where are the rest?"

It is well known outside of Scientology that quite a number of those "Scientologists" who do show up at the big events do not consider themselves Scientologists. They show up out of curiosity, but slip past the post-event "sales gauntlet" without buying the latest Miscavige release. So even the count of event attendees is inflated -- there are even fewer active Scientologists than event attendance would indicate.

Where are all the Scientologists?

Recently, David Miscavige released "The Basics": A liberal rewrite and repackage of the basic books which were originally authored by L. Ron Hubbard. Based on the "number of Scientologists world wide", Miscavige had a large number of the book and tape sets printed up, ready to be grabbed up by all those faithful Scientologists. "The Basics" were released with great fanfare ... but surprisingly (to Miscavige), very few book sets actually sold! He had tons of books left over. How could this be?

In desperation, Miscavige has now resorted to sending out hit teams of loyal Scientologists, with lists of "Scientologists" who didn't buy the new books -- to force the recalcitrants with threats of dire punishments, to buy Miscavige's new books! But the hit teams are having a lot of trouble. The books just aren't selling!

Where are all the Scientologists?

After a tremendous push, using the heaviest threats over a period of years, the Church of Scientology has managed to purchase a small number of their well publicized "new buildings" but that has been a disaster. The "showcase" buildings bought and renovated at the beginning of the campaign, years ago, are expensive and empty debacles today. The more recent purchases remain as uninhabited shells with no money left to renovate them. The few parishioners who had any money have either been tapped out, have dropped out, or both.

Where are all the Scientologists?

Miscavige's Church of Scientology claims more than eight million members world wide, but book sales and event participation show the numbers, world wide, are in the low tens of thousands. And the numbers keep dropping.

The local churches are empty; course rooms are empty; donations are down; world wide the church's statistics are crashing.

There has been a huge project recently, ordered with the highest priority by Miscavige, to bring all Scientologists' address information up to date -- find out where everybody is! They are using every technique they can think of to track down everyone who ever had any contact with the church -- much to the dismay of those who thought they'd finally managed to stop the junk mail from Scientology. And, again, the results have been a complete catastrophe. What they are coming up with is merely confirming that a vast majority of those "Scientologists" are not, in actual fact, Scientologists. They don't want to have anything to do with the church.

Because of the church's threats of "fair game" and "disconnection", many of those who have left Scientology do not talk about it with other Scientologists. They just stop participating. In this way they can keep contact with friends, family and clients who may still be in Scientology. As a result, the church still thinks these non-Scientologists are "faithful but inactive". They aren't. The number of Scientologists is even smaller than Miscavige thinks.

So, where are all the Scientologists?

Gone. Miscavige's Church of Scientology no longer controls these people. They are free.
  • Those few who still wish to practice Hubbard's technology do so as part of the loose association known as the Freezone. Everything is available there.
  • Some ex-Scientologists have needed help recovering from bad experiences within the church, especially if they were in the Sea Org. They are recovering.
  • But most ex-Scientologists are living good lives, free to look at anything they want, free to think the thoughts they decide to think -- simply living life the way they decide.
If you are still a Scientologist, but are wondering about it, don't worry, the world outside of Miscavige's Church of Scientology is a great place. You will lose nothing of value by stepping away from Miscavige's totalitarian control. Your friends are waiting for you.