Fact Checking David Miscavige
I was reading the 80-page Freedom Magazine put out by David Miscavige, and I came across this datum from a bulleted list of Scientology “expansion wins”:
“8,071 Scientology Churches, Missions and groups”
I got curious as to where all these “Churches, Missions and groups” are. You might have noticed that the Church no longer lists Org addresses in the back of the books. They used to list all Org and Mission addresses, but they stopped doing that. They just refer you to their website, with its nifty Scientology Org and Mission locator. You cannot find a complete org and mission list on the website, just this locator. So, in order to find out how many Orgs and Missions there are, you have to spend hours going through the locator, country by country.
Which I did.
Here’s my count: 140 Orgs, 342 Missions. I don’t vouch for its complete accuracy, but it’s pretty close. That’s a far cry from 8,071. Here’s what the breakdown looks like:
I went back and checked my copy of What is Scientology, from 1998, which dates from a time when they still published org and missions address lists. The count, from that list, is 143 Orgs, 230 Missions. So the number or Orgs is virtually the same. Sure, there have been a few new Orgs: Harlem, CC Nashville. But there have also been Orgs that have quietly disappeared: CC Portland, Copenhagen Org, Puerto Rico (downgraded to a Mission). So no real expansion there.
Missions have apparently increased by 112. Okay, fair enough, but nowhere near 8,000.
The Freedom Magazine tells us: “In just the last five years, the Church has literally doubled in size, from 4,000 Churches, Missions and groups in 2004 to over 8,000 in 2009 in 165 nations, doubled since 2004.”
So it’s a bit, shall we say, misleading, to talk about an expansion of “Orgs, Missions and Groups.” The claimed expansion has been, other than 112 Missions added in the last 10 years, entirely groups. Over 7,500 of them. Well, a legitimate question is, where are they?
I spent some time on the internet looking for them. A search for “Scientology Group” and “Dianetics Group” didn’t find anything (although I found a lot of Freezone groups). I spent some time with Google Maps, searching for any addresses connected to Dianetics or Scientology. I only got Orgs and Missions. I searched for any blogs connected to Scientology groups. Well, I couldn’t find them. One would think that if there were 7,500 Dianetics or Scientology groups, they would actually show up somewhere.
If they exist.
Makes one wonder about the other claims in the magazine.
They say, for instance, that “112.4 million online visitors from 234 countries viewed more than 23 million videos on the Scientology website in the past year.” Great. Except there are only 195 nations on Earth. Did some of these visitors come from off-planet?
“Number of individuals completing Dianetics and Scientology counseling and courses doubled in the past two years.” No figures. “Total number of counseling hours doubled in the past decade.” No figures. “Total number of people newly introduced to Scientology and starting on training or counseling doubled in the past five years.” Also no actual figures. Why don’t they publish any figures? Well, someone could do some simple math and come to the conclusion that there weren’t actually “millions of Scientologists.” I’ve addressed that claim elsewhere.
They claim that 9,523 Scientologists live in the Tampa Bay area, along with 1,500 Church staff. Why, then, do they hold events in Ruth Eckerd Hall which, according to its website, “comfortably seats 2,180 for concerts, recitals, plays and special events”
So who are these 9,523 people and why don’t they come to events?
It’s time to hold the Church of Scientology responsible for these misleading and inflated “expansion statistics.” What are they covering up? What is the real scene?
And as an added note, here’s a graph that has “doubled in the past five years.” Not to say that this is what the Church’s stats look like. But they could. The point is, if they don’t cite actual figures, such generalizations are meaningless.