Well, guess what? The actual statistics of Scientology are not available. You can’t find them anywhere. They are “confidential.” At events, we are told that there is “unprecedented expansion.” We are smothered with hyperbole: “We are meeting demands for frontline LRH technology every 3 seconds.” “A course completion every 6 minutes.” “A training explosion 50 times greater than anything in history.” And so on. But what does all this mean? A statistic, LRH reminds us, is “a number or amount compared to an earlier number or amount of the same thing.” Used to be, they’d show graphs at events. With actual numbers and dates on them. Not any more.
The recent Freedom Magazine claimed that “Number of individuals completing Dianetics and Scientology counseling and courses doubled in the past two years.” But no actual figures given. “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.
As I pointed out in another post, here is a sample graph that has “doubled in the last five years.” Yet the stat is crashing. So you can see that such claims are meaningless where you don’t deal in actual figures and actual long term graphs.
LRH tells us to “look, don’t listen.” Even if you don’t have the actual numbers, you can observe.
Your local org – how many people are in the org? How many on course? How many in Div 6? Are there any more people in the Org than there were 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Or are there less? And don’t think your org is the exception, and “everyone else” is booming.
What about events? Are there more people now at events than there were 10 years ago? You would think that if Scientology had been experiencing “unprecedented expansion” for the last 10 years, they would need bigger and bigger event venues. But the LA Events are still at the Shrine, as they were 20 years ago. And they have trouble filling that. So where is this expansion?
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 own website, “comfortably seats 2,180 for concerts, recitals, plays and special events.”
The Church claims 8 million, 10 million or even 20 million members (depending on who is talking). Well, where are these people? Count up the number of people active at your org, multiply by the number of orgs (140), and see if you get anywhere close to that number.
According to a direct inquiry to the researchers at ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey), they estimate a total of 25,000 Scientologists in the US.
According to a former Int Base marketing staff member: “IAS Membership internationally was about 40,000. The event attendance internationally was about 30,000 on a decent event, and had gone as low as 20,000 – 25,000. The “Bodies in the Shop” figure (which is supposed to measure the number of people in orgs that week for service, including Div 6 services) was about 16,000 internationally. These figures are four years old. My own estimate of the number of Scientologists internationally, based on these and other figures I knew of at the Int Base, is under 40,000.”
According to an article by David Miscavige’s former #2, Marty Rathbun, “Since securing his position of power, the statistics of Scientology have steadily decreased in spite of Miscavige’s public proclamations to the contrary.”
In the recent 80-page Freedom Magazine put out by David Miscavige, they claimed “8,071 Scientology Churches, Missions and groups”
I wrote another post about my examination of this information, but I’ll repeat the information here as well.
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. And missions, as one reader pointed out, are nothing like they used to be. Missions used to have 25 or 30 staff or more, rivaling the size of Orgs. Today’s missions are likely to be a couple of guys in a house, open maybe a few nights a week.
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.
The bottom line is, where is all this “expansion” that management talks about? Where are these millions of Scientologists and thousands of groups? Why can’t we see them? Why isn’t event attendance in the hundreds of thousands? Why aren’t orgs full of people? Maybe you can’t see all that expansion because it doesn’t exist. And maybe, just maybe, behind the glitter and façade and brags, Scientology is actually getting smaller under current management.
So when it comes to reviewing the statistics of David Miscavige’s Brave New Scientology, don’t just accept the PR. Look, don’t listen. Examine, probe, fact-check.
So have another look at that Doubt Formula.
Maybe today’s Brave New Scientology is not a group you want to be part of.