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Intentions and Actions        One OT VIII’s Formula

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.

Sample Graph

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.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2009 12:21 am

    Another brilliant piece of detective work by Rebel. I am reminded of the 1991 Time magazine article on the CoS: “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power.” We Scientologists were told it was a big fat lie and now we know that it was true… not the “cult” part, not the “greed” or “power” part, but the “thriving” part — there’s the big fat lie! Miscavige’s remake of the Church of Scientology isn’t thriving, never was.

  2. Margaret permalink
    October 29, 2009 8:10 pm

    Actually, in 1991, the Church was “thriving”. It had grown quite a bit in the decade of the 1980s. However, it’s been dropping pretty steadily since then.

    I recently did a study of Church Mags, and collected up the last two to three decades of Freewinds, Source, Advance!, Auditor and Celebrity mags (and some local church mags) through the 80s, 90s and 2000s. I also used the website, which has also studied the “completions” from all these mags. But my main goal was to concentrate on two graphs: the “number of Clears” made and number of “OT 8s” made.

    As it turns out, both of these are quite down. Clears made yearly is 1/3 the number today (2009) as it was at its peak in 1989. And OT 8s made yearly today is about half today as it was at its peak in 1999.

    Specifically, the number of Clears that the church makes today (2007-2009) internationally is in the 150-200 per year range, while it was in the 500-600 per year range from 1989-1991. And there is a steady downward trend from around 1990 till today in 2009.

    The number of OT 8s that were being made yearly (per Freewinds magazines) during the late 1990s was around 400-450 per year. Today (2009), the number of OT 8s made is around 200 per year.


    Interestingly, the number of Clears made annually from 1973-1976 was around 500, per Advance! and Auditor magazines of that period. Today, 2009, the Church is even smaller than it was in the mid-1970s. (Though there is the appearance of growth, because it is much more wealthy, in large part due to the crush reg’ing for the IAS, building donations and coddling of wealthier Scientologists.)

    • rebel008 permalink*
      October 29, 2009 8:59 pm

      Do you have the year-by-year figures? We could post a graph here if you do.

    • October 30, 2009 1:18 am

      Woo-hoo, well done on the detective work. We need those stats for a terrific project you’ll love. Please email a copy of anything you uncovered to myself or to rebel0008 especially a year by year documentation!

  3. Margaret permalink
    October 29, 2009 8:18 pm

    On the “number of groups”, this is deceptive. As anyone who has been on staff knows, a “group” can be formed up by simply posting someone as the head of a local “CCHR chapter” or “TWTH chapter”. Or “FSM group” or “OT Committee group”. No real group activity needs to take place. And so each Org or Mission can in fact be considered “5-10 groups”.

    Also, when two people who read DMSMH are put in touch with each other to co-audit, this is considered a “group” — even if they never really get anywhere or continue to do anything.

    These “groups” have been being “formed” for the last 2-3 decades, and are likely the sole source of these “thousands of groups” being claimed.

    It’s a total stat push.

  4. Seeking-As-Isness permalink
    December 28, 2010 2:20 pm

    The link “One OT VIII’s Formula” located at the top of the article located at
    appears to be broken.

    I was able to get rerouted to the doubt formula but upon first click there is a message that states that is is broken.

    Thanks for all you do.



  1. The Church of Arrogance « Leaving Scientology
  2. Scientology’s Invisible “Expansion” « Leaving Scientology
  3. The Enablers « Leaving Scientology
  4. So How Big is the Church of Scientology Really? « Leaving Scientology
  5. 15 essays « Field Review

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