10 Million Scientologists – Where Are They?



Another in the Sunday Redux series. This one was originally published on March 25, 2013.

Scientology’s “massive international expansion” has become almost a mantra of David Miscavige and his clone spokespeople (mostly lawyers these days) that send letters to the media.  At least in the US it seems the spokespeople are no longer allowed to speak .

This is the first in a series of articles that will examine the FACTS about this supposed “massive international expansion”.

How Many Scientologists?

Corporate Scientology shouts from the rooftops that there are 10 million members worldwide (though this number has been being used since 2006 so it’s time for a new number).  The Scientology spokespeople waffle about how they arrive at this figure – but it is actually no mystery. Many years ago the figure was pegged at 4 million which was derived from a guess of how many names had EVER been in any org central files and then adding to it a theoretical number of how many people on average read a hard back book.  But then in the 90’s David Miscavage told Heber he was an idiot because he kept using the same figure which meant the church was not expanding. So it became 6 million. Then it became 8 million. Then 10. Each time David Miscavige just pronounced that this was now the new figure.

In truth, it is easy to know how many active church members there are. The IAS has an EXACT list. It’s about 30,000, but anyone who has ever been on their mailing list knows that it is virtually impossible to get off it, so even that is no longer accurate. But the church will never make that number available.

There is another accurate measure, which is the number of people that attend the David Miscavige mandatory attendance events. Jeff Hawkins, Steve Hall and others who have seen the figures also know this is less than 30,000. And this is with all Scientology orgs and missions reporting within an HOUR of starting their event so the report can go to DM before the end of the night on attendance. That figure has been below 30,000 since the 90’s. And if anyone believes the orgs are not inflating their figures (they have to report last year’s attendance compared to this years ) I have a bridge to sell you. But again, corporate scientology will NOT disclose this information publicly.

The third way of knowing whether Scientology membership is growing or contracting is by surveys done by independent organizations.

There have been a number of these around the world, but the most accurate are in the United States. A 1990 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) concluded there were 45,000 Scientologists in the US. A 2001 survey estimated 55,000. In 2008 ARIS concluded the number had shrunk to 25,000. Tony Ortega published an excellent article on these statistics on 4 July 2011: Scientologists: How Many Of Them Are There, Anyway?

David Miscavige Logic?

Corporate Scientology spokespeople have always responded to these (and other) surveys with the assertion they are inaccurate (utterly ignoring the fact that they show declining figures).  Usually they assert some version of “if they conducted the survey in Clearwater they would conclude that 10% of the population were Scientologists.”  This is of course pure “David Miscavige logic” – whatever I say is right, if you disagree you are wrong.  He pronounces from his bubble that the survey organizations have no idea how to extrapolate any national figures from their samples.

But for a minute, let’s assume he is right.  That would mean there are 13,500 Scientologists in Clearwater and 420,000 in the Tampa Bay area. Hmmm, then why do they stress and harass and cajole and go nuts to ensure the Ruth Eckerd Hall is filled when the Dear Leader jets into town to address the adoring crowds. It only seats 2,300 people and there are supposedly (according to the church) nearly 2000 Sea Org members in Clearwater and thousands of public on lines. Doesn’t appear that his statistical sample would even work for Tampa!

A Scientology Spokesperson Finally Fesses Up

So, how do you get anything resembling the truth from the church?

Enter, stage right, Graeme Wilson – the PR Aide OSA UK and senior church spokesman for all churches of Scientology in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

He was recently quoted in a major and serious newspaper (The Independent) making a startling admission that confirms all is not well in the world of straight up and vertical international expansion.

And even at that, his statement was what he thought he could get away with, not the actual truth. A balance between what he thought the media may accept and what he feels public Scientologists may not cringe too heavily at….

But again, let’s take Mr. Wilson at face value and assume the best case scenario for the Church of Scientology. The Independent reported:

Graeme Wilson, UK public affairs director said the building would be open to local people. The church currently has 118,000 members in the UK, 15,000 of whom are active participants.  See article here

First, he has finally acknowledged there are actual figures for “members” and “active members”. Of course, “active members” are the ONLY real members.  It is not even the same as Catholics that never go to Mass being called “Catholics” as a different category than those that do attend (“active”). No, this 118,000 is the total number of names that have ever made it into CF. And that includes EVERYONE who has bought a book or taken an intro service.

But the real figure to focus on is the 15,000 “active” members.

Outside the US, the United Kingdom is the most established area for Scientology in the world. LRH personally ran London Org. Personally opened a PE in Dublin. Made his home at St Hill.

The UK has 9 Class V orgs and an AOSH. That is 1500 active members per org.

So, let’s take his inflated figures and compare them to the inflated figures dished out by Dear Leader with some simplistic math – but it is adequate to give a ballpark figure.

The US has 44 Class V orgs SH and AO. That would equate to 69,000 “active” members in the US.

The world is 139 plus 5 Advanced Orgs – which extrapolated out  is 216,000 or 2.1% of what is publicly claimed.

Out of the mouths of babes….

Graeme Wilson is too far away from Miscavige’s control center.  But I don’t expect he will be making any more “uncoordinated” statements to the media.

Next in this series:

New Churches of Scientology – Where Are They?

And the third:

The Missions of Scientology – Where Are They?

More will follow in the “Stats” series.

By Mike Rinder



  1. Hiatus57 says

    The only thing the vile Dwarf with the escalating Napoleon complex has not managed to expand with hype, lies and false statisctics is his: HEIGHT!

    That, like the real figures for expansion, and members is actually: VERY SMALL!


  2. Friend says

    Following has mankind 0,15% scientologists .. means in any 10.000 people are 15 scientologists .. but per new data there is 47X expansion .. there must be now 705 scientologists in any 10.000 people .. but I have neither seen 15 nor 705 .. in my environment I was always the only one .. no other ..

    Have never read that Axiom 38 speaks about as-isness .. sorry .. have read lately that it would do, but was not sure what the people did mean .. Axiom 11 (a) speaks about as-isness ..

    Axiom 38: Anything which persists must avoid as-isness. Thus, anything, to persist, must contain a lie .. it is what is said from LRH .. but it belongs to stupidity and truth and not to as-issness (but you can as-is surely stupidity with truth) .. so comes out, if David Miscavige will have scientology persist, he has to make up lies about .. it is included in Axiom 38 ..

    Long time ago I thought about marriages. You say: I am yours. This is a lie .. but if you stay for it and hold on it as a truth, your marriage will persist .. unfortunately not really true, because every member of the family has to hold on the same lie .. if not, it will wreck .. and this is what is going on in scientology today ..

    Some take the stupidity of lies and others want the truth .. nothing to do with as-isness .. the highest goal in it is to erase the lies .. but that is simply a game .. LRH did play better with that than David Miscavige ..

  3. Hallie Jane says

    It’s truly bizarre that an organization so obsessed with stats and stat pushing, also puts out voluminous quantities of worthless fluffy and obfuscated “stats”. The exact time, place, form and event creates an as-isness……whoops….they are not in the as-isness game anymore.

  4. Invisible Man says

    It’s interesting to note that the IAS like to send multiple event promo. I ended up receiving 6 for the last IAS event some of them after the event. Maybe they measure the amount of promo they send out as the number of scientologists there are. And how do you get off the mailing list? I just put on it ” no longer at this address RTS “. It takes a long while but I’m slowly getting less crap from them.

  5. I Yawnalot says

    Wow! What a thread this is… Geezes!!!
    The Cof$ PR numbers game reminds me of that Saddam Hussein PR guy shouting at the media that the enemy will be slaughtered at the border, while in fact US troops were wandering around in Bagdad.
    While it is obvious even to blind Freddie Church PR is complete bullshit you have to hand it to miscavige to crap in his own nest but good. He personally crashed the church’s production numbers, cancelling Clears, auditors certs and declaring production terminals who insisted on following tech/policy. One never sees WDAHs or any of the GDS anymore because their numbers are even worse than the truth of membership.
    I just wonder what is the real numbers of declared persons, probably more than active members.

  6. Bart says

    Thanks Mike,
    Another “fun” fact from the “other down under”. Here in NZ we have about 5000 scientologists. At least, if you believe the official church information. And they are working hard to build an ideal org. Unfortunately, we also had a recent census. That put the number of scientologists at 357. So much for independent sources of information :).By the way, this puts them at about 1/3 of the number of active satanists (1167) and rastifarians (1383). Just in case you were wondering :).

  7. 4a says

    Interesting post and comments! Sounds like dave needs to get ethics in hard!

    I thought there was a PL stating for new book buyers to be sent 3 information packs, one after the other. If no response after the 3rd one their name was dropped from the mailing list. This would make sense to me. Anyone know that pl?

    Also, I know its obvious, but to work with false stats is just crazy, you are working with an unreal scene, with no way to be able to reach the Ideal Scene, because according to the stats, we already have it.

    • says

      Yeap, that sounds very familiar indeed.
      Now this may have been changed in the meantime under DM’s regime to NOT dropping the name if no
      response after 3 mailings.
      One could savely assume that David Miscavage has NO INTENTION of actually getting to an Ideal Scene!

  8. Schorsch says

    Just to add some numbers I personally know:
    Munich Org
    CF had between 1976 October 40.000 and end 1990 also 40.000 around.
    Trained and processed had between 1976 around 2000 and 1990 also almost 2000 or so.
    In 1983/84 T+P dropped from 2000 to something above 800 but not 900. How long it took to recover to back again to almost 2000 I do not know.

    As a guess Dead File had also been something up to 40.000 in 1990. (that is a rough guess.)
    Deadfile = person cannot be contacted. Different reasons: dead, SP, address unknown, legal threats.

  9. SILVIA says

    Doesn’t the New Super Standard per LRH Student Hat contains any data on how to apply study tech to mathematics?

    OSA and Mr.Black Heart should be SUBTRACTING, not adding members; even the apostates in the fringes of the internet receive, about daily, notices of another, and then another, and then another member departing the criminal den of DM.

    But, going back to the super standard now fully on source Student Hat, maybe (if he makes it by then) the GAT III ST Hat will include the standard way to add and subtract.

  10. Jose Chung says

    The 10 million number is a D.M. fabrication. When Heber was giving out numbers
    that were very low for the COB , David Miscavige simply ordered Heber to increase that number to 10 million because it sounds better.
    In 1982 I was put on a call in project and given a stack of names and addresses
    and only a few phone numbers.Very much an out point I began calling information for those deleted phone numbers.After several hours I discovered that the Org had lost 80 percent of it’s public which I went to the LRH Comm that conformed this as TRUE.
    You have an accounting problem of people who have died who are counted as “in”,people who are disaffected who are counted “in”, people that bought a book and are in prison like Charles Manson who are counted “in”, there are “made up numbers out of thin air”, there is a number who have taken to the “lifeboats”are counted “in”
    Scientology “in”numbers drop each hour so it’s anybodies guess how many are really “in “today.

  11. says

    This is a heartfelt post I wrote to ARS on April 4, 2001. I had just spent the last year and a half or so waking up from Scientology. OSA had just had me fired from my job, and was following me into restaurants in LA and sending in people on me to pump me for information, intimidate me, etc. My life was in major turmoil as I had just lost my religion and everything that I found sacred in life.

    And, I knew the policies on “SPs” and “Fair Game”, and I knew that they were considering that I was one.

    On April 4, 2001, Poopsy Charmicheal wrote:
    Hi Nelson –
    Do this to figure out whether we have 8 million members worldwide:
    Go to the Scientology website and count the number of orgs and missions that exist on the planet. (It’s around 426)
    Then, divide 8 million by 426.
    You get a number: 18,799.
    That’s the average number of Scientologists that should be on lines at an org or mission worldwide. In other words, some will be bigger, and some will be smaller. But the smaller some orgs and missions are – and the farther they are from having 18,799 members – then the BIGGER the others have to be to make up for it, right?
    Great. Now start looking around. How many Scientologists are connected to KC Org? Not 18,779? OK then, there’s a lot of people that should be at other, bigger orgs to make up for the difference, right? Start looking around at the sizes of other orgs – get a feel for the average sized org in the Midwest, in Europe, in Africa. Are they close to the range of having 18,779 members? What is the average range?
    OK, now consider this datum: In an event held in LA in 1997, Southern California was reported to have the largest concentration of Scientologists living there than any where in the world. How many were reported (*by Int Management*) to be living in all of Southern California in 1997?
    20,000 Scientologists.
    All right. That’s about the size of one averaged sized org if we really do have 8 million members, right?
    Oh – But how many orgs and missions are in Southern California?
    Answer? Way more than one! Besides Flag, the world’s biggest orgs and missions are there: AOLA, ASHO, LA ORG, Bueneventura Mission. How many of them even have 18,779 members?
    If you’ll really honestly look, you’ll see something’s wrong.
    When I did I saw for a fact: The 8 million Scientologists figure is a lie.
    Sorry to say it – you don’t know how sorry I am to say it.
    If you feel your stable data being shaken, remember this: you came into Scientology seeking the truth. Don’t stop now that you’ve found Scientology.
    Keep seeking to live with the truth!

    Within a few months after this was posted to ARS, the Church had a huge “grassroots” Dianetics groups “man-up”, and all the numbers for orgs and missions on the church website became hugely inflated with thousands of “groups” so you could not make this clear-cut determination any more.

    Were you ever in on changing these numbers, Mike?

    If not, do you know who was?

    Did you ever read ARS, or have people reporting to you who did?

    What do you know about this from your old days on post as head of OSA?


    • Mike Rinder says

      Alanzo — good analysis. I have no idea about changing all the numbers on the website, didnt know about that until I read this. I read ars sometimes, but not often. Of course there were people in OSA Int that monitored it — probably at that time it was Rhea Smith and Gloria and Gavino Idda. After I returned from Clearwater in 2001 I was never really back in OSA Int so wasnt up on the day to day activities of ars or anything else. I would see summarized reports.

  12. Paul Jay Salerno says

    At this rate I daresay there will be more Independents than actual corporate Scientologists before too long.

  13. says


    My experience and observations confirm your numbers. In fact, in 1990 I executed what was at the time one of the largest central mailings from the CoS to US book buyers in history.

    This came at a time before there was any computerized central CF for orgs. But in the mid ‘80s they started to computerize on their own, using whatever old equipment they could afford. As a result, every org had their data organized differently. Some lists were separated by commas, some without commas, some with the last name first. Some with first name first. In short, it was a crazy mixed up mess that took weeks and weeks to sort out even after we got all US orgs to send us their mailing lists of book buyer names. We got paper printouts along with floppy discs.

    These names also contained huge numbers of errors and duplicates, which all had to be fixed. The aim of course was to get as big a mailing as possible. But when everything was combined, there were still only 110,000 names.

    Of US book buyers.

    A “book buyer” is simply anyone who had ever bought a book, paperback or hardback. LRH said once that it took 25 book buyers to make one Scientologist. However he was talking about hardback book buyers — a slightly more substantial investment.

    Anyway, a book buyer is not a “Scientologist.”

    Orgs have another list called “T & P” that is all the people who have purchased either training or processing. This is who they try to sell services to. T & P is of course a much smaller number. A generous ball park figure would be 1/5th of the book buyer number.

    Keep in mind also that this was 1990, when US orgs were at their largest size in history in terms of actual number of book buyers. The DMSMH campaign snuffed out the following year when DM refused to finance any more ads.

    So if T & P (the number closest to the number of actual Scientologists) was around 20K in the US in 1990, considering they have not engaged in virtually any sustained book sales campaign since that time, they are probably far below 50% of that number today.

    I very much doubt the Church has 20K active Scientologists world wide.


    • says

      Woops, sorry. I thought my original post (two above) didn’t go through. So I rewrote it and posted again. Now they’re both there.

      • Mike Rinder says

        It’s OK Steve — happy to hear from you as often as you can put fingers to keyboard! It was really my fault as I found your first post had ended up in the spam folder for some reason (now corrected)

  14. 1984 says

    Regarding the census stats in general, as an Independent, I would call my religion ‘Scientology’. That I do not support the CofS is not the point. If others think similarly, then reduce the numbers accordingly.
    (Then again, some people just don’t like surveys.)

  15. enccas says

    Great analysis, Mike. But are we doing math here or what? RCS must be counting everyone since 1950 up to today, including all the ex’es and indies, SPs and probably the deceased, plus everyone who has ever watched their TV ads, Internet ads, etc. That would be where the 10 millions come from.

    • Mike Rinder says

      E — no, that is where the original 4 million came from — plus a random multiplication factor for the number of people that read a book (supposedly it is 7 or 10 or something). After that, the number was plucked out of the sky by Miscavige when it was “too long using X million, make it Y million to prove we are expanding….” Literally.

      • Aquamarine says

        You know what? I just got my own cognition as re the 10 million.

        I’ve been dubbing in, trying to make sense out of non-sense.

        The actual data is exquisitely simple – its a lie.

  16. says

    I can vouch for the figures Mike quoted. As well, in 1990 I executed what was at that time one of the largest central mailings ever done to book buyers. I got every org to send in their mailing lists of book buyers. These were mostly in terrible condition. Every one was randomly organized (as at that time there was no universal computerization for central files. We spent weeks getting the lists cleaned and corrected and duplicates removed.

    We just asked for their lists of book buyers. But what they sent was what THEY used as their book buyer lists, meaning they did not send names of people who bought a book 30 years earlier and had never been heard of again. In other words, these were their relatively real lists of book buyers that made sense to mail to because there was at least a chance of them buying or responding to a mailing.

    Policy said to never remove anyone from a list. But with money always tight, and after having sent countless mailings to people who never responded, orgs just learned to ignore that mandate which may have been workable in the ’50s or ’60s, but no longer seemed to work in the ’80s.

    After cleaning and correcting the lists, they were combined into a single list and once again duplicates were removed since some people were on more than one org’s list. When all was finally done, we had 110,000 names — of book buyers, mind you. These were not “T & P” lists. “T & P” is the list of people who have purchased training or processing from the org. A “book buyer” is NOT an “active Scientologist.” A book buyer is not even a “Scientologist” — not even remotely. A book buyer is just anyone that ever bought a book. And throughout the ’80s, those were mainly buyers of paperback edition of Dianetics, which cost under $5 each (in the 1980s). A book buyer of a paperback book was not as qualified as a buyer of a hardback book for obvious reasons. If you remember back into the ’70s ’60s and ’50s, orgs mainly sold hardback books. They were not super expensive. But whether or not a person would buy a book was found to be THE qualifying act. This was watered down when the CoS started selling paperbacks. In other words, it took way more paperback sales to make a Scientologist than it took hardback sales. LRH said out of ever 25 books sold, one person would become a Scientologist.

    This datum 25 = 1 was later used to calculate the number of Scientologists in the world, using the paperback sales. But even that calculation was abandoned by David Miscavige in favor of outright lies.

    • Aquamarine says

      Question for anyone: is it possible that the number of Scientologists the RCS claiming is the total number of people everywhere on the globe who ever bought a Dianetics book going back to 1950 including the number of Dianetics books sold as part of the Basics to the already active Scientologists? Could this get their figure to the 10 million mark? Just wondering as I personally have no data except to know that buying a book puts a person into an org’s Central Files.

      • says

        Back in the early 1990s, I believe they were claiming 18 million DMSMH sold. Self Analysis sold somewhere between 500,000 or 600,000. It is the second most popular LRH book of all time (not counting fiction works). And by the way, Self Analysis (as i wrote about on iscientology.org) sold more books without advertising than any other LRH book. It’s actually the LRH book most non-Scientologists find helpful as a first read. In the late ’80s, we tried in vain to get money to promote this book, but ass face would not allow it.

        Another datum that was used at various times was that “the average hardback book is read by 25 people in its life span.” Basically, DM works to enforce his reality on everyone in the CoS. If you don’t accept it, you get targeted by Ethics. So the people who cow to this start to accept his reality more and more and eventually they learn to accept anything he says as reality. Welcome to the Int base, the most insane location on planet Earth. So he says someone is an “SP” — they are. He says he never ordered something that he ordered the day before, he never ordered it. He says someone ran over this dog, they did. He says we’ve got more Scientologists than ever before, wow, we do!

        It’s a study in delusion, a subject LRH researched and wrote about in his later years. But the real trick to getting mired into this quick sand is when accepting DM’s delusions requires the suck ups to commit overts (harmful acts) on others. The idiots who do this then really sink down into the darkness. The real world vanishes for them and they are left with DM’s delusional world, the world of an SP where enemies are attacking from all sides. The whole world is suppressive and we are the only ones fighting the good fight. They are what LRH called degraded beings.

  17. Sid says

    “The third way of knowing whether Scientology membership is growing or contracting is by surveys done by independent organizations. There have been a number of these around the world, but the most accurate are in the United States”.

    Mike – if you have not already seen it, I would like to introduce you to the 2011 census data for England and Wales. This data is from the national census and was accurate for every household on 27th March 2011.

    The census data is so detailed and accurate that it can tell you not only exactly how many people identified themselves as Scientologists in England and Wales, but in individual regions as well. If you were wondering how many Scientologists were living in Oxford on 27th March 2011, I can tell you the answer was 6. How many in Woking? 2. How many in Great Yarmouth? None.

    And the total number of Scientologists in England and Wales? 2,418.
    So unless Scotland and Northern Ireland are hiding away 13,000 Scientologists then Graeme Wilson was exaggerating by a multiple of about 5. Assuming Scotland and Northern Ireland have the same “Scientology Density” as England and Wales, then that makes for a total UK Scientology population of about 2,700 – let’s say 3,000 to be charitable.

    Now, using your basic math Mike, we divide that figure of 3,000 by the total number of UK ORGs to give 300 active members per ORG. Multiply that by 144 worldwide ORGs to give a total of 43,200.


    • John P. says

      Sid, it is nice digging on your part to get the local numbers of Scientologists.

      In looking at your numbers, I think you’re over-estimating the number of Scientologists globally based on the number per org that you’re using. That’s because Saint Hill staff are distorting the number of Scientologists in the UK, making it far larger than the number of actual public. The UK is a “headquarters” operation and presumably has staff doing Continent-level or global-level jobs that aren’t found in other countries. Countries other than the US, UK and Australia (the Dundas facility, with its RPF that was profiled on ABC last year) will have just regular orgs without a topheavy “headquarters staff” distorting the count.

      If you take out the 500-1000 Saint Hill staff from the 2,400 total Scientologists, you get closer to 200 active public per org, which pulls the global number coming from your method down to 28,000. I think that’s still too high, because some global Orgs are a joke — reasonably credible current data suggests the Dublin org has about 50 active public on lines, and others are similarly tiny. Because of Scientology’s long history in the UK, and particularly because Birmingham Org seems to get quite a few people to events, even the 200 active public per org in the UK seems like it might be too high to represent the world as a whole.

  18. Roger from Switzerland Thought says


    They claim:
    ” This year’s champions included the Mission of Belleair, Florida, first among the league of 435 Scientology Missions internationally “. – What I thought it was 10 000 Missions and Orgs and Groups ????

    “The event was filmed, translated into 16 languages and transmitted for screening to parishioners in more than 100 cities worldwide. ” The birthday Event was shown only in more then 100 Orgs and only 16 Languages. Somebody was honest in PR :) :)

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1147596#ixzz2OeGMnKyX

  19. jonsty says

    My take on the numbers of Scientologists:
    140 or so total orgs:
    1/3 have 150 total active Scientologists = 45 x 150 = 6750
    1/3 have 75 total active Scientologists = 45 x 75 = 3375
    1/3 have 40 total active Scientologists = 50 x 40 = 2000
    Flag’s active public count within the org numbers, but lets add 1000 anyway.
    Total staff world wide: 5000 (20 per org = 2800 and then add SO)
    missions and small groups are counted within org public.
    Therefore, total Scientologists = 17,125….and I believe that is generous. i would bet that half of those are on the fence ready to blow but do not want to lose friends or business connections. I have personally seen 6 orgs and all had 1-2 public on course. Each of those six I categorized as the bigger orgs with 150 active public. They could easily only have 20 active Scientologists. The numbers could be:
    2500 staff that are really in
    5000 public that are really in
    Total 7,500

  20. statpush says

    Let’s take a moment and play pretend and roll with their numbers…

    So we have 10,000,000 Scnists. Let’s just say that’s anyone who ever purchased anything from CofS (book, course, whatever), somehow, someway they are on the mailing list.

    Now, how many Clears, OT7s and OT8s has CofS produced? My numbers are probably a bit off, but I seem to recall:
    Clear: 40-50,000
    OT7: 6500 (based on recent Flag promo – note: those having started or completed OT7)
    OT8: 1500?

    So, 10 million people had freedom within their grasp, and these are the percentages that “made” it:
    Clear: 0.4% to 0.5%
    OT7: 0.065%
    OT8: 0.015%

    I don’t know if I like those odds. It should be noted that this is the cumulative production over the past 60 years (less for OT7/8). If one were to believe the official church numbers (which I don’t), only a tiny, tiny fraction of those Scnists will ever realize “freedom”. DM’s orgs have to be the most inefficient organizations ever conceived – they are leaking like sieves! Why would anyone go this organization to go free, when the odds are against them? Oh, that’s right – they don’t.

    In the wog world, any business with this kind of throughput, efficiency and production would be bankrupt. RCS is bankrupt, morally, spirtually, ethically and financially.

  21. Eric Alexandrou says

    Dear mike
    Back in 86 I was on day staff,and helped at night as well,in all about 60 to 70 staff and students,I made a lot of good frends along the way ,I can guarantee to this day I can think of 3 people that are still in ,the rest all gone moved on,present time here in Queensland ,Brisbane ,Australia ,the org has been dead for the last 15years.thankyou eric Alexandrou

  22. says

    Hey guys, I don’t see what the big fuss is. About a third of the world population are Scientologist. That is well over two billion people. That you cannot see it and that all the ideal orgs are actually full, is because of your overts. Only I and dm have no overts so we can see it.

  23. mwesten says

    1500 active members per org? Wowsers. I’d hope even the most dim-witted UK churchies would be able to see how ridiculous those stats are. The last few times I was at London org I could count the number of staff on two hands and publics on one. That was mid/late 2009. Unless DM’s phenomenal campaigns have created a huge influx of new members I’d hazard things haven’t changed much. Bet you a quid there is still no paper in the lavvies. — Mike

  24. Espiritu says

    Hi Mike,
    I am sure that David Miscavige is absolutely livid right now about your confusing people with all these uncomfortable facts. So, “shame on you”, Mike. But we do love and appreciate you. :-)

    LRH, as you have pointed out elsewhere, instructed and admonished COS PR people in green on white policy “never lie to the press”.
    But Miscavige, squirrel that he is, apparently told his spokespeople, “f— that LRH stuff ” and instructed them to tell the lies of which you speak. Then as usual more lies were needed to cover the earlier unconfessed lies and the big pile of crap just kept getting bigger and bigger until today, before any spokesperson even starts to speak, the press and the public are already smiling and rolling their eyes. This is Miscavige creating his own nightmares.
    Yet, believe it or not, I think that a little contrition, confession, some atonement, and an apology could eventually cure the situation even now. In other words a little honesty and humility about one’s errors, omissions and transgressions would probably get people to listen again. People really are willing to eventually forgive a person who is truly willing to take responsibility, and get straight and get honest.

    But David Miscavige can’t do that. He can’t do that because, as LRH pointed out when discussing people of Dave’s mentality, “self-criticism is a luxury the anti-social cannot afford”.

    And yet I’d love to be wrong about this. If I am, I hope that Miscavige or his spokespeople will confess his lies about these numbers to the press. :-)
    They really should do this because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do simple arithmetic.
    But they won’t, because of the reason mentioned above.

  25. Lana M. says

    Great new blog Mike. Sorry haven’t had a chance to speak up till now — just flat chat with work at the moment.

    I was talking to an LA “under the radar” Scientologist yesterday who gave me the low down on what was covered at the March 13 event which he attended just a few days ago in LA. He relayed to me that the message from DM is that the expansion since the release of Golden Age of Tech has been of such magnitude that to reinforce the affluence stats, they have Golden Age of Tech 2 about to be released.

    The lies out of this man just never end. He is hallucinatory. And now he is going to add GAT2 to add more perversion, corruption and out-tech to an already dying scene. My god!

    • Mike Rinder says

      Lana — Thanks. Nice to see you here. Tech staff from around the world are being called to Flag starting 20 April to get “trained” for “GAT 2″. The word is that the “super fast” “new” Grades that have been being delivered at Flag for 9 years (everyone else has to keep delivering the “old” Grades) are now going to finally be exported to the rest of the world!!!! Wow. Wonder how Miscavige is going to gild that turd? Probably will also include the “Brand New” (5 years old — but a pup compared to planet saving Super Power at nearly 35 years and counting) Mark Super Duper VIII Infinitium (better than “quantum”) meter. More to come on this as reports arrive from Flag about the training….

  26. Halina says

    Hi Mike – great post ! I can categorically tell you that they are not in Canada. Including Sea Org, staff and “active public” I would estimate there are no more 2500 Scientologists in this country most of whom live in the Toronto area. I believe there are seven orgs in Canada. It is mind boggling how they an remain open.

    • John P. says

      Halina, the 2001 Canadian census lists 1,523 Scientologists in the Great White North. The 2011 census data for religion has not been released yet, but applying the rates of decline seen in recent Australian and UK census data, we’ll probably see around 1,100 or so when the 2011 data appears. Even more perplexing is the fact that in a country with just over 1,000 members, they not only have 7 orgs but they bought a resort in 2009 to turn into Advanced Org Canada. That looks to be a dumb decision, becuase, apparently, it is far enough north of Toronto that the only neighbors are fur trappers and lumberjacks, so they’re not going to get a lot of foot traffic. Dogsled traffic, maybe, but not foot traffic. :-)

  27. J. Swift says

    A key metric was provided the late “Ladybird” (RIP) who worked at Flag for many years under Debbie Cook. Ladybird wrote the famous RPF Insider Series (google it) that so freaked out OSA.

    Ladybird posted online sometime around 2006 that there were only 25,000 silver-certed E-Meters in the entire world:

    “Regular Mark VIIs need to be silver certed every 2 years, at a cost of 200 dollars each. Mark VIIs with serial numbers under 8,000 need to be updated before they are valid for use in any cult auditing at a cost of 800 dollars each. Nothing prior to a Mark VII can be used at all. Mark VIIs with serial numbers after 8,000 still need to be updated and silver certed, but maybe it will cost 600 dollars, plus the 200 for a silver cert every 2 years.

    “Each and every one of these meters (regular or custom) has a serial number on it, and these are tracked by the cult. So if you sell your meter, you will be called into ethics and asked why you sold it, and if you buy a used meter, you will be called into ethics and asked why you didn’t buy a new one from the cult too…

    “Back to the serial numbers of emeters…according to my best information and research;


    You do the math…what does this say about how many ACTIVE scientologists there are World wide? Every scientologist is supposed to have at least 2 meters in working order…so cut that in half.

    This is WORLD WIDE!!! ”

    Question: Will all 25,000 silver-certed Mark VII’s be ordered scrapped by COB when he releases GAT II? Presumably GAT II will require one of those “brand new” E-Meters that have been stored in a warehouse for at least seven years. BFG commented on these hot new meters: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/E-Meter/mark-viii-meter.txt

    • John P. says

      My understanding is that the new Mark 8’s in the warehouse have RS-232 serial ports to tie them to computers. It has been the better part of a decade since those connectors were found on PC’s. You can buy a dongle to convert RS-232 to the current USB interface, but that just advertises how obsolete and loser-like the Mark 8’s would be. And my understanding was that all that port did for you was record the meter values and the dial settings for replays; it wouldn’t capture what was said as they like to do with the secret A/V bugs in the Ideal Org auditing rooms.

      If I were Miscavige, I would scrap the Mark 8’s. So you lose $2 million on manufacturing costs, probably substantially less. Big deal. If I were Miscavige, I would think it really, really smart to release an all-new Mark 9, with direct Internet connectivity, whether WiFi or Ethernet cable. It would connect directly to the corporate Scientology server farm. The needle doesn’t move until you’re logged in. It would record the session digitally, including the dialog, and potentially the auditor’s notes via a iPad or Samsung tablet device. Maybe even compressed video, just like a Skype session. That way, RCS gets paid for every hour of auditing done. Nobody gets money under the table. People on Solo NOTs auditing can’t cheat about the number of hours they’re supposed to be paying for (which I am sure is a major problem). And if somebody blows, their e-meters will not work again, and can’t be re-sold. It’s utterly perfect.

      Today, the hardware engineering to build an Android or Arduino-based device is incredibly inexpensive, perhaps a fraction of the cost of designing the Mark 8. Figure less than $1 million in R&D, another $1 million in manufacturing tooling for board layout and case design, and unit costs are probably $150 versus $50 or so today. But you get thousands of dollars more in revenue per PC because of the improved billing meter.

      So why would I reveal an idea that is way better than what DM has in mind for GAT2? Because even if somebody showed this to him and told him it was a great idea, he’d never do it because it is not his idea.

      • Regular Dog says

        John P. Except people on Solo NOTS don’t pay for the auditing they do by the hour.

      • EnthralledObserver says

        And if he ‘did’ do it… then it proves he’s reading (or someone on his behalf is reading) these blogs and that you’re smarter than he is.
        I don’t know what to wish for the most… that your brilliant idea is ignored or swiped.

      • Aquamarine says

        Brilliant, John P, and I agree, but, what if he could be convinced somehow that it was his idea, maybe he would do it. (I can dream), Just imagine the collective shudder going thru the hapless SO and CL V org staffs who would have to sell these things.

        I’m sure it would very much accelerate the incidence of blows and non-renewal of staff contracts. To my mind, staff blows/ contract non-renewals is the correct target. Many Class V org staff ignore the media and of course SOs are not allowed to imbibe any at all so making their jobs harder (if that’s possible)is the only way I see to get them to blow or route off or not renew.

        In one CL V org I’ve observed the staff has dwindle by nearly half in the last 8 years. Those few who remain are incredibly stressed, exhausted and paranoid, though they make a supreme effort not to be and to instead project that everything is great. They- the staff remaining as well as those who left staff – are all very good, kind, dedicated people. I have nothing but respect, admiration and compassion for them.

        That said, in that they avoid and/or altogether reject the media’s account of things, the harsh reality is that the sooner the remaining staff reach their own individual ceilings of ability to cope with DM’s insanity, the better, as no staff = no public.

  28. Dan Koon says

    Mike, Oh, I bet that Mr. Wilson will be real close to DM’s control center real soon, as in like the Flag RPF. He is obviously one seething mass of evil purposes on Dear Leader. Why else would he say anything even approximating the truth? Five or 10 years in the RPF should straighten him out.

  29. freebeeing says

    The stellar expansion in Scn is a fact damnit! I personally counted the numbers attending major events in Boston and they went from around 250 in 1990 to 251 in 2007! That is MASSIVE expansion. That you can’t see it, well, hmm, you probably need new tinting on your glasses.

  30. Regular Dog says

    Mike, I like everything about this site. I’ve clicked around on things checking it out. It’s well done.

  31. says

    The Church has the same reluctance when you ask them about STATs.
    It would be VERY easy to show expansion in those terms.
    This year WDAH versus LAST yesr WDAH…. etc. etc.
    It would be obvious if there is or there IS NOT expansion
    But this “system” has been lost since time immemorial.
    STATs … what stats???

  32. PreferToBeAnon2 says

    Some interesting data points:

    * JEFF HAWKINS: Late last year, Jeff Hawkins was interviewed on the Barry Morgan Radio Show. He mentioned that in his marketing role for $ci he accessed the membership lists—at its height there were about 40,000 members; now, he estimates only about 25,000 worldwide. http://www.cjad.com/blog/BarryMorganShow/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10446629

    * REGARDING THE INFLUX OF NOI MEMBERS: In the October 25, 2012 article about $cientology and the NOI, “The Mothership of All Alliances—Scientology and the Nation of Islam: America’s two weirdest sects join forces.” they quote the American Religious Identification Survey, “between 2001 and 2008 it estimates that the number of Scientologists in the United States fell from 55,000 to as low as 25,000.” The Nation refused to comment for this story, but according to its newspaper, Final Call, as of this spring, more than 1,000 members have become certified auditors and another 4,000 were studying “some aspect of Scientology.” http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/108205/scientology-joins-forces-with-nation-of-islam

    * AUSTRALIAN CENSUS FUN FACT: The Australian census, shows that membership of the Church of Scientology’s in such decline that its numbers are now dwarfed by people who identify as Jedis and Wiccans. Figures from the 2011 Census show that only 2,163 Australians call themselves Scientologists. That’s a drop of 13.7 per cent over five years. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3536106.htm

    * NOT HIGHLY STATISTICAL, BUT STILL INTERESTING: 70% of Americans doubt Scientology is a real religion according to a telephone poll. The poll was a random sampling of 1,027 adults nationwide in August 2012 and had a sampling error of + or – 3 points. There are many problems with this survey, but it is interesting none-the-less. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/americans-doubt-scientology-true-religion_n_1933474.html

    By the way, John P, I lurrve it when you talk numbers.

    • John P. says

      I blush at your compliment.

      Nice catch on the HuffPo survey, BTW.

      One observation on the NOI deal: I believe the 1,000 auditors are Dianetics auditors instead of Scientology auditors. I’m not entirely clear on the differences, but I believe Dianetics auditors don’t use e-meters. I don’t think there are currently 1,000 practicing Scientology e-meter auditors in the Church of Scientology at this point. Perhaps someone who has been “in” for a long time and understands the differences between a Dianetics auditor and a Scientology auditor can comment to help us never-ins understand more about what the NOI tie-in might mean. I still think it’s two con artists trying to out-con each other, but some perspective on this issue might help reveal whether there’s a chance that corporate Scientology makes a significant amount of money on the deal (which I don’t believe to be the case at present).

      • mwesten says

        When the NOIs talk of 1000 “certified Dianetics auditors” I would imagine that means those members have completed the HDA (Hubbard Dianetics Auditor course). It’s a practical course (cost me £100 back in 1998) that can be done in a couple of weeks. One learns to audit via the procedures outlined in DMSMH. No meter. If you can stomach the hammy acting, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUrjuXy3aUo for a better idea of what goes on. (Part III, 5 minutes in, is where the exact procedure is described).

  33. Lucy james says

    I was explaining the difference between addition and multiplication to my 4 year old grandson. I guess someone also needs to explain this concept to DM.

    • Mike Rinder says

      Hmmm, yes Lucy. Also the difference between wishful thinking and reality. And lies and truth….

      • Overrun in California says

        C’mon Mike, you know that the “wishful thinking” and “lies” are just postulates.
        You know, if you have $1.89 in your pocket you have to say; “I have $10,000,000
        AND REALLY MEAN IT!!!!!!!!

  34. Bela says

    The IAS has 30,000 members by last count? I am sure that of those 30K, many of those are the names of children who have never really become a Scientologist, but their parents get hit up by the IAS to buy them memberships. I know this because I am one of those parents. Additionally, many of the 30,000 are now deceased or have simply left the church and are out here wondering how they can still say there are millions of members. So, even that 30, 000 is a much higher number than what is really there.

    • Mike Rinder says

      Absolutely Bela. If someone got a free temporary membership, they are kept on their mailing list tile they are declared SP.

      • Bela says

        Oh man!…I was wondering if the 30,000 included the Free 6 month memberships…that makes it even worse as many of those people are not really Scientologists and do not continue after their initial service that “qualified” them for the free 6 month. The Registrar just puts that Free Membership paper in front of them to sign as part of their enrollment so as to give them a “di$count” on the service. They are not really proclaiming themselves as “members”…they just want the discount. I speak from the many years experience of working at an Org. Thanks for adding that info.

      • Aeolus says

        And even after. The rumor line says there is a declare on both me and my wife, but we still get promo in the mail just about every day.

      • Gayle Smith aka TroubleShooter says

        I was wondering Mike if they ever washed the lists to remove the “declared SPs” from it. I know for years in our org our regges had really good stats on selling the Lifetime memberships to the public due to the 20% savings on services it would give them. I’d wager that 98% of our active and I mean ACTIVE public were IAS members so maybe that IAS membership number is the closest thing to the truth of how many people are actually ACTIVE members.

    • Globetrotter says

      The 30,000 on the IAS list also includes all Sea Org members (probably around 5,000?) because they are all given a lifetime membership without charge. That leaves a total of 25,000 IAS members, which is 5 public to every Sea Org member. That’s totally inadequate for as much as bare survival in terms of economics. That must be part of the reason why Dave is so intent on building up huge reserves in cash and real estate, because production alone is surely inadequate to pay for what he is spending these days. Rent and interest seems to be his plan for financial survival (or his definition for it anyways – first thing to cover is COB’s executive facility differential for bringing in millions, then attorneys, and then if there’s money left, some other things).

      • SirRalliart says

        Don’t forget about the Class V Org Staff and Mission Staff that are always included. I think you can add another 5000 to the SO members of 5000 or so. Then, how many “public” are there, really??

        In Cincinnati there was a steady decline from the late 90’s until I got the hell outta there in 2010. By then, we usually had far less than 100 “public” attending the major events. Thankfully, I was Senior C/S so I never had to do call in, but from what I overheard, the people who quit attending the Church and events complained about too much regging and begging for money.

        Humorously, I was named the Who and the Why behind the lack of expansion and every ill there was in the 2000s since I was the “major Tech Terminal” in the org after I blew and was declared a Suppressive Person (badge of honor!). Oh well, at least my legend will continue in infamy in Cincinnati, and, I’m sure, in CLO EUS and Flag. (By the way, there was no boom after my Declare)

      • Foolproof says

        Reply to Sir Ralliart: The (deliberately installed) SP was the guy at the door of the Org or lurking in the wings of the HGC or Academy and thus turning all the people away with a demand for donations. Unfortunately LRH did not specifically state this in HCOB Recovering Students and PCs, but is the truth now unfortunately (it is covered in other HCO PLs though). But the donations guy in this case has had the same effect as if he was actually standing at the Org’s door and saying to people “you can’t come in here”. This is a huge factor, as Debbie Cook pointed out. Let’s face it who wants to turn up at an Org for a service and be badgered constantly to pay for non-services? Only fools. Imagine going to Macdonalds, asking for a burger and being told they want you to pay for their new furniture or for local policing – and you can’t have a burger until you do so!

      • Foolproof says

        And not only once, but every time you are “queuing up for a burger” someone is hovering around in a threatening manner and asking you again and again for more money for more furniture, other buildings, local policing, fuel for the ships that they bring the burgers over on (Freewinds), the building itself, other buildings, auditoriums etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum. I think you would go to Burger King pretty soon or – stop eating burgers.

      • Foolproof says

        A friend of mine told me that in his local Org the people who donated large amounts were feted as if they were highly trained auditors or as “celebrities” and would “strut around” as if they were the bee’s knees. Others would whisper “there is Joe Blow, he’s a this or that Patron Meritorious” in awe of these fools. Some of them had even made NO Bridge advancement in years but were top donators. So as well as all these diversionary tactics from the Bridge, the public attracted to the Church were the wrong types as well – not interested in case or training advancement. So – no wonder the real stats are down.

    • Maria says

      Not only that Bela, but they continue to count lifetime plus memberships in the count despite the fact that there are many who have those kind of memberships but are no longer participating. They are sidelined because official resignation has a stiff penalty attached to it — i.e. SP declare and disconnection. I am not even sure they remove people who have been declared, after all, they are merely “parked” in ethics, and their only terminal is the ethics officer until they resolve their “scene.”

  35. El Jefe' says

    Kind of reminds me of the original movie THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, when the guy who played the inspector on Barney Miller couldn’t remember how many communists were in the state department

  36. Roger from Switzerland Thought says

    Mike !

    I love what you’re doing !
    You also have to take into account that all Names of completions of lower orgs and Missions are sent to an AO and go into the CF there and the CF of an AO goes into the CF of FSO and then into the CF of the Ship ! And is as a public you’re member of AOSH DK and once were at an Event of AoSH UK you’re suddenly in the CF of AOSH UK. I was getting a weekly statement from Flag that I’ve 50$ on account and I knew I didn’t -this for 20 years !!!!!! To send me those statements it cost them about 1000 $ of postage alone……to tell me I’ve 50$ on account I never paid !
    Continue your blog…I’m listening ! :)

    • says

      Roger –
      Your reference is:

      HCO PL 30 Jul 68, GROSS INCOME SENIOR DATUM (OEC Vol 7:851):

      • John P. says

        Great catch, Alanzo! I had often wondered what the justification is for some of the crazy stuff they do in marketing and this puts it right out in front…

        In other words, Hubbard appears to be saying “Quantity is more important than quality.” Yeah, they teach that at Harvard Business School. And we at Global Capitalism HQ shower investment dollars by the billions on companies that live by that principle.

        The truth is that when you have a rapidly growing organization and a lot of demand for your product, it is a good idea to reach out to your customers as often as possible, and to let the growth roll in, rather than being excessively concerned about having perfect data and zero duplicated mailings. I would bet that Hubbard wrote this in response to discovering some people spending all their time cleaning up the mailing list instead of hammering a receptive customer base with more opportunities.

        But when the world changes and people are no longer beating down your door, you do have to change. At that point, an accurate mailing list (to save costs on duplicate mailings) and a more personal touch in marketing is the way to go. But Hubbard shot himself in the foot when he wrote a policy that said this is always true, and enforcing it when people got “ethics handling” for being “off policy” when demand slowed and they actually tried to clean up the files and spend money wisely.

        This is what economists call a “perverse incentive.” Back in the early 1970s, GM management got bonuses for the number of cars that rolled off the line. Absolutely nothing about quality. So they shipped units with missing trim or parts out of alignment and all sorts of other problems. The Japanese paid their managers for production targets, but quality metrics were at least as important as units delivered; you could beat your production quota but if warranty costs were too high you got fired. And when the public figured out that Japanese cars didn’t break, it took decades for Detroit to respond. Same thing in RCS today: the massive perverse incentives baked into Hubbard’s policy documents almost dooms the organization to failure, even without Miscavige’s uniquely volatile blend of incompetence and malevolence.

      • statpush says

        More Scn “magic”. All you have to do is outflow to get inflow. Doesn’t matter who you are outflowing to, or what you are outflowing, the important thing is that you are OUTFLOWING. The fact that 99.9% of what you outflow never gets read or goes straight in the wastebasket seems to be lost on them.

        This piece of voodoo has almost become an urban legend. I can recall being told that a piece of org promo was sent to old, out-of-date address, read by a wog, who promptly walked into the org and is now on The Bridge! See? Magic.

        Sure, outflow is important, but it requires a little bit of intelligence. It is a piece of communication, so all the fundamentals of communication apply. Judgement applies. Strategy applies. Surveys apply. Not just robotically shove stuff into envelopes and mail it to questionable addresses – and do it week after week after week. That’s the Homer Simpson’s Guide to Marketing.

  37. gaeagle1023 - Tom says

    Great article Mike. Take a look at these #’s I just checked on Facebook:
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – 690K+ likes
    Catholic Church – 432K+ likes
    Protestant – 58K+ likes
    The Episcopal Church – 43K+ likes
    Church of Satan – 16,965 likes
    Church of Scientology Inc – 7,880 likes

    Wow…I guess the psyches somehow have breached Facebook and are distorting the real stats of the millions of $cn worldwide.

  38. John P. says

    I have taken a crack at this question on a number of occasions in comments at Tony O’s blog. In my day job on Wall Street, it’s a very useful skill to be able to put together quick back-of-the-envelope numbers and have them be reasonably accurate, so that you can make a quick decision on whether to buy or sell a stock that’s climbing or dropping in price quickly. It’s not about getting to perfect accuracy but to get to “right enough for right now.”

    Based on almost two years as a Scientology watcher, my current best estimate for corporate Scientology membership is less than 25,000 worldwide, including all staff. I am currently estimating worldwide staff at about 5,000 of that number, which is an unsustainable level — what, exactly, do these people do all day? What happens when there are 5,000 public and 5,000 staff in 5-10 years, which will almost certainly happen? The only way the organization can afford to keep that many people on the payroll is to pay them almost nothing, as has been well documented. Incidentally, I am defining “public” as anyone who doesn’t say “F**k off and don’t ever call me again” before hanging up the phone when RCS calls; I am attempting to count “under the radar” and “sideliners” as public, because it is prudent to pick the number that is least supportive of your hypothesis, in this case, my belief that the implosion is accelerating.

    I suspect that the total active membership in the US is now below 15,000 including staff. This number appears to be going down at an accelerating rate as Debbie Cook’s e-mail and other prominent resignations are having an effect, and as public are unable to escape the increasing number of negative articles about Scientology — the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce last summer unleashed tens of thousands of news stories in the popular press, and virtually all mentioned Scientology negatively; it would have been hard to miss dozens of these at the supermarket checkstand. Importantly, the tone of much of this press coverage has changed — the Church of Scientology is now the butt of jokes. It’s easy for public to say “they’re afraid of us and they’re opposing us because we’re winning and they don’t understand us” when the Church is feared and opposed; much harder to believe the Church is winning at “clearing the planet” when it is mainly being laughed at.

    In conversations with several people who recently left the RCS, I believe Debbie Cook and Tom Cruise caused many people to start to see the gulf between Miscavige’s claims of imminent victory and planetary clearing and the fact that Scientology is increasingly seen as a laughingstock in most of the world. So the number of “under the radar” and “sideliner” public continues to be a growing percentage of the whole, people who are simply trying to avoid the consequences of disconnection on their families and their businesses. One prominent ex I have spoken to claims that the number of willing participants in the US who are drinking the official Kool-Aid is now down to perhaps 1,000 people, though I think this is a bit low.

    The more interesting number (and harder to pin down) number that makes up the global membership figure is the non-US public. Recent census data from the UK and Australia say that there are 2,200 Scientologists in Australia and 2,500 in the UK. Note that this is census data, where everyone is asked their religion, and the figure has a significantly smaller margin for error than the American Religious Identification Survey that you cite in your article. So those are reasonably accurate because they are direct counts. And what is especially interesting about the UK number is that it presumably includes the Saint Hill staff, perhaps the third biggest concentration of Scientologists in the world after LA and Clearwater. So the number of active public in the UK could be under 1,000 (I haven’t come across recent data hinting at the staff size at Saint Hill and the other headquarters-type UK operations). And that tiny number is in one of the three largest countries in Europe, and that’s the one of those three whose government has been least hostile to Scientology. So it is reasonable to believe that the public population in the rest of the EU countries where Scientology operates is lower in both absolute numbers and in percentage of the population as members than the UK. As a cross-check, ex-member Pete Griffiths estimated last year the number of active public served by the Dublin Org to be less than 50, proportionally about half per capita of the rate of the UK population (50 out of 7 million is about half the rate of 1,000 in 63 million in the UK). Putting that together, I think it is reasonable to believe that there are at most 5,000 Scientologists in Western Europe including staff (the Ireland proportion of 50 in 7 million applied to total EU population of 503 million, and adding an additional 1,000 for Saint Hill staff).

    While the cult has apparently had some success in Eastern Europe, particularly opening missions in Moscow, I think that recent anti-American sentiment churned up by the Putin government will make it increasingly difficult for Scientology to operate in Russia, so the “fresh meat” there is likely to dry up if it hasn’t already. The last variable is Asia, where it appears the only success is Kaohsiung in Taiwan. My suspicion is that many of the kids of current members are sucked into the Sea Org particularly in Australia or the US as a way to continue the supply of slave labor. Given your recent comments about Johannesburg & Pretoria, which matches other anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, Africa has perhaps 1,000 Scientologists. The Arab world? You’ve got to be kidding. That leaves Asia. I’d estimate the Asian membership at 4,000 including the 2,000 from Australia, 1,000 from Taiwan, and smaller numbers from other countries. Latin America is a question mark, with Colombia being perhaps the only bright spot given the frequent visit of the FeeWinds to Cartagena. Call it maybe 1,500 total.

    So that’s how I get to 25,000 total (of which 20,000 is public); while that may not be perfectly accurate, I would be willing to bet that the global total does not exceed 35,000 today. Incidentally, I suspect that the global public total is probably declining at a rate of about 15% to 20% per year at this point, which I believe to be an acceleration over the rate of decline perhaps five years ago. I would suspect that the total active event attendee population of that loose definition of “public” I used at the outset is probably less than 10,000 worldwide — call it 1,500 public for Hubbard’s birthday in FL and 2,500 in CA, plus people attending the video events at their local orgs. That suggests there are about 10,000 sideliners and under the radar types. And I think that if Miscavige & Co. haven’t persuaded them to get active again by now, they’re never going to be again.

    Also, if you look through the IAS “whale” donors, it sure looks like most of the big names of the past are either dying off or are tapped out economically (Nancy Cartwright, for example, will never have to work again but with the end of The Simpsons, her annual income goes from $10 million to a fraction of that; Craig Jensen’s software company makes technology that has been obsoleted by new trends in disk storage over the last decade; Richie Acunto is bankrupt and broke). So it will be interesting to see what happens when IAS donations drop still further.

    • Mike Rinder says


      Thanks. I think your estimates are very accurate. Clearly you are suited to your day job.

      I have some more of these statistical analyses/exposes coming. If you look at the available FACTS and ignore the constant hype, you can come close to the truth.

      • cindy says

        Richie Acunto is in fact broke and living on a little boat that is docked. He is broke cuz he gave his company money over to the IAS and then the company couldn’t make it.

        He hired the son of a Scn to come be his Communicator and the kid paid his own moving costs to move from Clearwater to LA, worked like a dog for Richie, and Richie stiffed him and didn’t pay him. This is a young kid who ended up stranded without even enough money to get back home to Clearwater. Richie totally used and abused this kid. I asked why he even worked for Richie in the first place, and the kid said Richie was a big successful Scn with lots of money. That was the PR on him at that time. But as he quickly learned, Richie was broke and bankrupt and divorced and refusing to pay even “one of his own kind,” a KA drinking Scn. I was appalled at Richie Acunto’s lack of morals and ethics.

      • Cooper J Kessel says

        ” I was appalled at Richie Acunto’s lack of morals and ethics.”

        Isn’t that is a requirement to SAY you are a member of the most ethical group on the planet?
        IE: you have to knowingly and willingly lie your fricking ass off just to show up in that Cult!

    • Graham says

      The UK census figures are likely to be accurate because a) respondents self-report on their religious affiliation and b) there’s enormous effort made to get the maximum number of respondents, with legal sanctions for anyone not completing the form. Thus the figure of 2 480 (For England & Wales incidentally, thus not including Scotland nor Northern Ireland) is very robust.

      However, as someone commented recently, how many of those reporting themselves as Scientologists are actually independents operating outside the ‘official’ church?

      Also, although the census is only about 3 or 4 years old things are currently moving very fast; Debbie Cook’s letter for example wasn’t published until 2012. Thus every reason to expect the figures to be even lower today.

      • says

        I have a question.

        Could it be possible that people answered “Scientologist” just for fun or as a silent way of opposing to questions about religion?

    • says

      Magnificent post, John P! It was a pleasure to read. Extremely enlightening too!

      It’s like the water of Truth was thrown on the evil Witch that is scientology and her screaming, “I’m melting! I’m melting! Ohhhhh what a world, what a world…

      (snicker, snort) Damn, but’s fun watching the cult melt!

    • says

      Do you know how they estimate animal populations, like “10,000 grizzlies in Yellowstone”? They put tags on a certain number, say 100 grizzlies. Then they do a random survey. If 10% had tags, there are 1,000 (the 100 who were tagged are 10% of 1,000). If only 1% of the ones seen are tagged, then there must be about 10,000, and so on.

      Apply this to Scientology: how often do we see the same “regulars” post on the boards, or attend events? The 60 or so “celebrity scientologists”–what % of event attendees are celebrities? I think you will find that the number can’t be more than 30,000.

    • Eclipse-girl says

      My only question is that you seemed to have ignored India.

      At one point, I thought Co$ was trying for India as they have a lot of young people becoming middle class , and experimenting with being more western.

    • Robert Almblad says

      Fabulous post John P. Great analysis.

      The decreasing numbers are undeniable.

      On the other side of that decline is his expanding and extravagant spending to cover-up the decline. These are expenses that Miscavige cannot or will not decrease over time.

      I am not sure which is worse for him: declining income/membership or his increasing legal/carnival expenses? Either way, the end is inevitable.

  39. WogInTheWorld says

    “if anyone believes [the numbers reported by DM], I have a bridge to sell you.”

    Isn’t that DM’s basic sales pitch?

  40. Hartley Patterson says

    ARSCC Demographics here. I’ve always gone along with Robert Young’s story that ‘millions’ was totally made up:
    and was thereafter increased whenever it had been the same for too long. No one ever tried to relate it to reality because in those days the media never thought to check.
    The ARIS Survey is the best in the USA, but there are so few Scientologists that its standard error rate for them is over 100%. “25,000” thus means it is reasonably safe to say there are less than 50,000, no more.
    Most European Orgs when asked used to give some variant on the “active members” count, and it looked to be their mailing lists. Below that is “core members”, the ones who have handed over money recently. The UK total however lost contact with reality and they keep saying around 120,000.
    Anyway, however you do your counting – the number of Emeters manufactured is a good one – it never adds up to “millions”.

  41. says

    Very interesting this topic.
    I look at the number 10 million and divided it by the number of orgs. This should give you a rough idea of how crowded the average org should be: An average of 65,000 scientologists or so per org and some of these orgs have no or close to no activity. For example: I called the Oslo org yesterday, their number is listed on their website. The Oslo org phone is disconnected. Gothenburg org is occassionally picking up the phone, same thing with Stockholm org.

  42. says

    Here’s what Robert Vaughn Young reported in an article he wrote about this subject in 1997.

    I have seen much speculation on where Scientology representatives get
    their figure of “8 million members” or “6 million members.” Some wonder if
    it is people who have taken courses or who have bought books or perhaps
    people who walk in the door. It’s none of that. Let me tell you how it

    Department 20 has been the section that handles media. It is now called
    the Office of Special Affairs but in the early 70s it was called the
    Guardian’s Office. I worked in the PR section, first in San Francisco and
    then at the US offices, 1971-82. We had clipping services for the words
    “Scientology” and “L. Ron Hubbard.” Other than the PRs scattered about who
    would send in clips, that was the only other way to find how we were being

    At that time, we were in a massive anti-FDA campaign, stemming from the
    raid on the Washington, DC, organization, over the role/function of the
    E-Meter so there was media interest. Inevitably, we were asked how many
    members we had and while the local PR might come up with a number for
    his/her area, we didn’t have a figure for national, let alone
    international, and this was noticed at the US office. PRs were giving
    random figures and so we had to come up with a stable figure. Nothing was
    used to calculate the figure. It was dreamed up as “over one million”
    because anything less wouldn’t sound good. There was no count of students
    or anything. It was simply dreamed up and the figure sent to the PRs to
    use when asked. (We also needed it for the publications we were putting

    Then what came into play was the LRH order that Scientology is always
    growing. He wrote it in a policy letter, to never admit to anything but
    growth. That meant the “one million” had to grow. Again, no calculations
    were made. No organizations were asked to submit figures. Perhaps six
    months later, we were “1.1 million” and then later “1.25 million” and so
    the membership figure began to grow. Occasionally it would produce some
    humor, as when a reporter would call the US office and along the way ask
    for the membership figure and he/she would be put on hold while someone
    asked what the latest one was. “1.5” someone shouted. “No, we used that
    one last month, make it 1.6,” suggested another. “Why not 1.75,” someone
    else asked. “Too many digits,” someone would call back, “make it 1.8.”
    “Hey,” the original PR would ask, “I’ve got a reporter here on hold, gimme
    a figure!” “Racquel Welch,” came a fast reply from someone coming down the

    More at link:


  43. Alanzo says

    Awesome post, Mike.
    Guy White once told me that as MEI he had access to the “Training and Processing List”, which is a list of every single person who has ever done a Dianetics or Scientology service since 1950.
    He said at that time, which was the early 1990’s, the Training and Processing List was 300,000 names.
    That represents 300,000 people who ever took any kind of a service in Dn and Scn anywhere in the world since 1950.
    The Church of Scientology has been using the “it’s in the millions” numbers ever since L Ron Hubbard answered Tony Hitchman this way in that interview at Saint Hill in the early 1960’s.

    • Han Solo says

      300,000 names of people who had taken service in the early 1990s ? That is in alignment with informations I have :

      # in the mid 1980s, the AOSH Copenhagen had a central file of 150,000. Note that this org got the names of all European Scientologists ( with the exception of Great Britain only ) and also from Israel Scientologists. This central file contained a lot of double names. When I started to sort out these doubles too enthusiastically I was reprimanded, because “now there are less names so the statistics is down”. Some names had even never done a course but just bought a book ( maybe they were just not able to resist the book salesman and would never read it ).

      # For many years the org in Munich was the only org in the German speaking countries. Its central files got up to some 30,000 names. I know that because I was on staff there, and even the church’s spokesperson told that figure to the press : “30,000 members.” However, it were certainly not 30,000 members but names the church had got hold of. Like book buyers. Many of these 30,000 people have never done any course or auditing.

      # Recently the OPC (German office for protection of the constitution) has published that there are some 4000 active church members in Germany. This number has decreased from about 6,500 in the mid 1990s. I know that the OPC is trying to do a decent job with their annual publications about the church. They would not give false information because in that case the church might sue them. But the church never did.

      • says

        Concerning the OPC I’m not sure the figures are accurate. OPC needs money, has to prove its usefulness. It needs its budget to be voted and as security agencies in the US, the more threats the better for their budget. The figure of 4,000 active members in Germany is extremely high. Russia, Germany and France are the countries in which government has a strong stand against cults and where there is the most info about the dangers of cults. Scientology is not popular in these countries and German and French journalists have nothing to fear from dirty tricks or legal battles. There are no John Travoltas here lobbying with the Clintons. A few years ago I used to count people at events in Paris and I would say that in a usual event there would be 50 or 80 people, for a big event with Lesevre, Heber or the like, there were no more than 300 people and this was before the golden age of fund raising. People don’t answer the phone, they don’t come for auditing or training because it has become unaffordable and also because what is being pushed now is just donating money without exchange. I estimated the number of active Kool-aid drinkers to 400 in France. I don’t see how they could have 4,000 in Germany.

    • says

      Alonzo, back in the mid 70s when I was on staff, The Encyclopedia Britannica (with statistics from the cult) claimed that scientology had 15 million members. As a new minted Ronbot, I figured we’d be taking over planet earth with in the decade. Do you happen to remember that number?

      • says

        I don’t remember seeing that number, OSD.

        I first got involved in 1984, and the number they were using then was “8 million Scientologists worldwide”.

        I actually told that number to new people walking into the mission asking about Scientology when I was on staff.

        There’s nothing like looking back and realizing that you were a liar for a brainwashing cult.


  44. says

    Ah, Graeme Wilson, what a card. This is the same Graeme who, in response to an article I helped compile for the East Grinstead Courier recently said that I “had no knowledge of the current state of the Church”. Guess that makes two of us then. Too bad that less than 10% (generously) of the UK’s “active members” couldn’t be bothered to come to the mandatory Command Intention IAS event last October. (of the estimated 3 – 3500 attendees well over half were foreign or staff). Maybe they were too busy washing their hair.

    • says

      Actually according to the cult’s published statistics there were ‘over 1500′ people at the event. I guess that means 1501 clams showed up. Was that another ‘uncoordinated’ press release? Grahame has also published an open invitation to the next event. What an eejit – just asking for it 😀

      • Mike Rinder says

        Hey Sam — according to mathematical studies performed by professors from Oxford, when the church claims “over 1500″ that really means 147. The secret sauce formula appears to be, round up the number, multiply by ten and add “over.”
        PS: Love you avatar :)