Quite a number of people have asked me in recent interviews whether scientology is growing. Of course, it is not. Information is deadly poison to cults and in this age of the internet, scientology is doomed.
But, scientology puts out an endless stream of propaganda to make it seem like they are expanding. They claim “massive growth” and “unprecedented demand” and various other catchphrases, statements unsupported by specifics or statistics.
Naturally, scientology doesn’t want to make information available that would disprove their claims of constant and unparalleled expansion, so it takes a bit of digging to disprove their lies. There are independent sources of information from which extrapolations can give an accurate picture.
First, all one need do is visit ANY scientology organization and the truth becomes clear — they are EMPTY and desperate to try to get anyone to come in. Sadly, each individual organization has been convinced it is ONLY their particular location that is struggling (because they are failing to apply Hubbard’s tech correctly) — everywhere else on earth is doing GREAT!
So it’s necessary to take a bigger view of the state of scientology orgs and missions. And in this instance, scientology’s own information is helpful.
Jefferson Hawkins recently posted a comment on this blog (emphasis added by me):
They claim “thousands” of Organizations (I think the latest claim was “8000 Organizations), yet if you check their own address lists, they tell a different story. They used to publish full lists of Org and Mission addresses in their books. A 1992 edition of their book “What is Scientology?” listed 148 Orgs and 343 Missions. If you go to their own website, they have a list of their Org and Mission addresses, and [today] they list 132 Orgs and 189 Missions. So in the last 30 years, they’ve lost a third of their centers!
Scientology claims their “massive growth” is proven by the “new churches that have opened” — this is a deception. They have purchased a lot of real estate. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars renovating these buildings. They have held “ribbon cuttings” with great fanfare for their “new churches” and they have then resumed their status as empty morgues, just in larger premises. You would imagine that if scientology in fact HAD opened all these “new churches” there would be scientology organizations all over the world by now.
Yet many of the most populous nations on earth do not have a single scientology organization: China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and the list could go on. Or even in the US (the home of scientology) the following states do not have a single scientology org: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Scientology has transitioned into a real estate holding company.
Unsurprisingly, scientology holds information about their membership very close to the vest — the one true count would be the number of active IAS Members. This was never greater than 50,000. But they have refused to make this information publicly available. Instead, they make grandiose (and false) claims about 10 million scientologists, or 14 million or 8 million or just “many millions” or these days, “millions.” The truth is that active scientologists number in the tens of thousands worldwide. Most these days put it between 20 and 30,000.
In some countries, they have censuses that record religious affiliation. Information that is NOT colored by scientology propaganda (even the number of orgs and missions scientology claims is suspect, many of the missions open just a few hours a week in a room in someone’s home).
Tony Ortega recently reported:
In 2011, the census of England and Wales counted only 2,418 people who identified themselves as Scientologists.
In the 2021 count, and the number of Scientologists in the same area is down to 1,854.
That’s a 23-percent drop in ten years.
In that same time, England and Wales grew by 3.5 million people in overall population to 59.6 million people.
So that makes Scientology’s share .003 percent.
And remember, during these years Scientology has been unashamedly calling itself the “world’s fastest growing religion.”
Once again, real government data shows that our estimates of about 20,000 active Scientologists around the world as much closer to the truth than the “millions” that Scientology claims.
2021 England and Wales: 1,854
2021 Canada: 1,380
2018 New Zealand: 321
2016 Australia: 1,684
2016 Ireland: 87
The organization that proclaims itself to be spectacularly successful and in demand is in reality today a high-pressure fundraising machine sucking money out of a shriveling number of whales for fake “campaigns” that are all PR and no substance. They are investing their billions in properties which sit empty or are at best grossly underutilized.
There you have it; the incredible shrinking world of scientology.
Kirstie Alley died earlier.
Howie Spinner says
When I read this post my first thought was that it was some kind of joke or a troll at work.
I had a terrible urge to take a shot at Kirstie. But it just seems too cruel for anyone – even a cult member – to say something unkind about someone who just died.
After all, there is some kind of saying that goes something like, “Do not speak evil about the dead.” Also, there is one that goes, “If you have nothing good to say about someone, then it is better to say nothing.”
But when it comes to the shrinking world of this cult, I can blame that entirely on their founder. He made sure that everyone in his cult would do just what he did – no matter what kind of advances were made after his death.
So, people in this cult are not allowed to use products that prevent shrinkage.
Is it any wonder that people in this cult are suffering from shrinkage? It seems entirely a by-product of his ridiculous bullshit.
So … shrink away you horrible cult! Shrink your way down to zero. That is what you deserve for all the terrible harm you have done in this world.
John VB says
In Ireland there might be more than 100 Scientology’s now but they do not always give the name cult they put no religion . Hopefully this way it will go in every country around but Nation of Islam is dangerous cult as well . So we got be aware off Cults alliance with Scientology around so are only new others are more long term . In Ireland now Scientology’s are holding schools plays for Christmas parties in Firehouse in Dublin Community centre this dangerous development that they will look recruit more people . https://m.facebook.com/events/1364037874129588 this event I came across online lots of us all over the world keep very close everything they do . https://www.thejournal.ie/scientology-sheriff-street-3346465-Apr2017/ In year 2017 there where many Demonstrations and Rallies against Scientology in Ireland Most of Protests Where near there newly opened community centre in Firehouse Dublin at time many leaflets given out and put through people letterboxes to let Know Saturday in October there where two protests one morning one evening time some people turn in Fancy dress even Mad Hatter turn up at Protest in afternoon come evening . That night some people got ladder got into community centre from back from nearby park in Dark . Sea org Merrion Square 2017 had found out what fun games was many smelly Subences where put through letterbox for the post . The door was knock on because people where living there . Fireworks 🧨 where used as well . They said building was been threatened by terrorised . All it was some Anonymous and ex Scientology and activists playing jokes on them . Sending Pizzas to them trying get do surveys over the GPO telephones . The best was sheriff Street everyone was told who Scincetology where people where laughing 😆 at them picking trash 🗑 of ground residents kept getting more trash and garbage and waste pick up they could not get anyone joining courses . Hopefully next year there can be a lot Protests Demonstrations Rallies and raids by Underground bunker and ex Scientology’s and Anonymous and other Activists to help get more people away from Scientology and other dangerous cults lots hope for all us 2023 is good year have happy New year 🥳 and Happy Christmas 🎄 . Let’s keep good work Mike everyone else does thanks Tony of unground and Great Thanks Pete Griffiths In Ireland one only ones keeping show on the road he missed all Rallies and raids .
Peter Blood says
It shrunk by one fewer gaslit Scientologist today Dec. 5, 2022 with the passing of Kirstie Alley. No bridge of fantasy extended her life.
WWW : Wisdom of the Wog World says
It’s started in 1953 and after 50 years 2004, following the famous breakup of two celebrities it’s demise started.
2005 YouTube followed by Facebook provided a platform for opponents.
Now with computer in your hand and Google search ,news and views travel from all sides.
It’s the Technology which brought the demise of Cult industry in USA .
Main stream religion always embrace Technology and used it in its normal course of business
Nothing is hidden you can read about any religious text and debate.
They removed the High Status and Low Status treatment in their organization. That’s how they survived.
For those who can’t afford Wog World demands , moved to mid west and start doing farming , poultry and dairy business. Live in isolation for 50 years, otherwise 2025…Age of Extinction waiting for you.
It’s not me ,it’s written on the wall.
Old, rough data the IRS used*, showed the CofS shrinking from 55,000 to 25,000 in the first decade of this century – after which they stopped trying to track them because it was down to the point of statistical insignificance, and have since just lumped Scientology in with “other religions.”
Whatever $cientology claims, in the US there are exactly 108 tax exempt organizations with “Scientology” in it’s name listed in the IRS Exempt Organization Database. That’s orgs, missions, etc., including ‘The Independent Reformed Church of $cientology’ and the “Church” of $cientology in Puerto Rico.
Leslie Molson says
And of course, one can register a nonprofit with the IRS with a staff of one, so the number of scientology organizations registered with the IRS doesn’t reflect the number of scientologists on staff, or the number of members.
I live up here in Fairbanks, Alaska and while I know there is not an org in Alaska I think there is a mission down in Anchorage.
There is a little gift shop here in town owned by a Scientologist. When you first walk in, the first thing you see is a rack of those old pulp science fiction comics that L. Con Blubbered wrote back in the 50’s. The guy who owns it said he goes down to the mission in Anchorage about once a month. He is probably the only Scientologist in this huge state. I refuse to go back in there and buy anything from his store. Which kind of sucks because he has some really cool stuff.
For using correct naming (L. Con Blubberd) All Scamology’s names and words trigger me
Leslie Atkinson says
I was recently in Los Angeles and saw the Scientology building in Hollywood adorned with a giant banner on the side that read “Curious why so many people are scientologists?” and then directs people to the Scientology channel on direct tv. Having been a loyal listener, watcher, reader of your work for awhile, I had to chuckle. Propaganda is real.
Dead Man Talking Bill Straass says
I actually feel sorry for those poor dumb bastards. They seem to be dying even faster than I am (and since my death was stated to be imminent to my then wife 20 years ago by the only Right Arm Captain in the Sea Org) to my then wife as he held her against her will. There is not much I can do for them except to die, and Allah knows that I have been trying to comply but for some strange reason I am still alive.
I may comply as soon as today or much later I don’t know.
Scientology: the turd that won’t flush…or completely decompose…
Dwarfenfuhrer’s Insane Prancing Scientological Hubristic Intergalactic Twerking aka DIPSHIT…
For optimum sociopathic bliss, the fraud must persist!
In the name of The Bitch Slap, The Lie, and The Hublardian Grift,
“Daaaavey! Put on the orange dress and lick the floor”
From Bubba’s Unedited Prison Diaries, Vol. 1, page 2
Here we are, 72 years after Dianutics, still dealing with El Con Blowhard’s evil, criminal legacy…
Ah, Mark! You always have a way with words.
The turd that won’t flush. That is perfect.
Need an EssPee Plumber to “handle” the situation, eh?
Hey, Mark, tell us how you really feel!!!!
Mat Pesch says
Here is how most “Missions” are created.
!. A Scientologist is put in a room and put under heavy pressure to open a Mission and take responsibility for disseminating Scientology.
2. The rich Scientologist caves to the pressure and agrees to pay for the Mission Package which is $50,000 worth of Scientology bookstore items (books, e-meters, course packs, etc).
3. The rich Scientologist stacks the boxes of materials in some back office or cheap rental space and gets on with their busy life and the “Mission” isn’t much more than a PO Box. It counts as a statistic for Scientology Missions International (SMI).
4. A poor Scientologist caves to the pressure but says they don’t have the money ($50,000) for the Mission Package. No problem, they can receive the package a rich Scientologist paid for but didn’t have the time to do anything with.
5. A couple of pallets of materials gets sent to the house of some Scientologist in Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, etc. They don’t have room so it gets put in a basement, tool shed, closet, etc. There it sits hardly opened but again its a stat for SMI and listed as a new Mission.
I have personally witnessed this full cycle at both ends many, many times. Scientology is made of pretense, lies and illusion. Only the money they grab up is real. Hip, hip, hooray!!!
Mat, apparently missions aren’t being created anymore, at least not in the US and which have an actual physical presence, and get formally listed by the CofS. I assume everyone now knows they are money losers since Scientology’s fortunes have declined so far, and no one wants to take on a financial albatross that risks ‘ethics” trouble for “failing to make it go right” as well.
Never mind that, from a Northern Irish perspective (Noting the 87 in your article MIke!) – I was a student in Belfast in the very early 2000s and they had a building on Great Victoria Street in the city centre. This is still a Scientology “facility” despite being a wrecked shell of a building – it would cost at least a million to make habitable in real terms as it is a set of walls being held up by girders if I have the address right.
Ms. B. Haven says
Sadly for the cult, there is zero scientology presence in Nebraska or Montana. These are the two states where the incipient grifter, Li’l Ronnie spent his misspent youth. Surely there should be some sort of tribute acknowledging Mankind’s greatest friend? I bet there is little or no collected literary works of the great author there either. Maybe a sea arrrrrg mission could be fired off to these locales to drum up some support for a memorial by regging the citizenry clamoring for recognition of their infamous prodigal son.
They could do that.
Lily R says
The Santa Barbara Org staggered under an overweight staff-to-dwindling-students ratio. For years. Events contracted as the able-bodied volunteers (not on staff) did the heavy lifting for, ugg, call-in, and ponying up to pay for the “free” refreshments for the few other non-staff attending these dreadful events.
The volunteers died, moved away, or had some misbehaving member of their family declared a suppressive. Shocked staffers wondered why the wives, mothers, and true friends of the recently declared Suppressive Person quit attending events.
Santa Barbara is an affluent area and parishioners indebted themselves and out-of-town whales enriched themselves with sales commissions on the donation squeezed from the locals.
They finally bought, renovated, and painted black, the Ideal Morgue building that looms like a warning by the 101 Freeway. Its two near-empty parking lots are a constant reminder that there aren’t more than six people in the 60,000-square-foot monstrosity on a good day.
At least at the old Santa Barbara Org building, staff could conceal the bleeding out of the Scientology census by parking cars in a public lot that was usually near full.
But Ventura’s sorry Ideal Morgue, alone near the dead end of its short freeway frontage spur, hemmed in by a cliff on one side, freeway fumes in front, and hard by the tank storage property on its other side, can only watch a busy world wiz by on the 101 freeway, 30 feet from its doom-laden architecture.
Schadenfreude demands that I count the few pathetic vehicles hunched together by the front door, whenever I drive by on the freeway. Those few cars are tiny dots in a massive and empty landscape of parking spots.
The number of parking spots I might add that the non-scientology previous tenants of that building properly filled. Scientology’s Ideal Parking Lot economizes on use. I once saw three cars on a Saturday while driving to do errands. Errands which would be more fulfilling than time spent under the zealous gaze of too many staffers.
Scientology’s Ventura Ideal Morgue can’t conceal its irrelevance. Though they did get some free press when they opened. Yeah, they knew you can’t release balloons because it’s bad for the environment. But balloon releases are pretty, and impressive, and if we kill the environment with balloons we can all go to Target Two right? And besides, if the tiny tyrant didn’t see balloons in the opening video, heads would roll and profanity would be fogging the executive suite. Did I mention that the tiny tyrant didn’t attend?
If you want proof of the shrinkage of scientology, just roll by the Ventura Highway 101 near the Seaward Exit. A bustling interchange that leaves the lowly Ideal Morgue crouching in a small hollow, behind the rusting tanks awaiting obliteration in the next 10,000-year flood.
Francis Khoury says
Man, if only this could get hacked into an official Scientology website. Classic!