Author Topic: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?  (Read 11592 times)

Offline Lorelei

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How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« on: May 12, 2010, 07:59 »
Certainly nowhere near the oft-quoted "8 million members worldwide" that the "Church" of Scientology claims.

http://www.newsfrombree.co.uk/stolgy_4.htm

Quote
Conclusions

The CoS has never produced a shred of evidence to support its 'millions of members' claim. On the contrary, all other demographic data published by the CoS appears to contradict it.

CoS claims for national membership in European countries indicate a worldwide total of about half a million members. This seems to be a 'second layer' of claims, consistent with each other. It may equate to local mailing lists.

Below this lies a 'third layer' of claims such as staff numbers, magazine circulation figures and auditing hours. These point to a lower figure again.

Finally we have some independent data - national censuses. These also indicate a much lower figure.

An article in the Observer newspaper, October 1, 2006:
While it claims to have 10 million members worldwide, independent experts estimate the number as closer to 100,000.

which summed it up nicely. Plus, it's nice to called an independent expert even if I'm not! The ARIS 2008 result, if confirmed by data from other countries, may indicate that the worldwide estimate needs to be revised downwards to more like 50,000, but 'below 100,000' seems a safe bet.

Discussion:
http://www.xenu.net/archive/COS_members.html

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Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 20:15 »
Well, there's 500 in the Netherlands:
http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/topic,4602.msg10631.html#msg10631

And in Atlanta, there are either 600 (scientology spokesperson): http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/topic,27.msg149.html#msg149

or 100 active (scientology lawyer): http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/topic,881.msg3222.html#msg3222
Local critics think the lawyer is closer to correct, but is still lying a bit on the low side.

In 2008, there were less than 400 members in Ireland: http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/topic,2170.msg5578.html#msg5578

In France, according to scientology, 45,000, but according to the French government, 2000-3000:
http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/topic,785.msg3033.html#msg3033

Aaron Saxton thinks there are about 45,000 worldwide:
http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/topic,4409.msg10192.html#msg10192
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Offline Lorelei

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2010, 10:39 »
Of course, the first linked page in the OP was last updated last April, too. :)
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Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 12:17 »
The number is a moving target - even scientology doesn't know it for sure, what with all the people who are only in because of the relatives, friends, and business connections they give up if they leave officially, the ones that are officially still members but aren't purchasing or attending any services, and those who have left but not said anything yet still get tracked down and sent promo material, even after they move.

An accurate estimated number would be nice to know, but is probably impossible to know for sure, at least until/unless the numbers dwindle to almost none.  We sure can't count on the organization itself to give an honest and accurate count.

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Offline Lorelei

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Offline Chica28

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2010, 01:26 »
Do you know how many people are part of the Sea Org at Gold and do you know how many are employed by all the various Scientology entities world wide?  Rough estimates are fine.  I'm trying to get a picture of how many people are Scientologists that don't also work for them in some way.

Thank you!

Offline Lorelei

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2010, 03:42 »
By "Scientology entities," do you mean front groups?
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Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2010, 21:50 »
Do you know how many people are part of the Sea Org at Gold and do you know how many are employed by all the various Scientology entities world wide?  Rough estimates are fine.  I'm trying to get a picture of how many people are Scientologists that don't also work for them in some way.

Thank you!

Hard numbers to estimate, Chica 28.

Sea Org:
http://exscientologykids.com/seaorg.html estimates 10,000-20,000 worldwide.  (In my opinion, this may be too high.)

Hartley Patterson estimates the UK to have
Quote
under 2,000 active members. The 2001 UK Census recorded 1,839 people who identified themselves as being Scientologists. As of 2007 the CoS claimed 120,000 UK members.
http://newsfrombree.co.uk/stolgy_0.htm
http://newsfrombree.co.uk/stolgy_32.htm

Ray Hill has the 990 filings from some of the front groups, which list a number of employees: http://www.xenu-directory.net/documents/corporate/

For instance, Narconon of Georgia lists 15 employees for 2007 and 2006, 10 for 2005, etc.  http://www.xenu-directory.net/documents/corporate/990s.php?ntt=77

Gold Base: Graham Berry says, "Recently, when I have been at the 550 acre Gold Base, the shades are all drawn and there is virtually no external movement anywhere by the claimed 500 staffers."
Google thows up a warning about this page, so use your judgement on whether to visit it or not: www.grahamberry.com/?p=16

http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html estimates the total number of adults and children in the US in 2004 to be 77,621 - that would be an average of 1552 per state - and I know there aren't anywhere near that many in Georgia, and some states don't have orgs or missions, so I would tend to think that is high (especially now, with members leaving in droves). 

Of course, there is a lot of overlap between members and people who work for a front group, for a scientologist-owned business, or for scientology itself, so it's difficult to come up with any hard and fast estimates.  The information is just too closely guarded, from critics and especially from members. 

Scientology itself cannot be trusted to give accurate numbers - Scientology of Georgia said 600 in Ga. to a reporter, but said 100 in the zoning hearings for the Ga. Ideal Org, so to them, it's a "shore story," whatever suits their needs at the moment.  If I remember correctly, they claimed 20 staff members at the current org.

 :)  Sorry not to be of more help - this would make one gigantic project, accumulating these numbers, if anyone wanted to take it on.
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Offline Lorelei

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 04:47 »
this would make one gigantic project, accumulating these numbers, if anyone wanted to take it on.

And those numbers would be much lower by the time you finished collecting them all, at the current rate of attrition.
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Offline mefree

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 07:34 »
Every day we hear about someone leaving and those are just the ones that we know about. Many are leaving and laying low for a while.
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
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Offline Chica28

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2010, 02:50 »
I appreciate the discussion and the information.  I will follow-up and do some reading via the links you all have shared.

I feel like my self investigation and learning of Scientology is like a tree full of many limbs, branches, you name it.  You start on one path and there are all kinds of branches the splinter off and it opens up so much more to read and learn.  It is never ending...especially as more of you open up and share your stories.

Thank you.

Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2010, 09:04 »
You're welcome. 

As people get more involved with scientology, their non-scientology world tends to shrink.  Their obsession with scientology (and insistence on discussing nothing else) puts off their existing non-scientology friends.  Their use of the specialized language in unintelligible to most people, which further isolates them from non-scientologists - and this is by design (there is more discussion of this in the Scientology glossary thread on this forum). 

As their world shrinks, they become more drawn to associating with other scientologists, and acquire a feeling that the non-scientology world is a frightening and dangerous place (this is also by design).  This tends to cause them to go to work for other scientologists, or join staff at the org, or the Sea Org - thus the overlap in members and people who work in some capacity for scientology or its entities.

Before they realize it, their entire world is comprised of scientologists, and scientology becomes the only focus in their life.  (A similar thing can happen to critics, too, if we're not careful.)

Of course, there are some who remain public members, work a regular job, have non-scienologist friends, and so forth, so don't take what I've said as applying to all members.

I can definitely sympathize with you about the tree concept - some have characterized it as a rabbit hole.
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Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2010, 17:15 »
This article estimates that there are 500 followers in Minnesota:
http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/89722477.html?elr=KArks:DCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

Personally, I think that is a high estimate.
According to http://www.classbrain.com/artstate/publish/article_1244.shtml 
Population of Minnesota in 2009: 5,266,214
Population of Georgia: 9,829,211
and Georgia has somewhere between 100 and 600 (depending on who you believe and when they said it.)

There is some more in this article from April 2010: From Science to Scientology: Church of Scientology transforming old museum into new headquarters
Quote
According to Ellen Maher-Forney, the church’s regional representative for the Midwest, there are about 1,000 Scientologists in the area, which has been based since 1991 at 1011 Nicollet Ave. in downtown Minneapolis.

Overall, the Minneapolis branch serves about 7,000 members that the Clearwater-Fla.-based Church of Scientology has in the five-state region—including Wisconsin, northern Iowa and the Dakotas, according to Maher-Forney.

About three dozen staff members see to that work out of the Nicollet Avenue offices. But Maher-Forney said that “approximately 200” staff members will be occupying the new regional headquarters in St. Paul.
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Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 18:05 »
According to this document from Mt San Jacinto College, there were 600 employees of Golden Era Studios/Int Base in 2007; it was the 6th largest employer in the area at the time.  (I believe this number was given by Gold Base itself, so it may be suspect, and of course, may have changed over the course of 3 years.)

As a point of comparison, Walmart was 5th, with 700 employees.  (Walmart pays better, and lets you go home when your hours are up for the day!)

http://pdc.sbccd.cc.ca.us/Docs/ES_Reports/Mt.San_Jacinto_College_EScan_5-08.pdf

Quote
Introduction and Scope
This profile report provides brief information and analysis of demographic characteristics, business concentration, industry make up and lists of high-growth occupations within Mt. San Jacinto College Service area. The reports is aimed at assisting MSJC administration in decision-making regarding future educational and training programs that would be appropriate and timely for the current demographic and economic situation in the area.
The analysis in this report includes data for the following ZIP codes falling into the service area of Mt. San Jacinto College (see GIS Map on the next page) ...snip... see PDF.
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Offline Mary_McConnell

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2010, 15:19 »
Mike Rinder, in his interview with Tom Smith on Hawk Radio yesterday, states that there are about 40,000 at most and about 6,000 of the 8,000 Scn centers short ( including groups, missions etc) that the church states exisit around the world. lol!
http://theedgewithtomsmith.com/a/TheEdgeMRinder1.mp3

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Offline Lorelei

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2010, 07:27 »
Rinder must be counting "indies" in his guesstimate. I believe it was Mark Headley who tied the numbers down to eMeter sales and guesstimated at most 23-25,000 Scientologists who were "devout" enough to purchase the mandatory and grossly price-inflated eMeter.

Given that they also count anyone who darkens their door as a Scientologist, even if it was just a random passer-by taking one of their tests, we may never know exact numbers. As was said above, the number is definitely a moving target, and requires another question to be asked and answered first: What are the prerequisites for being a Scientologist?

If merely taking one of their tests or buying a book or attending a single lecture is the prerequisite, then their numbers will be grossly inflated (as we know they are). If it requires someone stating proudly that they are a Scientologist (and not "I'm not a Scientologist, but..." which amounts to the same thing, more often than not), then I'd be surprised if they could even scoop up the 23-25k Headley guesstimated, indies or otherwise.

So, part of the problem is defining what makes someone a Scientologist, perhaps by taking what the cult considers and what non-cult members consider, and finding some sort of happy medium in the middle. Good luck with that, as both definitions tend to vary widely, in my experience.

If we targeted those who made it past the "yep, we can haz Xenu, despite the lies we told you before" OT3 stage, and only counted those who are still active within the cult, what do you think the total number would be now?
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Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2010, 10:19 »
 The actual number of practicing sci's has been a topic of discussion for many years. Here's a little derail. Is there enough members to feed the machine from a financial pov? It must cost a bundle in operating costs. If membership dwindles across the board and the front groups possibly being marginalized, where does the day to day cash flow come from?

 Outside investments? Rental of sci owned real estate to the wog world?

Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2010, 12:04 »
The actual number of practicing sci's has been a topic of discussion for many years. Here's a little derail. Is there enough members to feed the machine from a financial pov? It must cost a bundle in operating costs. If membership dwindles across the board and the front groups possibly being marginalized, where does the day to day cash flow come from?

 Outside investments? Rental of sci owned real estate to the wog world?

I believe there is enough money in the coffers for the organization to run for a long, long time after everyone quits donating (if that even happens). 

Someone somewhere had posted figures for the money that would be gained by interest alone for the money collected for the Super Power building, and why it was more profitable for them not to finish the building.  The fines for not finishing it were miniscule in comparison to the interest being gained on the money in the bank set aside for it.  Apologies for not having a link at hand. 

Losing members could, however, result in a loss of the 501 c(3) status.  There is a list of 14 requirements that the IRS uses to determine tax free status for a church, and having members is heavy on the list.  I will try to make a new thread about this soon, unless someone else wants to run with it first. 
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Offline ethercat

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Re: How Many Scientologists ARE There, REALLY?
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2010, 19:57 »
Roger Gonnet, a long-time critic in France and published author of a book about Scientology, estimates there are less than 300 "core members" in France now: http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/topic,5931.msg13917.html#msg13917

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