Scientology Critical Information Directory

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«The Distribution Division in advertising the Foundation Services and in coaching Field Staff Members is to bring about the following general effect on the broad public and lower course applicants: ... That Scientology is successful and expanding. ...» — L. Ron Hubbard, HCOPL of 16 September 1965, "Foundation"

Kristi Wachter: Source Magazine Statistics - Analysis Summary

As part of my ongoing project of compiling and analyzing Scientology's statistics, I am collecting statistics from Source magazine, the magazine of the Church of Scientology's Flag Service Organization in Clearwater, Florida.

The data show that Flag's stats peaked in the late 80s and have never recovered since.

The following analysis was done in September, 2004. An updated version, including complete statistics for 2004, is available at the Source 2004 Analysis page. [...]

Scientologists online: Changes between Dec. 2002 and Jan. 2007

In July of 1998, a letter from Flag was sent to scientologists asking them to join the "Scientologist On-Line Crusade," which purpose was to "to have 100,000 Scientologists On-line by New Years 1999." Scientologists were to provide a personal success story on how Dianetics and Scientology helped them. It has been reported that this project was to actually improve the ranking of Scientology-owned web sites in Google search engine.

In 1998, Scientology spokespersons claimed membership of 8 millions. It is thus surprising that their goal for their "Scientologist On-Line Crusade" would be a mere 100,000, or 1.25% of their claimed membership. What is even more surprising — keeping in mind the claimed membership of 8 million — is that only around 16,000 scientologists actually ended up being a "Scientologist On-Line"... And this number has been declining as can be seen below, despite the spokesperson claims that Scientology is "the fastest-growing religion." (see Rolling Stone (2006): "Inside Scientology" by Janet Reitman)

Following is a list of added/removed "Scientologist On-Line" between Dec. 2002 and Jan. 2007: [...]

Robert V. Young: How Scientology "Grew" to 8 Million Members

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 stairs.

Okay, so it wasn't "Saturday Night Live" but that was pretty much how we treated it. I think we stayed with the 1.5 that time. But it soon moved up to 2 million and it has climbed ever since. [...]

Operation Clambake: "How many Scientologists are there?"

Hartley Patterson: "Millions of members?"

Quick reality check for journalists

If a CoS spokesperson says "millions of members" to you, ask to see his IAS membership card. Membership of the International Association of Scientologists is required for services to be taken in the CoS. It costs $450 a year or $3,000 for Lifetime membership, the card is issued to Lifetime members.

The rightmost eight digits are a cumulative member number (see picture below). That number will not be more than 150,000. People who have died or left the CoS since 1984 are still part of that total, so the actual number of Lifetime members must be smaller.

Now rephrase that question. "How many IAS members are there?" [...]

Arnaldo Lerma: How many Scientologists are there?

In the Scientologists Online[tm] effort to create web sites that point at Scientology to raise google ratings, there are only about 16,000 names - and this is after a massive campaign to get as many scientologists as possible to have their own Scientology Online websites -- even people who don't have computers or email -- to maximize the apparent number of people who are willing to publicly say they are proudly a Scientologist. As I said, that effort only managed to find about 16,000 people.

Of the 16,000, about 8500 are in the US and of those, 3700 in California, 1500 in Florida, and the rest scattered.

Affidavit of Mary Tabayoyon (5 March 1994)

26.  Another oddity was I would sometimes note how poorly many of the lower Sea Org Organizations were doing and some of the lower Class IV Organizations.  Despite this, Miscavige would portray the International Scientology Scene as doing fantastically well and booming, at all the major Scientology events where he and all his immediate juniors called IG's (Inspector Generals) would talk.  Each portraying their area of responsibility as doing fabulously well!

ABC News (1992): Excerpts of "A conversation with David Miscavige"

Comparative membership from different sources

  Church of Scientology PR sources    Other sources
2007-Jan Evening Standard, UK (Jan. 12): "Labour takes cash from cult charity", p. 2

«The Church of Scientology is one of the world's fastest-growing religions, claiming to have more than eight million members, with more than 100,000 in the UK.»

8 million
100,000 (U.K.)
2006-Apr David Miscavige keynote speaker at 35th anniversary Gala (10 April 2006)

«Church officials say that the church's popularity in the arts mirrors its overall growth, with nearly 9 million members in over 150 countries.»

9 million    
2006-Feb Rolling Stone: "Inside Scientology" by Janet Reitman

«Born in 1954, the group now claims 10 million members in 159 countries and more than 6,000 Scientology churches, missions and outreach groups across the globe.»

10 million    
2005-Nov The Today Show (3 November 2005)

«Well, yeah, there's about 10 million around the world spread among 156 countries with churches, missions and groups now totalling about 4200 internationally.»

10 million    
2004-Sep Deseret News: "Scientology: Church now claims more than 8 million members"

«According to Scientology headquarters in Los Angeles, the church now claims more than 8 million members in 159 countries.»

8 million    
2001     55,000 (U.S.) American Religious Identification Survey (2001)
1999-07 The Express: "How I was reduced to black despair by 'caring' church's personality test"

«The cult now claims to have about 100,000 members in Britain and eight million worldwide.»

8 million
100,000 (U.K.)
1995-Oct The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia): "Inside the cult"

«It boasts a worldwide membership of more than 4 million people and one of the biggest computer databases of personal information in existence.»

4 million    
1994-Mar Evening Argus (28 March 1994): "Secrets of Saint Hill"

«Today Scientology claims a membership of millions worldwide and more than 300,000 in Britain.»

300,000 (U.K.)    
1993-Oct-22 New York Times: "Scientologists Report Assets of $400 Million"

«Scientology officials say the church has eight million members, a figure that is disputed by many who have left the church and other critics.»

8 million    
1993-Oct-08     100,000 David Miscavige's IAS speech (8 October 1993)

Chris Owen: «The IAS is essentially a fund-raising body for the Church of Scientology; it gives awards to those who donate large sums. As its rolls contain only active Scientologists, its membership roster (about 100,000) is probably the most accurate record of the size of the Church of Scientology's membership.»

1993-Jun The National Law Journal (Jun. 1993): "Church's litany of lawsuits"

"Church leaders say Scientology is the world's fastest growing religion . . . It claims 8 million members; 4.5 million to 5 million in the United States."

8 million
4.5 - 5 million (U.S.)
1992-Feb Nightline, ABC News - A Conversation with David Miscavige, Part 1 (14 February 1992)

«The church says it now has centers in over 70 countries [...] The church says these men and women are only the most dedicated of eight million members worldwide. Church of Scientology president Heber Jentzsch. [interviewing] How do you get to call them members?

«HEBER JENTZSCH, President, Church of Scientology: Because they joined and they came in and they studied Scientology.

«SAWYER: They took one course, maybe.

«Mr. JENTZSCH: Well, that's how valuable the course is. Eight million people, yes, over a period of the last- since 1954.»

8 million    
1992-Jan AFP: 30 arrested in Paris crackdown on Scientologists

«The Scientology Church, founded in 1954 by the mysterious Hubbard, who died in 1986, claims six million members worldwide.»

6 million    
1990-Oct     <= 125,000 Affidavit of Martin Ottmann (19 April 1996)

«The "Central Files-Section" consisted of 125,000 folders of FSO-publics and prospects, who had bought courses or auditing or who had had at least filled out a questionnaire one time in the past. The personnel of that section had to administrate the filing of the folders, which were used in other departments of the FSO too.»

1990-Jun The Scientology Story by Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos (24 June 1990)

«Scientology executives estimate the church's membership to be more than 6.5 million, although some former members believe the actual number is smaller.»

6.5 million    
1990     45,000 (U.S.) American Religious Identification Survey (1990)

How Many Scientologists

«The 20 Nov. 93 Newsweek (p.80) reports on a statistical study of religion in the USA. As studies go, pretty big: they questioned 113,000 people. They report that there are 45,000 Scientologists in the USA.»

1987     40,000 Jon Atack: "The Total Freedom Trap: Scientology, Dianetics And L. Ron Hubbard"
1986-Oct Forbes: "The prophet and profits of Scientology" by Richard Behar

«The church claims more than 6 million active members, a figure it has used for 15 years.»

6 million    
1984-Oct Sunday Times: "Sinking the Master Mariner"

«By the mid-Seventies, Scientology's aggressive proselytizing had attracted, by its own count, more than 6 million followers around the world.»

6 million    
1983     45,000 Mark Plummer: SO ED 68 US (1983)

«45,000 had completed a "major service" (training and/or auditing)»

1983-Jun Penthouse: "Inside The Church of Scientology: An Exclusive Interview with L. Ron Hubbard, Jr."

«Jentzsch: ... Six and a half million people who are living good lives, with a tremendous capability...»

6.5 million    
1980-Jan Toronto Globe and Mail: "Secret Ontario documents found in U.S. cult's files"

«Mr. Whitman said there are 298 separate units with a membership of five million.»

5 million    
1978-Oct The Chronicle Telegram: "Scientology: Another pop psychology?"

«The church claims 4 million members belonging to missions and churches in every free country on earth.»

4 million    
1978-Aug Los Angeles Times: "Scientology: A Long Trail of Controversy" by Robert Gillette and Robert Rawitch

«When pressed for the number of people consistently involved in Scientology in the United States, spokesmen have — for the past two years — put forward the figure of 600,000.»

600,000 (U.S.)    
1978 The Reader Digest: "Scientology: Anatomy of a Frightening Cult" by Eugene H. Methvin

«By 1978 the organization claimed 79 churches, 172 “missions” and 5,437,000 members worldwide.»

5.437 million    
1977-Oct Colombus Telegram: "Scientologists wage war on the giants" by Ray Kipp

«With more than 1.5 million followers in the United States and four million worldwide»

4 million
1.5 million (U.S.)
1977-Aug Valley News: "The Church of Scientology - Religion or traveling medicine show?"

«Spokesmen say it is the fastest growing religion in the world, with 4.2 million members in the U.S. and 5.5 million worldwide.»

5.5 million
4.2 million (U.S.)
Robert V. Young: "How Scientology 'Grew' to 8 Million Members"

«[...] 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 out.)

«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. [...]»

1976 Las Vegas Sun: "Scientology student death probe" by Sharon Spigelmyer

«The church, which has about 600,000 active members, emphasizes "great personal awareness, happiness, self-respect and awareness of the world affairs," Maren said.»

1974-Jan Winnipeg Free Press: "The Church of Scientology: communication and mental health" by B. R. Warren

«Presently the organization claims churches in 31 countries, 9 million world members and 100,000 Canadian members.»

9 million
100,000 (Canada)
1972 Los Angeles Times (May 1973): "Scientologists making impact on West Side"

«Worldwide, according to a 1972 census, Scientology has 5.5 million followers, and membership is doubling annually every years»

5.5 million    
1971-Jun Valley Morning Star (Jun. 1971): "Unconventional Modern Religion Hitting Snags" by George W. Cornell

«Incorporated just 16 years ago, under direction of its founder the iconoclastic American scientist-thinker L. Ron Hubbard, the church now claims three million participants in this country, 10 million worldwide.»

10 million
3 million (U.S.)
1970-Oct "Final Blackout", Leisure Books paperback edition, October 1970

«[L. Ron Hubbard] IS ALSO renowned as the founder of Scientology and the creator of "Dianetics," with an estimated 15 million adherents around the world.» [ref]

15 million    
1970 Press-Telegram: "Action Line"

«The controversial religion claims to have five million followers in the United Stales.»

5 million (U.S.)    
1969-Dec Valley News (Dec. 1969): "Scientology Leader Denies Manson 'Family' Connection" by Randi Mettetal

«Rev. Mustain noted there are about 15,000,000 members of the Church of Scientology throughout the world. About 5,000,000 are in the United States and of those, 250,000 are in Southern California, he said.»

15 million
5 million (U.S.)
1969-Mar Pacific Stars And Stripes: "Scientology — Help? Hindrance?" by Tom A. Cullen

«The weird religion now has over three million followers in America, I was told by the cult's official spokesman»

3 million (U.S.)    
1968-Sep Iowa City Press-Citizen (Sep. 1968): "'Largest Mental Health Institution' Becomes Storm Center in Britain" by David Lancashire

«Caiman said Scientology has more than 100,000 members in Britain.»

100,000 (U.K.)    
1966-Feb Daily Mail (Feb. 1966): "Attention the Minister of Health: This man is bogus" 5,000-10,000 (U.K.)    
1964-March Saturday Evening Post (March 1964): "Have You Ever Been A Boo-Hoo?" "several million"    

Source not attributed:

1984/05/16: six million devotees worldwide [Clearwater Sun - Witness: Hubbard used Black Magic]
1966/08/22: 100,000 in the whole world [MacLean's: "Is this the happiest man in the world?"]

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