One issue that comes up with
regularity is the one about how many Scientologists there
There are a number of
1. The number of paid up
International Association of Scientologists (IAS) members.
2. Paid up
members of the IAS who have done Scientology services recently.
past and present IAS members plus members of the old membership body (HASI
5. People who consider that they are Scientologists
and who support the CofS.
6. All the people who consider they
are Scientologists whether or not they support the CofS (there are various
definitions of Scientologist).
8. The number of people who have ever
done a service in a Scientology organization. This is similar to the
definition of members used in Catholicism - more or less anyone who has
9. Those people who have been helped by Scientology, but
who are not Scientologists themselves (such as someone who has been helped
to get off drugs).
It's a big subject and I've written
a few things about it. But how many Scientologists are there?
Eight million? Currently doing
I don't think so.
I think that
the figure of eight million members that is sometimes mentioned refers to
the total number of people who have ~ever~ taken a service with the CofS.
It doesn't mean the number of
Scientologists doing services right now.
And if someone ~does~ mean that, then
they are wrong (in my opinion). I have been very impressed with the three
orgs I have personally visited this year. Two of them have doubled the
size of their buildings within the last five years and all three were
looking better than I've ever seen them. The staff were studying, the
people looked bright, etc, etc.
But ... I don't think we have
eight million members.
We might have had 8 million people take
services since 1954. That would be an impressive figure in itself - but if
any spokespeople for the church are referring to that figure they should
be clear about it .
One interesting point is that we believe
that a person has many lifetimes so we keep a person's counseling folders
even after an individual has died--so that she can pick up her services
where she left off in her next lifetime (by which point of course, 'she'
may be a 'he').
The '8 million' figure is confusing partly because
there's another statistic which doesn't refer to 'members' but rather to
the total number of people (including non-Scientologists) who are being
helped with Scientology (in both its religious and secular
I can't prove that either figure is right, but
nevertheless they do make more sense than the idea that the CofS is
claiming 8 million members are currently doing
Ptsc (19 Nov, 2000):> After all
you cultists think you have eight million members!
Hartley (8 Dec, 2000):> The media now believe that the
Church of Scientology has far fewer than the 8 million members it claims.
There is a simple way for the CoS to prove this claim - open their
membership data to the public.
best of my knowledge, only one Scientologist has given his opinion on ars
about the membership figures (certainly recently). I thought that even if
Hartley was correct (he was) in stating that the church had claimed to
have 8 million members; Ptsc was definitely embroidering the
Here are the comments that Mike, the Scientologist I
mentioned, made on 16 November 2000:
Thursday, November 16, 2000
Name me one religion that *doesn't*
have problems pinning down reasonable estimates of their
Personally, I don't accept 8 million as a factual
estimate of our membership. I could be wrong, who knows. I tend to take
more analytical estimate based on the mailing lists of local Scientology
centers and churches, who tend to have only one major monthly
http://www.whatisscientology.org/Html/Part11/Chp32/pg0556-c.html and in
the 1998 book 'What is Scientology' the local mailing list figure reaches
an approximate 3,218,900. To accept this we must take into account that
some people on the local mailing lists are not active in Scientology, and
also the fact that some active Scientologists may not possibly receive
So as a personal estimation, I would say that
there were at least 3 million people active in Scientology in 1997. This
figure is almost certainly to have risen over the last three years,
however, by at least 500,000 imo.
Of course, going by the local
stats, one is probably ignoring the stats of Advanced Orgs, Saint Hills,
That's my take, anyhow. <shrug>
'fastest growing religion'...well...as I understand it statistical
religious growth is traditionally measured over fifty year periods.
Hubbard was one man in 1950. In the year 2000, by my calculations, he has
at least 3.5 million followers. My math maybe wrong, but do you know any
other religion that grew by 350,000,000% within fifty years? I think not.
OK. So the only other
Scientologist who has expressed an opinion here recently ~doesn't~
necessarily agree with the 8 million figure. As he says, he might be
wrong, but the figures he arrives at don't get anywhere close to that
I think that it's very rare for Church spokespeople to lie.
On the other hand I believe that, like the Public Relations staff who work
for companies, governments and religions around the world, they ~do~ like
to put as good a face on a situation as possible.
On ars I've found
that, so far (since 1993/4), the good things I know to be true about
Scientology (from personal experience) have been ignored or derided. And
every negative thing has been twisted out of shape to make it seem far
worse than it is.
I therefore decided to look a little more closely
at where the '8 million' came from.
I was helped out in my search
of this area by three critics; Hartley Patterson, who has a web page which
goes over some of his ideas on the subject; Chris Leitheser; and a poster
At first I got confused, as there are at least two
separate statistical figures (that count different things), and both of
these, at different times, have been estimated to total 8
I've had to work these definitions out from the limited
information available and I might restate them later if I can collect any
more applicable raw data. The figure 'eight million' is an estimate for
two separate things:
1. It has been used as a wide-ranging
statistical figure which includes everyone who has recently been ~helped~
by a Scientology group or activity.
2. A cumulative statistical
figure which includes more or less everyone who has ever taken a service
in a Scientology organization since 1954.
Here's a closer look
at the first one:
1. Everyone who has recently been helped by a
Scientology group or activity.
I think this definition applies in
the following passage:
"Today, more than
3,000 churches, missions and related organizations, groups and activities
span the globe, ministering to some 8 million people in more than 100
countries in over 30 languages."
quotation was taken from "Scientology, A Reference Work, "Theology &
Practice of a Contemporary Religion." Introduction, page X. "
an interesting book, but unfortunately the on-line version is in pdf
format which I find tedious to
there's a lot of good information there for anyone interested in the
theological aspects of Scientology.
A key point to note in the
above sentence is that the 8 million people are ~not~ being spoken of as
being necessarily Scientologists.
What incidentally ~is~ a
Well, it ~can~ be defined quite broadly.
is the first definition in the Scientology technical
Scientologist is "one who betters the
conditions of himself and the conditions of others by using Scientology
technology. (Aud 73 UK)"
This is a very
inclusive definition, and it could be argued that this would also cover a
number of people in the freezone; some who have been expelled from the
church (!); and also people who have bought a book or have seen an article
and thereafter, totally on their own, apply the techniques they have
learned to improve conditions in their lives.
However, someone for
example who received a locational assist to help them orient themselves
after the trauma of an earthquake ~wouldn't~ be counted as a Scientologist
- but they ~would~ have been ministered to.
Someone who bought a
book wouldn't necessarily be a Scientologist either. They would have to be
using the information to improve 'the conditions of himself and the
conditions of others'.
Let's look back at the original
"Today, more than 3,000
churches, missions and related organizations, groups and activities span
the globe, ministering to some 8 million people in more than 100 countries
in over 30 languages."
Maybe we should
now look at the meaning of the word 'ministering'. Is it exclusively
From Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary
ministering (v.i.) 8. to perform
the functions of a religious minister 9. to give service, care or aid;
attend, as to wants, necessities, etc 10. to contribute, as to comfort,
So no, not necessarily.
There are undoubtedly many individual Scientologists and groups who
minister to others (definition 9 or 10) in a very wide set of
I should try to back this statement up, and
fortunately for me there is now a web site which contains descriptions,
examples and pictures of the various types of activities that are
some examples to give you the flavor:
"Volunteer Ministers have provided assists to people in need
around the world in the aftermath of earthquakes, floods, fires and
One successful team of Volunteer Ministers mobilized in
January 1995, when Kobe, Japan, was hit by an earthquake - one of the most
catastrophic of the twentieth century. Relief centers were set up
throughout the city. Medical teams tended to the physical needs of the
residents, followed by the Volunteer Ministers who gave more than four
thousand assists. The assists were so popular that lectures were set up to
teach others, including many Red Cross volunteers, how to administer
When a massive earthquake rocked Los Angeles in 1994, local
Volunteer Ministers were among the first to provide assistance. Within
twenty four hours, they were distributing food, clothing, blankets and
other supplies to those hit hardest by the disaster. Working together with
Red Cross and volunteers from other churches, they set up relief shelters
in the neighborhood which had been at the epicenter of the quake. Day and
night, Volunteer Ministers delivered Scientology assists to those who had
been injured or traumatized. In all, Scientologists contributed more than
ten thousand hours of volunteer work, and were acknowledged by city,
county and state leaders."
Ministers also trained Red Cross personnel in assist technology at the
remote scene of the 1998 earthquake in Western China, so they could
provide relief to earthquake victims. In Korea, another team ministered to
children, after an industrial explosion. When floods hit St. Louis,
Missouri, in 1997, Volunteer Ministers from around the country worked
alongside the American Red Cross, which commended their support as
"invaluable and vital to the success of the relief
Volunteer Ministers were likewise active and on the
scenes of the major 1989 San Francisco earthquake, the territories of
Florida devastated by Hurricane Andrew, and the 1994 floods in northern
program began in April 1993 when two hundred children between the ages of
six and thirteen were sworn in by the director of the Los Angeles FBI's
Drug Demand Reduction Program. Since that time, tens of thousands of
children and adults - including US senators and congressmen, state
legislators, mayors, judges and police chiefs - have signed this
of church volunteers and celebrities in Italy lead regular citywide drives
to round up and safely dispose of used hypodermic syringes, discarded in
public parks by addicts - potentially lethal hazards. Rome, Verona,
Padova, Torino, Brescia, Pordenone, Novara, Monza, Florence and Milan have
all benefited from such cleanup drives. Officials in many of these cities
support this important public service by providing equipment to collect
and dispose of the discarded syringes.
Scientologists' industry in
combating drug abuse has been widely recognized. Scores of cities
throughout the world have issued commendations to the Church for its
anti-drug work. From Perth to Adelaide in Australia, from Madrid to
Stockholm to Milan in Europe, from Cape Town to Pretoria in South Africa,
from more than forty cities in the United States and fifty in Canada, city
governments have recognized the value of the efforts of Scientologists in
[Freddie: As an aside, there's a nice picture on that
page, and it shows that the Italian team who go out to clean up hypodermic
needles from the local parks look rather more impressive than the recent
pickets I've seen photographed.]
support of its international grass-roots fight against drugs, the Church
of Scientology unites concerned community groups and stages public
awareness forums, anti-drug rallies and educational conferences.
the United States, for instance, Church-sponsored anti-drug campaigns have
helped millions of people by fighting further drug proliferation. It has
done so through enlisting the aid of celebrities for concerts with
anti-drug themes; by raising funds for youth groups such as the Police
Activities League, which provides tutorial services for disadvantaged
youth; and by hosting conferences of community leaders involved in
anti-drug activities, such as that in Washington, DC, which led city
commissioner Bob King to present the Church's local "Lead the Way to a
Drug-Free USA" program with a proclamation lauding its efforts in the war
Is that enough information about the great
activities we do?
You want ~more~ fascinating
No, I'm sorry. That's quite enough for
(And rather more than enough for some of you I'm
But above I've only given you a few examples. Really you
should go and have a look for yourself. There are details of many more
kinds of helpful activity (with more nice photographs).
Back to the
main story then:
Of the two statistical figures, I think that this
first one is the more useful and the one which gives a better idea of
Scientology today. It also appears to be the one being used more often
But let's look now at the other way that it has been
stated that we have 8 million members.
Ptsc (19 Nov):>After all you cultists think you have
eight million members!
P> What fucking morons!
2. More or less everyone who has ever taken a service in
a Scientology organization since 1954.
The '8 million members' figure is a
cumulative statistic which includes more or less everyone who has ever
taken a service in a Scientology organization since
". . .
they joined and they came in and they studied Scientology." (Heber
definition was given on the following TV show:
Forrest Sawyer: How do you get to call them
Heber Jentzsch: Because they joined and they came in and
they studied Scientology.
Forrest Sawyer: They took one course,
Heber Jentzsch: Well, that's how valuable the course is.
Eight million people, yes, over a period of the last - since
- ABC Nightline, Feb. 14, 1992
I think this means that the '8 million members'
figure we have seen is a cumulative tally of those people who've taken a
service since 1954.
This definition of member can be considered
comparable to the way that the Catholic church counts as members almost
everyone who has been baptized.
Here is what Hartley has to say on
this on his website:
"This is not
actually a unique viewpoint. The Roman Catholic Church claims as
'Catholic' anyone baptised into the Church. There is a procedure for
renouncing membership, but it is little known and rarely used. Like Rev
Jentzsch's definition this is however a theological one, not one that
relates to the real world. In the real world 'membership' requires mutual
acknowledgement: I am a member of the Tolkien Society only if both I and
the Society say I am."
A very good point
It's an interesting statistical figure, although it's
obviously not the same as the number of people who are going on course
regularly, or the number of IAS members, or even the number of people who
go to events a few times a year (such as myself). Those haven't been
released. Although there is a recent (1997) figure which shows the
circulation total of local Church magazines (see Mike's post
But this second definition of the eight million members is
still useful. It helps to show the influence that Scientology has had over
the years. It would be better if a greater percentage of those people were
more involved of course; but as far as I can see, the Church is now
working on smoothing out its services to help more people keep
Why doesn't the church give out
Well, partly it's difficult to know who to
count (a problem all churches have, as Mike said above) and also, as I
said earlier, all PR representatives are interested in creating good
public relations for the bodies they represent. They therefore tend to use
the most favorable definitions they can, and give out the statistics which
sound the best.
This coyness about less favorable sounding
statistics certainly isn't unique to the Church of Scientology.
want an example?
I can't think of one off-hand. . . oh hold on,
wait a sec . . . y-e-s-s s . . . that might do. . .
You might also
have noticed the LMT being a little shy about some of their figures! Here
are the ones that spring to mind: annual picketing trends; number of
attendees at their recent benefit concert; number of Scientologists who've
walked over the road and openly embraced a new reality; number of court
cases lost; and the number of activists being paid by
You say you don't believe Bob pays
I remember some people muttering something on that
Here, for the very ~first~ time and for the very ~last~ time,
is the evidence!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Minton" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2000 4:18
Subject: Re: Gregg Hagglund - LIAR
Dorsai >>Gregg claimed he was a millionaire. He was
not, nor has he ever been a millionaire.
BM >snip dorsai's drivel
BM> You are
the liar dorsai because I have personally given Gregg more than a million.
You dorsai, who have no money, are not in a position to say who has or had
what, except that OSA gives you your daily marching orders.
You pathetic scum.
Whoops, I've lost track of the story. Where
Oh yes. . . PR representatives are interested in
creating good public relations for the bodies they represent. They
therefore tend to use the most favorable definitions they can, and give
out the statistics which sound the best.
However it's a big mistake
to lie about these things (or even to make errors in what you say about
these things) as one's competitors or opponents tend to come back and
sneer loudly. You may be familiar with a few famous examples from the
political arena (think of what happened to poor old Clinton and Mr. Bush
In some instances, lying can result in penalties even
~worse~ than being sneered at. If one lies under oath for example one is
subject to charges of perjury (if it is ~somehow~ later revealed that one
did indeed lie).
I haven't been following the thread about the 48
subpoenas at the LMT but I would guess that if one of those people breaks
rank/cuts a deal/sells out for money/gets even because of an affront -
well then it ~could~ be tricky for the other 47.
But maybe not.
Hey, hey, everything at the LMT could be above board and
Better hope so, eh boys?
But if ~you~ know
different . . . well you might like to think about beating the rush back
across the road ( maybe you could get to double your
Hope this helps