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One issue that comes up with regularity is the one about how many Scientologists there are.

There are a number of possible categories:

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.
3. All past and present IAS members plus members of the old membership body (HASI members).
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 been baptized.
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 services?

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 applications).

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 services.

Ptsc (19 Nov, 2000):> After all you cultists think you have eight million members!

P>What fucking morons!

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.

To the 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 case.

Here are the comments that Mike, the Scientologist I mentioned, made on 16 November 2000:

From: "mike" <mike@SPAMscientia.freeserveSPAM.co.uk>
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2000

Name me one religion that *doesn't* have problems pinning down reasonable estimates of their membership.

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 magazine.

On 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 local mailings.

 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, and Flag.

That's my take, anyhow. <shrug>

As for '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. <vbg>

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 figure.

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 called 'Not.'

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 million.

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."

This quotation was taken from "Scientology, A Reference Work, "Theology & Practice of a Contemporary Religion." Introduction, page X. "

It's an interesting book, but unfortunately the on-line version is in pdf format which I find tedious to navigate.


Nevertheless, 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 Scientologist?

Well, it ~can~ be defined quite broadly.

Here is the first definition in the Scientology technical dictionary:

A 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 statement:

"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 religious?

From Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary (1994):

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, happiness, etc.

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 circumstances.

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 regularly undertaken:


Here 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 explosions.

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 them.

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."


"Volunteer 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 operation."

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 Italy."


"The 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 pledge."


"Groups 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 this area."


[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.]

"In 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.

In 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 against drugs."


Is that enough information about the great activities we do?

You want ~more~ fascinating quotes?


No, I'm sorry. That's quite enough for now.

(And rather more than enough for some of you I'm sure.)

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 recently.

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 1954.

". . . they joined and they came in and they studied Scientology." (Heber Jentzsch)

That definition was given on the following TV show:

Forrest Sawyer: How do you get to call them members?

Heber Jentzsch: Because they joined and they came in and they studied Scientology.

Forrest Sawyer: They took one course, maybe.

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

- 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 Hartley.

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 above).

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 going.

Why doesn't the church give out more statistics?

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.

You 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 Bob.


You say you don't believe Bob pays activists?

I remember some people muttering something on that line.

Here, for the very ~first~ time and for the very ~last~ time, is the evidence!


----- Original Message -----

From: "Bob Minton" <bobminton@lisatrust.net>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2000 4:18 AM
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.

BM> You pathetic scum.


Still interesting lads?

Whoops, I've lost track of the story. Where were we?

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 senior).

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 ethical!

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 money)!

 : )

Hope this helps

Freddie T


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