One opened, more to go... Operation Clambake presents:

How many Scientologists are there?


Based on a posting to ARS by

From "The Auditor: Special International Edition" (copyright 1995 CSI):

"That more people are auditing than ever in history is perhaps best shown by the 1.3 million hours of auditing delivered this past year in Scientology organizations all over the world."

If Co$ has 8 million members, as its PR people claim, this works out to about 10 minutes of auditing per member per year. If there are only 50,000 Scientologists worldwide, as critics claim, it works out to about 25 hours of auditing each per year. Since auditing is sold in "intensives" of 12 1/2 or 25 hours, the latter estimate appears more accurate. (Presumably the 1.3 million hours includes solo auditing, co-auditing on course, etc.)

Elsewhere in this issue, the "Senior C/S International" says:

"Clearing the planet is a deadly serious activity ... We have 5.4 billion people on this planet, and to go free, we must all make it."

The "Executive Director International" says:

"Our goal ... is to clear this planet in short order - within years."

Let's see -- 5.4 billion people, 1.3 million hours. . . so, last year Co$ delivered less than one second of auditing for each person on Earth.

It may take more than a few years to "clear the planet" at that rate, guys.

In January 1996 Chris Owen reports to ARS:

I've been comparing the statistics given in the 1977 and 1992 editions of "What Is Scientology?" and I've made the curious discovery that Scientologists apparently only get 13 minutes of auditing per year.

In 1977, the number of Scientologists is given as 5,437,000. The 1992 figure is around 7,000,000. This would mean that in 1977 there were 36,500 people per each of the 149 orgs and missions; the ratio had improved somewhat by 1992, to 26,000 per each of the 270 orgs and missions. The number of staff in 1977 was 6,429, a ratio of 846 members to 1 staffer. By 1992 the ratio was 685:1.

Most curiously, the number of auditing hours delivered in the whole of 1975 is given as 318,830. This would imply that each Scientologist received about 4 minutes of auditing per year! The 1992 figure is 1,502,274 hours per year, which would mean about 13 minutes per person per year. That's a little over two seconds a day.

It's going to take a long time to clear the planet at this rate...

In July 1996 Jeff Jacobsen adds:

These are the years that the Church of Scientology has claimed 8 million members: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 (talk about expansion!!). Below are some quotes to help us find out about this 8 million figure:

Forrest Sawyer, on ABC Nightline, Feb. 14, 1992 interviewing Heber Jentzsch, President, Church of Scientology:

Sawyer. How do you get to call them members?

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

Sawyer: They took one course, maybe.

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

In August 1997 Inducto writes to ARS:

In a reprint of Hubbard's book "Deathy's Deputy" in 1970, in the front cover it says that Hubbard "is also renowned as the founder of Scientology and the creator of "Dianetics" with an estimated 15 million adherants around the world."

In 1983, CoS was claiming 9 million worldwide.

From 1991-1996, the now-infamous 8 million figure was claimed (not showing much growth even if true).

Currently, CoS has apparently given up on specific membership numbers and claims "1,039 Scientology organizations, missions and groups around the world". Even at the outrageously optomistic assumption of a thousand members in each of those, that would still only be a million members -- and that would still only be about one hour of auditing for each of those members according to Scientology's own statistics of auditing delivered (and try to figure out how they could relate to the figure of half a million people per year participating it Scientology for the first time that is on the same page).

From this simplistic and seletive presentation, it would appear that over the past 25 years Scientology's membership claims have slowly been sliding downward from 15 million to under a million (and perhaps closer to a hundred thousand). Some of the above numbers may be misleading, as many other often contradictory numbers are available. The existence of so many numbers seems indicative of CoS' inability to either count properly or tell fish tales consistently. A recent poster with apparent inside knowledge may have given us a clue in suggesting that that statistics have been fudged for so long -- by those who were overly optomistic, or trying to meet goals and avoid punishment -- that it is hard even for CoS leadership to determine what the real situation is. Data posted to a.r.s. about IAS membership suggests that those figures are accurately kept if not widely admitted to, but there are larger figures of inactive and prospective members that are more subject to errors in reporting. And even if the leadership knows the situation, publicizing (sharply downwardly) corrected statistics would be so demoralizing to the membership that it is unlikely to be admitted. A further clue may lie in the frequent posts whose authors mention receiving mass mailings, handwritten notes, and even phone calls years after leaving Scientology and often after having asked not to be contacted further.

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