|How Far Have we Come Since 1950?||| Print ||
|Thursday, 18 February 2010 11:04|
Real Numbers Don't LieMany of us came into Scientology or joined staff or the Sea Org with the purpose of clearing the planet. Remember that game? It was a numbers game – make enough Scientologists, enough Clears and the majority of enturbulated humans that inhabit this spinning orb we call Earth would disenturbulate. We didn’t need to physically clear them all, perhaps just a small percentage, but with six billion inhabitants, 3% would mean clearing 180 million, a finite if daunting task. But we knew LRH had made a fantastic start back in 1950 when he kicked the whole thing off with the publication of Book One (Dianetics). It was a runaway success, which led to countless members, groups and the early Scientology Churches. So we knew that if we just put our shoulder to the wheel and others followed suit we would get there in the end.
SO HOW FAR HAVE WE REALLY COME IN THE 60 YEARS SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF DIANETICS?
Now, Miscavige and his spin doctors would have you believe “We are millions” that we are “bigger and greater than ever” and that we are “racing away to a cleared planet, straight up and vertical”. But rather than listen to rhetoric, spin and bald faced lies, to determine the progress we’ve actually made we have to look at the numbers, because real numbers, based on experience, factual “uncooked” figures, don’t lie.
So let’s look at how many Church of Scientology members exist now compared to times past because real expansion could only mean one thing: more members -- more Scientologists moving up the Bridge.
My wife and I worked at all echelons of Scientology and the Sea Org for more than 60 years combined. Our years in the trenches, working hands on with Scientology public as well our years in management with access to Scientology international reports and statistics up to the year 2006, plus the very latest intelligence reports from orgs, makes us uniquely qualified to calculate and comment on the actual number of Scientology church members.
Let’s define a member of the Church of Scientology as a person who is actively taking service or who is likely to take service from a Church organization at ANY time in the future, a broad definition.
CLASS V ORGS: As try as they might Class V orgs only get about an 1/8th of their actual public taking service at any given time. We were one of the bigger orgs in the world (Birmingham) and we had only 50 Scientologists on lines at any one time and had around 400 in total. This rule of thumb (total public = 8 times the on-lines public) holds true for the other Class V Orgs.
There are 150 Class V orgs. As of 2006, the incredibly stellar Milano org apart, the top 15 orgs had 50 to 120 Scientologists taking service per week. Shockingly, most of the rest fell into the small and failing category with only 10 to 20 per week.
That means a minority of orgs had 400 to 800 members while most had between 80 and 160. So let’s be very generous and put the average total members per org at 200.
150 orgs multiplied by 200 = 30,000 total members in the Class V org sector – at the most.
ADVANCED ORGS have predominantly the same people listed under Class V orgs but you have a gravitational effect too where Scientologists go and live in the area around advanced orgs.
There are 7 advanced orgs (AOLA, ASHO Day & Foundation, AOSH UK, St. Hill Foundation, AOSH ANZO and AOSH Europe) with around 150 service attendees each, on average (AOLA had more but others had less). Sticking with the same Class V org formula, 150 x 8 = 1200 total parishioners each, on average. So that’s a maximum of 8400 additional advanced org parishioners and that is generous indeed considering a higher percentage attend services than in Class V orgs and at least some members have now been counted twice by being counted under both Class V org and Advanced org categories.
FSO has the same parishioners listed in both the Class V and Advanced org sections but also has some who consider themselves FSO-only public. At 500 of them taking service at any give time (discount the outer org trainees as they are counted in the Class V orgs and Advanced orgs) that’s 500 x 8 (extremely generous) = 4000 total additional parishioners and some of those have now been counted three times.
MISSIONS: There are hundreds of missions but they are far worse off than orgs. Many have just one or two part time staff and a handful of parishioners. I have attended events at missions in two different states of late and there were no more than 10 attendees in each. 300 missions with an average of 25 parishioners (very generous) = 7500 members.
As for field auditors, WISE etc. -- all counted a number of times in various categories above so I am not going to repeat the error.
TOTAL: 30,000 plus 8400 plus 4000 plus 7500 = a very generous 49,900 members at the very most.
[Note: this is as of 2006. Things are much worse now with FSO turned into a crush regging machine, the houses of Scientologists for sale in the Clearwater area at an all time high (despite the depressed housing market), a truly crashed Class V org scene and countless other problems not to mention the independent movement in full flow!]
As a cross check, let’s figure it a different way and let’s go back a few years. As of the year 2000 Scientology as a whole got a total of 20,000 attendees worldwide for an “important” international all-Scientologists-must-attend event. That’s all attendees on the night plus all worldwide attendees for all the delayed events – total showings. Now, it’s no surprise but as hard as they try, A Class V org can only drag about a quarter of its public to any given event no matter how “important”. FSO and Advanced Orgs manage around 50 percent of their resident public. That puts the entire Scientology population in the year 2000 at sixty thousand if we are consistently generous and say that the total number of attendees for an important worldwide event represents only a third of all members.
In summary, that’s 60 thousand members in the year 2000, down to around 50,000 by 2006 and much less by 2010, which all jives with experience, stats, reports and more recent intelligence my wife and I have witnessed.
There is also an empirical observation that can be made that supports these figures. Have you noticed how the remaining staff and public seem to be made up of mostly older people on the one hand and fairly young people on the other? Even the young people are most often the sons and daughters of the older staff/Scientology public (and they are heavily recruited to staff because they are one of the few remaining recruit pools). I know I’m far from alone in making this observation -- an age polarization has taken place in Scientology creating a wide gap. Now, that’s not so hard to spot but what about the omitted? What about the countless missing members from all the years in between? Where are they? As shocking as it may seem, it looks like we failed to make any meaningful number of Scientologists for the last twenty odd years (which is also the period of Miscavige’s utterly dominant reign by the way).
Now, another thing that shocks me about these numbers is that it seems very likely LRH had more members way back in 1953 than Scientology has now. Let me expand: In 1953, Birmingham in England had only a Dianetics group. But on page 339 of Tech Volume 1, LRH wrote that he travelled from London to Birmingham on 21st May 1953, to give a lecture to 100 attendees. He was very disappointed in the attendance but very happy with their obvious knowledge of Dianetics. But if you fast forward 50 years to 2003, Birmingham boasted one of the biggest Scientology orgs on the planet yet with all the modern forms of communication it struggled and I mean struggled to get 100 public attendees to ANY event, of ANY kind, at ANY time. What the …?
And how come after working for 14 hard years in Birmingham (before we returned to management in 2005) my wife and I managed to build the org up from nowhere to a level where it only just matched the size of London Foundation circa 1977 (nearly thirty years earlier) and it’s worse than that because in 2005 Birmingham was the only Class V Org in the UK of ANY real size.
And can anyone explain why my wife went to a tech briefing in Sacramento in 1977 at which there were more than a 1000 attendees (just a tech briefing) whereas you wouldn’t hear of a 1000 Scientologists gathering in the Sac area these days. I visited Sac Org in 2006 – it was dead.
And can anyone also explain how come I attended a Flag World Tour event in London in 1976 at which there were thousands present whereas I attended an important London event in 2003 for the benefit of both London Day and Foundation for which less than 90 showed up.
So in our zeal to correct obvious abuses lets not miss outpoints about the size of the Empire State Building -- Scientology is puny and it is smaller now than at any time in its entire history, which is an outrage, but the facts and numbers don’t lie.
“But … but … what about the grand opening events for the big shiny new buildings where hundreds of people show up?” a few might ask. What? You mean like Dallas where my wife worked on the final stages of the building prep cycle for weeks and was at the opening event and reported that the number of Scientology members in Dallas was actually less than the average number I used in the above calculation and the big Dallas shiny new building was empty. And Madrid opening event where Miscavige forced Scientology church executives from all over Europe to attend to pad the numbers. I know because my wife and other execs from Birmingham were forced to fly there and consequently mingled with all the other attendees similarly press ganged.
These “grand openings” are staged to look great but after the event is over and rent-a-crowd departs all you are left with is an empty building, a handful of staff and less public than ever before.
And there is another colossal outpoint that goes hand in hand with all the above: an LRH rule and observation on book sales states that for every 25 books sold to the world at large a Scientologist is made. Through orgs and trade lines we have sold something like 50 million books out in the world over the years. That’s two million Scientologists. Where are they? And are they the missing members between the ages of twenty-something and fifty on up?
You could ask what the hell we have been doing for the last 60 years. But that would be an unfair question because it’s no secret that Scientology’s international stats crashed in the summer of 1990 and have not reverted twenty years on.
So the real questions are:
- What have we been doing for the last 20 plus years?
- Why are there fewer members now than at any time in our history?
- Where are the missing two million members?
- And above all, what factors underlie this terrible state of affairs?
My answers are as follows:
THE REVOLVING DOOR & THE DOUBLE WHAMMYI know from my days in London Org in the 70s the truth of LRH’s observation that 25 book sales to non-Scientology public results in a Scientologist being made. But I also observed that this was no longer true in the 90s onwards. In Birmingham we were making one Scientologist for every 100 books sold, at best -- one Scientologist a week in fact because we got up to selling 100 books in a week. And we were one of the better orgs. Many orgs in the world made absolutely no Scientologists week in week out, for years.
In Birmingham, we tried with all our might to make more than one Scientologist a week but we just couldn’t do it. Sure we’d get a ton of new people on course but they would leave within a week or so, never to return, only to be replaced by a host of new people the following week that would also leave. Only one a week would stick, on average. It’s what I came to call the “Class V org revolving door effect”, a strange phenomenon.
There were two main reasons for this “revolving door”, a double whammy, and both were created internally.
Firstly, the public courses were not biting. It wasn’t like the 70s where with just hard TRs on the old Communication Course public were blown out of their heads, or they found they could communicate for the first time in their lives or their drug masses moved off or a host of other earth shattering wins. I mean, do you know how many people came into Scientology during that time period despite a continuous barrage of government instigated anti-Scientology media? It was phenomenal. But it certainly wasn’t like that from the 90s onwards; the Div 6 courses were positively ho hum. Of course we blamed ourselves; it was “poor performance” or some such. And it didn’t click with me until years later when my wife and I returned to international management that this problem of making new Scientologists was a planet-wide problem, one that had existed in all orgs, unhandled for more than two decades.
Now I’ve catalogued in other articles Miscavige’s destruction of Scientology management starting in the early 80s, with his main work done between the late 80s and the summer of 1990 (international stat crash) and that such suppression has continued to the present so I’m not going to repeat all that here. But what you have to realize is that LRH developed a highly technical, OT system of managing over a long distance communication line. Quite in addition to individual org evaluations, one of the vital things this system made possible was the detection and handling by management of international situations – problems common to all orgs, things that needed to be fixed in all or most of our orgs (such as a glaring and widespread inability to make new Scientologists). In point of fact, per LRH, this was the real hat of management.
When I was in London in the 70s evaluations of international situations and the resultant handlings happened regularly. But with Scientology management made dysfunctional and then totally neutered or destroyed by Miscavige these international handlings ceased. In the 14 years I was in Birmingham I can’t recall one and I know of none since. So whatever was wrong with the public lines in all our orgs is still wrong today along with any other unhandled situations because a management capable of spotting and handling worldwide situations was put out of commission by Miscavige. The lack of this vital management ingredient has halted Scientology in its tracks and sent it hurtling backwards.
But that’s only one side of the story, there’s another part to this double whammy even more destructive. Something blew the new Scientologists right off the lines, the public courses just didn’t bite hard enough to prevent it, and it came from the ever more popular Internet.
Now Scientology has always had a small number of critics and government attacks and it never really affected our stats and certainly not our expansion, probably because people don’t really listen to governments or newspapers. But this was something new. This was now an ever increasing series of our own people speaking out saying nasty things about how they had been treated. Ex big mission holders, ex top executives like Executive Director International or Inspector General in the case of Vicky Aznaran, ex top tech terminals like David Mayo, major insiders like Vaughn Young and a host of others that Miscavige’s heavy handed tactics and power games had alienated to the point of making them an enemy. This Miscavige-created army of enemies was speaking out, loudly, and fanning the flames when it came to things like the Miscavige instigated McPherson tragedy. And the growing popularity of the Internet in the 90s finally gave them the channel they needed -- an ever widening circulation. And this wasn’t a government to whom no one listens; these were OUR people speaking out. And maybe only a portion of our existing public listened and left, but the new public listened or their friends or relatives told them about it, and the majority promptly went into doubt and stayed away. We experienced it week in and week out for years; it’s still happening today; in fact it’s worse now than ever before.
Now, having been at International management and having known some of these attackers, my wife and I had some success in reducing the damage in Birmingham but it was limited success and very few orgs in the world had international management executives running the show so they were decimated by it.
Yes you can handle black PR with the steps of PR Series 18 (HCO PL How to Handle Black Propaganda) but how do you handle the truth with it? Sure you can try but it doesn’t really wash and the public see through it.
It has been said that the emergence of the Internet in the 90s would be Scientology’s “Waterloo” or “Vietnam” or some such. I beg to differ. The real why was the fact that Miscavige created an army of enemies out of our own staff, people who knew how best to hurt us, people with stories of grave oppression to tell -- the Internet only provided the means. If they had been dealt with decently, if real Scientology had actually been applied to them, the disaster would and could not have occurred.
THIRD PARTY ACTIONIt was Miscavige that savaged these people and totally alienated them to a point where they hit back and then he said to us: “look they are attacking you; they are attacking your church!” And so we fought them. But later, unseen to you and me, he quietly paid them off. Vicky Aznaran was paid $625,000.00 with Miscavige directly running the pay off operation.
And the stories of abuse and torture of Scientology staff by Miscavige displayed on the Internet just get worse and worse. Do you seriously think that someone toying with the idea of becoming a Scientologist is going to read International Base Musical Chairs Parts One and Two and say “yes, that’s the group for me”? Only a masochist would join.
And if they didn’t look at the Internet but told their friends or family they were going to join it would be instant objections and a whopping “PTS situation”. Who can honestly blame them? Why do you think there are so many “PTS situations” these days? The world at large now thinks Scientology is made up of nut jobs and with some justification, although there is only one nut job if you ask me, he just happens to be running the whole show so we are all tarred with the same brush.
Between org situations going unevaluated and unhandled for decades, and a self inflicted stream of heavy criticism of Scientology from our own people flowing right into people’s homes via the Internet, Miscavige caused a serious exodus of potential new as well as
existing public. Consequently, Scientology staff members have been swimming hard against the surging tide of public opinion for decades, fighting bravely to try and reach the shore but they are further away now than they’ve ever been. And of course they were painfully aware of their failure to expand Scientology so when Miscavige came along to cover his ass and sold them a bill of goods about how their “why” was the fact that they didn’t have big shiny new buildings and lots of expensive equipment and LCD panels of course they breathed a huge sigh of relief, embraced his wrong why with open arms, dropped their important posts like a hot rock and went off to demand the public donate the financial equivalent of their first born son to handle the “real why”.
And such may have temporarily assuaged our staffs’ feelings of guilt but Miscavige’s wrong why, held firmly in place by the staff themselves, depressed org stats even harder and problems with our plummeting membership only deepen.
So what about all those missing members? Well, based on my 14 years on the front lines witnessing the carnage, the wastage, I have to say that the majority were never made into Scientologists, they were blown off the lines by entheta before their full interest could take root, which process has accelerated these days as you can add injustices, gross out tech and heavy crush regging to the pile of things that bar the doors to Scientology organizations. They were turned off by what they read, saw or experienced. And maybe we could turn them back on again, perhaps they are “latent Scientologists”, but things would really have to change for that to happen.
And don’t think that the loss of existing Scientologists isn’t now colossal too because these same problems are causing huge damage on that front.
Instead of having a popular, expanding religion with at least 2 million members, doing lots of good work in the world, we have an incredibly unpopular, small elitist group paying apparent homage to Miscavige whose numbers now dip well below 30,000 and continue in their free fall (even die-hards are starting to get fed up with Miscavige’s antics).
And it’s not going to change until Scientology changes and for that Miscavige has to go.
Only those who are utterly cause blind (unable to see cause) would think otherwise.
The real numbers don’t lie.
In the words of L Ron Hubbard: TIMES MUST CHANGE.
Written by T Paine