How Many Scientologists? Seeking official data and unofficial versions

Albion

Patron with Honors
Some of you may know I launched a data journalism project over at Tony's site a few weeks ago, seeking official scientology claims for their membership over the years. Here's how I explained it then.

I'm still taking offers, particularly any numbers from:
  • Scientology books
  • Scientology spokesman
  • leaflets
A couple of good sources that aren't easy to find in databases are: letters to the editor, where a Scientologist objects to a story and boosts their bona fides by saying they have x million members, and; the inside covers of Scientology books (or Hubbard stories), where they make a claim about membership.

You can post it here or email me at [email protected]

Thanks,

Jonny
 

ThetanExterior

Gold Meritorious Patron
In the IAS magazine IMPACT issued in 1984, their first stated Goal for 1985 was: "An active paid up membership of two hundred thousand (200,000) Scientologists.".
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
In the IAS magazine IMPACT issued in 1984, their first stated Goal for 1985 was: "An active paid up membership of two hundred thousand (200,000) Scientologists."
And 1985 was around the peak for membership. I would be surprised if there were more than 20K Scientologists left worldwide.
 

Mick Wenlock

Admin Emeritus (retired)
In 1984 there was the big IAS announcement and events - there were SO missions sent from LA to every major org that had been ordered to hold an event (IIRC it Sydney, Joburg, Milan, Madrid, Copenhagen St Hill/London, New York, Flag ,Toronto and LA) the call in for the even was overwhelming Celebs were sent along etc etc.

Total attendance at ALL the events was approximately 20,000.

IN 1985 I wrote the software for the Free Six Month membership database. By the end of 1986 the TOTAL of free six month Memberships (counting all expired) was less than 20,000 world wide (hoping I remember that correctly) the total of annuaL and life memberships was not much higher.

There has NEVER (to my knowledge) ever been a serious attempt by CoS management to get a realistic count of the membership - not even to get a good estimate. I once wrote a memo to Yager and DM saying we needed realistic figures .Got shot down.
 

ILove2Lurk

Lisbeth Salander
And 1985 was around the peak for membership. I would be surprised if there were more than 20K Scientologists left worldwide.
Agree. Around the time I got into seriously lurking, maybe 2005-06, there were some
people who were newly out of the SO and had access to the numbers. I think the group
opinion was around 15-18,000, no more. That's what I've been thinking all this time
from my looking around various boards.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
There has NEVER (to my knowledge) ever been a serious attempt by CoS management to get a realistic count of the membership - not even to get a good estimate. I once wrote a memo to Yager and DM saying we needed realistic figures .Got shot down.
I think because they know, but don't want it becoming common knowledge, even inside the SO. Scientology is computerized. They have records of who's been taking service, and who's been paying money.

A lot depends on how you define "Scientologist".

Is anyone who ever bought a book at any time in his lifetime a Scientologist?

Do we count people who used to be active, but who haven't done a service in years?

From my perspective, an "active" Scientologist would be somebody who has displayed some level of activity over the prior 12 months, whether by taking delivery of a service, making a payment, being on staff. At minimum, an active Scientologist would be somebody who has set foot in an Org in the last 12 months. Even by that measure, my estimate is that we are talking about well under 20,000.
 

Albion

Patron with Honors
In the IAS magazine IMPACT issued in 1984, their first stated Goal for 1985 was: "An active paid up membership of two hundred thousand (200,000) Scientologists.".
Hello TE: you wouldn't have a copy of that magazine would you? I'd love to be able to use that extract to illustrate my article.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
Just published: the latest in the Counting the Scientologists series: IAS membership. Includes a rarely seen document revealing 1987 membership numbers (courtesy of Jon Atack).
Great article. Expanding a bit on what you said about what you said about IAS computerization: ALL of Scientology bookkeeping is computerized these days, and the numbers sent up-lines. This was accomplished back in the 1990's. David Miscavige can see, to the penny, how much people have paid, world-wide, for Scientology services in any given period, and the exact number of individuals who have done any transaction (paying for a service, buying a book, taking delivery of a service, staff being paid their meager pay, etc) in the last year.

That he never seems to mention those numbers, is telling.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
Also, I think part of the reason for universal ias membership, is so that each Scn gets a unique identifier for accounting purposes
 
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