Janet I. Tu Seattle Times Reporter said:Scientology representatives say the building campaign is in response to explosive growth — though others have questioned whether the church in the U.S. is indeed growing. Church leaders say their increased numbers are because people are searching for something, and/or are curious about the religion, which has garnered much publicity — and controversy — in recent years.
Actor Tom Cruise's rant against psychiatry several years ago highlighted the religion's opposition to much of that medical field. The New York Times and St. Petersburg Times have run stories reporting some who've left Scientology have accused church leader David Miscavige of physically attacking staff members. The St. Petersburg Times recently reported that a dozen women said the culture of Scientology's religious order, the Sea Organization, pushed them or women they knew to have abortions.
One study — the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey — found that the number of Scientologists in the U.S. fell from 55,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2008.