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Estimates for new members and total membership

Discussion in 'Evaluating and Criticising Scientology' started by TrevAnon, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. TrevAnon

    TrevAnon Big List researcher

    Tl;dr (too long, didn't read :D ): this post is about an estimate of new members in the last few years, and on the total number of Scientologists EVER.

    For those who don't know: there's an old database around on the net which is called

    I have used this a lot for finding names for the big list. One way of doing that is harvesting the names from the site by way of copy/paste so I can easily check a list of names I get somewhere against completions with Excel.

    In June 2011 I harvested the names, and ever since I have used the list I got then. Now just Sunday I once again harvested them all again.

    Now let me first say there are lots of problems in the database because of spelling, women changing names through their lives because of marriages/divorces (often more times than one), and some parts of the world not being entered in the database. Let me just say there is a reason people have social security numbers.

    The people who entered the data, Kristi Wachter and Patty Moher being the most important contribuants AFAICT, did a stellar job though. First of course because of the sheer amount of work (thank you!), second because I'm sure the COS tried its best to get the site offline (but look, it's still there!) and third because the site tries to deal as good as possible with the limitations the data have. You can check the site out yourself.

    That being said I think there are some interesting preliminary conclusions possible.

    The first one is based on a comparison (using exact search) of the two lists I harvested. For the 2011 list I don't know anymore for what month the last completion entered was. The date of the file I have is from June 2011, so that's what I'm going at. The last completion added for the list I got Sunday was for May 2015. There are 47 months between and the 2017 list have only 3625 names that were NOT on the 2011 list. This gives me about 77 new names per month on average. Shocking, I would think.

    The second possible conclusion is based on the following. There are about 100k names in the trutaboutscientology database.

    As I said before, not all people whop were ever in are in the database. The question is how many. I am assuming that only half of the names of people who were ever in are in the database. This is based on two checks. First, I checked the big list against completions using exact comparison (vertical search in Excel). Second, I checked with a list of names from the ban aftermath petition, same method. Both gave a hit rate of about 50%.

    Let us now give the COS the benefit of the doubt and assume that only half or a third of the names of those who were ever in are in the database, that gives a total membership for 200k to 300k over the total COS history.

    No exact science here, just "guesstimating" (if that is even English, lol).

    Any insights welcome!
    Enthetan likes this.
  2. renegade

    renegade Silver Meritorious Patron

    I think the current "Bodies in the Shop" stat or the number of event attendees is an accurate reflection of active scn.

    Some scn I run into now and then are on extension courses. Those are the ones that quietly disagree with out-exchange regging, hoping and waiting until it blows over.

    But then there are events where the org demands their attendance and uses ethics threats if they don't. House calls happen if someone refuses to answer their phone.
  3. ThetanExterior

    ThetanExterior Gold Meritorious Patron

    Sometime in the 1990s I was told by a senior IAS Exec that the worldwide IAS membership figure was 68,000.
  4. CommunicatorIC

    CommunicatorIC @IndieScieNews on Twitter

    You may, or may not, be ignoring attrition from that figure. The database shows that somebody took a course, received auditing, etc. It doesn't show whether or not they left.

    As I'm sure you are aware, the majority of people who try Scientology quit relatively quickly. Assuming there were 77 new members per month on average, how many are still doing Scientology? My guess is not many.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  5. ThetanExterior

    ThetanExterior Gold Meritorious Patron

    When the IAS was formed in 1984 one of their stated "Goals For 1985" was to have a paid-up membership of 200,000 Scientologists.

    Considering the fact that every Scientologist had to join the IAS it would seem that every one of the current membership could be signed up to the IAS in much less than a year. Therefore the figure of 200,000 would seem to be one of their inflated pronouncements for PR purposes, which would mean the actual number of Scientologists at that time would have been much less than 200,000.
  6. Ex it

    Ex it New Member

    This is very interesting, Trev.

    The number of 77 new names per month is roughly what can be expected.
    Based on the entries / exits plots I made from the big list about 2 years ago:

    I calculate an entry rate (green line) for 2005-2010 of about 1% in respect to the overall maximum (blue line / plateau 1990-1995).
    There are reasonable assumptions this maximum was about 100k members and with 1% you get 1k new members per.
    This is about the same as 77 new per month.

    This calculation shows the overall estimated numbers of Scientologists is roughly correct.
    Also, the entry rate remains low and in the same order of magnitude for over a decade.
    I would not be too worried about the 77 new per month. With such low absolute numbers, the error could be quite high.

    Besides, the last plot over at wwp shows the large effect of negative PR for Co$, i.e. the sharp drop in entry rate by 50% from 1989 to 1990. I consider this as an effect of the LA Times article series and I'm very confident the current efforts of LR and MR have an effect of at least the same factor.

    Nevertheless, this cult is not finished yet. But neither are we.
  7. Bill

    Bill Gold Meritorious Patron

    From my experience, event attendance does not indicate an "active scientologist". Those who are no longer active but are "flying under the radar" to avoid losing friends/family will show up at the events but that's it.

    My gut feeling is that well over half of the event attendees fall into that category.
  8. WildKat

    WildKat Gold Meritorious Patron

    If you were to make the assumption that active members have major pressure put on them to attend the big events, you could get a pretty good idea of the people who still allow themselves to be called Scientologist, even if they have left the cult in their heart of hearts (a growing %).

    The venues where they hold these events are pretty limited in size. And a lot of the attendees are staff who have no choice but to attend.

    Anyway, judging by event attendance, the "active" membership is in the thousands, maybe LOW tens of thousands at best.
  9. renegade

    renegade Silver Meritorious Patron

    I guess the real numbers can't be winnowed out.

    I know for a fact that the completions in the Source mag has the time dropped out. A few on this list have done their service over six months ago and continue to appear in a newer issues. Some names are repeats as they do several services while at Flag.

    Is there any way to get the BIS stat?
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  10. Gizmo

    Gizmo Rabble Rouser

    OK, here is the deal : There, as of today, are over ONE BILLION active scientologists currently doing services.
    New members are coming in far too fast to even count.

    It is true that there have been some few we've had to remove from the group. 2% have been weeded out along the way.

    Be aware that the membership is constantly going straight up & vertical so the ONE BILLION active scientologists is already staledated !

    Francois Tremblay likes this.
  11. TrevAnon

    TrevAnon Big List researcher

    I guess soon I'll be the only non-Scientologist around? :confused2:

    Wait, someone is banging the door.....
  12. Terril park

    Terril park Sponsor

    Also does this list contain book buyers?
  13. TrevAnon

    TrevAnon Big List researcher

    AFAICT Kristi's site does not. Only completed courses

    Would yuou consider someone who bought a book to be a scientologist? I might as well confess that I bought DMSMH w30 years ago which would then make me a scilon. :biggrin: (Thought it was rubbish and sold it.)
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  14. pineapple

    pineapple Silver Meritorious Patron

    I hope you're wearing a garlic necklace and have lots of sharpened stakes handy.
  15. renegade

    renegade Silver Meritorious Patron

  16. Gizmo

    Gizmo Rabble Rouser

    Even with book buyers I doubt the worldwide number hits even 100,000

    Fact remains that the 'net has exposed the cult in ways it never imagined becoming public.

    Even Opra s let her OWN TV channel tear into the cult after all the other shows did . . . and books . . . . . and press

    Leah is a delight.

    So many fine people just keep hitting the cult again & again.

    Drive down L One Tubbard Way with a magnetic sign on your car & LA Day, ASHO, AOLA & the crap behind AOLA bldg. ALL go to " cover the windows & lock the doors ".

    The cults best offense has become to hide from us SP's driving down the street - tell me times aren't changing !

    I once - years ago - knew more scientologists than I could count & now I can count all the scientologists I know on one hand.

    <><><><><> added :
    It also seems to me that since the mid 70s I've seen less & less people in orgs. Less & less SO members seem to be scurrying around the streets near the orgs of Clearwater.

    Just my observation, the action has fallen off for scientology & fallen off sharply.

    I don't care WHY, but, THAT matters. scientology is shrinking - and all fool can see that - & THAT is all that matters.

    dm a dictator, staff rude & arrogant, prices too high, scn has become the brunt of more joke than the Polish, who cares ?

    That nasty little cult is going to hang around with contracting members day by day & selling off properties even as they try to buy more.

    So they claim all the great growth. Great ! Let 'em believe it as they refuse to see themselves die.

    They are believing their own bullshit & that is fatal. Let 'em ! Please let 'em believe their own lies.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  17. Terril park

    Terril park Sponsor

    A recent US TV program has an interview with a student who says she
    was shown an issue where Hubbard claimed to be the messiah. I believe it was
    Oprah's TV channel, however I can't find anything by searching.
  18. ThetanExterior

    ThetanExterior Gold Meritorious Patron

    I wonder if she confused "messiah" with "maitreya" which was his claim in the Hymn Of Asia.
  19. Gizmo

    Gizmo Rabble Rouser

    Well, according to most sea ogre members Dr. L Ron Hubbard ranks several notches above God.

    And, according to the cult, God is imaginary & Dr. L Ron Hubbard is the most real thing in the history of man !

    Dealing with the cult just remember what Dr. L Ron Hubbard didn't bless is to be hated.
  20. tr8theta

    tr8theta I Love Kitties

    I just watched this today on OWN (oprah winfrey network) The episode was either "A Student's Descent" or "The Scientology Cure" but it did not name the specific LRH issue (unless I had a senior moment and missed it) Sorry if this doesn't help much