The Scientology Money Project

The Strongest Evidence Yet for Scientology Having Only 27,000 Members Worldwide

Scientology TV on Twitter has 26,943 followers. The account was created on June 4, 2014 and has now had four years to build a base of followers. And yet, Scientology TV’s Twitter following has plateaued at just under 27,000 followers.

We believe Scientology TV’s Twitter followers are the strongest evidence ever seen for the actual global membership size of the Church of Scientology in 2018.

The reasons for our conclusion:

1. David Miscavige put his full weight behind the acquisition, renovation, and launch of Scientology TV. As such, all Scientologists would be expected to get onboard and fully support Scientology TV. This includes following Scientology TV on Twitter.

2. David Miscavige went on a publicly televised show for only the second time in his career to introduce and launch Scientology TV. Again, all Scientologists would be expected to support David Miscavige by getting onboard and fully supporting Scientology TV.

3. The Church of Scientology funded a massive advertising campaign for Scientology TV. There have been commercials on broadcast television, major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the World Cup, cable networks, and on social media platforms.

4. The massive Scientology ad campaign focuses on the line: “Curious? We Thought So.” This is Scientology’s attempt to redefine controversy into curiosity. This attempt is not at all convincing — but it does show how desperate Scientology is to use Scientology TV somehow spin the perpetual and self-created controversies and horror stories in which it is continually engulfed.

5. The Church of Scientology has purchased billboards and radio spots nationally in the US to promote Scientology TV.

6. The total Twitter likes of Scientology TV, we believe, reflect the total membership of Scientology. We think Scientology’s global membership breaks down approximately as follows:

A. 22,000 public members.

B. 5,000 Sea Org and Staff members.

7. Tony Ortega reported that Scientology staff members have been ordered to watch Scientology TV. Such an order would come from David Miscavige personally. Below are copies of the orders Tony posted at the Underground Bunker; the nature of these orders is such that Scientology publics would be expected to comply to forward “Command Intention” as its called in Scientology.



6 replies »

  1. Jeff, I think that the 27,000 may be a bit above the realistic upper bound for Scientology memberhship. It might prove interesting for you to apply some of the same analysis to Scn.TV’s twitter followers as you have done to other Scientology twitter feeds, especially where you’ve managed to suss out purchased fake followers.

    You might also look at the increase in the number of followers after the launch of Scn.TV and try to estimate how many of the followers added in recent months were critics and other Scientology opponents. One of those is a Twitter ID of mine that I use to follow Scn.related followers without getting blocked, as several celebs and others have done with my regular Twitter ID. That one doesn’t post anything negative about Scientology, just a bunch of random fun memes. I’m sure I’m not the only one. There are also probably a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters who follow Scn.TV “ironically.”

    I’ve done enough work on the numbers over the last couple years that I think the numbers break down to be a little more like 22,000 total members. The one swing factor that I’m having trouble getting good data on is membership in Russia and Taiwan, as those two countries didn’t sign up for the “Stop Leah” petition that Scientology pushed members to sign about a year ago. Photographic evidence suggests about 2,500 Russian members and about 1,500 Taiwanese members. But those aren’t enough to get past the dismal numbers from much of Europe — the only bright spots for Scientology in Europe that I can see are Italy and, to some extent, Spain. They’re dead in NL, DE, FR, NO, SE, FI, DK (which has a CLO). And they’re dying in UK and in the quaint, rural Canada region of upstate New York, with the possible exception of Vancouver.

    I do concur with your estimate of 5,000 Sea Org + full-time staff. The former wall between those two groups is eroding, with SO increasingly being sent out into the orgs because of the cult’s inability to recruit even the handful of staff keeping the increasingly empty Ideal Orgs alive.

    Regardless of whether the actual member count is 22,000 versus 27,000, Scientology TV is still an epic fail. My thought is that the only group that may be responding to the ad blitz on radio (I’ve heard a couple spots on NYC area radio on the infrequent occasions when I listen to radio) are 20-something conspiracy theory idiots who respond to the idea that there’s a conspiracy theory oppressing Scientology. I suspect that any recruit in that profile is getting hustled into the Sea Org as fast as possible in an attempt to hedge against the possibility that the R-1 religious worker visa program compliance is audited and they’re shut out of importing workers from overseas. Losing the foreign Sea Org workers doing all the menial jobs at Flag would be a disaster, and Scientology would not be able to keep up the illusion that they’re expanding if they suddenly can’t maintain the level of service at Flag. If they can get 200 net new bodies a year from that ad campaign into the Sea Org, that’s going to keep them mostly safe for a while, and it will justify the immense cost of Scn.TV and the radio spots.

  2. JP, you present another interesting analysis. Here are my responses:

    1. I used the upper boundary of 27,000 as it is based upon an empirical number I can show. Twitter followers give me a reasonable baseline from which to work. However, I will add the caveats below which I did not include in my posting. On this basis, I would reduce my number of 27,000 using these caveats:

    A. The 27,000 number includes “Under The Radar” (UTR) Scientologists who remain in Scientology but are not loyal in any way to Scientology. They stay in to avoid Disconnection and its emotional and financial consequences. These people have been emotionally and financially blackmailed into staying.

    B. People who have left Scientology but have not unfollowed Scientology TV on Twitter.

    Other comments:

    There is a percentage of loyal Scientologists still in the Church who simply can no longer afford to be on course or make big donations. They were drained long ago after being convinced to “Go All In” which literally means to give everything. These people were wiped out financially when they made bad decisions to donate all they had. As such, they are basically inactive as Scientologists but remain in the Church. On a related note, we have seen Scientology still trying to bilk these people by offering a monthly donation plan. Even if Scientology can get $150 a month from, say, 2,000 people that is still $300,000 per month, or $3.6 million per year, in tax free income. Scientology looks at every way it can to drain people of money. $150 a month seems like a bare minimum number Scientology would demand to keep one’s exchange in with the Church. These poor Scientologists can also participate by volunteering in Central Files, helping out around the Org, or passing out copies of TWTH someone else paid for.

    The recent story Tony Ortega posted about a 75 year old man being taken for $75,000 shows that new publics into Scientology are still very much viewed as “raw meat” by the regges. To read of a 75 year old man walking into Scientology to take a $250 course and suddenly have Scientology take out ten credit cards in his name and max them out is tale of breathtaking criminality. Defrauding a 75 year old man, particularly when young female Sea Org members were part of the con job, is a story about Scientology that needs to be broadcast far and wide.

    IMO, Scientology made an extremely serious error by defrauding the Garcia’s in a sham arbitration. For Scientology to have gained a judicial precedent allowing it to conduct sham arbitration proceeding with impunity only serves to underscore the criminal intent of Scientology to defraud people from beginning to end. I predict that the Garcia arbitration will come back to haunt Scientology in ways in cannot foresee.

    Monastery Scientology gets closer with each passing year.

  3. Jeffrey, thanks for another excellent assessment.

    What an inefficient, labor intensive business model: 1 SO/staff per 4 public members. Only slave wages allow this business model to survive.

    My medium-sized Christian church in a prosperous suburb has an average Sunday attendance of 250 (out of 800 actual members) led by a paid staff of just four–pastor, youth director, volunteer coordinator, office admin. These four organize and lead numerous activities on and off campus all throughout the week. An unpaid corps of volunteers provide music, lead study groups, maintain the facilities & grounds, etc.

    It would be a financial struggle for our congregation to add just 1 or 2 professional church staff at the going rates (and church workers are not paid THAT well.)

    From what I read about Scientology, most Orgs would LOVE to have 250 active members. And that would require 50-60 SeaOrg/staff. No way would they ever be able to pay a living wage to this number of workers.

    To me, the labor intensive model of the COS seems anachronistic and ultimately unworkable in today’s world.

  4. “when young female Sea Org members were part of the con job, is a story about Scientology that needs to be broadcast far and wide.”……That’s for Sure ! Old Surfer Dude & I would like to take six of them out for a night of drinking and dancing……Now THAT would really be a story !

  5. I gotta say, it’s really funny seeing you guys dicker over a few thousand members of a ‘religion’ that claims both to have millions of members & to be the fastest-growing religion on earth.

    Jeff and JP, keep up the great work!

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