John P Capitalist, en anonym kommentator som i det virkelige liv er aksjemegler og fondsforvalter og som ofte kommenterer hos Tony Ortega og Mike Rinder har gått gjennom den siste tids tall og gjort noen beregninger som han postet hos Mike Rinder (i seg selv en interessant artikkel). Jeg gjengir hele analysen hans her:
I have taken a crack at this question on a number of occasions in comments at Tony O’s blog. In my day job on Wall Street, it’s a very useful skill to be able to put together quick back-of-the-envelope numbers and have them be reasonably accurate, so that you can make a quick decision on whether to buy or sell a stock that’s climbing or dropping in price quickly. It’s not about getting to perfect accuracy but to get to “right enough for right now.”
Based on almost two years as a Scientology watcher, my current best estimate for corporate Scientology membership is less than 25,000 worldwide, including all staff. I am currently estimating worldwide staff at about 5,000 of that number, which is an unsustainable level — what, exactly, do these people do all day? What happens when there are 5,000 public and 5,000 staff in 5-10 years, which will almost certainly happen? The only way the organization can afford to keep that many people on the payroll is to pay them almost nothing, as has been well documented. Incidentally, I am defining “public” as anyone who doesn’t say “F**k off and don’t ever call me again” before hanging up the phone when RCS calls; I am attempting to count “under the radar” and “sideliners” as public, because it is prudent to pick the number that is least supportive of your hypothesis, in this case, my belief that the implosion is accelerating.
I suspect that the total active membership in the US is now below 15,000 including staff. This number appears to be going down at an accelerating rate as Debbie Cook’s e-mail and other prominent resignations are having an effect, and as public are unable to escape the increasing number of negative articles about Scientology — the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce last summer unleashed tens of thousands of news stories in the popular press, and virtually all mentioned Scientology negatively; it would have been hard to miss dozens of these at the supermarket checkstand. Importantly, the tone of much of this press coverage has changed — the Church of Scientology is now the butt of jokes. It’s easy for public to say “they’re afraid of us and they’re opposing us because we’re winning and they don’t understand us” when the Church is feared and opposed; much harder to believe the Church is winning at “clearing the planet” when it is mainly being laughed at.
In conversations with several people who recently left the RCS, I believe Debbie Cook and Tom Cruise caused many people to start to see the gulf between Miscavige’s claims of imminent victory and planetary clearing and the fact that Scientology is increasingly seen as a laughingstock in most of the world. So the number of “under the radar” and “sideliner” public continues to be a growing percentage of the whole, people who are simply trying to avoid the consequences of disconnection on their families and their businesses. One prominent ex I have spoken to claims that the number of willing participants in the US who are drinking the official Kool-Aid is now down to perhaps 1,000 people, though I think this is a bit low.
The more interesting number (and harder to pin down) number that makes up the global membership figure is the non-US public. Recent census data from the UK and Australia say that there are 2,200 Scientologists in Australia and 2,500 in the UK. Note that this is census data, where everyone is asked their religion, and the figure has a significantly smaller margin for error than the American Religious Identification Survey that you cite in your article. So those are reasonably accurate because they are direct counts. And what is especially interesting about the UK number is that it presumably includes the Saint Hill staff, perhaps the third biggest concentration of Scientologists in the world after LA and Clearwater. So the number of active public in the UK could be under 1,000 (I haven’t come across recent data hinting at the staff size at Saint Hill and the other headquarters-type UK operations). And that tiny number is in one of the three largest countries in Europe, and that’s the one of those three whose government has been least hostile to Scientology. So it is reasonable to believe that the public population in the rest of the EU countries where Scientology operates is lower in both absolute numbers and in percentage of the population as members than the UK. As a cross-check, ex-member Pete Griffiths estimated last year the number of active public served by the Dublin Org to be less than 50, proportionally about half per capita of the rate of the UK population (50 out of 7 million is about half the rate of 1,000 in 63 million in the UK). Putting that together, I think it is reasonable to believe that there are at most 5,000 Scientologists in Western Europe including staff (the Ireland proportion of 50 in 7 million applied to total EU population of 503 million, and adding an additional 1,000 for Saint Hill staff).
While the cult has apparently had some success in Eastern Europe, particularly opening missions in Moscow, I think that recent anti-American sentiment churned up by the Putin government will make it increasingly difficult for Scientology to operate in Russia, so the “fresh meat” there is likely to dry up if it hasn’t already. The last variable is Asia, where it appears the only success is Kaohsiung in Taiwan. My suspicion is that many of the kids of current members are sucked into the Sea Org particularly in Australia or the US as a way to continue the supply of slave labor. Given your recent comments about Johannesburg & Pretoria, which matches other anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, Africa has perhaps 1,000 Scientologists. The Arab world? You’ve got to be kidding. That leaves Asia. I’d estimate the Asian membership at 4,000 including the 2,000 from Australia, 1,000 from Taiwan, and smaller numbers from other countries. Latin America is a question mark, with Colombia being perhaps the only bright spot given the frequent visit of the FeeWinds to Cartagena. Call it maybe 1,500 total.
So that’s how I get to 25,000 total (of which 20,000 is public); while that may not be perfectly accurate, I would be willing to bet that the global total does not exceed 35,000 today. Incidentally, I suspect that the global public total is probably declining at a rate of about 15% to 20% per year at this point, which I believe to be an acceleration over the rate of decline perhaps five years ago. I would suspect that the total active event attendee population of that loose definition of “public” I used at the outset is probably less than 10,000 worldwide — call it 1,500 public for Hubbard’s birthday in FL and 2,500 in CA, plus people attending the video events at their local orgs. That suggests there are about 10,000 sideliners and under the radar types. And I think that if Miscavige & Co. haven’t persuaded them to get active again by now, they’re never going to be again.
Also, if you look through the IAS “whale” donors, it sure looks like most of the big names of the past are either dying off or are tapped out economically (Nancy Cartwright, for example, will never have to work again but with the end of The Simpsons, her annual income goes from $10 million to a fraction of that; Craig Jensen’s software company makes technology that has been obsoleted by new trends in disk storage over the last decade; Richie Acunto is bankrupt and broke). So it will be interesting to see what happens when IAS donations drop still further.