Do you think Scientology is more likely to capsize and dissipate into micro-church groups or to reform by moderating its aggressive and illegal behavior?
Thanks for your question. This or something similar, seems to be a recurring question. Basically, what is going to happen to the Church of Scientology?
The core problem with answering this question is that the Church of Scientology is currently being run by a psychotic. Really. So predicting what he’ll do is quite difficult. He is capable of random, senseless and strange actions.
However, there are thousands of Scientologists, both inside and outside of the church structure. Predicting their actions is easier.
First, the “Church of Scientology” can, and just may, last a long time–true believers being what they are. I believe that the current troubles will only increase and that the management of the church will be brought to justice. Legal actions, lawsuits and other troubles will cause the collapse of the church.
However, hard-core, true believers will recreate the “church”, perhaps under a different name, and will struggle on. It will remain very small. Hopefully, all the abusive policies will be canceled. If they are not canceled, the new “church” will cease to exist rather quickly when all of its members also end up in jail.
Other Scientologists have already created small groups outside of the church under the general Free Zone label and this will continue. Scientologists, newly out of the “church”, but still believing, will swell the various Free Zone groups and create new ones. Some Scientologists will continue to practice “Scientology” outside of any group or organization. A few of these groups may even claim to be churches, but most will not. It is doubtful that the various Free Zone groups will consolidate–they will undoubtedly remain rather small, independent and contentious.
This last is easy to predict, because it is already happening, and has been for many years.
But, basically, I think that most Scientologists have, and will continue to, simply quit all such Scientology-like activities. They will go back to their previous beliefs, they will look for a new system of beliefs, or nothing. They will retain anything they’ve found useful and discard the rest. This is already what happens for most ex-Scientologists.
Now that the truths about Scientology, Hubbard and Miscavige are out there and widely known, I am certain that any version of Scientology, whether reformed or not, will remain quite small. Expansion of Scientology is impossible when the truth is known.