We are now past the time when estimating the number of Church of Scientology members was even possible. The reason for this is that the number of church members for a country simply becomes lost in the margin of error of any poll. The last ARIS survey simply dumped “Scientology” into “Miscellaneous”, with numbers too small to note. Of course, the numbers would be much worse today.
In addition, it looks like the number of people outside of the church, who might still consider themselves a “Scientologist” (and answer a poll that way) is already larger than the number of people in the Church of Scientology. Unless a poll specifically asked “inside or outside the church,” the numbers would be meaningless.
Another problem in determining who really is a member of the Church of Scientology is that most people who no longer want to have anything to do with the church will pretend they still believe — so they can talk to their friends and family who are church members.
For clarification, here are the different stages most Scientologists go through when waking up and leaving Scientology:
- Scientologist finally admits that the actions of the church towards himself and others are abusive and wrong. I say “finally admits” because almost all Scientologists already feel the church’s actions are wrong, but they just don’t admit it at first.
This results in the Scientologist withdrawing support from the church while pretending they’re still loyal. This means they might still show up for the major events and may still take a course or buy a book, but that’s about it.
- Next, the Scientologist starts talking with other Scientologists about the problems and abuses they see. As they learn to trust each other, they share their own stories of abuse and wrongdoing by the church. At this point they eagerly pass along reports from outside the church, like the ones from Luis Garcia and Geir Isene.
This results in a fifth column inside of the Church of Scientology. These Scientologists actually become a conduit from outside Scientology whistle-blowers right into the very heart of the Church of Scientology. This completely destroys the carefully constructed wall between the church and the real world. This development is significant.
- Then these Scientologists start to read the Internet — the “forbidden” sites! Initially, this can be very scary, since they have been assured that all sorts of terrible things will happen to them when they read these sites. But they do and they are shocked and outraged at what they find about David Miscavige, Scientology and their church.
This is the point where most stop having anything to do with the Church of Scientology.
- Sooner or later they stop pretending they are still loyal to the Church of Scientology. From there, they may participate in some independent Scientology group, or may cease to have anything to do with Scientology at all. The latter is most common.
In the past, we have all wondered how to reach and talk to the very loyal, very dedicated believers at the core of Scientology. The dogma of Scientology has made them virtually impossible to contact in any practical way.
The Scientologists at stage 2 and 3 are the way this inner core can and has been reached. Reports from outside whistle-blowers like the reports from Luis Garcia and Geir Isene are written by Scientologists for Scientologists. They speak the language and they frame the crimes and abuse against the “Ideal Scene” that all Scientologists believe in. Some of these reports are from well-known and trusted Scientologists.
The previously impermeable bubble that protected members of the Church of Scientology from reality has been torn apart. The crimes and abuses of David Miscavige and other top Scientologists are now known about and discussed widely within the church. I’m sure the inner core of the most loyal Scientologists are fervently denying these reports, but they know about them. This shakes them up.
And here David Miscavige comes to help the inner core make up their minds — and not in the direction he intends. He is attacking them.
As more and more Scientologists leave, the few remaining, very loyal Scientologists will come under increasing threats and increasing pressure. Where there used to be thousands of Scientologists buying books and courses and donating to Miscavige’s latest money-making scam, now there are just a few — and Miscavige expects them to take up the slack — and his pressure on them is beyond intense.
In addition, because Miscavige has gotten the idea that the truth is getting through to his followers, he is suspicious of every Scientologist and he will demand more Conditions, more Ethics and more Sec Checks.
Get the picture? The increasing pressure, suspicion, Ethics, greed and threats will now hit at the most loyal, most dedicated Scientologists. Miscavige can’t help it, he must demand more and more money while treating people with more and more suspicion.
And his most loyal, dedicated followers, who have now heard of, and dismissed, stories of crimes and abuse will get the full brunt of Miscavige’s greed. They will get abused. Criminal acts will occur — illegal charges on their credit cards, for instance.
That inner, unreachable core of dedicated church members is under attack — by Miscavige — and now they will get the truth, whether they want it or not.
We are in the final days, but what is going on will be mostly hidden. We will only hear about it later.