5 Biggest Lies in Scientology's 2-Minute TV Ad

Categories: Scientology

WISStart.jpg
We keep seeing Twitter reactions as people are stunned to see a 2-minute ad for Scientology show up on network television. We've written earlier about the negative reactions the ad is getting as it appeared during NFL playoff games, the Miss America pageant, the Golden Globes, and during such weekly series as Glee and American Idol.

But we haven't written yet about what's actually in the ad, which appears to be the latest slick production from Scientology's Golden Era Productions that makes use of swooshing text. (For a previous example, look for the "Define Better" video in this story about Scientology's in-house rapper, Chill EB).

Golden Era knows how to put out a slick ad. But how much of it is true? Turns out, not a lot. We've selected the ad's five biggest whoppers, taking them in the order that they appear...


#1. Scientology is "knowing God"

WISGod.jpg

This rather jarring statement occurs as Scientology's ad goes for a moment of fuzzy warmth and good feelings...

"Scientology is the study of KNOWLEDGE," it says. "It's knowing YOURSELF."

The word "yourself" then makes way for a series of words, speeding up as they replace each other: "FAMILY, FRIENDS, the world, life, the universe, the spirit..."

"GOD"

Gives you goosebumps, doesn't it? Scientology appears to be giving you the promise of a better knowledge of God, perhaps an attractive prospect for youngsters who might be feeling that more mainstream organized religion leaves them cold.

But hang on a minute. What "god" do Scientologists believe in?

"L. Ron Hubbard's idea of god is not like the god that Christians worship. We don't worship god, we are god," says Chuck Beatty, a longtime former Scientologist and member of its hardcore Sea Org. Beatty is an expert on Hubbard's "technology" -- the intricacies of Scientology belief. [For some basics on the church, read our primer, "What is Scientology?"]

"The Scientology concept of god is that we are all fallen gods from our own home universes. We all had our own home universes, and those home universes collided, creating the physical universe that we all agree on," Beatty says.

Often, however, we hear from Scientology -- particularly its celebrity members -- that it's OK to be both a Christian and a practicing Scientologist, that you don't have to give up your previous belief in the God of the Bible. So, perhaps that's what the ad is referring to...

But Beatty reminds me that Hubbard wasn't very kind to Jesus or the Christian God in his writings.

According to Hubbard, in fact, Jesus is merely an implant that was brainwashed into the minds of our ancient spirits -- thetans -- 76 million years ago by the evil galactic dictator, Xenu.

In an audiotaped 1968 lecture describing this incident, you can clearly hear Hubbard say, "There was no Christ."

Funny, but the ad really doesn't seem to give a sense that you'll eventually (after several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in services) learn that Jesus and the Christian God are figments of the imagination, and that YOU are a god -- and can regain your godlike powers after only a few more years and hundreds of thousands in services more!



#2. Scientology is "the study of truth, drawing on 50,000 years of wisdom, mathematics, and nuclear physics"

WISPhysics.jpg

This one is almost too easy. In fact, it's really somewhat incredible that Scientology's advertising department would dare to include that bit about nuclear physics, since it only takes a few keystrokes on Google to learn that although Hubbard loved to tell people he was one of only a handful of nuclear physicists in the 1930s, the truth is that in 1932 he took only a single class in nuclear physics at George Washington University and failed it.

Here, look for yourself. Here's the pertinent line from his transcript:

HubbardGrade.jpg

He also failed Differential Calculus and Plane Analytic Geometry, and got D's in Chemistry, Integral Calculus, and Electricity and Magnetism. He left the school without a degree. But that didn't stop Hubbard from claiming that he was an expert in all sorts of sciences.

It's actually more interesting to see the claim that Scientology is "drawing on 50,000 years of wisdom."

Since the advent of writing -- and as a result, human history -- only began about 6,000 years ago, what could they be talking about here?

"Actually, they're selling Hubbard short," Chuck Beatty says, and of course he's right. Scientology believes that we are thetans -- spirits -- and that we have lived countless lifetimes before today. Part of the allure of Scientology is exploring those past lives and their traumas, and trying to repair your "whole track" of existence.

WisWisdom.jpg
But how far back does that whole track go? A lot farther than 50,000 years. In fact, Hubbard and Scientologists talk about the age of the universe on completely different terms than boring scientists, who will tell you that the Big Bang happened only about 15 billion years ago or so.

Hubbard, Scientologists believe, went much farther back than that on his "researches" of the whole track.

In fact, Beatty says, he can't think of a newspaper that's ever really dived into just how far back in time Hubbard was able to research.

He's referring to a stunning moment that occurs in a video recorded in January, 1986. Hubbard had just "left his body" after his 74 years of life on Earth, and the news was being delivered by David Miscavige and Pat Broeker, who would then fight over control of the church. (Miscavige won and is still, today, Scientology's supreme leader.)

But Broeker that night, at the Palladium, did a remarkable thing. He wanted to show that Hubbard was researching to the very end -- that the Scientology founder was still seeing just how far back in time he could find incidents to investigate on his own whole track. Broeker wants to share with the audience something remarkable from Hubbard's papers -- a worksheet that Hubbard had been working on just a few months before he died. On the paper is a number. It represents the number of years back that Hubbard had found an incident in his own ancient history to "handle." Here's a screenshot of it:

HubbardNumber.jpg

Now, I did my best to read that fuzzy image, and to my eyes, that looks like the number "24" followed by a whole lot of other numbers, separated by commas. I counted ten sets of three digits across by 11 rows, plus five more sets on the top row. (In a number that large, all of the numbers after the first couple might as well be zeroes).

My count came to 24 followed by 345 zeroes. Which, I kid you not, can be expressed this way:

24 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years.

(I checked this with a friend who is a radar systems engineer and telescope builder. He confirmed my method to come up with the number, but couldn't seem to stop laughing.)

Beatty was in the audience that night, and tells me that seeing that number thrilled the Scientologists in attendance. If Hubbard could go back that far into his own past, they would someday as well. (When you put it that way, $8,000 for 12.5 hours of counseling sounds positively cheap!)


#3. Scientology is "more than 10,000 churches, missions, and groups"

WISMissions.jpg

On Sunday, Marty Rathbun, formerly the second highest ranking executive in Scientology, posted something remarkable at his blog.

Scientology feeds this line about 10,000 churches not only to the general public, but also to its members. One of them, Ulf Olaffsen, knowing the number to be false, sent a letter debunking it to Scientology management. When he didn't get a satisfactory response, he fed his letter to Rathbun, who made it public. Coming on the heels of Debbie Cook's infamous New Year's Eve e-mail, in which the former top executive at Scientology's spiritual mecca in Florida blasted leader David Miscavige for the church's all-consuming focus on "extreme fundraising," this is becoming quite a season of disaffection in the church. Here's what Olaffsen had to say about Scientology's claims about its churches, missions and groups...

10,000 Churches, missions and affiliated groups is a datum very hard to explain. No new orgs -- and if I missed one or two, it still doesn't explain the numbers -- have been announced in almost a decade. Athens was one of the last, and maybe a Celebrity Center. The total number of orgs never exceeded somewhere around 160 from the time I was at Int, and from your events no new orgs have been announced since that time.

When I worked at Gold I routinely did A/V products tailor-made for the active missions and groups and I would get updated lists of ALL the missions in the world. The total never exceeded 600, and I got my lists directly from SMI Int, and the lists contained ALL registered missions with contact information. The numbers were roughly about 60 in Russia, less than 40 in Hungary, less than 100 in the rest of Eu, less than 10 in all of Asia, less than 40 in Africa, less than 10 in ANZO, less than 70 in all of South America and less than 200 in North America. In total the numbers were 500 - 600.

Yes, my information is not current, but these figures are not from the Ice Age either (2006.)

Olaffsen, who worked at Scientology's secretive desert compound in Southern California, known as "Int Base" or "Gold" by members, and received information about missions directly from their organizing body, Scientology Missions International. This is a guy, in other words, who had access to real information about the proliferation of Scientology. And his numbers aren't even of the same magnitude as what Scientology claims.


#4. Scientology is "welcoming over 4.4 million new people each year"

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If there's anyone who knows about the size of the membership of Scientology, it's Jefferson Hawkins. As we've written before, it was Hawkins who marketed Dianetics as Scientology was undergoing its greatest expansion in the 1980s. His distinctive "volcano" television ads sold millions of books, and as the chief executive marketing the church, he had access to complete membership rolls. As we wrote earlier, based on several lines of evidence, but most importantly Hawkins and his knowledge of Scientology's internal membership data, there's good reason to believe that there are no more than 100,000 active Scientologists around the world -- and the actual number may be closer to only 40,000.

I asked Jeff to look at this ad and its claim that Scientology adds 4.4 million people every year.

This is laughable. I think what they do is take the number of books sold, the number of "The Way to Happiness" booklets handed out, the number of hits on their website, the number of people who saw their ads on TV, and add all that up and add a few zeros and they get "the number of new Scientologists." They basically just make these numbers up. I've seen the top executives of Scientology do this; they sit around and figure out everything they can possibly add in and then inflate that and get some astounding, and totally fictional, numbers.

I think most people know that Scientology simply invents these numbers out of whole cloth. If you actually look for their organizations and members and look at what is actually there, it tells a very different story. Anyone can fact-check their "expansion." Just go to the address given in your city and look at what is actually there.



#5. Scientology is "growing faster today than anytime in its history"

WISGrowing.jpg

Again, I asked Jeff Hawkins for his view...

Actually, Scientology was growing until 1991, and then started a long, long decline. I've seen the actual statistics. I left the Church in 2005, so I haven't seen the last seven years of statistics, but from all indications, it's still in trouble. People who have visited their organizations report that they are largely empty. They still hold their events at the same venues they did 20 years ago (Shrine Auditorium in LA, which holds about 6,000 at best, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater which holds about 1,200 -- and those are the two largest Scientology centers in the world). So their event attendance hasn't changed in 20 or 25 years. The main thing they point to as "proof" of their expansion is their new real estate holdings. They do not show actual statistics ever. If you go looking for their "Missions" (smaller starter organizations) you usually find an empty building or someone's living room.

As Hawkins points out, Scientology is opening new facilities in a decade-long push for new "Ideal Orgs." But for the most part, these are lavish new buildings that are replacing orgs that weren't out of room to begin with, and are largely sitting empty or are waiting for more fundraising to finish renovations. While David Miscavige can be found presiding over hyped-up grand openings of these new orgs, there's really no evidence that Scientology is gaining more people, and not just new buildings.

So if this ad is so full of fibs, you may be wondering, why is Scientology playing it in some of the most expensive slots of network television prime time?

Make no mistake about it -- this is a church in crisis. As we've been documenting over the last year, Scientology is literally splitting apart as loyal, longtime members get fed up with constant pleas for big donations, and with the church's extreme measures of control, including the splitting up of families through "disconnection." For more on what ails Scientology, follow our links on subjects such as Debbie Cook, the Super Power Building, stories of disconnection, a decade of spying on Tom Cruise, and other subjects listed in our links below.


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [What is Scientology?] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology]
[Commenters of the Week] | [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]
[This Week Aboard the Apollo] | [Sunday Funnies]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]
[Paulette Cooper, Scientology's original and worst nightmare: a Thanksgiving tribute]

THE TOP 25 PEOPLE CRIPPLING SCIENTOLOGY

1. L. Ron Hubbard | 2. David Miscavige | 3. Marty Rathbun | 4. Tom Cruise | 5. Joe Childs and Tom Tobin | 6. Anonymous | 7. Mark Bunker | 8. Mike Rinder | 9. Jason Beghe | 10. Lisa McPherson | 11. Nick Xenophon | 12. Tommy Davis | 13. Janet Reitman | 14. Tory Christman | 15. Andreas Heldal-Lund | 16. Marc and Claire Headley | 17. Jefferson Hawkins | 18. Amy Scobee | 19. The Squirrel Busters | 20. Trey Parker and Matt Stone | 21. Kendrick Moxon | 22. Jamie DeWolf | 23. Ken Dandar | 24. Dave Touretzky | 25. Xenu

HELD ABOARD THE FREEWINDS: TALES OF THE SEA ORG

[Valeska Paris, held against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's cruise ship]
[Ramana Dienes-Browning, marriage at 16, sexual interrogation, life in the engine room]
[Melissa Paris, Valeska's sister: forced to marry at 16]

SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

[Scientology targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in an investigation]
[More documents in the South Park probe: instructions to send in a young mole]
[Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe]
[Mark Ebner also investigated after South Park involvement]
[Mark Chauppetta, private eye, explains what Scientology operatives look for]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

[Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!]
[Tom Cruise and X Factor's Stacy Francis singing together on the Freewinds]
[X Factor's Stacy Francis: Her first husband, Michael Sandlofer, answers abuse claims]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

["The Money Machine": another blockbuster St. Pete Times investigation]
[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology in Israel: Arson, attempted murder, paranoia -- and a visit by the Voice!]
[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology chillin' with hip hop!] | [The curious career of Scientology rapper Chill EB]
[Chill EB and me: the Voice interviews Scientology's in-house rapper]
[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]
[Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]

My Voice Nation Help
255 comments
IslandTME
IslandTME

So why advertise on GLEE.?   Homophbics can't believe in Schentology!!!!! LRH hated GAY people!!!!!

IslandTME
IslandTME

OMG!!!!! You're missing the point!.  The the Cult of $cientology is  advertising extremely false and fraudulent material to the main streem.   I love GLEE, but hate CULTS!!!!! The EARTH was not here 75,000,000,000 years ago.  WAKE UP there is no ZENU!!!!

I don't want to say
I don't want to say

I used to be a Scientologist, and quit in the middle of the might when I was at a center and was being pressured into selling my BMW, the last thing I still had on any value, to get more money for more classes.  I had no choice but to sell or flee.  There is some good information regarding communication skills there, but as I learned, those skills are used to help manipulate new members, and they prey on those who are having a momentary weakness. Scientology really is a cult, and all tax exemptions need to end.

Unex Skcus
Unex Skcus

It's about time that Co$ got more mainstream exposure... imagine, millions more people saying "WTF ???".

Rita Michaels
Rita Michaels

"We are God," says Chuck Beatty... like a whole lot of Scientology, that concept is one that Hubbard lifted, complete, from the work of a much more successful science fiction author, Robert A. Heinlein. In 'Stranger in a Strange Land', it's "thou art God". Everyone can discover that they 'are God', in a new-age religion that's comprised of a series of shells where selected worshippers are invited to join secret, inner 'levels' of the faith... and leave all their money at the door. Hubbard's cult alternative to writing fiction for a penny a word didn't even involve an original story, it seems.

I grew up near a cattle market, but I saw more bullshit in that two-minute TV spot than in 12 years of livestock auctions.

Rocko19
Rocko19

Everyone should call the White House and tell Obama "No Tax Exemption For Scientology"...They make billions of dollars every year and should not be tax exempt...It's a crime the way they secured their exemption..

They own billions of dollars of prime property all over the World..

They do not have one charity like the Jews, Christians, etc..

Google: Contact White House and call or email now..

.

Quickpen
Quickpen

Or maybe RON, if they're feeling familiar.  As in What Would Ron Do?  No Jesus needed or wanted.  After all He was no one special- just a man on a cross.

Quickpen
Quickpen

They misspelled GOD.  In scientology, GOD is spelled LRH.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

God what a pile of crap that ad is, because outside of Florida and California the average Scientology Org is some sort of abandoned building and a Mission is an empty, never open room in a strip mall. If there were zillions of new Scientologists, where are the noobie clam message boards and other evidence on the Internet?

bornthisway
bornthisway

Scientology does help you know God. After they have taken all your money, you are down on your knees praying to God for a miracle. 

I know many ex Scio's and they are as Tony said choosing to stay quiet~ because they have friends / family still in and do not want to experience the disconnection policy that does not exist on TV but DOES in real life. Or they do not want to be harassed by the mindless bloodhounds who work for the angry midget.

Max champion
Max champion

Tony, it's so good to see the Church of Scientology's BS being called out publicly. Thank you.

Alistair
Alistair

Geez, Tony, stop being so hard on Ron for failing all those science classes. He was treasurer of I Phelta Thi, after all; doesn't that mean anything in today's world??

Jgg
Jgg

  Did they run one of their desperate, "divert attention from the lawsuits" ads on the Super Bowl?  That would really be a Hail Mary.

Lliira
Lliira

I googled "Scientology [my city]" to see what locals who got interested in Scientology from this ad would see. (Kind of a silly exercise, nearly everyone in this area knows what Scientology is, and does not like them, but anyway.)

The website that popped up first for Scientology in my city looks pretty well-designed. The first thing on the page, however, is this: "Life is composed of seven-tenths work, one-tenth familial, one-tenth political and one-tenth relaxation."

Looks like they're trying to recruit the workaholics. Even if I'd never heard of Scientology before, that sentence alone would make me think very poorly of it.

Kim O'Brien
Kim O'Brien

I thought the Annie Broeker story got my blood boiling. I am going to need a sedative. 

Jgg
Jgg

  Tony, don't be so critical.  LRH once wrestled a polar bear with his own hands, and won!  And yes, they are growing--they have more vacant, open space in their real estate than ever!  And they do welcome 4.4 million people a year.  That doesn't mean they join, it just means they see a big "welcome" sign in front of the vacant buildings they walk by.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I was bracing myself for scientology's ad to show up during Super Bowl. Whew! I'm glad that didn't happen, but I did see a forehead in the VIP Box that could have been David Miscavige? If he was a little taller I would have made a positive id.

Warrior
Warrior

If anyone knows about the actual number of active Scienos...

I used to be the Address Officer and Computer I/C. In this position I maintained Scientology's mailing list. I've written many times about the actual number of active members. At their peak (late '70s and very early '80s) corporate Scientology never had more than 45,000 members in the entire western hemisphere. Even while I was a member in good standing I knew Heber Jentzsch was making up numbers when he claimed publicly that Scientology had 6 million or 8 million members. 

Jefferson Hawkins
Jefferson Hawkins

As I said before, it's easy for anyone to fact-check Scientology's supposed "expansion." Let's take something comparable, say Jehovah's Witnesses, who claim 7,650,000 members worldwide (and incidentally post detailed statistics and breakdowns online). Scientology claims to be much bigger than this, but without posting any factual statistics. In my city, Portland, Oregon, the Jehovah's Witnesses have eleven "Kingdom Halls," each one a substantial building with signs and a big parking lot. So it checks out. Scientology has one organization. A search for two supposed "Missions" came up with nothing - there was a used clothing store at one address listed, and an empty building at another. So it doesn't check out - period. Anyone can do this sort of fact-check. Their thousands of organizations and millions of members somehow cannot be found in what we like to call "reality."

anon anon song
anon anon song

As if 74 earth years of L Ron Hubbard verbal diarrhea wasn't enough, imagine 24 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years of it.

Run away! Run away!!!

DO
DO

If Scientology has only 40k members, how do they have so much money?  I mean, sure, a handful of mega donors.  But, still, Scientology, from most accounts, has hundreds of millions in income each year.

scientology_hater
scientology_hater

Well, I hate to say it, but these days 7/10ths work isn't terribly far off the mark. Or at least it feels like it haha.

Lliira
Lliira

Trigger warning for sexual abuse on that story and for the usual whining of "there isn't proooooof" in the comments.

Venerable Korgo of Teegeeack
Venerable Korgo of Teegeeack

The Jews only claim 12-15 million and they have their own country. Also, when you find a Jew making movies no one is surprised for a minute.

John P.
John P.

Jeff, that's a very nice job with a simple "reality check" (as distinct from a David Miscavige "Severe Reality Adjustment").  You are exactly right.  The numbers work for my town as well.  

My suburb has a population of 120k and has three different Jehovah's Witnesses facilities.  The (ample) parking lots are full every single night and traffic is a mess on Sundays.  I would estimate total congregation size at 1,000+ given the traffic and building size.  That's consistent with the published data, assuming half of the global JW population is in the US.  So if Scientology is the same size, I'd expect to see 1,000+ Scientologists in my town. But the nearest facility is in a mid-sized city about 40 miles away, and it is an empty shell, an Idle Org that's been incomplete for years. The nearest facility actually open for business is 45 miles in the other direction, in a big city.  So Scientology's claim is not even remotely consistent with another organization claiming to be about the same size.  

I point this data out because it's amazing how simple it is to debunk lies if you just take time to look at your own life and think for a minute or two.  My analysis took a grand total of three minutes to: do the math of JW's against the US population, verify the population of my town in the 2010 census, establish the estimated number of people in my town that should be in a JW congregation, then to look up and make sure I had counted the number of churches accurately (I missed one in a part of town where I rarely go), and finally to verify the locations of the nearest Scientology facilities (to make sure I haven't missed one) and measure the distances to me.   Debunking Scientology's claim of 8 million members would have taken at least a day in a good research library  20 years ago, but with publicly available Internet resources, it takes a mere handful of minutes.  

Unshakeable truth is easy to come by in the Internet era, and it's Scientology's worst enemy.

Lliira
Lliira

Where I live, there sadly are a few large, nice-looking Scientology offices very close to me in various cities. Including one empty monstrosity that's taking up an entire city block and will measure oiliness.

Of course, there are more Jehovah's Witnesses churches than Scientology ones even here. Actually, I'll have to put more research into this, but I think there are more Hindu temples than Scientology missions or "churches" here.

DO
DO

The mission on Sandy did brisk business... and Scientology owns one of the most historical buildings in downtown, right next to Pioneer Square.

Brainslugged
Brainslugged

That'd be a whole lotta titanium disks. "We're gonna need a bigger vault".

Ivy Mapother
Ivy Mapother

By my Jethro Bodine ciphering and gozintas, if 25,000 were reged $10K each, that would be $250 million. That's pretty conservative by all recent accounts in the Tampa Bay Times. On the other hand, if 4.4 million new converts each bought the basics for $3000 and a LRH bobble head doll for $89.99, that would be some serious jack.By all means, loose your cash and thetans to your heart's content. If you have some kids, send them to the Sea Org. They'll love you fot it until you disconnect.

SFF
SFF

Hundreds of millions in the bank, maybe. I don't think their annual revenue is that high.

There are a few rich members left but really, if they manage to get 10K each from 40K members that's a decent intake.

If you are not in fact a troll, read the recent Tampa Bay Times series for a sense of how successfully they extract money from those still in.

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

 Ah...hello OSA!  Nice to see you here.

Keira
Keira

Agreed.   That's why I voted for "the internet" as the number one obstacle for scientology. 

NOTseriously
NOTseriously

The "we own *this* building and *that* building" means nothing. Having 5 missions in one town means nothing if it's only 2 guys and a dog.

And it means even less when those buildings are empty. EMPTY.

Jefferson Hawkins
Jefferson Hawkins

Misleading. That mission on Sandy hasn't existed for many years. There is currently no mission in Portland -if you think there is, send me the address and I'll check it out. As for historic buildings, they own two - the Stevens Building, which they are desperately trying to sell, and the old Ruth Chris Steak House building in a seedy part of Old Town, which stands empty - neither one near Pioneer Square. And whatever happened to CC Portland? - gone.

DO
DO

Right, I've read that.

I sorta equate Scientology to Foxconn.  They, like Foxconn, appear to really push their employees (staff, SO, whatever) to produce and work hard.  But the public who consumes the output seems to be, by and large, happy?

I mean, how else to explain that pretty much everyone on Marty's blog is ex-staff, rather than ex-public?  Sure, as with anything, there are some public who are pissed off.  But, really, the most pissed off and the most angry seem to be ex-staff, right?

DO
DO

Tiresome.  Review some of the other comments I have made here if you think I am such.

DO
DO

CC Portland had a bad experience if I recall correctly.  As in someone took them hostage with a gun in the early 1990s?  Could be mistaken, but I seem to recall someone getting shot, too?

DO
DO

Think mission is at Portland Chess Club?  Could be mistaken.

Church is on 14th and Jefferson I believe.  They're trying to rent lower floors of Stevens bldg iirc.

Xenu
Xenu

If they say that there are 10,000 orgs, missions and groups in the world, and there are really a small fraction of that number, what does their belief in Scientology have to do with the misrepresentation of fact?

 

John P.
John P.

The claim collapses immediately when cross-checked against even a couple of other known data points, some of which came from the Church itself.  I seem to recall seeing a comment either here or on Marty Rathbun's blog that the Tampa Org claimed 100 to 130 staff.  If there are 100 public for every staffer, then there ought to be 13,000 public served out of the Tampa org.  But elsewhere, information suggests that there are about 5,000 Scientologists in the greater Clearwater area including lots of SO; few of those would be served by the Tampa Bay org since, as SO members, they'd get their metaphysical rocks off at "The Mecca of Technical Perfection."  So once again, for the umpteenth time, a few minutes' look shows just how ridiculous the numbers coming from the Church are.  They're not even good liars any more.   

bobx
bobx

Basis for your claim that there are 100 public for every staffer?  You call that "not a stretch" but what I see is that there are hardly any "public" left at all, besides the children of the staff who are dragged in to it.

Grant
Grant

So does you're a moralfag?

Grant
Grant

I think it has been said elsewhere, here on this thread, that they do not accurately portray their beliefs.   Please stop repeating yourself. 

It's an unethical bait-and-switch. 

Lliira
Lliira

I know far more than I wish I did about 4chan, thanks oh so much. Anonymous does some good things. 4chan, however, is disgusting. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.

scnethics
scnethics

Look one comment up from Lliira's and smile at the OSA-bot.And thanks for all you've done and do!

4chanpartyvan
4chanpartyvan

Fuck you,I like many of my /b/ros painted a large target on our backs to help deliver a size 12 boot up DM's backside,without Chanology and the chans wasting Co$ time money and resources,plus the info videos,protests etc etc etc i do not think the Co$ would be as busted ass as it is today.Please keep your petty judgments about 4chan to yourself,you know nothing about us.

Scientia
Scientia

Ex-staff are more vocal? No shit, Sherlock. I am an ex-public and my experiences are ridiculously insignificant when compared to those of ex-staff. I'm just an unhappy customer who now buys elsewhere. Big deal. Just because I don't go fishing with Marty, or never suffered some form of horror I can tell the world about, does that mean I must still be a happy little churchbot?

If you are a Scientologist, sir, your obnosis sucks ass.

Lliira
Lliira

Cognitive dissonance.

Gman
Gman

There are actually more "scientology watchers" than 4Channers.  

Project Chanology became boring to most regular 4Channers when the number of "moralfags" got to high.  That is, those that were in it to do "good" rather than for the "lulz." So now, it's mainly the "moralfags" who really didn't necessarily start on 4chan in the first place. 

That's my take on it, although I'm none of the above.  I just study religious theory.

DO
DO

No.  Simply that you cannot tell a lie when you yourself believe what you are saying.

grundoon
grundoon

I get it: What's true for them, is true!

scnethics
scnethics

I guess that's why scientology doesn't accurately portray its beliefs, as this would be disastrous for them.  Good point.

Lliira
Lliira

Most anti-Scientologists (funny phrase, that), are not 4Channers. 

SFF
SFF

Look at the Church of Scientology exit survey. It may not be representative of anything other than ex-CoS members active online but over 70% of those who have responded were public or involved through WISE rather than being staff or sea org.

DO
DO

My point is that you're not ex-public, nor ex-staff.  You fit into the "other" category of anti-Scientologists.  Mostly 4channers.  Maybe not you.

Lliira
Lliira

So you get to decide what everyone else is, no matter what they themselves say they are? Nuh-uh, life doesn't work that way. I'm very sorry to tell you this, DO, but you're not God.

DO
DO

Right, but you're not an ex-public.  So therefore you are now hereby classified, by me, as a 4channer.

Lliira
Lliira

No you don't. I'm neither ex-staff nor "4chan-type". I've never been involved in Scientology or 4chan. As far as I'm concerned, a pox on both Scientology and 4chan.

You're pretty good at throwing fallacies out there though, DO. Keep on going, it's fun to dismantle your rhetoric.

DO
DO

Do you sometimes feel that your age is against you?

Gman
Gman

Also, would you rather wear a sombrero while riding a very large dog? Or a beret while riding and ostrich?  These are important issues. 

DO
DO

My point is that if those executives believe in Scientology, then it is not possible for them, when accurately portraying those beliefs, to be lying.

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

 "Sciloontology is an oil spill. The birds that got stuck in it are getting cleaned up."

That's a pretty good analogy for Scientology. And the original inspiration for it came from OSA!

SFF
SFF

Does emotional music have quite an effect on you?

SFF
SFF

Perhaps they never existed in the first place and were all just David Miscavige's Body Thetans.

SFF
SFF

Do you often sing or whistle just for fun?

Jefferson Hawkins
Jefferson Hawkins

DO, having been on the inside and privy to the hard data that they keep hidden, I can tell you that the opposite is true - there are far, far more ex-public than ex-staff. The attrition rate is huge. Even before the current meltdown, only a small percentage - 1% or 2% - of those who take basic courses end up on the OT Levels. The rest fall off at some point and quietly depart. And these days they are losing a lot of those top OTs as well. Sure, ex-staff are the most vocal whistleblowers - they know what goes on inside - whereas public are shielded from any knowledge of the inner workings. It's no surprise that ex-staff have the most to say.

DO
DO

I'm sorta trolling.  Everyone assumes that I'm OSA, so I figured I might as well not disappoint!  That said, the staff to public online activity rate is really curious.  At the very least, you'd expect to see far more using, say, anonymous handles or whatever.  But you really don't.  You see two contingents... ex-staff/SO and the 4chan type folks.

Choc. Vel.
Choc. Vel.

Wow, I would say "nice try", but it wasn't.

Thanks for the laugh, though. :)

DO
DO

Let me ask you, would you rather have 1000 out of 100,000 who could read & write in 10 languages, or would you prefer all 100,000 to read & write in just 1 language?

I often decry the American conservation movement, because, the amount of money it takes to change laws in already generally well-protected US is huge.  That same money could have 100x more impact in, say, Brazil or Congo, where there's huge biodiversity and no enforcements/laws.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

I don't know if you're trolling or not, DO. I only know that I hear privately from many, many more people than the people you see speaking up on websites and making themselves targets. Yes, the ones taking that chance tend to be former staff, many of whom came out with absolutely nothing and had to build their lives over from scratch. But the publics who are disaffected and leave -- many of whom contact me and tell me tales of their family members who have disconnected from them, etc. -- their best survival tactic is to remain silent. They tend to have lives and jobs (since they weren't in the Sea Org) and can lose it all if they are targeted for Fair Game. So to assume that because you don't see these people speaking up at Marty's blog that they must be "happy," well, I'd be hesitant to push that line.

scnethics
scnethics

I'm more concerned with what they know than what they believe.  They know that everything they claim in this commercial is a lie.  These executives may be liars because of their scientology-based belief that the ends justify the means, or they may just be liars who find scientology a great vehicle for conning people out of money.  I'm sure among scientology executives, you'll find both types of liars.  Which type are you?

DO
DO

Exactly my point.  Perhaps, just perhaps, they did not leave.  Or, rather, that the attrition rate of staff is radically higher than the attrition rate of public.  We can only work with the data we have.  And I would venture, based on looking at ex-Scientology boards, that there are, in fact, more ex-staff than ex-public.

DO
DO

Let me ask you again, since you didn't answer earlier.  Do you think that those executives in charge of Scientology, whomever you personally think they are, believe in Scientology or not?

DO
DO

I see... so ex-public are of weaker constitution than ex-staff/SO?  They must be incredibly weak-willed, judging by the fact that staff, who are far fewer in number, vastly out-distance them in terms of online gripes!

scnethics
scnethics

Hubbard would be proud.  Not only have you used made up numbers to support your argument, you've made the whole thing sound scientific.  Maybe you should have found a way to work in trillion trillion trillion trillion etc.  Anyway, these numbers are nice, but the important numbers for your church are all dwindling and putting these outrageous lies on TV won't help you.

SFF
SFF

I think that both of your suppositions are likely wrong (particularly the second one).

Even if they were true it doesn't prove your point. If someone doesn't vocally complain about Scientology _after they leave_ it shows that they were probably happy in Scientology? Even though they clearly left?

DO
DO

I recommend Vonnegut's Mother Night for your perusal.

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

That makes sense, if you leave out the part about how aggressively COS acts to frighten those who leave the church into silence. You don't see complaints from ex-public members as often (although there are plenty of those to be found, from all over the world) because they are afraid of becoming "fair game". Rightfully so, it seems from the stories told here and elsewhere.

But please, continue. This is amusing, like playing "duck hunt".

SFF
SFF

There are numerous pieces of information that all point to declining numbers. 

While the ARIS survey is sample-based and has a large margin for error, it is highly improbably that the large decrease shown between 2001 and 2008 corresponds to an increase in actual Scientologists.

Likewise, other countries do include religion on their national census and the numbers almost all show decline (and invariably show a number of Scientologists that is less than 10% of the numbers claimed by the CoS in those countries).

Scientology publishes its stats for completion of various course levels in its magazines. Those show a decline in paying membership at the very least, which is clearly the figure Scientologists care about.

Additionally, the visible evidence from the orgs that are protested regularly is that they are not getting a lot of public through the doors at times that should be their busiest.

Then there is the constant stream of people leaving publicly, which almost certainly is a fraction of those leaving quietly.

None of this can be used to pin down an exact figure for the number of Scientologists but I don't see how you can look at it collectively and conclude anything other than it shows a decline in active membership.

As for the Debbie Cook e-mail, I wasn't speaking about the ad specifically but more their other attempts to silence and / or discredit her, which seem beyond what they have done for a lot of other senior people who have left.

So again, what is the basis for your assertion that members are by-and-large happy?

MarkStark
MarkStark

TWTH..."like gentle oil spread upon the raging sea." Sciloontology is an oil spill. The birds that got stuck in it are getting cleaned up. You can try all the diversionary tactics you want, but this cult is headed downhill. Hubbard is a joke. Anyone who is tweeting about their interest in this cuckoo, who isn't in already, will look on the web first and that will be the end of it.

It's possible you aren't OSA, and just have mental problems.

DO
DO

As for happiness, I make that assumption on a few data.

Supposition 1.  Of the anti-Scientology gripers who have some prior relationship to Scientology, the ratio of ex-staff/SO to ex-public is in the neighborhood of about 25:1.  That is, for every pissed off ex-public, there are probably 25 pissed off ex-staff.Supposition 2.  In terms of active Scientologists, it is probably not a stretch to say that the ratio of staff/SO to public is somewhere around 1:100.  That is, for every staff/SO member there are about 100 public.

Conclusion.  Look, all of this is guesswork.  It's like determining that a distant star has an orbiting planet by noting that there is less solar radiation than expected.  But, the sheer volume of ex-staff who are angry, and the relative lack of ex-public who are angry, suggests that a) Scientology is delivering a product to its public that they value, b) that there is a large number of public, and c) that there is a large number of current staff.

DO
DO

Maybe, maybe not.

Doing a big media push isn't something that can just be whipped out in a heartbeat, particularly for a large organization.  Just look at what happened with the BP oil spill... it took weeks for BP to put out really shoddy, widely criticized "commercials" of Tony talking to the camera.  It's far more likely that the media buys and production were already in place.

Even if it was a reaction to that email, so what?  Maybe they're taking a Giuliani approach and fixing even minor broken windows?

Also, as for steadily declining numbers, where do you get your data?  From Marty's group?  From population samples?  As for the latter, ask any statistician and they'll tell you that accurate counting of smaller groups is very very difficult.

SFF
SFF

What is your basis for asserting that Scientology public are by-and-large happy? I'd say the Church of Scientology reaction to Debbie Cook's e-mail is a pretty clear indication that they know that many Scientologists feel unhappy with the current direction of the organization and the amount of money they are expected to give.

Also, the steadily-declining numbers of Scientologists is a pretty clear indication that not all is peachy.It is also a mistake to see Marty's group as representative of ex-Scientologists.

bobx
bobx

Hello!  I'm a male human who also dislikes Scientology!

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

 Um...sorry, but it's flat-out impossible to take seriously the posts of someone who believes that we have body thetans clinging to us like parasites, courtesy of Xenu the Galactic Warlord who used H-bombs to blow up all the aliens he'd herded into volcanoes on earth 75 million years ago, as described by LRH, the batshit-crazy drug-addled pulp science fiction writer.

But, as always, I appreciate the entertainment value of reading the spewings of LRH's equally batshit-crazy followers! I don't find it tiresome in the least.  So keep on posting!  And I'll keep on pointing out just how whack-a-doodle your "beliefs" are. :-)

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

If you can't take the heat...

But seriously, you only seem to have two points:

1) there are other groups calling themselves religions engaged in questionable actions as well.

Yes. And?

2) scientology is actually kinda not the way it looks - it looks like a cult with a seriously dwindling membership, but it is truly super successful and does some neato stuff.

No one believes that.

You keep repeating these two points, dressed up in different ways, and they have been addressed on other occasions.

At this point, the only thing left to do is let newcomers know the agenda behind seemingly "reasonable" comments that distort the picture. That is why you are called out.

This is not a philosophical discussion going on here, real lives are being destroyed every day by this "church". Certainly the COS sees media coverage as an information war, and so do many here and elsewhere on the web. So your personal motives and beliefs, and likely deployment by OSA will absolutely be taken into account, and responded to.

DO
DO

Okay, so why not leave it at that, then?  Do you really need to say "Hello OSA" after every one of my posts?  Or can I go onto your posts and reply, "Oh hello female Human who dislikes Scientology."  It's just tiresome.  Regardless of the personal motives, employment, or beliefs of posters, surely their points and arguments should still be taken seriously?

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

 I did.  I see a lot of pro-Scientology postings, and classic diversions.  Written in excellent English, however, so that's a plus. :)

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