Um, well, no. In fact, the figures from the 2011 England and Wales census are out, and they are grim. In the second most important country to Scientology in the world, only 2,418 people claimed that they belonged to the church.
That’s not the only alarming number that came out this week regarding Scientology’s fortunes. Let’s dig in.
First, let’s try to put this census data into some perspective. It turns out that Scientology actually showed a little growth. Ten years ago, at the last census, only 1,781 people answered an optional question on the form by saying they were Scientologists.
That’s a growth rate of 64 new people each year in a country of 56.1 million people. This planet will be cleared in no time!
(Scientology traditionally claims to have more than 100,000 members in England and 10 million around the world, both of which are complete, well, balderdash, to use church spokeswoman Karin Pouw’s favorite word.)
The media is having a lot of fun with these results, of course. Scientologists in England and Wales are outnumbered by people who professed to be Jedi (176,632), Rastafarian (7,906), Heavy Metal (6,242), Druid (4,189), and Zoroastrian (4,105).
Also new this week: Google released information about 2012 search trends, and there was one result that stunned us.
In 2012, when Americans entered the words “What is…” in Google, the most popular next word they typed was “SOPA” — the controversial anti-piracy bill. But the second most popular “What is” search in the U.S. was “What is Scientology?”
Wow. We can think of lots of reasons why, of course. The divorce. The Master. Nazanin Boniadi.
So we are left with this: Interest in Scientology has probably never been higher, but that isn’t translating to growth for the church.
Meanwhile, more and more longtime, loyal members accustomed to paying big bucks are abandoning the church every day.
Church leader David Miscavige, however, keeps trying to take more and more money out of fewer and fewer people, as we’ve well established with our weekly leaks of fundraising mailers.
This math doesn’t look too good, COB.