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How many Scientologists live in your town? Surprisingly, Scientology has an answer

Scientology is secretive about so many things. And of course, when it does come forward with information, it has a decades-long record of prevarication. You can take none of their pronouncements at face value. Especially when they’re claiming that they have “millions” of members around the world.

But our readers know that if we look around long enough, we find that Scientology gets around to revealing truths about itself, if perhaps unintentionally.

We’re bringing that up because we noticed something rather astounding that Scientology has quietly been doing at its slick official website that’s related to how it has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.

You might remember that we posted some flyers and mailers from Scientology that encouraged its members not only to pursue extension courses while the orgs were closed down during the health crisis, but also asked them to make short videos of themselves enjoying Scientology books and lectures in their own homes.


We theorized at the time that Scientology leader David Miscavige was worried that if he didn’t keep members at home busy with their courses, they might use their lockdown time to maybe, you know, try a book written by someone other than L. Ron Hubbard. And you know how dangerous that can be.

Anyway, what we didn’t realize until the other day is that Scientology has really gone all-in on this “at home” program.

Since April 30, 2020, Scientology has been posting about five videos a day, every day, from Scientologists around the world who have sent their footage in.

As of yesterday afternoon, they had posted a total of 2,079 individual videos of Scientologists sharing their experiences during lockdown.

It’s a huge undertaking, and we can’t imagine how much work it’s been to edit all of that footage into the neat little packages that the church is posting.

And if you take the time to scroll down the entire page of videos, you might get the notion that perhaps Scientology is bigger than some of us have been saying — after all, this collection of videos goes on and on and on. It seems huge!

However, as we explained at the beginning of this story, Scientology sometimes gives up key information that it might not have disclosed otherwise.

You see, we took the trouble to go through all 2,079 videos and noted where they were from. And that tabulation is actually pretty interesting.

First of all, we will point out that even after begging public (non-employee) Scientologists to send in videos of themselves, and after posting five of them a day for nearly fifteen months straight, that total number of 2,079, while impressive as a feat of audiovisual production, once again appears to confirm that our estimates for the overall size of Scientology, with something like 20,000 active overall members, is the right order of magnitude.

How long will Scientology continue to post five videos a day now that the pandemic is waning in many places thanks to vaccines? We don’t know. Buf if they keep posting five videos a day, it would take them more than 500 years just to get to their first million.

Scientology has never had millions of members. It lies about that. And once again, its own data shows that its numbers are actually only in the thousands.

But besides the total number, we were also interested to see the breakdown of where these videos are coming from. And we did find some surprises.

Now, we realize there are going to be a lot of caveats here. We know that some members may be more likely to put themselves on camera than others, that technical skills come into play, and other factors. But on the other hand, this program has been going on for nearly 15 months, giving public Scientologists everywhere plenty of time to get their submissions in.

Also, we realize that Scientology’s website drones are choosing which videos to post and in which order, which might produce a bias of its own. But with all of that in mind, we think it’s still very interesting to see where the videos are coming from.


Even with the caveats, forgive us if we are feeling excited by the prospect that Scientology has just, unintentionally, told us where in the world it is actually thriving, and just as importantly, where it is not.

OK, so here’s the first breakdown: A simple ranking by country. The top twenty:

1. USA: 659 videos.
2. Taiwan: 251
3. Mexico: 198
4. Australia: 132
5. UK: 130
6. South Africa: 89
7. Italy: 85
8. Canada: 61
9. Colombia: 42
10. Denmark: 36
11. Japan: 35
12. Hungary: 33

13. Costa Rica: 31
14. Israel: 30
15. Venezuela: 30
16. Spain: 28
17. Germany: 19
18. Ecuador: 18
19. France: 17
20: Russia: 12

We knew that Scientology had been pushing for more recruitment in Taiwan and Mexico, but wow. We didn’t expect those countries to dwarf the output of such traditional strongholds as the UK and South Africa.

And a few other surprises, especially considering how much money has been spent in these cities. Literally millions on new buildings and a constant flow of propaganda. And yet, in these cities with massive populations…

Portland: 8 videos
Atlanta: 7
San Diego: 6
Cincinnati: 6

Amsterdam: 6
Birmingham: 6
Dublin: 5
Boston: 3
Detroit: 3
Rome: 2
Edinburgh: 2
Seattle: 2
Berlin: 1
Basel: 1

While, on the other hand, Scientology seems to be doing a pretty good job in some expected places, and also in some you might not have considered.

Clearwater/Tampa: 154
Mexico City: 151
Kaohsiung, Taiwan: 92

East Grinstead, England: 89
Sydney: 88
Johannesburg: 79
Los Angeles: 76
Taichung, Taiwan: 64
Taipei: 49
Bogota: 39
Kansas City: 38
Copenhagen: 34
Budapest: 23

We’ve been saying for a few years that we’ve perceived an ebbing of Los Angeles’s importance in Scientology as Clearwater’s influence grows, and these numbers seem to support that. But what do you think? Are you surprised? We can get an even more detailed breakdown if we can think of a good way to present it. We’ll consider a part two if you’re interested.


Source Code


“Man, in the past, every time he got up along the strata of trying to evaluate data, would get up to some point and say, ‘Above this point it is just God, and God did everything from here on down and you can’t go any further than that.’ Then he would push back the frontier of knowledge just a little bit further and he would say, ‘Beyond that is God. God starts right in here,’ and he would use that to evaluate data. This is somewhat unworkable because there are not two data. That is why man was having trouble. But there was a second datum there all the time: there was the devil. This fits in with the double-data system. The basic unit of knowledge is two. You have to know there is a man before you can know whether or not a man can be aberrated or not aberrated. How do we describe the devil? The devil is evil and God is good. We can describe, then, and we can get some conception of magnitude, of comparative data and of value. It is very simple. ” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 16, 1951


Avast, Ye Mateys

“All DOC members are to star-rate check out on HCO PL 22 February 1968 ‘Ethics Admin’ and FO RS 322 ‘The Hat of the Master”. Compliance to be effected within 24 hours. Twin checking between DOC members is preferred.” — The Commodore, July 16, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I have listened to several critics of Scientology, and I have been playing around with my mock ups. I have come to the conclusion that at one point in time critics were caused grief, and in present time they are trying to cause the offenders to be in guilt, regret, or remorse for their actions. There could be an Earlier Similar Group on their track. The handling for this case phenomenon would be to mock up two synthetic thetans beside each other. One would represent self in grief or sadness, the other would represent the offending party in guilt. These two dis-similar terminals are allowed to discharge against each other which may take a few hours. I hope this helps.”


Past is Prologue

1998: The Edmonton Examiner published an apology this week to Professor Stephen Kent. The Examiner distributed Scientology’s Freedom magazine as an insert in the paper. Freedom attacked Professor Kent in the insert. “In early June of 1998, the Edmonton Examiner inadvertently distributed copies of the Freedom Journal to some Edmonton homes. The Freedom Journal is published by the Church of Scientology International and made certain allegations concerning University of Alberta Professor Stephen A. Kent (Ph.D.). The Edmonton Examiner is not aware of any basis for the printed allegations and was wrong to distribute material which represented Professor Kent in a derogatory manner. Further, the Edmonton Examiner apologizes to Professor Stephen A. Kent for any embarrassment caused and sincerely regrets its role in the distribution of this material.”



Random Howdy

“If the government simply enforced the already existing laws we wouldn’t even be here.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Sept 9.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientologists mourn the loss of Kelly Preston, say nothing about former member Ben Keough
[TWO years ago] It’s not hard to figure out where L. Ron Hubbard came up with Scientology’s space cooties
[THREE years ago] Saturday on L. Ron Hubbard Way — Scientology rolled out its sneaky focus on minorities
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s ‘Drug-Free’ influence-peddling plans for New York on August 1, in detail
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s appeal denied, trial date to be set in forced-abortion lawsuit
[SIX years ago] Leah Remini’s ex-Scientology friends rock TLC — and our interview with one of them
[SEVEN years ago] Camilla Andersson goes public after 29 years in Scientology’s inner elite
[EIGHT years ago] Claire Headley Wonders, Was Kirstie Alley Doing Scientology’s ‘Doubt Formula?’
[NINE years ago] Breaking Away from the Church of Scientology: Reading Marty Rathbun’s Manifesto
[TEN years ago] Scientology Is Not Happy With “Inside Scientology”


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,363 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,868 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,388 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,408 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,299 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,606 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,474 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,248 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,578 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,052 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,368 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,934 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,853 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,021 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,602 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,863 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,901 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,614 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,139 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 494 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,669 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,220 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,369 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,689 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,544 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,663 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,019 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,322 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,428 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,830 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,702 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,285 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,780 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,034 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,143 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 16, 2021 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, 15 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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