Greatest event ever! Did they come?


The hype is done. The event is done. Now the results will have to tell.

The GAT II events this past weekend were billed as the most important events in the history of Scientology. On the 5th of November we wrote an article titled Under new management, but will they come? where we looked at the history of events in Joburg in terms of their attendance. To summarise:

  • War is Over, 1993, 830 attendance
  • GAT I, 1996, 650 attendance
  • Grand Opening, 2003, 1400 attendance
  • Jobug St Hill Size, 2005, 810 attendance

For the most important event in history? 300-500. We’ve had several reports of attendance figures and they are in this range. The event on Saturday was better attended than the event on Friday. By Wednesday last week the confirms for this event were over 1200 and the confirmation to attendance rate tends to be in the region of 3:1 so a figure of 400 would be about right as an average.

Pretoria had around 120. Keep in mind that in early October this “Ideal Org Fact” was emailed broadly: In the 7 months since the Pretoria Org went Ideal, more new people have come into the org and started a service than the previous 3 years combined.” Obviously they couldn’t ALL make it to the event.

Durban had about the same, 120. We understand that for Durban this is a pretty good turnout. We’d love to have figures for Cape Town & PE if anyone knows and wants to drop us a line.

Reports from Durban & Joburg indicate that the event in terms of presentation was actually pretty good and convincing. Fair enough.

Those of us who are seasoned veterans, however have long learned that the important time is to come. Results! We now wait for results. The stats over the next 3 weeks will be great while the all out push is on for people to get “onto training”. Then we’ll hit Christmas and then the new year. At this blog we plan to check in on the results of this greatest-event-ever at the end of January and into March.

20 thoughts on “Greatest event ever! Did they come?

  1. Today’s life challenges include innumerable attempts to get a consumer to part with his/her loot, for the supposed benefits offered by marketing. Taking gambling as an example, horse racing has been forced to set a precedent by staging night time events as “opportunities,” to attempt to “sneak in” to a perceived gap that may exist in the heavily mushrooming casino and “lotto”industries. Coming from a racing family, I can assure you, that this industry, (horse racing) in particular, has had to do a lot of consolidating, and make a lot of innovative inroads in the ever shrinking pie of available income, per capita.

    To the topic of this post, it is inconceivable, that anyone, other than the heavily dependent, mind-controlled, kool-aid drinkers, would fall for yet another unending ploy to get fleeced!

    Of course, His Loftiness is quite aware of this, so out trundles promotion number XYZ, to drain the life-blood of the few still remaining in the abattoir. It’s just an industry to Him, after all! …..Isn’t it??? (do you remember the time when the LRH purpose FOCUSED on churning out competent auditors? …( just a recall process, that! .. nothing to do with His Loftiness, you understand? 🙂 )

  2. The numbers you give (1200 confirms for Joburg and say 500 attendees, 120 attendees for Durban, 120 for Pretoria) put the figures in South Africa at no more than say 2000 people. 2000 people for six orgs. That is an average of 334 people (almost) .Having regard to the fact that only about 500 – 600 people attended the Portland opening of the Ideal org – it is unlikely that the figures are much better in the USA. If there are 160 ideal orgs then the worldwide figures cannot be as much as 160 orgs x 500 people = 80 000 people – world wide. I have heard figures of 40 000 worldwide – so my guesstimate is generous I think. Where are the millions of people?? The PR cannot be true. For there to be even 1 million members, you would need a membership of 6250 people per org and its associated missions. Not even close.

      • 😀 True fact. More here:

        Extract: “At the last census in 2001 there was a campaign to encourage people to answer the question with Jedi, and around 330,000 did so. But the force is apparently on the wane according to Tuesday’s figures with 176,632 describing themselves as Jedi Knights.

        Even so, the grouping, named after the fictional good guys in the Star Wars films, remains the biggest single category after the leading faiths of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism. It ranked higher than followers of other established religions, including Rastafarians (just 7,906 in England and Wales), Jains (20,288) and Baha’i (5,021).

        Pagans ranked highly with 56,620 adherents, while 11,766 identified their religion as Wicca and 4,189 said they were druids. All of them scored more highly than Scientology, the church whose figurehead member is the Hollywood star Tom Cruise. Despite building high street branches and a major London HQ, only 2,418 people said they followed the belief system.”

    • One of the innumerable cogent posts on the innumerable sites on the fringes of the internet is a fascinating number breakdown by someone who used to do IAS administrations. per this poster, the IAS had never had more than 50,000 paid members (excludes free 6 month memberships) world-wide up to the point he/she left.

      I see no reason why that would have changed.

      I wish I could find that post again, I think it’s on either Marty or Steve Hall’s site.

      • Yes you are right. I have seen that too, but cannot find it now. It could even be in one of the books I have read. The truth is that the fringe of disaffected’s is not really a fringe anymore. 14 000 or 50 000 or 80 000 members…it doesn’t matter. None of those numbers are impressive. It’s no wonder that governments and the FBI are disinterested – the church is barely a blip on the radar.

    • your numbers are waaaaay too generous. In the US, one org can barely get 10 to an event, including staff. Another gets 25. 500 Scientologists per org is over the top. I have personally seen 6 orgs in the past few years, big ones and small ones, and would say the following is more like it (averages):

      40 orgs at 150 = 6000
      40 orgs at 75 = 3000
      40 orgs at 25 = 1000
      SO org staff = 3000
      ancillary = 1000
      total worldwide 14,000

      And I would say that half of those are on the fence or on their way out.

      • Wow – of course we are always told how badly SA does compared to the US. But it seems as if the figures are just as dismal if not worse!

      • All 6 orgs I saw were completely empty, other than a few staff. I have been by the Los Angeles Complex (Big Blue) on 3 separate times, and on each there was no one there. There use to be people walking all around, to and from the little stores for snack, smokes, and such. Even the little stores are gone. I did once see a very old Sea Org member walking along…very very slowly.

        and like you, we all thought our org was the only failing org. this was run on everyone…”you are downstat while everyone else is booming.” That too was a lie.

    • I’ve spent a fair amount of time wrestling with the question of worldwide COS membership, and I can get to about 25,000 where I think 40,000 would have been closer perhaps four or five years ago. I approach this kind of number-crunching exercise from the background of a Wall Street investment manager with a long track record of trying to put together usable statistics on insufficient data. That 25,000 number seems to be the most credible among many long-time ex’s and activists that I correspond with, either on Tony Ortega’s blog or on one of the forum sites.

      My recently launched blog at johnpcapitalist dot com will attempt to collect credible data points and put together useful estimates of this sort of thing. The main post today on this blog is one such useful data point. I’d ask those of you who want to contribute to a good quantitative understanding of how COS is doing to visit and to contribute. Thanks!

      There were some comments here that some earlier big events in SA may have used “seat fillers” since there were many people in the audience that commenters never recall seeing again in the org on course. What’s the possibility that there were “seat fillers” at this event? There are photos that imply that there were seat fillers in addition to outer org trainees and Sea Org staff in the audience for the outdoor Super Power dedication last Sunday. If there really were close to 800 people in the events, that would imply the density of Scientologists in SA is significantly higher per capita than in the UK, when adjusting population estimates for the demographics of potential Scientologists (relatively educated, middle class and up, urban) of SA versus the UK. That number also may be higher than the per capita penetration of Scientology into the US, which is again somewhat surprising.

      If those numbers do indeed pan out, I would be interested in any perspective on why Scientology has been particularly successful in SA relative to other countries.

      Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

      • Hi JPC

        Thank you so much for this info. I think that, historically, the further one is from the Black Hole of Hemet, the greater the chances of survival. There is a lot of scope for change here, and many of us had hopes that Scientology might be a means by which to resolve, at least partly, illiteracy, unemployment, racism, xenophobia and crime. Unfortunately the church is hell bent on attracting the rich and already able so it can make money and build buildings, and is not at all concerned about the things it professes to promote. Hubbard said that the next great civilization would rise out of Southern Africa because it has Scientology on its side – and many have held onto that hope in the absence of any other plan so far in Africa! The church has been a dismal failure in that regard – but there are some independents who have some interesting stats – for instance Kim Downing.

        We have also not seen productions such as the Truth Rundown here, which I think was a big factor in the demise of the membership in the US and UK.

        With the internet and the gradual spread of Debbie Cook’s letter, things are changing here, and I would not be surprised if that gains traction and causes a huge dent in the church locally. My brother-in-law in the US sent the letter to some people here and there has already been fall-out from that. Most of us here were not looking for the demise of the church – but rather a major change. The lack of any intention on the part of the church to engage in meaningful dialogue is what is causing people to vote with their feet. The church will be hoist by their own petard – and willingly so it seems.It is definitely responsible for the condition it is in.

        Interesting that you say that there were 40 000 members four or five years ago and now about 25 000. That is a very steep decline in a relatively short space of time.

      • Wendy, thanks for your comments. Yes, distance from headquarters is an asset for you in SA, given that even the Boeing Business Jet that DM is rumored to charter at $15,000+ per hour doesn’t have the range to make it from Hemet to JNB without refueling. So it’s not like he’s going to pop in unannounced to see how you’re doing.

        I think some of the “decline” in the change in numbers from 40,000 to 25,000 members is not due to attrition but because the 40,000 number was based on two approximations that I don’t think were terribly accurate. For the most part, this seems to have been based on the American Religious Identification Survey of 2008, a well-respected nationwide poll of American’s religious beliefs done every few years ( It listed Scientology at 25,000 members, down from 55,000 in the prior poll, but it is important to note that this figure was below the margin of error in the survey, which meant the actual number of Scientologists could have been anywhere from zero to 55,000 or so (statistically speaking, that is — it’s unlikely that there have been 55,000 Scientologists in the US since the early 1980s).

        I think people took this number and ran with it and then added the 15,000 for non-US members, which seems a reasonable proportion to use given that most staff are in the US (Flag, Int Base, Pac Base). But I don’t think there was any real attempt to do a “build up” analysis by org and by country. As I’ve attempted to do that based on credible country data points we have (UK census, AU census, IE, NZ, HU, TW, MX, individual orgs in the US) and based on staff berthing occupancy estimates at Flag, I can get to 25,000 but not much past that at this point. Yes, there has been attrition at a higher rate, particularly since the Debbie Cook e-mail, but I don’t think it’s anything like the 15% per year represented by a drop of 40,000 to 25,000 in only three or four years.

  3. English folk verse cca 1870

        Remember, remember!    The fifth of November,    The Gunpowder treason and plot;    I know of no reason    Why the Gunpowder treason    Should ever be forgot!    Guy Fawkes and his companions    Did the scheme contrive,    To blow the King and Parliament    All up alive.    Threescore barrels, laid below,    To prove old England’s overthrow.    But, by God’s providence, him they catch,    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!    A stick and a stake    For King James’s sake!    If you won’t give me one,    I’ll take two,    The better for me,    And the worse for you.    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,    A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,    A pint of beer to wash it down,    And a jolly good fire to burn him.    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray! 

  4. Cutative prices? OMG. GAT II event announced a lowering of 30% and more on all services worldwide. Phew! Why is that? – 3 alternate or cumulative reasons: (1) Too few customers due to bad image of Scn. – people don’t walk in the door. (2) Too few customers due to heavy competition from independent Scientology practitioners operating outside the Church, providing better service, lower rates and no aggravation. (3) Too few customers because the loyal few have been milked dry by the church’s heavy illegal fundraising and don’t have money left to pay for their own services.

  5. This statistic of declining membership is a fantastic “up statistic” and I for one welcome it.It brings miscavige and his loyal storm troopers one step closer to their organisational demise.

  6. I am with you Joshua!

    Let me tell you about one of the hugely successful graduations I attended a few years ago when the decline in numbers was rapid as they were building the new wing to fit the enormous numbers of students in.

    Bob the foundation E/D handed me a my cert along with a bunch of flowers for a course I had completed. He then asked for the flowers back so he could give them to my husband after giving him his cert. The only other person at graduation was a staff member who was there to take photos of what a succes the night was.

    What a joke the org has become, crash and burn is the only happy outcome!!

  7. I cant help feel that we seem to be more interested in this event and goings on in the Org/s than actually using our “new found freedom” to gather together, get some tech, free some beings and grow independantly!
    Don’t get me wrong it’s enthralling and the collapse of the regeme is on its way. I feel free and right by seeing my story echoed by so many others.
    But the question is… “What can we do now, with what we have?” Shouldn’t our focus be shifting in that direction yet?

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