The Truth About Scientology

Freewinds Magazine Statistics - Complete Analysis

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Freewinds Analysis - the Stats Are Down

This analysis was performed in August, 2003. It does not include any data made available after that date.

The completions lists show that the Freewinds stats are down.

The OT VIII stats are WAY, WAY down.

If you're impatient, scroll to the bottom for conclusions.

About The Data

This analysis is based on completions lists from Freewinds magazine, the magazine of Scientology's Freewinds cruise ship.

While some lower level courses occasionally appear in Freewinds completion lists, Freewinds services are aimed at those who have reached the upper levels of Scientology. The highest Scientology level currently available, OT VIII, can only be done aboard the Freewinds. The Freewinds also offers OT Hatting Courses (such as the Ability Congress Course, the Route To Infinity Course, and the State Of Man Congress Course), and OT Debug services - OT Debug is intended to get you moving up to OT VIII again if you're stuck.

The raw data is available from the main Stats - Freewinds page.

Freewinds magazine has been published since 1989, the year following the Freewinds maiden voyage. (The date of that voyage, June 6, 1988, is now an annual Scientology holiday.) Issue #1 of Freewinds therefore contains at least one year's worth of completions, and may cover 15 or 16 months. From 1990 to 1996, the magazine appeared two or three times a year. From 1997 to 2002, it came out four or five times a year. Only one issue has been sent out so far in 2003.

Statistics from Scientology magazines such as the Auditor and Source suggest that Scientology peaked in the 1980s and has not recovered.

Statistics from the Freewinds are unusual in two ways: first, they reflect completions for a much-coveted level, OT VIII, that was never available before 1989, and second, they are heavily skewed toward upper-level (OT) Scientologists. When reviewing the OT VIII numbers in particular, it's important to remember that a huge initial spike, followed by a decline, was inevitable, given that many Scientologists had been waiting for years to do this level. This backlog of people all rushing to do the service at once naturally skewed the first year or two of stats.

Scientology magazines often list duplicate entries - the same name appears more than once for the same service, sometimes in consecutive issues, sometimes in the same issue. The number of duplicates in Freewinds lists is extraordinarily high. When evaluating possible duplicate entries, I considered a repeat of a service within one year to be a duplicate; repeats occurring more than a year after the initial entry were counted as retreads. Fully 10% of the records listed in Freewinds turned out to be duplicates. There are 2766 duplicate records out of a total of 27231 entries, leaving 23949 first-time completions and 516 retreads.

Freewinds 15 reprinted the completions from Freewinds 14; the 243 entries are the same in both of these issues, although the page layout is different.

Similarly, Freewinds 19 reprinted the completions from Freewinds 16; the 605 entries are the same, although the page layout is different, and some course names are slightly different (Hubbard Life Orientation Course vs. Life Orientation Course). The OT VIII completions were listed first and highlighted in issue 16, while in issue 19 they're listed after Ability Congress Course, Hubbard Key to Life Course, and Hubbard Life Orientation Course, in the same typeface and point size as everything else.

THROUGHOUT THIS ANALYSIS, I AM *NOT* INCLUDING DUPLICATES IN MY TALLIES. Thus, if Freewinds #501 listed OT VIII completions as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck, and Freewinds #502 listed OT VIII completions as Donald Duck, Wiley Coyote, and Bugs Bunny, my analysis would show ONLY TWO OT VIII completions for Freewinds #502, since Donald Duck's second appearance would be considered a duplicate. None of the Freewinds 15 or 19 completions are included, since they were included when they appeared in issues 14 and 16, respectively.

There are 14,189 individual names in the Freewinds lists. (The actual number is slightly lower, since this counts exact duplicate names only, and does not account for misspellings, variants, or married names.)

Total Completions

Here are the total completions (minus duplicates, as noted above, but including retreads) for each year:

1989   1990   1991   1992   1993   1994   1995
1980   2093   815    314    804    532    1193

1996   1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003
735    1744   2089   3525   2850   2524   2346   921

2003 is, of course, only half over as of this writing. However, the appearance of only a single issue of Freewinds this year doesn't bode well for an upstat year.

After the initial rush in 1989 and 1990, total completions fell, rose, and fell again.

The peak was in 1999. Although total completions have been high since then, they are falling.

With only 921 completions listed in the single issue published so far in 2003, it seems unlikely that stats will go up this year.

OT VIII Completions

1989   1990   1991   1992   1993   1994   1995   1996
774    272    102    4      13     31     43     23

1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003
0      0      0      0      13     94     44

Not much commentary is needed here.

The total number of individuals attesting to OT VIII before 1997 was 1198.

There were no OT VIII completions listed from 1997 through 2000.

The total number of individuals attesting to OT VIII since 2000 is 151.

Of those, only 52 were listed as attesting to OT VIII prior to 1997. (Tony Hitchman and Stan Gerson almost slipped under my radar, since they were listed as "Anthony Hitchman" and "Stanley Gerson" back when they first did OT VIII.) I have posted a list of the OT VIIIs Twice Over.

This is significant in light of the requirement issued in the late 1990s that OT VIIs and OT VIIIs must redo those levels (... OT VIIIs were required to redo both OT VII and OT VIII). According to my analysis, only 52 of the original 1198 OT VIIIs have redone OT VIII. (I have found an additional 15 OT VIIIs who have redone OT VII, as well as 3 OT VIIs who have redone that level. That's still only 67 second-go-round OT VIIIs out of 1198, or less than 6%.)

There are some mentions of this requirement on the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup:

redoing OT VIII

redoing OT VIII

redoing OT VIII

It may also be worth noting that Flag sent out promo in 1984 stating that once 750 people had done New OT VII, both OT VIII and OT IX would be released:

Flag promo about OT IX

Given that 1198 individuals did OT VIII before 1997, we know that well over 750 people did New OT VII ... and yet, OT IX was not released. I wonder why?

To examine the data yourself, please see the List of OT VIIIs (a straight list of names, with duplicate names deleted) or the List of OT VIIIs with Issue Numbers (a table that shows service name and issue number and includes duplicate entries and retreads).

Other Major Services

Stats for other major services, such as OT Hatting courses, are down.

Here are some quick summaries of a few of the most-completed services on the Freewinds.

ServicePeak CountPeak Year2002 CountPercent Drop
OT Debug5591999186-67%
Ability Congress Course9382000272-71%
Perception Of Truth Course129200089-31%
Route To Infinity Course15371990403-74%
Secrets Of The Mest Universe Course129200193-28%
State Of Man Congress Course9951999505-49%
Time Track Of Theta Course47200045-4%
Key to Life12019916-95%
Life Orientation Course151199127-82%

In other words, the highest number of completions reported in a single year for the Ability Congress Course was in 2000, when there were 938 completions reported. In 2002, the most recent year for which we have complete data, only 272 ACC completions were reported, a drop of 71%.

(Note: OT Debug may be slightly off, as trying to sort out duplicates from retreads was difficult. It might be fair to say that if someone actually does OT Debug more than once in a single year, the debugging wasn't very effective the first time. If I include ALL OT Debug completions, including obvious duplicates, the 1999 peak is 581, and the 2002 count is 196, a 66% drop.)

You can view the complete Freewinds tallies (a tab-delimited text file). You may want to save the data to disc (using your browser's "Download Link to Disk" or similar command), then load the file into your favorite spreadsheet or database for your own analysis.

Celebrities

Few celebrity names appear in Freewinds completions lists.

Among the biggest Scientology celebrities, the following names do not appear in any Freewinds completion list:

  • John Travolta
  • Tom Cruise
  • Kirstie Alley
  • Jenna Elfman
  • Nancy Cartwright
  • Kelly Preston
  • Nicole Kidman (no longer associating herself with Scientology)
  • Giovanni Ribisi
  • Chaka Khan
  • Isaac Hayes
  • Karen Black
  • Mario Fenninger

(It's especially odd that Mario doesn't appear, because I think he's often listed as on-ship entertainment.)

Other names do appear, though:

  • Chick Corea did the Route to Infinity course and OT VIII in the early 90s.
  • Lisa Marie Presley did the Whole Track course in 1989 (as Lisa M. Presley Keough).
  • Catherine Bell did the Route to Infinity and Ability Congress courses in 1990 and 2000 respectively.
  • Kate Ceberano did the Route to Infinity course in 2001.
  • Juliette Lewis did the Route to Infinity and State of Man Congress courses in 1999.
  • Amanda Ambrose did the Route to Infinity course in 1989.

I can think of three possible explanations:

  • celebrity completions are often omitted from Freewinds
  • celebrities are permitted to do OT VIII and OT courses in other locations
  • many Scientology celebrities haven't reached OT VIII and are busy doing services elsewhere

A quick check of Tilman's definitive Celebrity Scientologist FAQ shows that none of the above-mentioned celebrities has reached OT VIII except for Chick Corea (whose OT VIII completion appears in my database) and Amanda Ambrose (whose OT VIII completion does not).

Repeat Visitors

Since we have complete data for the Freewinds (that is, complete Freewinds magazine completions lists - we do not, of course, have passenger lists or information on people who may have been omitted from the lists for whatever reason), it's possible to determine how many people have been returning to the Freewinds over the course of many years and how many people have visited once and never returned. (Of course, a completion for each visit. It's entirely possible that some Scientologists take Freewinds cruises that don't include a course completion.)

To calculate this information, I took the approximate date of the issue for person's first appearance in Freewinds and the approximate date of the issue in which he or she last appeared. After subtracting, I rounded the time span up or down to the nearest year - for example, a person whose Freewinds completions began in February 1998 and ended in December 1999 would be counted as having visited the Freewinds over a 2-year period, because I rounded 20 months up to 2 years. The calculation doesn't indicate whether the person visited often during that time frame or only twice (once at the beginning and once at the end) - it simply indicates the total span during which an individual's name appears on Freewinds lists.

10,896 individuals (out of 14,159) have only appeared in a single issue of Freewinds. That's about 77%.

An additional 380 people were listed in more than one issue, less than half a year apart.

Number of years spanned by visits

011276
1652
2513
3306
4298
5187
6144
7128
8128
9115
1090
11127
12115
1380

14159 total

For OT VIIIs:

0735
174
257
334
451
531
635
736
837
926
1027
1149
1252
1357

1301 total

Of the 1198 original OT VIIIs, 577 have not been listed in Freewinds since attesting to OT VIII (which, of course, they did prior to 1997).

It's important to remember that the absence of a name in Freewinds completion lists doesn't necessarily indicate that the person is no longer actively involved in Scientology. For example, Lisa Marie Presley's last entry was in 1989, but she is still an active Scientologist.

Conclusions

I think, as usual, the numbers speak for themselves.

Over 3/4 of the people who complete a service on the Freewinds have never returned to complete another.

Only 52 of the 1198 pre-1997 OT VIIIs have re-attested.

Completions of popular OT Hatting courses are down from their peak levels.

And the total number of OT VIIIs ever listed in the Freewinds: less than 1300. (1301 is what comes up in my database. It includes at least two duplicates, bringing the number down to 1299. It also includes people known to have publicly left Scientology, such as Maria Pia Gardini and Michael Pattinson.)

Comments, corrections, commendations, complaints, and clarifications are all most welcome!