About the Scientology Completions Lists

TAS : Scientology's Statistics : About the Scientology Completions Lists

What are these lists?

These are lists of individuals who have completed a Scientology course or service. When Scientologists complete a course or attest to attaining a particular level, their names are typically listed in Scientology magazines (such as Advance, Freewinds, Source, and Celebrity), which are then mailed to individuals on the Scientology mailing list (including both Scientologists and non-members).

Why have you published these lists?

I wanted to find out whether Scientology was growing, shrinking, or staying about the same size. One source for hard data is the completions lists in Scientology magazines. I have been working on analyzing the data, counting the number of individuals completing various courses and graphing the trends I found. As of this writing (September 2003), the analyses seem to show that Scientology peaked in the 80s and has been shrinking since then. I include the lists as part of my analysis so that others can examine the same data I have.

I think it's important that other researchers have access to the data, so they can point out any mistakes I've made and look for trends I may have missed.

Analyses I've done so far:

Can I use these lists to find out if someone I know is a Scientologist?

I don't recommend it; there's a high probability that you'll reach an incorrect conclusion.

  • The person you know may have the same name as a person listed here, but may not be the same person. Even very unusual names are sometimes shared by more than one person.
  • Many people who are listed here no longer study Scientology or consider themselves Scientologists.
  • The lists are extremely incomplete - in particular, there is little data from the individual orgs (Scientology offices in individual cities, like Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco). Also, individuals may be omitted for other reasons - for example, staff member completions appear to be excluded sometimes.
  • Scientology staffers are not perfect, and the lists are known to have a number of misspellings and other inaccuracies.

While the lists are pretty reliable for my purposes (analyzing trends of the number of individuals pursuing Scientology activities), they are far from being 100% accurate.

If you want to know whether someone is a Scientologist, I recommend asking that person directly.

I've found my name on the list and don't want to be listed. Will you take me off your site?

I'm sorry, but I think it's important that the data remain intact so that other researchers can use it, as described above.

I am very interested in accuracy, though, so if you find incorrect information on my site - whether in these lists or elsewhere - please let me know.

Isn't this a copyright violation?

As I understand United States law (I am not a lawyer), it is legal to republish raw data. Only the particular, unique expression of information is protected by copyright law.

Don't you need permission to publish someone's name?

As I understand United States law (I am not a lawyer), no. This is information that was published widely and in many cases exists in public libraries and archives.

It's not at all uncommon for organizations to publish lists of names on the web, especially members, donors, alumni, and volunteers. Here are just a few I found doing a quick search:

Many groups and individuals (including the Church of Scientology) have published information about other people without their permission. The right to discuss others by name is an important part of the free speech rights that are fundamental to a democracy.