Is the Church of Scientology gaining or losing members and influence? The answer to that question may depend on who you ask about the controversial movement. A recent group of defectors from Scientology claim that the church is showing signs of decline in participation and finances due to abuses by leaders. In contrast, a new scholarly book on Scientology is more divided about whether the movement and its distinctive blend of science, psychotherapy and esoteric religion is growing.
Richard Cimino is the founder and editor of Religion Watch, a newsletter monitoring trends in contemporary religion. Since January 2008, Religion Watch is published by Religioscope Institute. Website: www.religionwatch.com.