Astonishing Accomplishments: Humanitarian Success Celebrated for Magnificent IAS Weekend
The 34th annual celebration of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) fits a year of historic heights into three days of delight in Southern England.
The town of East Grinstead appears as if from a storybook, a medieval marketplace in the northeast corner of West Sussex—south of London, north of Brighton, lush with farmland, trees and botanical gardens. It is after all a town whose name means “green place,” and borders a nationally recognized Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) that includes the Ashdown Forest of ancient lore.
The destination is off the beaten path, just enough to be blissfully tranquil, but still within hopping distance of Piccadilly Circus. So it was a train of lights flowed through the twisting country roads and arrived at the grand gates, pouring forth wave upon wave of attendees, their anticipation abounding.
This is Saint Hill Manor, home of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, and once again center stage for the annual gathering of the International Association of Scientologists. The weekend-long gala is an opportunity for parishioners from all corners of England and more than 65 nations the world over to celebrate humanitarian purpose and accomplishment. And as the crunch of stone and gravel below boots and high heels echoed down the drive, dusk turned to night and an evening of wonder was now poised to begin.
“As is traditional, tonight’s the night we traverse 24,000 miles of our IAS country and thereby track every vector of planetary salvage,” began Mr. David Miscavige, the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion. “Our bid to rid this world of drug abuse, our human rights mandate, and the same again for morality as promulgated by the 21 precepts of The Way to Happiness. The point being, do you honestly believe that history must always rhyme with misery? And that conflict and injustice are inevitable? Well, L. Ron Hubbard never thought so and nor does the IAS.”
Indeed, the IAS began in 1984, and was founded at Saint Hill to unite, advance, support and protect Scientologists and the Scientology religion so as to achieve the Aims of Scientology. In honor of that tradition, this year Mr. Miscavige outlined a year of outstanding successes powered by an irrepressible force where all advances are aligned toward humanitarian salvage and expansion.
Chief among those successes was the historic grand opening of a stunning new Church of Scientology in Stuttgart, Germany. At the beginning of September, a ribbon fell on the 78,000-square-foot facility in the center of the industrial capital. Attendees of Friday evening’s anniversary celebration in East Grinstead were presented highlights of the dedication ceremony, featuring captivating speeches of dignitaries honoring the occasion as monumental for the past, present and future of not only Germany but all of Europe.
The night continued on an upward trajectory, soaring over a landscape filled with humanitarian accomplishment over the past 12 months and courtesy of the legendary IAS-sponsored initiatives. All began with life-saving efforts to eradicate abuses in the field of mental health through the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
Miraculous accounts of help, support and human brotherhood, further showcased Foundation for a Drug-Free World, and its never-ending drive to deliver The Truth About Drugs; United for Human Rights, championing the fact that all men, women and children are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; The Way to Happiness, the worldwide phenomenon containing the non-religious moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard restoring basic decency and trust in Mankind; and the unrelenting wave of Scientology Volunteer Minister support providing assistance at 19 different calamitous locations in the past year.
Each campaign achieved unequaled levels of accomplishment, reaching new locations and assisting thousands of people worldwide. Mr. Miscavige’s detailed review of the past 12 months included:
- United for Human Rights staging rallies and events in locations worldwide, including Mexico, The Gambia, India, Taiwan, Washington, D.C. and at the UN Headquarters in New York City—representing a global movement dedicated to building “a fair and free world.”
- In Costa Rica, where the Youth for Human Rights booklet became an official publication of the country’s World Cup soccer team, spawning a movement through all 82 districts, reaching 2 million people in totality.
- The Way to Happiness Nepal empowering over 100,000 students with the 21 precepts, effecting a significant drop in school bullying and resulting in a governmental partnership with the nation’s schools.
- Drug-Free World Malaysia touring under a Punk Rock anthem, “Do Music, Not Drugs,” and replaying to thousands of local students and 1.2 million citizens, altogether inspiring a plunge in drug-related crime.
- Drug-Free World marches and events in South Africa and across the continent distributing nearly 140,000 The Truth About Drugs booklets; drug-free pledge drives amassing 50,000 signatures in Colombia; Drug-Free World teams blanketing Super Bowl 52 in Minnesota, USA, with 230,000 booklets; and at the FIFA World Cup in Russia spreading over half a million booklets from the Black Sea to the Red Square; altogether disseminating more than 15 million The Truth About Drugs booklets across 19 time zones of Earth in the past year.
- The Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) aiding in disasters around the world, including at earthquakes in Taiwan, monsoons in Nepal, typhoons in Japan and fires in Greece as well as across California.
- In Puerto Rico, after the deadly Hurricane Maria hit the island dead-on, Volunteer Ministers arrived immediately to deliver more than 150,000 vital supplies and subsequently drove a “do-it-yourself” solar power movement to light up some 300,000 homes.
- After a 7.5-magnitude earthquake rocked Papua New Guinea, Volunteer Ministers flew a search and recovery program dropping five tons of food and supplies, aiding 18,000 islanders at 19 rescue centers.
- And in the wake of Guatemala’s “Mother of Volcanoes” erupting, Volunteer Ministers distributed more than 10 tons of clothing, food, hygiene kits and medical supplies to its base, constructed nearly 200 houses and trained local disaster personnel to restore their region.
- In total, Scientology Volunteer Ministers traveled 640,000 miles to bring succor to over 5 million people hit by natural and man-made disasters.
This year’s recipients of the three IAS Freedom Medals stood tall, underscoring the evening’s theme of relentless devotion toward the achievement of peace, education, decency, social justice and a drug-free and crime-free existence across the planet. Mr. Miscavige introduced each one individually, and a special video presentation punctuated their unflinching commitment to humanity:
- In Austin, Freedom Medal recipient and Executive Director of CCHR Texas, Lee Spiller, ran an unending drive to stop psychiatric abuse within the state’s mental health system. Lee zeroed in on multiple incidents of torture and inhumane treatment of foster children and seniors, subsequently exposing a grand scheme of handouts to line doctors’ pockets. He ultimately saw to the closing of 172 criminal mental health facilities and the passage of 43 legislative actions protecting individuals—all in the name of upholding human rights.
- In the Philippines, Jorge Perez de Tagle introduced the Davao Police Chief to the 21 precepts of The Way to Happiness and then ran a pilot program with police officers knocking on doors and giving the booklet to suspected drug dealers, inspiring a significant drop in murders. Jorge subsequently took the program to Manila and personally taught the precepts to thousands more police officers. After which, he continued on to bring his moral education message to the National Military. All told, de Tagle engendered a movement reaching millions throughout his nation and helping achieve a 38 percent drop in crime in the Philippines.
- And in Mexico, where twin brothers Dan and Ari Agami worked to change an alarming national drop-out rate by introducing L. Ron Hubbard’s Study Technology into local schools. The immediate impact saw teachers trained in 600 schools—with one Mexican state surging to the top of National Education Rankings. They channeled their momentum into the production of 21 educational films for students across 17 nations. Altogether, Dan and Ari trained 33,000 individuals, empowered 60,000 teachers and permanently paved the path to new futures for over 1.6 million students.
At which point, a night packed full with purpose and passion hit maximum volume as Mr. Miscavige previewed the Scientology Network’s bold new chapter with the announcement of the Fall Season premiere, Monday, October 8. Dozens of new episodes will showcase every aspect of the world’s youngest major religion and its global humanitarian mission over the coming months. In fact, since launch on March 12, 2018, the Scientology Network has been viewed across 237 countries and territories worldwide in 17 languages.
The spirit of the first night’s festivities rolled right on over into Saturday evening as the grand marquee transformed into the annual IAS Patrons Ball. The traditional black-tie dinner and entertainment gala recognized ever-expanding numbers of members supporting the year’s humanitarian triumphs as revelers filled the dance floor into the evening.
The weekend concluded with the annual Charity Concert, a joyous musical event welcoming some 1,500 local residents. The concert featured TV and recording stars, internationally known performers and various music genres from swing to jazz. But the true superstars of the evening were the five local charities awarded donations to strengthen their local activities, in keeping with the tradition first instilled by L. Ron Hubbard, here at his home.
The IAS, the official membership organization of Scientology, open to all Scientologists from every nation, was formed in 1984. The purpose of the IAS is to unite, advance, support and protect the Scientology religion and Scientologists in all parts of the world so as to achieve the Aims of Scientology as originated by L. Ron Hubbard: “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights.”