A Magical Birthday Gala Illuminates the Legacy of Founder L. Ron Hubbard
13 March 2016
Thousands converge on Scientology Spiritual Capital in Clearwater, Florida,
for a dazzling weekend of celebration in honor of the religion’s Founder
—L. Ron Hubbard (LRH).
It was a weekend of eye-opening discovery, as Scientologists from 60 nations witnessed L. Ron Hubbard’s storied treks to the mysterious Orient as a young man—journeys in which he lifted veils cloaking the magic of those distant domains.
It all took place on March 12th and 13th at Scientology’s spiritual capital, the Flag Land Base, in Clearwater, Florida—a celebration of Mr. Hubbard’s 105th birthday, the largest anniversary bash in history. The thousands of Scientologists from around the globe were enchanted by tales of their Founder’s seminal adventures, stunning entertainment, a spectacular ball, a great deal of fun— and underscoring it all was the mission of Scientology, to free people’s minds and souls, and to extend solutions to the calamities facing civilization.
“Tonight we honor LRH,” said David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board, Religious Technology Center. “His life, his legacy, his history and his heritage. And most of all, the man himself. So while he’s with us day by day, in every page of every book, in every lecture, or every step of his Bridge to Total Freedom, well, tonight we draw ever closer as we celebrate an LRH legacy and a game plan wherein all Mankind goes free.”
Celebrants were entranced by stories of Mr. Hubbard’s exploits to the Far East. His treks were quests that literally mapped the boundaries of human knowledge of 10,000 years. In other words: magic. The LRH Biographer, Dan Sherman, traced a young Mr. Hubbard’s footsteps through the sacred halls of lamaseries and into the dominions of magicians and holy men.
And if “magic” was the theme of the 2016 festivities, then “magical” was the report on the religion’s expansion over the last year, announced by Mr. Miscavige.
Forty years ago, when L. Ron Hubbard was asked what he wanted for his birthday, he responded: expansion in every Scientology Church around the world. From that suggestion came the annual Birthday Game, a competition by all Church organizations across the globe. As a scoreboard tallied results at the birthday fête, there were rocketing, straight-up graphs demonstrating Scientologists’ “gift” to the religion’s Founder.
Those winning the Birthday Game laurels were the Ideal Scientology Mission of Bergamo, Italy; Switzerland’s first Ideal Org, the Church of Scientology of Basel; the Ideal Saint Hill Organization in the United Kingdom; and the Continental Liaison Office for the Western United States. The “Ideal” concept was envisioned by Mr. Hubbard as a standard for organizations that would perfectly express the concepts of Scientology and Dianetics. Under Mr. Miscavige’s leadership, in the last decade some 50 Scientology Ideal Orgs have opened their doors across five continents.
For Scientologists, the keynote of the birthday evening was a look ahead at plans for expansion in the coming year. “Life is meaningless without challenge,” Mr. Miscavige observed, listing the accomplishments scheduled in the next months.
Ideal Orgs are set to open before the summer months in Atlanta, Georgia; Budapest, Hungary and Harlem, New York; followed by grand openings in San Diego, California; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Auckland, New Zealand with another dozen about to commence renovations. A new Ideal Advanced Org—for Scientologists reaching the higher levels of the religion—is also under construction in Sydney, Australia, for grand opening this year.
And capping the towering look at the year ahead, Mr. Miscavige announced the imminent grand opening of Scientology Media Productions, a 5-acre complex housing the Church’s new global media center. Entirely unique among Scientology facilities and even among Hollywood’s fabled media landmarks, the 1912-vintage studio has been restored and completely transformed with state-of-the-art digital and broadcast facilities featuring dozens of video edit bays, music scoring rooms, audio mix rooms, a visual effects facility and multiple sound stages—print, radio, television and Internet, and all of it networked with the most advanced, computerized media technology on the planet.
The new digital media studio will be the nerve center spreading the Church’s message to the world, and a resource to the ever-growing number of Scientology Churches, humanitarian endeavors and social betterment programs throughout the globe.
There is one unifying word that will be printed, beamed and transmitted: Freedom. As Mr. Miscavige said in closing the birthday evening, “LRH reminds us the single most compelling word in this or any language is Freedom. And not only Freedom from—as in Freedom from Want, Oppression or Injustice. But Freedom to—as in Freedom to part the doors of this Universe and, from there, ascend to states never previously described in any known language.
“And finally, he tells us that our brand of Freedom transcends every Denomination, every Creed and every Color. And, thus, the Freedom we offer extends to every Human Being.”
From the historic Fort Harrison, to the Oak Cove and Sandcastle retreats, all six Flag accommodation facilities were filled to capacity with visiting Scientologists attending the birthday festivities. Like a star round which the events orbited, the Flag Building, Scientology’s purpose-built cathedral, was a reminder of how far the religion has traveled in six and a half decades.
The Birthday weekend culminated with the annual International Association of Scientologists’ Patrons Ball, honoring those Scientologists who have made exemplary contributions and support to the Church. The evening paid tribute to those members whose efforts provide Scientology humanitarian initiatives that benefit millions the world over.