Humanitarians Unite to Celebrate a Banner Year
The International Association of Scientologist‘s 19th Anniversary in East Grinstead.
Before 5,300 people in attendance at the 19th Anniversary Event of the International Association of Scientologists, several church members were acknowledged for their humanitarian good works. Freedom Medals were awarded to anti-drug lecturers and campaigners Michael Neilson and Asa Graaf of Sweden (1,6,7); Bruce Wiseman (2,3) was awarded for his championing of children‘s rights in the U.S.; and Wendy Honnor of Australia (4,5) was awarded for her earthquake relief efforts in India and community betterment actions in Tasmania.
Drogheda has been locked in its own September 11th since that day in 1649, when Huntington-native Oliver Cromwell and his troops penetrated the city‘s walls and began a four-day slaughter of an estimated 4,000 townspeople.
So it was, on a weekend that brought thousands together to the UK from around the world to usher in the 20th year of the International Association of Scientologists, that former Drogheda Mayor Frank Godfrey, and current Huntington Mayor Jeff Dutton, who had earlier together stepped on a path towards reconciliation, chanced to come together. At the IAS-hosted Charity Concert, the grand finale of the IAS‘ weekend-long anniversary celebration, the two met face-to-face and pledged to repair the ill will that has haunted their towns‘ histories for more than 350 years.
It is such unity that underscored everything about this IAS weekend, for 19 years ago the IAS was established at the Saint Hill Manor for just that purpose: to unite all Scientologists as one international body to advance the rights of man and the freedom of all religions.
As in years past, delegates and members came from all over the world to commemorate this milestone and rededicate themselves to the aims of Scientology at Saint Hill, the home of Scientology Founder
Since 1985, the annual celebration has also featured IAS Freedom Medal presentations to individuals who have defended the cause of religious freedom and furthered the influence of religion in society.
As well, the IAS, together with the
Hosting this year‘s IAS Anniversary celebration was Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and a founding member of the IAS. In welcoming the more than 5,300 event attendees, and tens of thousands more who have since seen the event on video locally around the world, Mr. Miscavige said, “This one marks a cross roads in history.
“While I have previously said that people are searching for answers like never before, let there be no doubt, as we gather this evening, we are providing those answers like never in history.
“You have world conflict? We not only can, but we are picking up the pieces — and right at its epicentre.
“You have societal decline? We not only can, but we are reversing that trend — anywhere and everywhere.
“You have the “everyday man” who has been lost in a technological society? We not only can, but we are helping him find his way.
“And finally, you ask of world leaders, who lack the means to truly lead? Well, we not only can, but we are putting those answers right in their hands.”
And, with his introduction to three major new international centres — one in Brussels to house the Church‘s European human rights and public affairs activities (see cover story); one in St. Louis (USA) to train teachers globally to overcome the barriers to learning; and one in greater Los Angeles for the revitalization of morals and human respect including in areas as volatile as the Holy Land — there was no question that this has been a landmark year for the Association.
IAS Freedom Medal Winners
Arresting the decline of drug proliferation was the first topic in Mr. Miscavige‘s round-up of year number 19‘s accomplishments. It was, as well, the cause championed by the evening‘s first IAS Freedom Medal winners Michael Neilson and Asa Graaf, leaders of a team of drug education specialists in Sweden who, in Mr. Miscavige‘s words, are “doing more to handle the drug problem than any other group on the planet.”
Neilson and Graaf set out ten years ago to save Swedish children from a drug problem of epic proportions. In that time, they have not only salvaged an entire generation, they have created a nationwide movement for a drug-free tomorrow.
The next Freedom Medal recipient, Bruce Wiseman of Los Angeles, is president of the Citizen‘s Commission on Human Rights International, a group founded by the Church of Scientology in 1969 to monitor and eradicate human rights abuses at the hands of the psychiatric industry. The Los Angeles businessman has, for 14 years, been exposing multi-billion dollar and multi-national psychiatric scams. He has brought to the American public and political consciousness the views of parents who, due to the proliferation of psychiatric drugging of school children, were once powerless in keeping their children drug-free. In returning the power of choice to the families, he has not only opened the eyes of a nation to psychiatry‘s greatest hoax — the unscientifically documented diagnoses by psychiatrists of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) — but also broke their spell over American education by spearheading resounding prohibitions of mandatory child-drugging in state and federal legislatures.
Australian Wendy Honnor, the third Freedom Medal recipient, is a Scientology Volunteer Minister working one-on-one with residents of all social strata in her native Tasmania.
“Our final Freedom Medal Winner didn‘t just answer a call — she led a charge,” said Mr. Miscavige in introducing Honnor, “In fact, her personal mission of bringing real help has given new meaning to that old phrase ‘charity begins at home.‘”
Honnor assists local leaders in communities throughout her island home state with the 19 technologies a Scientology Volunteer Minister is trained in. In so doing, she has helped to change the tune of media headlines from those that once trumpeted “the land of gloom and doom” — marked by the nation‘s highest suicide rate and 10-year economic slump — to the upbeat of a state now enjoying a full social and economic resurgence.
On that theme — of what one individual Scientologist can do to bring about dramatic change — Mr. Miscavige told the audience, in closing, “Your participation is more than the proper thing to do. It‘s the difference between more of ‘same old, same old‘ and total freedom. That‘s the crossroad where we stand, a place and point in time where our actions individually and collectively, will determine the course of history.”
Landmark Achievements Announced
|Major accomplishments announced at this year‘s International Association of Scientologists anniversary event included the openings of both the new international teacher training headquarters for Applied Scholastics International (left, bottom) and the new Way to Happiness Foundation facilities for international distribution of the Way To Happiness booklet — a popular non-religious moral code. (right, bottom)|