Today, Scientology staff members confirmed to a Scientology Business correspondent that Scientology leader David Miscavige is expected to attend the IAS event next month in person.
The reclusive leader, who is currently evading process servers in the United States after being named a defendant in several human trafficking and harassment lawsuits, has been staying away from the public eye in recent years. It is understood his last visit to the UK was in 2019, shortly before Scientology’s events program was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, we broke the news that the annual International Association of Scientologists (IAS) event was set to return to the UK after a four-year hiatus following the leak of promotional poster detailing the dates and location. Historically, the IAS event has been one of the largest in the Scientology calendar with attendees flying in from across the globe to see David Miscavige in person at their UK headquarters near East Grinstead, Sussex.
One of our ‘boots on the ground’ correspondents today visited the Church of Scientology in Birmingham under cover and spoke to staff there about the event. He reported back “staff absolutely expect David Miscavige to be there in person”, with one staff member noting “it’d be weird without him there.”
During the visit, he was able to obtain a flyer promoting the event, which confirms the expected event schedule: Friday 3rd November – IAS Anniversary Event; Saturday 4th November – IAS Seminar and the Patrons Ball; and Sunday 5th November – Charity Concert.
“Reuniting for Total Freedom”, it reads. “Please join us on November 3-5, 2023, as we acknowledge the last four years and look resolutely to the future… Join thousands of your fellow Scientologists and friends of Scientology for a can’t-miss weekend that you’ll never forget”.
The flyer makes no mention of Church leader David Miscavige, however the staff members’ comments indicate he is very much expected to attend. In February 2023, Insider reported attorneys had attempted to serve Mr. Miscavige 27 times in a human trafficking case made against him, but they had failed to track him down despite being the public face of Scientology. Speaking to journalist Tony Ortega, former high-ranking executive Mike Rinder explained “I think he is feeling the need to ‘make a statement’: ‘I am not in hiding, despite what may be said.'”
The Church of Scientology are yet to officially announce David Miscavige’s travel plans – and it is unlikely they will. But activity at Saint Hill is certainly ramping up as event nears closer. Our boots on the ground in East Grinstead today visited the Scientology HQ, where they noted the recent delivery of large wooden panels used to form the temporary floor and staging.
Attracting up to 5,000 attendees, Scientology build a large marquee on the grounds of their property to house the event. Known as ‘the IAS tent’, the temporary venue hosts a number of activities across the weekend and its construction indicates this is due to be a full-scale international event. The flyer obtained by our correspondent in Birmingham confirms “thousands” of Scientologists are expected to attend.
A protest is being organised to coincide with the event, due to take place outside the venue by activists from across the UK. ‘United Against Scientology’, it’s purpose is “to send Scientology a clear message: the abuse must stop.” Anyone wishing to participate in person can register to attend on their website, with those outside the UK able to support the campaign by buying a T-Shirt. Donations are also encouraged toward the Aftermath Foundation, which helps people leave Scientology.