David Miscavige—Master Builder 

David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, dedicating the new Scientology Church in Auckland, New Zealand.

I like to build things—like the gazebo in my backyard, or the clothing rack I made for my wife out of lumber and copper piping for just the right shabby-chic look.

There’s a satisfaction in working with your hands and seeing something material come to life.

Mr. Miscavige is a professional, works long hours and his perseverance and attention to detail are legendary.

I always buy my lumber and tools at the same home improvement store. There’s a friendliness to the staff, an organization system for all the materials, and the same good products and friendly help in any of the company’s stores across the country. And that’s quite a feat. Standardization. It demands expert management to create the same great experience with a company across the board. And that’s true for any organization, from restaurant chains to construction firms: standardization.

How does that apply to Scientology? A religion deals with spiritual matters, with man’s desire to commune with the Divine. And that certainly is true for Scientology. But Scientology is an applied religious philosophy. That means it’s practical—you put it to use, you apply it. It is a technology. That means that a Scientologist doesn’t just walk around “being spiritual,” he works at it through precise counseling and training. A person practicing Scientology can gauge his or her progress up what we call the Bridge to Total Freedom in a series of gradiently more advanced steps. One step, for example, addresses in counseling any reluctance one may have to communicate to others. Have you ever thought: I could never talk about that with my mother! That kind of thing you would address fully in this counseling and, when finished, you would feel that you could, if the subject came up, be comfortable talking to her about that. And by the time you’re done with addressing the entire sphere of communication, you’re certain you could talk to anyone about just about anything. That sense of freedom about communication is a great feeling. Certainly that was the case for me.

And it was the case for every one of my friends who have done this counseling.

That’s because Scientology works. But only if it is applied correctly, exactly as L. Ron Hubbard so carefully laid out.

And that is where Scientology ecclesiastical leadership comes in, as guided by Mr. David Miscavige. Having Mr. Hubbard’s technology work at the same level of effectiveness across the board in every Scientology organization is a leadership problem. It involves standardization. And standardization is David Miscavige’s superpower.

After L. Ron Hubbard’s passing in 1986, Mr. Miscavige was given charge of the religion. Every day since, he has devoted his life to ensuring that the practice of Scientology remains effective and pure—exactly the way Mr. Hubbard intended it.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Miscavige a number of times over the years. He is one of those rare persons who gives you his full attention when listening, making you feel that you are the only person in the room, even though you know there are a million other things demanding his attention.

I also know many of the people who work with Mr. Miscavige, and it is clear that he is well-loved. He is a professional, works long hours and his perseverance and attention to detail are legendary.

My observation is that Mr. Miscavige also enjoys building things—though on an entirely different scale than my backyard gazebo! Witness the 77 (so far) Ideal Organizations, the world over, which he has spearheaded. These are magnificently restored buildings providing Scientology services, tools and humanitarian initiatives to Scientologists and non-Scientologists in major cities around the world, at a level that never existed before.

And beyond the facilities themselves, on an administrative level, Mr. Miscavige has built an organization of which Mr. Hubbard would be proud. Certainly all Scientologists are, every day.

So with that, I wish Mr. Miscavige, master builder, a very happy birthday!

Stephen Eckelberry
Filmmaker who splits his time between Los Angeles and Florida.