Year’s end after year’s end it happens. At the stroke of midnight, the great ball of crystal falls in Times Square, Big Ben tolls 12 and—time zone after time zone until all 24 are accounted for—millions croon “Auld Lang Syne.”
More vows, resolutions and declarations to improve are sent up to the heavens with more good intentions at this time of year than any other. Gyms and health spas add new employees to handle the rush. Liquor stores—after experiencing unprecedented sales during the holidays—brace themselves for newly sober, newly absent customers. Cigarette companies, too, cut their losses, dip into their reserves and huddle together for warmth until the famine subsides. Usually in a couple of weeks, one month tops. Then things return to normal.
Scientologists, too, mark the New Year with celebrations and resolutions. But the outward similarity to the rest of the world’s festivities is just that—an outward similarity.
Whereas the timeworn image of the old year is an exhausted old man shuffling off to oblivion and the new year is an innocent newborn, to Scientologists the year just passed is one of joyous expansion and the new year is an added opportunity to broaden those horizons and outreach with more good works helping more people.
And on New Year’s Eve, one after another—until all 24 time zones of the world have been covered—Scientologists around the world gather at their churches and missions to experience the annual New Year’s event, videoed live two weeks earlier at Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium and translated into myriad languages.
Opening annually with musical performances and a concert-quality light show, this year’s event—the first since 2020’s pandemic shut down all such gatherings—featured top-tier performers including composer-conductor David Campbell and film composer-trumpeter Mark Isham, heading a galaxy of international singers and hip-hop artists.
Then the main event: the church’s ecclesiastical leader, David Miscavige, made his presentation. Dotted with stories of individual achievement, Mr. Miscavige detailed the church’s accomplishments since New Year’s 2020 in the areas of drug rehab, literacy and restoring morality and peace.
Using proven techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, to handle addiction and then a series of life skills courses to reacquaint one with a world once walled off from the user due to drugs, the expanding Narconon network delivered over 1.2 million effective hours in the fight against substance abuse—opening new centers to accommodate the demand.
In Italy, for example, the Italian Department of Labor recognized Narconon as a social organization benefiting that country.
Illiteracy, spurred on by the pandemic, found its solution in the Study Technology developed by Hubbard. In the Netherlands, an Applied Scholastics tutoring facility utilizing that technology improved the test scores of students one-by-one to the point that the one center soon became many, and is now in the top 1 percent of Dutch tutoring facilities, recognized as providing a model for effective study.
Since 2020, Applied Scholastics worldwide empowered 64 million students with Hubbard’s technology of study, and was recognized by a U.S. senator as providing a path for quality education for America’s students.
Mr. Miscavige continued, recounting the achievements of the church and its people. The Way To Happiness—a booklet containing a moral code based on common sense—distributed to 100 percent of Portland, Oregon’s downtown population—a community which had been torn by over 100 days of riots—saw peace restored the day the booklets arrived, and crime plunging below pre-pandemic levels. All told, during and since the pandemic, 140 million Way To Happiness booklets, in every language, have been distributed worldwide. Scientology’s leader also called to the stage some 200 church members to be honored for their individual contributions to peace and awareness in the world. He spoke of Scientology expansion—of new central organizations opening in Austin, Paris, Chicago, Mexico City; of the expanding viewership—20 million new sets of eyes—watching Scientology TV; of nearly 600 new Scientology groups; of missions in 114 nations—and, in short, as he put it, “We have so many doors and they are opening everywhere on Earth.”