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David Miscavige (April 30, 1960) is the leader of the Church of Scientology and its many affiliated organizations, having assumed that role shortly after the death of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1986. His formal title is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center (RTC), a corporation that controls the trademarked names and symbols of Dianetics and Scientology and which "holds the ultimate ecclesiastical authority regarding the standard and pure application of L. Ron Hubbard's religious technologies." His position is paramount within Scientology but, according to the church, it is not the same position once held by L. Ron Hubbard as the founder and originator of doctrines and policies; Miscavige's mandate is to protect the works of L. Ron Hubbard from distortion or misuse and to serve as "worldwide ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion.".

Miscavige was an assistant to Hubbard (a "Commodore's messenger") while a teenager. He rose to a leadership position within the organization by the early 1980s and was named Chairman of the Board of RTC in 1987. Since assuming that role, Miscavige has been faced with press accounts alleging illegal and unethical practices. A 1991 Time magazine cover story described Miscavige as "ringleader" of a "hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner." A 2009 series by the St. Petersburg Times details allegations by former Scientology executives and parishioners that Miscavige publicly humiliates and physically abuses his staff members. Miscavige and other church spokespeople have consistently insisted that all such charges are false. He labels the sources quoted in the St. Petersburg Times as "lying" after the persons in question had been removed from the organization for "fundamental crimes against the Scientology religion."

Among Scientologists, Miscavige is often referred to by his initials, "DM," or "C.O.B.," for Chairman of the Board. He reportedly lives at Scientology's Gold Basemarker, which is also the main RTC headquarters, near Hemet, Californiamarker.

Early life

David Miscavige was born in Philadelphiamarker to Loretta and Ron Miscavige Sr. and he was the youngest of their four children. The Polish-Italian family was Roman Catholic. One sister is Denise Licciardi who in 2002 was hired by Bryan Zwan as a top executive for the Clearwater, Floridamarker-based company Digital Lightwave.His older brother is Ronnie Miscavige, who for a time was also in the Sea Organization but who left the Church of Scientology in 2000.

As a child, Miscavige suffered from asthma and severe allergies which prevented him from participating in many sports. During this time his father, a trumpet player, became interested in Scientology, and he had his son sent to a Scientologist. According to him and his son, the 45-minute Dianetics session cured his ailments. The family was impressed enough by Scientology to move to the world headquarters in Saint Hill Manormarker, England.


Early activities

Miscavige joined Scientology in 1971. In 1976 he left high school and joined the Sea Organization, an association of Scientologists established in 1968 by Hubbard. In 1977 he worked directly under Hubbard as a cameraman for Scientology training films. Hubbard appointed him to the Commodore's Messenger Organization, responsible for enforcing Hubbard's policies within the individual Scientology organizations. In 1981 he was placed in charge of the Watchdog Committee and the All Clear Unit, tasked with handling the various legal claims against Hubbard. He persuaded Mary Sue Hubbard to resign from the Guardian's Office (GO), deposed several GO officers through ethics proceedings, and removed the GO from the church's organization.

After closing the Guardian's Office, Miscavige set up a new organizational structure for Scientology to release Hubbard from personal liability. He set up the Religious Technology Center, tasked with licensing Scientology's intellectual property, and Author Services Inc. to manage the proceeds. The Church of Spiritual Technology was created at the same time with an option to repurchase all of RTC's intellectual property rights. In October 1982 Miscavige required Scientology Missions to enter new trademark usage contracts which established stricter policies on the use of Scientology materials.

Rise to leadership

In 1981 Mary Sue Hubbard, then second only to L. Ron Hubbard himself in Scientology's hierarchy, was appealing her prison sentence for her part in Operation Snow White, and she began to face criticism from within the Scientology organization. The St. Petersburg Times, in the 1998 article "The Man Behind Scientology," states: "During two heated encounters, Miscavige persuaded Mary Sue Hubbard to resign. Together they composed a letter to Scientologists confirming her decision -- all without ever talking to L. Ron Hubbard." According to Miscavige, he and Mary Sue Hubbard remained friends thereafter.

In a 1982 probate case, Ronald DeWolf, Hubbard's estranged son, accused Miscavige of embezzling from and manipulating his father. Hubbard denied this in a written statement, saying that his business affairs were being well managed by Author Services Inc., of which Miscavige was the Chairman of the Board. The case was dismissed on June 27, 1983.

Miscavige announced L. Ron Hubbard's death in 1986, speaking to Sea Org members assembled in the Hollywood Palladiummarker. Shortly before Hubbard's death, an apparent order from him circulated in the Sea Org that promoted Scientologist Pat Broeker and his wife to the new rank of Loyal Officer, making them the highest-ranking members. Miscavige established himself as the ecclesiastical leader of the religion.

Allegations of abuse

Former senior-level Church of Scientology staff, including marketing executive Jeff Hawkins and Stacy Young, have alleged that Miscavige physically and emotionally abuses his subordinates, including high-ranking Church executives. Church representatives have consistently denied such accusations. Hawkins, a senior marketing executive in the Church, claimed that Miscavige had physically assaulted him at an executive meeting in 2002, and, on other occasions, had punched him in his stomach and hit him on the head. Young, the wife of Hubbard's former public relations spokesman Vaughn Young and Miscavige's former secretary, has claimed that Miscavige emotionally tormented staff members on a regular basis during her tenure. "His viciousness and his cruelty to staff was unlike anything that I had ever experienced in my life ... He just loved to degrade the staff," Young said in a 1995 ITV interview. "He got a kick out of it. He thought it was funny. Anybody who didn't think it was funny, like I didn't, was very suspect."

In June 2009, the St Petersburg Times reported that top former Scientologists Mike Rinder, Mark Rathbun and two other witnesses said Miscavige beats and demoralizes staff, and claimed violence is a standard occurrence. Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis denied these claims and provided witnesses to rebut them. Miscavige sent a letter, which was posted online, to the newspaper a day before the first story ran, saying: "I have been advised that you have decided to move forward with your story without my interview. This, despite the fact confirmed more than three weeks ago that I would make myself available on a date certain (6 July), after you spoke to other relevant Church personnel and toured Church facilities, and that I would provide information annihilating the credibility of your sources including the fundamental crimes against the Scientology religion that were the reasons for their removal from post."

The editors replied: "The Times first requested an interview with Mr. Miscavige on May 13, and offered to meet with him in person, or interview him by telephone at any time since."

In 2009, Miscavige was named as a defendant in a lawsuit for slavery and child labor by a former Scientologist.

Tax advocacy

In 1993 after lengthy negotiations an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service was reached on its treatment of the Church of Scientology. In 1991 Miscavige, with Mark Rathbun, had gone to IRS headquarters to meet with the Commissioner Fred Goldberg, which led to a two year review process (in which IRS tax analysts were ordered to ignore the substantive issues because the issues had been resolved prior to review), and ultimately, tax exemption for the Church of Scientology International and its organizations in the US. Later, in 1997, the church issued a statement denying its own "impromptu meeting" version of events, which the IRS and Goldberg declined to comment on.

In 1990, David Miscavige founded the organization Citizens for an Alternative Tax System. In 1997 the group was challenging the US tax system.

Public contact

Although he is often a speaker at major Scientology openings, award ceremonies and related events, Miscavige has rarely spoken to the press.

In his first media appearance, in 1992, Miscavige was interviewed at length by Ted Koppel of ABC News. During the nearly hour-long appearance, Miscavige identified what he considered to be misconceptions about Scientology and condemned recent criticism of the Church as unfounded and bigoted. Miscavige also addressed the issue of extraterrestrial beliefs in Scientology, dismissing them as no different from the beliefs of any other religion. When played an audio recording of L. Ron Hubbard describing a visit to the Van Allen belt, Miscavige rejected it as "[not] part of current Scientology."

In 1998, Miscavige gave his sole newspaper interview to the St. Petersburg Times. Later that year, he appeared in an A&E "Investigative Reports" installment called "Inside Scientology" which aired in December.

Personal life

Miscavige served as best man in Tom Cruise's 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.

See also


  1. Religious Technology Center David Miscavige Biography (accessed May 8, 2007)
  2. Religious Technology Center David Miscavige Biography, page 2 (accessed May 8, 2007)
  3. Behar, Richard The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power Time Magazine May 6, 1991 page 50
  4. Young, Robert Vaughn Scientology from inside out, Quill magazine, Volume 81, Number 9, Nov/Dec 1993.
  5. Behar, Richard The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power Time Magazine May 6, 1991
  6. Hoffman, Claire Tom Cruise and Scientology, Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2005
  7. Reitman, Janet Inside Scientology Rolling Stone, Issue 995. March 9, 2006. Page 57.
  8. Page 369.
  9. RTC web site
  10. "Inside the Cult", ITV's The Big Story, 1995
  11. The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 1997
  12. Inauguraci├│n de la Iglesia Nacional de Scientology de Espa├▒a, Keynote Address at the Grand Opening of the Church of Scientology New York (accessed August 3, 2006)
  13. Koppel, Ted, Nightline, David Miscavige interview of February 14, 1992; Official ABC News Transcripts
  14. A & E Investigative Reports: "Inside Scientology", December 14, 1998

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