Scientology and Narconon have a lot in common. They were both founded by L. Ron Hubbard, they both use a sauna-based purification ritual, they use many of the same training routines. But Narconon claims to be independent of Scientology. Here is the President of Narconon International, from a 2004 article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“It’s our job to keep them separate,” said Clark Carr, president of Narconon International and a Scientologist. “We work full time to do this. If we went into the school district as Scientology, with the separation of church and state, it wasn’t going to work. It would be as if someone said, ‘I have some things in the Bible I think would be very helpful.’ No, thank you. It’s corporately and financially separate, and that’s appropriate.
“For us, the larger issue is that kids need help. We’re not in this for any other agenda.”
From a 2001 article in the Gloucester Citizen.
The charity Narconon admitted it had expressed an interest in buying the Euroclydon Nursing Home in Drybrook, but has denied links with the Church of Scientology.
Noel Nile, director of drug education for Narconon, has now spoken out in an effort to allay fears about the organisation, which he describes as “an international charity.”
He said: “It is non-religious and its sole purpose is to work towards a drug-free society. As such, it enjoys the highest drug rehabilitation, currently 70%, and uses no substitute drugs in its programme.” He said the organisation’s drug education programme has been used in schools throughout the UK and was well respected.
And from Australia in 2005, an article in the Herand Sun.
But the deputy director of Narconon’s rehabilitation centre, Susie Morrisson, denied the claim.
“We’re not Scientology here. Just some of the techniques like communication drills are based on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard,” she said.
But are these Narconon representatives telling the truth, or are they really a part of Scientology?
This is a figure from International Scientology News, May 2004. It shows how a Scientology “Org” is expected to spawn Narconons and other front groups in their area.
This is a letter from officials at Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma, describing to other Scientology organizations how they can earn commissions by selling Narconon’s services, and how Narconon FSMs, or “Field Staff Members” are basically the same as other Scientology FSMs.
This is a letter from Mary Reiser, the Executive Director of the now-defunct Narconon Georgia. You can read the entire court filing that includes this letter. It describes how involved the local Scientology “Org” is in personnel matters and disputes. Scientology has its own language, which can be difficult to decipher, but the control of Narconon Georgia by Scientology, and the flow of money from Narconon back to Scientology are both clear.
Narconon contributes money to Scientology, in the form of payments for royalties, staff training, and unusually high “office expenses.” But an IRS form for Narconon Fresh Start in Glendale, CA for 2012 shows payments directly to Scientology. A $24,000 grant to “Church of Scientology Flag.”
Former Narconon staff members confirm that Narconon is part of Scientology. This news report from 2012 interviews Lucas Catton, formerly in charge of the Oklahoma facility.
This 2011 article in The Fix quotes former Narconon Executive Director Patty Pieniadz.
Undisclosed to students or clients was the fact that the success of rehabilitation depended on the client’s indoctrination in Scientology. “It was completely understood by Narconon staff that unless the patient did the entire Scientology Drug Rundown, there was little chance that they would permanently stay off drugs,” Pieniadz said. “The unwritten final step of the Narconon program was to acknowledge you were a Scientologist. Only then were you were considered to be rehabilitated.”
And from former Narconon patient and staff member, David Love, in a 2012 CBC article.
“The idea is to get them to Narconon. Once they’re in and their mother, their father, their family has paid thousands of dollars, or the whole $30,000, once they get them in, that’s the key,” said Love.
“The indoctrination into Scientology begins when you arrive at Narconon … It is 100% cult sect.” he said. “Religious indoctrination, right out of the Scientology textbooks.”
So why does Scientology bother with the lie that Narconon is not a part of Scientology? First, Scientology expends great effort to prove that they are a real religion, and not a cult. In the U.S. Australia, France, South Africa and other countries, religious instruction is generally forbidden in public schools. Narconon provides “secular” instruction in drug abuse prevention, and to be identified publicly as a religion would endanger these programs. In addition, the reputation of Scientology is that of a dangerous cult. People who would be horrified to enroll in a Scientology drug rehab program are not aware that Narconon and Scientology are the same thing. By hiding their affiliation, patients enter the program not knowing the dangers they may encounter.