Letter to the Editor
Carroll Star News
6 June 2002
I have been forwarded an article of 5 May and commentary to a letter published on 26 May, both apparently by a J. Pilkonis. (Editor's note: I wrote the commentary to the letter, not Pilkonis. That's why it was prefaced with 'Editor's note'). Both expressed considerable hostility towards the Narconon program and inferred that representatives of Narconon were disavowing any relationship to the Church of Scientology. Perhaps the hostility of the reporter has contributed to this miscommunication, perhaps not, but let's put the record straight.
As is made clear in numerous pages of Narconon International's website, www.narconon.org, the Narconon program was founded by a man named William Benitez in Arizona State Prison in 1996 and later incorporated by him as an independent non profit public benefit corporation. Mr, Benitez based the Narconon program, which means simply "no drugs," on the research of author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. Over many years Mr Hubbard helped Narconon staff develop a world renowned effective drug rehabilitation technology. Mr Hubbard is also well known as be author of the well known self help text, Dianetics, Modern Science of Mental Health and as the founder of the Scientology religion. Although corporately separate and distinct from the Church of Scientology from its beginning, the Narconon network has long enjoyed a warm friendship with Scientology and Scientologists. For many years our principal Narconon brochure has explained this clearly in a section entitled "Support from the Church of Scientology and its Membership". I am sorry that this brochure was not given to Mr Pilkonis when he first asked questions but I quote here from this official publication.
"While Narconon is a purely secular option which is open to members of all faiths, it has enjoyed be support of the church and individual Scientologists since its beginnings . . . In fact, the majority of the Narconon facilities established since that time have been made possible by the volunteer and financial support given by Scientologists . . . It is an important part of Scientology's social mission to reduce the suffering and degradation caused by alcohol and drug abuse on a worldwide scope. Scientology churches join churches of other faiths in seeking in improve living conditions as well as the social and moral environments in which we live. As part of this mission, churches of Scientology actively encourage their members to support the Narconon network by helping to open new centers for drug rehabilitation or drug education and by volunteering their time to assist existing Narconon programs."
That is our relationship. Narconon staff worldwide dedicated themselves 24/7 to saving lives, and I am proud of them. It is difficult but honorable work. We in Narconon are very happy to have the assistance of Scientologists as well as of members of any church who want to reduce the misery caused by drug addiction in their community. I am pleased that there are citizens of Georgia who have expressed willingness to work along with us in accomplishing this peaceful and humanitarian work - as I am sure all person of good heart would look forward to hearing wonderful news of lives salvaged from alcohol and other drugs in Georgia.
President, Narconon International
7600 Hollywood Boulevard, Suite 220
Editor's response: The Carroll Star News reporter, J. Pilkonis accurately reported that the Narconon representatives who visited Carroll County's planning and zoning meetings (and the Star News office) denied any association with the Church of Scientology. Later, in person, I pointedly stated to Susan Webb (public relations representative of the Church of Scientology) that I also was told by these two Narconon representatives they and not have any relationship with them. She had no direct response for me, and instead continued to speak of how great the organizations was. Since, Mr Carr is the president of Narconon International and states: "In fact, the majority of new Narconon facilities established since that time have been made possible by be volunteer and financial support given by Scientologists", I will assume that Narconon IS directly associated with the Church of Scientology, and the two representatives were either grossly misinformed or lying. As to any hostility on Pilkonis' part, accurate reporting is a tough job that is subject to criticism, but, thank God, somebody's doing it.