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Media Articles - 1980s

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Mail From Everywhere... Mayor Launches Narconon Inquiry After Receiving Adverse Reports From At Least Five Other States

The Newkirk Herald Journal (?),
27 July 1989

Newkirk Mayor Garry Bilger says in the past two weeks he has been receiving mail from all over the country since an Associated Press article concerning Narconon Chilocco was released.

The article, which appeared in newspapers from Corpus Christi, Tx. to the New York Times, seems to have prompted the letters to Bilger. "I haven't received a letter favorable to the Narconon program yet... they are all negative."

For example, a writer from Illinois says, "I can empathize with your town' s plight and have the utmost admiration for those who are fighting to close down Narconon's newest operation before it actually is in operation.

"... it is strictly a method of recruitment, and their recovery claims are unfounded," the letter continues. The writer goes on... "The Oklahoma Health Plan (sic) Commission had better do some fast and thorough homework - the information is available. They probably have never before been confronted with such a slick and deceptive organization."

Enclosed with the letter were clippings about Narconon' s troubles in Italy and Spain. A hand written letter from Pennsylvania says, "Without becoming too emotional, I want to tell you (my sister) gave thousands of dollars to Scientology, left all her Christian upbringing behind, and let Ron Hubbard rule her life with his values and teachings. Scientology is very sneaky, with their pseudonyms such as "Big Apple Schools" and "Narconon" - and practically took over a town in Florida."

She concludes, "Please, be very careful in letting them come into your town on their false pretenses."

Another example: "I have just read the New York Times article on your situation with Narconon and Scientology," this former Scientologist writes.

"...I will tell you straight out that Narconon is a sham. It is a front and a device used by the Church of Scientology to lure people into Scientology.

You must realize that you are dealing with a very determined and ruthless bunch of fanatics. They resort to any deceit, any trickery to get their way... which is to promote and lure people into Scientology. Narconon fits very nicely into this as most people are concerned about Drug abuse and addiction and will give time and money to anything that looks like it might help.

Narconon is an elaborate scheme to entice people into Scientology, to promote Scientology and the name of L. Ron Hubbard. It looks like a noble work for the good of society. They will trot out a handful of people who will claim that they were helped with Narconon. They might even bring out a celebrity or two. Scientology will use very little of their own money in this con. They will go after Grants, donations, etc. and they are very skilled in getting other peoples money."

"...Sadly enough, most of the lower level Scientologists are not aware of the con and deception that they are involved with. They don't realize that they have been brainwashed. I didn't and went busily around promoting Scientology and Narconon all the while believing that I was working in a noble cause ...."

"You can use what I have said here in any way you find useful. I would ask that you don't give my name or address to anyone connected to Narconon or Scientology. Gary Smith, the Narconon spokesman quoted in the Times article, is lying through his teeth. You can quote me - I was there," concludes the writer.

Included with the letters are newspaper clippings from across the country alleging that Narconon units in at least five states have been shut down or severely curtailed over the years after questions were raised about their effectiveness and ties with Scientology.

In Michigan, for instance, a prison psychologist is reported to have charged that Narconon is a "con" to gain money and recruits for the Church of Scientology. A California report done for that state's Department of Health said Narconon's use of megavitamins to detoxify addicts is a "hazardous" and "in some cases lethal" practice. Prison programs in Delaware, Connecticut and Minnesota were reported terminated after questions were raised about the program' s effectiveness.

In Clearwater, Florida, the program apparently never got off the ground, Scientology spokesmen complained in one clipping, due to the "climate" created by negative media reports about the Church of Scientology.

Michigan prison psychologist John Hand has been quoted as saying, "They are phony, a front for the Church of Scientology. We found out in Michigan that most of the money that we were paying Narconon was laundered back into the Church of Scientology." Gary Smith, Narconon's spokesman, was quoted in the same article, and branded Hand's assertion that money in Michigan was "laundered" as "ridiculous."

"It's just a basic technology whereby a person can get off drugs, back into life and be happy. We don't push it (Scientology) on anybody. We never have," Smith was quoted as saying.

But in view of the mounting material from across the country, as well as reports from abroad Mayor Bilger has instructed an attorney to contact Corrections Department and Health Department officials in Michigan, California, Delaware, Connecticut, and Minnesota to find out the truth about the allegations.