Narconon's individual supporters are the most
numerous and prominently cited group in its literature. Although its collection
of individual supporters looks impressive on the surface, it becomes much
more problematic when examined in detail. "Success stories" from
Narconon graduates and their relatives are two a penny - and are discussed
elsewhere - but professional endorsements of Narconon's programme are
much less numerous. They also suffer from the same problem encountered with
the success stories. It certainly sounds impressive that the organisation
can claim to have been endorsed by an arbitrary number of its own graduates,
or that individual politicians, civic leaders or celebrities have commended
it for its social benefits. However, like success stories, endorsements often
suffer from flaws of subjectivity. Some of these endorsements are actually
subjective assessments of other subjective assessments, multiplying the problem
Strangely, many of the endorsements provide only the scantiest
details about the endorsers, omitting basic information such as what they
are and when their statements were made - sometimes not even their names are
given. This gives a very misleading impression of the currency of their endorsements
and their own independence. It also makes it extremely hard to verify the
existence of the endorsers, their veracity and any possible biases. A case
in point is the endorsements page of Narconon Northern California's website
["Narconon Endorsements", <http://www.addictionca.com/narconon-endorsements.htm>],
where, remarkably, every single endorsement is problematic. It quotes the
following individuals but in many cases does not disclose their interests
in the matter:
- John Seymour - State Senator
Which state, and when? Further investigation reveals that the individual
in question was a senator in New York state from 1982-91, making his endorsement
at least a decade old.
- Charles M. Hyde, Judge, Provincial Court of
Mr. Hyde appears to be an ex-Judge; he certainly does not serve any more
with the Provincial Court.
- Dr. Norma S. Tigerman - Assistant Professor
of Clinical Nursing in Public Health - University of Southern California
The University of Southern California has no Dr. Tigerman on its faculty
staff and its school of nursing does not know of anyone of that name.
- Margareta Fogelberg - Member of Parliament -
Ms. Fogelberg served in the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) about 10 years
ago; she is no longer a member of parliament.
- Lt. Francis J. Belanger - Vice and Narcotics
According to the Expedia
map database, there are Chelseas in no less than 14 states - assuming
that the individual concerned is even in the United States.
- Dr. Ray Stowers - Grant County, Oklahoma
Dr Stowers cites his "regular and close association with the Narconon
Chilocco program" but Narconon does not mention that he served as Narconon
Chilocco's medical director, nor that he is apparently no longer associated
with Narconon. His endorsement presumably preceded his departure from Narconon.
Today, Dr. Stowers is the Director of the Oklahoma Rural Health Policy and
- Paul Jaconello, M.D.
Dr. Jaconello, a Toronto physician, is a Scientologist; according to the
Toronto Star, he offers the Purification Rundown to non-Scientologist patients
for $250,000 a time ["Scientology 'purification'
rite used by anti-addiction centres", Toronto Star, 14 June 1986].
This is hardly compatible with an unbiased assessment of the programme.
- Chairman of the Board - Northland Purewater
Not even the name of this supporter is given. The individual was almost
certainly a Scientologist, however; Northland Purewater was a company founded
by one Richard M. Henley, a senior Scientologist, largely staffed by Scientologists
and run on Scientological lines using Hubbard's "management technology"
as a member of the World Institute of Scientology
Enterprises. It is now defunct (the Californian government's records
list it as "suspended"), having apparently gone bankrupt.
- Megan Shields, M.D.
Dr. Shields speaks of observing Narconon's effectiveness "in the course
of my work", but no mention is made of the fact that she is the Research
Director of Narconon International, and therefore presumably in receipt
of a salary from the organisation. Her endorsement of her employers is therefore
- Kathleen Kerr, M.D.
Dr. Kerr is a Scientologist and colleague of Dr. Paul Jaconello at the Lafayette
Medical Clinic in Toronto, presumably participating in the clinic's delivery
of the Purification Rundown. Unusually, her relationship with Narconon is
disclosed - "I have acted as Medical consultant to the Narconon program
for 15 years". She is described elsewhere as "Medical Director
of Narconon Toronto". [FASE Research Report,
"The International Conference on Chemical Contamination and Human Detoxification"
Like Megan Shields, she presumably draws a salary for this and her endorsement
is to be expected. Some of her other quoted endorsements name her as a member
of the Committee of Environmental Health, Ontario College of Family Physicians.
- Dr. Juan I. Redondo
Judging from his quote, Dr. Redondo presumably lives in Spain, but no details
are given of where he might be and what his involvement with Narconon is;
no independent researcher into Narconon appears to have been able to trace
him, or even to confirm that he exists.
- Kirstie Alley
Actress and long-time Scientologist, who joined Scientology after undergoing
a Narconon course in 1979.
So, to sum up, of the 12 endorsements that are provided
by Narconon Southern California, four are from people who are no longer in
their claimed positions; four are from people with direct professional or
personal involvement in Narconon; five are from Scientologists; and the identities
of the remaining two endorsers is unknown, save presumably to Narconon itself.
This pattern of undisclosed links, vague job descriptions and outdated references
is entirely typical for those cited in support of the organisation. Anyone
given the responsibility of assessing the credibility of Narconon's individual
supporters would be well advised to check those individuals' backgrounds for
past or present links to Narconon or Scientology.