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Drug plan panned // Cult authority warns of Scientology's tactics

Title: Drug plan panned // Cult authority warns of Scientology's tactics
Date: Tuesday, 6 August 1991
Publisher: Winnipeg Sun
Author: Riva Harrison
Main source: link (116 KiB)

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Winnipeggers should steer clear of the Church of Scientology and its many organizations, which include a drug rehabilitation program called Narconon, a U.S cult expert said yesterday.

"There are far safer programs," Cynthia Kisser, executive director of the Cult Awareness Network, said in an interview from Chicago.

"Narconon is more likely to do harm than good."

The Sun reported Sunday about 60 Winnipeg teenagers have been hired to sell pepperoni and T-shirts door-to-door to raise money for Narconon.

However, a Narconon spokesperson in Toronto, who said plans for a Winnipeg centre are still in the "embryonic" stage, hotly denied the program actively recruits Scientology members.

But Lynne McKague admitted Narconon uses a method of kicking drug addiction developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

A Scientologist in Toronto confirmed Narconon is "related" to Scientology and that the church supplies all Narconon's books, videos and materials.

As well, a 1988 Scientology pamphlet lists Narconon as a Church-developed program that has become one of the most successful drug rehabilitation programs in the world.

Kisser said not only is Narconon a "Scientology operation through and through," there is no proof to its claims of having helped tens of thousands of drug addicts kick harmful habits.

Narconon has 33 centres around the world, including Toronto and Vancouver.

The Narconon method, called the Purification Program, is based on the theory drug residues become lodged in a person's fat tissues and cause mental and physical problems for years.

The program starts patients off with running and up to five hours in a sauna.

They are given liquids, salt and potassium to replace nutrients lost during treatment, while their vitamin and mineral intake is gradually increased.

Patients are also given a blend of cooking oils to help replace the drug-laden fat, sweated off.

Kisser said the Cult Awareness Network, which has 23 chapters throughout the U.S, receives more telephone calls and complaints about Scientology than any other "cult."

"It is one of the most ruthless and destructive cults we have in the U.S. I have no reason to believe it would be any different in Canada," Kisser said.

She echoed complaints made in a recent cover story of Time magazine, which alleged the church abuses its members both emotionally and financially.

"They're a cult," she said, adding they use "thought reform techniques" which convince people to become loyal to the group at all costs.

That means paying thousands of dollars for Scientology literature and courses, and often foresaking family ties to work for the church, she said.

Facts about the Church of Scientology:

* Founded 40 years ago by L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote the self-help book Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health.

* Recognized as a religion in the United States, although it claims to be open to individuals from any religious group.

* Celebrity members include actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Ailey and Nancy Cartwright, the voice of cartoon character Bart Simpson.

* Has grown to more than 600 churches around the globe.

* In the early '80s, 11 top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were jailed for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies investigating the church.