Some Atlanta critics are familiar with the publicity seeking done by the head of the local Narconon, Mary Rieser. It seems she will do anything to latch on to publicity, most recent I recall was in a story done by a local TV station about Mexican drug cartels. Mary R. was interviewed "as an expert."
I had read this article: Meet the Heroes of Early Scientology Reporting—Plus, a Visit to the Celebrity Centre
and was reading through the comments when I found this illustration of how these articles submitted by Narconon to local papers hungry for content are seen:
I have actually read Dianetics all the way through. (My aunt and her sons are scientologists, so I went through a phase where I thoroughly investigated Hubbard's cult in an attempt to figure out why they were all such whack jobs.) It is as bad as you say and worse. Probably my favorite womb episode is the one where your pregnant mom gets constipated and says, sitting on the john, "I'm all stuffed up!" programming you to have chronic sinus problems. And by "favorite" I mean "PLEASE GOD MAKE THE MENTAL IMAGES STOP."
You do miss one important point, though: the main thing feeding CoS recruits is its extensive network of rehab facilities. Rehab is perfect for their purpose; you're catching vulnerable people who are prone to addiction and also able to pay exorbitant fees for treatment. Their chain of treatment centers has a nice Orwellian name, "Narconon," so you'd never guess who you're checking in with. They're all over the country, and they think of very clever ways to advertise.
To illustrate: one of my exercises in J-school was to read a few issues of a community paper from somewhere in the state and bring in articles to discuss. One of my friends brought in a misleading, badly written, wildly incorrect article about drug and alcohol abuse from an affluent Atlanta suburb's paper. I read it in total disbelief until at the very end, a really heavy-handed plug for Narconon (and, if you can't afford that, pick up this great book with a volcano on the cover!) tipped me off: this was unmarked advertorial paid for by CoS.
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 10:17 pm
Ahem. Need I say more?
(The above-mentioned article
is a nice read, with links (though they are hard to see, being dark blue mixed with black text) to a few other historic articles. All a part of the fallout from the New Yorker article