Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Lucas Catton: ‘Narconon and the Church of Scientology are committing fraud daily’

[Lucas Catton]

In 2013, Lucas Catton self-published ‘Have You Told All,’ a remarkable book about his experience as the president of Scientology’s flagship drug rehab center, Narconon Arrowhead. He also appeared in an episode of the former investigative news program Rock Center, and he showed up here at the Bunker in several stories. Since then, he pulled his book from sale and has largely gone quiet. But he knew we were interested in excerpting his book for our Scientology Lit series, and he sent us a statement, which we’ve included after the excerpt.

As president of Narconon Arrowhead, my duties were primarily external, meaning public relations, government relations, and other spokesperson activities. Since Arrowhead was the showcase facility I would have to host domestic and foreign dignitaries who were coming to view the program, act as sort of an ambassador to other Narconon centers, and was sort of an unofficial spokesperson for Narconon in the United States since Clark Carr spent most of his time and attention working on things in other countries.

Other duties for me at the time included being a voting member of the Executive Council for Narconon Arrowhead, which are the senior level people essentially in charge of the operations of their respective areas or divisions.

Not only is the Narconon program based wholly on materials from L. Ron Hubbard, but the organizational, management and financial directives are as well. The two sides are called the Tech (for technical delivery and application) and Admin (for the administration). Hubbard’s work is often called the Tech by Scientologists as a summation of all of his collective works.


As a reward for Gary Smith, the Executive Council had decided to pay for Gary Smith to go to Flag to get some auditing. He stayed several weeks and finished both OT IV and OT V. Narconon Arrowhead paid out tens of thousands of dollars directly to Flag for that trip alone.

In Executive Council, the players were Gary Smith as the head of the organization and corporation, myself as president and spokesperson, Derry Hallmark as the Senior Director of Expansion, Kathy Gosselin as the Senior Director of Production, Michael Gosselin as the Senior Director of Administration and Deputy Executive Director and Michael St. Amand as the Director of Legal Affairs. All were long-time Scientologists, with the exception of Derry at the time, who had just been introduced to Scientology a few years earlier through Narconon.

Any time there was a disagreement, of which there were many loud ones on Council, the deciding factor would always be to consult an L. Ron Hubbard policy. Hubbard is known as Source to Scientologists, and they’re taught to always find a solution with Source material. It’s like Christians asking “what would Jesus do?” but Hubbard loved to write and record nearly every utterance as being important, even when things became highly contradictory within his own Policy Letters and Bulletins.

As a very odd part of my job, Gary Smith’s wife Vicki was posted in my office as my assistant. However, she really did whatever she wanted and reported to her husband, found a different title that Hubbard wrote about called an Aide so she could receive higher pay, and generally annoyed the staff with the power she assumed because she was Gary’s wife. I had little say so in what she did, despite the fact that she was posted as my Aide.

One example was that she loved having coordination meetings for various things, and they would take up time and not get much accomplished. When I voiced the fact that I’d rather stick to production and only simple coordination or regularly-standing executive meeting, and got her husband to enforce it on me.

One of the people who had to attend this weekly PR meeting was a woman named Susan who worked in the division responsible for promoting the program via the radio, newspaper and television. I had a couple friends who told me about Susan saying I should ask her out. At that time I hadn’t dated anyone since before I left Georgia in September of 2000, so it had been nearly a year and a half. Susan was a tall, slender young woman who was bright and determined. The appeal was easy to see in the beginning, especially since the pool of possibilities was confined to about 150 people at the time. Rarely did anyone look to start a serious relationship outside of a fellow staff member at Arrowhead because so much of our lives were focused on the organization, including working 60-plus hour weeks, living on campus and primarily socializing with co-workers when not on the job. Susan and I did start dating in January of 2002.

One day we came into work and the receptionists said the phone lines were going crazy, and that people were saying they heard about us on CNN. We later found out that Susan sent a PSA to CNN in Atlanta, and wasn’t aware that it was their corporate headquarters — she thought it was a local affiliate.

We wound up getting thousands of calls from PSAs on CNN and put together a plan to try and keep them going. Susan was instructed to keep tight contact with the PSA director for CNN at the time, Brian Denney, and it wound up airing for three months.

Narconon Science Advisory Board

One of my first tasks on my new position was to help organize and host a Narconon Science Advisory Board meeting at Arrowhead. Later that year, a description of the event was written in Narconon International’s newsletter, which stated:

Narconon International held a major meeting of its Science Advisory Board at Narconon Arrowhead. Despite several inches of snow and icy highways, attendees arrived from throughout the United States, including long-time members Alfonzo Paredes, M.D.; David Root, M.D.; Shelley Beckmann, Ph.D.; and Jim Barnes. Also there were friends and consultants of Narconon Arrowhead, Sandy MacNabb and Emery Johnson, M.D. (former Asst. Surgeon General U.S.), as well as Arrowhead’s new Medical Director, Dr. Gerald Wootan.

Other attendees who shared their experiences and knowledge were Dr. Allan Sosin from Narconon Southern California, the distinguished Dr. Schoenthaler from California State University Stanislaus, and with Michael Phillips from Utah, who is completing a long-term outcome study on the reduction of crime in juveniles who’ve completed the New Life Center Narconon program.

At the meeting Dr. Root was elected as the Chairman of the Science Advisory Board, and Gene Stipe dropped in to welcome the members before wrapping up.


Following the meeting at Arrowhead in early 2002, one of the first orders of importance to try to bring Narconon to the forefront of the drug rehabilitation field in the 21st century was to have an updated, formalized outcome study completed of the program results. After all, it was widely known internally that the 76 percent success rate Narconon claimed was bullshit. In fact, at one point even the retention rate of Arrowhead fell below 50 percent, meaning that more than half of the people who enrolled in the program left without completing it. There was a whole series of steps written up to improve the retention rate and technical delivery before any outcome study would have even been considered.

Rena Weinberg and Clark Carr were keen on getting Thomas McLellan to be the lead author of the Narconon outcome study. They wanted something that was legitimate and wanted to get the best. McLellan is a well-known psychologist in the addiction field and is the founder of the Treatment Research Institute as well as the person who created the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). The ASI is an industry standard tool for assessment used in the treatment field. While there was a lot of talk about McLellan and there was some initial discussion with him, he ultimately backed out because he didn’t want to be associated with Narconon. Turns out he made other good career moves, as he was appointed to be the Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) years later under the Obama Administration.

To this date, a formal outcome study has still never been done on the Narconon program at any center, and they continue to knowingly lie about their success rate, which is false advertising. Narconon, ABLE and the Church of Scientology are fully aware that the program doesn’t get the results they claim, and are thus committing fraud daily.


The ways their promoted success rates are justified are by graduate follow-up calls and completely un-scientific reporting. I used to get the weekly report of every graduate contacted each week and how they reported that they were doing. At the bottom of each report would be a percentage listed of those reporting to be clean and sober. So let’s say the staff member in charge of following up with graduates calls 300 that week, but is only able to get 100 of them on the phone. Of those 100, 70 reported they were doing well, and so that was the number indicating the success rate of the graduates at the time.

This of course completely negates the other 200 that weren’t contacted, many of whom were unable to be located and therefore not a good sign to begin with, let alone the fact that any reported success was usually based on unverified statements from the graduates themselves. Many graduates of course did not want to return, so if they were getting drunk or high again they didn’t necessarily want to tell Narconon about it.

When people reported not doing well, they would be pitched to come back and do a review program, like I had done. They were usually charged half-price to redo the program, and sometimes Arrowhead would make as much as $50,000 in a single week just from people doing the program for a second, third or fourth time.

The relationship of Arrowhead, Narconon International, and ABLE

Arrowhead was, and still is, in a glorified yet unenviable position regarding the Narconon network, ABLE and Scientology. Since it was paid for by Scientologists, it was expected to cooperate with the church of Scientology fully, whereas some of the smaller, more independent centers could tell people to piss off when they really wanted to.

My job meant that I had at least three conflicting viewpoints that I was in the middle of and had to appease — the role of what was needed locally in Oklahoma internally at the facility itself, the role of being the premier facility in the Narconon network and to help do Narconon spokesperson duties, and the role of the flagship Scientology-backed drug rehabilitation facility with ABLE and the Church.

Clark and Rena held me to a much higher standard compared to the other staff, which was both unfair and yet somewhat expected considering what happened with my predecessor. Rena found out that I was dating Susan, and sexual relationships outside of marriage are simply not allowed in the Sea Org. She told me casual relations did not fit the image of what is needed for the President of Narconon Arrowhead, and that if I still planned on joining the Sea Org, I should probably not lead Susan on any longer since she was not qualified to do so for other reasons.


Here was another major influence on relationships from the church, one that would wind up being the most difficult strain from then on. I hadn’t made up my mind fully at the time, as I really wanted to be a father and children aren’t allowed in the Sea Org anymore. Rena’s assistant, Lisa, spoke to me about this one day when I told her I wanted kids. At the time she was only about 20 years old and told me, “We’ve had lots of kids before in previous lifetimes. The best thing we can do for future generations is to help save this planet.”

That didn’t fully handle my objection, but I did feel a very strong sense of wanting to do something very meaningful for society as a whole and thought I was on the right track at the time. (Apparently the statement that Lisa parroted back to me that she had been told by other members of the Sea Org didn’t work on her fully either, because I wound up seeing her years later that she was no longer in the Sea Org and had a child.)

I was torn, honestly. I really liked spending time with Susan, but I loved my job and my assumed responsibility.

In early March I told her that I could no longer see her because I wanted to join the Sea Org in the future and that it wouldn’t be fair to either of us. It was upsetting to both of us at the time, and really neither fully understood why some outside influence could dictate our personal relationship like that, but it would eventually become a theme.

— Lucas Catton

And here’s the statement Luke sent us…

Things were very different in many ways six years ago when I was finishing up that book. I ended up pulling it from distribution for very personal reasons, primarily because I felt it had accomplished what I intended, that I said my peace, and because I was trying to make a new start in life. There were also more contributions toward righting wrongs behind the scenes after the book.

I eventually found that always wanting to fight became a toxic element in my life, and I have since forgiven all who I thought had harmed me, though it took quite some time to do so. Maybe one day they can do the same. I have had to process my involvement much more deeply over time and have been able to find the positive aspects that have put me in the position I’m in today, which is continually evolving as well. I’m grateful for all that I have learned about myself and others along the way.

I’m very pleased to say that many more people have since shed their involvement in these groups, people I have been in contact with in one way or another in recent years. I am thankful for being able to reconnect, share helpful resources and see them become free also. There are others that I have reached out to who are still unwilling to communicate with me, and I understand and continue to hold a place in my heart for their eventual freedom as well. For anyone possibly reading this, the invitation is always open, and I highly recommend finding a good therapist who can help.

Today I am happily remarried with two amazing boys, my daughter is safe and is with us every month, I have a wonderful career and the future continues to be brighter. Finding new meaning in life has been an important part of this, including reconciling my past to no longer be stuck there. This last part I wish for everyone, regardless of their history, as an open heart and mind allows for an abundance of light, love and opportunity.

— L.C.


Chris Shelton talks with Dylan Gill about CST

Says Chris: “I finally got a chance this week to have an extended chat with Dylan Gill about the oh-so-mysterious Church of Spiritual Technology. Dylan and Aaron Smith-Levin already did an extensive talk about this and I didn’t want to repeat that territory, so we had a more free-ranging discussion in this podcast about life in the Sea Organization, the Commodore’s Messenger Org and what it was like at CST.”



Start making your plans!


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Clearwater city council candidate gets ringing endorsement from a Scientology front
[TWO years ago] The new ‘disconnection’ billboard on Sunset Blvd is going to be a Valentine to Scientology
[THREE years ago] Bryan Seymour challenges Scientology’s ‘Freedom’ magazine to show itself
[FOUR years ago] Scientology hits back at Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear’ with predictable smears
[FIVE years ago] Sunday Funnies: CCHR’s annual gala — time, place, form, and event!
[SIX years ago] Kima Douglas, 1942-2013
[SEVEN years ago] The Decline and Fall of Scientology? Skeptic Magazine Makes the Case


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,341 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,472 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,974 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,454 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 517 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 405 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,712 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,580 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,354 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,128 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,474 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,040 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,960 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,127 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,708 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,968 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,008 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,720 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,246 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,335 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,475 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,795 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,651 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,770 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,126 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,428 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,534 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,937 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,808 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,391 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,886 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,140 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,249 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 26, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email