Scientology is facing crises on several fronts: flagging membership, internal schisms, relentless Internet exposure, and whole new levels of public consciousness and mocking because of a celebrity divorce and an upcoming movie with Oscar buzz.
But perhaps the most surprising component of the church’s recent rise in negative attention seemed to come out of nowhere, and may turn out to be one of the biggest challenges it’s facing.
Scientology’s drug treatment program, Narconon, is being consumed in a conflagration of its own making.
There are not only four deaths at the flagship Oklahoma facility under investigation — three just since October — but Narconon is also mired in litigation in Michigan and Georgia, it was chased out of Quebec, and has also apparently given up on the UK.
“All these Narconon centers are run on the same principles. They use deception to get people in, they make false claims about their effectiveness, and the person sending patients there is actually a salesman working on commission,” says Carnegie Mellon professor Dave Touretzky.
Tip: @EdzardErnst on Twitter
This is a long expose by Scientology expert investigator Tony Ortega detailing the issues faced by the church of Scientology, the harm caused to clients and the deception alleged to have taken place.