Oklahoma State Senator on Scientology's Drug Rehab Center: "If This Were a State Facility, It Would Already Be Shut Down"

Oklahoma State Senator Tom Ivester
With multiple local and state agencies looking into the deaths at Scientology's flagship drug treatment center in Oklahoma -- four since 2009, and three just in the last ten months -- a local legislator is also getting involved.

Yesterday, we talked to State Senator Tom Ivester, a Democrat from the western part of Oklahoma. For months, he says, he's been concerned about what goes on at Narconon Arrowhead.

As early as January, he had received complaints from a state resident that the place was a "ripoff" and was delivering strange treatments, but when Stacy Murphy, 20, died at the center on July 19, Ivester said he was motivated to act.

Officials at the Department of Mental Health have told him they are frustrated that they don't have the laws necessary to regulate Scientology's center, he says. And so, he's determined to do something about it.

Ivester, 43, is an attorney from the western Oklahoma farming community of Sayre, population 3,000. He's a Democrat in a part of the state where Democrats are a minority, and in a state that is controlled by Republicans. But he says with a laugh that it only gives him more time to devote to the problem.

He's had previous success passing legislation, including the regulation of assisted living centers. "It's not that difficult," he says, predicting that he'll be able to garner support among his fellow legislators for new regulations that would affect the Scientology drug rehab center.

In January the senator heard from a state resident who was told about Narconon's supposedly high rates of success. "He was there for 45 days and then left on his own because of his concerns about the place. And he wondered, was he included in those statistics?" Ivester says. (Narconon regularly claims that 75 to 90 percent of its patients go on to lead drug-free lives, but experts say that even the best legitimate drug treatment programs don't claim better than about 25 percent success.)

After he received the complaint, Ivester inquired with the state's Department of Mental Health.

"They were frustrated about Narconon," he says. "They said they didn't have sufficient laws in place to regulate it."

But then he got busy with a legislative session, and Narconon had to wait. In July, Ivester heard about Stacy Murphy's death.

"That was the last straw," he says.

"There are ongoing investigations. I'm going to coordinate with the Department of Mental Health to see what regulations are in place. I've talked to them before, but I need to talk to them again," he says.

Because the center uses a non-medical approach to rehab, there are fewer regulations that govern it, he points out.

"I'm going to write some legislation to make sure one, that's it's safe. and two, that it's a legitimate rehab."

He's heard the stories about Narconon being more about Scientology training than drug counseling, and it concerns him.

He also read our story about Bob Lobsinger, the former Oklahoma weekly newspaper editor who took on Scientology in the late 1980s when Narconon officials first came to the state. Lobsinger told us that if Narconon had just been open about its connections to Scientology and what it really intended, there would have been little problem. Instead, he told us, "they lied every step of the way."

"I have to agree with Bob," Ivester tells me. "If they were up front about things, it would be another matter."

As hundreds of news stories over many years have shown, Narconon uses deceptive practices to bring in patients without revealing its connection to Scientology. Tougher regulation could force Narconon to be more transparent about its methods and aims.

"It shouldn't be hard to draft something," Ivester says. "If this were a state facility, it would already be shut down."

Ivester appeared briefly on the Oklahoma City Fox affiliate last week, where Marisa Mendelson has been reporting the Narconon Arrowhead story for months.

I asked Ivester if since then, he's heard from any Scientology officials or attorneys.

No, he said, but he's not worried.

"I'm kind of like Bob, if they want to traipse out here to the western part of the state just to see me, they're welcome to," he says. "And I can't imagine they have much lobbying power in the capitol."


Jose Canseco Is Confused About Scientology

Vice magazine had the cute idea of giving disgraced former major league ballplayer Jose Canseco a column. This is fascinating for readers in the same way that some yahoo being chased at high speed by cops makes for mesmerizing television.

Anyway, in yesterday's new installment of "José Can Say So," the Cuban-American icon revealed that he's an atheist, does not believe in life after death, and describes himself as an "atheist-Scientologist."

The reason why I look toward Scientology as an acceptable alternative is because it's a religion mostly based on science and fact.

Since Scientology's most bedrock concept is that we are immortal spirits who have lived countless lives in the past and will live countless more in endless rounds of reincarnation, we can only conclude that Canseco hasn't the slightest clue what he's talking about.

I guess that last part was sort of redundant.


Biggi Reichert's Death Probed in German Film

Markus Thöß, the German filmmaker who earlier brought us a fascinating look at Scientology's "secret service" -- the Office of Special Affairs -- is back with another interesting documentary, this time about a mysterious Scientology death.

We've written previously about Biggi Reichert, a German Scientologist who had reached the church's highest level of achievement -- Operating Thetan Level Eight -- but then had been found dead in 2006 in an apparent suicide. She had just returned to Germany after a trip to Scientology's spiritual mecca in Clearwater, Florida.

Records show that she had been dealing with serious debts because she had spent so much of her money from three different jobs for expensive Scientology training. And just a few days after returning from her trip to Florida, she was found dead in her car, apparently from a suicide involving sleeping pills and carbon monoxide.

Strangely, however, a couple of dozen burn marks appeared on her scalp, which were days old and appeared to have been caused by electrical heat. What happened while she was in Florida during her trip to Scientology's mecca? It's a question that still remains unsolved. But the documentary fills in a lot of background information about Reichert's involvement in the church. (Hit the "cc" button for English subtitles.)

See also:
"Tom Cruise worships David Miscavige like a god"
Scientology's president and the death of his son: our complete coverage
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology's new defections: Hubbard's granddaughter and Miscavige's dad
Scientology's disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige's vanished wife: Where's Shelly?
Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras
And a post that pulls together the best of our Scientology reporting

Please check out our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.

Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
jensting like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Everyone should watch the German documentary. The journalist has got the right angle, IMHO, by looking at the money and the mental pressure Biggi was under. He is repeatedly quoting Biggi's mails to senior clams describing her financial problems (including borrowing money) and he says that the criminal organisation known as the "church" of $cientology claims to know nothing of Biggi's borrowing money.


Having access to Biggi's computer is what makes this documentary and I think that its importance is underestimated at the moment...


I hope Herr Mollers talks to Mr Fenech of the French MIVILUDES (Mr Fenech was investigating magistrate on the court case brought by Patrice Vic's widow). Financial pressure was the reason that Mr Vic killed himself in France and the leader of the $cientology org in Lyon was convicted of manslaughter (conviction upheld all the way to the French Supreme Court). http://www.scientology-lies.com/people/patrice-vic.html

N.Graham like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Comic Book Plots for Scientologists

Elron has just announced Dianetics to the world and has offered it to the APA and the AMA.  These two groups, whose goal is world enslavement, have banded together as SMERSH. Their first step will be total erasure of all traces of Elron’s research. When Elron hears of this, he says “Well that’s the first time they’ve ever agreed on anything.  I guess they have me to thank for that.”  And all of Elron’s friends that are there with him, including a nuclear and a rocket scientist, a math theorist, and Robert Heinlein, all have a hearty laugh as once again Elron, whom they all revere, has sent a note of levity through the gathering.  Suddenly, the window flies open and illegal Suppressive Gas, which has been developed by the evil psychs and banned by the government, encompasses the room in a cloud of smoke.  As Elron sniffs the gas, he decides to keep Dianetics for himself and use its powerful secrets to form a religion. This was because Elron finally realized that this is the best way to make a million dollars.


David Miscaviage is sitting in his palatial office, lifting weights, flexing his muscles, shooing off John Travolta, while watching a few subordinates play a game of musical chairs.  Suddenly, from out of nowhere, he is bitten by a radioactive clam….


Jgg2012 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I am not changing the subject.  My point is that L. Ron Hubbard was worse than Roberts, Miscavige is worse than him, and the whole point of attacking Scientology is that it is a scam that uses religious cloaking, just like Roberts.


  OT8, if Germany cracked down on Roberts, would Bert Fields ask celebrities to sign a "this is just like your persecution of the Jews" letter?  Would RTC accuse them of religious bigotry?


  OT8, you also missed the key element of the real estate scam--half the money donated by followers for improvements went straight to Robert's pocket.  Isn't that unbelievable?

PreferToBeAnon like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Jgg2012 Jgg, Your passion is admirable, but OT8 is our resident satirist.  Don't worry, this happens to most new posters here!

SvenBoogie like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Jgg2012 Someone else fill this poor soul in, I'm not in the mood today...

OTVIIIisGrrr8! like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 8 Like

We in RTC had a good belly laugh reading about how State Senator Tom Ivester is going to talk to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health concerning Narconon. Factually, the words "Oklahoma" and "Mental Health" are mutually exclusive. There is no mental health in Oklahoma.


We remind VV readers that Oklahomans are the same deluded religious cultists who believed Oral Roberts' tall tale in 1977 when he saw 900 foot Jesus who told him to build some gigantic useless empty building. Roberts wrote to his brainwashed followers:


"...When I opened my eyes, there He stood...some 900 feet tall, looking at me; His eyes...Oh! His eyes! He stood a full 300 feet taller than the 600 foot tall City of Faith."


A 900 foot tall Jesus. What laughable nonsense! Oral  Roberts did all of this phony hoopla fundraising based on R6 implants about Jesus and God that were implanted by PDH 75,000,000 years ago. Only we in the Church of Scientology have the secret about what really happened to this sector of the universe!


Those crazy Oklahomans believed Oral Robert's insane religious vision of a 900 foot Jesus and sent him all their money; some even drained their savings accounts and took out second and third mortgages on their homes. There was nothing Oral Roberts' greedy and immoral  fundraisers would not do to extract every last penny from the sheeple.


Oral Roberts' 2.2 million square foot 66 story "medical center" sat half-finished as an empty shell for years and years and was used only for the cynical purpose of allowing Oral Roberts to endlessly raise money. Roberts raised money based on hollow promises of  super powerful miraculous result that were all phony.


Oral Roberts ran a cynical real estate scam that allowed him to build or buy empty buildings using tax exempt dollars and then sell the buildings for a profit. Oral Roberts "Medical Center" went out of business a few years after it was sold. The religious "Medical Center" is now an complex of office buildings.

WHAT A SCAM!!!!!!!


In 1987. Oral Roberts told his brainwashed Oklahoma  followers that God would kill him unless Oklahomans gave Oral Roberts the $8,000,000 he needed for his own luxurious lifestyle. Credulous as always. Oklahomans forked over $8,000,000 so that their R6 God implant would not kill Oral Roberts, the COB of ORU.


Please donate to Project Mouse Table today to help shatter 4th Dynamic Suppression.


 @OTVIIIisGrrr8! Oh, tell me more about Project Mouse Table, made of genuine burlwood! Is there news on the nuclear-powered mouse?


  But did Roberts engage in medical quackery?  Did his wife disappear?  Did he spy on the US government?

OTVIIIisGrrr8! like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 7 Like









 Wait...WHAT!!!!  OTVIII is a satirist?!?!?!?  Well shit!!!  That's it OTVIII, I DO NOT love you anymore!!! (wink, wink)

Jgg2012 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like


 btw, everyone knows that OT8 is a satirist--if he were real, all he would do is say "bitter defrocked apostate who doesn't know anything" instead of being so funny.

Jgg2012 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like



@PoisonIvy @BurytheNuts @PeggyToo @OTVIIIisGrrr8!    Everybody, OT8 has superpowers--he will make that Mouse Table move by itself.  He will also make Burlap pens fly right into your hand, but only after you confess to your crimes.  Finally, I have decided not to ask OT8 any more questions--he knows what I'm thinking, and can answer if he wishes.


PeggyToo like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @OTVIIIisGrrr8!  @Jgg2012

 Proof....."There's a sucker born every minute".......or......."A fool and his money are soon parted"

Anonanonsong like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

Tom Cruise now has a statement in support of Narconon!


"I saw the ex-addict guy walk out that front door and I swear I never took my eyes off of it for a good 5 minutes and he did.not.walk.back.in! Pshoo-bang!!! *fist pump*Woo-hoo! David, I love you... no really, I don't think you fully realise my meaning. I'm single now, I don't think this should be a problem. brbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrb-BAM! Scotch?"

lkwartler like.author.displayName 1 Like

What about false advertising laws; Attorney General jurisdiction? They represent themselves as a legitimate medical facility treating a physical and mental condition. And why would they not be subject to medical or counseling regulations if that is how they advertise? I would not be surprised if there are regulators who don't know how to interpret their own regulations.

lamoore0888 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

Another late breaking story just in:  From the Director of the FDA.....


Um, well, we here at the FDA, after our unexpected meeting today with Mr. David Miscaviage (and his manilla envelopes with, um, some pictures of us and stuff)  have just realized that NIACEN in LARGE LARGE LARGE doses is actually extremely beneficial to, um, well, everybody.


Mr. Miscaviage is still here with us so um, well, we're not really sure what else we are just realizing about regulating stuff about health. Wait....ok...yes...Ok, we just realized NIACEN is actually a vitamen...... We will get back to the American People we serve, um, soon.


The Director

FDA of the USA


N.Graham like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @lamoore0888 You would think the head of the FDA would know how to spell Niacin and vitamin.  But that's our government for you. 

BurytheNuts like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @N.Graham  @lamoore0888 He probably 'pulled in' the crappy spelling because he was in the proximity of the COB.

lamoore0888 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like


 Thanks, but I learnt all my speling skills in the COS using the TECH of lernin. I keep my dicshawnary close by but I don't have to use it much anymore. I no most words allreaddy.

lamoore0888 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

This just in...from the COS:


We have recently discovered a group of ROGUE scientologists have secretly subverted the fine program of NARCONON to suit their anti-scientology agenda. We are shocked and dismayed. THEY altereded our programs, changed our guidelines, commited crimes and were it not for our fortunate discovery, THEY would have gotten away with it. As it is these criminals have all been banned for life from the good Church of Scientology and its good program NARCONON. We will be giving our full assitance to all the authorties investigating these ROGUE individuals. Specifically we will be providing money, as much money as any of the authorities want or need (or more) to assist them in sharing in our conclusions about this terrible terrible attack against Scientology.


We are in the process of putting true Scientologists in the top positions of all NARCONON facilities throughout the world. AND we are CHANGING THE NAME of NARCONON, to FREEDOMNON so the two will never be confused.




WhereIsSHE like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

OT- Here is the Newsweek (via The Daily Beast) review of The Master:


From the review:

He’s a man who’s spent his life running away, even from the girl he professes to be the love of his life. And then Freddie meets and falls under the sway of “the Master,” Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the founder and leader of a spiritual movement called the Cause. Anderson freely acknowledges that this flamboyant character—a self-described author, sea captain, physicist, and philosopher—was inspired by L. Ron Hubbard. Once word of this leaked out, The Master immediately got tagged as Anderson’s “Scientology movie.” “I was naive,” the director says, somewhat ruefully. “I should have known that’s what people would latch onto.” But if you’re expecting to see an exposé of that controversial “religion,” you’ve come to the wrong movie. This is not to say Scientologists are going to like what they see. But Anderson, who gets a bit stressed when the subject comes up, finds himself “much more defensive and protective of [Scientology] than I would have thought.”


Is PTA deluding himself? Bowing down to the Scientology-Powers-That-Be (TC)? Outright fibbing??

It sure sounds a lot like an expose (of Hubbard, and of the early days of Scientology, at the least).

PoisonIvy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @WhereIsSHE Read Tony O's previous blog posts about it.  It's TOTALLY "inspired by" Hubbard & the early days, according to the script (and exes who have read the script.)  I am sure the actors and PTA are doing the judicious thing by downplaying the connection ( TC is a friend and colleague of his and there is mutual professional - if not ecclesiastical - respect there ) - and to be fair, any work of fiction becomes a world in itself, distant and apart from whatever inspired it into being.  PTA as an artist doesn't want his work - which like everything he does, touches on universal themes - to be written off as "that Scientology movie," which would probably cheapen it in his mind.  In other words, he wants it to be more than that, which I'm sure it is.  Whether Scientology was first and foremost in his mind or not when he wrote it - and I'll be it was - he didn't intend it as an "expose," but more as an exploration of the themes of power consolidated in a manipulative man.  Anderson is brilliant at multi-layered character studies and there are always shades of gray in his characters.   


Jgg2012 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

  Wait, if Narconon can be both Scientology (when they have a success) and not Scientology (when someone dies), then this movie can be both about Scientology and not about Scientology, can't it?

ashura like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @WhereIsSHE Self-protection is practicing..


No doubt that it's about Hubbard but PTA's not so foolish as to come out and just tangle directly with the tiny terror and his minions.


Off topic - I noticed that Tony Scott, the director who committed suicide this weekend, made films with Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Nicole Kidman and John Travolta at various times.  Was Tony Scott ever in Scientology?


 @ThatClose It is highly doubtful that either Scott brother bothered with Scientology.  They're both too practical for that.




Don't know ,but my wife read that he had brain cancer, which if true, I would imagine had much to do with his suicide (either physically, i.e. the cancer actually causing suicidal impulses, or just that he did not want to live with the disease).

ashura like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

TO Writes:

"Since Scientology's most bedrock concept is that we are immortal spirits who have lived countless lives in the past and will live countless more in endless rounds of reincarnation, we can only conclude that Canseco hasn't the slightest clue what he's talking about."



Scientology kind of likes it that way.

Jgg2012 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

  The is a telling admission from Narconon's response to the Rock Center report:


"To criticize our program because former addicts are working to give back to those who need their help is not only reprehensible, it is bigoted."


  Bigoted?  They are obviously referring to religious bigotry, since almost everyone involved is the same race, US citizen, etc.  In other words, bigoted against Scientology.  So, they are, in fact, admitting that they are part of Scientology, or, at least, based on Scientology's scientifically and medically unproven methods!  It is, in short, faith healing.  In the US, you can forego coventional medicine for faith healing, but it must be a knowing, voluntary choice, i.e. Narconon must say "we are based on faith healing" but they don't.  This is why they should be shut down.

PoisonIvy like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Jgg2012 They play the religious bigotry card more than Clarence Thomas played the "high tech lynching" card.  It's their broken record response, designed to make people feel bad for criticizing them (and it works really, really well - since we in the US take our Freedom of Religion very seriously.)  


It's ironic how they play the religious bigotry card while saying that Scientology the religion has nothing to do with Narconon.  Which is it, boys and girls?




jonhenke like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 8 Like

 @Jgg2012 When it comes to life and death health care treatments, I proudly admit to being biased against drug addicts with no medical qualifications, and in favor of qualified, competent medical professionals.But if Scientology wants to talk about bigotry, let's discuss why they won't provide qualified doctors and psychiatrists to people whose lives are in their hands.

juno.jones like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @jonhenke  @Jgg2012  Yeah, noticed that too. Bringing the religion thing in is almost apples-and-oranges.



PoisonIvy like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @jonhenke  @Jgg2012 But being against "the evil psychs" ISN'T bigotry.  Becaue the psychs are the cause of all crime in the world, ever since they invented the holocaust.  Didn't you read your Hubbardian world history?

Anonanonsong like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

 @Jgg2012 "To criticize our program because former addicts are working to give back to those who need their help is not only reprehensible, it is bigoted."


No, it is not bigoted. To genuinely and selflessly volunteer to give to others what helps is admirable. To give green volunteers a status for which they have neither the training nor estblished authority to assume is nothing short of reckless

Jgg2012 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

  In fact, to follow Scientology's argument, anyone engaged in fraudulent activity can say "bit it's my religion" and continue hurting people.

PoisonIvy like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Jgg2012 Unfortunately in the USA, that pretzel logic often works.  The price we pay for freedom of religion.

Sherbet like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Jgg2012 I'm surprised cos is holding firm on narconon.  I'd think that, by now, with the bad publicity, they'd have cut their losses, closed the doors, and issued some phony baloney cover story, maybe that an internal investigation showed continuing, previously undetected drug usage rampant among the "students," and narconon needs to reassess its security programs.  But all will be well when narconon gets back in control, because, after all, their methods WORK, and the most important thing is to provide an effective service to end addiction, blah, blah, blah.

California like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @Sherbet Too much from the revenue stream for them to shut it down voluntarily, so far, but that decision may be taken out of their hands by Oklahoma, first, and then other states.

PreferToBeAnon like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @California  @Sherbet There are 15 lawsuits against NN Arrowhead alone; that has to be eating into the margins a bit... not to mention the closing of Canada and the new overhead of opening in Tijuana.

Jgg2012 like.author.displayName 1 Like

  I would like to see the Church of Scientology apply for FDA approval for its drug therapies.  Yes, some people say it helped them, but how many?  How does that compare to a placebo group?  How many were worse off?   How do those numbers compare to "mind-altering drugs"?

PoisonIvy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @Jgg2012 Don't ask for studies.  L Ron Hubbard never bothered with them....and he was Source.

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault