A New Leaf
My name is Lucas (Luke) Catton. I was a Scientologist for 12 years. I am a graduate of Narconon Chilocco and worked with Narconon for five years, including being the president of Narconon Arrowhead for a couple of years. After that I was one of the top field staff members referring people into Narconon centers for another five years, where I also did volunteer projects, helped with PR activities, wrote articles and press releases and assisted other referral groups. I escorted my wife out to LA for some auditing and training in the summer of 2006, and on July 4th I met with Rena Weinberg, president of ABLE International, in her office. She told me she wanted me to go back on staff at Narconon and be the president of Arrowhead again, but I declined.
There are so many angles I can take with my story, and not sure where to go to keep it of somewhat easily-readable length, so this will be a pretty condensed version of what happened. It still will be a lot to read, I'm sure.
I moved from Oklahoma back to Georgia in December of 2006. My daughter was born in April of 2007. In July of 2007 the Basics campaign was unleashed and hell started to unleash with endless calls for buying more and donating more. In February of 2008 the Flag World Tour came to the local church of Scientology in Atlanta. My wife was regged (sold/recruited) to go for a Flag-only service. Upon her arrival in Clearwater, things went immediately bad as I went from not having enough money (but very little debt), to getting a new credit card (with the "help" of a Flag staff member, no less), that many more thousands of dollars were racked up on immediately. You are put on the spot, in the middle of several Sea Org members saying things such as "This is the greatest good" and "You want your wife to have wins and gains, don't you?". That was my first real Flag experience, and it only got worse from there.
After her three-week stay in Clearwater she came home and said she wanted to move there, and "wasn't going to make it" if we didn't. However, we just bought a new house that we hadn't even lived in for a year and a half yet, had a young child not even a year old, and I was starting to get really annoyed with the church. Reluctantly, I agreed, to try and help my wife and save my marriage.
Just before we moved to Clearwater, the first Anonymous protest happened. It was actually sort of scary to see so many people protesting the church in person, especially with all the masks and the "briefing" given to us by church staff members about how Anonymous was a "cyber terrorist" group (I later found out much different and that your average Scientologist and average Anonymous member have many things in common).
We lived in Clearwater for two and a half years. It was hell, quite honestly, and insanity. Things didn't make sense. Constant badgering for money for all kinds of projects, campaigns, services and materials, people routinely showing up at my house unannounced asking for tens of thousands of dollars, people having to re-do services with no real explanation other than "it was wrong before and we have to fix it now". I watched as the insanity was somehow continually justified by the majority of people. Despite making more money that ever, I kept sinking further into debt, giving over 150,000 to the church for various things just during the time in Clearwater - let alone everything before that.
One day we we saw the copy of Freedom Magazine from the church that followed up the St. Pete Times' Truth Rundown series. Freedom openly admitted to the violence and mistreatment of staff, yet tried to blame it on those that were now speaking out against them. Slowly I began to read some articles and watch some clips and discover more and more. I started learning more about disconnection, the forced abortions, other violence, and people missing. I finally read that Truth Rundown series as well - The Freedom Magazine piqued my interest. I also found out all the lies about the Super Power Building, the Ideal Orgs around the country, and much, much more.
My questions about it all to various Sea Org members got differing answers, with nobody ever really willing to tell me what they really knew or not knowing themselves. I decided I'd call my friend Rena, whom I hadn't spokent to since Sept. of 2006. The problem was, nobody could tell me where she was. I asked people at Narconon, people at ABLE, even called her husband and the Vice President of the Church, yet either they didn't know or they wouldn't tell me. So I kept digging and reading more and more.
During the summer of 2010 my wife stated she wanted to go back and work at Arrowhead in Oklahoma. I jumped at the chance to get the hell out of Clearwater and flew out and bought a house. We moved in August. By that fall I was becoming more disgusted with the whole operation and wound up on Marty Rathbun's blog while searching for Rena online, as a commenter had also asked about her. I posted some anonymous comments for a while and emailed a few people asking questions, and I learned about "The Hole" and that she had been held captive in there. I also wound up learning much more about the corruption of the church leaders and its history, both from his blog and other sites.
I tried to address some of it with my wife, but she flat out refused to look at any "entheta" or "black PR", and was soon reporting me to people at Flag. In January of 2011 she begged me to go to Flag to get the situation handled. I reluctantly agreed finally, but made her promise that if I get "declared" (labeled as a Suppressive Person), that she would never try and prevent me from seeing my daughter. She agreed.
Just before this time I had also decided I did not want to be a referral source for Narconon anymore and started to sell my websites. I was convinced to sell them to someone "in the network", rather than getting a higher price for going outside (rehab referrals and lead generation is practiced outside of Narconon, too). I caved in, trying to do the "right" thing, and accepted less money and over a longer period of time. I was later cheated out of a lot of the money that was owed, through a loophole in the contract I overlooked out of trust for those purchasing the sites.
It actually took a couple of trips before I got high up enough in the command chain to get somewhere. I was lured into having a meeting with someone at my hotel, because I was not allowed in Flag since I was "disaffected". Kathy True from OSA (Office of Special Affairs) proceeded to do an "interview" on the e-meter that lasted roughly six hours. It was an interrogation, and she promised she would answer my questions when it was over, but it was a lie. After I trusted her and told her everything, she said she couldn't tell me because I was not in a position to receive that information, and that I should meet her the next night. I was so pissed about having been lied to. The line being given to current church members with questions is to "keep it on the right lines and handle it internally," but I tried that and it was nothing but a lie.
The next night I met with Kathy and Marion Pouw at the Clearwater Bank Building. I was put on the spot - cooperate with them and I would only get a secret verbal declare, or be cast out with a written declare. I reluctantly decided to go along with them. They then tried to show me how bad Anonymous was, how bad ex-members were, and that I shouldn't be fooled by them. I asked where Rena was and Marion said she was out at the Gold Base in California, but said there was no such thing as "The Hole" and that all of the abuse had stopped when the other former members left. Kathy even tried to justify the numbers of Sea Org women having abortions. I also asked why the church spokesperson at that time (Tommy Davis) lied on national TV and said there was no such thing as disconnection. She told me he said "no such thing as it is characterized", but of course there really was. I was disgusted, but frightened into following along or being shut off from most of my life.
I drove back to Oklahoma and started working on my amends project, but was still refusing to do the retraining and wasn't willing to have my communication limited by them. I re-read some LRH references pertaining to the matter and requested an official Committee of Evidence, because I had plenty of evidence to back up not having that imposed on me.
In March I went back to Flag for my hearing, and it was completely a stacked deck. Only hand-picked upper-level MAAs (ethics officers) and OSA personnel were on the committee. It was the same thing, no matter what I said or evidence I had, either I complied and quit asking questions, or I was going to be declared. I said my peace and left, expecting to hear something within a week, but there was no word.
A few weeks later I was outside washing my car back at home. My wife came out and said she looked on my computer and saw that I had been to some "entheta" and "black PR" sites again, that she was filing for divorce, and that we were done and she wanted me out immediately. I had poured over 8 years into it by then, trying to do everything for her, moving wherever she wanted, paying ungodly amounts of money for her to get auditing, providing a very nice living, cars, homes, activities, meals, etc. but none of it was working and it probably was going to end anyway since we had briefly separated before and years of troubled times. So at that point, there was no argument from me, as it was very clear that she was never going to listen to me or be on my side as a partner in life. I moved out that night for good. She reported me again to Flag. She routinely said things to me like, "You're fucking suppressive, I hope you die." Most of that disdain was coming from people at the church who became a third party to our marriage.
At the end of June 2011 I was shown a copy of my official SP Declare. Not only was it heavily slanted, but it also contained outright lies. I pointed out these lies to the Flag Justice Chief, but she said it was a moot point, and I just needed to do my program to get back into good standing with the church, and that if I was willing then she would help me. I told her I wasn't and that this was insane, and left. That next week nearly all of my Scientology and Narconon-related friends disconnected from me. Roughly 90 percent of the people in my life were gone - totally unwilling to find out the truth for themselves and all based on lies from the church. I was banned from communicating with any Narconon staff, and the "Facebook Police" started its whispering campaign to have church members unfriend me. I dropped a couple hundred friends in a matter of a few days.
I have thoroughly warned representatives at the church and my ex-wife to not interfere with my relationship with my daughter. This also serves as a notice that it has gone too far, as although I do see her routinely, the communication with her has been obstructed and she is continually in the presence of people who discriminate against her father for absolutely no good or logical reason. We currently have an agreement in place to not discuss each other's religious beliefs with our daughter, nor speak bad about one another in front of her. I know I uphold my end with her, though I do not know if the same is true in Clearwater, and she is still too young to fully understand all that has happened.
I thought all of the media coverage from Debbie Cook testifying in court about The Hole, to Alexander Jentzsch's passing, to the Tom & Katie split and now to the deaths at Arrowhead and other Narconon lawsuits, that people would wake up and start to contact me to find out what I really know, but so far they still have their blinders on and are buying the internal propaganda.
I've posted some subtle and not-so-subtle things about my current position, but this is my first attempt to explain what happened. Despite not considering myself a Scientologist anymore, I believe people should be able to pursue their chosen belief system. I do not support the suppression of thought, speech and action as well as the lies, coercion and financial destruction being caused by the official church of Scientology, just as I would not support that being done by any other institution.
As for drug rehabilitation - Narconon needs to be held accountable. I am no longer a supporter, though I do believe it has a right to exist along with all of the other available methods out there. However, it needs to be fully transparent and call it what it really is, rather than pretending to be something it is not. It needs to be compliant with treatment center regulations or not call itself a treatment center, but cop to really being a watered-down version of introductory Scientology methods applied to substance abusers. I feel all methods of treatment for addiction can be valid if they work for someone, yet it has taken a long time to arrive at this point, because I was so indoctrinated before that anything else was bad. I've done a lot more research since then and had quite a bit of time to process it all. I believe the most important part is for people to be fully informed about the decisions they make and that they find what is going to work for them, based on actual truths rather than misleading statements or false representations. I cannot discount AA or NA, moderation management, holistic methods, other forms of harm reduction, religious programs, or anything else out there. In fact, one of my functions now is to assist all forms of treatment philosophies in a consulting basis to help make their practices more available to people who need help and otherwise wouldn't know about them. Hell, if I could make a Scientology-based drug rehab in the middle of nowhere look good in the public eye before, I can help any treatment center be more successful (or any other business, for that matter)! I will also re-write my book and make a follow-up to my documentary film, with updated and expanded viewpoints and information.
To all my former friends - I wish you well and hope that things reform soon, for your sake, and for the well-being of others. Did you honestly believe that one day I was one of the most respected members of the Narconon network internally, and the next I'm some evil Suppressive Person? I wish you no harm and never have. If, one day, you decide you can be my friend again, I will be here. All it takes is for you to think and decide for yourself rather than letting someone else make those controlling decisions for you with threats and punishment. I met so many wonderful people in Narconon and Scientology - good, caring, talented people who would take a stand if they knew the truth as well, but they have to break through that first barrier of being willing to look instead of just listening to and accepting what they're told.
It has been extremely hard at times restarting life, while at other times very exhilarating to actually be free. I now have an opportunity to pursue other goals in life. I'm finally going to finish my tv and film scripts and work in various areas of media and entertainment. I'm still helping people get off drugs who want the help, and I'm still helping to spread positive messages in this world through my other outlets. I still have a lot of debt to pay off from money I've given to the church and put on credit cards, and a lot of income to make up for though, and that has not been easy thus far. My hope is that this writing marks yet another difinitive turning point in my life - moving forward in a positive direction.
I wish my ex-wife much happiness and success in her life, as I do for others. There is no reason to be hateful, especially when we have a beautiful, intelligent and exuberent child together. What does this teach her? I hope that there can be a normal, rational, speaking relationship someday again soon, for the benefit of my daughter. I know that she is a good person underneath it all, and that she is a good mother.
I have been waiting a long time to share part of my story, and have just finally worked up the courage to do so. I am not looking for a fight or to become some sort of enemy, despite urges to "get even". I will be willing to communicate what I know and my own viewpoints though, without the fear of threats and punishment. There is nothing wrong with expressing an opionion or sharing information, and people should be tolerant that others are allowed to have their own paths, thoughts, opinions and personalities. I have learned a lot through this whole ordeal, and am becoming a better person because of it all.
2012 is the year of awakening.
Wishing everyone happiness and success,