Narconon’s Fourth Anniversary Congress in Arizona State Prison
El Saguaro, Florence, Arizona Golden West’s best penal newspaper
April 10 1970
by Howard Porter
The 1st of March had begun in a rather cloudy atmosphere it had been trying to rain for most of the previous evening and the efforts were still being experienced on this Sunday morning. However, mother nature couldn’t and wouldn’t be permitted to interfere with the Annual Conclave of Narconon.
And so it was that approximately 150 ASP’ers along with outside guests numbering some 25 strong met in the IER Dining Hall to pay tribute to the institution’s First Narconon Program.
Other speakers on the program were Captain Fred Hare, Patrick Price (an ex-police Commissioner).
Dr. John Michael Smith, Mr. Peter Gilliam and Mr. Gordon Mustain and finally a few brief comments from one of the Narconon Graduates, Willie Bustamonti who is now residing in Los Angeles and is still with the program.
Other graduates who were present for this Congress were Willie Benitez, Chairman (he left from this Congress to be married that evening and we wish him all the best life has to offer), Jack Sellner, State Administrator, John Milton, Narconon PRO, Jim Cinino, Gordon Weinand and Garfeild Nish.
The impression one obtains is that it would appear that many people have taken the Narconon program seriously and are very intent upon continuing with this program when released from prison. As it was pointed out, very strongly, no program, procedure, idea, theory or science is worth a thing unless you PUT IT TO WORK FOR YOU. All the talk in the world will do not one bit of good. Many ideas, books, papers, discussions and tests have been made which have been based on an initial theory but no one has actually put it to work on a practical basis. You don’t cure anything by starting out with the effects of the problem, you start toward curing only when you begin to deal with the ‘cause’ and then continue working toward the cure.
The formulation of the Narconon Program at ASP was by and through one of our past inmates of this institution and the program, itself, was actually begun in 1966. This was the 4th Annual Congress to be held. The El Saguaro was well represented at this Congress, with the Editor, Gary Tison being present, Ron Burridge, Managing Editor, yours truly; as News Editor and Jim (Senator) Jett, Graphic Arts Editor being present. The task of actual news coverage being handed to me. While we know very little about the ASP Narconon Program, per se, we have some basic knowledge of the problems that these men have initially faced and it is most enlightening to note that they have banded together in an effort to cope with their problems (which may have been on an individual basis at first), and have now become a collective, working body toward goals of restoration. It was most interesting to note the many outsiders - not Narconon individuals as such - who have taken up the responsibilities toward this goal of restoration; the intense interest they have in working with men who have been caught in this web of circumstances and their continued efforts, even when faced with possible failure in some cases, to cope with the basic causes and needs of each individual. We have often stated our belief that when we recognize our own needs and then make honest efforts toward meeting these problems head on, we can eventually succeed.
The final portion of the program was the issuance of some awards to various members of the Narconon group. A.G. Jiminez, who is the institutional inside sponsor for Narconon received a very handsome Narconon plaque, as did others from the outside. It was a very interesting program (and unusual, for me since it was my first Narconon Congress) and I look forward to attending another in the future.
We also enjoyed coffee and cake during the intermission period and conversation with some very interesting people.
And so, another successful Congress has been chalked up for the men at ASP. We truly wish them another successful year of work.