On 19 July 1990, Elder Glenn L Pace, then a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, sent a memo to the "Strengthening Church Members Committee" on the subject of "Ritualistic Child Abuse."1
Pursuant to the Committee's request, I am writing this memorandum to pass along what I have learned about ritualistic child abuse. Hopefully, it will be of some value to you as you continue to monitor the problem.
You have already received the LDS Social Services report on Satanism dated May 24, 1989, a report from Brent Ward, [Utah State Attorney General] and a memorandum from myself dated October 20,1989 in response to Brother Ward?s report.
Therefore, I will limit this writing to information not contained in those papers.
I have met with sixty victims. That number could be twice or three times as many if I did not discipline myself to only one meeting per week. I have not wanted my involvement with this issue to become a handicap in fulfilling my assigned responsibilities. On the other hand, I felt someone needed to pay the price to obtain an intellectual and spiritual conviction as to the seriousness of this problem within the Church.
Of the sixty victims with whom I have met, fifty-three are female and seven are male. Eight are children. The abuse occurred in the following places: Utah (37), Idaho (3), California (4), Mexico (2), and other places (14). Fifty-three victims are currently living in the State of Utah. All sixty individuals are members of the Church. Forty-five victims allege witnessing and/or participating in human sacrifice. The majority were abused by relatives, often their parents. All have developed psychological problems and most have been diagnosed as having multiple personality disorder or some other form of dissociative disorder.
Ritualistic child abuse is the most hideous of all child abuse. The basic objective is premeditated to systematically and methodically torture and terrorize children until they are forced to dissociate. The torture is not a consequence of the loss of temper, but the execution of well-planned, well-thought out rituals often performed by close relatives. The only escape for the children is to dissociate. They will develop a new personality to enable them to endure various forms of abuse. When the episode is over, the core personality is again in control and the individual is not conscious of what happened. Dissociation also serves the purposes of the occult because the children have no day-to-day memory of the atrocities. They go through adolescence and early adulthood with no active memory of what is taking place. Oftentimes they continue in rituals through their teens and early twenties, unaware of their involvement. Many individuals with whom I have spoken have served missions and it has not been until later that they begin to remember. One individual has memories of participating in rituals while serving as a full-time missionary.
The victims lead relatively normal lives, but the memories are locked up in a compartment in their minds and surface in various ways. They don't know how to cope with the emotions because they can't find the source. As they become adults and move into another environment, something triggers the memories and, consequently, flashbacks and/or nightmares occur. One day they will have been living a normal life and the next they will be in a mental hospital in a fetal position. The memories of their early childhood are recalled in so much detail that they once again feel the pain that caused the dissociation in the first place.
There are two reasons why adults can remember with such detail events that happened in their past: First, the terror they experienced was so stark that it was indelibly placed in their mind. Second, the memory was compartmentalized in a certain portion of the mind and was not subjected to the dilution of experiences of ensuing years. When it is tapped, it is as fresh as if it happened yesterday.
The memories seem to come in layers. For example, the first memory might be of incest, then they remember robes and candles; next they realize that their father or mother or both were present when they were being abused. Another layer will be the memory of seeing other people hurt and even killed. Then they remember having seen babies killed. Another layer is realizing that they participated in the sacrifices. One of the most painful memories may be that they even sacrificed their own baby. With each layer of memory comes another set of problems with which they must deal.
Some have said that the witnesses to this type of treatment cannot be trusted because of the victim's unstable condition and because practically all of them have some kind of dissociative disorder; in fact, the stories are so bizarre as to raise serious credibility questions. The irony is that one of the objectives of the occult is to create multiple personalities within the children in order to keep the "secrets." They live in society without society having any idea that something is wrong since the children and teenagers don't even realize there is another life occurring in darkness and in secret. However, when sixty witnesses testify to the same type of torture and murder, it becomes impossible for me, personally, not to believe them.
I mention multiple personalities because the spiritual healing which must take place in the lives of these victims cannot happen without their priesthood leaders understanding something about it
The spiritual indoctrination which takes place during the physical abuse is one of the most difficult to overcome. In addition to experiencing stark terror and pain, the children are also instructed in satanic doctrine. Everything is completely reversed: white is black, black is white, good is bad, bad is good, Satan is going to rule during the Millennium.
Children are put in a situation where they believe they are going to die-such as being buried alive or being placed in a plastic bag and immersed in water. Prior to doing so, the abuser tells the child to pray to Jesus to see if He will save her. Imagine a seven year old girl, having been told she is going to die, praying to Jesus to save her and nothing happens, then at the last moment she is rescued, but the person saving her is a representative of Satan. He uses this experience to convince her that the only person who really cares about her is Satan, she is Satan's child and she might as well become loyal to him.
Just before or shortly after their baptism into the Church, children are baptized by blood into the satanic order which is meant to cancel out their baptism into the Church. They will be asked if they understand or have ever felt the Holy Ghost. When they reply that they have, they will be reminded of the horrible things they have participated in and will be told that they have become a son (or daughter) of perdition and, therefore, have no chance of being saved or loved by our Father in heaven or Jesus.
All of this indoctrination takes place with whichever personality has emerged to endure the physical, mental, and spiritual pain. Consequently, there develops within each of these individuals the makings of what I call a civil war. As the memories begin to surface, there are personalities who feel they have given themselves to Satan, and there is no hope for forgiveness. The core person is an active member of the Church, often with a temple recommend. As integration takes place, the civil war begins. Sometimes, in an interview, personalities of the dark side have come out. They are petrified or perhaps full of hate for me and what I represent. Eventually those personalities need to be dealt with spiritually and psychologically.
Most victims are suicidal. They have been brainwashed with drugs, hypnosis, and other means to become suicidal as soon as they start to tell the secrets. They have been threatened all of their lives that if they don't do what they are told their brother or sister will die, their parents will die, their house will be burned, or they themselves will be killed. They have every reason to believe it since they have seen people killed. They believe they might as well kill themselves instead of wait for the occult to do it. Some personalities feel it is the right thing to do.
The purpose of this detail is to stress the complexity of psychological and spiritual therapy for these individuals. Our priesthood leaders, when faced with such cases, are understandably at a loss of how to respond. Orthodox counsel is completely ineffective. For example, some victims have been told that this all happened in their past and that they should put it behind them and get on with their lives. This is just not possible. Part of the spiritual therapy necessary is for priesthood leaders to assist with the conversion process of the personalities who have been indoctrinated into Satanism. Victims must integrate their personalities so that they can function as whole persons and be able to deal with their problems and then get on with their lives. Often, some of the parts will begin to act out, perhaps promiscuously, and a good intentioned priesthood leader, following the General Handbook of Instructions, will disfellowship or excommunicate an individual. All this does is reinforce the satanic indoctrination of the victims that they are no good.
I'm sorry to say that many of the victims have had their first flashbacks while attending the temple for the first time. The occult along the Wasatch Front uses the doctrine of the Church to their advantage. For example, the verbiage and gestures are used in a ritualistic ceremony in a very debased and often bloody manner. When the victim goes to the temple and hears the exact words, horrible memories are triggered. We have recently been disturbed with members of the Church who have talked about the temple ceremony. Compared to what is happening in the occult along the Wasatch Front, these are very minor infractions. The perpetrators are also living a dual life. Many are temple recommend holders. This leads to another reason why the Church needs to consider the seriousness of these problems. In effect, the Church is being used.
I go out of my way to not let the victims give me the names of the perpetrators. I have told them that my responsibility is to help them with spiritual healing and that the names of perpetrators should be given to therapists and law enforcement officers. However, they have told me the positions in the Church of members who are perpetrators. Among others, there are Young Women leaders, Young Men leaders, bishops, a patriarch, a stake president, temple workers, and members of the Tabernacle Choir. These accusations are not coming from individuals who think they recognized someone, but from those who have been abused by people they know, in many cases their own family members.
Whatever the form of abuse our main concern is for the victims, but there are legal ramifications. We are disturbed to receive reports that a scoutmaster has abused the boys in his troop. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen if we learn that a bishop or stake president has participated in the abominations of ritualistic child abuse. Not only do some of the perpetrators represent a cross section of the Mormon culture, but sometimes the abuse has taken place in our own meetinghouses.
I don't pretend to know how prevalent the problem is. All I know is that I have met with 60 victims. Assuming each one comes from a coven of 13, we are talking about the involvement of 800 or so right here on the Wasatch Front. Obviously, I have only seen those coming forth to get help. They are in their twenties and thirties for the most part. I can only assume that it is expanding geometrically and am horrified at the numbers represented by the generation who are now children and teenagers.
Another reason for concern is that there are several doctrinal issues that need to be resolved. The Church and society in general are very skeptical as to whether the occult and its activities do exist. There is no First Presidency statement relative to some of the doctrinal issues: What does a priesthood leader tell individuals who come forward and say that they have participated in these rituals, which may include human sacrifice? Should they have a temple recommend? Will they ever be forgiven? There are questions regarding free agency and accountability. Is a person who has been raised in an occult from infancy accountable for things that take place in a dissociated state, even though those acts were committed after the age of eight? I have formed my own opinions to these questions and have done the best I can. However, I don't have the mantle to make these doctrinal and policy decisions. I have relied on the mantle of a bishop regarding discernment and being a common judge.
The few priesthood leaders who have had to face these issues are crying out for help because they don't want to give their own opinions and yet there is no place to go for an answer. A bishop will go to his stake president who says he doesn't believe it is happening and that the member is just crazy. The stake president might go to an Area Presidency who will react in a similar way. Most people are afraid to surface it to the First Presidency for fear of getting the same reaction and don't want to appear crazy themselves for asking the question.
I hope you will excuse me if I am being presumptuous, but I am concluding this paper with scriptures I feel support my belief that these activities are real and cannot be ignored.
The things I have been writing about go back to Cain and Abel: (More)