Sparked by Leaked Mormon Memo, Investigation Continues Probe of Alleged Satanic Activity in Mormon Church
A task force on ritualistic abuse in Utah recently urged the extension of their ongoing occult crimes investigation that was sparked in part by a Mormon official's controversial internal memorandum that leaked to the press last fall (Salt Lake Tribune 21 May 1992 p. C3).
In October of last year former Mormons, Jerald and Sandra Tanner of Utah Lighthouse Ministry, published a confidential and sensitive memo written by Mormon official, Glenn L. Pace, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, directed to the Strengthening Church Members Committee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
The memo along with follow-up television news reports and stories in the Salt Lake Tribune and Mormon-owned Deseret News revealed that the LDS Church was embroiled in an ongoing internal study into satanic child abuse and ritualistic molestation involving 60 Mormon victims in at least five states.
The leaked memo alleged that practitioners of occult crime had infiltrated the Mormon church -- including local leadership levels -- performing bizarre occult rituals.
The alleged rituals included human sacrifice, sexual rites, psychological abuse and child molestation. Ceremonies were reported to often occur in Church owned meeting houses and, in at least one case, inside a Mormon temple.
Rituals included baptism in blood, animal sacrifice, placing children in near-death situations, and brainwashing with drugs and hypnosis.
The memorandum suggested that a ring of Satanist is operating within the Mormon Church involving hundreds of coven members, many of whom hold respectable positions in their local Mormon wards.
In a subsequent investigation law enforcement officials and prosecutors, "have found no evidence of ritualistic child abuse in Utah" but the government appointed Task Force on Ritualistic Abuse believe the evidence will surface and urge that their probe continue (Tribune 21 May 1992).
Their investigation was recently reassigned to the attorney general's office after the task force was asked to disband. The team plans to continue to meet quarterly in an unofficial capacity and urged officials to continue their investigation and train mental health professionals in Utah to detect and treat ritualistic abuse (Ibid).
The task force is convinced that evidence will surface and that satanic ritual abuse in Utah is not nonexistent or isolated.
In the leaked memo, Pace warned: "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 14, we are talking about the involvement of 800 or so right here on the Wasatch Front." (Salt Lake City Messenger Nov. 1991 p. 5).
"We have allegations to indicate that this is true of people in high places today in both the Church and the government who are leading this dual life" (Ibid, p.8).
The Tanners, former Mormons who operate a Christian ministry to Mormons, were skeptical of the memo's authenticity when they first received it in early July.
They explained: "The contents of the document are so startling that we wondered if it might be a forgery created by someone who wanted to embarrass the church." (Ibid. p.1).
But in a telephone conversation, Pace's secretary later confirmed the existence of the memo. She was surprised to learn of unauthorized copies, stating they must be destroyed.
The memo mentioned other documents, an LDS Social Services report on Satanism dated May 24, 1989, a report from Brent Ward, former U.S. attorney for Utah, and an earlier memorandum from Pace dated October 20, 1989.
Ward, also a Mormon, would neither deny or confirm the existence of the report when questioned by the Salt Lake Tribune, but added that, "<193>he has interviewed survivors alleging they were ritualistically abused, but he has found no evidence to substantiate those claims" (25 October 1991 p. 1-A).
Lt. Randy Johnson of the West Jordan, Utah police department told the Tribune, "The question is not whether ritualistic child abuse is occurring, it's how many people are involved. We need to place a certain degree of credibility to the people who are talking about these crimes." (ibid.).
In an telephone interview with Watchman Fellowship last year, LDS Church spokesman, Joe Walker read a prepared statement which said in part: "Satanic worship and ritualistic abuse are problems that have been around for centuries and are international in scope. While they are numerically not a problem of major proportions among LDS, for those that may be involved they are serious. The First Presidency of the Church recently sent a letter to local leaders reaffirming their concern about such distasteful practices."
LDS church spokesman Don LeFevre down-played the significance of the memo telling Christianity Today, "that while some Satanist may have infiltrated the church, Pace's estimates are probably overblown" (16 December 1992, p.58).
The memo suggested that those guilty of Satanism and ritualistic abuse include parents, Mormon leaders, temple workers and members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir according to the victims testimonies cited in the memo.
All sixty victims interviewed by Pace were suffering from psychological problems and the majority "<193>have been diagnosed as having multiple personality disorder [MPD] or some form of dissociative disorder."(Messenger p.3).
"The victims lead relatively normal lives, but the memories are locked up in a compartment in their minds and surface in various ways. [until] something triggers the memories of their early childhood an 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. When it [the memory] 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. Another layer is realizing that they participated in the sacrifices. On of the most painful memories may be that they even sacrificed their own baby"(Ibid.).
Pace was particularly disturbed by the event that triggered a number of the flash backs.
On page 4 of the memo, Pace reluctantly reported: "I am 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" (Ibid. p.4).
This has led to the speculation that the Satanist imitate the Mormon temple rituals in their rites to strike confusion and fear in the hearts of the victims.
Pace added, "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" (Ibid.).
The Tanners have suggested that this link may have helped sparked the removal of these blood oaths from the temple ceremony in April of 1990 (Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mormonism, pp.37-45).
Even before the Pace memo surfaced, some Utah mental health professionals were expressing alarm over widespread occult crime.
As early as 1986, Al Carlisle, a Utah State Prison psychologist warned of satanic activity quoting a satanic priest who estimated over 50,000 human sacrifices annually in the U.S.
Carlisle told the Salt Lake Tribune, "I'd cut that number way down, But you look at all the missing kids we have. Not all have run away. Some are killed by sex offenders, but that still leaves a sizable number." (3, August 1986, p. B-15).
He cited the case of a California woman who, like the Pace memo cases, suffered from MPD and had no memory of her abuse until undergoing psychological treatment.
"The experience was so awful it took, an entire year for full recollection to return and that came only in the form of several temporary personalities exposed via hypnosis. They both learned she'd been kidnapped by a satanic cult against her will and forced to `marry' a man who supposedly was the spirit of Satan." The ritual included the sacrifice of a young girl."
"Utah isn't immune to Satanism," the article added, explaining that much of Carlisle's material and research is gained from prisoners at Utah State Prison.(Ibid).
Since publishing the leaked memo, Jerald and Sandra Tanner have completed an in-depth 100 page book on the subject, Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mormonism, which was completed earlier this year.
The book, which contains photocopies of the complete Pace memo, updates the ongoing investigation and contains a convincing report that helps explain why Mormonism is uniquely susceptible to this type of occultic infiltration.
The book goes beyond the current controversy sparked by the memo and reviews a number of relevant issues including aspects of the occult in early Mormonism, Brigham Young's "blood atonement" doctrine, and the significance of recent changes in the LDS temple ceremony.