Sunday, November 13, 2005

Community-based Ritual Abuse and the Hosanna Church Cult

According to the skeptics and the False Memory Foundation, there is little evidence of organized ritual abuse.

They're wrong.

One excellent source of empirical evidence is Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America (Revised Edition) by James Randall Noblitt and Pamela Sue Perskin. The book has a chapter on the large body of evidence that has accumulated in the past decades. I highly recommend the book -- Noblitt and Perskin are not wild-eyed evangelists or overzealous anti-cult cops, but sober, reality-based writers (Noblitt is a secular psychologist).

Of particular interest to me, in light of my research into the Hosanna Church cult, was some research on what has been termed "community-based ritual abuse."

A study by Snow and Sorenson*, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, presents evidence from interviews of 39 Utah children who were allegedly victims of five separate, neighborhood-based cults. The common characterstics were:

• Intrafamilial incest
• Forced sex
• Threats of violence
• Mulitiple locations of abuse
• Pornography
• Ingestion or other use of excrement
• Espousal of Satanic beliefs
• Use of occult paraphernelia
• Animal mutilation/killing
• Use of drugs

But what really caught my attention was this sentence:

"The abusers were generally viewed as respected members of the community and many were religious leaders."

Ring any bells?

The Hosanna Church cult is just another example of abusers working within a narrow template of ritualistic, violent, sexual behaviors. Why are the techniques listed above so common, even among disparate communities -- even countries?

Perhaps it's because those techniques work. And because they have been part of human knowledge -- particularly the knowledge of priests and shamans -- for aeons.

I'll be dealing with some ideas about the roots of ritual abuse, dissociation, and trauma-based conditioning in a future post. But in the meantime, when someone suggests that ritualistic abuse is an urban legend, point them to Noblitt and Perskin's book. The evidence is there, and it is impossible to refute.

For more about the Hosanna Church cult (and the subsequent coverup), see parts 1, 2, 3, 4.


Snow, B. & Sorenson, T. (1990) Ritualistic child abuse in a neighborhood setting. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5, 474-487. (as cited in Noblitt and Perskin)


Blogger Old Gary said...

I wonder if this story will turn out like the McMartin trial in California.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Professor Pan said...

That's always a possibility.

In this case, however, if you go back and look at the statements by the police department, you'll find that the main perpetrator confessed. The confession is what started the inquiry.

There is also apparently a considerable bit of physical evidence, including videos and a journal of one of the alleged perpetrators.

As with most cases of RA, though, there are nagging details -- the possibility (not yet confirmed) that the man in charge of the investigation is also a Christian pastor and author of a book called "Living Under the Shadow." It's possible that the entire sheriff's department is composed of crusading evangelicals, and that the alleged cultists are all victims of an elaborate hoax.

On the other hand, I have been contacted by several residents of the area, and sources within the investigation. They have been very persuasive in convincing me that this case is not just a hoax, and that the Hosanna Church is the tip of a larger iceberg.

We'll see what develops.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No developments yet?

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was deemed not only a local event but an international occult event - per an investigator's conversation with one of the arrested.

2:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home