In today’s episode I will provide a brief introduction to the history of Satanic Ritual Abuse Claims Within Mormonism. My intention is to follow up a few more episodes from experts and others who are able/willing to give first-hand accounts relating to this topic.

IMPORTANT: A list of essential resources to understand the history of SRA claims in Utah and in North America:

  • A brief history of the Utah/SRA Social Panic entitled: “A Rumor of Devils: Allegations of Satanic Child Abuse and Mormonism, 1985-1994?”
  • The Pace Memorandum, which was a 1990  memorandum written by Glenn L. Pace, a general authority in Mormon church, describing to a church committee the complaints of sixty church members who claimed they had been subjected to satanic ritual abuse (SRA) by family and other church members.
  • Ritual Crime in the State of Utah – a 1995 report commissioned by the Utah State Legislature.
  • Statements from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, etc. on childhood memories of sexual abuse, Repressed/Recovered memory, etc.
  • Repressed memory Accusations: Devastated Families and Devastated Patients” – A research study which outlines the damage caused by Repressed/Recovered Memory Therapy to patients and their families, appearing in Applied Cognitive Psychology.
  • An overview of ethical concerns raised regarding Utah Repressed Memory Therapist Barbara Snow.  To date, Barbara Snow has not publicly renounced Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques, and has not publicly acknowledged the damage caused by her support and usage of these techniques.
  • Must-Listen Podcasts on the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the 80s and 90s:
    • Uncover: Satanic Panic: A super-important and relevant podcast episode by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on an outbreak of SRA claims in a small Canadian town.
    • The Gateway: Teal Swan.  A national podcast by Gizmodo, covering in 6 episodes the rise of Utahn Teal Swan, who was a client of Barbara Snow, and who now employs Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques with her 700,000+ followers.  Teal has also been dubbed “The Suicide Catalyst,” as she openly encourages her retreat clients to envision their own deaths by suicide, and downplays death by suicide as “hitting the reset button” into a future reincarnated life.
  • Must-Read Books on the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the 80s and 90s:
  • If you or anyone you know have had experiences with Utah therapist Barbara Snow, recovered memory techniques, and/or personal stories around claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within Mormonism, please share with me via email.
  • I continue to search for at least ONE credible story of Satanic Ritual Abuse in Utah and/or Mormonism. The criteria I am using to ensure the story is credible is as follows:
    • The abuse must involve evidence, and/or some sort of police investigation.
    • The case can NOT involve any sort of hypnosis or recovered memory techniques on the part of any therapist(s). As an example, Utah therapist Barbara Snow can not have been involved in the case as a therapist to the victim.
    • I would prefer to interview someone who has read Lawrence Wright’s book “Remembering Satan.” In other words, I would prefer to interview an SRA victim who is aware of all the historical, social, and psychological pitfalls surrounding the SRA panic of the 80s and 90s, so that they can tell their story in a way that has maximum credibility for the listeners.
  • I want to make it super clear that I (Dr. John Dehlin) FULLY acknowledge that both the state of Utah and the LDS Church have a HUGE sexual abuse problem – including a long, disturbing history of protecting perpetrators of abuse at the expense of abuse victims.  I stand WITH victims of abuse, and against perpetrators of abuse (be it emotional, physical, or sexual).  A sampling of the many episodes wherein I have covered and condemned abuse can be found here.
  • I believe it to be essential that we simultaneously do everything we can to both prevent abuse and prosecute abusers, AND end harmful therapeutic practices like Recovered Memory.  Recovered memory is dangerous for several reasons, including: a) it has no credible scientific backing, b) it has been condemned by all major mental health associations, c) it has often led to false accusations, which ultimately risks to undermine the mountain of credible abuse claims that exist, and d) recovered memory has been shown to actually harm clients who participate in it.  For an in-depth discussion of this topic, listen to this podcast series on Teal Swan, recovered memory, and claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse (and most important Episode 5). and/or read the books Remembering Satan, The Demon Haunted World, and Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me.



  1. Phred May 14, 2020 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    You have opened a can of worms John. I respect your efforts but this is very difficult subject.

    I lived through this horror personally in the late 80’s early 90’s as a spouse of someone who believed totally in her satanic abuse. I believed her for the first year of her “therapy” and even participated in group therapy, but in the end, her recovered memories were so out there that I started to doubt and our family split up with much pain and heart ache. Not only did she feel violated and victimized, so did I as our relationship completely disintegrated. Her recovered memories were horrific which included church and family members in her childhood. Her therapist was an active member using childhood regression techniques to recover memory. I’ve read many books for many years looking for answers and I see both sides. I too went to my own therapy to help with our separation and later divorce. I don’t see a solution as proof is nearly impossible with recovered memories. It is a very sad and frustrating situation.

  2. Snoore May 15, 2020 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    This is as incredible as alien abduction. However those that experience these things know that there is some element of truth. The evil and conspiring forces in the world are comfortable knowing that their dark acts are so outrageously unbelievable that they are safe and secure in the darkness.

    • Richard May 29, 2020 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      As a person that was deeply involved in it, it seemed so completely rational at the time. All the people I knew that were involved in it are completely rational.

  3. Noone May 15, 2020 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I get the impression that you don’t believe Martha Beck or rather you can’t bring yourself to believe her over the man Hugh Nibley. Had you actually read her book “Leaving the Saints” you would get t her account. I think her account by her own hand is very honest and believable.

    This is the first that I’ve had issue with your view, otherwise I do feel like you are doing a huge HUGE service to faith transition it’s and truth at large. I thank you for that.

    • John Dehlin May 15, 2020 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      NOONE – I would never, ever want to tell a victim that their abuse didn’t happen.

      But I am an opponent of “Recovered Memory” and the work of folks like Barbara Snow.

      Please read the book “Remembering Satan” to understand my position.

      But I would never want to stretch this view to ever tell a victim that their abuse didn’t happen, because there’s no way I could know for sure, and because that’s just mean/cruel.

  4. Anon May 15, 2020 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Actually I visited with Counselor Snow as a patient. A friend of mine referred her. I was sexually abused at 4yrs and 11 yrs. Did not happen at church. Bottom line visits lasted maybe 6 months. Interesting she brought in a psychologist who was a professor to work with me one time. All memories that came up were not anything I recognized. I did not learn any tools to help me with my PTSD. Years later I ended up seeing the PhD psychologist Snow had brought into one of our sessions.(I had to keep my eyes shut while he was in session with me and Snow
    I did not remember him,but I told him about that ecperience. He apologized to me. He said they did not know how to handle ritual abuse then. He and I went on to have great sessions,learned about my condition,lots of academic papers,lots of homework,probably saw him for 4 years. He aged out of counseling. I was seeing a new counselor and told her my husband and I were building a home up in CaveHollow she said you should read Paper Dolls by Snow about the ritual abuse in the neighborhood. I read the book. Talked to the Bishop and he said we dont talk about that. It’s to harmful. Please do not use my name.

  5. Roger May 18, 2020 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Another product of the Santanic scare is this era was the book, “Jay’s Journal”, a vivid narrative in the form of a “real” journal from a teenage boy from Pleasant Grove, Utah, who got lured into Satanism leading up to his final final journal entry in which he reveals his intent to commit suicide. As it turns out, it was based on the life of a real teenage boy who got involved in drugs, nearly every other aspect of the story was completely fabricated.

  6. Roger May 18, 2020 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Another product of the Santanic scare is this era was the book, “Jay’s Journal”, a vivid narrative in the form of a “real” journal from a teenage boy from Pleasant Grove, Utah, who got lured into Satanism leading up to his final journal entry in which he reveals his intent to commit suicide. As it turns out that although it was based on the life of a real teenage boy who got involved in drugs, nearly every other aspect of the story was completely fabricated by the fame-seeking author.

  7. John Dehlin May 19, 2020 at 3:33 pm - Reply


  8. A legal professional. March 13, 2022 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    There is a book called “Hell Minus One” about a woman who was badly abused, the case was prosecuted, the parents settled. It was a Utah SRA case. I used to work at the legislature, and have personally sat in on multiple prosecuted cases at the Utah supreme court. The trouble with these cases is that the perpetrators are very skilled at what they do. The by the book method detailing the abuse is called “abramelin the mage.” If you read it, you will note that it mentions “the child will be able to remember nothing, which is a remarkable thing.” It is disguised in piety but is a rape manual. This book came up in numerous trials.

  9. Kate Sweet August 5, 2023 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    My husband is a victim of Satanic abuse in the Mormon Church. His family was also involved with the CIA. They created multiple personalities within him and used him to murder people and create pornography. He did not remember his memories through therapy, he remembered them on his own starting when he was 39 years old. After he remembered we were endlessly harassed for two years with odd phone calls and black helicopters flying over our house (which was in the middle of nowhere far from any military bases) as well as military airplanes. How do you explain that?? I think you are being rather close minded to totally dismiss this subject as something that could not be true.

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