As part of our ongoing series on claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within the Mormon Church, today we interview Dr. Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist and the author of some 70 books on religious pluralism and new religious movements.

Dr. Introvigne is author of the article: A Rumor of Devils: Allegations of Satanic Child Abuse and Mormonism, 1985-1994, a paper read at the Mormon History Association in Park City, Utah on May 21, 1994. In today’s episode we review the highlights of this article.

Dr. Introvigne was until 2016 professor of Sociology of Religions at Pontifical Salesian University in Torino, Italy. He has written articles inter alia for Dialogue and BYU Studies. In 2011, he served as the Representative for combating racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance of the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in which the USA and Canada are also participating states.

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  1. Bliss Doubt May 31, 2020 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Now you know what it was like for people, mostly women, during the witch hunts and inquisitions, when torture was used to extract confessions of devil worship, baby sacrifices, sex with the Satan, etc. That nightmare fear of “the adversary” remains in the collective religious thought today, an enduring artifact. Ironically, the existence and the danger of that “adversary” continues to be reinforced, always with the potential to incite a new version of the old nightmare. A picture is never painted the same way twice, but the potential is still there.

  2. PHRED June 1, 2020 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Durning my experience with one Mormon therapist and his struggling clients in the late 80’s, the following BOM themes where often used to justify Satanic Ritualistic Abuse in Recovered Memories:
    1) Gadianton robbers and how they infiltrated the ruling class.
    2) Secret oaths.
    3) Deceiving the very elect.
    4) Denial of Satan as a literal “personage”.
    5) The Holy Ghost will reveal the truth of all things, even “memories”.
    6) God will not give you more hardship which you can’t endure, so trust the “memories”.

  3. Sandra Tanner June 2, 2020 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    I believe he is confusing Godmakers 1 with Godmakers 2. I don’t believe Schnoebelen was involved in the first video. He was involved in the second.

  4. Strangerbird. July 10, 2020 at 5:19 am - Reply

    Does the top-down authoritarian approach of the Mormon church, and the way it attempts to control the narrative of its own history and practices in the minds of its members, go some way to create a climate in which exaggerated complaints, such as have been discussed here, are made? If, for example, someone publishes an article drawing attention to the variations in the Joseph Smith story over time, or to his multiple wives, they can attract the attention of the Strengthening Church Members Committee, be referred to their local leaders, and subject to Church discipline. No one in the hierarchy seems interested in listening to them. And the authors’ own spiritual credentials are questioned. Does this simply produce in the more active and inquiring minds of the membership a frustration, which in extreme cases leads to false allegations of very serious wrongdoing? In the instance of the sixty complainants of RSA, the Church was at least forced to sit up and listen. Which, had the complaints been about the abuse of children in “worthiness interviews”, they would not have done.

  5. Richard Thompson October 16, 2020 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you John and all the others, (Tanners, Introvigne) for shining a light on this.

    As a child, I spent many hours over several years “uncovering” memories and recovering “parts” of my personality that had apparently split due to abuse with my “therapists” Cindy Rasmussen and Bob Robinson. I even once met my Mom’s therapist and gateway to this weird world, the infamous Barbara Snow.

    It was due to the work of the Tanners and others that helped me escape this way suffocating way of thinking, and terrifying way of living and growing up. I will be forever grateful. You have changed my life, and my children’s lives in ways they will never even know.

    • John Dehlin October 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      Richard – Beautiful story. Who has changed your life?

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