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Analysis of the ritual crime
report by the state of Utah, 1995

3. Occult groups (Cont'd);
Definitions; Symbols

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Pages 12-21: Groups involved in occult practices, and definitions:

King and Jacobson discuss:

bulletWitches and Pagans or Neopagans: The report has many errors in just a few lines:
 
bulletThey identify these groups as worshipping a duo-divinity - a Goddess and God. This is true of many Neopagans, but definitely not of all.
 
bulletThey say that "Contemporary witches and pagans" do not identify their God as Satan; this implies (incorrectly) that past "witches and pagans" did.
 
bulletThey state that Neo Pagans would label as a Satanist anyone who practices black magic; this is not correct. A Satanist is generally defined as a person who regards Satan as either a deity to be worshipped or a symbol of individualism, self-indulgence, lust, and 'eye for an eye' morality.
 
bulletThey quote an interesting phrase: "Least ye harm none, do what you will, love under law, love guiding will." They refer to it as the "Wiccan Creed." It is not. It appears to be a combination of the actual Wiccan Rede (not Creed), confused and combined with a greeting ritual in the Thelema religion.
 
bulletThere are many versions of the Wiccan Rede which differ very slightly. One of the most common is: "A'in it harm none, do what thou wilt." It means, in modern English, to do whatever you wish, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself.
 
bulletThelemites customarily greet each other with the phrase, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" to which the customary response is, "Love is the law, love under will."

bulletSatanism: They divide Satanists into 7 sub-groups, some of which are known to exist; others appear to be nonexistent:
 
bullet1. Self-Proclaimed Satanists: These are generally called religious Satanists by other authors. King and Jacobson mention the First Church of Satan which is a splinter group of The Church of Satan. 1 Followers are described by the pejorative term "self-proclaimed Satanists"; this implies that their beliefs are not valid. The authors state that Satanists "profess to denounce criminal acts by occultists and criminals"; this implies that they may be lying. It also implies that occultists perform criminal acts.
 
bullet2. Theatrical Satanists: These are young people from 9 to 17 who dabble in Satanism. A few pass onto the next stage.
 
bullet3. Experimental Satanists: These are typically 14 to 20 years of age. They are described as more sophisticated practitioners who engage in "a wide range of crimes from vandalism to homicide." Here, the authors are confusing two completely different groups:
 
bulletSatanic youth who dabble in Satanism and often write graffiti on buildings, deface tombstones in cemeteries, etc
 
bulletPsychotic or psychopathic youth who are motivated by their mental disorder to murder people, and who sometimes blame it on Satanism. Here, the crimes are quite serious, and are caused by mental problems, not by belief in Satanism. Many such murderers are found to have little or no knowledge of Satanism.

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bulletClassifications of Satanists (Cont'd):
 
bullet4. Solitary Satanists: These are identified as adults who are serial killers and who have "generally only a limited knowledge of the occult." The authors are correct that these serial murderers are ignorant of Satanism. They are driven to commit such horrible murders by their mental disorders, not through any belief in Satanism. In our opinion, these criminals should not be considered Satanists.
 
bullet5. Pseudo-Satanists: These are described as groups of adult males and/or females. Some are identified as pedophiles who act out their desires by sexually abusing children. Others are child pornographers who create kiddy port for profit. The authors correctly describe these people as being essentially ignorant of Satanism. They just use Satanic rituals as a method of controlling the children. However one study of such abusers has shown that many (perhaps most) who use these techniques are loners; they do not operate in groups as King and Jacobson indicate.
 
bullet6. Generational Satanists: Here, the authors basically resurrect Christian beliefs about Witches and Satanists that originated during the late Middle Ages and led to the burning at the stake of large numbers of innocent people. They didn't exist in centuries past; they do not exist today. Generational Satanists are described as:
 
bulletBeing of all ages; one is born into the group and can never leave it.
 
bulletNationally and internationally organized in a vast secret network.
 
bulletIncluding women, called breeders, who donate their children to the cult group for sacrifice.
 
bulletProfoundly devoted to their leader Satan.
 
bulletVery sophisticated in their methods; they rarely leave evidence.

The authors correctly point out that "some skeptics are unwilling to believe that this group exists." But they attribute that belief to skeptics denying the existence of child ritual abuse and killing. This is not accurate. Skeptics accept that children are sometimes ritually abused and killed but point to:

bulletThe complete lack of hard evidence of the existence of abusive criminal Satanic groups,
bulletThe impossibility that a group could remain undetected for generations in spite of over 15 years of thorough police investigations, and
bulletThe improbability of maintaining a secret organization of this size for generations without a single member leaving and exposing the group.

bullet7. Black Magick Practitioners: These are Satanists who are primarily motivated by a desire to commit violence. The authors claim that most started by practicing "white magic" and became seduced by the power of evil. They "sacrifice and ritually abuse animals and humans of all ages." This is an interesting concept but we are unaware of any evidence of such activity in spite of over a decade of dedicated police investigations.
 
bulletAfro-Christian Syncretized Groups: They describe a number of Caribbean religions which contain embrace both African Aboriginal beliefs and Roman Catholicism: Santeria, Palo Mayombe, Voodoo etc. These groups do sacrifice animals during their religious services, much in the way that the ancient Israelites sacrificed sheep and goats prior to the destruction of their Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. The US Supreme Court has determined this to be a religious practice protected by the US Constitution. This appears to be more anti-religious propaganda which is unworthy of the authors and should never be given official support by being included in a state document.

Definitions of terms:

King and Jacobson define a group of words:

bulletDemons: they describe a variety of beliefs about demons, spirits, evil angels from Greek Pagan religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism. They mention that "thousands of suspected sorcerers...were burned at the stake" during the Renaissance. Actually, there were tens of thousands of innocent victims, mostly condemned by secular courts.
 
bulletSatanism: The authors' definition is largely based upon late Middle Age beliefs and are essentially unrelated to actual religious Satanism as practiced today.
 
bulletPassage Rites: an anthropological term to refer to celebrations and rituals timed to the transition points in life: birth, puberty, marriage, death, etc. All religions have such rituals.
 
bulletInitiation: this includes rituals for both boys and girls at or near puberty, including various tests, vision quest, religious confirmation, etc.

These definitions are certainly interesting, but appear to be totally unrelated to the topic of the report.

Pages 22-23: Examples of Occult Symbols:

The report uses the term "occult sexual abuse" which remains undefined, but seems to imply that all occult pursuits involves the sexual abuse of children. In common with many religious and social conservatives, the report defines "occult" very broadly to include many harmless activities, men's spiritual organizations, religions, etc. from Wiccans to members of the Masonic Order to fortune tellers. No information source from the 1980s and 1990s that promotes the reality of Satanic Ritual Abuse would be complete without a display of occult symbols. King and Jacobson have followed this pattern in their report. Some observations:

bullet The report's version of the Ankh cross is incorrectly drawn as a circle on top of a conventional Christian cross. The correct shape is shown at the left, with an inverted tear-shape at the top. This symbol is often used by women who follow Goddess worship, and feminists. It is unclear why the authors of this report would include an Ankh cross, thereby associating it with ritual abuse.
 
bullet They present the peace sign as a "Broken Cross" symbol which "represents the defeat of Christianity" Actually, it is made from the flag semaphore symbols for the letters N and D. It originally represented the  Nuclear Disarmament movement until it became associated with peace advocacy. Again, the connection of the peace symbol with ritual abuse is not clear.
 
bullet The "Upside Down Cross" is presented as a Satanic symbol. Actually it was not Satanic originally. However it has been presented incorrectly by so many conservative Christian books on Satanism that some teenage dabblers have adopted it.
 
bulletThe Broken "S" is presented as a Satanic symbol. Actually, it was originally used by the German Nazi Schutzstaffel -- the "SS". It is now used by hate groups and extremist organizations and is "... linked to neo-Nazis or racist skinheads. The symbol is frequently seen in neo-Nazi tattoos and graffiti..." 2 and symbolizes violence, anti-semitism, white supremacy and fascism. Again, the linkage to sexual abuse of children is not obvious.

Reference used:

  1. The First Church of Satan has a web site at: http://www.churchofsatan.org/
  2. "Thunder/Lightning Bolts," Docstoc, at: http://www.docstoc.com/

Copyright © 1996 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-OCT-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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