Was the Kidnapping of Elizabeth Smarth a Staged Hoax?
While working in a busy Utah office during the same time of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, a client commented that her husband, a police officer, stated that they had found child porn on Ed Smart's computer hard drive. The computer was consficated, but nothing would be done due to Ed Smart's religious/political connections.
Another client made the comment that two days before the kidnapping Ed Smart received a phone call that "wigged him out" and he started acting very nervous. He ordered the air conditioning service repairmen out of his home and did not have them come back. These men believed that he had received orders about the future kidnapping.... Granted, both testimonies are just that ~ testimonies and not substantiated at this time.
However, we have seen how surface events have planned events going on in the background. What would prompt the "Mormon Mafia" to orchestrate a kidnapping of a young girl? What benefits would be gained for such an evil hoax, if true? 1) Due to the perpetrator, a man who believes he is called of God, ridicule would go forth for anyone who actually does have spiritual experiences. Note that the "Prophet and Apostles" of Utah do not have spiritual experiences and/or do not look you in the eye when they state, "that is too sacred to talk about." 2) Utah gains attention and great public relations as the "Volunteer State" as Utahans help to find Elizabeth Smart. The Amber Alert is enacted. 3) Another blood oath scenerio of elitism is exacted much like Jon Beney Ramsey where girls are abused and used. 4) Elizabeth's Grandfather Congress Wayne Owens protests this hoax? Is this why Owens dies in Israel on the shores of the Mediterranean Ocean? Was his granddaughter targeted as a Masonic Penality?
MKUltra mind control is heavy-duty in Utah to create "perfect" extremely talented children/adults like the Osmonds (Please read "Tranceformation of America" involving an LDS sexslave, "Paper Dolls" about sex rings in Utah led by an Apostle's daughter (Hinckley) and banker son-in-law, Alan Barnes. Alan Barnes had confessed to signing the bribery checks for the Winter Olympics Corruption scandal which included scholarships and prostitution, etc. He conveniently died weeks before this case went to court where two scape goats were found guilty without the embarrassing father-in-law (President Gordon B. HInckley) connection. His death at a hospital was witnessed by John Preston Creer (as personally told to us over the phone). Creer is an attorney found guilty of under-the-table bribery to raise Utah utility rates with the church as the largest stockholder had utility rates been increased... All is NOT Well in Zion
Elizabeth Smart was extremely talented with a very difficult instrument at a young age. She acted like a zombie and lied to the police when she did not have to. Was it because she was MKUltra mind-controlled in her own home by a pedophilia father (child porn on his computer)?
Not a causal connection, but we know more than what is stated here and this is enough to engage thought. Another planned event was the "Trolley Square Massacre." The main victim was a (Carolyn Tuft) Hinckley who had defied the "public image" (vital to President HInckley although the connection is through Neal A. Maxwell's wife who is also a Hinckley) and divorced her husband. Her daughter was engaged to the son of an attorney who had promised over wire-tapped phone lines to tell the truth in court. Because of a scapegoat Muslim (mind controlled; easily fueled with hate against Americans, etc.) killing this woman's younger daughter and wounding her, the attorney failed to fly back for the court case as promised. His flight was paid for and he was being picked up at the airport. A phone call enroute yielded the information that he had to delay his flight due to this shooting. He later LIED in court. However, he became a scapegoat and is now in jail, for representing clients against the IRS. While enroute to pick him up, a federal vehicle tried several times to run our car off the icy roads. Our car was sabotaged electrically by remote control from this federal vehicle. More food for thought regarding staged events in Utah! Here is an excerpt from a blog posting from www.puremormonism.com that goes into a little bit more detail:
This Missouri attorney who lives in Utah mentioned above is incredibly nice, but he believes the LDS leaders are perfect and are of God and he will do whatever they tell him to do.
As a key witness he did perjure himself in a court case in Missouri (involving land theft Tom knew about) just after his son’s fiancé’s mother, Carolyn Tuft, 43 (mother of Kirsten Hinckley, divorced wife to Steve Hinckley-- tarnished the Hinckley name with divorce) was shot twice, but survived and sister/daughter, Kirsten Hinckley, 15, was killed at the Trolley Square “Massacre” by a mind-controlled Muslim scape-goat (Feb. 12, 2007, at 6:44 PM MST, Sulejman Talovi? ).
The LDS "brethren" were "in an uproar" due to our being in Salt Lake City during the corrupt Winter Olympics. Spiritually, Steve Davis knew what they had planned to bring "glory" to Utah and specifically to Hinckley. It was a staged "spiritual" hologram. They knew that with Steve Davis in town, they could not go through with it. They are spooked about Steve Davis as he is a man of God and lives each day according to a near death experience that was preceded by his mother's three dreams as recorded in her journal. In hindsight, his actions are genius and in accord with his agreement with God to restore the original Book of Mormon (BoM) which exposes the corruption of the LDS Church as "the great and abominable church" as prophetically foretold in the BoM, 1 Nephi 13. His mission is of utmost importance!
Back in 1957 Steve Davis was miraculously saved from a runaway horse by the angelic appearance of his deceased Uncle DeMar Rust which caused the horse to stop abruptly as quoted in a newspaper article. Uncle DeMar was later proved to be his birthfather. His birthmother died giving birth. He was raised by Annabelle and Clyde Davis as their child. Three years later, after his life was saved by an angel (who removed his foot from the stirrup and healed him), his life again was preserved through divine intervention. Steve was saved from an accidental gunshot wound to the head by his father (loaded rifle in the pick-up truck, in violation of AZ gun laws). His mother placed her hands upon this boys head and she felt a spiritual hand over hers healing Steve, prior to a policeman (happened to have heard the gunshot) transported the lifeless body of Steve Davis to the St. Mary's Hospital in Tuscon, AZ in 1960. This serious head wound caused a profound near death experience preceded by his mother’s three prophetic dreams as recorded in her journal. (If you know your scriptures which mentions "a horse" and also a "head wound" note that those in power historically manipulates scriptures even in parable form - see Revelations)The attached newspaper article, including the picture of Steve on the horse in 1957 reveals that Steve has had a mission for the Lord to fulfill a promise given to the Prophet Lehi in 2 Nephi 3:20-24:
“20 And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words. 21 Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers. 22 And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy. 23 Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book. 24 And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.”
Will Steve Davis ever modify his three day coma experience with Angel Moroni in restoring the original Book of Mormon for all “baptized members” to read the plain and simple truths therein? No. Why? Because he hand-wrote a parable story (attached: The Best Bottle Hitter) right after he woke up from the accidental gunshot wound to the head preceded by three identical dreams of warning and of promise given to his mother Annabelle before it happened! There are nearly 600,000 hits on Steve’s famous website:
Steve Davis has been communicating with Peggy Stack ever since the early 1990s with Tribune Reporter Paul Rolly (attached newspaper article about Steve Davis, alias James A. Johnson in a legal malpractice lawsuit against corrupt Utah Judge Pat B. Brian and LDS Regional Representative and his former corrupt employer, Nielsen & Senior)
Back in 1967 (Mexico) and 1971 (Brazil) Steve Davis had contact with representatives Catholic Bishop/Patriarch Albino Luciani who became Pope John Paul 1 about the importance of the original Book of Mormon and the repentance of Apostle Paul before he was crucified up-side down by Rome. LDS Missionary Davis was converting many Catholics to the Mormon faith in Brazil and Mexico by sharing his near death experience with Angel Moroni back in 1960.
While Steve Davis was a BYU Bishop his high councilman was Dr. Eugene Buckner PhD, over the BYU Psychology Department. Over the years Dr. Buckner helped Steve know about “false memory syndrome” where people make up personal experiences through a process of false dreams and false experiences (telling embellished stories). Although, the originators of the term “false memory syndrome” hoped it would disqualify the truth of those whom they had abused. Therefore, in most cases the mind controlled ritually abused MKUltra victim who do recover their memory of abuse are telling the truth. Read "Hell Minus One" where the satanic abusers confessed in WRITING when their controlling clergy (Bishop and Stake President) told them to in order to slant these directions for an improved public image of the LDS church. Interestingly, the state of Utah when they investigated satanic ritual abuse/mind control within the state of Utah found none! Yet, the interoffice memo of Presiding Bishop Glen L. Pace reported hundreds of cases within Utah and surrounding states. He was removed from his position after his grave concerns about LDS children's colloborating testimonies involving HIGH church leaders (including the highest positions), tabernacle choir members, etc.
When you know the truth, you can never deny it or God. When the BYU Administration required Dr. Buckner to certify that there had been no “date-rape” on BYU campus, he resigned rather than sign the “statement”. His replacement signed it!
When a person believes in “many gods” they believe they are a “god”. This erroneous belief is programmed and brainwashed by false teachings in the members of the LDS Church, commencing at birth, when the father is giving a name and a blessing for a future sealing in the LDS Masonic Temples where a member is required to consecrate everything to the “church” if they want to have a Temple Recommend! This “many gods” scenario is why the Lord taught Joseph Smith in the Carthage Jail about “many are called, but few are chosen” warning (D&C 121). When people wake up to the cult Mind Control training by church leaders, how many wake up and remember they had been abused (sexually, emotionally, physically) due to the secret combination, Masonic rituals and for being a free thinker and truth seeker (Alma 51, Freemen vs. Kingmen). In 1999, Steve's attorney gave President Hinckley a warning to his personal liability in causing false stories against Steve and his excellent background in discovering gold mines.
The line between inspiration and insanity
By Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, December 10, 2010
A teenager says God and Jesus appeared to him in a grove and told him to start a new Christian church. Another person claims the Almighty talks to him through lyrics when the radio dial reads “103.1 AM,” which he says refers to God, known in scripture as the “Great I Am.”
A French girl gets messages from heaven to lead an army against the British, while a Utah woman thinks she is meant to have Jesus’ baby and 12 husbands.
Some of these figures were considered prophets and saints, while others were judged insane. The question is: How do you tell which is which?
For example, Brian David Mitchell, convicted Friday of kidnapping and raping Elizabeth Smart, insisted that God gave him license to do so, though his attorneys argued he was mentally ill.
The main difference between a prophet and a psychopath, says Ralph Hood, who teaches psychology of religion at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, is “whether or not [they] can get followers.”
Christian writer C.S. Lewis said that Jesus was either the son of God or “a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg.”
And all those who started new religious movements — including Martin Luther (Reformation), Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), Ellen White (Seventh-day Adventism), Jim Jones (People’s Temple) and David Koresh (Branch Davidian) — were viewed by outsiders as delusional.
But followers, ranging from the millions to the hundreds, found each of them to be credible guides to divinity.
Freud may have seen all religion, which puts its faith in an unseen power, as delusional. But today even nonbelieving therapists say it depends largely on how a person experiences the teachings and practices of a given tradition.
“There is ample research to suggest that, for the most part, religious people are no more inclined to mental illness than nonreligious people,” says Wendy Ulrich, a Mormon and founder of Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, a small group of mental-health professionals, in Alpine.
The pathology arises, Ulrich says, when a person’s search for meaning “goes into extreme overdrive” and people “lose touch with vital aspects of reality.”
That can be a problem for psychologists and religious leaders alike — what to do when Father Jones, Brother Brown or Sister Smith says God is talking to them?
God in the mind
From the start, psychologists must weigh a person’s religious and cultural expectations. The more important faith is, the more prominent a role religious language will play in a person’s mental process.
Maybe the person is speaking in tongues, communing with the dead, sensing the presence of a guardian angel or getting messages from milk cartons.
So the first question becomes: Does the experience fit with some religious tradition that is dominant in a culture? Does it make sense to a particular faith community or is it out of the norm? Is it consistent with the faith’s scripture, practices and beliefs or does it challenge them?
As a clinical psychologist, Brent Slife might bring in a pastor, priest or Mormon bishop to help answer that question.
“I would want to know how contextually appropriate their behavior or the things they are espousing are,” says Slife, a Protestant who teaches at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo. “Are they able to adapt to different contexts?”
Unbalanced people may repeatedly quote scriptures or obsessively perform rituals or adopt a grander, more spiritual identity such as King David, Moses, Muhammad or Jesus. It’s a way for them to earn God’s approval or feel more empowered. But it’s also delusional.
“If the pope says he’s the Vicar of Christ, that’s OK because it fits with a centuries-old tradition,” Hood says. “If I think I am, I’m in trouble.”
Throughout history, hundreds of mental patients have believed themselves to be Christ. In the late 1950s, a Michigan facility had three patients, each of whom thought he was Jesus. Psychologist Milton Rokeach wondered if bringing the three together would force one or more of them to regain a more normal sense of self. Rokeach reported the trio’s interactions in his 1964 book, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti.
It didn’t work, and Rokeach later apologized for exploiting his patients.
“Very little seems to shift the identities of the self-appointed Messiahs,” Vaughan Bell reported in a February 2010 essay about the book in the online magazine Slate. “They debate, argue, at one point come to blows, but show few signs that their beliefs have become any less intense.”
Still, Bell writes, the approach holds up a mirror to the general population.
“We are asked to see ourselves in the psychiatric patients,” he writes, “at a time when such people were regularly locked away and treated as incomprehensible objects of pity rather than individuals worthy of empathy.”
Confusion of the soul
There are at least two common ways in which mental patients describe their delusional experiences with God, Ulrich says.
Schizophrenics hear voices or see things that are not there. Their hallucinations or false beliefs about reality can feel so real, she says, “that they ignore the perceptions of other people or common sense or contradictory information or experience.”
Meanwhile, those suffering from paranoia see conspiracy in everyday events or think God is speaking specially to them — perhaps through the radio or the newspaper.
“They overinterpret common experiences to mean either someone is out to get them or God is out to help them,” Ulrich says. “Ideas of grandiosity and thinking of themselves as special or chosen in some way are not uncommon.”
But it never is easy to assess the authenticity of another person’s spiritual experience.
Ulrich has known people whose behavior could be inspiring or could signal a muddled mind. Many of them take part in church services without fellow believers even being aware.
She has known some religious folks who are unusually clairvoyant, with a penchant for and openness to revelatory experiences. They largely are calm, highly functioning, rational people, who are socially engaged but don’t call attention to themselves.
“They pretty much play by the rules of society and don’t think of themselves as special,” she says. “They know their ‘gifts’ are not always believed in or valued, so they have a sense of humor about them.”
The Alpine psychologist also has seen people who are “very high-functioning in some areas of life and can be quite charismatic, intelligent and charming,” but they begin to “overinterpret impressions or events as messages from God in ways that make other people nervous, even people within their own value system or religious system.”
Such people think the “rules” of the community don’t apply to them and may start to feel that others are out to get them, she says, and they don’t understand why.
If you ask a religious person how God communicates, she might say through impressions or a kind of whispering. But if you ask a mentally ill person that question, he might say, “I shook hands with him yesterday.”
You can tell him maybe his mind is playing tricks on him, but the patient will not be dissuaded, says Michael Measom, a psychiatrist at Valley Mental Health.
Studies show that reasoning with schizophrenic patients about God never works, Measom says. They cannot be convinced of any other interpretation.
It’s a matter, he says, of core beliefs and brain chemistry.
The religious response
For a believer such as the Rev. Gregory Johnson, the line between genuine religious experience and madness sometimes is blurred.
Johnson, who directs Standing Together, a Utah group of evangelical pastors, is not a charismatic Christian, so he doesn’t speak in tongues or engage in the more ecstatic practices. But he does believe God heals, speaks and leads.
“I see a range of healthiness and levels of extremity within the confines [of Christianity],” he says. “I see people who are zealous but not insane.”
But Johnson has run across several churchgoers who crossed the line.
“When I hear someone say, ‘God came to me in a dream or spoke to me,’ I don’t immediately reject it,” he says. “But I would watch the behavior. If they have a sense of self-importance, needing to be the center of attention, that becomes a good warning sign for instability.”
One of the tests, Johnson says, might be the “fruits” or outcomes of the divine communication. Does the experience lead a person into more altruistic actions, greater caring for others and deeper relations, or does it simply draw the recipient further into narcissism?
As a pastor, Johnson says, he would worry about actions that are “destructive to other people or to themselves.”
Catholic priests also have to be “attentive to the particular experience the person is having,” says Monsignor Francis Mannion of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Parish in Holladay. “If they seem out of touch with reality, that’s an important clue they might be bordering on mental illness.”
It is not unusual to hear parishioners talk about experiences with God, Mannion says, but genuine mystical experience is rare.
The Catholic Church has a system for evaluating claims about Marian visitations, and few of those are judged to be authentic. Earlier this week, the church affirmed 1859 reports of a Lourdes-like appearance of the Virgin Mary near Green Bay, Wisc., the only U.S. site to gain such a designation.
“We don’t pay that much attention to private revelations,” Mannion says. “We pay much more attention to the constant tradition of the church and what it says about God’s desires.”
On the other hand, a central LDS teaching is the reality of “personal revelation.”
Mormons are urged to seek and receive God’s guidance for themselves and their families. But only the church’s “prophet, seer and revelator” can receive messages for the whole faith and the world. Such institutional controls may inhibit individual experiences, but they do prevent mentally ill members from distracting or confusing the faithful.
Even as a young Mormon teen, Elizabeth Smart says she knew the difference between a genuine religious leader and Mitchell.
“God would never tell someone to kidnap a young girl from her family’s home in the middle of the night from her bed that she shared with her sister … and sexually abuse her and give her no free agency to choose what she did,” Smart testified. “I know [Mitchell] was not called of God because God would never do something like that.”
Mormon physician Greg Smith in Alberta, Canada, agrees there is no comparison between prophets and psychopaths.
“Contrary to popular belief, the ‘mad’ are rarely very creative, very effective, very charismatic or very compelling,” Smith says. “In fact, most people find them bizarre and off-putting, even if they can’t put their finger on why.”
That’s why, he says, there are many so-called crazy people in the world, but only a few who launch global religions.
They argued, for example, that the reported visions of Ellen White, a young woman who helped establish Seventh-day Adventism and led it until her death at age 88, and those of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, were just the product of troubled minds or even epileptic seizures.
Followers of both faiths reject those assertions, defending their charismatic leaders on the basis of what they achieved in the long run. Both churches appealed to — and continue to attract — large numbers of religious seekers.
White’s visionary experiences and leadership helped create “a religion that has been a positive force in the world for more than 150 years,” says Linda Walton, a member of the Provo Seventh-day Adventist Church. “It has one of the largest hospital systems and private school systems in the world, as well as a wonderful missionary program focusing on educational and medical needs.”
On the Mormon front, LDS historian Richard Bushman acknowledges that Smith had “an extravagant personality with a lot of emotions,” which, in some cases, indicate an unbalanced mind.
But the Mormon leader also had lots of good friends who were “solid people” and a strong, loving relationship with his wife and children, says Bushman, chair of Mormon studies at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California. “He was very effective in building an organization and kept that up to the end of his life. I don’t think you can say this was a dysfunctional person.”
LDS physician Greg Smith, of Alberta, Canada, points to more indications he believes show that Smith was not mentally ill:
• Joseph Smith could dictate coherently — there is none of the “word salad” of schizophrenia or the meandering gush of pseudo-complexity or pressure-of-ideas one sees in mania.
• He could orate and hold people’s attention for hours, leaving them feeling enlightened and convinced they had learned things they never had considered. The speech of the severely mentally ill typically is somewhat devoid of content and tedious in the extreme, if not off-putting.
• The Mormon leader was compassionate and empathetic, could put himself into others’ minds and situation; none of these is characteristic of mental illness, which tends to turn people inward.
• He had many things going on at once, keeping all the balls in the air; he didn’t get fixated as many mentally ill patients do.
None of this proves, of course, that claims to divine communication by White, Smith or any other religious leader were legitimate. That’s for others to decide.
An Idaho health-care worker and devout Mormon, Chad (who asked that his real name not be used) began wondering if he was totally upfront with patients. Soon, he started scrutinizing his past, looking for times he might not have been completely honest.
“It started to steamroll on me,” the 35-year-old man says.
He began phoning and e-mailing past bosses and acquaintances. Did he deliver every paper on the route? What about that Snickers bar he snatched from the discard bin as a teenage bag boy? Or the sod that fell off the landscaping truck he was driving? Or the loaned scrubs he kept in college?
“It included me sending checks to people,” Chad recalls. “I sent the same people the same check over and over again, worried it wasn’t enough.”
Eventually, he began obsessing about his honesty in every new and future encounter. When he finally told his wife he might have to leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because every time he went to church he thought of some new evidence of his own dishonesty, it scared her. “She recognized I had a problem and said, ‘Let’s get help.’ ”
A year later, Chad now knows he suffers from scrupulosity, an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in which worries of religious or moral nature consume an individual. The term derives from the Latin word for a small stone, such as an irritating pebble in one’s shoe.
Though it has been described for centuries in Catholic literature and afflicted saints such as Ignatius of Loyola, Alphonsus Liguori and Catherine of Siena, as well as reformer Martin Luther, scrupulosity has been recognized in the field of psychology only in recent decades.
A series of books, beginning with The Doubting Disease: Help for Scrupulosity and Religious Compulsions in the mid-1990s, helped raise awareness.
Scrupulosity is not in itself a diagnosis, but falls within the OCD family of anxiety disorders, explains Jonathan S. Abramowitz, a clinical psychologist and researcher in the field at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Unlike the normal person who can reject intrusive thoughts — and everyone has them — people with OCD get tied in knots by their mistaken ways of thinking and behaving, Abramowitz says. They cannot handle ambiguity, which makes it hard for one who is scrupulous to remain a person of faith.
Chad recalls an anguishing moment when his need for certainty peaked: He told his therapist he wanted God to assure him in person that he is OK or he wanted to know there is no God.
According to the International OCD Foundation, up to 3 million U.S. adults and about 500,000 children suffer from OCD. Of those, 5 percent to 30 percent have scrupulosity, according to one estimate.
Its sources are biological and likely environmental, but Abramowitz believes OCD manifests itself as scrupulosity mostly in those who care a lot about their faith, whether that is Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism. Conversely, it makes it difficult for the faithful to remain faithful.
A Catholic woman may confess to her priest constantly about intrusive obscene thoughts while gazing on a crucifix, a “sin” she fears is unforgivable, while an Orthodox Jew might worry obsessively that he didn’t keep his milk separate from his meat in accord with kosher law.
“Folks with scrupulosity have a pretty harsh view of God. They see him as looking down with a magnifying glass, waiting for people to screw up so he can blast them with lightning,” Abramowitz says. “That runs counter to what most religions teach.”
Virtuous or vexing?
One problem in identifying scrupulosity is that it can look like virtue, says John Dehlin, a doctoral student in psychology at Utah State University who is researching a new treatment.
For instance, scrupulous Mormons may spend hours every day reading scripture or praying.
“It’s easily dismissed as virtuous,” Dehlin says, “and held up as a beautiful thing.”
But what might be a sign of sanctity in a normal person is all about relieving anxiety in the one who is scrupulous.
While scrupulous Latter-day-Saints struggle with the same issues others do — like intrusive, vulgar thoughts in church — Dehlin says he has found obsessions over sexuality and masturbation to be particularly common among young Mormons afflicted with scrupulosity. Fear of being dishonest often crops up as well.
A Mormon man who wanted to apologize to a graduate-school search committee a decade after sending in a résumé with a minor error was telling himself, “ ‘If I don’t do this, then Christ’s atonement will not apply to me and I will be a son of perdition,’ ” Dehlin recounts.
He uses a “perfect storm” analogy to answer why scrupulosity strikes some and not others: If a person is prone to OCD and raised in a strict, orthodox home with religious teachings that include high stakes — on Earth as well as the hereafter — he or she may be susceptible.
Dehlin says a missionary who sets his alarm at 3 a.m. to interrupt any “sinful” wet dreams may be obsessing about his ability to complete his mission, marry and reach heaven.
“You can’t blame the parents, the person, the church, the religion,” he says. But, he adds, “you don’t hear about scrupulosity among Unitarian Universalists,” a faith that offers believers wide latitude.
Mild to serious
Natasha Parker, a marriage and family therapist in Wichita, Kan., who blogs at mormontherapist.blogspot.com, says she sees much more “inappropriate guilt and shame” than scrupulosity among LDS clients, although both tend to focus on one part of the church’s message — that members should strive for perfection.
Those in the grips of scrupulosity, she says, tend not to think about Christ’s mercy and atonement.
“To say someone has scrupulosity doesn’t tell you much,” says William Van Ornum, author of the 1997 book A Thousand Frightening Fantasies: Understanding and Healing Scrupulosity and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
That’s because scrupulosity ranges from mild to debilitating, says Van Ornum, a psychology professor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He also writes online for America Magazine, a Jesuit publication.
While researching his book, he sent a four-page survey to 10,000 members of Scrupulous Anonymous, most of them Catholics who subscribe to Liguori Publications’ newsletter on scrupulosity. (St. Alphonsus Liguori was an 18th-century Catholic bishop who suffered from the disorder.) More than 1,000 surveys were returned.
Those with the mildest form of scrupulosity actually may find it a help to their integrity, Van Ornum says. For instance, one doctor reported going home at night and mentally reviewing every patient’s case before he could eat dinner. That way, he would allay his obsession that he had missed something.
But in its most serious forms, Van Ornum says, scrupulosity can leave a person disabled and depressed.
The professor says he was struck, too, by the parallels between today’s treatments and those prescribed centuries ago by Catholic thinkers such as Jesuit founder St. Ignatius, who once obsessed about stepping on twigs that were arrayed like a cross.
St. Ignatius wrote in the 16th century that the sufferer should “always go against the scruples,” an approach that mirrors today’s cognitive-behavior therapy. And Ignatius wrote in his Spiritual Exercises about substituting loving images of God for worries of giving offense.
“He knew what it was like,” Van Ornum says, “and it tortured him.”
How it’s treated
Scrupulosity is treated essentially the same way as other types of OCD, with a combination of medication and cognitive-behavior therapy.
But finding therapists who are sensitive to faith can be hard, Van Ornum says. “It has to be someone who understands and who doesn’t give off silent contempt or silent disapproval.”
Abramowitz says treating scrupulosity can be difficult because patients may view the remedies as undermining their faith.
Therapists use what is called exposure and response (or ritual) prevention. For instance, if a therapist is trying to help a man whose obsession is the intrusive thought “f-God,” she might “expose” him to the unwelcome words by requiring he say them out loud.
“It’s difficult because … what worse thing could you hold over somebody’s head than their eternal salvation?” says Lori Riddle-Walker, a family and marriage therapist in Escondido, Calif., who has patients with scrupulosity.
She says it often helps to have patients sort out the difference between their true beliefs and their obsessions, and that can mean consulting a religious leader.
“With people willing to work, I’ve usually been able to find exposures that are within their value systems,” says Riddle-Walker, who has a bachelor’s degree in theology. Even so, she says, “I’ve had people drop out of therapy because they couldn’t take it.”
‘Can’t fix everything’
Dehlin, at USU, says the new kind of therapy he is researching does not require the problematic exposure, although it remains in the cognitive-behavior tradition.
So far, it is promising, says Dehlin, who hopes more patients will come forward to participate in the study.
Chad, the Idaho man obsessed with honesty, has been through the USU therapy and credits it, as well as medication, with helping him control his compulsion to make amends for perceived mistakes.
“It’s still a fight for me,” he says. “I have to be very cognizant and on alert that I don’t let myself go down that track.”
And though scrupulosity almost cost him his religion, it now is helping him develop greater faith.
“I’ve come to accept I can’t go back and pay all those quarters back. I’m realizing I can’t fix everything. I have to rely on the atonement.”
Scrupulosity is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) involving religious or moral obsessions. Scrupulous individuals are overly concerned that something they thought or did might be a sin or other violation of religious or moral doctrine.
Source: International OCD Foundation
USU research : Utah State University’s psychology department is researching the effectiveness of psychological treatment for scrupulosity — or unwanted, disturbing and uncontrollable thoughts or behaviors of a moral or religious nature. Study participants are not compensated, but receive 15 hours of treatment free. Those interested should contact John Dehlin and the research lab at 435-535-1073 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the USU research lab can be found at twohig.usu.edu/htm/current-studies.
Demand for mental health services rises in St. George
By Mark Havnes, The Salt Lake Tribune, December 5, 2010
St. George » A bad economy, population growth and easy availability of narcotic painkillers are contributing to a growing demand for mental health and substance-abuse treatment in St. George, according to treatment providers.
But options are not always available. Until recently, the only choices were state-subsidized programs operated through the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, which serve only a portion of those needing help.
According to an annual report on substance abuse issued by the division, capacity of public treatment facilities in 2009 lagged far behind the need in southwestern Utah, which includes Beaver, Iron, Garfield, Kane and Washington counties.
That year, 6,034 residents in southwestern Utah needed some type of mental health help from a government treatment program, but the capacity of those programs was only 687. For youth ages 12 to 17, the gap was nearly as bad: 767 patients needed help, but there were resources for only 87.
One problem is that there were no private businesses to fill the gap between the city’s volunteer clinics and state-sponsored programs administered by the county that serve Medicaid-eligible patients.
That’s why Gloria Boberg, CEO of The Ark, recently opened a private, nonprofit facility in St. George that offers residential and outpatient services.
Boberg, who operates four other clinics in northern Utah, said she decided to move to St. George after consulting with health professionals in the area and learning of the growing demand. In addition to people with mental health issues, Boberg said her programs tackle addictions ranging from abuse of narcotics and alcohol to eating disorders to shopping addiction.
“If you’re drunk or on drugs you can go to the hospital and get stabilized, but then you are on your own again with really no place to go to get the help needed,” said Boberg.
Only patients with private insurance are treated now at The Ark, although Boberg doesn’t rule out accepting patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid in the future.
Boberg said one problem she’s seeing in St. George is abuse of prescription painkillers containing opiates that she believes are overprescribed by doctors.
“Just because it comes in a prescription bottle, many think there is no danger in addiction,” said Boberg.
Brent Kelsey, assistant director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, part of the Department of Human Services, said there is a crucial need for more facilities like The Ark in southern Utah.
“There is a feeling in some circles that if it [drug] is prescribed by a doctor, it’s OK,” said Kelsey. “Generally, the way I look at drugs and addiction is that they are driven by access and availability. We just have a lot of narcotic pain pills in the community.”
DeeAnne Staheli, director of the Doctors Volunteer Clinic in St. George, which treats patients at no charge, says 30 percent of her patients have mental health and addiction problems. “It just keeps going up.”
She believes the primary reason for the rise is the poor economy.
“The one reason I see for the stress, frustration and suicide [threats] are all related to the economy and lost jobs,” she said.
She said The Ark is a welcome addition that fills a service gap in the community. “They’re pricey but can allow [a patient] to be close to family, and that’s good,” she said.
To deal with the growing problem, Staheli said the clinic is trying to raise funds to build a special unit for mental health patients.
Michael Cain, associate director of the state-funded Southwest Behavioral Health Center, which primarily treats clients referred by the courts, said The Ark will fill a private-sector niche that has been underserved because similar facilities have come and gone.
Jeremy Boberg, the son of Gloria Boberg and director of the St. George office of The Ark, said he hopes the facility can make a difference.
“There is a tremendous need, especially for residential treatment,” he said.
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