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OGDEN CLERIC SAYS SATANIC RITUALS AFFECT ALL RELIGIONS

SHARE OGDEN CLERIC SAYS SATANIC RITUALS AFFECT ALL RELIGIONS

No religion is exempt from allegations of ritualistic abuse by or from its members, says a Protestant clergyman active in counseling people who claim to be victims of Satanists.

But spokesmen for religious groups and churches in the Salt Lake area say if their members have been abused, they are not taking the allegations to their own ministers.The Rev. David Heikkila, pastor of the Calvary Chapel in Ogden, responding to news of a memo written by an official of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claiming LDS Church members have participated in satanic rituals, said he has counseled victims of ritualistic abuse for the past 10 years.

Those victims, Heikkila said, came from many denominations, and their abusers included trusted members of many different churches.

"No particular religion is exempt from any of those allegations," he said.

However, representatives of other religious organizations said they do not receive such reports.

A spokeswoman from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, which encompasses the state of Utah, said no one claiming to be a victim of satanic abusers has ever contacted the diocese's office.

The Rev. Rick Bauer, a priest at St. Martin de Porres Church, does offer spiritual counseling to people claiming to be victims of Satanists. However, those people are all referred to him by therapists, he said.The Rev. Dr. Max Glenn, executive director of Shared Ministries, said he has heard of the allegations but not through the churches he represents. Shared Ministries is an umbrella organization for 64 area churches in six denominations - Presbyterian U.S.A., the United Church of Christ, United Methodist, American Baptist, Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) and African Methodist Episcopal.

"There is a problem out there," Glenn said. "I don't know the nature or extent of it. I would certainly want to separate the issue of satanic abuse from child abuse."

In an internal memo dated July 19, 1990, Bishop Glenn L. Pace, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of the LDS Church, wrote that he had personally interviewed 60 church members who had been victims of satanic rituals.

The memo received widespread circulation in October after a copy was leaked to the Salt Lake Messenger, an anti-Mormon newspaper published by Jerald and Sandra Tanner.

LDS Church officials issued a statement acknowledging the memo. "Satanic worship and ritualistic abuse are problems that have been around for centuries and are international in scope," the statement said. "While they are, numerically, not a problem of major proportions among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for those who may be involved they are serious."

Heikkila said that some of the people who receive counseling through the Calvary Chapel are church members and some have been referred by therapists. None has alleged abuse by other Calvary Chapel members, he said.

The alleged victims turn to Calvary Chapel because the therapeutic community recognizes the church's willingness to give counsel on the subject, Heikkila said.

Calvary Chapel offers counseling because "we have subjective, empirical evidence" of the phenomenon, he said. The victims show signs of some kind of post traumatic stress, of reported medical evidence of sexual abuse or evidence of other kinds of traumas or fears that would be consistent with the patterns of cult abuse, he said.

According to therapists and others who believe that satanic abuse is occurring, victims are tortured sexually in ceremonies that mock religious rituals.

The rituals may be used by pedophiles who hope to foul investigations with seemingly outlandish allegations. Some people also believe the rituals are employed to force the victims to dissociate their pain to the point that they develop multiple personalities. In this way, the torturers - who are said to conceal themselves in their communities' dominant religions - gain absolute control over their victims.

Therapists who doubt the phenomenon exists say many of the allegations are suspect because they are disclosed under hypnosis administered by therapists who may actually be encouraging the alleged victims to confuse fact with fantasy.

Heikkila said that he hasn't reported any allegations of satanic abuse to the police. "I have not had any cooperation from the survivors to document anything. They are just too afraid. Or the events are too old to be able to validate them beyond the eyewitness accounts," he said.

The church's role, he said, is of a spiritual adviser. "We assist some of the therapists with spiritual healing," he said.