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Calm

History of the Satanic Panic

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This topic is tied to several recent threads, so I decided just to start its own rather than figure out which was best suited for it.  I found this interesting as it mentioned events in the greater culture that contributed to creating a nationwide susceptibility to belief in Satanic Ritual Abuse (such as the Manson murders, famous serial killings, and the Book The Exorcist which claimed to be based on true events).  Utah doesn't even rate a mention in case discussion.

https://www.vox.com/2016/10/30/13413864/satanic-panic-ritual-abuse-history-explained

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The evangelical movement wasn’t alone in its growing occult obsession and fear-mongering. The media, too, played a huge role in stoking the public’s fear and fueling misconceptions surrounding occult practices. In 1988, Geraldo Rivera’s lurid documentary Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground became the highest-rated televised documentary to air up to that point. A 1991 20/20 episode famously (and for many viewers terrifyingly) televised an official Roman Catholic exorcism. Evangelical documentaries like Hell’s Bells attempted to tie rock music to the occult, while “Christian fantasy” like that of bestselling author Frank Peretti transformed real-world social issues into matters of angelic and demonic warfare.

 

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Writing in Satan’s Silence, Nathan notes that the ultimate irony of Satanic Panic is that its alleged victims, the children, were silenced during the laborious investigations around the hysteria — but not by the defendants. Instead, they were silenced by prosecutors, therapists, and interviewers who refused to listen to their initial assertions and drilled them for juicier answers until they changed their statements. 

When medical evidence was produced, according to Nathan, it tended to be in the dubious form of “technologically updated versions of the medieval preoccupation with scrutinizing female genitalia for signs of sin and witchcraft, and of nineteenth-century forensic medical campaigns to detect promiscuity and homosexuality by examining the shapes of lips and penises.” 

Through it all, the media fueled a public wave of fear which took entire groups of rational, thinking adults to collectively enact: everyone from parents to prosecutors, therapists to investigators, jurors to judges, reporters to readers. The narrative swept everything along in its path — including victims of all ages.

In other words, the abusive mechanisms of the Satanic ritual abuse trials were the same as those of previous periods of mass hysteria, from witch hunts to McCarthyism. In a time of deep social upheaval, it’s all too easy to see those mechanisms falling into place once more, ready to bend toward the next unresistant, easily ostracized stranger, eager to label them “danger.”

 

Edited by Calm
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Over the weekend I've seen a number of memes and articles to the effect of "that's how Satan gets you". Everything bad in the world, every idea, thought, action, argument, theory, etc. that someone construes to have a negative impact seems to be ascribed to Satan. As if Satan is the boogeyman. There is evil in the world but it seems a childish approach to set the blame for every person's bad behavior at Satan's doorstep.

Is there actual Satanic worship and ritual abuse? Sure, I suppose, but it's rare.  I do believe the fear behind the Satanic panic of the 70-80's is alive and well today, though not as overt. 

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smac97 recently brought to our attention  on this board proven cases  in which sexual abuse was ritualized, http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/70904-report-on-catholic-abuse-cynicism-spreading/ .

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“One boy was forced to stand on a bed in a rectory, strip naked and pose as Christ on the cross for the priests. They took photos of their victim, adding them to a collection of child pornography which they produced and shared on church grounds,”   PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro.   Andy Sheehan, “301 ‘Predator Priests’ Named In Pa. Grand Jury Sex Abuse Report: ‘They Were Raping Little Boys & Girls’,” KDKA-TV (CBS Pittsburgh), August 14, 2018, online at https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2018/08/14/pennsylvania-diocese-sex-abuse-grand-jury-report-released/ .

We have actually had human sacrifice within the Afro-Cuban religion known as Santeria (in its more extreme Palo-Mayombe form), https://nypost.com/2000/08/28/human-sacrifice-rare-but-it-happens/ .  Santeria features such gods as Chango and Babalu, the latter made famous in Desi Arnaz's hit song "Babalu."  

 

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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By focusing on making evil as vile as possible it is possible to recast the banal of humanity into relative heroes.

There is a reason the base and unvirtuous of society often seem obsessed with serial killers, satanism, and Jerry Springer style sensationalist depravity. It gives them someone to look down on in contempt.

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Blaming another, Satan or another person or thing, for one's actions is unhelpful to facing the reality that individuals are first and foremost responsible for their own actions and choices.  However, using this approach to denying that Satan exists and is actively fighting against God is erroneous. Satan is real and seeks the downfall and destruction of each mortal's relationship with God. 

Edited by Storm Rider
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I don't think any discussion of the topic would be complete without including Massimo Introvigne's 1994 CESNUR paper for possible consideration.  It includes at least a brief treatment of attitudes regarding Satanic influence from the middle ages, on through how some in the Evangelical community viewed it in modern times, and its impact on some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Introvigne, Massimo (May 21, 1994), "A Rumor of Devils: Allegations of Satanic Child Abuse and Mormonism," paper delivered at the annual conference of the Mormon History Association in Park City UT, available at the website of the Center for Studies of New Religions (CESNUR) and last accessed January 2, 2019: https://www.cesnur.org/2001/archive/mi_mormons.htm

 

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39 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

This subject always make me think of Jay's Journal.  

 

 

Yeah, what a mess that was. A lot of Christianity went through a dose of xenophobia in the 70s and 80s due to changing culture. This led to a lot of sensationalist nuttery that there was a strong market for. An emotionally and psychologically disturbed kid kills himself and played D&D. D&D is obviously witchcraft. A kid was sexually abused. Clearly all homosexuals prey on children. A guy on weed killed himself doing something stupid. Clearly “Reefer Madness” was basically a documentary.

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On ‎12‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 7:33 AM, HappyJackWagon said:

Over the weekend I've seen a number of memes and articles to the effect of "that's how Satan gets you". Everything bad in the world, every idea, thought, action, argument, theory, etc. that someone construes to have a negative impact seems to be ascribed to Satan. As if Satan is the boogeyman. There is evil in the world but it seems a childish approach to set the blame for every person's bad behavior at Satan's doorstep.

Is there actual Satanic worship and ritual abuse? Sure, I suppose, but it's rare.  I do believe the fear behind the Satanic panic of the 70-80's is alive and well today, though not as overt. 

Perhaps oddly, it is those who are seeing satan in everything that happens, in an accusatory way, is keeping his evil influence around.  The message of the Church and other religions, of course, is keep an eye out for satan.  It's inevitable the practitioners are out there claiming to see Satan, almost as if they are hoping he's really there.  It really churns out some weird stuff.  

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Yeah, what a mess that was. A lot of Christianity went through a dose of xenophobia in the 70s and 80s due to changing culture. This led to a lot of sensationalist nuttery that there was a strong market for. An emotionally and psychologically disturbed kid kills himself and played D&D. D&D is obviously witchcraft. A kid was sexually abused. Clearly all homosexuals prey on children. A guy on weed killed himself doing something stupid. Clearly “Reefer Madness” was basically a documentary.

I remember all the warnings in the 80's about satanic rock music, playing cards,  Ouija boards, & Dungeons and Dragons.  Looking back it seems so silly but it was taken seriously for a while.  

Phaedrus 

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5 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

I remember all the warnings in the 80's about satanic rock music, playing cards,  Ouija boards, & Dungeons and Dragons.  Looking back it seems so silly but it was taken seriously for a while.  

Phaedrus 

And absolutely no playing cards, for any purpose. I had mine confiscated at Boy Scout Camp by my Young men’s President haha 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, SettingDogStar said:

And absolutely no playing cards, for any purpose. I had mine confiscated at Boy Scout Camp by my Young men’s President haha 

We would play Tripoly and Hearts with my grandparents (both born and raised in SLC and Grandma was a stickler for traditional cultural adherence too).  Inconsistently applied as most cultural stuff is (think coffee to cola to all sodas).

Edited by Calm

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, phaedrus ut said:

I remember all the warnings in the 80's about satanic rock music, playing cards,  Ouija boards, & Dungeons and Dragons.  Looking back it seems so silly but it was taken seriously for a while.  

Phaedrus 

Yeah, that was all so silly.  Until my evangelical aunt gave my mom a book about occultism in Star Wars.  Then it stopped being funny.

Edited by cinepro
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9 hours ago, cinepro said:

Yeah, that was all so silly.  Until my evangelical aunt gave my mom a book about occultism in Star Wars.  Then it stopped being funny.

We had very conservative families in our last ward that home schooled their kids and constantly railed against Harry Potter and science education on public schools.  

Phaedrus 

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37 minutes ago, phaedrus ut said:

We had very conservative families in our last ward that home schooled their kids and constantly railed against Harry Potter and science education on public schools.  

Phaedrus 

Their mistake. If their kids do not learn about wholesome magical practices at home they are just going to learn about the unforgivable curses out on the street.

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1 hour ago, phaedrus ut said:

We had very conservative families in our last ward that [...] constantly railed against Harry Potter [...]

Oh, so they had taste. :ph34r:

 

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As someone who has close personal friends in real who are Wiccan; as someone who has attended Pagan Stabbat services; and as someone who has met, drank, and dined with actual believing Luciferians and LaVey-following Satanists: the Satanic Panic is less funny than sad.

People whose moral lives would make them fair-to middlin' good Latter-Day Saints, (except for the copious consumption of coffee and ritual consumption of wine), have to keep their actual religious views extremely private to avoid either ridicule, bizarre questions about their sexual practices,  proselytism,  or outright discrimination. 

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1 hour ago, flameburns623 said:

As someone who has close personal friends in real who are Wiccan; as someone who has attended Pagan Stabbat services; and as someone who has met, drank, and dined with actual believing Luciferians and LaVey-following Satanists: the Satanic Panic is less funny than sad.

People whose moral lives would make them fair-to middlin' good Latter-Day Saints, (except for the copious consumption of coffee and ritual consumption of wine), have to keep their actual religious views extremely private to avoid either ridicule, bizarre questions about their sexual practices,  proselytism,  or outright discrimination. 

To be fair when you make the icon of your faith the literal devil you are clearly courting that kind of sensationalism. If they wanted to be odd but not so scandalous they should have modeled their faith after Prometheus. Same basic scenario and better illustrates their beliefs (at least as I understand them).

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19 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

To be fair when you make the icon of your faith the literal devil you are clearly courting that kind of sensationalism. If they wanted to be odd but not so scandalous they should have modeled their faith after Prometheus. Same basic scenario and better illustrates their beliefs (at least as I understand them).

Wiccans and Luciferians neither worship the "devil" nor believe in such a personage nor make him an icon of their faith.

Certainly not Wiccans and Pagans, who do not even believe in a binary struggle of evil against good. Discussions of "good witches" or "bad witches", or of "black magic" versus "white magic" will tend to mark you as ignorant of the entire topic of Wicca. Some Wiccans worship a "horned god" who might resemble a Jack Chick cartonesque Satan, and most of the rituals I attended had a masculine and a feminine deity. But not all of those male deities sported horns. Most didn't.  

Luciferians beliefs are complex and resemble Zoroastrianism or Gnosticism. "Lucifer" is a Latin name for the Morning Star,  a title of Christ and (for Luciferians) "the Christ" or the "Christ-mind" is a synonym for one of the "good guys",  but so is the much-maligned Lucifer, who is in some sense the same as Christ. 

Followers of Anton LaVey don't usually even believe in a god. Satan is an archetype, a sumbol or mythological figure, embodying freedom from oppression. Their view of God looks more like something of Satan from our Pearl of Great Price. Their Satan looks more like our Jesus: somebody who stood up and said, "lemme do this in a way which allows people to retain freedom of choice". 

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On 1/2/2019 at 3:50 PM, SettingDogStar said:

And absolutely no playing cards, for any purpose. I had mine confiscated at Boy Scout Camp by my Young men’s President haha 

My very TBM, temple going nearly every week, MIL would be aghast! ;)

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4 hours ago, flameburns623 said:

Wiccans and Luciferians neither worship the "devil" nor believe in such a personage nor make him an icon of their faith.

Certainly not Wiccans and Pagans, who do not even believe in a binary struggle of evil against good. Discussions of "good witches" or "bad witches", or of "black magic" versus "white magic" will tend to mark you as ignorant of the entire topic of Wicca. Some Wiccans worship a "horned god" who might resemble a Jack Chick cartonesque Satan, and most of the rituals I attended had a masculine and a feminine deity. But not all of those male deities sported horns. Most didn't.  

Luciferians beliefs are complex and resemble Zoroastrianism or Gnosticism. "Lucifer" is a Latin name for the Morning Star,  a title of Christ and (for Luciferians) "the Christ" or the "Christ-mind" is a synonym for one of the "good guys",  but so is the much-maligned Lucifer, who is in some sense the same as Christ. 

Followers of Anton LaVey don't usually even believe in a god. Satan is an archetype, a sumbol or mythological figure, embodying freedom from oppression. Their view of God looks more like something of Satan from our Pearl of Great Price. Their Satan looks more like our Jesus: somebody who stood up and said, "lemme do this in a way which allows people to retain freedom of choice". 

Right, we do not believe in the devil but we chose a name affiliated with the devil and are now shocked and offended that people assume negative things about us! They want that controversy or they would have chosen a different name. Be edgy or don’t but do not be surprised by the reaction.

And Wiccanism is a combination of modern pantheism and an absurd claim of being an ancient belief.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Right, we do not believe in the devil but we chose a name affiliated with the devil and are now shocked and offended that people assume negative things about us! They want that controversy or they would have chosen a different name. Be edgy or don’t but do not be surprised by the reaction.

And Wiccanism is a combination of modern pantheism and an absurd claim of being an ancient belief.

Satanists of any stripe are extraordinarily uncommon. Obviously,  Anton LaVey capitalized on the shock value of the word "Satanism". 

Most Wiccans worship deities of a known ancient pedigree. Athena, Diana, Baba Yaga, Cernunos, Freyr, Thor, Poseidon.

Wiccans are usually upfront that their religious practices are partly reconstructed based upon available information,  and partially reimagined according to what they find meaningful.  

Which is exactly how I understand Mormonism, btw. 

Edited by flameburns623

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2 hours ago, flameburns623 said:

Satanists of any stripe are extraordinarily uncommon. 

Most Wiccans worship deities of a known ancient pedigree. Athena, Diana, Baba Yaga, Cernunos, Freyr, Thor, Poseidon. Wiccans are usually upfront that their religious practices are partly reconstructed based upon available information,  and partially reimagined according to what they find meaningful.  

Which is exactly how I understand Mormonism, btw. 

But not Crom?

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7 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

But not Crom?

Lol. 

Crom is loosely based on Odin. But he's a purely fictional deity. 

OTOH, there are several fictional deities being worshipped with varying degrees of seriousness.  Pastafarianism for example.  Church of All Worlds, also. 

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