I’ve written twice about Operation Conifer in 2017 (here and here). It was therefore with some interest that I read the Mail on Sunday’s most recent front page of 10th September, and the associated articles inside that newspaper, regarding Wiltshire Police’s investigation of historic child abuse allegations – which, as a matter of fact, include several allegations of Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) – against the late prime minister Sir Edward Heath.
The Mail on Sunday’s (MoS) general editorial position regarding SRA is to ignore the subject altogether, or, if it must be mentioned, to ridicule the subject as much as possible, to falsely portray SRA as a myth, and to paint SRA victims as fantasists and lunatics. The Telegraph has exactly the same policy, and for the same purpose; namely, to suppress, deny and discredit the truth about SRA in Britain today.
(Another commonly-used tactic of the SRA suppressors, be they newspapers or others, is to misrepresent SRA as common child abuse – which it most certainly is not – and to label Satanists engaged in SRA as paedophiles, thus obscuring or entirely omitting the true nature of the problem, which is the ritual abuse and torture of children by Satanists, in the fulfilment of their religious beliefs.)
My analysis of the MoS newspaper articles is such that now I suspect that when the imminent public report on Operation Conifer is published by Wiltshire Police, the report will omit any mention of Satanism in relation to Ted Heath, and omit to mention the specifically SRA allegations which have been made against Ted Heath.
And that would be a cover up. It is a fact that Operation Conifer has received SRA allegations against Ted Heath. To fail to tell the public about these SRA allegations would be to conceal this information from the public.
Whilst I hope Wiltshire Police do not cover up the SRA allegations in the pending Operation Conifer report, my current fear is that this is exactly what will happen.
I say that based firstly on my analysis of the recent MoS articles and, secondly, upon my awareness of the fact that the suppression and denial of SRA is a long-running mainstream trend in Britain. On the whole, the press, the police and significant others have been ignoring, denying and covering up SRA in Britain since the late 1980s.
I hope I’m wrong. And we shall know soon enough. When we get to see the police report, it will either say something about Satanism and SRA or not. Because we know that SRA allegations have been made to police, if the police do not mention SRA in their report then we will know that Wiltshire Police chose or was forced to cover up Ted Heath’s alleged SRA.
Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale is under a lot of pressure from the Establishment. So far, for many months, Veale has withstood that pressure commendably. It would be tragic if Veale falls at the final fence.
It’s vital to the integrity of the police, and essential to children’s welfare and the public interest, that the Operation Conifer report does not omit, water-down or misrepresent the SRA allegations which are known to have been made against Ted Heath.
Chief Constable Veale can be emailed directly: Mike.Veale@wiltshire.pnn.police.uk
As a matter of urgency, everybody with a concern that Wiltshire Police’s imminent report about its investigation of Sir Edward Heath ought to be full and frank, including about SRA, should email Mike Veale to encourage him today.
Today’s front page story from The Times, about the serious decline of Britain’s defence capability, is alarming. Retired General Sir Richard Barrons told the Times, “There are potential risks to our homeland and our vital interests abroad that we cannot address with our capability.”
I agree. But permit me to re-phrase Sir Richard slightly: looking to the future, Britain’s capability to defend the British Isles is inadequate – let alone to defend British interests abroad.
A few statistics for you: in 1961 there were just seven mosques registered in Britain. Today there are over 1,750 mosques in Britain. Of that total, there are now over 440 mosques in London – more than any other European city (outside Turkey).
There are currently over four million Muslims in Britain. Over the next ten years that figure is likely to double to in excess of eight million Muslims. That really will be a lot of Muslims in Britain.
What kind of homeland defence problems might we have to deal with, just a few years from now? A rebellion by militant Cornish nationalists? Probably not, but now is the time for Britain to wake up to the likelihood of large-scale internal security threats in the years ahead.
There are plenty of people, British citizens, resident here, who are determined to conquer Britain, by any means necessary, in order to force the nation into total submission to their evil ideology. With such enemies we shall be obliged to contend, increasingly, in years to come – a conflict which, regrettably, appears already to be unavoidable.
Since my last post, I’ve had a couple of minutes to review some of the shocking lies that homosexual Leon Da Silva has published online about Taunton’s lawful Christian street preacher Mike Overd.
Mr Da Silva recently published a statement online in which he claims that “on a regular basis” Mike Overd “hurls racial, homophobic … and offensive comments at the public”, including telling the public “all gays will go to hell”, calling women “whores” as well as “targeting disabled children”.
Mr Da Silva claims that Mike Overd “makes racial remarks and homophobic remarks to anyone who walks past” and “causes local businesses damage on a weekly basis.”
Mr Da Silva operates a business from the E Cigarette Direct premises on Taunton High Street (next to Clarks).
Mr Da Silva claims Mike Overd’s gospel preaching amounts to “hate preaching”.
None of this is true. It’s a frankly ridiculous libelling of Mike Overd.
Mr Da Silva claims Mike Overd has previously “got away” with “a fine” in relation to his street preaching. This is not true and is defamatory. (Mike Overd does not have any criminal conviction related to his street preaching and has paid no fine for such.)
Mr Da Silva claims Mike Overd “takes it [preaching] too far”, despite the fact that the courts have upheld Mike Overd’s preaching as lawful on three occasions (in 2012, 2015 and 2017) – as Mr Da Silva ought to know very well, because he is personally acquainted with two previous homosexual complainants against Mike Overd, a Mr Manning and a Mr Chalmers, whose complaints were dismissed by the courts in 2012 and 2015.
Mike Overd would be within his rights to take legal action to remedy this defamation.
Five years ago, with the backing of Avon & Somerset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), homosexual Mr Manning tried and failed to get Mike Overd convicted for ‘hate crime’. Similarly, two years ago, homosexual Mr Chalmers also failed to see Mike Overd convicted for ‘hate crime’.
And Mike Overd’s freedom to speak publicly about Jesus and the Bible was tested yet again in the famous 2017 trial and retrial of ‘the Bristol Preachers’.
To date, Mike Overd has been prosecuted (through to trial) for ‘hate crimes’ on three separate occasions, in 2012, 2015 and 2017. Following three trials and two re-trials, Mike Overd stands acquitted of all of the six ‘hate crime’ charges on which he has been tried since 2012.
A fourth ‘hate crime’ prosecution of Mike Overd was stopped by the CPS earlier this year, in the wake of the Bristol Preachers’ acquittal.
Mike Overd is now the most prosecuted Christian street preacher since the English Civil War.
The police and CPS have spent a taxpayers’ fortune over six years of campaigning to criminalise Mike Overd.
COMMENT: Where homosexuals’ claims of “Mike Overd said this” and “Mike Overd said that” are concerned, I’ve heard it all before. Such accusations are easily made, but none have led to a conviction. On the contrary, the courts have repeatedly held that Mike Overd’s street preaching is lawful. Given that Mike Overd is not breaking the law, his right to freedom of expression should be upheld by all concerned. Nobody is under any compulsion to like, respect or agree with what Mike Overd says, or how he says it, but everybody ought to respect his lawful freedom to speak, in a country which cherishes both liberty and the rule of law. The persecution and provocation of Mike Overd by Taunton’s homosexuals, and by the LGBT-obsessed Avon & Somerset Police and CPS must stop.
If this homosexual conspiracy against Mike Overd doesn’t end soon, I fear that it will lead to bloodshed. We may turn on the news to hear that knife-wielding, militant homosexuals have murdered Mike Overd on the streets of Taunton. If that happens, it will be the fault largely of the police in Taunton, who for years have gone out of their way to encourage public hatred for this one man, and who have portrayed Mike Overd as a criminal, though he is not. The time has long since passed for Taunton police to start doing their duty to protect the law-abiding citizen – Mike Overd – and to order the troublemakers and the mob to leave him in peace. But what are the police actually doing? After six years of persecuting Mike Overd, this month the police have arrested him yet again, after yet more homosexual complaining. So what hope is left for a good resolution to this problem in Taunton? If they can’t stop him from preaching Jesus, perhaps the only thing left for Mike Overd is martyrdom.
It was a scandal that never broke in the national mainstream media. Quite remarkable. There’s nothing the tabloid press likes more than a saucy scandal. The papers thrive on salacious stories of churchmen caught with their pants down. But the story of well-known Welsh pastor Richard Taylor failed to hit the headlines three years ago, at a time when this charismatic preaching celebrity was caught up in scandal.
(Before I go on, I should say this particular blog-post is probably of interest – and fully comprehensible – only to Christians. Non-Christian readers are therefore excused. Or why not read the Bible instead?)
On 10 August 2014 the congregation of Victory Church in Cwmbran were told that their pastor Richard Taylor had been involved in “moral indiscretion“. That was putting it mildly. Taylor had been caught out in gross sin, and therefore his position as pastor was untenable. What I know of this shameful situation need not be repeated here; I’ve no interest in gossip for titillation’s sake. What happened was sad for all concerned.
Richard Wayne Taylor, 42, was born in the Swansea district in 1975. He is married to Jill and they have four sons and a daughter. His brief (100+ pages), easy-reading autobiography To Catch a Thief (which I’ve read) was published by New Wine Press in 2006 – when Taylor was just 31-years-old. I did once meet Richard Taylor. It was about eight years ago; we spoke briefly. I haven’t met his wife Jill. Therefore my opinions regarding Richard Taylor were mostly formed from considering Taylor’s own written statements together with what has been reported about him online by others (of whom many are highly critical of Taylor).
Richard Taylor has been attacked as a charlatan, a con man and a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing. He has been vilified as a false teacher, a heretic and an apostate. My opinion is that Taylor does indeed have a track record of teaching – or of leading others in – various things which are not scripturally sound. I do not believe the so-called ‘Welsh Outpouring’ at Taylor’s Victory Church in 2013 was a spiritual revival attributable to the Holy Spirit. I think this ‘Welsh Outpouring’ is more likely to have combined a stirring up of people’s emotions together with manifestations of a spirit(s) not of God. I view the ‘Welsh Outpouring’ as a false revival akin to the ‘Toronto Blessing’.
(However, I do not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’. I do not say that the Victory Church in Cwmbran is wholly and irredeemably bad; I have neither the evidence nor the pure and perfect judgement necessary to conclude any such thing. It can be argued, soundly, I believe, that there is a continuum between the as-good-as-it-gets local church on the one hand, and, at the opposite extreme, some totally-apostate-yet-still-professing-Jesus, pseudo-Christian cult. So, for a local church which hasn’t ‘crossed the line’ into irrefutable apostasy, but which may be rotting on account of heretical teaching and conduct amongst some of its number, I concede as possible the scenario in which God is at work in the lives of some Christians – whether recent converts, or converted many years ago – in very close proximity, in the same local church setting, to demonic activity which masquerades as, and may be falsely-yet-deliberately portrayed as, or sincerely-but-mistakenly believed to be the Holy Spirit; moreover, Pentecostal churches are especially susceptible to such a scenario, when the pursuit of spiritual experiences is prioritised and regular, deep studying and practising of the truth of the Word is effectively sidelined.)
(Aside: the online polemical article Welsh Outpouring? Genuine or Fake? certainly hammers home that the ‘Welsh Outpouring’ was not of God. Of particular interest to me are the instructive remarks made about Peter Ould, who is currently with the Church of England and who is, according to Ould, a former homosexual who has gone straight. Ould hit my radar when he began to troll me on Twitter, which happened only after I went public with my support for Dr Patrick Sookhdeo – namely, that Sookhdeo is innocent of the charges on which he was wrongfully convicted in 2015. Since then, Ould has kept bad company on Twitter, joining in with and supporting other trolls against me, notably Alastair Allen – a proven thief and liar who also only began to troll me after I publicly backed Sookhdeo’s innocence. I found it interesting to note that wherever Ould goes, he gives off the same ‘spiritual odour’. Do I think it’s an aroma pleasing to the Lord? Well, I leave it to you to guess exactly what I know and have concluded about Ould.)
It’s easy to be deceived – and to deceive ourselves. The fact Richard Taylor sinned (don’t we all), and the fact that he has taught things which I and others judge to be of dubious compatibility with Biblical truth, are, though important to note, of less interest to me than questions regarding his motives, sincerity and self-awareness. Was Taylor bad, knew full well that he was bad, but pretended to be good? Or was Taylor a sincere but mistaken man, a sincere but misled man? Also, to what extent might Taylor’s historical use of mind-altering drugs continue to affect his conduct, and his insight into his conduct?
From reading To Catch a Thief, I’m inclined to think that Richard Taylor probably did have a genuine conversion to Christ in his late teens. The question is therefore one of what went wrong – and/or what is yet to be put right – in Taylor’s life, subsequent to Taylor’s early steps walking with his saviour, the Lord Jesus.
I think Richard Taylor’s teenage conversion was genuine, despite my general misgivings about the sort of charismatic influences – (I’m not a cessationist; I accept the ongoing reality of genuine gifts of the Spirit, whilst I abhor those manifestations of evil spirits or human emotionalism which I believe are prevalent in so many charismatic churches today) – to which he was exposed and embraced from the first, and also despite my particular misgivings about some of the things that are either said, [possibly] implied or not said at all regarding Taylor’s conversion in his book.
The 2006 copy ofTo Catch a Thief which I read contained an endorsement of the book by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. That rang alarm bells for me. If I were to publish a Christian autobiography, I would not consider the approval of Rowan Williams as either a selling point or something of which to be proud. Rowan Williams stands out as one of the most obviously non-Christian Archbishops of Canterbury in history. If there was any doubt about whether or not Rowan Williams really is a Christian, the question was resolved as long ago as 1989, when Williams gave his notorious and utterly anti-Biblical ‘The Body’s Grace’ lecture to a homosexual group. Back when Rowan Williams became Archbishop, I well remember that for years afterwards Christians were baffled by pretty much anything he said in the media, and would raise questions such as ‘Will he preach the gospel, do you think?’, or ‘Will he ever mention Jesus?’ I didn’t know any Bible-believing Christian who thought Rowan Williams was a real Christian. Not therefore the wisest choice of famous ‘Christian’ to endorse a Christian’s autobiography, but, when all’s said, no more than a trivial criticism.
At the back of ‘To Catch a Thief’ under the heading “A final word” Taylor is referred to, for the purpose of writing to him, as “Rev. Richard Taylor”. I know some people got really worked up about Taylor’s use of the title ‘Rev’ (or ‘Reverend’). Personally, I’m not too bothered about that. The fact is that Richard Taylor has never been ordained in the Church of England and so has no entitlement in law to the title of Reverend, and so some would say that any use of this title by him was deceitful, misleading, dishonest. However, Taylor did study theology at Birmingham Bible Institute; and it should be noted there are contemporary Christian circles – I’d say notably amongst African Christians, often found in the ‘Black Churches’, and others who tend to be quite Pentecostal by nature – in which ‘Reverend’ is used as a synonym for any pastor, preacher or church elder. And Taylor was a pentecostal church pastor, first in Tipton, then in Solihull and latterly at Cwmbran. I can think of quite a few people who are not ordained in the Church of England, but who are church pastors, and who are often billed in adverts for events or addressed by church members as ‘Reverend’. So I don’t think Taylor’s previous use of the Reverend title is by any means a hanging offence. Of much greater concern than the description of a Pentecostal pastor as a Reverend, is the large number of ordained churchmen who are entitled Reverends but who are not even Christians at all, be they atheists, pagans, practising homosexuals, paedophiles or whatever. When we have Archbishops of Canterbury who aren’t even Christian, I’m really not that bothered by a Pentecostal church pastor using a word to signify his role to the public which is strictly applicable as a title only for ordained churchmen.
Richard Taylor’s conversion happened at the age of eighteen in the context of the Victory Outreach men’s refuge and drug rehabilitation centre in Abertillery. This is recounted in the twelfth and final chapter of the book (specifically, pages 116 to 118).
The words ‘repent’ or ‘repentance’ do not appear anywhere in Taylor’s conversion account (Chapter 12), and there is no straightforward description of having repented either, in the sense of a simple sentence to the effect of ‘I turned away from sin and turned to Christ to save me from my sin’, but the account given does bear the hallmarks of somebody who has genuinely received Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. In recalling his moment of conversion, Taylor acknowledged that Jesus was crucified for him (page 117) and stated: “A strong conviction about sin came over me from the Holy Spirit and I knew … that it was my sin, things that I had done, that Had nailed Him to the cross.” (page 117). All well and good. After the conversion Taylor testifies to being delivered from drugs (page 119). Again, all well and good – and to be expected of someone who is genuinely a new creation in Christ, set free from bondage to sin. Taylor speaks much of his feelings at conversion. Salvation (by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone) is based on the facts of what Christ did for us, not on any feelings, which are not necessary to authenticate a conversion, though they do not invalidate it.
The Victory Outreach ministry was founded by Dinah Sansome MBE and her husband David in London in the 1960s. Richard Taylor encountered Dinah Sansome in person, immediately prior to and during his time at the Victory Outreach Christian community in Abertillery. I think only an extreme anti-Pentecostalist would claim that the likes of the Sansomes are not Christians, or that the Victory Outreach homes they were responsible for at the time of the eighteen-year-old Taylor’s stay were manipulative cults rather than Christian communities which provided healing ministry to men who typically had drug or alcohol problems, were homeless or recently released from prison.
I believe the seeds of Richard Taylor’s downfall are evident in his book, under the heading “Epilogue” (page 120). The epilogue states: “Whilst still at Victory Outreach, Richard began to travel sharing his testimony and was soon invited to preach at local churches. Later he began receiving invitations to preach at larger churches and shared the Gospel passionately seeing many people respond and come to Christ.” (Emphasis in bold mine.)
I saw a big, flashing 1 Timothy 3:6 alert when I read that.
In my understanding of the Christian use of the words ‘preaching’ and ‘teaching’, strictly speaking these roles are separate (though related) to each other in that preaching is simply proclaiming the Word of God, whereas teaching is explaining the Word of God. I don’t know exactly how the author meant the word ‘preach’ to be understood in the extract above, but it is probably reasonable for us to conclude that Richard Taylor was teaching the Bible to others and functioning in church leadership roles before he was sufficiently mature as a Christian to do so. Not only was he a new Christian, but at his conversion he was still a teenager, and one with a seriously dysfunctional past. Was Richard Taylor ‘raised up’ far too quickly? I’d say, yes, probably. Running before walking? Yes.
If we may reasonably infer the strong possibility of a man raised up prematurely, then it follows that Taylor may have been ‘thrown in at the deep end’, full of zeal but lacking in knowledge. We must also acknowledge that almost all of Taylor’s experience of ‘doing church’ has happened in the context of charismatic church circles. That will have coloured his theology and his approach to living out the Christian life.
Furthermore, at conversion, though we are henceforth saved (and sealed by the Holy Spirit), and though God often deals with a lot of our specific-to-us problems (besides the key, generic need to be saved from the wages of our sin) at conversion, there is, of course, still a long way to go in terms of sanctification. Most of us start the Christian life with lots of ‘baggage’ – including generational stuff – in one form or another, and which God deals with over a process of many years, even a lifetime. God is in the business of healing us and making us more like Christ, and He does it according to His timetable and in His way. It may be that God is not yet finished dealing with whatever exactly is Richard Taylor’s baggage from his pre-conversion past, or which may have built up in the years post-conversion.
At time of writing this, Richard Taylor’s website describes him as “a consultant to churches and pastors”. I’m thinking, “No.” Not when he has only recently failed in a pastoral role himself, in such a serious manner. I’m also thinking that, whilst there really are a few men in the body of Christ who have a genuine calling to be ‘pastoring pastors’, these men are almost invariably at least sixty years old and have probably been faithful servants of Christ for over forty years. I’m a year younger than Richard Taylor. I know that men my age – though we may be leaders, and bear heavy burdens of responsibility, and have a good measure of maturity in life – are not sufficiently experienced and mature enough to be ‘pastoring pastors’. I’ve met a few men who really are pastoring the pastors, and they are exceedingly more mature and experienced in the Christian life than I am; they are on a different plain of Christian maturity altogether. I think, in our contemporary Western context, for somebody to be pastoring pastors in their early forties, then that’s truly exceptional if both the ministry and its timing really are approved by God.
(Incidentally, I have never functioned in any formal leadership role in the context of church, though I do lead in other areas of life. If I’m never a church pastor, I will die a happy man. Have you read what the Bible says about pastoring? The qualifications/standards for the role? That God’s judgement awaits those entrusted with the spiritual welfare of others? To pastor a church is a great responsibility and burden, to be taken on only by those the Bible says are suitable for the task.)
God is sovereign. I think there’s a reason why God did not permit Richard Taylor’s downfall to get the Sun newspaper treatment. Is God finished with Richard Taylor? No. Is Richard Taylor finished with God? I would hope not, and I’m not inclined to believe it so. What does the future look like for Taylor? In my opinion, God’s will almost certainly does not include him being a church pastor, a pastoral consultant, a celebrity speaker or a life coach in the next few years. It does mean becoming more and more a humble man of God.
Richard Taylor needs to be accountable and under the spiritual authority of a good Christian shepherd (good pastor), and it may be that such a man comes from outside of charismatic church circles. Taylor needs to cherish his wife Jill – who is a precious treasure. A man can go a long way in life with the blessing and support that is a faithful wife of noble character.
It may be a good move to avoid the many modern and frankly awful translations of the Bible. Stick to the NIV translation (the 1973, 1978 and 1984 version), which is OK, or best of all, go to that which is far and away the most accurate and faithful translation ever made of the Bible into English – the 1611 Authorised Version.
I think God may be calling Richard Taylor to a period of stepping back, stepping down and going back to basics. To humbling himself. Has the theology gone awry? Get back to the Bible, and to sound, orthodox Biblical doctrine. What is the calling? How should that calling function in practice? I think Richard Taylor is primarily an evangelist, and that’s where his strength lies. If I were him, I’d seriously consider walking away from any paid, public preach/teach role inside churches, for a very long time. Maybe the time has come to take a ‘tentmaker role’ to meet his and his family’s needs, in conjunction with going forward in Christian ministry as an unpaid street preacher, taking the gospel to unsaved people, where they are to be found. No name in lights, no temporary materialistic rewards, just passionately serving Jesus at the sharp end, at the coal face of unsaved humanity. Who knows, in the future God may work through a humble, surrendered Richard Taylor’s street preaching to bring thousands of souls into His kingdom.
Richard Taylor may have ‘lost his mojo’ but the solution is simple: Jesus.
Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing. But with Jesus – when we’re right with Him – we have the victory, and we operate in His power, which is essential for us to be faithful in what we are called to do (which in Taylor’s case I believe to be evangelism).
Daniel Rowland was a great and powerful Welsh preacher of the eighteenth century. Bishop Ryle said of him: “The first thing I notice … of Rowland is the constant presence of Christ in all his addresses. The Lord Jesus Christ stands out prominently in almost every page… The blood, the sacrifice, the righteousness, the kindness, the patience, the saving grace, the example, the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ, are subjects which appear to run through every sermon, and to crop out at every turn.”
When the heart of Richard Taylor is full to overflowing with Jesus, and when, from humble heart and right motive, he commits the rest of his life to preaching the full and authentic gospel of Jesus to those who do not yet know Him, we may hope to see a great harvest for the Lord in His kingdom.
The recent post about Sir Edward Heath and SRA allegations has been read several thousand times by now. This blog’s readers are generally British but according to the stats, the Heath/SRA post has gone global, with readers from many different countries around the world. I say this not to boast but because it indicates that there is some significant interest in this subject of Ted Heath and SRA.
The UK’s national newspapers have been busy in attacking Operation Conifer over many months. I’d say the Telegraph in particular has excelled in polemical articles targeting the Wiltshire Police investigation of Sir Edward Heath.
This expert is Dr ‘Rachel’ Hoskins, described in the Telegraph article as a “leading criminologist” and “an expert in ritualistic crimes”.
(I say ‘Rachel’ Hoskins for the first and last time in the sentence above, so as not to confuse you, to be consistent with the name given for this person in the Telegraph article. But note that this ‘Rachel’ Hoskins is actually Dr Richard Hoskins – i.e. born male. This ‘Rachel’ is actually a Richard in a dress. The Telegraph may wish to present Richard as Rachel whilst leaving its readers ignorant of this fact, but I do not.)
Clearly, Dr Hoskins could not be more highly esteemed by the Telegraph.
Even clearer is Dr Hoskins’ agenda: it is plain from the Telegraph article that Dr Hoskins’ purpose is to shut down and discredit Operation Conifer – and especially to discredit any allegations of Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) against Sir Edward Heath.
The smoking gun in the Telegraph article is the reference to Michelle Remembers.
In the article, the Telegraph reports Dr Hoskins referring to “…a period in the late 1980s when fears of widespread satanic ritual abuse were triggered by a book. Michelle Remembers, by Canadian psychotherapist Lawrence Pazder, recounted his discussions with a hypnotised client who claimed there was an underground network of sadistic killers operating in North America. It was later widely discredited.”
Note the assertion of fact there. Dr Hoskins claims that the “widely discredited” book Michelle Remembers (1980) was the original and sole cause of a ‘satanic panic’ in the late 1980s.
This is what I might call the Michelle Remembers Fallacy, and it is a thirty-year-old staple of the British SRA denial lobby.
In 1990, the Mail on Sunday newspaper ran an article headlined “The Debunking of a Myth” (30/09/90) in which it was asserted that: “Before Michelle Remembers there were no Satanic prosecutions involving children. Now the myth [of SRA] is everywhere. The book was pounced upon by fundamentalist Christian groups, interest spread like wildfire across the States and the crusade spread to England.”
The Mail on Sunday article described Michelle Remembers as the “best seller that sparked a crusade”, and as “the seed work which began the current wave of hysteria”.
According to the mainstream press of 1990, concern about SRA was hysteria and SRA itself was a myth. For example, in an Independent on Sunday article headlined “Satanic Cults: How the Hysteria swept Britain” (16/09/90), long-time SRA denier Rosie Waterhouse wrote: “The Satanic [SRA] child-myth has taken on a life of its own and is out of control.” (As an aside, ten years later the Independent reported this.)
According to the British SRA denial lobby’s Michelle Remembers Fallacy, nobody had ever heard of Satanists ritually abusing children before Michelle Remembers was published in 1980, because of course it doesn’t happen, but, as soon as it was published, Dr Pazder’s book quickly inspired countless other therapists and their patients to ‘remember’ SRA child abuse which never happened – because SRA does not exist – at the same time as Satan-hunting Christian fundamentalists – first North American fundies, then copied by British fundies – started to stir up a ridiculous ‘witch hunt’ which grew to become a ‘satanic panic’ of mass hysteria about SRA in Britain by the late 1980s.
That is the long-established story of the SRA denial lobby in Britain – and it simply isn’t true. It doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny: it is both factually incorrect and logically unsound. It is a fabrication for the overall purpose of denying the existence of SRA (but it has become well-established as the standard SRA debunking orthodoxy; with, for example, this ‘It-was-Pazder-Started-the-Panic-about-a-Myth’ line undergirding the Wikipedia entries for both Dr Pazder and his notorious book).
Consider that in his book Blasphemous Rumours: Is Satanic Ritual Abuse Fact or Fantasy? An Investigation (1991), journalist Andrew Boyd asked the question: “…why were there no [publicly reported] disclosures [of SRA] before the publication of Michelle Remembers in 1980?” (Chapter 14, The Climate of Denial; page 272.)
Boyd proceeded to unfold several reasons in answer to this question, and commenced by stating: “There were [disclosures], but they were not made public. [For example] Gordon Wright from Plymouth says he has been counselling clients who have been ritually abused since the 1950s. Hampshire Psychiatrist Dr Kenneth McAll says one client who was abused within a generational Satanic cult from childhood is now a woman in her eighties. Before the books, before the videos, before the present clamour. …”
Just because the Press did not report on SRA before 1980, or just because people did not speak to journalists about SRA before 1980, it does not follow that therefore SRA must be a myth invented and popularised by a single book in 1980. (And as a general point, I might add that there have always been subjects and stories the mainstream press quite simply will not report on, or cannot report for legal reasons: and it is this news which you never hear about, the news that is suppressed which is one of the most potent propaganda tools for controlling a population.)
It is not true that SRA did not exist before Michelle Remembers invented it in 1980. It is not true that the publication of one American book Michelle Remembers led within a few years to the rise of panic and hysteria about a non-existent problem in Britain.
Even the part of the SRA denial lobby’s Michelle Remembers Fallacy about Christian fundamentalists stirring up the public to panic about a mythical problem is readily refutable nonsense.
Dr Pazder and his patient Michelle were Catholics and their book includes the claim that Michelle had visions of Mary. Christian fundamentalists, whether in America’s ‘Bible Belt’ or elsewhere, are avowedly protestant and would find the Pazders’ Catholicism a major turn-off. The Pazders were culturally anathema to Bible-believing, ‘born again’ Christians, whether American or British. Christian fundamentalists do not do Catholicism and they do not do Catholic visions of Mary. Dr Pazder was not a Christian fundamentalist and Michelle Remembers is not a book to please Christian fundamentalists. Furthermore, the 1980s is not noted as a period in which evangelical Christians exerted a strong influence over the British press or British public life. And if we take the Church of England as a barometer, by the late 1980s Bible-believing evangelicals had long since ceased to dictate the agenda. There wasn’t any notable public campaign on SRA by British evangelicals in the 1980s, either in society generally or confined within Christian circles. Moreover, even amongst British evangelicals today – in the wake of Jimmy Savile – it remains the case that SRA is not a popular concern; I’m not aware of even one person in Britain with a funded Christian ministry to tackle SRA, as paid for by the charitable giving of other Christians. Any person looking to campaign on SRA will not be received with open arms or benefit from open wallets in British evangelical churches today. SRA is not a subject on the lips of most British Christians; very few Christians in Britain are talking about SRA currently, and even fewer are active in doing anything about it.
SRA was a problem known about in Britain – amongst SRA victims and those they turned to for help – prior to the publication of Michelle Remembers. Christians have long been drawn to the medical profession and to caring for and counselling those in need of healing and seeking peace. Inevitably, in the 1980s (and before and after), the world of doctors, therapists and carers – people who were familiar with trying to help those SRA victims who came to them – included many who were Christians. In that respect, it can be said, quite correctly, that some Christians were at the forefront of trying to care for the growing number of SRA victims who sought help in the 1980s, but this signifies only that Christians (and others) were responding to a growth of SRA cases presenting to them at the time – it does not mean that, in 1980, British Christian doctors and therapists suddenly seized upon Michelle Remembers for inspiration to manipulate patients into divulging false memories of SRA.
Now, in identifying this smoking gun, as fired at us by Dr Hoskins, I am not ‘straining out a gnat’ or ‘majoring on a minor’. This smoking gun is neither trivial nor peripheral to the issue of SRA.
The ‘Blame-Michelle–Remembers-for-Starting-the-SRA-Myth’ line has always been a fundamental creed for SRA deniers in Britain.
Ask yourself why one who is billed as “an expert in ritualistic crimes” would deploy the SRA denial lobby’s original narrative to dismiss SRA as a myth.
How come “an expert in ritualistic crimes” uses the standard debunking argument, dating to the late 1980s, of those who say there’s no such thing as ritualistic crime, of those who say SRA is a myth, of those who are readily identified by their references to ‘mass hysteria’ and ‘satanic panic’?
Why would “an expert in ritualistic crimes” adopt and advance an argument the primary purpose of which has always been to deny the existence of ritual abuse?
Somebody may accuse me of being a little misleading here, and may point out that Dr Hoskins is held to be an expert on African religions and specifically African ritual crime, and so it’s a little unfair of me to imply the peculiarity of an expert on SRA denying the existence of SRA. And I concede that it would be a little sneaky of me to imply that; so, let’s be totally honest about the fact that Dr Hoskins is not an expert on Satanist Ritual Abuse at all – even though, given the context of its article (i.e. SRA allegations) the Telegraph, in describing Dr Hoskins as “an expert in ritualistic crimes”, is guilty of misleading the public that Dr Hoskins is an SRA expert. What we have then is the Telegraph misrepresenting an expert on African religions as an SRA expert (not to mention the Telegraph failing to mention the fact that Rachel-is-really-Richard) – at the same time as we have this ‘expert’ on SRA – as we’d reasonably infer (just from reading the Telegraph) – trotting out the SRA denial lobby’s favourite fallacy.
Does it follow that an expert on the rituals of primitive African religions is also an expert on post-war British SRA? Are we talking about the same subject here? I know a few people who are genuinely worthy of description as SRA experts, and I cannot count Dr Hoskins amongst them.
In conclusion then, the Telegraph – which is clearly keen to see Sir Edward Heath exonerated – has, in the article we’ve looked at, offered us an ‘expert’ whose credentials as an expert on post-war British SRA are extremely dubious, and moreover, whose core ideology on SRA in Britain is manifestly rooted in the British SRA denial lobby’s long-standing policy of ‘Blame-Michelle–Remembers-for-Starting-the-SRA-Myth’.
Operation Conifer ought to be allowed to run its course. Dr Hoskins’ ‘whistleblowing’ in the press was prejudicial to what is an ongoing investigation, and was surely intended to sabotage it. Why?
Has somebody got something to hide about Sir Edward Heath?
Why must SRA – which undoubtedly does happen – be debunked at all costs?
Who stands to benefit from deceiving the British public into thinking that SRA is a myth, invented by fantasists in the first instance, and subsequently disseminated and sustained by crazy religious fanatics?
I can see no harm in allowing Wiltshire Police to finish doing their job, to the best of their ability.