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Posted by: William Law ( )
Date: November 07, 2013 02:59PM

Do Mormons Breed Psychopathy?

Yesterday, KSL carried a report about Israel Keyes, a Mormon-raised serial killer who had victims strung across the country and killed for blood sport—he also robbed banks, committed arson, raped, and kidnapped for ransom. Ted Bundy was his idol. KSL mentioned a number of ways that Keyes and Bundy were alike and ways that they were different. And in-step with Mormon organizational omissive reporting, they didn’t mention that both were Mormon.

This morning, while working, I listened to a Dateline Mystery, “The Player”, about a Mormon man named Ernie Sheerer III (sic?) who killed his parents, played women, etc. I realized that I have seen many crime shows about Mormon men killing their wives, involved in affairs, etc.

Is this more common with Mormons? The first book of the Book of Mormon teaches that it’s okay to kill innocent people to cover one’s own tracks (Nephi killing Laban is essential about Nephi being free to get away from Laban without being caught for stealing, so murder was appropriate and commanded but the Mormon god).

Is Psychopathy more common, or what? I thought about true psychopaths in Mormonism and it seems like they fit pretty well. My list:

Joseph Smith – Lying, stealing, false prophesying, plagiarizing, womanizing, murder (using others)

Brigham Young – All the same, plus likely mass murder

Orrin Rockwell – serial killer, stealing

Bill Hickman – serial killer

Sidney Rigdon – religious inventor, angel impersonator, and author of first extermination order

John D. Lee – mass killer (taking orders, so maybe not technically a psychopath)

Arthur Bishop – serial killer

Gary Gilmore – serial killer

Mark Hacking – wife killer, chronic liar

Josh Powell – wife killer, child killer

Jason Derek Brown – killer

Jeffery Holland – chronic liar

John Swallow – Utah attorney general

The Laferty brothers -- Blood atoners

Mark Hoffmann -- forger, murderer


For such a small group, they sure have been "prodigious".

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Posted by: ddt ( )
Date: November 07, 2013 03:16PM

Where's Porter Rockwell?

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Posted by: William Law ( )
Date: November 07, 2013 03:19PM

Sorry, I just called him Orrin Rockwell--he was a very bad many. Undoubtedly a murderous psychopath.

There are probably a 100 more that we could add to the list.

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Posted by: T-Bone ( )
Date: November 07, 2013 03:19PM

I don't know if it breeds it or causes it, but it sure encourages it.


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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: November 08, 2013 02:51AM

Group-think goes to extremes when you all believe that you're soon to become a god. The church is a great place for sociopaths.

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Posted by: They don't want me back ( )
Date: November 08, 2013 10:15AM

Religions where adherence to rules,conformity, blind obidence and extreme religous themes, along with the hypocrisy that surely follows will distort any chance at healty mental processes.

So many places around the world and have becomes sick religious cultures, Muslims dominated countries seem to have very sick cultural practices. Mormonism is a young cult, I would project a couple hundred years out that it will rival the Taliban in crazy.

Either that or religion is a great place for crazy to hide because it seems normal to hide amoung the other crazies?

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: November 08, 2013 01:47PM

Does Mormonism breed psychopathy? Does a bear crap in the woods? Seriously, we need to know the answers to both questions, since Mormons are going to spend a whole lot of time in the woods of my home state from now on.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: November 08, 2013 02:23PM

I'm not sure I agree with all of your characterizations. Hacking, Powell, and Brown strike me as more narcissistic than psychopathic. John D. Lee and maybe even Hickman were acting under orders from an authority, which is distinct from antisocial personality disorder. Also, some of those people were only marginally Mormon. Gilmore, for example, may have been baptized and gone to church sometimes, but the connection was not deep. The same is true of Ted Bundy.

But putting aside those quibbles, I think you ask a great question. We know that psychopaths are either born or they are produced by abusive childhoods. That abuse can be physical, emotional, or just extremely neglectful. Childhoods like that produce borderline personality disorder, narcissism, and sociopathy at much greater frequency than in normal families. I believe that TBM families spend so much time at church that they are often neglectful, that the guilt that little boys and girls suffer through is sometimes extremely emotionally destructive, and that overly stretched parents can be more rageful and violent than other parents. So yes, I think Mormonism probably does produce a higher proportion of deeply troubled adults. The Laban notion that killing to cover your tracks is okay, that righteousness brings wealth, and that some people are above the law of God and man would then be excuses that narcissists and sociopaths use to justify to themselves and others what they might well have done anyway.

I wish there were a way to test your hypothesis that Mormonism produces a higher number of disturbed and dangerous people. Intuitively, I think it is right.

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Posted by: Devils Spawn ( )
Date: November 08, 2013 04:49PM

I'm a psychotic sociopath and I Love the Church! }:-)>

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Posted by: heat27 ( )
Date: November 08, 2013 05:48PM

you forgot Martin Mcneil!

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Posted by: William Law ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 04:38PM

Another example. Of course, he was attracted to the teachings and would have made a good life-long Mormon if'n the Mormons didn't have to give blacks the priesthood.

In the comments section, Whiskey Tango gives other examples.

Joseph Paul Franklin:

Honest to god, I think Mormons have a disproportionate number of psychopaths.

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Posted by: joejoe50 ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 04:52PM

Perhaps psychopaths who happen to be born into Mormonism find that it nurtures their genetic predisposition, and those who become converts are naturally drawn to Mormonism.

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 05:02PM

Doubt it breeds psychopathy (antisocial qualities).

From my experience (much of it professional) it breeds, or rather selects for, fearful anxious indecisive people.

It breeds neutered sheep.

Hands down.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: November 18, 2013 10:20PM

Bingo. On the other hand, wolves are always pulled to sheep.

When I first became a cop, my fear and indecisiveness killed my first job. I actually realized right away that it was coming from my Mormonism, and when I went back into law enforcement in an entirely different state, I made sure it was after I had been out of the church for a while. I was still a believer in Tennessee, and thought I could never succeed in the field I wanted to pursue. Came to Florida, an apostate, and I soon found the anxiety vanishing. I will never be Dirty Harry (BTW, based on an actual person, though the real guy didn't shoot all that many people) but I was able to do the job until my health gave out.

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Posted by: LabansWidow ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 05:17PM

I think it breeds or encourages both types of people, ie narcissistic sociopaths and anxious fearful depressives. The sociopaths are attracted to the doctrines of royal priesthood, superiority to others (including all women if you are male), becoming a God, a Saviour on Mt Zion etc. it's all about power and self-aggrandisement. The non-sociopaths look at the requirements, realise they can never do enough or be good enough and become anxious and depressed. Self esteem goes down the toilet.

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 05:59PM

Interesting analysis, makes perfect sense.
And of course only the broken sheep would present asking for help - skewing the sample.

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Posted by: anon 21 ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 05:27PM

I think that the trend of mormons not to use psychiatric counseling outside of church resources has an impact on every members' mental health. Wheter there is osychopsthy or depression or's feel that there is a gigantic difference. The cojnselor outside of the church doesn't have that 'special spirit' to help them. The counselor may not be in the specialty or have the education or experience to respond to the needs of the victims or the psychopaths. Many religions see mental health specialists as from satan or not as good as coming from god, so the issue becomes chronic.

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Posted by: William Law ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 05:51PM

I admit that "breeds" is probably not the right word--of course, I just dashed this off, seeing what others thought.

I think it's better to say "empowers" or "attracts" instead of "breeds". And I am fairly certain that it's true.

LabansWidow is probably right about it attracting different types of people, depending on what they get out of it. If you see yourself and the world from a particular, self-important perspective, then the grandiosity of the church's claims would be quiet appealing. "Godhood". "Only True and living". "Power and authority to judge, condemn and punish others". Etc.

Those who have a low sense of self-esteem, like my parents when they joined, find that the church needs people at the bottom who are willing to give it their all. They find value there, but see themselves in a different light. It creates a perfect system of violators and victims.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: November 17, 2013 09:22PM

actually, this is subject to scientific inquiry, b/c MRI & other imaging/measurements can determine reactions to lies and other forms of abuse...

interesting proposition, I'd say...

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Posted by: adoylelb ( )
Date: November 18, 2013 02:45AM

Martin MacNeill is another Mormon and wife killer, who was just convicted of murder. It's also suspected that he might have killed a brother of his.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/2013 02:46AM by adoylelb.

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Posted by: tumwater ( )
Date: November 18, 2013 07:10PM

What about all the Mafia/Cosa Nostra killers, aren't almost all of them "good" Catholics?

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Posted by: European ( )
Date: May 01, 2014 03:05AM

Yes, but cinical ones. Not followers like Mormons... oh, please.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: November 18, 2013 10:10PM

Yes, and it uses many wives to do so.

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: May 01, 2014 03:21AM

I believe it causes members with inherited tendency to bring these "tends-to" traits forward and act on them.

It is obvious that the church agrees with me since it has seriously prevented any legal case going forward where a determination would have to be made on the sanity of someone who heard God speaking to him (like Brian David Mitchell, Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper). Or Gordon Hinckley in the case of Mark Hofmann, the document forger, who would have had to testify that God DIDN'T speak to him...

In a previous post some months ago I made a list of the various symptoms of mental illness which are encouraged in Mormonism. I am on the wrong computer to pull it up, but others might be able to list these.

We all know that hearing voices is a hallmark of Mormonism where God still speaks to his people....

Other hallucinations such as visions of ancestors, sensations of chest burning, and even prickling of arms is taught by the cult to be acceptable signs of the presence of the Holy Ghost.

When you couple this with early training in lying to avoid punishment (masturbation harassment), it's no wonder Utah leads the nation in young male suicides from ages 16-24, plus the highest white collar crime in America.

You can be trained to have no conscience or one so tilted that you avoid coffee and cigarettes, but bludgeon your wife to death because she wasn't worthy.

Kathleen Waters

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