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     MindNet Journal - Vol. 1, No. 56b * [Part 2 of 2 parts]
     V E R I C O M M / MindNet         "Quid veritas est?"

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Editor: Mike Coyle 

Assistant Editor: Rick Lawler

Research: Darrell Bross

[Continued from part 1]

   Furthermore, Grof[24] provides another case about a repressed
memory that was independently verified. During treatment a
patient named Eva remembered that when she was nine, she and her
younger brother asked their father what men and women did in sex.
He proceeded to demonstrate by having intercourse with his wife
in front of the children. Grof was exceedingly skeptical about
this repressed memory until Eva's brother became his patient two
years later and independently remembered precisely the same
   Finally, the FMSF claim that there are no repressed memories
is totally demolished by the work of the renowned brain surgeon
Wilder Penfield. He discovered that when he touched a particular
area of the brain with an electrode, his patient would remember
in vivid detail some totally forgotten event or scene; if he
touched a nearby point, a different memory would emerge, again to
the amazement of the patient.
   Two cases are reconsidered that supposedly prove the existence
of false and implanted memories. But do they?

   17. The FMSF and recent articles in the media have produced a
few cases that they claim demonstrate that memories can be
implanted and that recovered memories can be false. However some
of these cases can be understood in ways that lead to entirely
different conclusions. Here are two cases the FMSF say would
confirm their claims:

One case presented in The New Yorker[25] deals with Paul Ingram,
who confessed to having sexually abused his two daughters with
two other men. His sons and his wife, in addition to both
daughters, remembered a lot of other sexual abuse in the family.
A prosecution expert, Richard Ofshe (an FMSF Advisory Board
member), in order to prove that false memories can be implanted,
lied to Ingram, told him that his son and daughter had also
accused him of forcing them to have sex while he watched. Later
Ingram made a detailed confession of this made-up incident. This
convinced Ofshe that Ingram's memory of the incident was false
and had been implanted. Because of this, he concluded that
Ingram's other confessions were also false, even though they were
generally corroborated by his daughters, his sons and his wife.
Ofshe did not consider that the "lie" he implanted might have
been the truth. In fact it would have been typical behavior for a
man as sexually obsessed as Ingram.

The article assumes that Ingram was not sexually obsessed and
that nothing really happened, that the story of repeated incest
was the result of the entire family's "brainwashing" and "trance
states." However, when one son, who lived far away and knew
nothing about the prosecution of his father, was first
interviewed by detectives, he told them right away about once
discovering his father and the same two other accused men
engaging in weird sex with his tied-up mother. The brainwashing
and trance theory advanced by Ofshe and the author (Lawrence
Wright) is contorted, far less convincing, and covers fewer of
the facts than the simple explanation that Ingram and his family
essentially told the truth--at least about the sexual activities
of the family and the other accused men. Their stories were all
about sexual obsession in the family and differed only in various

A woman whose story was told in a recent series of articles in
the San Francisco Examiner (May 1993)[26] remembered having a
hole drilled in her skull during her childhood abuse, a memory
that could not be confirmed by X-ray. What the general public
does not know is that abusers often deceive children into
believing they have been seriously injured by telling them they
are going to injure them and then hurting them a little.[*] When
she was a child, the woman in the Examiner article probably had a
drill-like object pressed into her skull until it hurt badly, so
that she genuinely believed that her abusers did drill a hole in
her head. Thus to abusers, for their own self-serving reasons,
sometimes implant false memories in children.

   Abusers often go through fantastic charades like this so that
if the child tells the story, it seems unbelievable (as was true
in this case) and the abuser can escape conviction.

Why some people repudiate memories of sexual abuse.

   18. The FMSF cites a number of cases in which people recover
memories of childhood sexual abuse and later disavow them. The
FMSF claims that this means the memories were false. The FMSF
does not understand that most incest survivors during the early
part of recovery have strong doubts about their memories. Their
almost universal reaction is "I can't believe it, I must be
making it all up."When survivors do repudiate their memories (and
some do), they almost always do so to escape the intense pain,
not only of the memories, but of alienation from their

IV. Accusations against abusers and the FMSF response to them.

Why people sue their abusers.

   19. The fact that children sue their abusers can indicate that
their memories are true. For what motivates some children to sue
are strong feelings of hatred, hatred generated because of what
was done to them and because their lives were ruined. Such strong
feelings cannot be generated by false memories implanted by a
therapist. Their feelings are generated by what really happened.
(Others sue in an effort to validate their memories and to regain
their confidence by standing up to their abusers.)

Concern for accused families and for abused children.

   20. Families accused of harboring a molester are invariably
portrayed by the FMSF as terribly grieved by their child's
accusations, concerned about the child's welfare and anxious to
have the child back in the family fold. The FMSF _assumes_ that
the accusation is false and that therefore the child has lost a
"loving" family. The FMSF does not understand how much false
concern some members of a family can generate to cover up the
presence of an abuser in their midst. The family and the FMSF
would rather protect the alleged abuser than open up to the pain
that the child may have suffered in the family. Most people
prefer to believe they had happy childhoods and blank out he pain
they actually experienced.

Note: We do not argue that there are no cases of fabricated or
mistaken memories of incest, just that they are few.[27]We have
the greatest sympathy for the few individuals who are falsely
accused of sexual abuse. But we know of so many cases in which
the accusation is just (even though the accuser denies it and
appears to be above reproach) that we believe that most of the
2,345 to 4,650 families appealing to the FMSF do harbor an

V. Evidence of sexual attitudes leading to, and resulting from

Sexual obsession.

   When children are sexually abused, they become aroused
because sexual organs are made for pleasure and because the
children absorb the sexual excitement of their perpetrators,
pleasure that shields them from the pain of what is happening.
When they grow up, and the pain of their abuse begins to
surface, many of them compulsively seek sexual pleasure instead
of experiencing the pain.
   People like to believe that women like Madonna were born
sexually obsessed, but as incest survivors understand, no child
is born sexually obsessed; they are _taught_ to be. In the movie
"Henry and June" we saw the sexual obsession of the writer Anais
Nin. Now that we know about her childhood,[28] we can see the
origin of her obsession. When she was a child, her father
photographed her nude, beat her and seduced her. It was this
abuse and her fusion with her father's sexual feelings when she
was a child that drove her to become sexually obsessed when she
was an adult.

Evidence of sexual obsession in society.

   21. Nin's sexual obsession is not unique; nor is its origin
in her abuse when she was a child. The rampant sexual obsession
in our society also has much of its origins in the widespread
sexual abuse of children.

+ Studies show that the multi-billion dollar pornography business
is largely produced by and consumed by people who were sexually
abused as children.

+ Moreover, many studies reveal that the vast majority of
prostitutes were abused as children.

+ And finally, still other studies reveal that the enormous
number of rapists in this country were also sexually abused as

Evidence of sexually abusive feelings towards children.

   22. The FMSF wants us to believe that children are rarely
abused, but there is a well-known phenomenon in our culture that
indicates there is a lot of sexually abusive feelings in our
society toward children. That phenomenon is the brisk business in
"kiddie porn."Illegal magazines, films and videos show small
children being forced to engage in sexual activities with each
other and with adults. Recently "kiddie porn" has been widely
circulated through computer "bulletin boards."This material not
only shows the existence of sexually abusive feelings towards
children, but also encourages the abuse of children.

   23. We recently learned of the abuse of children in the Branch
Davidian religious cult in Waco, Texas. The leader, David
Korresh, talked often to the cult's children about sex, had sex
with many young children and beat them cruelly. (He denied this
of course, like most abusers do, but the children themselves and
many adults reported the abuse.) Similar abuse has been reported
in some of the 2,000 other cults in this country. Since these
cults operate in great secrecy, the extent of the abuse is
unknown, but it is virtually certain that children in many other
cults are also being abused.

   24. Thousands of small children disappear every year and are
never seen again, except on flyers that ask "Have you seen me?".
It is likely that many of these children are kidnapped by
pedophiles or cults who sexually abuse and often kill them. Many
FMSF followers try to deny this by proclaiming that almost all
missing/abducted children are eventually recovered. But the fact
is that of 1,487 children reported to the National Center for
Missing and Exploited Children who were abducted by non-family
members, only 362 (less than one if four) were recovered alive
(187 turned up dead).[29] And these figures of abducted children
are only the small percentage that are reported to the Center; a
1990 Department of Justice report says that in 1988 alone there
were 4,600 non-family abductions reported to police; if the ratio
of one in four is recovered, this means that about 3,450 of just
_these_ reported children disappeared in 1988. Since there is no
central place where missing children must be reported, it is safe
to assume that all these figures understate the facts.

VI. Evidence that there are many "highly respectable" abusers.

Sexual abuse of children by the clergy and scoutmasters.

   25. The FMSF would like us to believe that respectable people
do not abuse children.[30]But recent cases demonstrate that some
of the most highly respected people, for example, members of the
clergy and scoutmasters, have been among those who are known to
have abused children.


   26. Although many pedophiles have been convicted, many,
probably thousands, remain in the employ of the churches and the
Boy Scouts, which, like the FMSF, want to go on believing that
the sexual abuse of children is not such a serious problem, an
attitude that aids and abets child molesters.
   The efforts of the FMSF will likely result in ruining the
lives of thousands of children. The pseudo-scientific
pronouncements of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation are
likely to convince hundreds of judges to acquit or parole
thousands of child molesters, who in turn will go on to destroy
the lives of tens of thousands of children. For example, Driver
destroyed the life of Nessler's son, who became dysfunctional
after the rape (and who threw up when he saw Driver in court).
In their sympathy for accused abusers, the FMSF are willing to
disregard the suffering of millions of children and to be
indirectly responsible for the sexual abuse of thousands more
   Incest survivors are bringing new knowledge into the world,
knowledge about the abuse that children suffer in families and
knowledge about how to recover from that abuse. By accepting
this new knowledge mankind can be freed from much of its
   But, like all major shifts in human consciousness, the
insights of incest survivors arouse resistance. Just as the
Church forced Galileo to recant the new knowledge he discovered
about the solar system, so do the forces of ignorance and
reaction want incest survivors to recant the new knowledge they
have discovered. These reactionary forces refuse to face that
an enormous amount of abuse goes on in many families. They want
to pretend that the TV stereotype of the happy family is real.
Protecting a false image of parents means more to them than the
fact that children are being damaged. Whenever the son or
daughter of a celebrity reveals the unpleasant facts about his
or her family, the public attacks the son or daughter and
refuses to believe that what they revealed is true. This has
happened again and again, for example, when the son of Bing
Crosby told the truth about him and when Patti Davis told the
truth about the Reagan household.
   Incest survivors have looked deeply at the dark side of
family life; they know that parents often destroy their
children's self-esteem by abusing them in many ways (not just
sexually). They see how this abuse sets up a chain reaction
that ruins the lives of generation after generation.
   Followers of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, like most
people, resist the new knowledge about family life because they
are afraid of facing their own hidden pain. They desperately keep
on waving the tattered banner of "family values."Their path of
denial belongs to the past. The path of incest survivors, the
path of all those who courageously face the truth, is the path of
the future. It is the only way to achieve lasting family values.
   Have courage. The truth of incest survivors, like Galileo's
truth, will finally prevail because it _is_ the truth.


[1] (c) Copyright 1993 by John Backus, Sc.D., and Barbara
Stannard, Ph.D. This article may be reproduced in its entirety or
in part for no-profit distribution provided this copyright
notice is reproduced with it. Written permission is required for
all other uses of this article; please contact the authors at
(415) 731-8155.

[2] An FMSF flyer says 2,345 families have called complaining
about their children remembering sexual abuse (more recent data
indicates the number of families is now 4,650).

[3] Pamela is the Executive Director of FMSF. Together Peter and
Pamela effectively _are_ the FMSF. See page 6 for their
daughter's sensational story about their family.

[4] A caller to the FMSF 800 number on May 3, 1992 was connected
to Dr. Underwager in his Minnesota office. He was described as
the Director of FMSF (Pamela Freyd was the Executive Director).
It is rumored that Underwager may no longer be on the FMSF board,
but the undated flyer we received from FMSF in February 1993
lists him as an Advisory Board Member.

[5] "Pedophelia" or "paedophilia" is defined by Merriam-Webster's
Collegiate Dictionary as "sexual perversion in which children are
the preferred sexual object."

[6] In this article we use the popular term "incest survivor" as
shorthand for the longer phrase "adult sexually abused as a

[7] But recent revelations by the daughter of the founders of the
FMSF show that her parents founded the FMSF because they wanted
to discredit their daughter remembering that her father sexually
abused her. See page 6 for a discussion of the Freyd family.

[8] One man had a serious cough for three months until he
remembered that his mother tried to drown him. No medical
treatment helped, but the cough disappeared quickly after
recovering the memory.

[9] See "Psychiatric Misadventures," by Paul R. McHugh, The
American Scholar, Volume 61, Number 4, 1992, an article
distributed by the FMSF; see also "The False Memory Syndrome
Phenomenon," an FMSF booklet, pg. 6.

[10] An FMSF "expert," psychiatrist Harold Lief, reveals the
following opinions in Addiction & Recovery (May/June 1993): if a
memory occurs after reading The Courage To Heal, or if it
concerns abuse by a woman, or deviant abuse, or very early abuse,
then, in Dr. Lief's opinion, it is less likely to be true. (One
must suppose that if someone remembered deviant early abuse by
his mother, and had read Courage, then Lief would be certain it
was false.)Lief also compares going into the details of childhood
traumas to "exorcism for demonic possession."These illogical
opinions seem more a result of denial than of reason.

[11] _Denying_the_Holocaust_ by Deborah Lipset (Free Press,

[12] _Come_Here_ by Richard Berendzen (Villard, 1993).

[13] See page 11 for further discussion of why this happens.

[14] Pamela Freyd is the Executive Director of the FMSF; she and
her husband are the driving forces behind it. In a very real
sense they _are_ the FMSF. The evidence strongly suggests that
the FMSF grew out of the Freyds' effort to discredit their
daughter Jennifer. That is why it is important to give some
details of their story from the daughter's viewpoint. Their
daughter has never sued her father. She did not make her side of
the story public until after her parents sent their account to
her colleagues. See "Memories of a Disputed Past," The Sunday
Oregonian, August 8, 1993. See also the paper "Theoretical and
Personal Perspectives on the Delayed Memory Debate" presented by
Jennifer J. Freyd at The Center for Mental Health at Foote
Hospital's Continuing Education Conference: Controversies around
recovered memories of incest and ritualistic abuse. August 7,
1993. Ann Arbor, Michigan.

[15] The history of childhood sexual abuse is characteristic of
many child abusers, including the emotional denial of their own
abuse. It is little wonder that this exceedingly sexualized
man--who has not dealt with the anguish of his own disastrous
childhood--has no sympathy for his daughter's pain. Many abused
children grow up pleased with their sexual obsession; they often
believe that they were always "sexually precocious" because they
are unable to face that they were trained to be that way. They
usually prefer to regard their sexual training as "love." Their
sexual obsession is important to them because it often represents
one of the few seemingly "alive" and pleasurable aspects of their

[16] An odd example of their "love": Peter Freyd wrote Jennifer
"[I think of] the whole project [the FMSF!] as being primarily a
way of communicating with our daughters."

[17] Peter Freyd's older brother says of Peter and Pamela that
"both are convinced they have the only correct view, any
disagreement is seen as being misinformed or deranged."

[18] FMSF Newsletter, December 5, 1992, pg. 1.

[19] _Babies_Remember_Birth_ by David Chamberlain, Tarcher 1988.
Dr. Chamberlain gives references to many scientific articles
documenting that unborn and newborn children acquire and remember
a lot of information from their environment.

[20] _Realms_of_the_Human_Unconcious_ by Stanislov Grof (Souvenir
Press, 1975) pps. 161-2. A patient accurately remembered the
sounds of a village fair his mother visited just before his
birth. His mother, who had not told her son about it, told Grof
about her excursion when he questioned her later.

[21] "On Meditation and the Western Mind" in
_Noetic_Sciences_Collection, _1980-1990_, pg. 119.

[22] Here we do not make technical distinctions between
"repressed," and other, temporarily inaccessible memories such as
those resulting from dissociation or post-traumatic stress
disorder. We use "repress" in the dictionary sense of "to exclude
from consciousness."

[23] FMSF Newsletter, December 5, 1992, pg. 1.

[24] _Realms_of_the_Human_Unconscious_ by Stanislav Grof, Souvenir
Press, 1975, pps 66-8.

[25] May 24, 1993.

[26] This series is yet another example of biased reporting:One
of the authors, Stephanie Salter, was the lover of a man accused
by his daughter of molesting her.

[27] These usually occur in bitter divorce and custody cases.

[28] _The_Erotic_Life_of_Anais_Nin_ by Noel Riley Fitch. Little,
Brown, 1993.

[29] Brochure of the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children. These figures cover eight years of the Center's
operation. The Center operates under Congressional mandate and
works in cooperation with the Department of Justice.

[30] For example, their brochure says that the median income of
their supporting families is $60,000, that 60% are college
graduates and 25% have advanced degrees. One must assume that
this is supposed to indicate that these families are
"respectable" and therefore could not have abused their children.

[31] May 6, 1993.

[32] June 14, 1993.

[33] Driver was also divorced in 1980 on the grounds that he had
molested his wife's 5-year-old son. A single child molester like
Driver or Father Porter, if not in prison, often destroys the
lives of literally hundreds of children.

Comments? Please call the authors at (415) 731-8155.
October 30, 1993

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