Leaving an abusive marriage is hard enough – but without familial support?
Anna M. Jonathan is on the BTR.ORG Podcast sharing her harrowing story of escaping Satanic Ritual Abuse in her childhood family, only to find her that her husband was also abusive. She courageously left her husband with zero support from her family, clergy, and community. Read the full transcript below and tune in to the BTR.ORG Podcast for more.
No Support From Family? Create Your Own Inner Circle
When your parents and siblings don’t support you in ending your abusive marriage, working toward safety can feel daunting – maybe even impossible.
However, women like Anna work toward safety without familial support every day. You can too.
Rather than isolate yourself and make the journey on your own, create your own inner circle of safe people who can support you as you work toward peace and safety.
What is a “Safe Person”?
Start with just one safe person. Is there anyone in your life who:
- Validates your feelings?
- Encourages you to trust your gut and listen to your intuition?
- Refuses to engage with the abuser?
- Offers a feeling of consistent calmness and acceptance when you are around her?
If so, consider investing trust and time in this person – perhaps you will build your community of “chosen family” with this person in your inner circle.
But What if I Don’t Even Have ONE Person?
If you’re like many women in the beginning steps of their journeys to safety, then perhaps you feel at a loss, without even one person who could be considered “safe”.
That’s okay! We’ve all been there.
Victims of abuse thrive when they have opportunities to connect with safe women who offer validation and compassion – so take steps to begin building your community. Try:
- Praying or manifesting a safe person into your life.
- Attending local women’s groups – your local DV shelter is a great start.
- Attending a BTR.ORG Group Session to hear what safe women sound like, and to practice the vulnerability of sharing a bit about yourself.
- Joining our social communities online on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook to interact with other women.
BTR.ORG Is Here For You
No matter where you are on your healing journey, we are here for you.
We love you. We believe you.
Welcome to BTR.ORG. This is Anne. I have a really special guest on today’s episode. Her pen name is Anna M. Jonathan. She is a victim of Satanic Ritual Abuse and a Satanic Ritual Abuse Occult. I don’t know a lot about this, so I’m really interested in talking with her today. Trigger warning, for those of you who this might be a really rough topic for, we’re not going to get graphic into the actual literal abuse. We will talk around that because I don’t want to trigger anybody, but we are also going to talk about how this interacted with her faith and the religion that she is a part of.
She and I share the same faith tradition. We’re both still active in our church, so we’re going to be talking about that. For those of you who are agnostic or different Christian religions or Jewish or Muslim or whatever you are, you are welcome here. We are going to just share from our own faith experience. Welcome, Anna.
Anna M. Jonathan (04:00):
What Does “Satanic Ritual Abuse Occult” Mean?
We’re gonna start with the definition of “Satanic Ritual Abuse Occult”. Would you say there’s a difference between just satanic ritual abuse and the occult part?
Anna M. Jonathan (04:11):
I think when someone hears the title “Satanic Ritual Abuse Occult”, they just shut down many times. And when you break it down, it makes a lot of sense. “Satanic” is just Satan – evil – and ritual is something you do in a precise manner, and we all do things like that. We’d have rituals every morning. We’d get up and brush our teeth and eat our breakfast or something like that. So a ritual is not evil in itself, but it is when it’s put together with the word Satan, abuse, or occult. The ritual is not a good situation. Abuse is hurting someone with violence or cruelty, and it could be done repeatedly. And “occult” means “out of view” or “secret” or “a secret society.” So you’re just looking at evil things that are done in a precise manner. Abusively, undercover, basically secret.
Do Satanic Ritual Abusers Know They’re Doing Evil Things?
The people who are engaging in these types of behaviors, do they know, do they acknowledge like, ‘We acknowledge this is evil, this is wrong.’? Do they acknowledge that what they’re doing is what Satan would want? Are they like, “Yeah, Satan’s proud of us.”? Or do they just think they’re doing good things?
Anna M. Jonathan (05:41):
Well, I can’t talk for all of them, but I can only talk for the occult that I was involved with from my birth. I was born into a family where my father was already a member of a satanic ritual abuse cult. And this particular occult was based really loosely on the law of Moses. And so in Mosaic law, there’s different definitions of numbers and how things were done. Ceremonies were done according to ages of people, so they would loosely follow that, yet would use actually my church that I grew up in as the cover. So they were all good members of the church, supposedly on the outside, but they would meet together and loosely base everything on a Mosaic Law. They felt like they were interpreting things in their own way.
How Do Satanic Ritual Abuse Occults Justify Their Abuse?
Really quickly, when I hear the term satanic ritual abuse occult, I think that the people involved are like, “We are worshiping Satan.” That they are acknowledging that they are, they talk about Satan, but you’re saying that’s not the case. The reason why it has that satanic label is because of the evilness of it. But in their actual rituals, they could be referencing God, they could be referencing scripture, or in this case you’re saying the law of Moses. And so a little kid might not realize this is evil. They might think, Oh, this is just a religious ceremony. Am I making sense?
Anna M. Jonathan (07:33):
That’s how they make it out too. The occult that I was associated with mimicked the hierarchy in the church. There was a bishop, a prophet and people-in-the-church-type thing or in the occult. So they would mimic certain things, yet they were very strong to do things to let you know physically and tangibly that Jesus was not all powerful. Satan was more powerful than Jesus Christ. So when I say Satan –
“Who’s More Powerful?”
Oh, so they did acknowledge that.
Anna M. Jonathan (08:10):
It’s a power struggle. It’s not, “Do they both exist? Does Jesus exist and does Satan is exist?”, it’s “Who’s more powerful?”
And in their minds –
Anna M. Jonathan (08:23):
Satan is ‘more powerful’ because Satan is tangible, but Jesus Christ is ‘a thing of your imagination.’
Why is Satan tangible to them, just out of curiosity? Because you can abuse someone and the violence is right there? So they were acknowledging Satan, right?
Anna M. Jonathan (08:42):
That’s right. Yes.
“I Thought the Things That Were Happening… Were Normal”
Thank you for explaining that. So you have written that you didn’t realize that your home was different than anyone else. Can you talk about that?
Anna M. Jonathan (08:52):
I was born in the later fifties, sixties. And so back then you really didn’t share a lot about the things in your home. Even up until I was married, I thought that the things that were happening to me at home as compared to being outside of the house were normal, that that’s what people did, even though I didn’t feel good about it.
I got sick a lot as a child. I had mononucleosis for eight months and lots of throat issues, but I just thought I was a sickly child. My parents argued a lot and I had several siblings and I just thought, Well, all families are like that. All families struggle with their parents when you get to be a teenager; everybody doesn’t like their mom and dad. Well, I didn’t like my dad.
We weren’t really allowed to mingle and really talk. You just didn’t talk a lot about your family’s situation.
“I Always Really Had a Bad Self-Esteem”
I really was not aware until I was married and had gotten into therapy and started doing some cognitive thinking therapy that I started to realize that, Whoa, something’s really wrong here. And I really didn’t understand it because I had been raised in the gospel of Jesus Christ in the church. So I really tried to live the principles of the gospel in my home and do everything I was supposed to do through the teachings of the church, and just realized that I fell short all the time, that I just wasn’t that good. I always really had a bad self-esteem because I just felt like I just wasn’t measuring up.
…Not knowing that you had experienced this horrendous, horrific abuse in your home thinking that something was wrong with you.
Anna M. Jonathan (10:55):
Exactly. And not everyone in my home was experiencing the same things I was. There were some that were “favored”, and some of my siblings were “favored” that they were more involved in the occult, and others weren’t involved hardly at all. And we didn’t talk between ourselves. As I look back and I look at other people and I’ve learned and had education and stuff, I realize, Whoa, our family <laugh> was really raised in a very different situation.
“They Were Starting to be Groomed in the Occult”
How many siblings did you have?
Anna M. Jonathan (11:31):
There’s eight children altogether.
Since you’ve realized what it was that you experienced, and you’ve, I assume, kind of started talking about it, has anyone else confirmed your experience? How has that been with your siblings?
Anna M. Jonathan (11:50):
What’s interesting is I grew up in the church. I ended up marrying a returned missionary, later actually realized that it was basically an arranged marriage because my husband was a part of the occult which I wasn’t aware of.
We were married in the temple, sealed in the temple. We had children and they were starting to be groomed in the occult. I just knew something was really, really wrong and I started going suicidal, and this was when I was married. And so after getting out of the psych unit for the first time, I was told that there was a real problem in my marriage, but divorce was never an option because I’d been sealed in the temple. I just kept trying to figure out what was wrong in my husband and my relationship that I was doing wrong, and why we always kept hitting brick walls.
“You Learned Not to Show Any Emotions”
And so finally I started going to see a therapist, and the therapist didn’t pick up on any spousal abuse or child abuse that were both going on in our home. But I saw this therapist for four years, and he’s the one that had me read a lot of books. I started to realize that in the occult you were punished if you showed any emotions at all. I know that that’s not just an occult thing- I know that there’s abuse that goes on where if you show any emotion then you get more abused. But it was traumatic- if you cried at all or whimpered at all as a child, you were horribly abused, hurt more, and so you learned not to show any emotions. But this therapist started teaching me to listen to myself and to really understand my feelings and go with my feelings.
That was such a blessing. I really started to listen to the spirit more and started trusting my feelings, and I started to get the feeling that something was really wrong, especially when these doctors in the psych unit were saying, “There’s something wrong in your marriage. You need to get into some counseling and stuff.”
My husband wouldn’t do it, but it was not very long after I got out of the hospital that he left and we separated, then I was blamed for keeping him out of the home. My kids wanted to see him so bad, and I just kept saying, “No, there’s something wrong.” “No, he’s not coming back in to the home.”
“I Had No Support From My Family Whatsoever”
As time went on the next few months, I ended up with a new therapist for three sessions. After two sessions, this therapist just said, “Would you at least try and consider divorce?”, and I was shocked. I just said, “Okay.” I asked her, “What had I been saying that you would think I needed to get a divorce?” And she said there were three things: “First of all, you can’t stand him touching you. You don’t trust him with your children, and you self-destruct in this relationship.” And so within two hours after I left her office, I had a divorce attorney. I had finances to pay the attorney, and I had called my bishop, and I knew that I needed to talk to him.
“Those Three Women Encouraged Me to Follow My Feelings”
From that point on, I just really had to listen to the spirit because I didn’t have any support. I had no support from my family whatsoever. I had my two visiting teachers and a sibling that lived about five hours away that we talked on the phone, and this was before cell phones. We talked on the phone about every day. Those three women just encouraged me to follow my feelings, to follow the spirit and to have the faith to follow it.
Well, we did get a divorce, and that was extremely risky for me to do because that could blow the cover of the church for the occult, because our family was looked at as the example family. We all had been sealed in the temple. All the kids had been, and we were all active and we all excelled in our jobs and stuff.
For listeners who aren’t familiar with our faith, we attend church services on Sunday, and then we also participate in temple ordinances. When she’s talking about the temple, she’s not talking about the satanic ritual abuse occult stuff. We’ve both attended the temple. Nothing cultish or satanic happens in our temple, so I just wanted to make sure that we separated that out. So as people listen to the story and they hear you talking about, “We were sealed in the temple”, which is a really beautiful ceremony and very peaceful, and the spirit’s there, that’s not what she’s talking about. She’s saying that she participated in that with her husband, thinking they had a good relationship. And then this satanic stuff was happening elsewhere. Sorry, I just wanted to make that clear for people who aren’t members of our faith.
Anna M. Jonathan (17:18):
I appreciate that.
“Everyone, Even My Attorney, Just Thought That I Was Going to… Fail, Totally”
Did you start talking about the abuse during this time at all publicly? You’re saying that they didn’t want you to blow the cover. So do you have family members at this time who are trying to kind of shut you up, or are they trying to get you not to get divorced?
Anna M. Jonathan (17:35):
Well, at this time, I had just come out of the psych unit about eight months before this, and I was on heavy medication. I wasn’t working. I was a stay-at-home mom, and yet I was proceeding to get a divorce <laugh>. And everyone, even my attorney just thought that I was just going to burn, just burn, just fail totally. But I had the spirit of the Lord. I had the Lord on my side, and I can testify of that. And we went through with the divorce, and it wasn’t until after the divorce, and my bishop was very unhappy about it.
When Clergy is Not Supportive of Safety
Sorry, your bishop did not want you to get divorced?
Anna M. Jonathan (18:23):
No. The day that I came home from the therapist, the doors just started opening like crazy for me to walk through the doors of divorce. And I went to see my bishop three days later and I explained to him everything, and I wanted his counsel on it, and he gave me a scripture to read out of the Book of Mormon. He just said, “If you read this scripture and do what it says, you will get your answer.” And when I walked out of his office, I was so discouraged. But the thought came to me is that I had asked for his counsel, and I at least needed to try and follow that counsel and see what happened. And so I did. I went home that night and I started studying that scripture.
“I Needed to Educate Myself on Spousal Abuse & Child Abuse”
I started fasting and praying, and then a couple of days later, I went to the temple, which the temple for me was the sacred place. And I got my answer in the temple, and it was definitely the answer that I was to divorce. And I was shocked because I thought something must be really wrong for the Lord to sanction a divorce. I still really didn’t understand the whole situation. And so I just basically did this on faith.
The bishop was shocked when I told him my answer. He in fact brought me some articles the night before the divorce court about how divorce was not the answer. And I wrote him a card and just said, “I don’t know why, but I know that if I don’t do what I feel impressed to do here that I will be destroyed. It’s not gonna be good.” And I said, “…so I have to do this. I just feel so impressed that I need to do this.”
And so I did. And about a month later after the divorce, I felt so much peace, but then I started getting the impression that I needed to educate. And you’ve got to remember that this was what, 30 years ago, 25-30 years ago, and I felt impressed that I needed to educate myself on spousal abuse and child abuse. So I went to the library and started checking out books and reading. And that’s when I realized that I was being abused as a spouse sexually. And then the question came to me was, if I’m no longer available, what does the perpetrator do? And in the book I was reading it confirmed; it says many times they’ll turn to the children, and I just panicked and it’s been definitely an unfolding for me.
When the Children Began Divulging the Abuse
But that’s when I started learning about my children being abused; about my abuse. Subsequently, about 10 months later, we moved to a whole other state. It’s one of those stories where I prayed one night and just told the Lord that I would go anywhere he wanted me to go. I was hoping that we would move to my sibling five hours away that had been so supportive because I had no other support from any of my family. But the answer came that I was to move to a whole other state where I knew nobody. After I fell apart and cried, <laugh> wondered why, I pulled up my bootstraps and got ready. And about six months later, as we moved to another state, and when we moved and got that far away from my father, from the occult, from my former husband, my kids started talking about all the abuse from their father and their grandfather.
And I started remembering. I started having some dreams and started remembering piece by piece, all the occult abuse, and I was in therapy for about 14 years, off and on. I had many therapists until I found the one therapist that did understand child ritualistic abuse, which affects you in a very different way. You see things in such a different way when you are in a ritualistic abuse occult as a child growing up in it.
I would work with a lot of therapists and I would get to a point and they would just think, Hey, she’s good. And then I would relapse really bad, and they couldn’t understand why.
“My Ex-Husband Kept Coming & Trying to Get Custody of the Kids”
We were the pioneers of that time, and this one psychologist knew what she was doing and she understood it. Now, she was Jewish, and so she didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. And so as I remembered different things and was working through them, whenever anything came up where I had a very sacred experience, she and I would bump heads a lot. But she knew her stuff. She knew how to work these things through. And as I worked them through, I was able to eventually accept that I had been involved in a satanic abuse situation, which was really hard because I didn’t want to be around anything so hideous.
But then also realized that I was not responsible. That was another really hard thing to get over. Then to be able to put it in the past where it belonged, that it was not who I was now, it wasn’t anything that I would choose, it’s not anything that is happening to me now. So there was a lot of healing that went on.
Basically through all of that, my husband kept coming and trying to get custody of the kids.
Your ex husband, right?
When Anna Began Filling in the Pieces
Anna M. Jonathan (24:24):
Yeah, I had full custody of the kids and he kept coming to the other state trying to get custody and he never did.
Unless you experience some of it or understand some of it, it just sounds really crazy. But it’s real and it does happen.
It does not sound crazy to us. You are not crazy. Did you start talking publicly about it with your family members?
Anna M. Jonathan (24:58):
Well, what’s interesting is when I was in therapy starting to work through some things, I would remember bits and pieces and I would try and put them together. And I remember talking to one of my siblings one day and saying, “I know this sounds really crazy, but I just think this has happened, and do you know anything about it?” And she goes, “Oh, yes.” She said, “Yeah, this did happen.” And we couldn’t figure out what was going on, and I kind of filled in a piece that she didn’t have.
My kids and I first moved to this new state, I started having dreams, and it was dreams about my father coming into my room. The first thought I had was to call another sibling and say, “Can you come out and visit me?” And when the sibling came out, we talked and I said, “Do you remember dad doing this or doing that?” And she confirmed to me, yes, and just filled in a lot of different parts. This really happened. The more things that came out that way, it was just more validating.
“I’m Not Crazy”
And also, back when I first started remembering these things, I came across an article that had been written and someone had done a lot of research about satanic abuse victims. They had done an in-depth study with over 60 people. They said they could have done hundreds more, but they limited it because it is very taxing. And I read it. It was, like, a 22-page document, and it was so validating. And these were people from all different denominations. It just was like, “Okay, I’m not crazy because there are all of these people that are saying, ‘Yeah, these things happened to us.'” And they weren’t related people. They didn’t interview brothers and sisters. They had different people from all different families.
As far as my own family, since I moved to the other state, I have had my one sibling come out and visit me when we first moved. And then another sibling moved close to me, which was great. And then that’s all. I don’t have any connection with any of my family right now, and I haven’t really talked publicly about this. I’ve talked to a lot of people individually, and I had a lot of people in my ward that were very supportive when I was in therapy, and I talked a lot to them.
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We’re gonna pause the conversation right here, and Anna is going to come back next week, so stay tuned. Please remember to support the BTR.ORG Podcast. And until next week, stay safe out there.