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Encyclopedia > Roch Theriault

Roch "Moses" Theriault was the charismatic leader of a small cult based near St. Jogues, Quebec. Between 1977 and 1989, he held sway over as many as 17 adults and 26 children. He used all of the 9 women as concubines, and probably fathered most of the children in the group. He was arrested for assault in 1989, and convicted of murder in 1993. He is serving a life sentence and in was denied parole in 2002. Along with Clifford Olsen and Paul Bernardo, Theriault is one of Canada's most notorious criminals. In religion and sociology, a cult is a cohesive group of people (often a relatively small and recently founded religious movement) devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be far outside the mainstream. ... Motto: Je me souviens (French: I remember) Official languages French Flower White garden lily Capital Quebec City Largest city Montreal Lieutenant-Governor Lise Thibault Premier Jean Charest (PLQ) Parliamentary representation  - House seat  - Senate seats 75 24 Area Total  - Land  - Water    (% of total)  Ranked 2nd 1,542,056 km² 1,183... Concubinage is either the state of a couple living together as lovers with no obligation created by vows, legal marriage, or religious ceremony, or the state of a woman supported by a male lover who is married to, and usually living with, someone else. ... Clifford Robert Olson Jr (born January 1, 1940 in Vancouver, Canada) is a serial killer who claimed the lives of eleven children in the early 1980s. ... Karla Homolka & Paul Bernardo on their wedding day Paul Kenneth Bernardo (he later assumed the name Paul Teale) (born August 27, 1964 in Scarborough, Ontario) is a Canadian serial killer, known for the murders he committed with his wife Karla Homolka. ...

During his reign, Theriault mutilated several cult members. He once used a meat cleaver to chop off the hand and part of the arm of Gabrielle Lavalée, one of his concubines. He also castrated a young boy to try to "cure" a minor health issue. His major crime was to disembowel (and thus kill) Solange Boislard, another of his concubines. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Disfigurement. ...

The cult was based primarily on Old Testament themes, such as women's obedience to men, polygamy, harsh punishments, the righteousness of the leader and the sinfullness of the followers, and living miracles. Theriault was called "father" and re-christened all members with biblical names. He also claimed to be a reincarnation of the prophet Moses, and demanded the respect appropriate for such a figure. Based on the testimony of former cult members, Theriault was probably delusional and may have actually believed he could do miracles. In particular, he once tried to resurrect a woman he had killed by sawing the top off her corpse's skull and masturbating into the cavity. Theriault was originally a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Moses or Móshe (מֹשֶׁה, Standard Hebrew, Tiberian Hebrew Mōšeh, Arabic موسى Mūsa, Geez ሙሴ Musse) is a legendary Hebrew liberator, leader, lawgiver, prophet, and historian, and also one of the greatest figures in Jewish history. ... The Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA), colloquially referred to as the Adventists, is an evangelical Protestant Christian denomination that grew out of the prophetic Millerite movement in the United States during the middle part of the 19th century. ...

Theriault was charming to young women and was a good speaker. He was able to persuade his followers to sell their belongings, sever ties with their families, and move to a commune near Burnt River, about 100 km northeast of Toronto. He convinced the women that all of them were his wives, and that they should bear him children. Even while he was in prison, three of his wives continued conjugal visits and bore him more children. Theriault's control over his subjects may not have been entirely due to his charisma; like other cult leaders, he probably identified and surrounded himself with particularly suggestible followers. A person is deemed to be suggestible if they accept and act on suggestions by others. ...

Theriault's life was subject of the television movie Savage Messiah.

One of his former followers, Gabrielle Lavalée, wrote an autobiographic book, "L'alliance de la brebis" (The Alliance of the Sheep), about the sect.

External links

  • Rick Ross on Theriault
  • CTV on him
  • Record of Legislative Assembly of Ontario discussing his case



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