Belief Beat

Belief Beat

Jaycee Dugard & Elizabeth Smart Kidnappings: Satan Among Us… And God?

Did you watch Diane Sawyer’s interview with abduction survivor Jaycee Dugard last night? There are a lot of parallels to the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, though Smart was rescued after nine months, while Dugard was held captive for 18 years, giving birth twice in her backyard prison.

Both Smart’s kidnapper Brian David Mitchell and Dugard’s kidnapper Phillip Garrido said they were acting on special instructions from God, using these delusions to justify their crimes. (Of course, Christianity doesn’t condone kidnapping and rape… but, when used by madmen, twisted beliefs serve as an effective tool for manipulation.)


Both Mitchell and Garrido had female accomplices — their wives, who were somehow in their thrall, sharing their religious convictions. Were they also crazy, or just taking “obey thy husband” too far?

But perhaps above all, both Smart and Dugard now serve as living examples of incredible hope and strength — for some of us, reaffirming faith in God, even as the horror of what they went through begs the question, “Where was God?”

I don’t know if everyone can handle reading Dugard’s book, but the TV interview is worth checking out, if you missed it. There were lots of references to religion’s role in her captivity, ranging from how Nancy Garrido, a Jehovah’s Witness, first met her husband by discussing the Bible with him in prison, and how Phillip Garrido would make Dugard listen to ” long lectures about the Bible and how he is the chosen one.”


What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

*Click here to subscribe to Belief Beat and click here to follow Belief Beat on Twitter.

Comments read comments(7)
post a comment
Rob Robertson

posted July 11, 2011 at 8:12 am

She could call herself anything she wants. JW or Catholic or Baptist. I am aware enough to know that her
behavior would never ever be acceptable by any of those religions. I don’t know of any religion that in
any way would condone or encourage such demonic, evil, twisted, sick, horrendous, disgusting and
any other so described behavior. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and I talk to people of all different
religions in my door to door work and I obviously don’t believe the teachings of other religions or I would
join them. However, I know there is not a householder out there that I have ever talked to that would be
in support of those evil people. Dragging the name of Jehovah’s Witnesses into it, is only fodder for those
who out of ignorance of the facts, already “hate” the group. They are quick to accept lies about them but
won’t take the time to really look at their beliefs and how they conduct their lives in the community. Their
reputation for being very family oriented and loving and kind and a clean people is known world over. They
live by the bible and they disfellowship those who decide to stop living by the bible and refuse to change.
In this they stand out among other large religious organizations that turn the eye and accept adulterers and
thieves and all kinds of behaviors that are condemned in the bible. That’s all I have to say on that.

report abuse

Nicole Neroulias

posted July 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

Good point, Rob Robertson. And, as I wrote in this post, Christianity doesn’t condone these crimes. But it’s relevant that Nancy Garrido considered herself a Jehovah’s Witness (at least at one point), and that Phillip Garrido had religious delusions and prayed to stop his evil actions.

Maybe Nancy thought she and the Bible could heal him, at first. Maybe as they told Jaycee, both Garridos honestly thought that by holding her captive as some sort of sacrifice, they were keeping him from going after countless other girls, and this was somehow a lesser evil. Either way, religion is a big part of this story.

report abuse

John Arnett

posted July 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I wonder why when bad things happen and someone once associated with of JWs is involved the media etc. feels the need to report the perpetrator’s religion? Why don’t followers of other religions have their religion high lighted by the media? When do we ever hear “Bob Jones a Baptist raped, murdered ….etc.” In all fairness, Judas betrayed Jesus … did that act nullify the validity of Jesus teachings of love and caring? No! People do whatever they want to do regardless of their up bring. Please note that Adam and eve had it made but ended up choosing to rebel! If the Bible isn’t your thing, just look at the news about a good mom’s kid gone bad.

report abuse

Dave Weidlich

posted July 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I don’t give much thought to the religious reflections of clearly deranged people such as the kidnappers of Eliz. Smart and Jaycee Dugard. The fact that both kidnappers claimed to speak to God or speak for God does nothing to discredit their religions, whatever they are.

I watched the interview last night. The major contributing factors in the case of Dugard’s kidnapping included mental illness, pornography, experience. We may eventually learn more. I expect to find that Garrido was a victim of sexual abuse himself.

Garrido seems conflicted – he recognizes the sinfulness of his actions and prays for deliverance from his disease. At the same time, he is setting the scene so he can continue in his sickness, even using God to manipulate his victims.

Where was God? is a good question. There is no simple answer.
My question throughout the interview was “Where was Jaycee’s father?”
I wrote about it here:

report abuse

Eva Stavrinides

posted July 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

In all honesty: I could not even handle watching Diane Sawyer’s interview…

report abuse


posted July 12, 2011 at 7:22 pm

They represent Christianity about as much as the 9/11 terrorists represent Islam.

report abuse


posted September 19, 2011 at 3:04 am

I have been a devout Christian all my life. It is the Dougard case that has changed everything. The Bible says in so many ways that God is there for you.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you”

“Yet not one of them [a sparrow] will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”

But I ask: Where was God? Where was the power of prayer? Where was the Holy Spirit that was left to guide, direct and comfort us?

Many times in the Bible and many people today claim that God spoke to them or came to them in a dream. How many times did a parole office, police officer, etc. come to the house where this poor girl was held and brutally raped, sodomized, and brainwashed starting at the age of 11. Where was God? Why did God not come to someone in a dream the night before or after the visit and show them that there is a girl hidden in the house? Why did the Holy Spirit not direct one of these officers to search the back yard? The answer?

1) there is no God or?
2) God does exist but does not act on this earth and prayer is useless

THERE IS NO OTHER ANSWER. If you believe the second, however, then you CANNOT believe the Bible is true because the Bible DOES NOT describe a world that God created and now turns His back on.

“If two or more are gathered in my name then I am there”
“If you ask your father for bread would he give you a stone? How much more does God love you then your own father?”
“Come to me yea who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

So where was God? Where was prayer? It could have been an incredible testament to God to hear that a probation officer left and claimed to hear from God or God came to him in a dream and he called the police and a young 11 year old Dougard was discovered. We all know that there was not such dream, no such revelation. GOD DID NOTHING. Read “Mother Theresa, A Crisis of Faith.”

The funny thing???? If you worship the God of the Bible then Phillip (the captor) will go to heaven because he believes in God and has asked for forgiveness. Dougard, however, does not believe in God (because of this evil man) and she is the one who will spend an eternity in hell. Does this make sense to anyone?

But we just don’t understand…. And who are we to question God? I am so tired of hearing this lame answer. A thinking, caring, loving human. That’s who.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!
Thank you for visiting Belief Beat. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy:   Beliefnet News   Good News Happy Reading!   ...

posted 4:57:28pm Feb. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Fun Friday: Atheist Temple Planned for UK's Nonbelievers
Author Alain de Botton has announced plans to build an Atheist temple in the United Kingdom, presumably so nonbelievers have a place to gather and share their philosophies. Um... isn't that what Starbucks is for? Also, I can't wait to see ...

posted 2:53:42pm Jan. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Alaska Airlines: High Payers No Longer Offered Sky Prayers
Alaska Airlines, now the country's seventh-largest airline, has announced it will stop offering prayer cards with its in-flight meals. (It's just raining religion news in the great unchurched Pacific Northwest lately.) I've flown Alaska ...

posted 11:07:56am Jan. 26, 2012 | read full post »

Washington's Gay Marriage Debate: Clergy vs. Clergy
I reported for Reuters at the Washington state Capitol yesterday, covering the public hearings on a gay marriage bill -- and in between, the breaking news that the state Senate now has enough votes to pass the bill. (The House already had ...

posted 11:24:39am Jan. 24, 2012 | read full post »

What Israel's Domestic Policy & Santorum Supporters Have in Common
Hope everyone had an introspective Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, whether observed as a faith-related holiday, a nice break from the work week or something else entirely. Check out this story from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly about how ...

posted 1:32:44pm Jan. 18, 2012 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.