Id like to start by thanking David Hunter, our speaker in November, for his moving and informative presentation. One thing we always have to keep in mind is that many of the issues we discuss here are not just abstract ideas; they affect real people. Because of an unscientific belief in the reality of repressed memories, Hunter hasnt seen his own daughter in over eight years, and has never seen his grandchildren. Lives were ripped apart because of this belief.
Hunters presentation brought that home. In addition, our audience had others whose lives had been directly affected by repressed memories. One woman talked about her friend who had been in therapy for over 10 years. Another told us about the therapy that she had gone through and how she had accused her father of abusing her. Thankfully, she got out of that therapy and reconciled with her family and then had the courage to come to our meeting with people she had never seen before and speak up about what had happened to her. I think everybody at the meeting felt the emotions that were brought out by Hunter and these audience members.
Unfortunately, I also learned another lesson: Dont have a speaker on Election Day. Between that, the weather, and various other circumstances, I believe we could have had a much greater turnout (as it was, we still had about 20 people, so I was not really disappointed). I counted only six actual REALL members in attendance (though its possible a few others were members that I just havent met). I had several suggestions that we ask Mr. Hunter to return and speak with us again at a later date; we all hope he will have some good news to give us by that time.
As I pointed out above, the belief in the validity of repressed memory therapy has ripped apart lives. While not all the beliefs we address are as dangerous, I think most have the potential to be harmful in one way or another.
Which leads us to our December meeting. In October, ABC showed a special called The Power of Belief, with John Stossel. We will have a showing of that videotape, along with one of our usual spirited discussions. If you didnt see the show (which Im sure most of you didnt, since it was on at the same time as my talk in October and I know you were all with me at the Library instead), youll want to join us. Frankly, Im still somewhat amazed that this was on a network show, since they usually tend to be mysterious rather than solving anything.
I can virtually guarantee that you will like this show, so please meet us at the Library on December 1.