40 years ago, Roch Thériault came to the Gaspé, from la Beauce, in order to establish his disciples in the margins of society, in anticipation of the end of the world. Saying they are in contact with the almighty, thus he had concluded publicly to the occurrence of the apocalypse, for February 1979. Ex-adventist, he led his sect, in interpreting the bible. Called “Moses” by his followers, he seated his power by treating its members with outbursts of savagery of which we are still talking. Its exactions are described in The “alliance of the sheep”, a book written by Gabrielle Lavallée, who followed Moses from 1977 to 1989.
BONAVENTURE — many people in the Baie-des-Chaleurs have worked for a variety of reasons, Roch “Moses” Thériault and his disciples between their arrival in Bonaventure, in the Gaspé region, on June 5, 1978, and their departure, in February 1984.
The initial reactions to the presence of the group oscillated between disbelief and sympathy, including the taunts, encouragement, business relationships, and a lot of curiosity. The sect had enjoyed a bit of local support to reach the Dry lake, 11 July 1978, 15 kilometers to the north of Saint-Jogues, parish located to the north-east of Paspebiac.
André Babin, of Bonaventure, for his part, met Moses in 1979.
“I was working at the ministry of natural Resources, section of forest. All it took was the advise to get out. It was illegal to settle on the public lands without a lease. But he replied that when you want fire, you have rights […] He was drunk once and he had crumpled the letter of the Ministry. The department had not intervened at the beginning of the occupation of the sect, it must be said,” says Mr. Babin.
He recalled that, in 1978-1979, “it became fashionable to go to the mount of the Lord. It was who was going to visit. The boss, at the office, went there on the weekends. We didn’t know why. Police also went there during their leave. People were going to deliver the fish. This was not stupid, that “Moses” was. He is manipulating the people. He was deified by some people. The interventions came from the time where there has been abuse. The youth centre was monitoring the situation of children. He [Moses] has been released”.
Johanne Larocque, Saint-Jogues, remembers “Moses” in the summer of 1978.
“He came to saw wood with my father, who had gone to deliver his boards. The people in the group were obedient to Moses. There was a huge barrier before their house. My father was not impressed by “Moses”. He déprenait when his vehicle was locked,” she said.
“But people were impressed. He had gone to the polyvalente de Paspébiac and the director had agreed that he would bless the children. A neighbor was blessed to pass the exam and Moses had said to him that it would. It has failed,” noted Ms. Larocque.
Moses also took the microphone to CHNC, New Carlisle. “People gave food. The police brought the mail. It was a way to monitor. He (Moses) was beating one of his disciples, they had known it. My father has stopped doing business with him. People would drink there, at the mount of the Lord. In Cegep, in Montreal the following autumn, a friend asked me where I was from and I answered: “You will not know where it is, Saint-Jogues”, but everyone knew, because of this history,” she said.
Johanne Larocque has made, during his studies in Montreal in the fall of 1978, that the story of Moses was the tour of Quebec. She has particular mouth dropped to see a story showing his parish church, Saint-Jogues, and his father down the steps.
Special Collaboration, Gilles Gagné
“They were afraid of him”
A shopping retired from the Baie-des-Chaleurs evokes in detail his contacts with the group. She prefers to remain anonymous. “They came to the store. They went the bills. He had to insist to get paid […] the One that is made to castrate arrived in the middle of the night, with a jug in stoneware, heavy. “I’m going home”. I went up to Maria the next day at the hospital. It is mounted with me. He told me all sorts of things. I thought the half. Same party, he was saying that what Moses told him to say.”
His spouse hired sometimes. “I came once. They were leaning on the rope of a wood, waiting for the return of my husband […] They were hungry. I made the soup. If I asked something like “do you want to take that soup?”, like a spring, their heads turned to Moses. We could see that they were afraid of him.”
The couple has never been able to recover $ 3000 from the claims of the sect. It was quite a sum in 1984.
READ ALSO: sects, shared responsibility between leader and followers
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TIME LINE FOR the SECT OF THE mountain OF The LORD
- May 16, 1947 Birth of Roch Thériault, the Saguenay.
- July 1977 Meeting with Gabrielle Lavallée, a registered nurse and future disciple of the sect.
- July 11, 1978 Arrival of Roch Thériault, of nine women, two men and four children in the public forest, the Dry lake, near Saint-Jogues.
- September 10, 1978 The group has built a house and outbuildings. Members burn their identity papers.
- 16 September 1978 Roch “Moses” Thériault gives biblical names to members the day after its first violent acts on an unfortunate tendency to run away.
- Fall 1978 , Radio-Canada, Moses predicted the end of the world for February 1979. “It’s going to fall of hailstones as big as automobiles.” He often beats member, Gabrielle Lavallée.
- January-February 1979 births occur in succession to the Dry lake.
- At the end of march 1979 Moses and the other three men of the sect are arrested by the police. The three men are released.
- April 27, 1979 Moses is released. After a psychiatric evaluation in Quebec city, he is declared unfit for a trial. It directs the members to ask for social assistance.
- July 1979 With the money, Moses is drunk often and beat his disciples. It multiplies the humiliation of depravity.
- March 26, 1981 A baby of two years dies as a result of the blows inflicted by Nehemiah, a member arrived in November.
- September 14, 1981 Moses castre Nehemiah and it cut later a finger tip to Gabrielle Lavallée. Nehemiah hand.
- December 9, 1981 , police locks Moses and two members of the sect.
- January 18, 1982 Moses, and the two members are facing 22 charges. An order of eviction hits the area of the Dry lake. Moses is released in April. The sect is divided from Paspébiac to Bonaventure.
- September 1982 Moses received a sentence of imprisonment of two years less a day, to be served in Quebec city. Pregnant with him, Gabrielle Lavallée was sentenced to nine months for participation in the castration of Nehemiah.
- Christmas 1982 Gabrielle and Moses leave prison and join the group. Gabrielle flees Moses with fear and he is arrested.
- January 23, 1984 Moses, of Quebec, ordered the group to leave the Gaspé peninsula.
- On the 1st of may, 1984, The sect moved to Burnt River, Ontario. Moses will multiply the exactions, by cutting, in particular the arm of Gabrielle, cold, and killing his wife, Solange Boilard, following a “surgery”.
- On January 18, 1993 Moses is sentenced to life in prison. He was transferred to Dorchester (New Brunswick). Some of “his” women to follow.
- On February 26, 2011 Moses is found dead in his cell, killed by a fellow prisoner.