“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a sociopath’s dream”

Read this deeply bizarre cover story from Psychology Today.  Entitled “Confessions of a Sociopath,” it tells the story of a female Mormon law professor with an undergraduate degree from BYU.  Here’s the most relevant part about the church:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a sociopath’s dream. Mormons believe that everyone has the potential to be godlike—I believe this includes me. Every being is capable of salvation; my actions are what matters, not my ruthless thoughts, not my nefarious motivations. Everyone is a sinner, and I never felt that I was outside this norm.

When I attended Brigham Young—where students were even more trusting than the average Mormon—there were myriad opportunities for scamming. I stole from the lost and found, saying I lost a book, but then I would take the “found” book to the bookstore and sell it. Or, I’d take an unlocked bike that sat in the same place for days. Finders, keepers.

But I am functionally a good person—I bought a house for my closest friend, I gave my brother $10,000, and I am considered a helpful professor. I love my family and friends. Yet I am not motivated or constrained by the same things that most good people are.

The essay is excerpted from a book entitled Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by someone named M.E. Thomas, a pseudonym for someone who who started this awesome website for sociopaths and went on the Dr Phil Show to promote her book.  At that point, people had some decent clues to work with in trying to figure out who she is.

Turns out she’s probably someone named Jamie Rebecca Lund. And not only is Ms. Lund Mormon, but she was set to join the faculty at BYU law school–which church leaders are now apparently trying to undo.

We’re actually late to this party–it’s been parsed on Facebook and Mormon Discussions.  There are debates about whether she’s really a sociopath or just a narcissist–I saw comments from someone who saw her segment on Dr. Phil; apparently she kept claiming she had such and such a trait, which was a hallmark of a sociopath, and Dr. Phil kept saying, “No, it’s not.”

Anyway, it’s a funky story to begin with, and the Mormon angle just makes it too salacious to resist.




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20 Responses

  1. chanson says:

    Wow, that article is nuts!

    If it’s true, though, it’s weird that she would write a book and seek so much publicity for it. She must have known people would figure out her identity, which would ruin her career and her ability to scam people…

  2. Holly says:

    It is VERY weird that she would write a book and that she thought putting on a blonde wig would actually be enough to prevent people from figuring out who she is. Clearly she has some sort of profound psychological dysfunction, but who knows precisely what it is. People who know more about psychology than I do have suggested that she might have a borderline personality disorder and suffer from narcissism, so that she can’t resist this chance to appear special or to announce how she has fooled and manipulated people.

    I also read what I thought was a really funny review of her book–something about how it got really boring because all she ever talked about was herself. Go figure.

  3. Chris F. says:

    @1 Well, if she is indeed a sociopath, it may not accur to her that there is a need to hide those things, or even herself after telling about those things.

  4. chanson says:

    @3 I don’t know much about such disorders, but Equality made a logical point over on the linked Mormon Discussions thread:

    sociopaths generally go to great lengths to hide their disorder and try to mimic “normal” to try to fit in. Their manipulative scheming is much more successful if the people around them are unaware that they are dealing with a conscienceless person.

    From her story, she clearly enjoys manipulating and controlling people, but by telling the world all about it, she’s ruined that for herself. She goes on and on about how smart she is, but perhaps her actions are speaking louder than her words here…

    @2 Do you have a link to the review?

  5. Holly says:

    @2 Do you have a link to the review?

    Sorry, no–it was posted on a private facebook discussion.

  6. chanson says:

    @5 Too bad. Someone on the MD thread said something similar, and I’m kind of curious to read some of the entertaining criticism. I’m sure it will turn up in my reader. 😉

  7. Holly says:

    @6: Oh. Maybe that’s what I saw. I had a root canal this morning, and between the pain of that dying tooth and the medication I’ve been on to blunt it, I haven’t been as sharp as I would like, particularly in terms of remembering stuff. I did OK yesterday with all the links I could click on to verify, but other things have been blurrier than I like.

    Anyway, it wasn’t a fully developed review–I probably shouldn’t have even used that term. Yeah. Definitely not at my most precise.

  8. chanson says:

    @7 Yikes, I hope you’re feeling better.

    The funny part is that after reading your comment @2, I thought, that sounds familiar, where did I read that? Then, after your comment @5, I figured I must have read it on one of your Facebook posts, so I went back and checked Facebook for a while (and later checked MD when I couldn’t find it).

  9. Holly says:

    @8: I feel much better! I really didn’t want the procedure and tried to avoid it, but now that it’s done and I don’t have this diseased thing in my face, I can’t believe I put it off so long!

    But I am sorry for the confusion, and for the extra work that created for you…. the main thing I remembered was the laugh I got, and that was what I tried to convey. When I’m not so fuzzy, I really do want to provide context and sources, since my entire academic training instilled in me just how important all that is.

  10. chanson says:

    @9 No problem, I was just hoping to find some more amusing commentary on this book. 😉

  11. Holly says:

    Yeah, I’ve poked around on the web too, looking for more about the author. Given that you don’t have to be either German or a sociopath to enjoy the occasional bout of schadenfreude, it’s remarkable that this woman didn’t take into account how delighted people would be to see her unmasked and embarrassed–especially when she has announced that she enjoys hurting people. No matter what her psychological profile, she’s clearly not nearly as smart as she thinks she is.

  12. This really is the weirdest story ever. And this lady is not a sociopath. Sociopaths are like aliens desperately trying to blend in. I know a few such Mormon ladies who definitely qualify. I would web-md her as borderline or narcissist. Or Just Plain Crazy. That’s in the DSM-V, isn’t it?

  13. Holly says:

    Or Just Plain Crazy. That’s in the DSM-V, isn’t it?

    If it isn’t, it should be. It would cover such a variety of woes, sort of like how doctors always tell you that your physical ailments are due to “stress.”

    I also think that the Cotton Floozy should encourage people to write to her about their problems so that she can web-md them and then prescribe a pithy embroidered saying to help them conquer their pathology. What should this lady have right above her bed to help her be less plain crazy? Maybe


  14. I will make the embroideries and then we can google a few spells to enchant them with magical healing powers. And by magical healing powers I mean lithium.

  15. george says:

    all mormons are sociopaths… moving on…

  16. Holly says:

    @15: No. But all people who leave useless comments like yours might be. Thanks for showing up to demonstrate that.

  17. Sol Ennayfa says:

    The “Confessions of a Sociopath” writer, it seems to me, is all about money. She has confessed that she is lazy and easily bored and has trouble holding any job for more than a year at best. She knows that a best seller can make the author millions, and she has “stumbled” upon this as her way of getting rich and retiring withouth having to do work again.

    Who can say how much of the story is true, when she clearly has SOME kind of severe personality disorder and is also trying to write a story that will make her rich?

  18. Axel Rivera says:

    I have not all the answers but I know the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints is the only true church, I feel the holy ghost in my heart when I obey the commandments of God, hope you guys open your heart and allow Jesus Christ to live with you.

  19. Daniel says:


    I did allow Jesus Christ to live with me, and you should have seen how he trashed the place. Never again.

    Still owes me some rent.

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