Holy Moses Mountain Family


1947 (May 16):  Roch Thériault was born in the village of Rivière-du-Moulin, Quebec and was raised in Thetford Mines, Quebec.

1965:  Theriault renounced his Catholic upbringing at age eighteen and vowed to find his own spiritual path.

1967 (November 11):  Thériault married Francine Grenier. They had two boys: Roch-Sylvain, born January 1969, and François, born April 1971.

1973:  Thériault joined the Aramis Association, a masonic lodge in Thetford Mines where (he claims) he learned techniques of hypnotism.

1974 (November):  Theriault’s wife requested a divorce.

1975 (February):  Thériault worked as a cabinetmaker and carpenter and met his second “wife,” Gisèle Lafrance, while selling hand-carved mugs city during the winter Carnaval de Québec.

1976 (Fall):  From late 1976 to early 1977 Theriault was ill and squatted in an abandoned house.

1977 (January):  Thériault joined the local Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) in Thetford Mines.

1977 (February):  Thériault received a vision predicting the Jonestown massacre.

1977 (May):  Thériault began selling literature for working the Seventh-day Adventist Church and teaching a very successful course on “detoxification” (how to quit smoking) in Thetford Mines and the surrounding towns.

1977 (May – July):  Thériault met five of his future followers at SDA events, and they moved into the apartment he shared with Lafrance. They addressed the couple as “Papy” and “Mamy.”

1977:  Thériault and Francine Grenier finalized their divorce.

1977 (September):  Theriault and his entourage traveled to Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, where they met Jacques Giguère and his wife, Maryse Grenier. This couple joined Thériault and Giguere becomes his right-hand assistants.

1977 (September):  The parents of teenager Chantal Labrie, concerned that she failed to enroll in college after moving into Theriault’s household, insisted that she take a psychological test. The psychologist reported that she was in good mental health.

1977 (October):  The group moved to Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, picking up Chantal Labrie on the way. They set up a storefront called Clinique vivre en santé (“Healthy Living Clinic,” HLC) and continued to offer detoxification courses in several cities across the Province of Quebec.

1977 (Fall):  Thériault began receiving visions and dreams about an imminent apocalypse. In November he announced a revelation about moving to Gaspésie.

1977 (Fall): Thériault instructed his followers to contact their families and threaten to formally sever all ties if they wouldn’t accept his prediction of the impending apocalypse. The practice of group confession was intensified.

1978 (January):  Thériault married Gisèle Lafrance in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Montreal. More students dropped out of college to join the HLC.

1978 (March):  Geraldine Auclair, a leukemia patient, joined the HLC after her husband persuaded Thériault to take her, but she died soon afterward.

1978 (April):  Thériault was expelled from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

1978 (June):  HLC members began to address Theriault as “Moise” (Moses) and to wear homemade unsewn tunics with no undergarments

1978 (July 6):  Thériault predicted the end of the world for February 17, 1979.

1978 (July 9):  Arriving in the Gaspé, the group moved to the woods, and set up camp at the foot of a mountain identified by Theriault as “Mont de l’Éternel” near the town of New Carlisle, Quebec. The group changed its name to “The Holy Moses Mountain Family” {HMMF) and began to address Theriault as ““Moïse” (Moses).

1978 (September 15):  Roch Thériault christened his members with new Bible names to mark their new beginning.

1978 (October):  Thériault initiated sexual relations with most of the women of the group and dissolved all the marriages he had previously performed.

1978 (November 18):  The tragedy of Jonestown was reported in the newspapers, and journalists start to draw comparisons to Theriault’s group and refer to HMMF as a “cult.”

1979 (January 3):  Lafrance gave birth to the first child of the group, fathered by Thériault. On January 26, Maryse Grenier gave birth to Jacques’ son, Samuel Giguère. Over the next twelve years, twenty children were born into the group by five women, most of them fathered by Roch Theriault.

1978 (February 17):  Thériault’s prophecy of the end of the world failed. He rationalized this failure by proclaiming that God’s time works differently from human time. The parents of Chantal Labrie requested another psychological examination for their daughter.

1979 (March 18):  The Sûreté Québec descended on the HMMF with a court order for Chantal Labrie, but were refused entry by Thériault.

1979 (April 18):  Following a radio interview with Roch Thériault in which he announced his prophecies, the police raided the HMMF commune to enforce the court order regarding Chantal Labrie, whom they escorted to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Thériault was brought to trial on charges of obstructing justice. He was found guilty and given a suspended sentence.

1979 (April 27):  Theriault returned to the commune. Labrie, found to be in good mental health, also returned.

1979-1980 (July-August):  The Holy Moses Mountain Family, with its quaint log cabins and members’ Bible-style tunics, became a major tourist attraction in Gaspesie, attracting seventy-five to 100 tourists daily, some staying several nights.

1979 (October):  Gabrielle Nadeau, the multiple sclerosis patient, died despite Moise’s spiritual healing methods.

1980 (November):  Guy Veer, a “simpleton,joined the community.

1981 (March):  Two year-old Samuel Giguère died after an abusive beating by Veer and a botched “healing” ritual involving injections and circumcision surgery by “Moise.”

1981 (September 14):  Moise insisted that Guy Veer stand trial before the HMMF community for causing the death of Giguère. He was found guilty and was castrated by Theriault as a “purification” and a punishment.

1981 (November 5):  Veer left the group and was intercepted by police.

1981 (December):  The police raided the commune. Thériault was arrested, and all the children were placed in protective services. Seven members were charged for their complicity in the death of Giguère and for his castration.

1982 (September):  All the defendants were found guilty on all counts. Three, including Thériault, were sent to prison in Québec City, sentenced from nine months to a year.

1982 (December 23):  Judge Jean-Roch Roy sent the members of the HMMF an eviction notice.

1983 (January 18):  Members still living in the commune were evicted by forest rangers.

1984 (February):  Thériault was released from prison and rejoined his followers.

1984 (May 2):  Thériault and his twenty-two remaining followers, three men, nine women and ten children, departed from the Gaspé and moved to a plot of land near Burnt River, in the Kawartha region of Ontario. The group subsequently renamed itself the Ant Hill Kids.

1985 (January 26):  Gabrielle Lavalee’s baby son died of exposure to cold and another child fleeing the group and alleging physical abuse. Ten children born in the commune were seized by the Children’s Aid Society and placed in foster homes.

1988 (September 29):  Theriault’s favourite wife at the time, Solange Boilard, complained of a stomach ache and died following a brutal and botched “healing” operation by “Moise.”

1988 (November 5):  Theriault extracted eight of Gabrielle Lavalee’s teeth to punish her for low pastry sales.

1989 (May 23):  Theriault punctured her hand with a hunting knife. The wound became infected and gangrene spread.

1989 (July 26) Thériault told Lavalee that he must amputate her hand, but instead he amputated her whole arm with a chain saw.

1989 (August 14):  Lavallée escaped from the Ant Hill Kids by hitch-hiking to the nearest hospital where she was interviewed by the police. This prompted a wave of defections from the commune.

1989 (October 6):  Thériault was arrested after several weeks of evading police by hiding in the woods.

1989 (December 18):  Thériault was charged with the second-degree murder of Solange Boilard.  He plead guilty to the murder and to the aggravated assault charge for cutting off Lavallée’s arm. He was sentenced to twelve years in prison.

1993:  After his appeal, Thériault was sentenced to life in prison.

2000:  Thériault was transferred to a medium-security prison in Dorchester, New Brunswick.

2002:  Thériault’s application for parole was rejected.

2011 (February 26):  Thériault died at age sixty-three after being stabbed by his cellmate, Matthew Gerrard MacDonald (a fellow convicted murderer) at Dorchester Penitentiary.