Trolling Hell: Is the Satanic Temple a Prank, the Start of a New Religious Movement -- or Both?

Categories: Longform

The Satanic Temple came crashing into the public view on a brilliantly sunny Florida day in January 2013, when a crowd of Satanists showed up at the state Capitol dressed in black capes and ready to celebrate Gov. Rick Scott. Specifically, they wanted to broadcast their approval last year of a bill he'd signed, Senate Bill 98, which allowed student-led prayer at school assemblies. As the Satanists pointed out, those prayers could just as easily hail Satan as Jesus.

"I think he's a great American," the group's leader told a news camera, referring to the governor. The leader was brown-haired and balding. He wore a set of spiraling black horns protruding from his forehead, attached to a leather headband. "A politician who's willing to step out on a limb, in a possibly politically uncomfortable position, and have the faith in young people to speak their mind, I think it's a very healthy message."

"You don't really believe that," the cameraman pressed.

"I do!" the horned fellow replied. They looked at each other stonily.

The camerman's skepticism was well founded: The man with the horns wasn't a Satanist. He was an actor from New York, hired by a film crew making a mockumentary about "the nicest Satanic cult in the world." The film was to be called The Satanic Temple.

The Miami Herald was first to reveal the movie's motive. Dubious that a group of Satanists would celebrate a politician known for his Christianity-in-government advocacy and insistence on drug-testing welfare recipients, reporter Michael Van Sickler found a casting call for non-union actors to play "minions" and Satanic extras.

"We are seeking people from all walks of life, goths, grandparents, soccer moms, etc., to be the followers of a charismatic yet down-to-earth Satanic cult leader," read the ad, posted online at Actors Access. "The shoot will be on January 25th in downtown Tallahassee. Actors will be required to wear tasteful Satanic garb." The job was unpaid.

The Satanists for Scott story went viral, but the Temple leadership realized that it wouldn't do to have an actor play the group's leader. Doug Mesner, one of the group's founders, replaced him.

Though they indicate to news outlets that they're based in New York, the Temple brain trust is from the Boston area: Mesner, — a.k.a. "Lucien Greaves," the pale blond who visited Baphomet in Brooklyn; "Malcolm Jarry," the group's similarly pseudonymous co-founder; and, ostensibly, a third person, who has never been publicly identified and doesn't talk to the press. 

Mesner says he's not fond of the spotlight, a statement borne out over the course of several interviews, which he approaches like a trip to the dentist: He's unfailingly polite and visibly miserable from start to finish. He says he stepped into the role of Greaves only reluctantly.

"I had to become Lucien," he explains. "It just became obvious that you're not going to be able to coach somebody on what we think and feel. We couldn't constantly have a feed going into his ear."

Despite the film's premise, Mesner insists the Satanic Temple has never been a hoax or a prank. In an interview for Vice, he said he and his co-founders envisioned the Temple as "the poison pill in the church-state debate." But that's not quite right, either, he says now. "It's evolved into much more. We're putting forward the notion of our right not to be marginalized and, literally, a demonized group."

Over time, Mesner has grown increasingly leery about responding to personal questions. In 2012 he was willing to tell an ABC reporter he was 30 years old. Two years later, he doesn't want to reveal even that much. He has written previously that he attended Harvard University, but no one by that name is listed as either a current or former student. His last name may not be Mesner but Misicko, according to one lawsuit filed against him. (That name doesn't show up on Harvard's rolls, either.) He'll concede that he lives in Cambridge.

And that's about it.

"I'm trying to keep the story off of me personally and not put too fine a location on me," he says apologetically. "I'm just getting a flutter of angry, threatening mail and that kind of thing."

For a few months following the Rick Scott rally, the Satanic Temple stayed out of the headlines. In June of last year, the group tried unsuccessfully to raise money to adopt a New York state highway, writing on fundraising site Indiegogo, "This campaign will do more than keep the highways clean. It will help to send a clear message to the world, reaffirming American religious plurality."

Adopting highways is a hard cause to rally the demonic troops around. The effort raised only $2,200 of its $15,000 goal and was quietly scrapped. The following month, however, the Temple roared back to the front pages when it issued a press release announcing a Pink Mass, "a formal ceremony celebrating same-sex unions," to be held in a graveyard in Meridian, Mississippi. The precise location was on top of the grave of Catherine Johnson, the mother of Fred Phelps, founder of the famously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. The ceremony consisted of same-sex couples making out with their elbows propped atop Johnson's headstone.

The goal was to transform Johnson into a posthumous lesbian: "The Satanic Temple now believes that Fred Phelps must believe that his mother is now gay, in the afterlife, due to our Pink Mass," Greaves (Mesner) declared in a follow-up press release. "And nobody can challenge our right to our beliefs."

"Malcolm Jarry," whose idea it was to hold the mass, writes via email that Westboro "feed[s] off anger. They love being hated. But no one can react to being mocked. If you're made fun of, there's no defense for that. No retort. Nothing you can say or do. You become a joke." He'd hoped Johnson's grave would become a gay make-out spot for years to come, he writes: "I had a vision of it being a perpetual place where people could do this."

Jarry and Mesner traveled to Meridian together, then used Craigslist to find some locals up for a make-out session: two women and two men. At the ceremony's end, Mesner unzipped his pants, bared his scrotum, and draped it atop Johnson's headstone.

There is a photo.

The event, and especially the scrotum, attracted a media tsunami. It also drew the ire of Meridian's sheriff, who told local news that a warrant had been issued for Mesner's arrest for "desecration of a grave." The group had already left town.

"I don't know if I have a warrant," Mesner says. "Supposedly. That's the impression the sheriff gave in the press. We didn't go back to fight it."

Though the Adopt A Highway effort sputtered, it and the cemetery stunt certainly helped the Satanists' fundraising efforts for Baphomet. Mesner says the volume of donations has surpassed his wildest expectations; the numbers really took off after the group unveiled drawings of the monument on Indiegogo. "We just keep underestimating the value of images, I guess," he says. "A lot of people want a piece of it."

Just as the media chaos began to die down, the Temple found yet another prime piece of headline bait: It announced this past spring that it would reenact a black mass on the Harvard campus, and that the event would be sponsored by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club.

Black masses have been described in religious and occult literature since the Middle Ages. They are, essentially, parodies of Roman Catholic masses, performed with real Communion wafers and a nude woman acting as the altar. (There's little evidence and no firsthand accounts indicating that they were ever actually performed in medieval times, but being accused of participating in a black mass was enough to get the alleged perpetrator executed during the Spanish Inquisition.)

University president Drew Faust called the planned reenactment "abhorrent," not to mention "flagrantly disrespectful and inflammatory," writing in an open letter that it represented "a fundamental affront to the values of inclusion, belonging, and mutual respect that must define our community."

The Archdiocese of Boston announced it would protest the event by holding its own mass the same night, May 12. More than 2,000 people showed up, including Faust. The Satanic Temple reluctantly agreed to move its mass off-campus. A nightclub signed on to host the affair but later reneged. The mass eventually found a venue: a banquet hall in a Chinese restaurant called the Hong Kong Lounge.

"I did not expect that level of outrage," Mesner admits. He says the Temple was consistent in articulating the intent of the mass: that it was meant as a reenactment, and that they would never use an actual Communion wafer. But, he allows, "We thought there might be one or two conspiracist individuals who would think we would actually summon demons, or whatever."

Undeterred, Mesner and Jarry are also carrying on with the Temple's Protect Children Project, which they launched last year to advocate against corporal punishment and the use of "isolation rooms" in public schools. Parents register on the Temple's Protect Children website (protectchildrenproject.com) and provide contact information for their home school district, whereupon the group sends a letter to administrators informing them that the family's deeply held spiritual beliefs prohibit their children from being subjected to physical restraints, prolonged isolation, or corporal punishment.

"We wrote it into our tenets that the body is inviolable and subject only to one's own will," Mesner explains. "You can't beat the kid. You have to find a human, civilized way to deal with problems in the classroom. If they violate that, we will pursue them." He couldn't say exactly how many letters they've sent to date, explaining that the effort is "still getting off the ground."

He and Jarry hope to set up a similar mechanism on behalf of women who live in states that require a transvaginal ultrasound prior to having an abortion.

"That [legislation] was put forth by hard-core religious believers of one stripe," Mesner says. "We feel we can exempt people from that on religious-liberty grounds as well."

With the exception of Christian publications and Fox News, most of the press has played Satanic Temple stories for their entertainment value. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the group's Baphomet monument campaign, albeit politely. The ACLU is suing Oklahoma to remove the Ten Commandments monument, and they seem to feel the Satanists are muddying the waters a bit.

"Their basis for saying we have a right to have this on the Capitol lawn is inconsistent with our case," Brady Henderson, the ACLU's legal director, told Al Jazeera several months ago. "The state shouldn't have a religious monument at all." 

The way Mesner sees it, the Temple's efforts are bringing Satanism aboveground, where it belongs.

"The idea is the more we do these things, the more acceptable they are," he says. "That's the whole point. We take away this ignorant idea of this kind of subterranean Satanic conspiracy that's supposedly murdering babies and all that kind of thing."



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48 comments
iSatanist
iSatanist

The SigilofBaphomet.com website and FB pages are from someone who is NOT endorsed by the CoS.  He is a knockoff artist and is ripping people off with inferior products.

I would tell as many as you can from those pages, to buy only CoS-Endorsed products, such as found on www.iSatanist.com.

Sin_Jones
Sin_Jones

This is just a blog, it's not 'news' nor does this qualify as journalism.  How about some fact checking dear?  Sheesh.

rooseveltkitty
rooseveltkitty

After all this, I had to go over to the Satanic Template website to see what they are all about. After reading their 7 tenants - I joined as a member, Outside of Buddhism, this is one of the first churches I've seen that puts compassion and reason at the top of their list.

xaurreaux
xaurreaux

To Religious Rightwingers who now have their shorts in a know over the Satanist monument: you baked this pie, now EAT IT!

philboid
philboid

"He was a card-carrying member of the Church of Satan for more than a decade, from 1994 to 2002."


Maths is hard.

jmmartin
jmmartin

I think the statue is very well done. I have seen Eliphas Levi's and read all of his books. Baphomet has never been explained. Not even Aleister Crowley could do him or it justice. I once made a chart of all the theories about this magnificent creature and ultimately decided it was nothing but a Catholic bugaboo to use in proving accusations that the Templars' inner order worshiped Satan in the form of such a creature. By torture, the RCC elicited "confessions" to that effect. It is at least refreshing that someone at a respected newspaper, the paper that published Andrew Sarris, is taking notice of such obscure things.

Michael Daniel Birnberg
Michael Daniel Birnberg

It's good. Now all the statues and idols and carved things can make their human adulators look as ridiculous and impotent as they should.

dragondagoth
dragondagoth

Are the Satanic Temple a trolling hell, media attention whores, hoaxers or pranksters? Yes. Are they creating a new religious movement? No! As many of the readers are already aware Anton LaVey created a new religion (Satanism) in 1966, and the Church of Satan has since served as the only recognized, authoring voice for Satanism.

Those who claim to be offering something new to Satanism simply are not. They are taking copyright material from the Church of Satan per verbatim, or paraphrasing, and sharing the Church of Satan's material in a shiny new package. Chances are they are also inserting misconstrued ideas of what Satanism is, misinforming the public about Satanism with ideals that are not compatible with Satanism.

Regarding the Satanic Temple, the shenanigans they are pulling off such as; contributing to the problem by building a pedophilic looking statue to be placed next to Christian commandments is not a movement. It is reactionary and silly. Even Brian Werner hinted as much in an interview on Mancow that they could have opted to petition for the removal of the Christian commandments. However, petitioning for the removal would require effort, and they would be one of many asking for its removal, which is not something that would get them the spotlight attention they crave. The "Pink Mass" on Catherine Phelps designed to get back at the WBC's founder Fred Phelps in white knight fashion; however, this had no effect as his (Fred’s) mother (Catherine Phelps) died when he was five. Essentially this was guilt by association, and trolling trolls, another media stint. None of these acts is Satanic.

Moreover, anyone with an active internet connection can navigate to the Church of Satan’s website and see productive Church of Satan members in action, opposed to taking people with a negative agenda, or disgruntled ex-members’ claims that it is not.

Overall, the Church of Satan created this new religious movement nearly fifty years ago. Werner’s actions through the “’Satanic’ Temple” are not Satanic, whether he is willing to admit this or not. Alternatively, he can call what he is doing by another name, as his current actions are not Satanic, and what he is doing is not religious movement.

dragondagoth
dragondagoth

Are the "'Satanic' Temple" a trolling hell, media attention whores, hoaxers or pranksters? yes. Are they creating a new religious movement? No! As many of the readers are already aware Anton LaVey created a new religion (Satanism) in 1966, and the Church of Satan has since served as the only recognized, authoring voice for Satanism. So why aren't the Satanic Temple, and others' who claim to be Satanists such?

Those who claim to be offering something new to Satanism simply are not. They are taking copyright material from the Church of Satan per verbatim, or paraphrasing, and sharing the Church of Satan's material in a shiny new package. Chances are they're also inserting misconstrued ideas of what Satanism is, misinforming the general public about Satanism with ideals that are often not compatible with Satanism.

Regarding the "'Satanic' Temple", the shenanigans they are pulling off such as; contributing to the problem by building a pedophilic looking statue to be placed next to Christian commandments is not a movement. It is reactionary and silly. Even Brian Werner hinted as much in an interview on Mancow that they could have opted to petition for the removal of the Christian commandments. However, petitioning for the removal would require effort, and they would be one of many asking for its removal, which is not something that would get them the spotlight attention they crave. The "Pink Mass" on Catherine Phelps designed to get back at the WBC's founder Fred Phelps would have no effect either as his mother (Catherine Phelps) died when he was five. Essentially guilt by association, and trolling trolls, another media stint. None of these acts are Satanic.

Overall, the Church of Satan created this new religious movement (Satanism) nearly fifty years ago. The acts of the "'Satanic' Temple" are not Satanic, and do not represent the philosophy, or actions of actual Satanists, regardless if Werner will admit to such.


brenda10003
brenda10003

I just think of it as a comic book in 3-D.

sneadh
sneadh

The Satanic Temple carries on the spirit on Anton LaVey.   His church(CoS)  turned into a bunch of loser  posers and wannabes.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin

Anton LaVey's Church of Satan was the original Flying Spaghetti Monster. Satanism is a parody of religion - and a good one, considering how seriously some religionists react to it. I suspect much the same is at work here.

Jaq Andre
Jaq Andre

Joe Neighbor Gene Smithe let's go on an adventure!

wiredancer
wiredancer

Sincere LOL. It is too funny to me to see CoS all riled up about TST- because no one has heard anything about them since Lavey died ... Until The Satanic Temple came along shedding a light on the fact that Satanists even still gather and practice. They claim being content in obscurity and privacy unless someone else steps forward to actually DO something- other than weddings and memorials which is nothing to tout as that is a part of your duty as a religious organization. I perform weddings & memorials too, I would hardly consider myself a brazen activist for doing so.

Truth is... I haven't heard of any of you until The Satanic Temple got my attention enough to make me want to delve deeper into modern Satanism, to see what it has become since my once teenage obsession. Didn't know there was a pompous @sshat proclaiming himself a magus now leading CoS, I (and many others ) didn't know who Shane Bugbee was or Zach Black or any of the countless others who have been working (or not) to make a gouge for themselves with their Satanic views and their art or whatever else. The activism of TST is causing people to ask and answer many important questions about civil/religious liberty on the world stage, debunking negative Satanic stigmas created by Christian crazies and challenging arbitrary authoritive laws and structures that serve to reign over us while shoving their ridiculous "faith" based views upon us in a scary tangible way- into the laws mentioned in the article that TST is fighting against. The Luciferian light has been cast on all of you as a result to take the stage and all I see are a bunch of bickering b1tches who act just like the religious groups we should all be fighting against, trying to take credit and discredit and cry and whine about semantics. Kinda disappointing. You could be using this as a platform for your own causes but... Oh wait, you don't seem to have any to begin with- the impression I am getting anyway, as someone long estranged from satanic culture , with a new piqued interest brought on by the actual WORK (and LULZ) that TST is doing. Many are becoming tuned in, like myself, and want to hear what you have to say too and are finding TST as the only sensible source. The time is now to activate and work together, instead of snivelling away on internet message boards no one has even heard of until recently.

All that aside, interesting article, and I look forward to being involved further with TST in the future.

Hail Satan!

hzan
hzan

I've heard this same garbage trotted out by the CoS for years. You say that "Since Gilmore became High Priest the Church of Satan has been increasingly more active in the media, through interviews, events, published literature and videos, concerts, art galleries, and more." Where?? What?? When?”


Here. This. (Then AND) Now:

http://www.churchofsatan.com/news.php

http://www.youtube.com/user/churchofsatanvideos

https://www.facebook.com/ChurchOfSatanOfficial

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z065cY639XE


The Temple is actively political. How does CoS "promote the activities of individuals"? Financially? With a nice "atta boy"? Tell us exactly, what does the CoS DO?? Don't point to some projects done by people who happen to carry a CoS card. Tell us what the CHURCH has done.


This is a poor comparison. The Church of Satan is apolitical. It has been a group for individuals who agree on a philosophy that identifies them all as Satanists from the start. This leaves each member to choose for themselves which political (or apolitical) alignment that would best suit their needs.


The Satanic Temple and the Church of Satan are two very different entities. So, to try to justify the validity or existence of the Church of Satan with The Satanic Temple is irrelevant and doesn’t hold water. At all.


Active means having a presence in the world and creating change by exercising beliefs, values, etc. It even means to go out and engage in a hobby, opinion, etc.

There are MANY ways to do this.


By going out and responsibly creating, each member of the Church of Satan is extending the presence of the Church of Satan through the values that they stand by that LaVey reinforced from the get-go.

To have validity in your argument, you’d have to redefine what “active” is or find some way that the Church of Satan is self-defeating as an existing organization.


“It's also funny that you claim the CoS has gotten more media with Pete, while in the article here Pete claims the CoS doesn't seek media. You didn't name one specific thing the CoS does. "They promote activities" means nothing. What activities. All I ever hear from them are excuses for not doing anything.


The CoS isn’t interested in trying to create change through attaching a religious label behind what they do.

You can create change in the world without declaring yourself a Satanist (or a Christian, a Buddhist, etc.). Just go out and do it. There are many atheist/secular groups that are working towards legislation to keep the United States government completely secular. Are you under the assumption that attaching a name that would repel most people in this country would make them any more aware of the issue and then align with your cause?

What excuses for not doing anything? You need to really realize that the CoS is user-driven, individualistic, and apolitical. It realizes that you don’t need to have the backing of an organization to go out and influence the world.


“It's also funny that you claim the CoS has gotten more media with Pete, while in the article here Pete claims the CoS doesn't seek media.”


Er....

Media can also come to others as well. I’m sure journalists and networks know how to make a phone call or send out an email.


You have made many statements that have no backing to them. Please back your claims up.

everyonesucks666
everyonesucks666

Wow, the journalistic integrity of this article is ASTOUNDING. 

Shane Bugbee
Shane Bugbee

it is what they do. ivy league word jazz. yeash!

posthumousAl
posthumousAl

These guys just walked in and took Satanism unopposed because Peter Gilmore is clueless, and more power to them. Gilmore tries to keep up a facade of some kind of activity within the Church of Satan, but he still just doesn't get it. He talks about earning friends and entree into alleged private events, but some of us aren't interested in buying our way into his social circle (at the price of $200 a card). What makes them special? Why should any of us desire entree into their world? The answer always seems to be "Lavey", who Gilmore seems to pretend to channel. Lavey is gone, Gilmore is an impotent leader, and it's time to see results in the real world. The Satanic Temple isn't about exclusive invites to Denny's with other self important fools displaying unearned airs of snobbery. The Satanic Temple is actually doing things and having a radical effect on culture. I disavowed my COS membership years ago. Proud to see the Satanic Temple reviving the rebel spirit.

RaulAntony
RaulAntony

First of all, Boyd Rice was never *in* Death in June. He has been a guest musician on some recordings and vice versa but they have always been different entities. 


http://www.discogs.com/artist/49845-Boyd-Rice

http://www.discogs.com/artist/39344-Death-In-June


Secondly, Zach Black's (who's from San Diego, not Northern California) claim that Mr. Rice was "supposed to become the church's next leader" is laughable. No one but Rice has ever confirmed such a statement, and when pressed Rice will refer to a sarcastic joke once told to him by LaVey.


Merlan, if someone went around claiming to be Editor in Chief of the Village Voice, without any third-party verification, would you take them seriously? Even after they claimed they turned it down such a dubious offer? Would you give credit to anyone who did? Think about it.


Are you giving credit to anyone with a public message board? Is that what is credible in today's age?

jtfranklin
jtfranklin

I stopped reading when Shane Bugbee began commenting. The writer could have saved herself some time and simply made stuff up on her own.

Shane Bugbee
Shane Bugbee

Natalia Garcia - I've sent you a message to your facebook "other" box. Their integrity is indeed lacking.

ctpierce
ctpierce

 Its refreshing to see this side of the fences nonsense get some ink, its progress of a sort. 

kukulkan
kukulkan

that is not satan, ._.  the sculpture is baphomet

Keemie Von Doren
Keemie Von Doren

This is so deep. Heck I'd be your gay friday.. Great reading wanna read up moe

LeeLea
LeeLea

beautiful sculpture !!

iamronni
iamronni

Me too. And my 19 year old son :)

Anna_Merlan_Voice
Anna_Merlan_Voice

@philboid I blame both my editor and my New Mexico primary school education. 


Fixing that now. Thanks, Philboid. 

alex758
alex758

@dragondagoth 

 //They are taking copyright material from the Church of Satan per verbatim//

Where?  There is no such copyrighted material on their website, nor have they copied anything verbatim.

//
or paraphrasing, and sharing the Church of Satan's material in a shiny new package.//

Where?  Please tell me.  Are you saying that merely using the mythology of Satan in a religious context automatically makes them guilty of stealing the Church of Satan's idea?  Even though the positive archetype of Satan existed well prior to the 1966?

//
misinforming the public about Satanism with ideals that are not compatible with Satanism.//

Not compatible with the Satanism of the Church of Satan, sure, since they reject social Darwinism as an outdated and scientifically incorrect position -- hence why it is a separate organization.  The Church of Satan's view on Satan contradicts (and is not compatible with) the pre-existing Christian notion of Satan, but that is hardly an argument that the Church of Satan is invalid.

//
contributing to the problem by building a pedophilic looking statue//


I think Freud would call this an example of "
Psychological projection".

//However, petitioning for the removal would require effort, //

More effort than raising $25,000 and commissioning an artist to sculpt a statue?

//
which is not something that would get them the spotlight attention they crave//

The hilarious bit being that the Church of Satan has done nothing more in the last few months than write angry interview responses and blog posts decrying them for stealing their mojo, which seems to me a bit easier than funding and building a statue or proactively pursuing legal protection.

//
None of these acts is Satanic.//

In many interviews in the 80s and 90s, Church of Satan representatives said that Satan is the opposer, accuser, one who questions -- that they are Satanists because they oppose the current religious order in its hypocrisy and dominance.  It therefor seems quite ironic that the same organization, now inactive, is being outmoded by a new organization and is responding by saying that they "are not Satanic".  Apparently Satanism means opposition, but ONLY if it is done by the particular organization headed by Peter Gilmore.

//Moreover, anyone with an active internet connection can navigate to the Church of Satan’s website and see productive Church of Satan members in action//

You mean all the musicians and artists they link to and sell stuff for?  Because sure, the Church of Satan seems alright at marketing their member's wares, but they seem all but politically inactive.  Yet LaVey actually *did* perform political activities (getting Satanism to be a recognized religion in the military, performing the first Satanic wedding, going on talk-show interviews to try to explain their beliefs to the public) and *did* have a political agenda (Pentagonal Revisionism).  It seems to me that whereas the Church of Satan once was politically active, they are no longer so, and now have decided that Satanism itself can not be politically active and therefor no other organization that uses politics and Satanism can be legitimate.

//Overall, the Church of Satan created this new religious movement nearly fifty years ago//


Anton LaVey created this new religion movement nearly fifty years ago.  Anton LaVey is dead.  Peter Gilmore isn't even the guy LaVey wanted to succeed him -- that was Boyd Rice, who has since declared the Church of Satan dissolved.

Saying that the Church of Satan has a monopoly on Satanism is saying that Peter Gilmore, by a process of apostolic succession,
has inherited all of his legitimacy.  It's almost Catholic.  And it seems quite ironic, considering that the Church of Satan hosts Carducci's Inno A Satana:

"As Martin Luther

threw off his monkish robes,

so throw off your shackles,

O mind of man,", indeed


hzan
hzan

@wiredancer

It is too funny to me to see CoS all riled up about TST- because no one has heard anything about them since Lavey died ... Until The Satanic Temple came along shedding a light on the fact that Satanists even still gather and practice.

A FEW (of the many) activities and media presences of the Church of Satan AFTER LaVey’s death:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1zsIk6WcNM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uiJsAp82jg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpI_TvJXc84

Hellfire Caves:

You may view our 6-6-06 event held in Los Angeles here and the Walpurgisnacht XLIII A.S. celebration in Dashwood’s Hell Fire Caves may yet be released.

From (http://www.churchofsatan.com/affiliation.php).


“Truth is... I haven't heard of any of you until The Satanic Temple got my attention enough to make me want to delve deeper into modern Satanism, to see what it has become since my once teenage obsession.

So, you’ve been obsessed with Satanism as a teenager yet you haven’t heard of “any of you” until the reactions to The Satanic Temple came out? 

By this I assume that you mean you haven’t heard of the Church of Satan (post-LaVey) until now.


I really don’t buy this because if you were obsessed with Satanism as a teen, then you most likely would have come across The Satanic Bible in any major bookstore (Barnes & Noble) or online (Amazon.com). They are readily available there. You’d pretty much have to have your head in the sand or live under a rock to state that you were actively looking for Satanism and didn’t even come across anything related to the Church of Satan.


“The activism of TST is causing people to ask and answer many important questions about civil/religious liberty on the world stage, debunking negative Satanic stigmas created by Christian crazies and challenging arbitrary authoritive laws and structures that serve to reign over us while shoving their ridiculous "faith" based views upon us in a scary tangible way- into the laws mentioned in the article that TST is fighting against. The Luciferian light has been cast on all of you as a result to take the stage and all I see are a bunch of bickering b1tches who act just like the religious groups we should all be fighting against, trying to take credit and discredit and cry and whine about semantics.


The questions that have been posed have more so been centered around  why there are children involved in these projects, centered around the monument, etc.  and that concern is being aroused at the threat of “Satan Worshipers” trying to put a representation of Satan on a government property. 

I haven’t seen any mainstream media outlet bring up the fact that they’re causing people to ask and answer many important questions about civil/religious liberties as the topic for covering the activities of  The Satanic Temple’s activities.

People don’t see the forest for the trees here. They stop at the word Satan. As I stated before, one can work on raising money to push for secular legislation without a name attached; especially a counterproductive one.  


“You could be using this as a platform for your own causes but... Oh wait, you don't seem to have any to begin with…”

Except that the Church of Satan doesn’t decide the causes for each individual Satanist. Members of the CoS are free to choose whichever cause and political affiliation would best benefit them. To encourage people to gather and fight for this cause and that cause forfeits a sort of individual thinking and decision making that leads to an insincere “dedication.” It simply dulls the blade.

You really need to stop comparing The Satanic Temple and the Church of Satan. They operate differently.


“Many are becoming tuned in, like myself, and want to hear what you have to say too and are finding TST as the only sensible source.


Please show us some statistics here.

I find numbers equating to those who are tuned in and seeing the rubbing of the genitals on a grave site of someone who had nothing to do with Fred Phelps, trying to place a indoctrinary statue on government property, aligning children who are the victims of abuse by superstitious, ignorant religious figures with an organization who uses Satan in their name (as well as an activity book for children of an impressionable age decoding messages that say “audi precis mea; Here my prayer)”, and reinacting a Black Mass ritual at a place with a considerable Catholic presence where merely doing a lecture would have been historical and educationally higher in the position that what The Satanic Temple is doing is NOT sensible.


Here’s a number “In addition to drawing the ire of the Archdiocese of Boston and Harvard University President Drew Faust, the satanic Mass angered drovesof citizens who protested against it. A petition had attracted more than 40,000 signatures at the time of the cancellation.” 

(http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/13/black-mass-canceled-on-harvard-campus-amid-furor-but-satanists-and-catholics-carry-on-with-plans-of-their-own/).


And another: “Rhodes scholar Aurora Griffin started a petition and eventually got over 60,000 signatures from students, alumni and faculty in support of banning the service from campus (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2626684/Harvard-club-drops-criticized-satanic-Mass.html).

Now it’s your responsibility to back up your claims. 

RaulAntony
RaulAntony

@posthumousAl What do you consider activity? Since Gilmore became High Priest the Church of Satan has been increasingly more active in the media, through interviews, events, published literature and videos, concerts, art galleries, and more. So do you equate public causes as "active"? When has the Church of Satan ever organized such a thing? It never has, not under LaVey, and not under Gilmore. What the Church of Satan *does* do is promote the activities of individuals who decide to take up such causes, as it always has done. If you're looking for an organization to put on a song and dance for your entertainment, then glad you found your place. That's fine. But remember, it's the Satanic Temple that invited people to a dingy Chinese restaurant, so check your Denny's comments at the door.

posthumousAl
posthumousAl

@RaulAntony Here is a link that has a letter from Boyd Rice claiming he was chosen to take the reigns and describing why he didn't  http://mesikammen.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/church-of-satan-is-dead/  . It may or may not be verifiable that Lavey chose Rice, but Rice's criticisms against the Church couldn't be more accurate. While Gilmore actually puts people down for engaging in real activity, he is one of the online elitists with nothing worth mentioning to his credit: 

Rice wrote,

"At one time, the sycophants and functionaries at the forefront of the CoS may have been called apparatchiks or pencil pushers. Today they are bloggers, whose sole arena of combat is the internet. When they employ “satanic” ideals, it’s in endless squabbles in cyberspace – rarely in real life or the real world. The LaVey I knew abhorred such types, and frequently told me as much."

posthumousAl
posthumousAl

@RaulAntony one thing we're sure of is that Lavey certainly never said that he would pass the reigns to Gilmore, who seems to have no idea what an organization is for to begin with

mariahg7
mariahg7

Says Shane Bugbee, who also claims the film Craigslist Joe stole his remarkable idea. Says Shane Bugbee who says Bill Maher stole the idea for Religuous from him. Says Shane Bugbee, who claims that the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate idea was stolen from him. Says Shane Bugbee, who seems to spend all his time trying to take credit for other people's work. Now Shane claims he "laid the groundwork" for these guys, whatever that means. Says Shane who claims to tour "annually" in his Satan talk tour. How often has this "annual" event happened? Once? Never?
That's Shane. Google him and see.

wiredancer
wiredancer

@hzan @wiredancer Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post and sharing with me what you view to be big matters among post-Lavey CoS. To me, it just looks like a giant circle jerk over a dead man's legacy adorned in flashy robes. I appreciate theatrics and ritual more than anyone but at this point, I am ready to actually DO something to rage against the multiple injustices pushed upon us all by greedy Christian psychos rather than work to inflate my ego through ritualized grandoise delusions.  


"...I really don’t buy this because if you were obsessed with Satanism as a teen, then you most likely would have come across The Satanic Bible in any major bookstore (Barnes & Noble) or online (Amazon.com)." 


Of course I read the Satanic Bible, I was especially fond of the Satanic Witch. I couldn't afford the $200 membership fee as a teenager but I wished I could. It shaped who I am today in many ways and I greatly appreciate Lavey's work. I just don't see how you guys are doing anything to further what he began, nor is it really a concern of mine. I gained what I needed to from Lavey Satanism and it has nothing to do with anything that has come out of CoS since Lavey passed on.


"You really need to stop comparing The Satanic Temple and the Church of Satan. They operate differently." 


Yeah that is apparent. By 'operating differently', do you mean... that actions speak louder than words and you are heavily endowed in one department but severely lacking in another? (I'm sure that you can figure which is which easily enough, as can anyone who has seen you do nothing of any importance over the years.) 


"I haven’t seen any mainstream media outlet bring up the fact that they’re causing people to ask and answer many important questions about civil/religious liberties as the topic for covering the activities of  The Satanic Temple’s activities."


Are you kidding me? Watch ANY news clip about TST. (for your convenience they have compiled much of their media on their youtube channel) and you will see the talking heads spewing forth innumerable prose about how TST is challenging the structure that Christians think they own. My favorite question that got bounced around is "What IS religion? Who is entitled to special rights due to religion?" It is getting people thinking and talking and turning some heads, as well as highlighting the hypocrisy of Christian church groups, as you pointed out, who came out in droves to protest the Black Mass incident at Harvard prior to doing any research to see it for the historical re-enactment and lecture that it was. It put on display that larger religious groups feel that they can bully anyone who doesn't agree with them and succeed. Much like you do by laying claim to Satanism and coming out of obscurity to shoot down everything that they do.


Wait. Let's back track for a sec. "...As I stated before, one can work on raising money to push for secular legislation without a name attached; especially a counterproductive one."


Why would one not want to have their name/affiliation attached to works they are engaged in? What's wrong with a grand display of Satanist pride? Or is that just you having a problem with the fact that Satanists unaffiliated with your organization are getting attention? 


"Members of the CoS are free to choose whichever cause and political affiliation would best benefit them. To encourage people to gather and fight for this cause and that cause forfeits a sort of individual thinking and decision making that leads to an insincere “dedication.” It simply dulls the blade."


I don't see TST as rallying anyone to do anything. They have clear agendas and causes which they are vocal about and those that get involved do so of their own sacred free will because they identify with what they are doing or see the potential for what it can become. That is a part of the beauty- is that it is still so new and forming, un-littered with outdated stagnant drivel, many sharp blades coming together to sharpen each other as opposed to your 'dull' dull blade analogy.


"...I find numbers equating to those who are tuned in and seeing the rubbing of the genitals on a grave site of someone who had nothing to do with Fred Phelps..."


C'mon. That was hilarious. 


"...aligning children who are the victims of abuse by superstitious, ignorant religious figures with an organization who uses Satan in their name..."


Hey, were you at a S.M.A.R.T convention recently purchasing a tin foil hat? You do not think it is a noble cause to take BACK Satanism from those who soiled it with fictional witch hunts for pedophilia induced orgies and sacrifices? You are ok with most people having a knee jerk reaction to Satanism that relates to molesting and murdering children? As the Church of Satan, you are fine with letting these stigmas carry on instead of actually get your hands dirty to expose all of the lies that lead up to this image? Have fun dancing around in your robes, talking about how cool you are on the internet and being viewed by most people as a a group of irrelevant child molesters. Those aligned with TST will continue to actually rebel against authority granted by oppressive religious groups, play the counter weight that is desperately needed today and have some laughs upon the way. 


...and here I am talking sh1t on the internet just like all of you have been doing forever and I see where it can be appealing, especially if you are passionate about the topic, as I have become about TST & Satanism, once again. I don't claim to be any great oracle on the topic, just someone who has floated along in various occult groups my whole life, always questing for something more, a group I could align with who actually isn't afraid to get their hands dirty and activate against these bumbling Christian idiots who have held the reigns for too long. I am not the only one either... We are finding each other through TST and working together while the rest of you lead a b1tchfest p1ssing contest. One that I will likely end my participation in with this post. :)



AswangBlack
AswangBlack

@RaulAntony @posthumousAl I've heard this same garbage trotted out by the CoS for years. You say that "Since Gilmore became High Priest the Church of Satan has been increasingly more active in the media, through interviews, events, published literature and videos, concerts, art galleries, and more." Where?? What?? When? Gilmore has been tagging along on ST media for the past year. I find it funny that you accuse the Satanic Temple of a "song and dance" when you only mention CoS being "active" in entertainment (even when that's not true). The Temple is actively political. How does CoS "promote the activities of individuals"? Financially? With a nice "atta boy"? Tell us exactly, what does the CoS DO?? Don't point to some projects done by people who happen to carry a CoS card. Tell us what the CHURCH has done. Nothing! It's easy to put down another organization when your own activities are outside of criticism because they don't exist! At least LaVey had a right to sit back on his achievements. Now we have Pete resting on LaVey's achievements. It's also funny that you claim the CoS has gotten more media with Pete, while in the article here Pete claims the CoS doesn't seek media. You didn't name one specific thing the CoS does. "They promote activities" means nothing. What activities. All I ever hear from them are excuses for not doing anything.

RaulAntony
RaulAntony

@posthumousAlHuh? The article leads with a letter unrelated to Boyd's claim. 


And guess what? Boyd Rice is a blogger, he wrote that on his blog, which he maintained for years prior to that claim. His "cyberspace" profile is his most popular media channel. It took the former owner of Mute to smack him upside his head and tell him to wake up and realize that the real world reacts to the internet. 

Anyone who has worked with Rice knows he has a tendency to say one thing, do another, and then talk about how "consistent" he was all along. Those who recognize this move on, until he's completely surrounded by the very sycophants he whines about.

RaulAntony
RaulAntony

@posthumousAl I don't know where you exist, but here in the adult world organizations pass on leadership through the existing administration. By your logic no organization would exist past their second generation.

shanebugbee
shanebugbee

@mariahg7 well, it's not so black and white as stole the idea... frustration that my inspiration doesn't relate to direct payments, yes. it is true, craigs list joe did rip lines from our website and then present a very similar, yet less in every way idea on film.


the creation debate, while not an original idea, was executed by me some 5 years before the debate... we were also interviewing the creation museum months before bill maher as we stayed with the lawyer for the american atheists - so, I'm not sure I said they "stole" the idea, but I was first and being a small creative fish, it is common the larger creative fish eat my ideas often.


I mean, all of my stuff is documented, recorded, filmed, made into books and zines and I've been doing that for 30 years... I have a lot of real books and real live physical work to prove I do. do you?


you are a simple stalkerish moron... really, please do google, compare the timelines and I think you might see, I give birth to a lot of shit that you eat.

iamronni
iamronni

Well that's a moronic statement iSatanist.

RaulAntony
RaulAntony

@wiredancer @hzan "I am ready to actually DO something to rage against the multiple injustices pushed upon us all by greedy Christian psychos"


Are you? What are you waiting for? 


"I just don't see how you guys are doing anything to further what he began..."

"Why would one not want to have their name/affiliation attached to works they are engaged in? What's wrong with a grand display of Satanist pride? Or is that just you having a problem with the fact that Satanists unaffiliated with your organization are getting attention? "


Let's see, there's our work with the Center for Inquiry, American Atheists, ACLU, with numerous court appearances as expert witnesses on Satanism, WikiLeaks,  Electronic Frontier Foundation, fundraisers for the Human Society, donations towards The National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center, appearances at universities and colleges as guest speakers and presenters on the history and culture of Satanism... that's all I can name of the top of my head. Some of these activities are done by openly Satanic individuals under the banner of the Church of Satan, some not because it would be counter productive to do so. So we're not sending out press releases saying "Hey everyone! The Church of Satan is meeting with such and such and so and so! Someone get a photographer!" No.. because all that'll do is derail the issue at hand. Satanism is a philosophy that is applied to actions in the real world, The Church of Satan itself is not the end goal. You use Satanic principles to further your goals. 


"I don't see TST as rallying anyone to do anything."


It's pretty clear from the article we're commenting on that TST put out casting calls, fliered for their "Black Mass", explicitly posts to their social networks to get people to rally up. One of their campaigns is a "Rally for Rick Scott".


"You do not think it is a noble cause to take BACK Satanism from those who soiled it with fictional witch hunts for pedophilia induced orgies and sacrifices? You are ok with most people having a knee jerk reaction to Satanism that relates to molesting and murdering children? As the Church of Satan, you are fine with letting these stigmas carry on instead of actually get your hands dirty to expose all of the lies that lead up to this image?"


You and I may have different definitions of what is "noble". That aside, it's clear to me that you were born well after the Satanic Panic and the media blitz the Church of Satan went through to successfully fight off those heinous accusations. Since then Peter Gilmore and many of our media representatives have done numerous interviews on CNN, BBC, NPR, PRI, History Channel, New York Times addressing the misconceptions of Satanism long before the role of Lucien Greaves was cast. As LaVey stated to us numerous times, his idea for the Church of Satan was be a cabal of individuals throughout the world that shared a set of common First Principles. He encouraged us to be experts in our fields, to be the best artists, musicians, writers, actors, politicians, doctors, engineers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, mothers, fathers, that we could be and let those individual accomplishments be the public representation of Satanism. Name one single "civic" or "political" action done by LaVey and the Church of Satan in his time. There weren't any. He hated collectivism, he did not want to organize and rally up people. Doing so would be counter productive because different members would have different goals - all Satanic in principle, but applied differently in the real world. In fact, I would say the number of Church of Satan members who have gone out influenced global causes has increased exponentially since Peter Gilmore's position as High Priest due to his focus on contemporary issues and focus on academics.


I just got back from Palo Alto and had a great time with several engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors. Several in the group are Satanists or are aware of Satanism, and have been since the 90's. The "LaVeyan Satanist" character on HBO's Silicon Valley didn't come from nowhere... I've never met anyone there who thought Satanists were baby-killers. Obviously there's much more work to do to make Satanism a recognized philosophy, but we prefer respect from our accomplishments over sympathy as some victim class.


In my experience, the biggest issue we have is th idea that we're all Goth kids who listen to Marilyn Manson (augh). Every now and then a lunatic makes the news, which we address, and are quickly dismissed after the tabloids get their clicks and CNN gets its weekly ratings. Like I stated earlier, the best way to dispel those misconceptions is by being a master of your craft, and when/if the time is right, declaring yourself a Satanist. It's clear the TST has a different approach, I guess they prefer to be "balls out" and have a "high priest" who grunts about human sacrifices and burning babies. Good luck with that.

RaulAntony
RaulAntony

@AswangBlack @posthumousAl Do you seriously need someone to spell out exactly how a network of liked minded individuals can benefit your own goals and aims? Not sure if trolling or dense...


There are these things called websites. You can find them using another website called Google. It's pretty handy. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=church+of+satan+news


If I scroll through the feed I can see a number of my own accomplishments, which I've achieved with the assistance of fellow CoS members. Let's see... I've got an upcoming performance in NYC coming up, there's a compilation I've been included on that's seen significant support from the CoS, there's the Radio Free Satan network which I personally redesigned from scratch and maintain with a number of Church of Satan members, there's a concert in Brooklyn that I promoted with several Church of Satan performers which was recorded and now available on vinyl... if you poke around you may see some more of my contributions and collaborations, which have assisted me professionally and in turn financially.


All that said, being a member of the Church of Satan guarantees you *nothing*. These are MY accomplishments, MY achievements that *I* am proud of. But I give due credit to the organization that helped me network, promote, and support those goals. You get from our organization what you put into it. If that concept frightens you, we do not want you. 


Brush up on your reading compression and context clues. Peter Gilmore is referring to media publicity of private events (wedding, funerals, etc.) Some individuals may choose to publicize such things, but we don't force our members to do so. I know I didn't when I had my Satanic Wedding, officiated by the Church of Satan. Use that Google tool to see photos of a Church of Satan wedding at the Giger Museum in Switzerland. Yes, the Church of Satan releases choice material to the media, including the 6/6/6 High Mass, rituals in the Black House North to a documentary, and Hell Fire Caves rituals. The CoS has been constantly fielding requests from the media to get commentary on one issue or another. It's not uncommon that while I'm with Peter Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia that an e-mail or phone call is trying to interrupt. All of this well before Doug Mesner was tea bagging graves.






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