Lucien Greaves responds to the Church of Satan, and it’s a lame response

So it appears that Douglas Misicko (might as well drop the formality of calling him Lucien Greaves) has responded to the article put out by the Church of Satan pertaining certain facts regarding the Satanic Temple and its formation. This will be a point by point response to the article in question. As with the last post I will leave a link to the article at the end of the post. I will also leave a link to the Church of Satan’s article again at the end of the post as well as a show of good faith. Like last time, I must stress that this is going to be a long ass post, as is necessary to cover all of the main points, in fact, you’ll find that it’s even longer than the last post, so buckle up if you want to read this one.

Anyhow, without any foreplay, let’s do this.

Yesterday, the Church of Satan released a so-called “fact sheet” related to The Satanic Temple. While I typically don’t reply to the insults and laughable claims of exclusive authenticity put forward by the CoS, this fact-sheet is so egregiously cherry-picked, willfully misinformed, and outright false, that it demands correction. Most of the “facts” on the fact sheet seem to suggest that the author believes that because The Satanic Temple (TST) began with lower ambitions, and that because TST wasn’t originally conceived to be a centrally governed international religious organization, it somehow still isn’t, and the original concept must still be the “real” TST.

You seem like a capable mind reader, being able guess the author’s true intentions. Of course, not really, but don’t let that spoil you. But your ambitions were different, and I would argue they could well be described as “lower” than your current ambitions. What is a generic secular protest movement against George W Bush compared to a campaign to build an entire “religious” movement around a form of Satanism that doesn’t like the actual Satanism in order to take America by storm? That said, I’m not entirely sure where you get the idea that accusations are cherry-picked, willfully misinformed or outright false. The corroboration for these claims is out there and they’ve put it in the article.

In fact, we’ve been quite open in interviews regarding the origins of TST, and neither me nor TST’s other co-founder had the audacity to imagine in the beginning that TST could be what it is today. We wanted an active and relevant Satanism, one that would do exactly the things that TST are doing presently. We didn’t need an organization to tell us how to think, how to properly be “true” Satanists, or as a mere social club in which we could construct ourselves into the highest ranks of a false hierarchy. We wanted an organization that served a mission statement and pursued organizational goals. Of course, we didn’t have one, and the idea of constructing one from the ground up seemed a lofty delusion, but we had plenty of ideas of what such an organization would do.

As we will go on to explore later on in the article, the part about you wanting any kind of Satanism simply isn’t true. You’re using Satanism as a costume for your own ends, but you don’t even give a shit about the Satanic Bible enough to make it a core part of your teachings, much less insist that people who ascended the ranks of your organization know anything about it.

Also, you give people fancy titles like High Priest or Reverend in your organization, per Brian Werner’s testimony. You are in no position to complain about the evils of hierarchy. And, constructing missions statements from the ground up is a lofty delusion now? There’s a politician out there who almost become Prime Minister in the Netherlands on the back of a one page manifesto. What’s your excuse?

Without membership and without any desire to recruit or convert, we imagined that we would demonstrate Satanic activism ourselves, putting small-scale campaigns to film, and that those films (or that film) would inspire others to fly the banner of The Satanic Temple and take up similar Satanic causes. The idea was that — with various competing concepts in Modern Satanism — TST would be a unifying umbrella without a central authority, that would be defined by its activism for secularism and against Satan Panic witch-hunts, for pluralism and against theocratic encroachments into the public square. We imagined TST would be more like Anonymous in its decentralized activities than anything resembling the international religious movement it’s become. But while TST changed, our deeply-held beliefs and identification as Satanists — which predated TST — never did.

That’s a funny of saying you went out of your way to make a satirical documentary for what was intended to be a fake religion, a fictitious Satanic cult modeled after theistic Satanist ideals rather than the dolled up atheism you call your current theology. You still seem to see your organization as focusing on political activism with political goals, and honestly, that you compare yourself to Anonymous is, for me at least, not to your credit (read: Anonymous is a joke).

And at this point he starts talking about the specific points raised in the article.

The “fact sheet” begins by saying “The Satanic Temple is a self described ‘Yes Men’ styled satire/activist group that uses satanic-themed imagery and language to get media and public attention.” Already, the piece flatly lies to its readers. The “Yes Men” parallel refers to an interview I did in Vice when I talked about the style of activism, but I was also very clear that we’re very much a religious organization with sincere beliefs, nor is the “use” of “satanic-themed imagery and language” a mere ploy “to get media and public attention.” As I said in the interview, “I believe that where reason fails to persuade, satire and mockery prevail. Whereas many religious groups seem to eschew humor, we embrace it.”

Well it’s not flatly lying to the readers, actually. You’re a culture jamming movement. You troll people or institutions that promote Christianity in a public capacity, and you as you admitted, openly admit to embracing satire as a means of activism. That’s why you’re comparable to the Yes Men. Because the two of you are, in spirit at least, doing the same thing.

The fact sheet then goes on to claim that we don’t have any deeply-held beliefs. This is a perplexing statement, clearly and provably untrue, that leads one to wonder if the author couldn’t be moved to check our website or various legal suits (argued, as they are, as a defense of our clearly stated deeply-held beliefs).

It’s one thing to throw what you think your beliefs are out there for all to see, but that on its own doesn’t mean much. Your actions are important to the world than your arguments ever could be, which isn’t to say that you’ve never actually acted on your beliefs. You know what, that’s one credit I’ll give to you here. Fair play.

Then we get into “the facts”:

 

  1. In 2013, Spectacle Films ran ads looking to cast characters for a mockumentary about a fake religion, that film was to be titled “The Satanic Temple” — the casting director was listed as “Lucien Greaves.” [newsbusters.org | doubtfulnews.com | miamiherald.typepad.com | ritualabuse.us]

 

The first public appearance TST ever made was in a rally in support of Florida Governor Rick Scott as he signed a bill allowing for prayer in school. The cheering evangelists, we knew, would think twice if Satanists applauded their increased “liberty.” This, of course, was when we wanted to inspire Satanists to take on causes that would help preserve and expand their personal liberties, but we had no membership. While there was a casting call to try and populate the rally, the “fact sheet” flatly lies when it states that ads were ran “for a mockumentary about a fake religion.” Satanism was never treated as or regarded to be a “fake religion” by TST.

You had no membership but somehow had enough people to hold a mock rally “supporting” Rick Scott. Yeah, I’ll believe that. But seriously, when you say “Satanism was never treated as or regarded to be a “fake religion” by TST”, you’re being disingenuous. The fake religion isn’t Satanism. It’s the fictitious sect *of* Satanism that’s fake, or was at first. Or maybe the sect being fake was just an elaborate hoax as well. Satanism is not you people, you have to understand that.

By the way, this still doesn’t convince me that you’re not out to troll evangelical Christians, just saying. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, other than the fact that you’re being dishonest about it.

  1. Launched in 2013, The Satanic Temple’s (TST) website claimed to believe in and worship a literal Satan. The TST trademark filing contains documents that have these claims as well. [web.archive.org | bizapedia.com]

False. Under the original limited conception of TST, the activism was primary, not narrowly-defined concepts of what Satanism is imagined to be universally for all people. To that end, we didn’t put a fine point upon our beliefs, but in one segment of the website we spoke of our non-supernaturalism in theological terms. “God” is consigned to the supernatural, thus removed from the real world and outside of our area of belief and/or interest. Satan is emblematic of critical discourse and scientific exploration. By the logic of the CoS’s own “fact sheet” we could also conclude that Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible, which they take a fundamentalist pride in upholding as the one true definition of Satanism, is a decidedly theistic text for the abuse it heaps upon the character of “God.”

To quote the section of your website the article was talking about:

The Satanic Temple believes that God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that he cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm. Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy. Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical. In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.

So God creating Satan to rule over the universe as his proxy with the compassion and wisdom of an angel is just a metaphor for critical discourse and scientific discourse, rather than basically a rehashing of Gnostic and Yazidi beliefs that exists to play into the role of a fictitious theistic sect? This sounds like an utterly post-hoc rationalization of a statement you put out 4 years ago as part of the act.

Also, by your logic, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, three of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism, are theists as well, on the grounds that they talk about the character of God as an utterly malignant and tyrannical personality. Is this really the point you intend to make? Anyone with an anti-theist sentiment is really a theist simply by dint of talking about God in a negative light, all because you don’t like that the Church of Satan put out a statement from your website that is decidedly theistic in character?

  1. TST Co-founder Malcolm Jarry (not his real name) has stated that TST was originally conceived as a backlash to US President Bush-era “religious protections.” [nytimes.com]

Well, why not? In the George W. Bush era it became quite apparent that other religions needed to challenge Christian exceptionalism. It is unclear what this “fact” is attempting to establish. Again, an organization should serve an organizational purpose

So, just to be clear, you’re essentially admitting that’s what it is. You aren’t refuting anything here, in fact you’ve ceded this point to the Church of Satan. You basically admitted here that your original purpose was political activism.

  1. Now credited as co-founder and spokesperson, “Lucien Greaves” is in fact a character that has been played by several people, including an unnamed actor, Shane Bugbee and currently by Doug Mesner (not his real name). Shane Bugbee was paid by Spectacle Films for his work with TST. There is a yet unnamed 3rd TST co-founder. [shanebugbee.com]

False. There is not a word of truth to this entire statement. Nobody has “played” Lucien Greaves. Lucien Greaves is a pseudonym I used, and still use, as it was hoped I could retain some protective layer of anonymity when challenging religious zealots who threaten harm and death upon me. Incidentally, “Anton LaVey,” too, was a pseudonym. There is no 3rd co-founder, Shane Bugbee never “played the role” of Lucien Greaves, nor was he ever paid for doing so. The only evidence of this that the “fact sheet” provides is a personal blog, leading one to wonder if the CoS will begin citing Satanic Panic “ritual abuse” paranoiacs in their desperation to discredit us. (They get there at point 9.)

This would be believable if you presented any concrete proof of that statement. Now it is true that the primary evidence for this claim is a personal blog, but where’s your proof exactly? Have you any proof that Shane is lying? Also, it is quite something that you compare just citing Shane’s personal blog to citing an SRA believer. It shows how low you value Shane’s word. And here I thought you were friends.

  1. In a 2013 Vice interview “Doug Mesner” says that TST is satire and states that it is “like a darker Yes Men.”  [vice.com]

 

It’s amazing that the author of the “fact sheet” managed to bypass or fail to understand the entire surrounding text of the interview. It was as follows:

 

VICE: Is the Satanic Temple a satanic, or a satirical group?

 

Doug: That is a common question. I say why can’t it be both? We are coming from a solid philosophy that we absolutely believe in and adhere to. This is Satanism, and to us it couldn’t be called anything other than Satanism. However, our metaphor of Satan is a literary construct inspired by authors such as Anatole France and Milton—a rebel angel defiant of autocratic structure and concerned with the material world. Satanism as a rejection of superstitious supernaturalism. This Satan, of course, bears no resemblance to the embodiment of all cruelty, suffering, and negativity believed in by some apocalyptic segments of Judeo-Christian culture[emphasis added]. The word Satan has no inherent value. If one acts with compassion in the name of Satan, one has still acted with compassion. Our very presence as civic-minded socially responsible Satanists serves to satirize the ludicrous superstitious fears that the word Satan tends to evoke.

 

Reminds me of a darker version of the Yes Men.

 

Yes. Just as the Yes Men use very catching theatrical ploys to draw attention to a progressive agenda, we play upon people’s irrational fears in a way that hopefully causes them to reevaluate what they think they know, redefine arbitrary labels, and judge people for their concrete actions. I believe that where reason fails to persuade, satire and mockery prevail. Whereas many religious groups seem to eschew humor, we embrace it.

In the first part of the segment of the interview you quoted, you do indeed attempt to pass yourself off as a sincere form of Satanism. But as soon as Shane had you pegged as a Yes Men style group, you essentially admitted that, yes, you are employing the same satire as them and for political activism.

  1. In a 2014 Village Voice article “Malcolm Jerry” is outed as the filmmaker Cevin Soling, owner of Spectacle Films.  [villagevoice.com].

 

There’s no point in this “fact” other than a low attempt at “doxxing.”

Except it’s not. Putting an article out that was already released 3 years ago with the name there is a strange form of revealing someone’s private information yourself (that’s what doxing is by the way, which he also doesn’t seem to know how to spell properly) if you ask me. More to the point he doesn’t seem to be refuting this point at all. Why doesn’t he just show how Malcolm Jarry isn’t actually Cevin Soling and that Shane Bugbee and the Church of Satan are lying instead of just attack the morality of the information being put in the article and going no further from there?

  1. Spectacle Films has documented most major TST public events. [duckduckgo.com]

 

False. This isn’t true, nor does the citation support the claim. The idea for an activist film that would inspire grassroots identification with a non-centralized TST was abandoned very early in our history, after the Rick Scott rally, when we soon began organizing real adherents to our philosophy who wished to work directly with us in building the formidable institution we’ve become.

To your credit, Joel Ethan could have just put links to specific articles rather than just a link to search engine. But if you click the link you’d find that claim isn’t strictly true. Spectacle Films was there for your adopt-a-highway campaign, as well as the Pink Mass where you held a gay wedding over the grave site of Fred Phelp’s mother, not to mention the Rick Scott rally. These were pretty high profile events for your group.

  1. 10 years before TST, “Doug Mesner” produced illustrations for an edition of Might Is Right, published by Shane Bugbee (who was a Church of Satan member at the time) with an introduction by Anton LaVey, founder of the CoS, and afterword by Peter H. Gilmore, current High Priest of the CoS. Originally published in 1890, Might Is Right is cited and paraphrased in LaVey’s 1969 book The Satanic Bible, which is universally accepted by religious scholars as the founding document of the religion Satanism. In the following years “Mesner” would often appear on Radio Free Satan, an internet radio show closely connected to the CoS. [archive.org | shanebugbee.com | cimminneeholt.com]

It is really unclear why this “fact” is included, as it seems to contradict everything that the “fact sheet” itself attempts to establish, which prior to this point in the “fact sheet” seemed to be the notion that TST and myself have no real attachment to Satanism. What we see here is acknowledgment that long before TST I did, in fact, familiarize myself with a wide variety of Satanist identifiers. Was this just thrown in as a way to merely not ignore it, and in an effort to pretend that the author confronted any dissonance it may provoke?

To me it suggests that you did have an interest in Satanism at a certain point, but it is evident to me that, at a later point, you rejected Satanic philosophy because of its decided non-egalitarian outlook, which was influenced by Ragnar Redbeard. What they are acknowledging is not what you are, but what you used to be.

  1. The original TST website listed Neil Bricke as the founder. This was apparently a smear campaign that was removed a few months later, as Neil Bricke is actually the founder of SMART, who has had a longstanding public feud with “Doug Mesner,” an alias used since the mid 1990’s by Douglas Misicko. [ritualabuse.us | returntothepit.com | ritualabuse.us | web.archive.org]

Neil Brick claims to believe that he was a brain-washed Illuminati supersoldier who was abused by Satanists/the CIA/Freemasons only to completely “repress” the memories of those episodes and recall them later. This is the “fact sheet’s” source, and the CoS now seems to object to the very idea of this anti-Satanist’s alleged mistreatment.

How the hell is this a refutation of their claim? I get it. Neil Brick is an unreliable source. In fact, I talked about two articles you wrote in the last post I did to show how crazy Neil Brick and his SMART organization is, which I did to your credit to show that you are correct. But how the whole does that make this particular claim incorrect? You didn’t address the veracity of the evidence in any way other than by saying he has terrible opinions. Imagine if someone like me rejected the claims in one of your sources solely on the grounds that it’s a left-wing rag like The Independent. You’d probably call me out for it, no? It seems to me that you can’t actually refute the claim being brought because you know it’s actually true. I mean you could have just said you did it as a joke or something to that effect and it wouldn’t be so bad.

  1. “The Satanic Temple” is a registered Trademark of United Federation of Churches LLC, which is listed as registered to Douglas Misicko, 519 Somerville Ave., No 288, Somerville, MA 02143-3238. Reason Alliance LTD is a religious non-profit also registered to Douglas Misicko at the same address. [bizapedia.com | bizapedia.com/ma/united-federation-of-churches-llc.html | irsexempt.com | taxexemptworld.com]

It seems that some people, never entering into the real world battle for the protection of individual rights, advocating for Satanists, are not aware of the dangers of having one’s name and address published. Or, they merely try to “dox” those whom they feel are upstaging them.

Again, you aren’t being doxed in this instance. The links posted in their article consist only of information that is publicly available on the Internet. Joel Ethan didn’t steal your personal information out from under you or anything like that. If the Church of Satan did do that, I would actually be taking your side on this issue. But they didn’t. And again, you haven’t refuted a damn thing. All you’ve done is attack the claim on the grounds that you think it’s a morally bad claim. Almost as if you can’t actually show how the evidence being put forward is false.

  1. Reason Alliance LTD paid bills for, and provided 501c3 documentation in support of, TST’s After School Satan Club in Seattle, however their own website claims they do not believe religious organizations should be tax exempt. [judicialwatch.org | judicialwatch.org | freebeacon.com | afterschoolsatan.com]

This point seems to indicate that the author of the “fact sheet” is unaware of how organizations operate and the difference between a standard 501c3 and a religious tax exemption. In fact, we are an LLC with a 501c3 where donors can contribute. Some activities, such as running an after-school club, sometimes require the endorsement of a 501c3. Here again, the “fact sheet” uses bad citation, this time from an evangelical right wing watchdog group whose articles about TST’s After School Satan Club and its alleged “fast-tracking” by the IRS were debunked by both Snopes.com and Forbes. The Forbes article also describes the utility of the Reason Alliance, if the CoS is still confused regarding how active organizations operate.

Judicial Watch literally had the documentation for tax-exempt status on its website. The evidence was right in front of you. But once again you try to say that it’s a “bad source”, this time because it’s apparently a right-wing political group. You don’t seem to understand that, in this case, the “evangelical right wing” watchdog group is a correct on the basis that they have the evidence. And you can’t even refute that you didn’t. You just dismiss Judicial Watch because of their political affiliations, but not before rationalizing your decision to apply for tax-exempt status, meanwhile, as CoS points out, you literally stated on the After School Satan website that you don’t believe organizations like yours should be tax-exempt. You believe yourselves to be a religious movement, and you believe that religious organizations should not be tax-exempt. Therefore, filing for tax exemption is hypocritical. It’s that simple.

  1. Original TST “High Priest” Brian Werner states in his 2014 resignation video that TST is a political organization that has nothing to do with Satanism. Werner claims the actual people behind TST have no interest in or connection with Satanism, a claim echoed by Bugbee. [youtube.com | shanebugbee.com]

False. Werner objected to the specific type of politicization he saw in TST, but he never denied that I’m Satanist. He also objected that there were some in TST who have no care at all about what the Satanic Bible by LaVey says (as it’s not in our canon), but Werner doesn’t believe the CoS to be a credible Satanic organization either. The CoS’s general worthlessness is also echoed by Bugbee who had his membership revoked by the CoS in 2006.

Doug, are you dense? The fact that you appointed people to the status of chapter heads (apparently without a vote by the way) who had no interest in the philosophy of The Satanic Bible, coupled with the fact you just admitted that The Satanic Bible is not in your canon is precisely what is meant when CoS says you have nothing to do with Satanism. Why would you let people ascend the organizational ranks who aren’t Satanists nor have any knowledge of Satanism, or admit people who aren’t even Satanists, unless you have fuck all to do with Satanism. The fact that Brian Werner and Shane Bugbee neither associate with nor support the Church of Satan does not change this fact. It’s almost whataboutery.

  1. TST spokespeople are on record saying you do not have to be a Satanist to join TST, you simply need to support their political efforts. [brokeassstuart.com]

False. It says, right there in the citation provided, that our After School Satan Club received numerous applications from would-be teachers for our clubs who were not self-identified Satanists, but deeply invested in helping us combat the encroachment of evangelicals into public schools.

That is the opposite of the claim being false. Not to mention, it says, right fucking there, from their own mouths “you don’t even need to be a Satanist to join The Satanic Temple”. The only way for the claim to be false, strictly speaking, is if it never actually says that anywhere in the blog post, and that’s just not true.

  1. The Oklahoma 10 Commandments monument case was won by ACLU representing two Christians opposed to the monument. TST and its Baphomet monument were not involved with the case, however they claimed victory publicly, an intentionally confusing narrative picked up by many media outlets. This tactic has become MO for the TST. [acluok.org]

This is a bizarre statement. We never claimed a victory of our own in court when the 10 Commandments came down, but we did celebrate a victory for the 1st Amendment. In fact, we coordinated our plans for a lawsuit and our messaging to the public during the OK 10 Commandments dispute with the ACLU. We’ll never know to what degree the State Supreme Court considered that any ruling for the 10 Commandments needed to be equally applied to our bid to erect Baphomet, but many reasonably feel it was certainly a consideration. It’s difficult to understand how this “narrative” confuses the CoS.

Except you did. You claimed the removal of the monument was a victory for you, even though all you did was generate media publicity. Unless you did any fighting in that case, you won nothing, and the ACLU has won nothing for you. It’s one thing to say you coordinated you plans for a lawsuit, but you know what would be even better? Showing that you actually went through the troubling of suing someone. But of course you can’t.

The “fact sheet” then summarizes by saying that I claim “no shared lineage with the Church of Satan, though he was publicly associated with many Church of Satan members and projects in the decade before The Satanic Temple launched.” This, too, is flatly and provably false. Even in the Vice piece that the “fact sheet” cherry-picks from I speak of LaVey as a starting point from which we evolved Satanism into a relevant and productive religious movement. I have spoken about this at length in many interviews, including a recent one with Haute Macabre (http://hautemacabre.com/2017/06/never-let-your-activism-be-artless-an-interview-with-lucien-greaves-of-the-satanic-temple/).

It would be myopic to repeat to myself on this point, so I’ll just say that you can say all you like that you started from LaVey’s philosophy, but in reality you abandoned every aspect of it that did not align with your political goals. It is obvious to anyone who is familiar with the philosophy of Satanism, and in fact you admit that you consider LaVey’s original philosophy incompatible with your perspective. Also, in the interview you posted, you try to claim that Satanism is about equality. Only your belief system is. LaVey, by contrast, believed equality was a myth. One need only look at his Pentagonal Revisionism program to learn that. In fact, he believed that death is the closest that humans can get to any real equality, and even then he thought some people made better corpses than others.

We then see an unconvincing attempt to justify this petty and undignified public temper tantrum with the claim that “it’s important for an understanding of what is and what is not Satanism to be maintained. “The Satanic Panic” in the 1980s-90s is evidence of a willful distortion of this religion as the concept of a conspiracy of murderous ‘satanists’ was promoted primarily by evangelical Christians and taken-up by the media worldwide. Law enforcement debunked the claims of the evangelists but not before many people had become victims of false accusations of ritual child abuse, sacrifice, and kidnapping.”

Apparently, this “understanding” can only be gained by dogged insistence that only the website of the CoS defines Satanism. This is particularly infuriating as TST, unlike the CoS, has been actively fighting against the Satanic Panic which still exists, nor is it “promoted primarily by evangelical Christians.” One need only look at our Grey Faction campaign to recognize that actively fighting back against anti-Satanist propagandists is one of the primary functions of TST.

I will admit that the Church of Satan is notoriously dogmatic and obtuse on the issue of what Satanism is, believing that because they started Satanism they are the only people who can decide what Satanism is. But still, at least they, or rather Anton LaVey, gave us the basic tenets of Satanism that any Satanist, whether pro-CoS are not, atheist or theist, can agree upon as a matter of principle, for they are the backbone of everything we value. Your contributions to rationalism and skepticism will not change the fact that what you believe simply isn’t Satanic, you are just using Satanism as a costume for your activism. And you citing this in an attempt to get one over on the Church of Satan is pathetic, particularly given your taste for refuting their claims through moralfagging rather than presenting indisputable proof of them being false.

Also, I think you misread the “promoted primarily by evangelical Christians” part. They are saying that this is, at least historically speaking, the main source of the idea of SRA conspiracy theories, though I personally would include a media prone to sensationalism as another primary source.

As irritating as all this willful misrepresentation is, it also calls into question the CoS author’s understanding of the CoS’s own history. Some readers may find this article illuminating: http://www.maryellenmark.com/text/magazines/rolling%20stone/920S-000-004.html

The article you quoted is a reminder of the complexities of LaVey’s own personal belief system. But, I think the argument could also be made that he might be metaphorical. He could be speaking of magical things, and he appears to take coincidences with some level of seriousness or enthusiasm, but, at least after 1975, he was pretty much an atheist.

On the whole, Douglas’ response was a response I find to be lacking in substance. It fails to address the evidence right in front of him, and he seems incapable of being straight about what seems to be evident about the past. The late rationalizations, moralfagging about publicly available information, and pearl-clutching over sources made this a frankly pathetic read in which I found myself losing patience for Douglas Misicko.

I brought up this point last time, but as a mild tangent I think it’s worth repeating as a closer: the fact that Tucker Carlson didn’t take the time to actually look at this shit before he talked to Misicko in either of the interviews he did with him makes me think he’s really not as clever as he’s made out to be. He, or whoever writes his notes, is surely capable of finding these pieces of information about Douglas, and he might well have used some of them to put him in a corner when he would be forced to give the game away. But he didn’t, and for that I will be eternally disappointed.


Lucien Greaves’ response to the Church of Satan: https://luciengreaves.com/correcting-the-church-of-satan-fact-sheet/

The Church of Satan’s fact sheet: http://www.churchofsatan.com/the-satanic-temple-fact-sheet.php

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A history of Satanic Temple shenanigans

Oh boy, have I got a treat for you. The Church of Satan released an article on their Twitter, a fact sheet about The Satanic Temple, written by Reverend Joel Ethan, outlining evidence for The Satanic Temple being a parody activist group, in their words, “a self described “Yes Men” styled satire/activist group that uses satanic-themed imagery and language to get media and public attention”. For those who perhaps don’t know what Ethan is talking about, the Yes Men are an activist group that impersonates high profile individuals, particularly the heads or spokespeople from major corporations, and creates fake, satirical websites to impersonate the web pages of individuals and/or corporations they dislike in order to raise awareness about various social issues that they’re concerned with.

What I intend to do with this post is explore the points raised by the Church of Satan in-depth, to explain the important details and why they add up. There’s fourteen points in the article so I will probably have to truncate my analysis for each of them. Either way this is going be another very long post, and I will leave the link to the article by Joel Ethan at the end of this post. By clicking that link, you can access all of Ethan’s sources for yourself and draw your own conclusion.

First, Ethan states that The Satanic Temple began as a film project, specifically as a fictitious Satanic cult set to appear in a mockumentary movie entitled, funny enough, The Satanic Temple, centering around “the nicest Satanic cult in the world”. There was apparently hoax involved surrounding The Satanic Temple’s alleged support for Florida Governer Rick Scott, which the Miami Herald revealed was essentially a publicity stunt, the true purpose of which has never been revealed by the group’s founder, Lucien Greaves, who himself was also the casting director for the movie. What’s interesting about this is that if you were to perform a search of The Satanic Temple’s Rick Scott rally on the Internet, you’ll find that this mock rally was reported by many mainstream news outlets as a bunch of Satanists seemingly expressing genuine support for Rick Scott’s “religious freedom” policies, when it was a stunt.

During this time, it appears the organization was also billed as having a belief in a literal Satan, to quote from their webpage from years ago:

The Satanic Temple believes that God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that he cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm. Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy. Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical. In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.

Hail Satan!

You read this doctrine any way you want, but to my mind this does not necessarily suggest that Lucien Greaves intended the organization to be a theistic Satanist group. Remember that they started out as a satirical religion for a mockumentary. It’s reasonable to assume then that this statement of belief is not, in fact, a genuine statement of doctrine, but a part of the act. Curiously enough, however, among the documents contained within The Satanic Temple’s trademark filing, one of them makes, alongside this statement, the following statement:

The Satanist harbors reasonable agnosticism in all things, holding fast only to that which is demonstrably true. The cultural narratives through which we contextualize our lives must be malleable to conformity with our best scientific understandings of the material world… Those understandings, in turn, must never be so rigidly codified as to themselves be inflexible to advancements yet unknown. Thus, Satanism is an evolving religion, unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times. Belief must reconstruct itself to fact, not the other way around. This is the Luciferian impulse to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, even (and especially) when to do so irretrievably dissipates blissful and comforting delusions of old. That which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise.

Sound familiar? It sounds a lot more like The Satanic Temple we know today than the belief in a literal Satan serving as Man’s conduit, on behalf of God no less, to the point of seeming like a contradiction, perhaps even a more sincere statement of belief that the former statement about God. In fact the first half of that statement can be found on the IndieGogo page for their Adopt-a-Highway campaign (which incidentally seems to have failed to reach its goal of $15,000).

Then there’s Malcolm Jarry, the co-founder. You might remember him from the post I wrote about him where I took him to task over the concept of “Jewish Satanism”. In a New York Times article dated to July 2015, Jarry states openly that the original idea for the movement was as a secular activist response to George W. Bush’s creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, a US government office created to support religious organizations. He envisioned The Satanic Temple not as a genuine expression of Satanic philosophy, albeit one at odds with the Church of Satan’s ideas to an extent, but as a protest movement against George W Bush’s religious conservatism, well before discussion about religious freedom was as big as it was in the 2010’s. He and Lucien had been planning for something like this for apparently a long time, presumably waiting for the opportunity to get started.

But there’s another interesting aspect to this story as well. It seems that the artist and former high priest of the Church of Satan Shane Bugbee appears to have exposed Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry back in 2014. Writing for VICE Magazine (ordinarily not my favorite source for journalism, let’s just say), Bugbee revealed that a man named Doug Mesner approached him at his home asking for a copy of a republished edition of Might Makes Right by Ragnar Redbeard, the very same book that he would later go on to denounce over its apparently racist content and from there complained about Anton LaVey’s views about social stratification, meritocracy and egalitarianism. How’s that for an irony? He later produced illustrations for the book and, in 2002, Shane Bugbee did a radio show with Doug where they discussed that very same book. Doug is also recounted by Bugbee as having been introduced to many intellectuals at Harvard University, some of whom he apparently later exposed as frauds. He also recounts of how he, apparently, would insult and harass alleged survivors of ritual abuse. Bugbee also revealed in a separate blog post that he was asked to take the role of someone named Lucien Greaves, implying that Lucien Greaves was, at the time, not a person so much as a persona or a character utilized by The Satanic Temple for their purposes, the role of whom was eventually taken on by Doug Mesner himself. As for Malcolm Jarry, according to Bugbee he is actually a man named Cevin Soling, who also happens to be the owner of, Spectacle Films, the studio that was working on The Satanic Temple mockumentary and have also documented their adopt-a-highway campaign. Interestingly enough, simple searching for Cevin Soling will show you that the same man who owns Spectacle Studios is also an alternative rock musician and an advocate for the abolition of public schools, which he thinks are brainwashing American children, and got interviewed by Stephen Colbert about his film The War on Kids. He also identifies Cevin as one of two rich kids financing The Satanic Temple, the other being a man named David Guinan, who is apparently director at a company called Arise Media.

Going back to Mesner, it’s in the same VICE article authored by Shane Bugbee that Doug Mesner outright admitted to starting The Satanic Temple as a dark religious take on the Yes Men, as well as a “poison pill” in the debate over the proximity between church and state in America.

So far I’m getting a picture of how back in the early days of The Satanic Temple, and perhaps even well before its foundation, that this was not intended as a serious religious movement at all, but rather as a satirical political activist movement with clear political goals in mind. I must say, if only Tucker Carlson had actually done that amount of research into Lucien Greaves and The Satanic Temple before the two terrible interviews he did with Lucien Greaves, then maybe he would have actually got one over on Lucien Greaves instead of practically whining about how Satanism as a whole is not a real religion because he’s a Christian but hey; I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. Jarry also proves to be an interesting character. If Shane Bugbee is correct and Malcolm Jarry is indeed Cevin Soling, then from the outset this seems like a man who is strongly invested in social activism, and one of his main themes seems to be children and public education, and apparently gay marriage and abortion if the Times of Israel is anything to go by. So a very politically-minded, noticeably liberal and left-leaning political themes, which if you’ve ever looked into The Satanic Temple seems to be one of the main themes of the organization. What’s also fascinating is that, around 2013, you’ll notice that Doug is fairly chill about the fact that he’s not very serious about this and it’s actually just a satirical group, whereas in later years in almost looks like he and his cohorts are taking this project more seriously. So is it a case of do they believe their own hype now, or is this still part of an act, just that instead of being simply satirical they intend it as a much more serious political movement?

Now, the next thing brought up is the bizarre fact that the website for The Satanic Temple seemed originally to list the founder not as Doug Mesner/Lucien Greaves, but instead a man named Neil Brick, the head of an organization called SMART, which claims to publish information about stories of ritual abuse. Apparently Doug Mesner and Neil Brick had a falling out over the subject of ritual abuse. I’m guessing Doug put Neil’s name there as prank gesture? By the way, Neil Brick’s SMART organization seems to get into some interesting shit, at least according to Doug in his article on a website he runs called The Process Is. Just read this section from an article he wrote about them. This is from when he visited a SMART conference in 2009.

The S.M.A.R.T conferences are an opportunity for the victims of the satanic conspiracy to exchange their horrific tales, offer support to one another and, most importantly “just be believed”.   Victims are encouraged to bring an accompanying “support person”, as much of the material covered in the 2-day series of talks is considered to be “triggering” (that is to say, it may cause flashbacks in the similarly traumatized).

Does that sound familiar? Because to me it sounds like an SJW or far-left conference about misogyny and rape. It sounds like Hillary Clinton and scores of modern feminists ranting about how people who tell you they were raped should just be automatically believed even in the absence of credible evidence. It sounds like the Alex Jones-inspired equivalent of a Tumblr convention. And here I was beginning to doubt horseshoe theory. Not to mention, What. the fuck. is this shit?

“We could all decide [Satanic Ritual Abuse] isn’t really true”, LaBrier announced, provoking no real discernible response from the crowd.  She admits that she could pass off her “recovered memories” as “hallucinations”.  But then, “the events [of the past] are not important to me anymore”.  Their only significance is in “what they mean to me in my evolution as a human being.”  Indeed, she will conform reality to her beliefs rather than the other way round.  As she recalls warning possible skeptics at a talk she delivered to an Indiana University class, “Don’t you ever question my reality!

You know I think I can see the problem Doug might have had with such a gaggle of conspiracy theories. Particularly when, according an article he posted on the Daily Kos, he saw people rant about “using musical tones and quantum physics to open up portals into the spiritual realms”. Yeah, can’t imagine why Doug might think this guy’s nuts.

Moving on a step, the article next claims that The Satanic Temple is a registered trademark of the United Federation of Churches LLC, registered to Douglas Misicko, apparently the true identity of Doug Mesner (which would make Doug Mesner yet another pseudonym), to whom Reason Alliance, a non-profit corporation that supports pretty much the same ideas as The Satanic Temple. In fact it looks to me like Reason Alliance might just be another extension of The Satanic Temple. This also seems to relate to the After School Satan project. While The Satanic Temple publicly claims that they believe that religious organizations should not be tax-exempt, they, via Reason Alliance, applied for tax-exempt status and successfully obtained it. Now that I know this, it strikes me how hypocritical that Doug Menser and Malcolm Jarry are, going out of their way to apply for tax-exempt status while simultaneously saying they don’t believe religious organizations should be tax-exempt. Almost as if, like so many cliche American left-liberals, they don’t practice what they preach. Unless what they preach itself is only an act. Or maybe applying for the tax-exempt status itself was a prank, a way of impersonating a religious organization whilst simultaneously preaching against religion. Now maybe that’s giving Doug Mesner too much credit.

You may remember Brian Werner, former high priest of The Satanic Temple as well as the lead vocalist of a long-standing death metal band named Vital Remains. He resigned from the organization back in 2014, and he had quite a few complaints about them, which he explained in his video. He views the organization as hypocritical because while it ostensibly resents hierarchical order, in contrast to Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan who, at least in its early years, embraced meritocratic hierarchy, he gave Werner the title of High Priest for his perceived merit within the organization and had no qualms with handing out titles like “reverend” to various individuals. I suppose this is all part of the act as well, surely? He also complained that the leader, Doug Mesner, was appointing chapter heads without a vote from anyone, one of them told him that he had never read The Satanic Bible or heard of Aleister Crowley, Michael Aquino or the Al Jilwah, a Yazidi holy text I recognize as a book held in high regard by some theistic Satanists. He stated that this person, along with several other individuals he recognizes as clowns unworthy of the Satanic mantle, only got into the organization because they were appointed by someone behind the scenes. He also expresses resentment and despondence over how, apparently, he and Doug were loyal friends during his membership of the Satanic Temple, they were seemingly like brothers, and how after the statue had been completed and Werner wanted to talk to Doug about what was going on, he didn’t try to address those concerns with him and instead had a lawyer do the talking for him. After this, he complains that while almost every Satanic movement agrees fundamentally, on some level, with the original tenets of The Satanic Bible; individual sovereignty, reverence of individual will and power, the strong shall rule the weak and the clever shall rule the strong, refusal to turn the other cheek when one is smited, opposition to psychic vampires, and control of one’s own destiny. These are the tenets he recognizes as being pretty much universal to all strands of Satanism, and like any true Satanist I agree with them as well, but he recognizes that The Satanic Temple doesn’t embody these ideals. Like I mentioned earlier, Doug shuns these ideals, because they are not compatible with his egalitarian leftist outlook.

What’s more, two spokespeople from The Satanic Temple were interviewed by one Lauryn Petrie on a blog called Broke Ass Stuart, and this is what they had to say about membership.

No. There’re two types of membership. Anybody can go to the national site at https://thesatanictemple.com/ with a simple email address you scan sign up for the newsletter and become a member. And then there’re Chapter members, and that requires some responsibilities to be involved on some level. Every Chapter does that a little differently. No has to pay anything unless you want a card and a certificate. That costs $25, but by no means do you have to do that. If there’s a local chapter where you are, to join you do have to be accepted, but there’s no initiation or anything. You don’t even have to be a Satanist, you can just be a strong ally who believes in the political and secular actions without being super stoked about all the aesthetic aspects.

So according to them, you don’t have to be a Satanist, not even by Doug Menser’s idea of what Satanism is, in order to join The Satanic Temple. All you have to do is support their political causes. I think if Brain Werner had seen this, he would see this as further evidence of his conclusion that The Satanic Temple aren’t actually a Satanic organization.

Finally, you know all that business with the Ten Commandments monument, back when I actually kind of supported The Satanic Temple’s efforts to eroding the influence of Christianity? Well Ethan, in his final point, points out that The Satanic Temple’s campaign to erect a Baphomet statue alongside the Ten Commandments were immaterial, and that they had nothing to do with the case. Instead, the ACLU, representing Christians who viewed the monuments presence as a means of political grandstanding over what, for them, is a sacred part of their religious faith. But after the ACLU won, The Satanic Temple publicly claimed victory for this whole thing, and people believed them. Why? Easy. Because The Satanic Temple generated publicity, they “started a conversation”, you might say, by doing precisely fuck all other than troll their political opponents. I say fuck all, because once you look at what the ACLU had to say, this wasn’t actually about The Satanic Temple’s grievances at all. They just shared the same views on the subject and took the credit.

And that’s all the points that Joel Ethan brought up. What’s funny is that really none of this is new information. It was out there, and the parody act that they did in 2012-13 was apparently known for quite some time, but apparently it didn’t occur to many people, certainly not to me at the time, and certainly not to the mainstream media – can’t say I blame them in retrospect, such facts would run counter to a narrative that was tied to a lot of publicity, controversy and therefore ratings. The Church of Satan seems to just be re-posting these facts, apparently simply to inform us all that this is the case. I can’t say I know if that’s true, I don’t know what their true motivations are for reposting the old information besides their obvious rivalry with The Satanic Temple. I have to say though, I am convinced more than ever that The Satanic Temple are atheists pretending to be Satanists, using Satanism as a costume for their own political goals, and I feel disappointed with myself for not knowing some of this information much sooner.

I am finished with this organization, not that I was ever a member. With all due respect to anyone reading, if anyone still believes that these people are real Satanists, when in fact they weren’t even genuine from the beginning, I can’t help you. I am more opposed to them than ever now, for I have come to realize that these people are outright charlatans and deceivers. They don’t care about Satanism, they don’t practice Satanism philosophically nor do they practice what they preach, they have never been Satanists, and worst of all they lie in order to advance their own goals. Ironically, all to fight lies and perceived tyranny.


The Church of Satan’s Fact Sheet on The Satanic Temple, via Reverend Joel Ethan: http://www.churchofsatan.com/the-satanic-temple-fact-sheet.php

The Belle Plaine issue

There has been an update to the story of The Satanic Temple’s Belle Plaine monument which I would like to cover. Last week, Belle Plaine has seen protests from people who are opposed to the erecting of The Satanic Temple’s “Joe” monument, largely Christian groups who are opposed to the idea of anything Satanic being erected on public property. A free speech zone was established by the city of Belle Plaine in response to previous protests by Christian groups who opposed the removal of the Joe monument. The idea was that the space would be opened all temporary private monuments. The Satanic Temple used this opportunity to try and get their own monument displayed there, but this of course drew protest from Christian groups who opposed the very idea. On Thursday, Belle Plaine eliminated the free speech zone, barring all privately owned monuments and leaving their respective owners with 10 days to remove them. This of course means that the Satanic memorial monument will not be displayed in Belle Plaine.

So basically, because The Satanic Temple decided to try and place their Satanic funeral monument in a public space, and Christian protesters decided to show up in response, Belle Plaine has decided that, rather than just allow both, they’ve decided to make it so that none of them can be displayed at all. Good job Satanic Temple.

The event also attracted the attention of FOX News’ Tucker Carlson, who interviewed Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple to talk to him about the monument, as well as Satanism from the perspective of Greaves at least. Now let me get one thing straight: normally I like Tucker Carlson. Ever since I started hearing of him taking on all kinds of idiots and loons not just on the left but on the neoconservative right, as well as craziness from Washington and the mainstream media, not to mention he’s a living meme as well because so many of the people he interviews bring out that famous face of bewilderment, he became the only reason I bother with FOX News at all. But when introduced to The Satanic Temple and to Satanism, it seems Tucker Carlson had a hard time dealing with it. Tucker accused the group of going out their way to deliberately horrify Christians (which I don’t think is entirely accurate), he basically dismissed Satanism as a “silly made-up religion” because it wasn’t as established as Christianity, Judaism or Islam, and he tried to legitimize Lucien’s belief system on the grounds that Satan was a Christian symbol, never mind that as a Christian (to my knowledge at least) his God was lifted from pre-Jewish Canaanite paganism. It seemed to me like Tucker was being really unfair to him, and he seemed to be arguing from a position of ignorance.

But I don’t think Lucien performed very well either. He started the interview by pretty much dodging Tucker’s questions about what the core beliefs of Satanism are before eventually describing it from the standpoint of The Satanic Temple. To Tucker’s credit, it did seem like Lucien wasn’t always very straightforward. What bothered me in particular though was that towards the end of the interview about how Satanism was not just about resistance to tyranny and religious authority, but also diversity and multiculturalism. So in other words, Lucien on national television proclaims that Satanism, for him at least, is just textbook social liberal philosophy dressed in the devil’s clothes. I view Satanism as, fundamentally, pro-individualism and pro-freedom. And the ideals of diversity and multiculturalism, as they are practiced today, are nothing more than covers for illiberal – if not outright authoritarian – social engineering, rampant soft bigotry and racism, the erosion of Western civilizational values (including individual liberty) in favor of cultural relativism and willful prostration in the face of the threat of Islamic terrorism. I know that Tucker was unfair to Lucien for the most part, but if he’s trying to tell me that *this* is what Satanism means he should frankly throw his pentagrams to the floor. On the whole, the interview was a dumpster fire for me and one of the lesser moments in Tucker Carlson’s otherwise fine show.

And that, in a nutshell, is the most recent development in the Belle Plaine chapter of The Satanic Temple’s activist campaign.

Thoughts on The Satanic Temple (and their Satanic monument)

The Satan statue being built by The Satanic Temple

One of the highlights of this year so far, for me, is the plan by The Satanic Temple to build a statue of Satan (in the form of Baphomet) at Oklahoma State Capitol alongside the Ten Commandments monument, as a reaction against another defiling of the constitutional separation of church and state. Obviously I am in favor of Satan statue being there to oppose the establishment of a Christian presence that does not belong in a place of law.

However, I feel it would be remiss if I didn’t add that if the Ten Commandments monument were to be removed from the site (which might be rather unlikely), then the Satan statue would have to be located somewhere else because it would no longer serve its purpose if the Ten Commandments monument is no longer present.

The 2012 Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma, which sits as an affront to the separation of religion and secular law.

Still, isn’t it baffling that the Christians in America are complaining that there’s a statue of Satan coming to Oklahoma after they built a Ten Commandments monument there? They shouldn’t be complaining, because they brought it upon themselves when they chose to make a mockery of the values that America was founded on; freedom, separation of church and state, the right of the individual to pursue happiness in whatever way he/she chooses to as long as no one is harmed or coerced (all of which, of course, law would serve to protect). By erecting the Ten Commandments in a place of secular law, they should’ve known this and that someone else requesting monuments for other beliefs would follow.

Which brings me to The Satanic Temple.

Easily the most public Satanic organisation ever (at least in terms of their campaigns of outreach), they stand out among every other Satanic organisation. Where most of them have a somewhat elitist (though not fascist) element, and sometimes a misanthropic outlook, The Satanic Temple does not, and the organisations desire to provide outreach to the public and publicly take part in community and public affairs, including political activities. Their public campaigning, I feel, is an excellent and wonderful thing because it challenges people to question their spoon-fed or image-based perceptions of Satanism and look into the philosophy of Satanism and its many different manifestations.

However, I personally would most likely  not join the organisation because I do not like to actively join organisations and like to remain independent and not stick to an outside set of tenets. It’s also because I tend to be wary of any idea of altruistic intentions. The latter is nothing against the organisation, I just like to be careful that Satanic organisations are not partaking in community activities for the sake of any altruistic ideas and pretences. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t support the organisation and its efforts, acting as an independent supporter . After all, why wouldn’t I support an organisation that actively fights on the side of liberty? I might even donate on my own time when it suits me or when I’m comfortable.

If you are interested in donating, then get this: There are apparently some awesome perks for donating. For $500 you can get your name on the “list of souls” on the back of the statue. For $666, your name on the statue. For $1,000, you can get a 1 foot bronze statue of the monument. For $1,200, you get your name on the statue at the top of the list. For $5,000 you can get your own 4×6 block with 4 lines of text. For $10,000 you can get your own 10×8 inch block with 12 lines of text. And for $100,000, your own statue! I’m not sure if I can donate that much, but damn! It’s enough to make me want to consider it.

I’d hate to sound like a giant advertisement, but those interested in donating may feel free to check out the website here: http://www.thesatanictemple.com