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. They are not Satanists, do not have shared “deeply held beliefs” and are unrelated to Satanism, a globally recognized religion founded in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey.
Some facts to consider:
- 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]
- 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]
- 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.”
- Now credited as co-founder and spokesperson, “Lucien Greaves” is a character/alias that has been employed by at least two people. Shane Bugbee claims the role was offered to him, but was first played by a hired actor and then taken over by Doug Mesner (not his real name) when press began asking for more interviews. Shane Bugbee was paid by Spectacle Films for his work with TST. There are repeated references to an unnamed 3rd TST co-founder. (An earlier version of this point incorrectly stated that Shane Bugbee had played the role.)
- In a 2013 Vice interview “Doug Mesner” says that TST is satire and states that it is “like a darker Yes Men.”
- In a 2014 Village Voice article “Malcolm Jerry” is outed as the filmmaker Cevin Soling, owner of Spectacle Films.
- Spectacle Films has documented most major TST public events.
- 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]
- 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]
- “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]
- 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]
- 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]
- 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.
- 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.
Background Context on TST
Misicko aka “Mesner” (as “Lucien Greaves”) has claimed The Satanic Temple has 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. TST uses imagery and language obviously inspired by well-documented Church of Satan publications and trademarks, that are different enough to avoid legal issue but similar enough to cause public confusion. Indeed, The Satanic Temple is often referenced by the media as the Church of Satan, and there is evidence of people joining The Satanic Temple thinking they have joined the Church of Satan. (youtube.com). Occam’s razor would suggest this is not unintentional. It should be clear by examining their site and public statements that The Satanic Temple has no consistent nor “deeply held beliefs” and is not practicing the globally-recognized religion of Satanism established by LaVey in 1966, rather it uses the term Satanism and popularly associated imagery as a means to get attention from the media. It’s also entirely plausible that Spectacle Films is still in production of the feature length mockumentary for which they began casting in 2013.
Satanism as a Recognized Religion
Satanism as a religion and philosophy was first codified in 1966 when Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan. Prior to this, the terms "Satanist" and "Satanism" were used primarily as insults and a means for condemnation as heresy by Christians without any specific definition. Religious scholars are in agreement on this point and while many people have claimed knowledge of long standing “secret Satanic traditions,” no evidence has ever been put forth to confirm these statements. These claims have been researched and carefully examined and are considered fraudulent by the academic community.
As Satanism is a recognized “New Religious Movement,” 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.
Some Christians—despite the five decades of a clearly defined belief system called Satanism expounded by a worldwide organization—still use this term to reference any acts or beliefs they consider to be “evil” or simply contrary to their own beliefs. Ill-informed members of law enforcement agencies and journalists, often believers in some form of Christianity, also continue to misrepresent the religion of Satanism. If the definition of Satanism is not kept clear, any unstable or insane person working from a Christian context could claim their actions were due to self-termed “satanic beliefs,” thus criminally implicating actual open adherents of Satanism to the public at large, people who are not generally familiar with the beliefs and tenets of religious Satanism. The recent case of murderer Amanda Barbour, who along with her boyfriend murdered one person but claimed to have murdered many others as part of an interstate “satanic cult,” is another example.
The Church of Satan works publicly to maintain a clear understanding of the atheist, individualistic, and law-abiding nature of Satanism and regularly consults with law enforcement as well as journalistic researchers and academicians to this end.