For some time, there has been simmering tensions between The Satanic Temple (TST) and the Church of Satan (CoS). It is a push and pull in which the younger TST asserts their legitimacy while the older CoS has been particularly hostile toward the younger. The argument generally centers around CoS claiming that Satanism should only exist as codified by LaVey and other groups use of the term is disingenuous.
Yesterday the Church of Satan released two posts regarding The Satanic Temple in general and their abortion rights lawsuits in Particular. The posts, taken together, both apparently sought to delegitimize The Satanic Temple, and disambiguate the two groups to make clear that CoS does not agree with The Satanic Temple’s methods. In a rare move, TST co-founder Lucien Greaves has posted a point by point refutation of the ‘fact sheet’ on his personal website calling post “so egregiously cherry-picked, willfully misinformed, and outright false, that it demands correction.”
Purpose of Fact Sheet
Greaves begins the refutation with speculation on the purpose of CoS issuing such a document. He says it suggests that though TST’s aspirations have changed over time that CoS refuses to accept that, though as The Satanic Temple’s membership and overall mission has grown the organization has become an international religious organization. He goes on to suggest that the fact sheet seems to imply that TST is somehow trying to hide this information from the public.
“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.”
The post goes on to detail how early decisions were made and how those plans changed as the group gained popularity and membership increased, which allowed for more structured and cohesive group actions. The brief history is then followed by addressing each point of the CoS factsheet directly. The CoS sheet makes claims including claims that TST was originally a theistic religion, that co-founder Malcolm Jarry hired Lucien to play the role of the second co-founder, and that TST members are not Satanists. He also responds to the Church of Satan doxing information about him in their piece.