First Church of Satan
First Church of Satan
The First Church of Satan emerged in the 1990s as an Inter-net fellowship focused upon the ideas of Lord Egan, the public persona of John Dewey Alle (b. 1951), a former member of the Church of Satan. Alle had joined the Church of Satan in 1970 and adopted what he saw as its Dionysian celebration of the individual. He believed that it was the duty of people to throw off the self-image imposed by their early social training and re-make themselves as the unique individuals they could become. Through the 1980s Alle turned his attention from the world of Satanism to pursue other concerns.
When he once again returned to the Satanic subculture in the mid-1990s, he noticed that the early atmosphere of individualism that had so pervaded the church that Anton LaVey had founded, had disappeared. Under current church leader Blanche Barton, he found an organization that had shifted from a celebration of individualism to an emphasis on elitism, a subtle but important change.
Lord Egan founded the First Church of Satan to champion Satanism as an alternative spiritual path. He sees Satanists as freethinkers moving toward spiritualism through spiritual stimulation and self-exploration. He has incorporated the church and is seeking tax-exempt status. He sees the church as fitting the image of a public benefit association and promotes all causes that accelerate human growth and potential.
Lord Egan uses many images to describe Satan, such as the Capricornian goat that leaps upon mountain tops ever seeking the lofty heights. He discourages debate over the existence of Satan, and sees the important issue to be the nature of one's belief system. Is it dogmatic or non-dogmatic? He favors the latter, especially in light of contemporary life that must be lived without absolutes. Thus the First Church of Satan does not replace the structures and rules of the past with a new structure and rules; rather, it offers a place to be that allows all authority to be challenged. It accepts all spiritual paths as valid and a means to the same eternal truths. The Satanic Bible, first published by LaVey in the 1960s, and its teachings are seen not as another competing spiritual path to which conformity is demanded, but as a call to develop one's own way.
Satanism is seen as opposed to devil-worship, that is, the subordination to a post-Christian deity and the adoption of an anti-Christian creed. It does not believe in nor practice animal sacrifice, believing that killing can be done only for self-defense or for food. Given its emphasis upon individualism and its acceptance of a wide range of spiritual perspectives, the First Church of Satan includes a wide range of belief and practice united by their common libertarian spirit. The church may be contacted at PMB 172, 203 Washington St., Salem, MA 01970. It has an Internet presence at http://www.churchofsatan.org/.
First Church of Satan. http://www.churchofsatan.org/. June 20, 2000.