First Church of Satan
The First Church of Satan emerged in the 1990s as an Internet
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 remake
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
First Church of Satan. June
20, 2000.