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What exactly is the Church of Satan?

Misunderstood movement or dangerous cult? We chat to a member of the Church Of Satan, with Behemoth mainman and Satan enthusiast Nergal at the helm

It created a moral panic in the late 80s and early 90s and remains a largely misunderstood entity to this day. So what exactly is the Church Of Satan? We invited Behemoth frontman Nergal – no stranger to the Horned One himself – to conduct a special interview with official Church Of Satan priest, Nathan Gray. Here’s what went down.


Nergal: “I remember that my first contact with the Church Of Satan was through The Satanic Bible in the early 90s. I started exploring the dark arts in all available dimensions, and also started Behemoth! How did you discover the Church?”

Nathan: “I was around 12 or 13 years old. My parents’ church was part of that late 80s/early 90s ‘Satanic panic’, so they showed lots of films about abduction, sacrifice and the ‘dangers’ of Satanism and rock music. Those films included these clips of this crazy guy with robes and horns doing rituals – that piqued my interest rather than scaring me off! But I could see that this guy [Anton LaVey] was winking all over the place, that everything he was doing was a put-on, that he was messing with people. So I, too, read LaVey’s The Satanic Bible, and I think because of my upbringing it spoke to me on a level that terrified me, like, ‘I don’t know if I can just be myself and be my own god, that’s insane.’ What was your reaction to the book?”

Nergal: “I was fascinated, it all opened new doors of perception. I was 15 years old and sensed there was whole new world there waiting to be explored. I just needed the right trigger, a key to liberate my teenage self from the shackles of Catholic dogma and taboos I was entangled in. What made you decide to become more involved?”

Nathan: “It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s, when I’d come more to terms with myself, that I decided to get back into it. Personally, I had to come to a point where I was comfortable being an atheist and saying, ‘OK, I know what I don’t believe, what do I believe?’ At that point I went over to Satanism.”


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