Many Satanists prefer the shadows

BETTSTOWN, Ga. (BP)--Perhaps the world's most prominent Satanist was Anton Szandor Lavey, who founded the Church of Satan in 1966 as a mixture of a hedonistic philosophy and black magic rituals.

Lavey, who died in 1997, wrote "The Satanic Bible" (1969, which sold 1 million copies) and other books as the self-declared high priest of the church that once boasted 10,000 members.

Since the inception of the Satanic church, other local chapters, or grottoes, have been founded across the nation.

Many Satanists, however, shun public recognition, preferring to operate in the shadows.

"You would be surprised to know how many practicing Satanists there are our there," Gwan Garrison, a former Satanist, told The Christian Index. "They are not on every corner, mind you, but they are out there."

Why do people turn to Satanism?

"People are searching for ways to get ahead in life so they look to Satanism with its promises of material gain. But I tell them that Satan will give them anything they want for a season but he will ultimately destroy them. He only uses us to further his goals of stealing souls; the more he can steal, the more powerful he feels."

Garrison said the power that he and a witch at a former workplace in California were able to hold over others through casting spells was "truly amazing."

"If we had a run-in with someone, we would cast a spell of sickness, marital strife or financial loss on them. We would throw all sorts of things at them to cause them harm, and we saw the results very clearly."

The power over Christians was less effective, while those without a strong commitment to Christ were more vulnerable.

"These spells are not to be taken lightly," Garrison said.


For more information on witnessing to those in cults, sects and new religious movements, the North American Mission Board has an online resource, called a Belief Bulletin, which is free for the downloading. Visit www.namb.net, type in "occult" in the search engine in the top right corner, and click on the link that appears on the page. The link will take you to a comprehensive list of bulletins; the information on Satanism is located in the "Other Resources" section at the bottom of the page in the bulletin titled "Occult Overview."

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