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The Satanic Temple

Guest Article

The Satanic Temple

May 17, 2024

The Satanic Temple and its Eternal Nobodies

Doug Misicko aka Lucien Greaves on his phone typing with a tweet by him that says “Did the FB chatter not look shittening to you? Certainly looks that way to me.”

5/31/24: Article updated from original publish date as more information became available and more TST groups and prominent figures publicly exited the org. Additional events after May 31 will not be updated here.

Starting May 10, a long-simmering power struggle within Salem, Mass.-based “The Satanic Temple” spilled over into public, with each additional response from TST co-owner, co-founder, and primary national spokesperson Doug “Lucien Greaves” Misicko accelerating the departures of prominent figures in the org and even whole local groups.

We’re going to try to present as much information on this situation as possible and in-full for people to be able to reference for themselves. However, we have a point of view:

The Satanic Temple is an abusive business/religious organization run by two thin-skinned authoritarian men who look at everyone else involved in their “religion” as interchangeable resources to be extracted so long as they are convenient and suppliant; people attracted to the idea of rebelling against tyranny (the way TST markets itself) tend to resist this dynamic when they realize that’s what’s happening, thus local groups and individuals are regularly breaking off or being expelled.

People are allowed to come to other conclusions, but the purpose here is to try to make it easier for people to see for themselves what’s going on, the sort of cult-of-personality The Satanic Temple is cultivating, and that these frequent schisms are not necessarily a bug but a feature of how TST is set up and what it’s trying to do.

When Doug Misicko a.k.a. “Lucien Greaves” tells you he’d rather have a handful of people personally loyal to him than a mass movement that has grown beyond him, there is no reason to try to pretend he is saying anything else than exactly what he is saying.

If you are someone who used to be in TST, and especially if you’re someone who used to be in leadership, you should speak up under your own name about how you’ve come to realize the Temple was not actually what it promised to be, or what you yourself may even have promised others it was. You have a responsibility as penance to be at least as loud denouncing it as you were endorsing it.

The more of you who do so, the safer you’ll all be.

But, if you still don’t have that in you, at least pass whatever you can to admin@the.satanic.wiki and create an account to add to The.Satanic.Wiki proper so others can understand the history and how this all connects.

TST will keep using people up, grifting people, and abusing people until they are stopped, and the only way to stop them is by being as loud about what they really are as TST has had people lying about them.

Inciting Incident

Lucien Greaves “Invitation To Leave” email

As far as things generally “public facing” this is where it starts: Doug Misicko sending an email on May 10 where he demonstrates criticism of him is equivalent to undermining The Satanic Temple itself (and unacceptable).

We’re presenting this in full as much as possible, but, uh, don’t feel obligated to read every word. You will get the gist pretty quickly.

Two things to take special note of, however: “the sudden uproar of random internal nobodies with delusions of grandeur” and “[i]f you feel you have outgrown TST, feel free to get the fuck out of TST” are both really telling and seem to have motivated a lot of people to act.

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Canadian TST Minister responds

Then a soon-to-be-ex-Minister from TST Canada’s Atlantic Coast congregation, Neacail MacGille-Eathain responded — politely! — to Misicko’s digital harangue; that email thread was posted to Reddit by another member of TSTAC’s congregation, including the final email of Doug Misicko’s immediate and unilateral expulsion of that person.

Neacail MacGille-Eathain email response, and Lucien Greaves firing him via email reply

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Lucien Greaves “fires” Canadian Minister

Deeper in the thread a u/azhulaalso clarifies:

Just very normal things for a religion telling you that it’s a good thing they will send their Satanic Ministers into your schools: TST Ministers are afraid to talk about the inner workings of the religious organization they’re part of lest they get sued.

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Memes mocking Lucien Greaves

An Imgur album of some of the memes in question, by the way.

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“Internal Nobodies” rebel publicly

Surprisingly or not, a bunch of people who had stuck with Misicko and TST through the last schism with David Silverman found this to be a bridge too far as Misicko reminded everyone that, no, The Satanic Temple is not more than just him (and Cevin Soling); TST is entirely equivalent to him and his wants. Everyone else are “Internal Nobodies”, as he put it in his email.

Starting May 11 and continuing regularly for the next two weeks and beyond, people who felt — rightly and damningly — that they had been crucial in building TST into what it is today were upset to have all their work completely and openly disregarded by Misicko.

Lucien Greaves posts “An Apology” on Substack

Because it’s Doug, of course he had to go out and keep posting through it, telling everyone, “Fuck off. I’m the only important one here.”

He did this May 12 on his Substack with “An Apology” that was clearly anything-but; that was mirrored by loyalist TST sockpuppet Twitter account “Victory Spirit” and then again on Reddit.

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Canadian TST member responds

How was this received? Well, a member of the group in Canada who’d had its Minister targeted replied (as u/sashalav), saying what is a common refrain from those targeted by The Satanic Temple: TST is making stuff up about them.

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Lucien Greaves goes on a sycophant podcast

Was this the end of it? No, it was not the end of it.

After being an asshole semi-privately to the inner circle of TSTers via email, then being an asshole more publicly on Twitter, and writing a Substack post about it, Doug Misicko needed to keep talking. He moved to a new medium: a friendly podcast.

Now, in the past Misicko likely would have turned to Stephen Bradford Long’s “Sacred Tension” to peddle his propaganda with a guarantee of no pushback. But Long recently got tired of “adolescent Satanism” in terms that make it pretty clear having to answer for Misicko’s antics and priorities were irritating him, and at this point, Long is signaling a return to Christianity. It’s all genuinely very surprising.

But Long leaving the fold has opened up opportunities for Tommy and Lilin T. Lavin to fill that “Mmhmm”, “exactly” interviewer niche Misicko demands.

If you can’t make it through listening to the whole thing, at least glance at the full transcript over on The.Satanic.Wiki.

But in general, it makes a strong case that the only virtue that Doug “Lucien Greaves” Misicko (and likely co-owner Cevin “Malcolm Jarry” Soling) value is “unending boot-licking to them personally”. Which, yes, is stated pejoratively, but it can’t really be said to be an exaggeration.

Here is Misicko, from that Satanists Nextdoor episode, explaining why any deviations from “The Satanic Temple” as defined by its two owners is unforgivable:

Because Misicko personally wants to have a good relationship with police, he’s upset that a fascist “Thin Blue Line”/”Blue Lives Matter” flag got burned at SatanCon 2023 in Boston:

Because Misicko has ties to Ukraine, TST speaks out loudly in favor of Ukrainians when they’re invaded. Because Soling is a proud Zionist who has a nonprofit set up to target Palestinian protesters on campus, TST is silent on the ongoing ethnic cleansing and massacres of Gaza. Because neither of them really seem to care about bodily autonomy or reproductive rights beyond personal aggrandizement, TST inserts itself into abortion access fights the most unhelpful ways.

Despite all of the noise last year about Misicko “stepping down” in the near future, he clarifies here once again that he never will.

Misicko does not view this as a collective endeavor. He views it as a business that he owns along with Cevin Soling (“Malcolm Jarry”). He doesn’t owe you a public accounting of the finances of the org or what he pays himself from it for what specific tasks, and he considers it audacious that you would even ask for that level of transparency or accountability.

TST is not “bigger than” Misicko and Soling. TST is just collective resources extracted from suckers and privatized for Misicko and Soling to deploy as their own. And that’s not “Queer Satanic” saying so; it’s the only spokesperson the Temple has ever had telling you so directly as he unilaterally expels people he dislikes while holding Non-Disclosure Agreements and Non-Disparagement Clauses and the attendant legal threats over them.

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A second Substack hits the schism

Of course, Doug Misicko is congenitally compelled to “post through it,” so naturally on May 31, he wrote another post for his Patreon and Substack called “Satanic Summer of Fun”. It was important for him to let everyone know just how “not mad” he was about everything going on, and while words like “cult” and “dictator” are authoritarian, going forward he is definitely doing to be asserting himself much more directly and being even less tolerant of criticism of mockery at his expense.

If you want the short version, it’s “Am I so out of touch? No, it’s the Ministers and Congregations who are wrong.” (Emphasis added in all cases.)

We have collated a lot of people talking about their frustrations with The Satanic Temple, and you can read them for yourself.

If we’ve missed it, let us know, but the only person saying “merchandise” about any of this we ever saw was Misicko. That may well be based on real complaints people had about supporting their local group’s operations, but the idea that that was the primary complaint?

There is also no reason to believe that in quantifiable metrics The Satanic Temple is coming out any better for all of this, but it’s probably true that in the sense of “purging people with institutional memory and independent bases of support” Misicko is pleased. As you read through the assessment Misicko makes about those who have left, there’s no reason for you to give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t believe it.

“For it would not be accurate to simply say that the ministers who object to the organization and its objectives are, on balance, counterproductive. They are simply counterproductive, with nothing at all offsetting the scale in the other direction.”

Remember: if you’re still sticking in The Satanic Temple today out of duty or even outright pleased at all of the “forest” that has burned away so you can get your time in the sun closer to Doug Misicko and Cevin Soling now, this is how they will talk about you someday soon, too. And when they talk about “the organization and its objectives,” they do quite literally and without exaggeration mean themselves personally and nothing greater beyond that.

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An announcement on Slack

The evening of may 31, a post in the “Satanic Ministry” Slack followed through on Misicko’s promise in the Substack post to assert more direct, top-down control over those remaining in TST’s Ministry, with Cevin Soling or at least the “Malcolm Jarry” account delivering the news.

screenshot from Slack chat for "Satanic Ministry"

We have to stop adding to this article at some point, so we’ll have to leave it there for now the way May 2024 ended three weeks after this all started with Misicko unilaterally firing someone via email over memes.

But if you are still in TST and you’ve made it this far, and if you’ve read through all this and you think all this is a normal way for a largely volunteer collection of for-profit and some nonprofit corporations to be run, please know that this is not normal. Business and nonprofits are often exploitative and extractive of their workers under capitalism, but what’s happening here is not typical even in that framing.

If you’ve been told not to trust us, fine, don’t trust us. But at least look — really look — at these things for yourself. We are showing you all of this so that you don’t need to take our word on anything.

Despite all of the complaints of “that’s out of context” or in the language of the second Substack an “extremely truncated telling of events,” what you should notice pretty quickly is that the less truncated and more in context these tellings get, the worse The Satanic Temple and its owners look.

TST’s narrative only holds together if you don’t look at what anyone else is saying but them or you believe that everyone who is critical of them is lying, including all of the people who until weeks before were true believers themselves.

The next two sections are going to be looking at those sorts of people in their own words.

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