First Church of Satan (John Dewey Allee)

A distinctive branch of Satanism advocating individualism and diverse spiritual paths.

The First Church of Satan emerged in the 1990s as an Internet fellowship centered around the ideas of Lord Egan, the public persona of John Dewey Allee, a former member of the Church of Satan. Allee joined the Church of Satan in 1970, drawn to its Dionysian celebration of individuality. His philosophy emphasized the importance of discarding socially imposed self-images to embrace one’s unique potential.

Transition and Re-emergence

After leaving the Church of Satan and pursuing other interests through the 1980s, Allee re-engaged with the Satanic subculture in the mid-1990s. He observed a shift from the original individualistic ethos of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan to a more elitist orientation under Blanche Barton’s leadership.

Founding and Philosophy

Allee founded the First Church of Satan to promote Satanism as an alternative spiritual path, emphasizing freethinking, spiritual stimulation, and self-exploration. He incorporated the church, seeking tax-exempt status, and positioned it as a public benefit association aimed at accelerating human growth and potential.

Satan and Spiritual Beliefs

Lord Egan’s interpretation of Satanism diverges from traditional views, using metaphors like the Capricornian goat to symbolize Satan’s pursuit of lofty heights. The church refrains from debating Satan’s existence, focusing instead on the nature of belief systems. It advocates non-dogmatic approaches, especially in the face of contemporary life’s lack of absolutes. Consequently, the First Church of Satan does not impose new structures or rules, offering instead a space for challenging authority.

Practices and Views

The First Church of Satan accepts a wide range of spiritual perspectives and practices, united by a common libertarian spirit. It opposes devil-worship, seen as subordination to a post-Christian deity, and does not practice animal sacrifice. The church emphasizes the distinction between Satanism and devil-worship, focusing on self-defense and sustenance as the only justifiable reasons for killing.

LaVeyan Satanism Context

LaVeyan Satanism, founded by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966, is a new religious movement and a form of Western esotericism. It espouses atheism, seeing Satan as a symbol of pride, carnality, and enlightenment, rather than a deity to be worshipped. The religion promotes a naturalistic worldview, individualism, egoism, and Social Darwinism. LaVeyan Satanism involves the practice of magic, both as ritual (greater magic) and manipulation (lesser magic). The Satanic Bible, authored by LaVey, is central to its philosophy.

The First Church of Satan, under John Dewey Allee’s guidance, represents a unique interpretation within the broader LaVeyan Satanist movement, emphasizing a libertarian and individualistic approach to spiritual exploration.