January 10, 2024: A man in Michigan just got caught making homemade bombs to blow up The Satanic Temple Headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts. Luckily his parents rolled over on him, but if they hadn't, it's quite possible those who staff our Headquarters and those who are stationed there -- like one of our two Founders -- could have been injured or worse.
January 10, 2024: Man Arrested for building homemade bombs Targeting The Satanic Temple: https://www.wzzm13.com/article/news/crime/newaygo-man-arrested-building-homemade-bombs/69-6e876cee-44af-4604-b1af-dbe5708f6864 In February 2023, a bomb threat to HQ was called in, but never confirmed. In 2022, a guy wearing a shirt that just said "GOD" in big letters set the HQ on fire, but even though the entire building ramps and entranceway caught fire and burned, thankfully the fire didn't reach inside and the people there weren't hurt.
Sensing a theme? This is why many Satanists choose not to out themselves to their family, their friends, their colleagues or publicly. The first year after our Congregation was founded, we got a death threat, and as the publicly visible Congregation Head, I had to make a decision. Was I prepared to face potential danger ─ and yes, even death ─ in the name of my beliefs? I thought long and hard, and came to the conclusion that what TST was doing was so important, so potentially world-changing, liberating, protective against encroaching theocracy, that it WAS worth it.
However, either as a leader or fellow member of our community, I would never require anyone else to make the same commitment. I'm lucky in that I have no job to lose, my family already knows I'm a Satanist, and I have no other ties that would bind me back from being a public Satanist. But there is no shame in keeping your Satanism private or hidden from some or all people.
I tell new Satanists to carefully consider whether they "come out," as it were, because it can be surprising who in your life gets freaked out at or mad about your Satanism. Even atheist friends of members have broken off friendships because of it -- citing vague concerns about "using such a symbol burdened with negative connotations." The danger to all communities targeted by political hate, including Satanists but also Jewish people, trans and gay people, and anyone else deemed "impure," has risen sharply since the election to power of Donald Trump in 2016 -- and many people believe the conspiracy theories labelling anyone they dislike as "groomers" and pedophiles (that was the latest motive used to justify the production of homemade bombs and their planned use to blow up our Headquarters -- that we are "pedophiles and bad people." So never feel bad about choosing to use a Satanym, rejecting fellow members' social media add requests when you are not out, or not telling your boss who seems open-minded. Your "outness" is your own business, and there is credible danger, even if most of the threats target our Salem HQ. Protecting your identity doesn't make you any less Satanic.
Take care, and Hail Satan!
Lilith Starr is the author of The Happy Satanist: Finding Self-Empowerment (2015) and Compassionate Satanism: An Introduction to Modern Satanic Practice (2021). She won The Satanic Temple's Anatole France Award for Satanic Literature in 2020. She is also an official Minister of Satan ordained by The Satanic Temple, and she is the founder and Spokesperson of the Satanic Temple of Washington State.