Misunderstood movement or dangerous cult? We chat with the Chairman of the Church of Rational Satanism and Satan enthusiast John Wait at the helm
There is a New Satanic Panic today and still remains a largely misunderstood entity since the late 80s. So what exactly is the Church of Rational Satanism? We invited the Chairman of the church John Wait – no stranger to the Horned One himself – to conduct a special interview with Teen Ink. Here’s what went down.
Teen Ink: How did your path develop to the point of your involvement with the Church of Rational Satanism?
For a long time I’d never thought of becoming involved with a “ community “ of Satanists. Long after identifying as one and following the sale of my business the free time I was enjoying enabled me to pursue a number of curiosity led avenues. One of which was to type Satanism into Fakebook. I very quickly became disenchanted with the LaVeyan “ scene “. I’ve never been a fan of single minded zealots and there are way too many of those. I was banned from one group after another for asking the sort of questions the hard of thinking hate the most. Obviously my interpretation of what LaVey was about didn’t match this new breed of Hero worshipping hardliners. I left thinking maybe LaVey was turning in his grave. I had made a few friends however and one of those introduced me to CoRS. It was a Revelation, free minds raging and accepting at the same time, grown ups. Concepts like 90%10% thinking instantly resonated and I could see these were ideas I could utilise and take further. The journey had begun again.
Can you separate for us the myths and realities of the Church of Rational Satanism; what are its principles, and what does it stand against?
The main principle is we are providing only tools to enable the individual to forge their own Model Dependent Reality. Because it’s the individuals own system there are few rights and wrongs, though they are inherently Satanic at the core. I’m not giving other factions airtime here but we believe Evolution is inherently Natural and a requirement of humanity and his philosophies. However we are serious about our beliefs and ideas and I for one am regularly embarrassed by the shenanigans I see going on in Satan’s name.
An outsider’s perception is often that Satanism is based around macabre rituals, such as Unbaptisms. Although such elements are greatly blown out of proportion by The Satanic Temple through popular media, what space do rituals occupy within Satanism?
Personally I think all forms of decompression are best utilised in private. Any other presentation of ritual is performance art and has an agenda separate to the singular pursuit of ones own well-being. The concept of 90/10 thinking being 90% mundane and 10% decompression/fantasy is moveable for those that require or enjoy more of one or the other. But it’s a recognition of mans need to give his head a little break from the mundane. Countless rituals in print, to me serve no purpose as they are all subjective.
The Church sees Satanists as adversaries against anything that stifles progression through conformity, which is sadly also evident in the Satanic community with many organizations claiming to be the one generic system. . As a Satanist, what do you really think about these organizations?
I think if we accept that human nature will always have a broad range of flaws, one of them being herd mentality, these kind of organisations are.... inevitable. They also have little bearing on how I live my life, the progression of CoRS or Satanism in general. It’s not up to me to define Satanism, but they are great sport when a bit of trolling is required to lift the mood after a days work
It’s been recorded that the likes of Jayne Mansfield, Liberace, even “Knife” Sotelo were members of the Church of Satan, whilst many contemporary musicians in the metal genres such as Marilyn Manson are (even expected to be) members. What type of people do you feel are attracted to Satanism? Do they share a common trait?
I think people like role models. I can’t remember ever thinking to myself “ I wonder if Liberace really was a Satanist ? “. I frankly couldn’t give a s***. If they share a common trait it’s that they were photographed with LaVey, probably not conclusive but then I never sought proof either way. I think there are traits that are Satanic, the questioning personality, the rejection of conformity etc. But if you spend time in the online community you’ll see that conforming is the exact thing most are doing.
Is it true that you are the head of the Church of Rational Satanism within Great Britain? What are your responsibilities in your role as a Reverend?
Hierarchy isn’t overly important to us. We have a management structure with roles to enable the organisation to function. Nobody is Grand Poohbah Magister the Magnificent. That s*** deserves derision. Lee the founder, Ben and Myself share executive control as we are a registered organisation. It’s a legal requirement. But if you ever get to spend time in one of our social chats or in person you’ll see that matters not!
What does being a Satanist mean to you personally?
It’s who I am and I’m happy with who I am. I have an enjoyable, full and successful life. My children are such a massive part of my hopes and dreams for the future and although they are free from inculcation I’m seeing signs they have the Satanic mindset.
Being publicly Satanic has also allowed me to meet some marvellous people with great minds, the kind of minds that inspire you to look deeper into yourself, the world around you and the greater mysteries. Lee, Ben, Kizzy, Shannon, Sean, Alex, Stuart and everyone else at CoRS are the future.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.