As Witness and Measure Taken, To Pronounce: The Satanic Temple — My Experience
By: Nikki Moungo
St Louis Chapter Head (former), The Satanic Temple
National Council Member (former), The Satanic Temple
Edited 8/21/18: To reflect whistleblower’s professional title, holding a PhD in Philosophy and a teacher of Ethics.
Let me preface this account by stating I never asked for any position within The Satanic Temple (TST). Not when I was twice asked to lead the St. Louis Chapter, and not when I was asked to play the role of National Council member. I willingly sacrificed my time, resources, finances, contacts, and, I do not regret that. The purpose of this account? Not only do my religious beliefs demand such, my conscience does as well; If it could happen to me, it can happen to you.
Once departed, it was my wish to fully separate myself from any entanglement or association with The Satanic Temple. This organization will not be listed on my résumé or under any account of ‘personal achievements’. There is real work to be done here on what is known as “the front lines” in Missouri. The TST St. Louis Chapter left this organization in our rearview mirror and followed our own pursuits as a collective; we have about as much time to address the recent concerns surrounding the temple now, as we did at the time of our departure.
It saddens me deeply that I must traverse back through time, and once again experience the pain and stress this organization wreaked upon myself and my Missouri comrades. Would I classify my overall personal experience as traumatizing? Yes. Perhaps confronting the pain which arose from the three years and four months I was loyal and fully committed to my work with The Satanic Temple will finally help me sever the rotting umbilical cord once and for all. I am done. Have been done. I am tired of this. I have no ‘side’.
I can only speak to my experience. Indeed, I have little sympathy for those who knew the facts, held the evidence, but decided to remain onboard and still got burned. I care deeply about many who are still heavily involved with The Satanic Temple. Regardless of their choice to remain attached, I’ve supported their efforts as individuals and recognize their noble desire to make impactful contributions. I’ve chosen to overlook the organization they’re attached to, despite it all.
- Note: For all intents and purposes, non-capitalizations on titles contained herein should be considered intentional.
My experience began with The Satanic Temple in September of 2014. During this time period, I was still deep in the throes of loss. My son experienced an exceptionally difficult anti-LGBTQIA interaction with his father’s family in July of 2013. The very next day, he was found unresponsive and CPR was administered. We were not given a choice about his life-support removal once brain death was determined by his team of physicians some 8 days later. Though I would not have elected to prolong my child’s non-life in this state of non-existence, I was still there when they turned off the equipment keeping everything pumping. I was there in the little visitor room when they cremated his youthful body, the shell that once held the embodiment of my first child, just barely 21. I carry these memories with me, they are in everything I do, in his honor. The fact I have to make time for this current TST flap is infuriating and deeply insulting.
I’ve always been a fighter for the underdog, whom I identified with. I didn’t feel I was as much worth fighting for as other underdogs were, but if trouble found me (and it did), I never made it easy for the aggressor. I’ve had many names and epithets thrown at me over the years: The outcast. The new girl. The rebel. Trouble. Joker. I didn’t care. Grandpa taught me about Mark Twain too early. I was a “social ruination” and a target before I even got started, with a DNA set that was clearly meant to lead me into a career as a professional comedian… or into law. “Sassy” as they called it back then. Ugh. All labels I’d come to know before adolescence in the early 80’s. It should come as no surprise that a person of the above-described nature would find the temple appealing. Supposedly, the temple was ready to fight, and I was born primed and ready to roll, my son’s death serving (still) as an inexhaustible source of fuel for the fire.
My first interaction with the temple was while I, my comrades, and our allies were embroiled in a church-and-state battle in my hometown. I reached out to Lucien Greaves and explained our predicament. He offered to assist however the temple could.
As it turned out, temple involvement in our fight at city hall was unnecessary. Our community showed up, and we walked away victorious with a final council vote of 6–2, thus foiling the local Knights of Columbus in their monotheistic pursuit of placing religious propaganda on taxpayer property.
This win came at a time when we really needed one. Happy campers, we decided to keep our grassroots effort momentum going, forming groups and mobilizing! Meanwhile, talks continued with Lucien Greaves, and TST celebrated our local win with us. Greaves expressed deep concern to me over the oppression of MO citizens and people like my son through arbitrary systems. I shared very personal information with Lucien Greaves (and, later, co-founder Malcolm Jarry) regarding the profound impact the loss of a child had had on our lives. I spoke to my son’s experience as a young LGBTQIA person in Missouri, within his school system, amongst his peers and family. I expressed my purpose.
As I explored the temple, I recognized their “Seven Tenets” as the code I was raised on (along with a fun peppering of others, like the Desiderata). The Tenets were the Humanist Manifesto’s 15 theses of religious humanism, broken down and repackaged with a little Thelema-style “do no harm” thrown in. The Tenets were not new ideas, and I found them very pleasing and relatable in their modernized and condensed form. Not to mention, their final total product was impressive and aesthetically appealing: the temple’s list of campaigns encapsulated every effort I was ready to — or had already — hit the ground running on. I saw the ability to encompass many forms of thought and wondered how well they would all mingle in the same pot together.
Humanist Manifesto I - American Humanist Association
This work has been declared by the AHA board as historic, and is superseded by Humanist Manifesto III The Manifesto is…
As I learned about the temple, Springfield Missouri’s legendary Skepticon conference was just around the corner, set for November of 2014. I and others were very curious about the temple and their founders. We conducted serious research and were inclined to be very supportive of their work. We believed in what we were doing and that we were making ethically conscious decisions. So much so, that I offered to initiate talks with the Skepticon organizers to see whether the temple founders would be interested in participating in the yearly freethinker conference. The founders relayed their potential interest, and thus talks with Skepticon organizers began. Skepticon was able to make space for Lucien to host a workshop but were understandably short on funding so close to the conference date. Once I’d offered to sponsor the temple’s travel expenses, the agreement was made, and we were bringing The Satanic Temple to Missouri! Yay! I remember that as a joyous time. It’s so bittersweet now.
At the conference, the temple founders were charmingly sardonic, intelligent, and we enjoyed having the opportunity to get to know them better before deciding whether or not to “go all in.” We appreciated them all the more for their imperfections. Discussions regarding a St. Louis chapter began during our conference down time. Though the founders deferred to me for the chapter head role, I declined, recommending another. We were very enthusiastic. We returned to St. Louis and formed our local chapter. The “cavalry” was coming!
Satanic St. Louis
We had a rough start, to be sure. But… the cavalry was coming. It didn’t help matters that our first chapter head already had a small legion formed against him from within the temple; whether these were “earned” attacks or not, I cannot attest to. What I do know is the attacks against him were constant, vicious, aggressive, and detrimental to our new chapter’s growth. I was not appreciative. Was this the cavalry? A Facebook “Satanic attack dog” group? Not my style. Neither did the newly formed St. Louis chapter receive a warm welcome from the existing most active membership or fellow chapters. It was a lukewarm beginning, at best.
From our chapter formation in November of 2014 until April of 2015, we struggled to find our footing. We were approached by a young woman we would later assign the pseudonym of “Mary”, and the subject of the temple’s eventual reproductive rights cases. We wanted to help her. I’d been in her shoes and knew what she faced. Single motherhood, low income in Missouri? That’s a story I know well, including unintended pregnancy; which is one of the reasons I later became a trained clinic escort. I knew what Mary would face at the “gauntlet” and the potential dangers the “pro-life” community of Missouri presents. Finding myself “later in life” and in a position to assist, I was happy be able to assist her in a meaningful way, and in an arena in which I had personal experience.
It was during this time we learned our (first) chapter head had tossed out the chapter manual, one our membership never even knew existed. He’d decided to disregard the handbook’s contents… Surprise! Once alerted to this problem, our members quickly caught up on the newly discovered chapter manual. After our chapter head encountered more troubling issues with taking directives from the co-founders — and now in complete understanding of chapter rules — we eventually took an anonymous survey of St. Louis membership, and it was decided we needed new leadership.
I was asked again by Lucien Greaves to lead the St. Louis chapter. I expressed some reticence, and we began discussing the pros to co-chapter head positions; the concept of shared responsibility was a definite plus. I have a full-time job and family to attend to, and, some days, grief can throw me for a loop. This was a big commitment, and I don’t take such commitments lightly. Lucien Greaves suggested a person who’d ingratiated himself within our local chapter, and one I’d grown rather (mistakenly) fond of to share this responsibility with. I will refer to this person as “Donklin” throughout the remainder this personal account. The concept of a dual partnership and shared responsibilities being preferable, I accepted the offer in July of 2015. Our chapter thus continued its activities without a lapse in leadership and with two new co-chapter heads at the helm.
Our chapter engaged in many activities (many of which can still be found on the now defunct St. Louis Chapter Facebook page), including helping establish the first ever temple satellite chapter in Springfield, MO. We lectured, tabled at conferences, held monthly member meetings and events, as well as quarterly public meetings. At the end of 2015, I was asked to be a member of The Satanic Temple’s National Council and accepted, along with my co-chapter head Donklin.
What led to our chapter dissolution and/or termination? Why either/or? Once dissolution was on the table, while our membership was voting on whether they wanted to dissolve their chapter or to keep it going and elect new chapter heads on April 24th 2017, The Satanic Temple was busy making that decision for them. Comprised of individuals who represented the Seven Tenets with a sense of duty and honor, the St. Louis TST chapter membership voted to dissolve. It was also their wish that we continue our work together in our own way. We have done so through the creation and development of the Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae.
There were many factors in my decision to leave the temple, it’s not a decision you make overnight. It is also not a decision I regret. The moment it was done, the tears I cried were because I was free.
Why I Left The Satanic Temple
Those in Need
After Mary and I began working together, I learned more about her circumstances. That is her story to tell, and I will not be disclosing details. Suffice it to say, as is the case with oppressed and subjugated low-income single mothers in Missouri, in early September of 2016, Mary needed help with her living situation, which had become intolerable. Again, this was territory I knew and understood personally. Her situation spoke to me deeply and was representative of too many single-parent families in Missouri.
I relayed the situation to co-founders Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry, requesting temporary financial assistance from the temple to help get her safely situated and on her feet in a new city. I would guide and advocate for her with the rest until she had access to the resources and services she needed. That’s how a religious community should respond, right? In a phone call with Jarry, he pledged to provide a nominal amount towards monthly housing assistance for period of 6 months once we worked out the details. Details: Mary could not apply for an apartment without 3 weeks or more worth of paystubs and a decent credit rating. Section 8 exists yet remains closed. I suggested the temple sign a corporate-type 6-month lease, preferably in a location where she would have access to resources, public transit, reliable child-care options, and where she could afford to remain on the property once the 6-month grace period expired for continued stability.
Even though her situation continued to deteriorate, and our chapter members did all they could to assist her personally, our request for housing assistance was never fulfilled by the temple. The reasoning behind this lapse was never relayed to me. Mary sought emergency services, which are often religious based, and she relayed to me her child was forced to engage in religious education in order for them to maintain their shelter status.
Mary is not alone. There are many more like her here. I was once Mary. As you can see by the many “handmaids” joining hands in their hooded red robes across the state of Missouri, the “Mary’s” of the past, present, and future have united.
Despite my view of the temple and their arbitrary hierarchy, I wish Mary every success on her current litigation in our great state of Missouri.
Our chapter began having issues with Donklin as soon as he officially took on the role of National Council member in the beginning of 2016. Donklin became petulant and haughty toward our local membership, who didn’t understand how they’d earned his ire. He stopped attending meetings and fulfilling duties he had offered to perform, often leaving our membership in the lurch, forcing members to complete his obligations for him last minute. A times, this behavior risked our collective safety.
Later, Donklin blamed me and our membership for his own poor behaviors and spent most of his time engaging in psychodramas on the temple’s Facebook group page, where the temple had its “main presence.” Other council members had expressed their immense dissatisfaction with his forum activities. I reported our co-chapter head issues directly to Lucien, since there was no protocol on who to report a national council member to (if not the national council itself), and Lucien asked me what our chapter wanted to do.
We decided to ask Donklin to step down from his chapter-head position, and he resigned with barely a word, seemingly relieved the decision had been more or less made for him. He seemed much more delighted by prospective council duties. Why he malingered in his chapter-head position while making promises he had no intention of fulfilling, we have no idea. We, too, were thankful this stuck cog in our collective machinery had been removed (or so we thought).
It was unfortunate that the temple’s executive ministry and a few other council members failed to grasp that his betrayal was to our chapter membership, claiming Donklin’s transgressions and failures were instead an “interpersonal issue” between us. By not recognizing the character flaw that would keep this person from performing their national council duties in an ethical and responsible manner, the temple placed the entire organization at risk, leaving an untrustworthy, unethical, and thereby arbitrary authority figure in a position he wasn’t fit to hold.
Again, with no lapse in leadership, our 3rd St. Louis co-chapter head was appointed, and Greaves deferred to my selection for appointment. I am happy to report that Gwen & I are still working closely together over a year and a half later, along with many of our original St. Louis chapter members.
Official Complaints Registered
On November 9th, 2016, St. Louis and Springfield members were forced to enter a collective official 3-part complaint to executive ministry. Included below, are excerpts from this official complaint listed as, “Origins Complaint 1, Claim & Summary.”
Within this complaint, examples and evidence of Donklin’s misconduct claims were provided to all members of the executive ministry via email. This included a screen shot of a text conversation between the Springfield Satellite co-chapter head and Donklin, in which Donklin stated (in reference to his lack of interest in chapter duties and resignation), “I don’t give a shit about her dead kid, or trans issues.” Here Donklin is referring to myself, my deceased child, and presumably co-chapter head Gwen and/or trans folk in general.
Official Complaint Excerpt:
“ORIGINS COMPLAINT 1 National Council Member Misconduct
CLAIM: A member of the National Council does not exhibit the leadership skills nor integrity required of the position.
Does the non-development of an ethical code we can all agree on serve to misguidedly protect one in leadership position, who continually exhibits poor leadership & humanistic behaviors, lacking in ethics or personal responsibility, in both the official group and within what was once his own chapter?
The real answer doesn’t matter. Chapter heads and other members already have the astute and correct perception that we as leadership have no system of checks and balances in place beyond the Tenets, while unaware of the multitude of problems Donklin has created in Missouri. The continued appointment of inappropriate council members will confirm their pre-existing concerns.
Additionally, Missouri members being fully aware that a non-deserving National Council member holds a seat and does nothing to preserve the integrity of our organization, causing loss of trust within our membership for TST as a whole. Keep in mind, all of these member issues with Donklin were presented to Executive Ministry prior to any recent “simple Facebook dispute.”
If appropriate ethical action had been taken by acting bodies when these issues and patterns were first presented as a concern, we would likely not have had this not so “simple Facebook dispute” to contend with. Moungo, as equals and holding no authority over Donklin, did all she could reasonably do to resolve the mounting situation amicably, but could not act beyond notifying Executive Ministry and then National Council, all of whom left this to Moungo and Donklin to “work out,” under the misdirection of Donklin that these were simply “interpersonal issues” between him and Moungo, and not the larger concern of the of MO membership as a whole.
Moungo and MO were left unprotected by National TST leadership, left under the oppressive force of a National Council member former chapter head, who was abusing his privilege while tainting the honor of his seat.”
Lucien Greaves decided it was the Springfield co-chapter head whistleblower that was the root of the problem and took issue with him, questioning his motives and intent for sharing the conversation, rather than Donklin’s poor representation of his seat. Incidentally, The Satanic Temple had previously asked me to participate in their Detroit Unveiling documentary on “This Is Life” with Lisa Ling, where I spoke to our family’s loss on national television; then turned around and allowed a council member to retain his seat after stating “I don’t give a shit about her dead (gay) kid or trans issues,” thus exposing an attitude contrary to our entire body of work; this wasn’t just a “personal” insult. It was as if my son and the LGBTQIA community were valued as only a tool to be used at the temple’s disposal and sole discretion.
Ironically, the whistleblower holds a PhD in Philosophy and is a teacher of Ethics. They were acting in the best interests of the temple and their dedicated membership. That the teacher of Ethics would summarily be dismissed for sharing the unethical statements of a national council member that do not reflect the temple’s mission or tenets is beyond logic, reason and is inexcusable.
After the temple decided there was no malfeasance on Donklin’s part for his hurtful statement as a council member, I had to continue to work closely with this person who did not reflect the mission statement or the Tenets, and yet who was nonetheless still making decisions for chapters full of decent, hard-working people who were investing their time and money. I made a sacrifice in the face of abuse and continued my temple work for the sake of our Missouri membership, for the TST membership at large, and for an organization I knew could do better.
In November of 2016, I received a request from a person in the greater Kansas City area, who was interested in starting a chapter. I began intake as per my council duties, and, after several informative interviews, on December 24th, 2016, I submitted the prospect’s bio to the council and executive ministry via email. This was an exceptionally suitable chapter head and TST representative, a POC, who had worked closely with LGBTQIA youth and children in various services, one who cleared several serious background checks for a major charitable organization. After meeting this chapter-head prospect in person, the reply I received from temple leadership as to the prospect’s chances of entry into temple leadership was very disturbing.
Co-founder and executive ministry member Malcolm Jarry issued a lit response, rejecting the candidate on the grounds he was a terrorist due to his involvement with “Students for Justice in Palestine” while at university. I was seriously taken aback at Jarry’s inflammatory, unreasoned, and emotionally charged response. Then another council member stepped forward and bravely admitted they too were, or had previously been, involved with the same organization. This council member questioned whether the temple was prepared to remove them from their council position, or should Jarry’s end-all, be-all ruling on the prospect remain in place? Though I campaigned for this wonderful candidate, the issue was simply ‘case closed’. If TST hierarchy cannot hold themselves to the same standards they hold potential chapter heads to, they are unworthy of their own position. To claim this person was a terrorist is truly concerning and potentially harmful hyperbole and sets as well terrible standards for an egalitarian, decentralized governing body.
Straw 1 — In February of 2017, I began work on a private, sole-member, independent business venture in Topeka, KS. The project went through many incarnations, and for a brief period, temple involvement was considered and ultimately rejected. If anything, the temple could always be a potential client like anyone else, should they choose. The final business plan was completely unrelated to and beyond the purview of The Satanic Temple; nonetheless, the founders were informed of the final status of the project and never expressed to me a potential conflict of interests. I informed them because (at this point in time) they were my friends, they were talented, and I respected their opinions. While the founders expressed support for the project, they were understandably busy and/or possibly, simply disinterested, and little more was said.
Later, as the first project goal was realized, St. Louis co-chapter head Gwen excitedly shared what she could in a group by and for TST chapter heads. This was a group specifically wherein discussion beyond temple activities was (supposedly) encouraged, a “get to know each other better” space to build comradery that was considered a “free speech, no penalty zone.” The NYC chapter head, creator of the penalty-free concept for the group, turned around and submitted a bizarre, emotionally charged inflammatory complaint to the national council about my business project on April 20th, 2017, citing the post as his initial reasoning for said complaint.
The NYC chapter head raged in his grievance that I was “abusing my temple status” by promoting the project in the (penalty free by his design) chapter head group (thus assigning an arbitrary penalty with his manic sounding writ). He used the term “vaugebooking” to imply I was using the temple’s religious brand to promote a project, though at no point did anyone produce evidence of such. It was an absolutely insane, barely digestible, tantrum-esque rant.
Though he stated he had no idea what the project entailed, he went on postulating heavily on several laughable and preposterously wild speculations regarding the nature and purpose of my business, even suggesting TST should be in control of the company, were they to become involved in my (personal) project. The final business plan approved by my CPA held no mention of the temple, nor any reference to my religion or any of my religious organizational attachments. At this stage, there was neither desire nor need whatsoever to include the temple in the business operations, nor to employ their brand for any purpose. We took steps to ensure that all of my private enterprises were completely separate, for very good reasons.
Straw 2 — Naturally, Donklin, still in his council position, chimed in on the NYC chapter head’s (misinformed, enraged, and hate-filled) email. Donklin, as it turned out, had been feeding the NYC chapter head misleading information regarding my council votes and our council discussions. Failing to realize he’d been played by Donklin, the NYC chapter head mounted a campaign against me in his zealous email, one it seemed Donklin had been waiting for. What followed was rabid, extremely disturbing, disgusting, and inexcusable.
Though I was one of the few TST position holders who did not do so, Donklin jumped right in on the contrived accusation train with his own, claiming I was “opportunistically using TST as a platform for your personal endeavors,” though he was unable to adequately demonstrate how I was supposedly going about it. This wasn’t the first board table I’d sat at, but this? This was the grossest display of boardroom behavior I’d ever personally witnessed over the course of an email chain. I cautioned the temple to get their attack dogs in line and vowed that I would protect my investment with legal counsel if needed.
Despite the fact that I had made it absolutely clear that my private business venture was beyond their implied purview, council members Donklin & Stevens persisted in issuing baseless accusations that I was attempting to advance myself and my private enterprise using the temple brand, condemning a project they claimed to know little about, while continually failing to accurately demonstrate how this had occurred.
Lucien eventually requested everyone stop and that we discuss the chapter head’s complaint email later. Yet Donklin and Stevens continued to carry on as if no directive had been issued. Stevens later issued a tone-deaf demand to see my business plan, financial records, and other documents pertaining to my private legal enterprise.
My track record speaks for itself, long before I encountered TST. I do not now, nor have I ever needed TST to promote any of my outside efforts or businesses. Not a single one. Neither would my projects be of a nature to bring shame upon my deceased son, my home, my comrades, my businesses, or the temple itself.
Why would the temple, a collection of self-described individualists, stand in the way of an individual philanthropic pursuit that had absolutely nothing to do with them? I suddenly felt like I was dealing with evangelicals. Next, they’d be demanding a sample of my bodily fluid and the contents of my bank account, or so it seemed. It was extremely invasive, as well as abusive and without respect to my autonomy, privacy, or dedication to and fulfillment of my temple work.
Straw 3 — From the beginning of this bizarre, far from professional interchange, I stated I would defend my private, non-TST-related venture with legal counsel when and if necessary, so as to protect it from the authoritarian overreach of The Satanic Temple and members participating in potentially libelous behaviors. The response from national council member Donklin on April 21st, 2017, when I dared to protect myself and my company? I was a “bloodsucking opportunistic piece of shit,” though no demonstrable evidence of this existed or had occurred.
Donklin’s rant continued, ever increasing in vitriolic fervor:
“Mkay pumpkin. Speaking of vicious attacks, you’re the one threatening to sue people over… what exactly? I can’t figure it out. Maybe your brain tumor is acting up again, better get that checked out. Or maybe it’s the PTSD talking. Go smoke a bowl, that’ll fix everything. I wonder what Child Services would think about all the drugs and guns in your house. Is there enough there for a felony charge with intent to sell? Maybe we should find out.”
A threat to “swat” my family with bogus allegations aimed at an already grieving household. Inconceivable and intolerable from an “empathetic and compassionate” organization I’d made serious contributions and upheld every commitment to. Mind you, this threat was allowed to stand with absolutely no censure from The Satanic Temple. Why? Because I stated I would retain legal counsel if the attacks from temple members did not cease and desist? Or, maybe it’s because cronies protect their own, no matter if threats against women and children have been issued. My husband and child are black; threats to weaponize the police against my home is an act of intimidation and cowardice. The silence of the temple in the face of Donklin’s vile harassment is telling and speaks to me of their complicity.
Straw 4 — National council member Greg Stevens chose not to respond to the threats against myself and family, instead responding, “Secondly, in these emails Nikki is already speaking as though she is not a National Council member: talk of lawsuits, tyrannical over-reach, a lot of “you” and “them” with no sense at all of “we”. To me, the lawsuits are the biggest deal here. Everyone gets emotional sometimes, everyone makes mistakes. But if you can’t take an attitude of trying to work with the team that you are on, and worse if you repeatedly make legal threats, then you are already de facto not part of the team.”
Yes, you heard that right. I’m expected to “work with a team” who hosts a member that made it clear he doesn’t give a shit about a dead gay kid or trans folk issues. One lacking honor and integrity. One who issues threats against my family, jokes about my brain tumor. One giving misinformation to chapter leaders. One who gossiped and conspired against his own chapter. One who made baseless accusations about my abusing the temple brand…and I’m the dick with a bad attitude.
I’m the problem according to Stevens, for failing to take this kind of bullshit. I am not allowed to defend my family, my livelihood, my financial or business records from the temple, and if I’m forced into a defense position by unethical and aggressive temple male-member hierarchy, it only then becomes “me vs. them.” How utterly ironic and hypocritical, considering Donklin’s statements and actions were consistently entirely antithetical to the (supposed) mission statement of TST:
“The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.”
More from Stevens: “Finally, if I had seen this as a proposal, and without any more information than i have now, I would have voted against it, for reasons well-articulated by Donklin.” So, the threat-lobbing council member who doesn’t care about dead gay kids or trans folks issues is at least, “well-articulated.” Were Donklin’s threats and harassment also well-articulated? Stevens would vote on something he admitted knowing nothing of, and all based on the fragile charges of unethical council member Donklin, and a chapter head who was known for maniacal rants with a penchant for drama?
Furthermore, why would I submit a proposal for a private enterprise unrelated to TST or any sensitive personal documents financial or otherwise to The Satanic Temple’s national council? To the very council erroneously hosting an egregiously unethical member like Donklin, when Missouri couldn’t even trust him with our most basic chapter business?
After all of this, not once was I provided any evidence of how I was abusing my temple position for shameless self-promotion. Dare I say: projecting?
Straw 5 — Not one council member could be bothered to decry these statements, though a few attempted flaccid deflections. The attack against me continued all the same. As far any misinformation by Donklin? Lucien responds: “However, we have also been, generally, pro-transparency, and I don’t believe we’ve had a strong understanding about what we do and do not talk about in regards to what takes place in National Council meetings. As pissed as I am that on a few occasions I’ve had people crying to me about discussions they have no place in, I also recall that we’ve had discussions that indicate a philosophy of conveying the meeting’s contents to relevant parties immediately following those meetings. Agenda item: What is and is not proprietary (for NC only) in National Council meetings”
As to knowledge of my project, Lucien stated “I am aware of it, and it is my understanding that it is a private venture that was viewed as holding potential for TST-related actions/projects.”
That was the extent of his ‘defense’. Though Lucien stated the founders knew of the project and did not announce any protests to it, he made little-to-no objection to the previous or continued onslaught. Lucien seemed to be stuck on the concept that I would hire legal counsel to protect myself from this aggressive attack on my person, family, and private business, rather than address the brazen threats and undeserved attacks. There was no cavalry.
Straw 6 — Our chapter sent Jex Blackmore an email on April 24th, 2017, relating the above events as the reasons for St. Louis’ departure from The Satanic Temple. Her absence had been noticed and her input long past required, though she supposedly had access to the council/ministry emails. We did not receive a response but would have very much appreciated her insight and assistance with a council and ministry run seriously amok. I cannot speak to why the few female council members still active and remaining did not speak up during the final attack episode, nor do I wish to wonder why they would dishonor their council seat, or feminism for that matter. There was no more honor.
After withstanding wild accusations from one enraged unpredictable male chapter head, one unethical and aggressive male council member who employed intimidation tactics, a tone-deaf ignoble male council member who kept babbling on about business plans that were none of his business, limp responses full of self-concern from co-founder Lucien and on behalf of the temple’s executive ministry with no responses from co-founders Jarry or Jex: I concluded that the system had broken down. Executive ministry was beyond reach and unwilling to address the absurd attacks in an appropriate and timely manner. At this point, the temple was so far beyond repair, I was unwilling to waste any more valuable time towards its potential restoration.
An Ironic Aside
The first issue I brought to the national council were my concerns over serving as both a chapter head and a national council member. These concerns were entered into our first-ever meeting minutes as the very first order of discussion from 3/5/2016 as: “There was discussion regarding chapter heads that are also National Council members, and whether there was a possible conflict of interest. Doug suggested that National Council members who are also chapter heads recuse themselves from voting if a vote affected their chapter; council agreed.” It was odd that dual roles had suddenly become an “issue” only after I pushed for a system of council checks and balances via a basic bona fide agreement between the National Council and Executive Ministry, and again when we made an official complaint on behalf of St. Louis and Springfield satellite chapters against Donklin, and yet again when our chapter began seriously discussing dissolution.
Oddly, none of the members (in attendance) of this final fiasco council could seem to remember that I’d posed this as potential conflict from the very first council meeting and submitted as the first-ever council discussion topic, even though I’m looking at the official minutes as I type this. Whereas prior, during our initial discussion, it was decided that having insight into chapter function was considered a plus in being an effective council member, as you’d have an experienced perspective on chapter operations and the issues chapters face. The council also wanted the option to submit their own event proposals for chapters to (I assume electively) participate in, while I felt it was best to have only chapters voting on and creating proposals to submit to the council for approval, as chapters knew their individual regions, resources, needs and abilities best. Who would vote on council proposals? The council? If the national council was going to make proposals, why have chapters? I much preferred a decentralized structure, but the council was assuming and hoarding more power for themselves, with some council members openly abusing it.
Repercussions: Lies & Loss
Donklin was reportedly removed from his position in July of 2017, nearly 8 months after Missouri TST’s initial, formidable complaint from both chapters, which contained compelling evidence and was ignored by the council and “ministry”. However, I cannot attest to the veracity of this information, if he was removed at all, or under what circumstances. If so, his possible removal was much too late for our former chapter members, and quite possibly for the temple itself. I have no idea why the temple would leave unsavory characters in positions of hierarchy and knowingly allow them to exert tyrannical rule. That would be for the founders to answer. I, for one, am no longer interested in any excuses they might have to offer.
Bigger losses existed here than were previously mentioned. Lucien was (like) a brother to me and a friend to my children, who looked up to him like a cool uncle. Or rather, he let us believe that. After the attack and St. Louis’ quick and quiet departure, I lost many “friends” through gossip-mongering, and had my name continually dragged through the mud by people I’d genuinely loved. This is one of the many reasons why our Ordo is private. Quite simply, the work we do and community we share based on our shared values isn’t something one can just click online to state they’re a member of, nor act on behalf of. We’ve learned. Trust shall be gained. Checks and balances are needed.
Post Departure: Insult to Injury
Long after St. Louis’ departure from TST, suddenly the temple decided to activate the Springfield satellite chapter to full chapter status, just as activity in the Mary case began anew, even though they’d continually denied Springfield “full chapter” status. After St. Louis’ departure, members in Springfield decided to stay in the ring. At one point in time, I threatened to quit TST over the council’s constant ignoring of (or refusals to allow) Springfield’s full chapter status request. A temple member who goes by the pseudonym “Chalice” misinformed Springfield that I had blocked Springfield’s attempts to become a full chapter. Springfield TST members were also instructed to cease contact with me. What consequences they faced for failing to do so, I have no idea.
Not only were we left holding the bag in Missouri where Mary’s case was ongoing, but temple members spreading verifiably false rumors about me and my intentions amongst my own friends and allies here in Missouri was petty and unconscionable. Our reproductive rights in Missouri are very much our concern, and temple psychodramas with ‘Satanic internet troll gossip machines’ are antithetical to our progress here.
Of Lawyers & Ethics
I have no personal issue with the temple’s choice of lawyer at face value, as no doubt my own family attorney has represented those of questionable character and law breakers: that’s his job. All persons deserve fair and equal representation under the law — even scumbags. I seriously doubt my attorney attends client events such as White Nationalist Separatist functions. However, I wouldn’t retain his services if he did.
Conversely, I also understand the desperate plight of the subjugated and oppressed, not that the male founders of The Satanic Temple represent either. Yet, to those under the iron fist, pro-bono counsel is a bona fide fucking unicorn, one for which you roll out the red carpet. It costs big bucks in billable hours to defend your so-called freedoms. From my perspective, it’s difficult to buy the hard sell of the temple dispute over their choice of attorney as being the sole (or even primary) reason for the temple’s most recent splits. Though that is what the press seems to be the most focused on, it’s really the least of the temple’s worries from where I’m standing.
On Temple Funding
I have no knowledge of what The Satanic Temple does with funding received or income from merchandise. Having neither requested nor received payment from The Satanic Temple, nor been given access to any tax returns or financial statements, I simply have nothing upon which to base any substantial speculation. However, as an experienced bookkeeper, I witnessed nothing that would qualify as adequate statements for circulation among the council or to the public. Though I cannot claim malfeasance in this matter (lacking access to the records), I find the lack of visibility on event expenditures and earnings unsettling and an odd practice. I did request summary financial information and suggested it be made public on their website as a transparency commitment to donors, whether or not it was required. My requests and suggestions were ignored.
I still contend Outcasts forming their own communities of bright, well-meaning and motivated individuals with shared ideals holds serious potential and is more than just a darkly romantic notion. Do good. Do it together and do it when alone. For the good of the whole is for your good, too. You can do good and still get yours, while keeping in mind “getting yours” is not an honorable achievement when done at the expense of others.
I am saddened for my friends remaining within the temple’s grasp, as well as that The Satanic Temple did not take the time between the St. Louis chapter’s exit to implement any structural improvements for the organization. A year and a half now, the same complaints are still circulating. If it is too difficult to represent the Sixth Tenet, “People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and remediate any harm that may have been caused”, perhaps you should not represent anything. Patterns. Repeated often enough, patterns become writing on the wall, yet many will still choose to ignore the writing posted boldly there.
I Know Who I Am
Those who would poison the well would have you believe I’m either crazy, an enormous bitch, a complete failure at my chapter and/or council work, or whatever other disprovable contrivance, all in attempt to hide their own failings. How sadly typical. If I am anything, I am fair. I am generous. I make every attempt to honor the code I was raised on and the Seven Tenets their re-creators dismiss. I have been doing nothing but working my ass off to make the world somewhat more bearable for those like my son since my departure from this organization.
Though Jex and the LA & UK chapters will seek and likely receive vindication, their validation of our experience from a year and a half ago makes little difference to myself or former St. Louis membership now, as the damage has already been done. There is no vindication for us, and I do not seek your sympathy. I would now like very much to be left to continue our work in peace, along with my comrades who genuinely understand the degrading and further eroding conditions here in Missouri.
The writing of this record forced me to traverse through a mountain of old emails and documents, the memories emerging still sharp and clear as glass. Though the writing of this record has inflicted additional pain I had hoped to leave behind me, I am putting this record to print per my deeply held religious beliefs within the Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae, as the writing and public declaration of this record are a matter of our sacred religious principles and ideology put into practice:
- The Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae “First Great Act” is to Witness.
- The “Second Great Act” is to Measure; to evaluate the words and deeds of any political act or social mover, especially theistically motivated oppressors in positions of power.
- The “Third Great Act” is to Pronounce; to issue and publicize that evaluation so that each misguided, egregious form of harm they have inflicted (or attempt to inflict) is common knowledge.
There. I have performed all Three Great Acts per my personal and religious code with this one writ.
I am done with it. Do with it what you will.
While the male Satanic community bickers amongst themselves over who shall remain the edgiest among them all, our Missouri Lilituan Satanic Sorority has work to do and sacred duties to perform.
May science and reason always triumph over myth and superstition. Ave Lilitu!
Dame Sister & Tribune Mother
Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae
View Invocation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb3p6HK5ZeI&t=12s