My experiences and observations as a member in the TS from June 14, 1993 to February 8, 1995 proved to be far more revealing than the TS would ever concede. There were many subtle yet conspicuous displays of deceit and hypocrisy which are seen by anyone who maintains the slightest semblance of Satanic thought. With the passing of time and through empirical examination it became more and more evident that Setian philosophy and practices are inconsistent with those found in Satanism (as defined in The Satanic Bible).
Setianism is just one more likeness of elementary ideas derived from ancient mythology (egyptian) where humans try to emulate the "gods" and deities (which are merely personifications of attitude). Setianism (as most all religions) merges mythology into reality and the "the spiritual life". There's nothing innovative about Setianism; in fact, it's just one more "traditional" herd-breeding religion where believers meander in arbitrary thought and become capivated by the "divinely inspired" or "divinely Gifted". Setians encourage each other to succumb to the fantasies of their leaders whom they woo and charm. They rationalize their own fantasies by trying to make them fit in with the fantasies of their masters, hoping to gain recognition which will (falsely) substantiate their own delusions as a reality. They convince themselves that their delusions and hallucinations are actual through what they describe as a "non-natural" perspective. This "perspective" they believe is a "Gift" granted to them by their god Set. Not surprisingly, Setians believe those unable to comprehend this "non-natural" perspective is the result of not having the "Gift". Only those belonging to the Setian priesthood are believed to be "Gifted".
[Cf 1 Cor 2:14. "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritual discerned." (NKJV) - Ed.]
This Setian gift is one of many similarities I find between Setianism and Christianity. Both call upon and trust "divine intervention". Christians, from their God of their Holy Bible, and Setians, from their God Set of their Book of Coming Forth by Night fabricated by the TS high priest Michael Aquino. (Aquino and his priesthood believe this to be a statement from their God, upon which the whole premise of the TS rides -- and fails miserably as a Satanic organization).
By means of what Christians refer to as grace -- thought to be a gift from their god bestowed to the worthy follower -- they believe they they are enabled to observe, experience, and bestow supernatural phenomenon. Setians also receive a type of "grace" from their God Set, which they refer to as the Gift of Set. This, they believe, enables them to observe, experience, (through the "non-natural" perspective I've mentioned) and bestow supernatural phenomenon as well.
[Technically, most Christians believe that grace is given as a free gift of their god to all followers, not just the worthy ones. Similarly, Setians claim that the Gift of Set is given to all men. Both Setians and Christians act like they don't believe this, and think themselves superior to anyone who doesn't follow their delusion.- Ed]
Another likeness between Christians and Setians is that Christians believe their Holy Bible to be the literal word of their God, while Setians (the priesthood) likewise believe the Book of Coming Forth by Night to be the literal word of their God Set. Set, who as their divine "Heavenly Father" supposedly came to save the day and "ordained" the TS to supercede the Church of Satan. That is absurd, seeing that the Church of Satan is alive and well.
Satanists find The Satanic Bible contrary to the literal words of the "Gods" of Christianity and Setianism. The Satanic Bible is found to be pragmatic and straightforward without mystical meandering and esoteric mumbo-jumbo attempting to "divinely" justify or "sanctify" one's descisions or actions. The Satanic Bible was conceived by a man who realized no one will save the day but man himself. It represents the comprehension of reality which is separate from the psychological disarray of the external supreme being/creator syndrome. Ir promotes the realization of the individual's own self-contained Will and Authority, enabling transcendence from the need for spiritual pipe dreams and "spiritual authorities". It's contrary to the pretentious spiritual guru play-acting found in the Book of Coming Forth by Night.
Empirically I've discovered that Setians do little more than revel in self-deceit and the fantasies of those who display what is considered as "knowing" (a mere facade). This "knowing" alleged by "divine" Setians (the TS priesthood) is based on the hallucinations, misinterpretations, and self-deceit of those who initially formed the TS and its dogma. These Setian "attributes" are continually expounded by even more ambiguous thought and concepts for others to emulate within their ranks. Such "knowing" acquired using these "attributes" is expemplified by the TS priesthood which is a mockery and a distortion of truth.
Junior members who question the ideas and findings of their seniors are looked upon with disdain. If questions or findings of a junior member are too difficult or controversial to accept, or even consider they may be ignored altogether. But of course, when support is given it's embraced with open arms because it serves as proof to their "nobility" and the "nobility" of their priesthood. An examination that may question this nobility is dealt with quickly by the "guidance" of senior members. Direct questions are often met with evasive, defensive, and/or demeaning remarks rather than direct responses that constructively deal with the issues.
[A former member of the TS myself, I have found this to be true -- even of such individuals as Dr Aquino, even on trivial matters. - Ed]
When opinions and judgements conflict with those considered as "reality" by the TS priesthood the junior member is rhetorically reminded of his conferred grade. It's assumed that because there is question the member must lack the faculty of understanding. It's said that no explanation would be able to share the "truth" without the member first acquiring an "understanding" which is claimed to come directly from the neter/god Set. It's implied that if the member had this understanding in the first place he would be capable to comprehend such "wonders" and the question would not exist. It's also believed or claimed to be "known" that if the existence of Set is not inferred by a member it's because of his of her lack of intelligence, intuition, experience, and/or attention span. These are common ploys and tactics used in nearly all religions and religious organizations in order to quell any opposing view that questions their theology/belief system. The member may justifiably consider an opposing view but often never objectively display it because he does not wish to be shunned or looked down upon by others within the organization. As in the TS, the constant barrage of demeaning and ill advised counsel from senior members will rouse feelings of inferiority which will begin to subdue the new member if he chooses to ignore his Satanic insight. With these feelings taxing the ego the new member will be more apt to succumb to the fallacies of those who "know & understand". All religions that thrive on the herd-mentality incorporate such tactics. Surely the TS is above and beyond such a pathetic ploy. At least, that's what I wrongfully assumed when I initially became a member.
I witnessed many examples of self-deceit and hyocrisy through the works and writings of members in the TS priesthood. It was noted even more vividly through my personal affiliation with a Setian "Magister Tempi".
One such example involving this particular IV* Setian was his insistence that he had actually seen me floating in the air and passing through a table while I walked across my ritual chamber during a ceremony. According to him this actually happened, literally! However, contrary to his "seeing" and "knowing" this curious phenomenon I distinctly and categorically remember having both of my feet on the ground while I sucessfully navigated my way across the room. This was not a difficult maneuver seeing that there were no tables in my path.
How can he claim it actually happened when I witnessed otherwise? Should one dismiss his or her own judgment for the sake of another who, because of his conferred title, we are to believe he is "Gifted" to "know" the reality of such things? If this "Master of the Temple" would have stated that he understood what he saw was hallucinatory -- created in part by a dimly lit room via candle light, music, and incense combined with other variables -- then I wouldn't have a problem with what he "seen". However, as it was, after the ceremony he stated that he knew it literally happened. His interpretation of the event can be rationalized as a highly-subjective experience, with which I would agree, but this "Magister" did not believe his experience to be subjective. He attempted to use his hallucination as a real objective manifestation of his "authority" and "magical prowess". The fact is, if it really happened I would have known -- being the one that was supposed to have floated in the air and pass through a table.
If a IV* Setian, Magister Templi is so quick to assert his delusion as fact (which then becomes self-deceit) to boost his ego, what then does this indicate about his peers and those of higher conferred degrees in regards to their "experiences", such as their "experiences" of "knowing" the literal reality of Set?
This same "noble, virtuous, & honorable Magister" voiced his wanting to back me up 100% in expelling a particular Setian once I was conferred to the TS priesthood (which I was a nominee), even if he did not agree with the dismissal of the member in question. Why, one may ask, would he ever do such a thing? I asked the same question. This "Magister" (who by the way is Michael Aquino's brother-in-law) replied: "Because you'll be in the priesthood and right or wrong we stick together." His reply makes it quite clear that the TS is based on self-deceit and hypocrisy.
Another example is set by a Setian "priest" when in personal correspondence he stated: "I know Set is a real entity. To act as a Priest of Set without such knowledge would be the ultimate hypocrisy." His reply is descriptive of his foolishness. With it you can see that self-deceit is in fact a prerequisite to being conferred into their priesthood.
The hypocrisy and delusion in the TS is, out of necessity, ignored by the TS leadership because it contradicts the idea that they are what their acolytes claim to be: "sages" in the black arts and evolved "Satanists". To put it bluntly, the wisdom of the TS is erroneous. It's no more than a display of artifical superiority substantiated by fantasy, illusion, self-deceit and a scholarly atmosphere -- common factors that are paramount in nearly all religions.
Competent Black Magicians who truly hail Satanic thought will not succumb to the fantasies/spiritual pipe dreams of supposed "divine beings" or any other beings. Fantasies/gods are merely symbols and metaphors used to entice and enhance certain aspects within the magician. They are knowingly and deliberately used as enchanting aspects. They are not to be taken out of context or beyond the realm of the magician's own dreams, rites, ceremonies, and rituals. The divine madness which surrounded the TS's very inception cannot hide for long from those who pursue Satanic thought.
Beyond the use of Satanic symbols and terminology the reality of the TS as ever being a Satanic organization amounts to less than a wisp of smoke. Since its inception it reluntantly but continually reveals itself for what it really is: one more Christian-like religion.
The "Satanic" Mandate which Michael Aquino mistakenly belives to be from The Prince of Darkness is nothing more than a means to justify his own ends. Any "Satanic" Mandate is a hypocrisy and an oxymoron which out of necessity disregards the second and third Satanic Statements as well as the Book of Satan, and for that matter, the entire Satanic Bible. How then could it "arise" from a Satanic birth? It should be called what it truly is -- the Aquino Mandate.
Aeons and the words associated with each will come and go, but the wisdom presented in The Satanic Bible is ageless and timeless. If ideas conflict rather than augment that wisdom an alleged "truth" will once again be proven as an empty fiction. In this I find that the ancient Egyptian god Set is nothing more than a metaphor/symbol created by man and refashioned by another as a spiritual pipe dream to fit his own wants and needs. An intelligent, sincere, and affluent man who with all his academic skills and achievements is still unable to recover from his own fantasies. A prime example of the dangers in magic.