Frequently Asked Questions about Ordination and the Ordained Ministry of The Satanic Temple
We are in the pre-launch phase of the ordination program. We will be launching the program in 2020. You can sign up to be notified by email when the program is open to our general membership.
In response to the massive level of interest from our members, the Director of Ministry has been releasing a series of videos to provide an overview of what to expect, to answer questions, and to help people prepare for the program.
This Ordination FAQ will be updated as videos are released to include the information in those videos and the answers to questions submitted in the comments. Please check back frequently, and subscribe to the Youtube channel of the Director of Ministry, Priest Penemue, to be notified when new updates have been released.
Many of the answers in this FAQ refer to two key documents: The Satanic Temple Member Code of Conduct (available now) and The Satanic Temple Ordination Standards (to be published soon).
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I. Ordination Process & Requirements
Am I eligible to be ordained by The Satanic Temple?
If you are a Satanist, a member of The Satanic Temple, and a United States citizen, then you may register as a Candidate for ordination. During the registration process you will be required to provide accurate personal information, consent to a criminal background check, and agree to The Satanic Temple Member Code of Conduct. There is also a fee to register. A full detailed list of registration requirements will be published in the TST Ordination Standards. If you are unable or unwilling to meet these requirements then you should not register as a Candidate because your ordination will not be approved.
How should I prepare before I sign up for the Ordination Program?
There is no required preparatory work. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you may register as a Candidate. However, you may use the following checklist to assess how ready you are to engage with the Online Ordination Program at this time:
✔ I understand the history and symbolism of modern Satanism ✔ I understand the history and mission of The Satanic Temple ✔ I know a member of Chapter Leadership or Executive Ministry who can vouch that I am an active member of the community, whether in person as a participant in a local chapter or through online engagement. ✔ I have at least 20 hours available over the next 90 days to go through the online curriculum, learn the material, pass the quizzes and final exam, and complete the background check and letter of approval steps at the end.
You should be able to confidently affirm each of the above statements. If there is any statement on that list that you cannot affirm, you may prefer to delay registering your candidacy until you are able to ensure that the process will run quickly and smoothly. If you would like more detail about the online coursework, final exam, or any other aspect of the Ordination Program, please see the TST Ordination Standards.
What could disqualify me from becoming ordained by The Satanic Temple?
From a legal standpoint, The Satanic Temple may disqualify you during your candidacy, or subsequently revoke your ordained status, at any time and for any reason without notice. As a practical matter, as long as you successfully complete the steps of the Online Ordination Program, the only things that would normally lead to disqualification or revocation of ordained status would be:
✔ You are arrested for or convicted of a serious crime
✔ You breach the TST Member Code of Conduct ✔ You use your candidacy or status as an ordained Minister of Satan to deceive, defraud, intimidate or otherwise manipulate or gain power over another person, or to gain access to people, places or documents or other materials that you do not have the legal right to access
✔ You knowingly make false claims or take any other actions that disparage the goodwill, name, brand, or reputation of The Satanic Temple, or its current or past directors, employees, independent contractors, volunteers, donors, supporters, contributors, or current and former founders.
Why do I have to be a United States citizen to be ordained by The Satanic Temple?
We currently limit ordination to United States citizens for two reasons. First, one of the requirements for becoming ordained is submitting to a criminal background check. We don't currently support the process of performing this kind of legal check outside of the U.S. Second, many countries have specific rules, processes and regulations around the requirements for conducting marriages. We would like to ensure that our ordained ministers all have access to the same legal rights and opportunities regardless of the country they are operating in.
Although we are not ordaining members outside the United States at this time, we will continue to examine such opportunities as our program matures and grows.
Why should I be ordained by The Satanic Temple instead of one of the churches that ordains people for free?
You should only become ordained by The Satanic Temple as an authentic expression of your deeply held beliefs, and a desire to embody the values of The Satanic Temple in a way that is visible and acknowledged within the religious and cultural framework of our society. If your only goal is to have the legal ability to preside over a wedding, and you are not deeply connected with The Satanic Temple, then we recommend that you choose one of the many alternatives instead.
Do I have to be a Satanist to be ordained by The Satanic Temple?
Yes. If you are a secular humanist who supports the stances and activities of The Satanic Temple, but are not a Satanist, we recommend you explore ordination through The Humanist Society, or any similar organization with a rigorous ordination program.
Do I have to be a member of The Satanic Temple to be ordained by them?
Yes. If you intend to register as a candidate for ordination and have not already become a member, please visit the official website at thesatanictemple.com, click on the “Join Us” link in the top menu, and follow the instructions.
Do I have to be a member of a local chapter to become ordained?
No. It is easier to become connected within our community if you are part of a local chapter, but we understand that not all of our members live in areas where they have this opportunity. If you are not a member of a local chapter, please be sure that you are active and well-known within our community. You should also contact the person whom you intend to ask for a Letter of Approval, to ensure they are able to provide you with the letter. Early in the roll-out of this program, Chapter Leaders may have a preference for writing letters for their own chapter members first, and they may advise you to wait before you register. This is up to the discretion of our leadership, and any attempt to coerce or harass any member of leadership into writing a Letter of Approval will result in automatic denial of ordination and removal from membership in The Satanic Temple.
Do I have to know other members of The Satanic Temple to become ordained?
Yes. However, you need not be a very “social” person, nor are you required to have met other members of The Satanic Temple face-to-face. We understand that many people are introverts, and some people have circumstances that prevent them from comfortably engaging in common social scenarios. We want our ordination program to be inclusive and accommodating of a wide range of personality and interaction styles. At the same time, it is important that our ordained ministers be active in our community in some way. This is most easily demonstrated through the establishment of social relationships with other members, whether in-person, via online message groups, using video conferencing, or any other mechanism.
I have a criminal history on my record. Can I still be ordained by The Satanic Temple?
We will not ordain anyone who has a record of violent crime, child abuse, rape or other felony sexual misconduct, or animal cruelty. If your conviction does not fall into these categories, you may reach out to the International Council to explain your circumstances.
Please note: reaching out to International Council to explain the context of your conviction does not guarantee that you will be allowed to pursue ordination.
I do not agree with some of the public positions taken by Lucien Greaves. Will The Satanic Temple still ordain me?
Yes. Satanism is an individualistic religion, and there is a lot of room for interpretation within the broad constraints provided by the seven tenets. Lucien and other members of leadership within The Satanic Temple have their own personal understanding of how the tenets inform their views on matters ranging from political activism to metaphysics. If you are unsure whether a position Lucien has taken was intended as a statement of personal belief or a statement on behalf of The Satanic Temple, you may reach out to International Council for clarification.
I do not agree with all of the tenets of The Satanic Temple. Will they still ordain me?
No. The seven tenets are broadly-worded and open to interpretation. They are designed to provoke thought and discussion, allowing individuals to define application of the tenets within the nuanced contexts of their own lives. We expect members to disagree with one another on the details. However, if your deeply-held beliefs make it impossible for you to agree with all seven tenets, as they are stated and in the broadest context, then you will not be able to represent the values and deeply-held beliefs of The Satanic Temple in the way that we require of our ordained membership.
I am a member of the Church of Satan. Can I still be ordained by The Satanic Temple?
Yes. Bear in mind that to register for candidacy you must be a member of The Satanic Temple and must agree to adhere to the TST Member Code of Conduct. If you feel that adhering to the TST Member Code of Conduct would interfere with your rights or obligations as a member of the Church of Satan, then you should resolve that conflict of interest prior to submitting your candidacy for ordination with The Satanic Temple.
I am a theistic Satanist. Can I still become ordained by The Satanic Temple?
No. The Satanic Temple is a nontheistic Satanic organization, a matter that follows naturally from the fifth tenet. Having a personal commitment to theistic Satanism makes you unable to represent the values and deeply-held beliefs of The Satanic Temple in the way that we require of our ordained membership. We encourage you to seek out a rigorous ordination program with an organization that represents your values and beliefs.
I am a Thelemic Magician. Can I still be ordained by The Satanic Temple?
This depends entirely on what being a Thelemic Magician means to you, and how you interpret it. Thelemites usually follow Scientific Illuminism, and it is possible to interpret that philosophy in a way that is non-supernaturalist and is in line with scientific and evidence-based belief. However, Scientific Illuminism does not require atheism, anti-supernaturalism or an adherence to scientific belief. So the answer to this question goes back to whether or not you agree with the Seven Tenets, including the idea that beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding.
I do not live in an area with a local chapter. Will The Satanic Temple still ordain me?
Yes. Bear in mind that you must have some record of active participation in our community to successfully become ordained by The Satanic Temple. The easiest way to achieve this is to go to local area chapter meetings. If that is not available to you, make sure you are active and recognizable as a member in one of our online communities. Make ties to the community, and reach out online to chapter leaders and other active online members. One of the requirements for successful completion of the ordination program is to have a Chapter Leader or member of Executive Ministry send a Letter of Approval on your behalf to the International Council. The person writing the letter does not need to know you in a face-to-face context; however, they must know you well enough to state with confidence that you are an active participant in our community.
How much does it cost to register to become ordained by The Satanic Temple?
The current cost of registration for a new candidate is $149. Ordination certificates expire after one year, and must be renewed each year for ordained status to remain active. The current cost to renew an ordination certificate is $59.
Does paying the registration fee guarantee that I will become ordained?
No. Paying the registration fee guarantees that you will have access to the tools you need in order to complete the program and become ordained. If you abandon the program before you have successfully completed all of the steps, or if there is some disqualifying event (e.g. breach of code of conduct) during your candidacy, then you will not be granted ordained status.
If I am not granted ordained status after paying the registration fee, will I get a refund?
No. There are costs associated with the maintenance of the online program and the processing of each candidate, regardless of whether that candidate successfully completes the program. The application fee covers those costs. We provide this FAQ and the TST Ordination Standards so that you will know in detail what will be required before you register, and can make an informed decision about whether you are ready to pursue ordination through The Satanic Temple at this time.
I can’t afford the registration fee. Do I have any options available to pursue ordination?
We understand that passionate and otherwise qualified members may find themselves in circumstances where they simply cannot afford the registration fee. We would prefer it if financial need were not a barrier; however, we do not have the resources to process applications for need-based discounts or financial assistance at this time.
If you feel it is important to pursue ordination with The Satanic Temple immediately, rather than waiting until the fee does not provide a material obstacle, we hope that you can reach out to friends, family, your local Chapter leaders, or other fellow Satanists within your community, so that you can have a conversation about how they might help to enable you.
Why do I have to provide my legal name, birth date, and address to register for ordination with The Satanic Temple?
This information is required for our internal minister database, and will be kept confidential. Our list of ordained ministers will never be published or in any way made public. The information you supply when you sign up for the website, and any information you provide while going through the online curriculum, is encrypted in transit via TLS and stored in a secure database.
Why do you charge money to register for ordination?
Maintaining the ordination program and ongoing support for our ordained ministry costs money. In addition to annual fees that we pay to maintain the online ordination program and minister supplies store, time and effort is required to process candidates as they move through the program, to maintain the accuracy of the information we provide, and to develop and maintain services that benefit our active ordained ministers. The purpose of the registration and renewal fees is to offset those costs.
What are the steps to becoming ordained by The Satanic Temple?
This is a brief summary of the steps. We will publish a detailed description of the requirements for ordination, and an explanation of each of the items listed below, in the TST Ordination Standards. More information will also be released before launch in the Director of Ministry's video series.
1) Register as a Candidate
2) Complete the 10 lessons
3) Pass the final exam
4) Submit the criminal background check form
5) Request a Letter of Approval
What topics are covered by the coursework?
The lessons of the ordination program are:
Lesson 1: What is Satanism?
Lesson 2: Heretics, Outgroups, and Witch Hunts
Lesson 3: Enlightenment, Science, and Democracy
Lesson 4: Life of Satan
Lesson 5: Cults and Theocracies
Lesson 6: Modern Satanism
Lesson 7: Culture War, Violence, and The Undoing
Lesson 8: The Satanic Panic
Lesson 9: The Satanic Temple
Lesson 10: Satanic Ministry
I am bad at taking tests. Are there any other options available for me to become ordained by The Satanic Temple that do not involve taking a test?
At this time there is no alternative curriculum available. Please understand that some form of assessment is necessary to ensure that candidates have the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge required of ordained membership.
I have a disability that prevents me from making use of the online instructional material for the required coursework. What alternative learning materials are available?
All of the video lectures in the ordination coursework have accompanying transcripts. The visual component of the video lectures is helpful but not critical to understanding the material or passing the quizzes or exam. Reading material, instructions, and quizzes and the exam should all function well with screen reader software. If you have any other disability-related questions or concerns, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Why do I need to take a course and pass a test to become ordained?
Our ordained ministers are our voice within the community. They perform ceremonies for neighbors, friends and relatives. It is important that they share a common understanding of the mythology of Satan, the history of Satanism, and the history, values and purpose of The Satanic Temple and its ordained ministry.
Why do you require a background check to become ordained?
We will not ordain people convicted of certain types of crime. However, we understand that everybody’s path in life is complex and unique. If you feel you have something on your record that might create an unfair bias against you, you may reach out to the International Council to discuss your circumstances.
Why do you require a “Letter of Approval” from either a Chapter Head or member of Executive Ministry?
One of the core guiding principles of The Satanic Temple Ministry is the value that we place on our community. It is important that our ministers reflect this by having some record of active connection to other members.
One way to establish such a connection is to go to local area chapter meetings. If that is not available to you, make sure you are active and recognizable as a member in one of our online communities. Make ties to the community, and reach out online to chapter leaders and other active online members.
II. Ordained Minister Rights & Responsibilities
What ceremonies may I perform as a Minister of Satan?
As an ordained member of The Satanic Temple Ministry, you may officiate weddings and funerals, you may lead religious services, and you may conduct Satanic rituals such as Black Mass and Unbaptism.
You will be required to submit a Ceremony Notification Form through your Minister's Dashboard on this website at least 30 days prior to any event you would like to officiate.
Also remember that any event in a region with a local chapter MUST be organized with the consent and collaboration of the local chapter leadership.
Anyone leading unauthorized ceremonies will have their ordination and membership in The Satanic Temple permanently revoked.
Do I need to get permission for every ceremony I perform as Minister?
You must send a notification form to the Director of Ministry at least 30 days prior to any ceremony you organize or officiate as minister. As an ordained minister, you will be able to access this form from your Minister's Dashboard on this website. On this form, you will provide basic information about the event.
You do not need explicit permission for every event, but this form gives the Director of Ministry an opportunity to review the event, and either recommend changes or even deny the event if it does not follow our rules or protocols.
Why must I notify The Satanic Temple Ministry about every ceremony I perform?
Many states legally require ordained ministers to maintain records of every ceremony they perform. Using the online notification form fulfills your legal obligation for record-keeping.
The form also provides an opportunity for the Director of Ministry to provide feedback. If your plan for the ritual or ceremony creates risk, breaks protocols, or is a potential source of problems in any other way, the Director of Ministry may use this opportunity to reach out to you in order to ensure that any ceremony you perform follows the standards and expectations we have for our ordained clergy.
What restrictions are there on what I'm allowed to plan?
Weddings and funerals have relatively few restrictions. If the event is expected to have unusually large attendance, be media-worthy for whatever reason, or if you are planning unusual activities (e.g. fire performance, suspension, etc), the Director of Ministry may reach out to you to ask questions or provide guidance.
Unbaptisms, Black Masses, and religious services are slightly more restricted. If you are in an area with a chapter of The Satanic Temple, you will not be allowed to organize one of these ceremonies without the consent and cooperation of the chapter. This holds whether you are a member of that chapter or not.
Finally, use common sense and professionalism. Remember that as an ordained minister, you are a visible representative of The Satanic Temple when you officiate a ceremony.
Now that I am ordained, are marriages I perform automatically legally binding?
The state or city where you want to perform a wedding ceremony often has very specific rules about the process you must follow in order for the marriage ceremony you conduct to be legally binding. States and cities most commonly require you to file evidence of your ordained status with a public office, and sometimes also ask you to pay a fee. You should always call the local County Clerk in the place where the wedding ceremony will be held to find out the specific requirements. To make sure you don't miss any important steps, please look over our free Officiating Your First Wedding guide.
As an ordained minister of The Satanic Temple, you will be able to log into your account on this website and view our long list of free online informational material and purchase all of the physical documents you may need.
Where can I get a script or description of a Satanic wedding ceremony or other ritual?
As an ordained minister, when you log into this website you will see your Minister's Dashboard. This will have a number of useful links to resources, including free online scripts for Satanic weddings and funerals, and a link to the Minister Supplies Store where you can buy appropriate certificates and documentation you might need.
May I create my own Satanic wedding ceremony or other ritual?
When you submit the online form to notify the Director of Ministry of your planned ceremony, there will be a place on the form for you to describe the ceremony or attach a script. You are encouraged to be creative and adapt existing scripts to your personal style and needs. However, please remember that for any event, no matter what the venue or how many people are involved, you are representing The Satanic Temple, and should conduct yourself accordingly.
What titles may I use (Priest, Minister, Pastor, etc)?
The official title conferred by The Satanic Temple on ordained clergy is Minister of Satan, latinized as Ministerium Satanae. This is most commonly shortened simply to “Minister” when used as a pre-nominal title (e.g. “Minister Smith”) and abbreviated to its initials when used as a post-nominal title (e.g. Pat Smith, M.S.).
Informally, Ministers ordained by The Satanic Temple may use whatever title they prefer, including but not limited to common titles such as pastor, priest, cleric, reverend, and chaplain, or uncommon titles such as abbot, emissary, magus, monk, avatar, learned theologian, speaker, and sage.
Please avoid titles strongly tied to specific roles within a particular religious denomination (e.g. Pope, Bishop, Imam, Rabbi) or that overtly run counter to Satanic values pertaining to supernaturalism or proselytizing (e.g. Healer, Oracle, Prophet, Evangelist) unless they are being used in a satirical context. Even when used satirically and informally, please be mindful of the ways in which use of such titles can be interpreted by the general public, or even maliciously "misunderstood" by people seeking to defame our beliefs and our organization.
Please avoid titles with clear local or indigenous cultural connotations (e.g. swami, yogi, lama, shaman) unless you have a strong personal connection to that culture and you are certain the adoption of that title would be meaningful within that context.
Finally, never use any title other than “Minister” in such a way that it implies that it is a formal title conferred by The Satanic Temple, such as “High Priest of The Satanic Temple” or “Official Arch High Deacon at The Satanic Temple” or any similar formulation.
Am I allowed to refer to myself as a Priest of The Satanic Temple?
Informally, yes. The official title conferred by The Satanic Temple on ordained clergy is Minister of Satan. That is the only title you should use in formal or legal documents. For more information, please see the answer to the question "What titles may I use" above.
Does being an ordained Minister of Satan give me any special rights or access within The Satanic Temple?
No. Ordination by The Satanic Temple only confers rights and access in the public sphere. Specifically, it confers those rights and access that are granted in the United States by law and tradition to anyone who is a legally ordained minister of any religion, such as the legal right to officiate weddings.
May I provide end-of-life counseling or grief counseling?
No. This program does not certify you as a counselor. Being an ordained minister makes you a trusted member of our community, and people may approach you for advice or input. We understand that you want to help your friends and members of our community in every way that you can. However, please be very mindful about how you approach this relationship. The word "counseling" has a very specific meaning in some contexts, and providing grief counseling or similar services is illegal if you do not have a degree in counseling or certification in a related field. If you are approached by someone in emotional distress, please help them get to a place where they feel safe and then either call 911 (in the case of an emergency) or help them contact a professional who can decide the best way to proceed.
Am I allowed to provide religious services for the incarcerated?
Not at this time. We are researching and working through the process of becoming recognized so that our ordained ministers will be able to provide religious services for people serving sentences in prison. We will make sure to provide updates as this project progresses.
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