Ordination Standards

Prerequisites and Procedures for Recognition as Having Ordained Status in The Satanic Temple

Current Revision: June 2022

Preface

The following standards serve as guidelines uniformly accepted by all congregations, campaigns, and any other associations or individuals affiliated with The Satanic Temple, so that their pursuit of active ministry will be consistent across our membership while honoring our values, goals, and traditions.

In order to fulfill our mission in an orderly, consistent, and thoughtful manner, the Executive Ministry and Ordination Council have outlined the following prerequisites and procedures so that candidates will understand the process of applying for, attaining, and maintaining ordained status within our ministry.

The Executive Ministry and Ordination Council recognize that religion is a human endeavor, and as such is always subject to growth and change. As a result, these standards will be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect the evolving needs of our church and our membership.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    1. Background
    2. Terminology
  2. Path to Ordination
    1. Prerequisites
    2. Registration
    3. Coursework & Final Exam
    4. Self-Development Essay
    5. Background Check
    6. Letter of Approval
    7. Final Certification
  3. Maintaining Ordination
    1. Renewal Process
    2. Removal of Ordained Status
  4. Addendum: Summary Checklist

I. Introduction

A. Background

Ordination is the act by which our church delegates a wide range of ministerial functions and responsibilities to qualified persons who have demonstrated a dedication to our community and a deep and passionate understanding of the beliefs, values, and goals of The Satanic Temple.

The Executive Ministry and Ordination Council are the duly authorized bodies responsible for creating, coordinating, maintaining, and reviewing the curriculum and requirements for initiating and maintaining ordained status in The Satanic Temple. This process is evolutionary and will change over time, but in the ongoing evaluation of the Ordination Program the following principles will always apply:

  • Ordained status in The Satanic Temple will reflect a commitment to developing a personal Satanic philosophy.
  • Ordained status in The Satanic Temple will reflect a promise to model the Seven Tenets in thought and action.
  • Ordained status in The Satanic Temple will reflect a dedication to the well-being of our community.
  • Ordained status in The Satanic Temple will reflect a dedication to lifelong learning and self-development.

B. Terminology

You will come across a number of terms that have very specific well-defined meanings in the context of the ordination program and The Satanic Temple Ministry. These terms are capitalized in this document, and you can find out more about what they mean and how they are used specifically in the context of ordination and ministry by looking them up in the Satanic Ministry's Glossary of Terms, here: https://faq.satanicministry.com/glossary/

Throughout this document we will sometimes talk about requirements in the second person ("you") in order to make the tone more conversational and easier to understand. In these cases, the assumed audience — "you" — is a member of The Satanic Temple who is interested in becoming a Candidate or Non-Ord Student, or who has already registered as either.

II. Path to Ordination

A. Prerequisites

To be ordained into The Satanic Temple Ministry, you must be a Satanist and a member of The Satanic Temple. We do not ordain people who do not self-identify as Satanists or who are not members of our church.

Registration for the ordination program is by invitation only: you must be recommended as a candidate by an ordained Minister of Satan who holds a leadership position within The Satanic Temple. Most often this means that candidates are recommended by either Congregation Heads or Campaign Directors. Rarely they will be recommended by other members of leadership, such as Executive Ministry.

We do not require any reading or tests prior to registration as a Candidate. The coursework in the program will cover all of the information needed to pass the final exam (see Section II-C). However, the coursework is both broad and detailed and requires serious study. Someone who has an established history of research, personal inquisitiveness, and in-depth study of the topics covered by the coursework will have an easier time completing the program.

We require Candidates to submit to a basic national criminal-background check as part of the program (see Section II-E). You do not need to complete a background check before you register as a Candidate. However, if you believe you have something on your record that might create an unfair bias against you, you should reach out to the Ordination Council before you register, so that you may explain your circumstances.

We require a "Letter of Approval" (LOA) supporting the Candidate from a member of Church Leadership (see Section II-F). The Ordination Council does not need to receive this letter before you register as a Candidate. However, it would be wise to identify who you would like to write your letter before you begin. They may have recommendations as to what steps you should take to ensure that they are able to write you a positive letter.

If you are not willing to submit to a background check, or you are unable to obtain a Letter of Approval from Leadership, you have the option of registering for the program as a "Non-Ordination Seeking Student." Registering as a Non-Ord Student means that you will be permitted to take all of the coursework, up to and including taking the final exam, but you will not be permitted to go any further in the program and you will not be an ordained Minister at the end of the process.

After you have taken steps to ensure that you are prepared to embark upon your journey, it is time to register.

B. Registration

A member registers as a Candidate or Non-Ord Student by enrolling in the Ordination Program through the Ordination Platform, which can be accessed at the URL https://ordained.satanicministry.com using any standard web browser. The registration process constitutes a formal "declaration of intent" on the part of the registrant to carry out the coursework and fulfill the requirements of the program.

During the registration process you will be required to affirm and agree to a number of statements. Registration for both Ordination and the Non-Ordination Coursework require agreeing to the following statements:

  • I am a Satanist.
  • I am a member of The Satanic Temple.
  • I have read and agree to adhere to The Satanic Temple’s Member Code of Conduct.
  • I have read and understand the Ordination Standards.
  • I understand that my registration fee is nonrefundable and that it will not be returned even if my candidacy for ordination is rejected or left incomplete.

Additionally, those registering for the Ordination Program are also required to agree to the following:

  • I will provide my legal name, birth date, and current country and region of residence to The Satanic Temple for their records. This information will be kept private and confidential.
  • I consent to a criminal-background check.
  • I understand that successful completion of the ordination program depends a review of my entire application, including the results of the background check, the content of my letter of approval, and any additional investigation that the Ordination Council may see fit to undertake, and that final certification as an Ordained Minister of Satan by The Satanic Temple is not guaranteed by the simple completion of any of these individual steps.

You will enter your full legal name, a username, and password that you will use to log in and access the online program. By submitting the form and creating your account on the Satanic Ministry website, you are agreeing to all of the above-stated terms.

The Satanic Temple is legally required to maintain the legal name of all ordained Ministers on file so that government employees, such as County Clerks or judges, can verify the authenticity of the Ministers applying to perform marriages within a particular city, county, or state. The Satanic Temple does not and will never publish a directory of ordained Ministers.

Finally, you will be required to pay a one-time fee of $149 to register for the full Ordination Program or $99 to register for the Non-Ord Program. This fee is designed to cover the overhead costs associated with maintaining the Ordination Platform and the time and labor associated with processing applications and maintaining the benefits we provide to our ordained Ministers.

The registration process usually takes 10-15 minutes to complete, including time to read the Code of Conduct and the Ordination Standards. Once registration and payment are complete, you will have access to your own home "landing page" when you log in, which will contain information about your status and progress in the program and links to the online Coursework that must be completed as the next step in the process.

You will have 90 days from your day of registration to complete the program, including the Background Check, Essay, and Letter of Approval. Before you register, you should make sure you have at least 20 hours to dedicate to the ordination program over the span of 90 days from registration, to ensure the best chance of success. Leave enough time to allow for unexpected circumstances, including: needing to retake the final exam several times, needing to discuss the results of your background check with a member of the Ordination Council, and accommodating the schedule of the ordained member of leadership who has agreed to write your Letter of Approval (LOA).

If special circumstances arise that may prevent you from completing the curriculum in the time allotted, you may contact the Ordination Council and request an extension. However, these will be granted only in rare circumstances. You must request an extension before your time expires.

If your time has expired, you may re-register as a Candidate. However, you will be starting the program over from the beginning and must go through all of the steps again, including paying the registration fee.

C. Coursework & Final Exam

The online coursework and final exam (also called the "Curriculum") are designed to ensure that our ordained Ministers share a common baseline of understanding and knowledge. We do not require that our ordained Ministers agree with everything The Satanic Temple has done or every position The Satanic Temple has supported; we do, however, require that they have a deep understanding of the history and actions of The Satanic Temple, what The Satanic Temple represents and is trying to achieve, and where it fits into the broader framework of modern Satanism as a diverse, worldwide religion.

The Curriculum is divided into 10 Lessons and a Final Exam. The full list of Lesson topics can be found on the Online Ordination Program course page.

The final exam will consist of 50 questions covering material from all ten lessons. To successfully complete the coursework portion of the program, you must receive a score of 80% correct or better on the final exam. You will be able to retake the final exam up to a maximum of three times.

If you registered as a Non-Ordination Seeking Student, this is where your progress through the program ends. If you pass the final exam, you will have the opportunity to order a Certificate of Satanic Scholarship from the Minister Supplies Store as a memento of your accomplishment.

D. Self-Development Essay

Becoming ordained into The Satanic Temple Ministry is an invitation to strive for self-development. To fulfill the essay requirement of the program, you will create a goal that you plan to achieve in the next twelve months that will strengthen your ability to perform your role as a Satanic minister. This essay will not be scored, and you will not be penalized if you do not reach your goal; however, the essay must demonstrate that you understand how to identify areas where you desire self-improvement, define concrete goals that you can use to assess whether you have improved, and develop a specific action plan for achieving those goals.

Candidates for whom submitting a written essay might create accessibility challenges may request permission to submit an audio or video version of the essay. Please reach out to the Ordination Council if you are interested in more information about this option.

E. Background Check

Our ordained Ministers must strive to embody the Seven Tenets in thought and in action. As a result, certain types of behavior are disqualifying. We will not ordain anyone who has a record of violent crime, child abuse, rape, or any other felony sexual misconduct, or animal cruelty.

We understand that everyone's path in life is unique and the criminal justice system has deep flaws. Therefore, if you have something on your criminal record that does not fall in one of the above categories, please reach out to the Ordination Council to explain your circumstances.

However, please note: reaching out to the Ordination Council to explain the context of your conviction does not guarantee that you will be allowed to complete the ordination program. Every circumstance is evaluated individually. The Satanic Temple retains the right to deny completion of the ordination program to any individual based on their sole discretion and judgment.

F. Letter of Approval

Our ordained Ministers must be active participants in our community. We understand that community participation comes in many forms, and people have a wide variety of interaction styles, skills, and comfort levels. The Letter of Approval (LOA) is our way to allow the local leadership of The Satanic Temple to recognize and acknowledge a Candidate's community participation regardless of what form it takes.

In the final step of the Ordination Program, you are required to approach a member of leadership, usually your Congregation Head or a Campaign Director whom you have worked closely with, and request a Letter of Approval (LOA).

No member of leadership is obligated to write an LOA for any Candidate. Members of leadership may decline to write you an LOA for any reason, and they are not obligated to tell you their reason. If a member of leadership declines to write your LOA, you may ask them what steps you could take to make them more likely to write your letter; however, they are under no obligation to provide you with such a pathway.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that you identify a member of leadership who is interested in writing your LOA before you register as a Candidate. If they do not feel confident that you have enough connection to the community to warrant a strong LOA, they may give you suggestions on things you can do or activities you can participate in to improve that connection.

Be advised that stalking or harassing members of leadership in order to get them to write you an LOA, or sending out mass requests to multiple people at once, will be grounds not only to have your Candidacy for ordination permanently revoked, but could also be grounds for removal from The Satanic Temple.

G. Final Certification

After your Letter of Approval is received, it will be reviewed by the Ordination Council along with the rest of the materials from your Candidacy. The Ordination Council may reach out to you to discuss your essay, or may reach out to the minister who wrote your LOA or to other members of leadership to clarify other parts of your submitted materials.

If your ordination is approved, you will receive an email notifying you that you have successfully completed the program and are now an ordained Minister of Satan and member of The Satanic Temple Ministry. This email will also include a link to a form that you must use to request access to certain Minister-only platforms, such as the Ministry Slack and the Ministry Group in The Satanic Temple's intranet platform.

As an ordained Minister, when you log back into your account on the Ordination Platform you will have access to your Minister's Dashboard. This will provide resources with information about performing ceremonies, leading religious services, and other activities available to our community of ordained ministers.

You will also gain access to the Minister Supplies Store, where you can purchase physical copies of certificates, ID cards, and other supplies and materials to help you with your ministerial duties. Even if you do not intend to perform any religious ceremonies right away, you may want to purchase your basic credentials — your Certificate of Ordination and Minister ID card — that will show your name and the date on which you were officially ordained into the Satanic Ministry.

Please remember: You are not an official graduate of the program until you receive your final certification email, and you may not begin referring to yourself as an Ordained Minister in The Satanic Temple until you have received this official notice.

III. Maintaining Ordination

A. Renewal Process

At any time within 30 days of your ordination expiration date you will be able to log into the Ordination Platform and see a link to the Elective Lessons page. This page will show a list of Elective Lessons that you may register for in order to fulfill your renewal requirement, and will provide instructions and other information about the renewal process. 

The cost to apply for renewal is $59. Completing the Elective Lesson will require watching a single one hour lesson on a single in-depth topic of the your choosing, passing a short quiz, writing an essay, and receiving another Letter of Approval. The requirements and guidelines for each of these steps is the same as the guidelines for the corresponding steps in the original ordination program. The biggest differences between the Ordination Program and an Elective Lesson are: 1) the Elective Lesson is only a single 1 hour lesson and a quiz, rather than 10 lessons with a final exam, and 2) a new background check is not required.

If you allow your ordination to expire, you will no longer have access to the Minister Dashboard when you log in to the Ordination Platform, and therefore you will no longer be able to purchase a renewal. You may contact the Ordination Council and request permission to renew if you are within two months after expiration of your ordination. If your ordination has been expired for longer than two months, you will need to start over from the beginning and register as a new Candidate for Ordination.

If your renewal is certified by the Ordination Council, you will receive an email congratulating you on your renewal. You will be able to reorder a certificate and ID card, if you desire, showing your new active dates. Certificates and ID cards will always show your original ordination date, as well. If you do not plan to perform any ceremonies that would require you to present identification (e.g. weddings), you may not need to purchase updated physical credentials.

B. Removal of Ordained Status

There are three main ways that a minister may lose active ordained status in The Satanic Temple Ministry: you may allow your ordination to expire, you may voluntarily give up your ordination, or your ordination may be revoked.

If you voluntarily give up your ordained status, either by simply allowing your ordination to expire or by explicitly giving up your ordained status, you will still be eligible to become ordained by The Satanic Temple again in the future if you so desire, and if you are able to get an ordained member of leadership to recommend you as a Candidate.

The Satanic Temple also reserves the right to revoke your ordained status at any time and for any reason without notice. As a practical matter, however, there are only two situations that are likely to give rise to the Ordination Council revoking a minister's ordination:

  • The Suryan Council or the Society of Congregations Concerns Committee has investigated and evaluated a complaint against you and established the validity of claims of misconduct, and the Ordination Council deems such misconduct to be behavior unbecoming of a minister and therefore a violation of the Code of Conduct for ministers.
  • You have engaged in public, documented, verifiable conduct that is both face-value contrary to the standards we expect from ordained ministers and poses an immediate threat of harm to the well-being and safety of our community.

The Ordination Council will always prefer to act in response to minister misconduct after they have received a report from either the Suryan Council or the Concerns Committee, so that they can be assured that all accusations have been investigated and verified.

If the Ordination Council revokes your ordination, they will attempt to notify you by email. However, your status as an ordained Minister of Satan is revoked upon their decision, and is not contingent on you having received notification. Immediately upon revocation, you lose all rights and privileges associated with ordained status. Continuing to perform rites and services as an ordained Minister after your ordination is terminated will result in legal action being taken against you.

Addendum: Summary Checklist

This is a high-level list of steps that give an overview of The Satanic Temple Ordination Standards. This overview is provided for your convenience only: the definitive guide to the ordination standards is the main body of this document.

Becoming an ordained Minister:

  1. Sign up to register as a Candidate.
  2. Complete 10 units of Core Lessons, passing the quiz for each Lesson with a minimum score of 80%.
  3. Complete the Ordination Exam with a minimum score of 80%.
  4. Submit your Ministerial Self-Development Essay
  5. Submit your personal information for a basic national criminal-background check.
  6. Request a Letter of Approval from an ordained member of leadership in The Satanic Temple.
  7. Receive notification of completion of the program.

Renewing ordained status:

  1. Select an Elective Lesson for your Continued Education requirement.
  2. Complete the Elective Lesson and pass the quiz with a minimum score of 80%.
  3. Request a Letter of Approval from an ordained member of leadership in The Satanic Temple.
  4. Receive notification of completion of your renewal.