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Scratch Vs ToS

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.satanism,alt.politics.satanism
From: (SOD of the CoE)
Subject: Re: Scratch Vs ToS (film at 11) (was ToS: Baloney's FAQ - Scratch makes the cut!)
Date: Sun, 08 Jul 2001 02:50:39 GMT

50010707 VI! om Hail Satan! Hail Set!

RE the Temple of Set, realities and ideals

Mr. Scratch:
>> * If your organization is built for the benefit of its membership (unlike
>> a "cult"), why does it keep files on those members' perceived wrongdoings? (Tez):
> Oh show a JPEG of a bunch of papers with pentagrams and
> we're supposed to belief there are files based on that? Thats your
> proof? Second of just have one? I would think if the Temple
> was keeping a clearing house of information on it's initiates, you'd
> surely have more than one. C'mon Scratch, back it up.

this seems a misplaced discussion. Scratch provides enough information 
in his correspondence that one might infer that a *file* is kept on 
each of the ToS members. given Former HP Aquino's position with respect 
to military intelligence, it doesn't seem out of the question that such 
a file would be kept on members. I know for a fact that this kind of
file is kept for OTO members who have correspondence with officers 
(just for keeping track of correspondence and admin matters; nothing
nefarious in the activity at all, just good communications). yes, such
a file *might* contain complaints, but so what? that there were
implications made to Mr. Scratch that his complaint file was 160 pages
and this turned, over time, into 60 is interesting, but it tells us no
more, really about the practices of the temple's administration.

>> * Does a responsible organization demand to have control over its members'
>> personal choice of friends and acquaintances?
> No, because a responsible organization is made up of people who are
> responsible. You are not of this category. Think about it: You were 
> friends with Lupo/Locklin/Whogivesadamn for awhile, no one said a thing. 

other ToS members (like you below!) have made it clear that they also have 
ex-ToS friends and have heard no warnings about this. however, it should 
be stated that the ToS is clear in its initial interviewing process that
it is concerned about competing affiliations. if one is a member of a
church outside the Temple one cannot rise in its ranks without abandoning
what it deems 'conflicting interests' (i.e. one cannot serve two gods).

> You brought him to the Conclave hotel, swept it under the mat, got 
> caught and got expelled....

not entirely accurate, if you read Mr. Scratch's account. Lupo was giving
*them* a ride, dropped them off at the hotel lobby entrance, and someone
Lupo knew (but apparently didn't even recognize) *happened* to be at this 
location at the hotel. perhaps you could elaborate on what was 'swept under 
the mat'. it does sound like Scratch/Delf did not make an immediate 
explanation to their superiors, which might or might not have salvaged
their membership.

> Bring an antagonistic anti-Setian to the Conclave hotel, and people
> aren't going to want you around. 

even if it was an accident? this seems a bit harsh. I've read through all
of the text at Mr. Scratch's website now (rather than just the "Scratch
Dialogues"), and it does seem obvious that an attitude problem exists in
the temple's upper echelon sufficient to be noticed by members themselves
(cf. the Setian Manifesto written by internal members called 'The Cluster').

this is not really news to me, given the attitude displayed by Former HP
Michael Aquino in alt.satanism, inclusive of outright lying concerning
other individuals such as myself as regards our activities/expression. 
arrogance and power-mad elitism based on what *I* would call 'delusions of 
grandeur' (certifiable? I am in no position to judge) is certainly not 
scarce in the Satanist community. that Mr. Scratch and others have taken 
so long to ascertain that it is a facet of the Temple of Set is somewhat 
surprising to me, but apparently they are not, as I am, conditioned to 
distrust orgs and skeptically (sometimes cynically) examine their doings. 
Aquino's initial responses to my queries satisfied my suspicions that this 
would be the case based on the fact that

	1) he made it clear that dual-membership in 'other religions'
           would not be tolerated for advanced temple membership

and	2) he proceeded to belittle and insult me when I (again) informed
	   him that my interest in the temple was academic, rather than
           constituting an attempt to join.

since then we have been on friendly terms and I have even defended him
in public against Curio and other idiots. I admire his wit and intellect
even if I do not trust the organization (any organization) to deal 
fairly with its members (by virtue of the increased egoic pressure put
upon those in positions of social power who are truly unready to deal 
with its repercussions -- i.e. 'they haven't done their yoga').

>> * How does the use of excommunication and "shunning" benefit the
>> individual Setian?
> My own initiatory work is something special and intimate. I need to
> trust the people I'm going to interact with, or it's no go. Believe it
> or not Scratch, I have friends who are ex-Setians, one or two who
> didn't even leave in particularly good graces. The Temple knows about
> this and you know what else, THEY DON'T CARE! Simply because they know
> I don't talk Temple stuff with said ex-Setians, I don't take them
> around Conclaves, there is no crossroads where the two shall meet. I
> wouldn't expect the Priest of a "hobby religion" to understand that
> however.

this is a NON-ANSWER. rather than avoid the actual question, would you
be so kind as to address it? how does the use of excommunication,
expulsion and social SHUNNING benefit the individual Setian (and, I
would add, the Temple of Set)? why doesn't this constitute a very
important facet of the temple's cult-like character?

>> * If the purpose of the Temple is to promote the individual Will, why does
>> it appear that the Temple is attempting to hammer out a philosophical
>> conformity (beyond core Setian principles) among its membership?
> Ummm, Kinda vague don't you think? I Work with people who come from
> and Work with Yogic, Satanist, Pagan and Neuroliguistic Programming
> backgrounds. These backgrounds acrete into the perspective that they
> each hold towards Setian philosophy and there is no negative
> repercussions for it, as they're not using Setianism as a "catch-all"
> terms for things they like that they want to have validated in the
> eyes of others. Beyond core Setian values, no agreement on application
> is really asked for. Therefore, the philosophical conformity thing
> doesn't hold water.

it was and continues to be my contention that the Temple of Set has a
philosophical litmus test which membership must pass before being
allowed to assume positions of authority within it. this litmis amounts 
to holding no direct social connection (e.g. sect membership) or 
intellectual positions, beliefs, values, etc., which are in conflict 
with what the officials in the temple consider to be important (and
thusfar 'religious membership' or belief seems to be at the root of 
this litmus test as I have experienced it distantly and obliquely).

>> * Is the Temple a cult?  Explain your answer.
> Last I checked, cults don't let you leave. 

false. it depends upon one's circumstance and relation to the cult.
at certain points greater and greater pressure is liable to be placed 
upon members to remain with the group, and cults of extreme danger 
indeed can and do resort to shaming and extortion to attempt to 
prevent attrition. post-exilic publishing of former-members' private
information as revenge could display an ethics which might also cover
the use of (even hostile) pressure-tactics against members to get them
to conform to prescribed standards. however, a blanket statement like 
the above is not a reliable standard of assessment.

I applaud Mr. Scratch's efforts to educate the Setian community
about the dangerous of cultism (even using his humourous contexts
such as portraying the ToS as INGSOC in an Orwellian satire),
and yet neither do I think that he has done his homework, nor 
do I think that there is sufficient emphasis in the occult or 
Satanist communities surrounding this very real danger. 

it is sour grapes to level the criticism against the ToS without 
what I would consider a greater degree of data than may be found 
at the radio-free-setian website regarding pressure tactics and
restriction and control of the private lives of members. that
there is *some* is to be expected. the temple is UP-FRONT about
what it considers conflicts of interest. I do not see that this
extends, however, into the realm of sexual liaisons, consumption
of food, sleep patterns, or general social association, however. 

that you believe that cults "don't let you leave" is a horror
story of the worst of cult nightmares, and yet one does not always 
meet up with this kind of nightmare in a glancing exchange (even 
including membership). 

for example, my own departure from association with the Church of 
Scientology, which I was studying strictly on my own, and from an 
investigative relationship with Nichiren Shoshu of America (NSA) 
and the International Society for Krishna CONsciousness (ISKCON), 
the two of which I studied in comparison and contrast of religious 
fanaticism for a college course on religions was met with some 
level of pursuit. I expected this, especially of the Scientologists,
who called me repeatedly and at times, beratingly, attempting to 
get me to come back to the fold. members would of course witness
a *far greater degree of pressure*, and it would include all of
their friends and family, because of the exclusiveness which the
cult requires its members to maintain. we have no evidence to
support this kind of cult atmosphere. in fact, Mr. Scratch offers 
us evidence to the *contrary* in his explanation of his 
relationship with Lupo, someone whom the ToS considers an enemy,
given that the ToS knew about his continuing association and did
not try to dissuade him from it.

> Second of all, cults do
> require a mindless obedience, which is not conducive to productive
> discussion of initiatory and magical worth, which is something that
> the Temple is not lacking in an abundance of, you'll be sorry to know.
> In short, cults don't leave you alone. Then again, talk smack about
> practically anyone, and they're bound to respond.

leash-length variation and areas of freedom do exist, even in the
most extreme cults. better would be an evaluation a la Bonewits or 
some better-informed cult expert of the temple's activities and
how its membership is being treated. many of the incidents described
at Mr. Scratch's web site ( do have
something in common with complaints of seriously dangerous cults,
though by and large what he and those he is quoting seem to be
describing appears to take place in just about *ALL* organizations,
especially those which are pyramidal of structure and presumptuous
of cosmological authority -- often religious). for this reason it is
valuable to observe how the temple responds to Mr. Scratch at all
its levels (if indeed it replies at all) in public and privately.

I recommend perusing the following document and considering, based
on your own experience with the temple, how it fares (post the
results *here*, along with an explanation of your authority):
>> * Why is the membership of the Temple declining at an accelerated rate?

# Temple of Set Situation
#   by Walter Radtke


the following text may be found:
#   ...the lack of growth of
#   the Temple over the past 7 years. It's membership has remained static at
#   about 300 and no one copped to the fact that this is not a healthy
#   statistic for any organization. ...  The Temple takes in a half dozen or so
#   new members a month and loses a half dozen members a month, mostly from the
#   I*. Naturally, this was never assumed to be the fault of the Temple, yet
#   myself and others, including the Schrecks with whom I was on a friendly
#   basis, had received report after report of I* and II* dissatisfaction with
#   various aspects of interaction with mainly the Priesthood.

this seems to indicate a lack of temple membership growth by someone who
would have been aware (by his assessment) of the membership situation.
not only this, the apparent reason for the dissatisfaction described by
Radtke is the officious, arrogant attitude (sometimes a distinct LACK
of communication and sometimes just hostility and rudeness) by the UPPER
echelon of the temple. Former HP Michael Aquino certainly has displayed
this attitude with some individuals with whom he has corresponded in 
usenet (and even with me in private), so it doesn't seem out of the
question that it might be pervasive in the temple membership's officers.

on the *other* hand, I have very few complaints of this type which I may
bring up concerning the behaviour of Balanone, whom I gather, after
reading Mr. Scratch's web site files, is the Chairperson of the Council of
Nine -- the administrative body of the temple). this seems to represent
*contrary* evidence, and so I have wondered about the atmosphere therein.

> Mr. Scratch says so. "My inside sources", thats it? Not even
> a copy of an e-mail to this effect? 
> ...Give comparisons and contrasts. "Accelerated rate of
> decline"? Compared to what[?]....

it is true that Mr. Scratch gives us no additional information about 
how he came by this information about a Setian departure from the ToS, 
though he seems to know people who at least *have* been in a position to
know about the data. whether they are *still* in such a position or have
connections to the temple is a matter left unresolved, but your criticism
and request for supporting data here does seem justified.

blessed beast! Satanic Outreach Director,
Church of Euthanasia:
Satanism Archive:

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