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SATANIC PANIC: Inside Oklahoma City's controversial Satanic church
Adam Daniels in the Dastur, or "high priest," of OKC's Satanic sect Dakhma of Angra Mainyu.
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The phrase “religious freedom” is thrown around quite a bit in Oklahoma, usually in regards to fast-food joints or crafting stores taking rights away from their employees due to their own personal Judeo-Christian beliefs, but there is also a flipside to this coin that is just now being recognized thanks to a rising tide of Biblical backlash: the religious freedoms of Satanists.

While in the past, the worshippers of the Fallen One were happy to remain in the shadows, performing their rituals and whatnot in clandestine get-togethers or via the cartoonish theatrics of whatever the popular heavy metal acts of the day were, but a new crop of Devil worshippers have decided to come into the light and say it loud that they’re a Satanist and they’re proud.

The Metro has become the brimstone-heated hotbed of this cloven-hooved controversy in light of two mitigating factors: the proposed statue of horned-demon Baphomet, to be placed next to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol, and most recent and more notably, the local Satanist sect, the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, and their upcoming Black Mass to be held at the Oklahoma City Civic Center, September 21st.

While the state and national media has been covering the ongoing feud between Angra Mainyu and Oklahoma City Catholic Archbishop Paul Coakley’s attempts to stop the Mass from going on, few have attempted to actually get inside the Satanic house of worship and see just exactly what there is to be afraid of.

Until now.

The actual church is located in a very non-descript neighborhood filled with kid’s toys in the front yards and broken down cars in the back. Children shout in the streets and it would be hard for me to guess which house to stop at if not for the car parked along the street that was literally covered in words about alien abductions, seemingly telling a survivor’s story of extraterrestrial exploitation. I figured that was the place.

Dastur (or High Priest) Adam Daniels doesn’t immediately strike one as an evil, imposing figure. He seems more in line with the type of dude you’d find working behind the counter of a comic book shop than the head of the biggest Satanic church in Oklahoma City. Wearing a jokey shirt that could’ve been from a Spencer’s Gifts, he led me around to the backyard and into the actual area designated as the place of worship, a very small, very tight, very un-air-conditioned converted rumpus room. Daniels was very forthcoming with how he became involved in all this.

“Around ‘98 or ‘99, I worked at a Conoco,” Daniels said. “We were in the middle of switching shifts and a guy rolled in and gutted the customer in front of me, and then he went to gut me and I had to defend myself. The guy died in my self-defense. I talked to Buddhists, I talked to Catholics, I talked to Baptists, everybody was telling me I was wrong and that I should be feeling all of this pain and depression, so I said the Hell with it and I picked up the Satanic Bible and I read it and in there is says self-preservation is the highest law. Don’t feel guilt if you had to preserve yourself. At that point, I went full-nut bozo into this and never looked back.”

Touring the room, noticing the relics and tools of the trade scattered about, I asked Daniels about his neighbors and if they’re worried about things like animal sacrifice or rumors of that ilk.

“They’re well aware; we do rituals in the backyard. Our neighbors don’t really bother us, my next-door neighbor he’s my mechanic. But we know we’ll never be accepted, so we’re trying to at least create a tolerance,” Daniels said. “A common misconception, the first thing they want to jump to is the Hollywood idea of animal sacrifices, human sacrifices, eating babies, all that kind of stuff. We don’t believe in any of that. Do not harm little children and do not kill animals unless it’s for your food.”

Daniels offered a tour of the stifling room, explaining what each ornament, image and area’s significance is, laughing that the room used to be far darker and less accessible.

“After we changed the room over from blackness everywhere, I feel like it got lively, more energetic. Itdoesn’t seem scary. Satanic places of worship are supposed to be where there’s the most energy available and where you’re going to work your energy the most in the best way possible. We, in this religion, are based on the original devil cult Angra Mainyu, which comes from Zoroastrianism.”

Daniels said their rituals are different than most other sects because they take more of a “spiritual” approach, citing the Theosophy works of Rudolf Steiner and Helena Blavatsky, as well as magic systems devised by John Dee and Edward Kelley. Additionally, many of the ritualistic ideas and prayer come from “corrupted” Zoroastrian prayers and Hindu hymns, as well as a heavy dose of Aleister Crowley for good measure.

“First and foremost we actually worship a deity,” Daniels added. “We are not atheistic—we are a theistic religious church, but we don’t worship it in traditional day where we bow down to an entity. We stand with pride and work with the deity and work with the demons. We believe in a spiritual side of things, we believe in an afterlife.”

Daniels believes that the very thing that sets them apart from other organizations of this sort is the same reason why many of them don’t like him and his church, mostly because they are “putting structure into what should be a chaotic system.”

As he calls for his minions to come down and begin the ceremony, he joked with a wicked gleam that if I get possessed, they aren’t liable and I can’t sue.

At least I think he was joking.


As the members of the church shuffle into the tiny room, the temp starts to climb even higher. One of the members jokes that it’s hotter than Hell. He’s not too far off.

The members seem to come from many diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds—think an United Colors of Benetton ad fronted by the Insane Clown Posse—and all of them have a very relaxed, almost jovial vibe, contrary to the hyper-seriousness one would expect a dark ritual like this to convey.

As the music on the boom-box starts—Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” of course—the ritual begins with the banging of a mini-gong and immediate recitations of infernal prayers before a flesh-altar—or, the altar where a woman lies naked (although here she was clad almost completely in lingerie) in perverse parody of the Virgin Mary—and proudly, defiantly, loudly uttering numerous prayers in both Latin and English, reciting various insults towards Jesus Christ that would rightfully make any Christian passerby angry.

As the heat builds, so do the various odors of the room, from carpet to body, and the senses begin to get a full workout, creating a very otherworldly experience that actually gives what’s going on a slight out-of-body feeling.


Jeremy Melvin, Herbad (or Underpriest) of Angra Mainyu, clad in a Twiztid T-shirt and an eager smile, said he’s always had an interest in Crowley and the occult, but it was when Daniels gave him some literature that he was sold on the church as his choice house of worship.

“My family is Catholic, but after a little while of acting out in Catholic churches, they started sending me to Baptist churches and I pretty much didn’t like that whole scream for Jesus, get a piece of candy thing,” Melvin said. “They’re still a little in shock about this whole thing. I’ve had a few arguments, but my closest family is accepting, they understand. They did come to my wedding. My mom started crying, I don’t know whether it was out of fear or happiness, though...”

Melvin said that, through this religion, he now “looks at people in a different light.”

“I analyze people a bit more than I did before. I learn about how I can completely avoid conflict or cause conflict for my benefit,” he adds.


The designated nun simulated urinating into a cup (real urine is not used, I am gladfully informed). This cup is given to the high priest and, using a rather large rubber phallus, sloshes the five corners of the room in a filthy blessing of sorts.

(Even though they told me of the liquid’s status, I still made sure to clear myself from the path of any subsequent splashing.)

After the room was sufficiently doused, a communion wafer was lifted towards the chilling goat head on the wall and various blasphemous curses dedicated to Jesus Christ are cast on the wafer. The wafer is placed near the flesh-altar’s vaginal area for an extra little bit of offensiveness and then thrown to the ground and stomped on viciously by the parishioners, some of whom are conveniently wearing Doc Marten’s for good measure.

Believe it or not, it’s all actually far less sensationalistic than the press has made it out to be.


The controversy surrounding the church has been kept alive in the press mostly thanks to Archbishop Coakley’s attempts to stop the Mass, from the city government level all the way down to a street level, including petitions and threats of protests. In a state that is struggling with the aforementioned “religious freedom” issues, Daniels has found little to no help from other religions, something that has left a bit of a bitter taste.

“In the attempts that we have tried to reach out into the community, other aspects have always shut us down,” Daniels lamented. “For example, a local all-faith group, a council that had a member of all the different faiths and religions in Oklahoma City, when they found out who our patron deity was, they kicked us to the curb. They had Catholics, Protestants, Hindu, Islam, they had everybody there, but they decided we didn’t belong.”

While Daniels said that he spends much of his time laughing at the headlines regarding the vent, many of the adversaries of the group have used Daniels’ criminal record as a sex-offender against him. The full story, however, is that Daniels had been a sergeant at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, Oklahoma when he developed a consensual relationship with a female prisoner.

“Anybody can rent out the Civic Center, the major difference I guess is that since we’re a non-profit organization, it was a little cheaper for us,” Daniels said. “But any group, Broadway production, religion, if anyone who wants to get married, they can rent out the Civic Center. I think it’s an excuse to be mad."

Continuing, Daniels added: "Because we’re considered the adversary, because we’re considered evil, it doesn’t matter where I would do it, but the reason why it’s being done at the Civic Center is so they can’t shut us down. I’m not gonna see what happened up at Harvard, where the Catholics were able to shut them down, happen here. We’ve had protesting before, but we’ve never had quite a response where they wanting to shut the thing down, all these petitions and crap before.”

With so many forces working against them, Daniels also knows not to rock the boat and follow the city and venue’s instructions to a ‘T,’ including the recent information that they can’t use candles or incense due to rules about open flames.

“But it doesn’t matter, because even if they do close us down, we’ll sue. It’s the horns of a dilemma: if they don’t shut me down, and we go through with it, the Devil gains more power. But if they do shut me down, I sue them and get rich,” Daniels quipped.


As the soundtrack to this impromptu Black Mass switches to Mike Oldfield’s extended cut of “Tubular Bells,” a chalice of wine—an elixir of lust, it is called--is passed around and Underpriest Melvin recites some passages. As the heat reaches a boiling point in the room, I start to feel like I am sire most people who attend typical Christian churches do towards the end of their service, wherein I fully recognize the fact that I am bored.

These practitioners take this seriously and all of the hype and sensationalism is truly for naught. No orgies. No appearances of demons or devils made flesh. No air-conditioning. This was a mostly-sanitized real religious service and, like any real religious service, unless you fully believe in it, it was almost comically uneventful.

I chuckled to myself as I started to think about everyone who is so worried about what will be going on behind closed doors at the Civic Center in September, two days before the autumnal equinox. If this is any indication, you’re better off taking a nap in the middle of a Rob Zombie film. This was nothing like Hollywood had led us to believe.

As the ceremony ended and we all shuffled outside into the backyard, gasping for the warm summer breezes of an Oklahoma evening, the parishioners felt energized. But I felt tired. And my back hurt. And I wanted to drink the world’s tallest glass of ice water.

If they were trying to approximate Hell in that room, they did a pretty good job.


As I pondered on the drive home what I had just witnessed, especially as a fully-dedicated Christian myself, I could only really come to one final stance: you do your thing, and I’ll do my thing. These guys are practicing their beliefs by the book—U.S. law books, if you will—and only the unbridled fear of these supposed hardcore Christians are stirring up any and all of the real Hellfire among the public.

If your own belief in God (or whatever deity you prescribe to) is shaken so badly by the idea of others worshipping theirs, then that kind of says more about the strength of your own convictions than it does others.


The public Black Mass will be conducted at the Oklahoma Civic Center on September 21st and will feature performances from local David Bowie-acolyte Kali Ra, as well as rock group the Choke. Tickets are currently on sale directly from the Civic Center. At the time of this writing, so far about 30 have been sold.

“There’s a lot of verbiage and fear-mongering on this concept of demonic possession that you see pushed on the public, that the whole thing is going to be cursed, but in reality, this is us celebrating our faith,” Daniels concluded.

But, just in case Lucifer does show up, Daniels added that he’d love to “shake his hand and thank him.”

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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