A HIGH PRIEST at one of America’s most prominent devil-worshipping churches has lifted the lid on the secretive religion.
Adam Daniels, 35, is the “dastur” – or high priest – of the Church of Ahriman, which is based in Oklahoma City, USA.
The Church of Ahriman has 15 members and worships Ahriman, another name for the original Persian devil figure Angra Mainyu – the God of Hell.
The church’s followers meet in Daniels’ home, where he has converted a storage room into the ritual chamber in which he performs ceremonies including devil worshipping weddings and Satanic exorcisms.
But Daniels’ beliefs were not always so fiery – before turning to the devil he was actually a Buddhist.
He claims his life changed forever when, at the age of 19, he was working in a convenience store when an armed attacker stabbed a regular customer with a knife and then turned his attentions to him.
Daniels says he defended himself using the martial art Aikido, but the attacker landed badly and died. However since the whole thing was caught on CCTV and so no charges were brought against him.
He said: “He went to stab me and I had to end up defending myself, and the guy busted his head open like a pumpkin all over the floor.
“It was a life changing event for me because you’re not expecting to have to kill somebody.
“What could I have done differently so the guy didn’t die? What could have happened differently so he could have survived instead of me having to carry that with me for the rest of my life?”
Seeking a way to come to terms with ending another person’s life, he began to see a therapist and turned to a variety of religions – all of whom suggested he should have turned the other cheek.
Daniels said: “I tried to find solace and I was told that I had committed the sin of wrath by the Christians and the Buddhists – even by my mom.”
Instead he found comfort in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, whose motto is ‘self preservation is the highest law’.
He added: “Devil worshipping became the tool to allow me to deal with my inner demons, it gave me the strength I needed.”
Daniels is joined in his church by wife and childhood sweetheart Kelsey, 33, who plays a key role as “mobed” – one of the higher up priests.
As well as her treasurer and secretary duties, she also donates her menstrual blood for use in some of the group’s rituals.
However Daniels’ teenage daughter Amber is more ambivalent about growing up in a devil worshipping household.
Amber, 14, said: “Having a dad that worships the devil is just feeling like an outcast, like nobody wants to be around you, they like hate you or are scared of you or something and it’s kind of hard to keep friends sometimes.
“When I was six because I was given the Baphomet [an ancient deity, traditionally depicted as a horned goat] necklace in first grade and I wore it to school and was told by a teacher that I wasn’t allowed to wear it so I had to take it off and put it in my backpack.
“In sixth grade my grandma got me to go to my local bookstore and was able to get my full name printed on the Holy Bible – which my parents threw away.”
Daniels added: “What if my kids wanted me to stop? We’ve already had that conversation and that isn’t going to happen.”
Being based in Oklahoma, where almost 80 percent of adults describe themselves as Christian according to research by Pew Research Center, the group’s antics are not well received by the local population.
The Church of Ahriman’s decision to hold a public Black Mass in August 2016 drew thousands of protesters.
Daniels said: “Being a Satanist in the Bible Belt can be restricting, it’s hard to keep work, it’s hard even to get work.
“Once people know they treat you differently. I’ve lost contact with basically every member of my side of the family.
“We still have contact with Kelsey’s parents, but beyond that none of my family will even deal with me anymore.”
Part of the group’s practice involves intentionally blaspheming, and Daniels says he has burned the holy books of all of the world’s major religions.
He said: “I have ritualistically burned the Holy Bible, the Qu’ran, the Talmed, the Torah, Buddhist Sutra’s, different Hindu Sutra’s you name it, I’ve burned it out of blasphemy.
“I am not responsible for God and no God is responsible for me.
“Through my words and my deeds, I am offending God and that is my whole goal, to make his people miserable, to bring about apostates, to bring about anguish.”
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