Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion” as Want to Read:
Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  39 reviews
In 2013, when the state of Oklahoma erected a statue of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol, a group calling themselves The Satanic Temple applied to erect a statue of Baphomet alongside the Judeo-Christian tablets. Since that time, The Satanic Temple has become a regular voice in national conversations about religious freedom, disestablishment, and go ...more
Kindle Edition, 266 pages
Published January 20th 2020 by Oxford University Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  183 ratings  ·  39 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion
Harry Bookerson
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
Detailed and thorough. Would totally recommend for anyone who has watched the 'Hail Satan?' documentary and wants a more in-depth history and explanation of TST, with an added discussion of why their philosophy and political activism is important. ...more
Forrest Jackson
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly thought provoking and worthwhile reading.
Thursday Simpson
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has three main components.

It serves as an overall history of the Satanic Temple.

It covers Satanist on Satanist dissent, including feuds between The Temple of Satan and the Church of Satan.

But more than that, a main point of discussion is the rift between Satanism as performance art / protest and Satanism as organized religion.

The author discusses the various sides of this, generally treating Lucien Greaves as the polar end of, "Satanism as organized religion," and Jex Blackmore as, "
Brian LePort
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 6, ‘Satanic Bake Sales: How The Satanic Temple Is Changing the Way We Talk About Evil’. In this chapter, Laycock writes about how Satanists ‘appropriate the discourse of evil’. In other words, they identify with a symbol (Satan) that many equate with evil but they do so in ways that most equate with good—bake sales, charity, care for the poor, defending marginalized groups, etc. These actions scramble our categories of ‘good and evil’ (especially when w ...more
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“America’s fascination with Satan has faded surprisingly little since colonial times. Surveys conducted in 2014 by Baylor University and Chapman University found that 58 percent of Americans ‘absolutely believe in Satan’ and nearly 50 percent of Americans agree or strongly agree that ‘Satan causes most evil in the world’” (p. 188). These surveys naturally tie-in strongly to Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire thesis, and helps show why this country is so f-ed up.

I grew up duri
Erin Williams
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An honest account of a new religion that forces the establishment to dig deep before espousing their belief in religious pluralism. This book is a must-read for all TST members, thinking-about-becoming-members, religious wonks, and anyone who wants to fully understand what it means to be religious in the United States.
Maggie May
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Speak of the Devil is an eye-opening book balanced on solid scholarship. I recommend it for absolutely everyone. Whether you are a Satanist (TST member or not), curious or confused about The Satanic Temple, or a devout member of a non- Satanic religion, you will find much here to think about.
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history and exploration of the Satanic reformation.
This is an excellent and thought provoking read. I put it on my best reads pile.

Torie Silletto
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I think anyone who enjoys critical thinking can appreciate Speak of the Devil. Religious or atheist. Interested in non-theistic Satanism or not. It would be very un-Satan to try to persuade someone into your way of thinking or personal beliefs, and the author does non of this. It's unbiased, well researched, and makes very rational arguments.

If you care about the separation of church and state, you will enjoy it. The religious majority seem happy to politicize religion until the Satanists show
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the past few years The Satanic Temple has grown, expanding not only its reach, but its membership with chapters not only in the United States, but across North America and parts of Europe.
With that growth has come some deserved attention. A recent Netflix documentary - Hail Satan? - and now, an academic study of the temple. SPEAK OF THE DEVIL aims to examine the temple's beginnings and its impacts on, as the subtitle suggests, how we look and speak of religion. The interesting part, as Laycoc
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best and most important books I have read all year. TST is courageously calling our constitutional bluff on freedom of religion, freedom from religion, and the separation of church and state.
Sara Dee
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fabulous book. Really enjoyed it. Made me even more proud to be a satanist!
Laycock lays out everything in an unbiased manner. Presenting the history, troubles and future of the Satanic Temple from a scholarly outsider looking in.
Highly recommend.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book that is a perfect compliment to the documentary Hail Satan?. While the documentary highlighted a lot of the activism in TST, Speak of the Devil: How the Satanic Temple Is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion gives insight to the inner workings of TST as an organization during it's infancy.
What I find interesting, is that Joseph P. Laycock had a very unique opportunity as a religious scholar to observe and interact with a religion that is at it's absolute beginnings. This was an i
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, religion
For almost a decade, The Satanic Temple has been making headlines from their flamboyant approach to tackling issues the founders and members are passionate about mostly within the US. What Laycock sets out to do is analyze The Satanic Temple's impact on religious and social norms, provide personal accounts of why it was created and why people join, what makes it a religious institution, how it compares to the Church of Satan, and the hurdles it has face as its membership has grown--all from an a ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was raised as an atheist in a secular country, so I've never experienced religious discrimination or indoctrination, but I've always admired the actions of The Satanic Temple and I strongly identify with their tenets. If I had to pick a religion, I would 100% pick TST.
This book is the first serious attempt at studying TST's history, their political activism and the impact they've had on the study of religion in general. I think Laycock has succeeded in telling that story in an accessible and t
Apr 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was highly informational from a social science perspective. What do you think of minority viewpoints? What do you think of the separation of church and state in the US? How do you feel about an egalitarian society where everyone deserves to practice what they believe - so long as they do no harm to themselves or others?

This book examines the Satanic Temple (TST) from the aspect of a sort of "ACLU" of religion.

There is a model of a cyclical struggle between satanism and anti-satanism. The
Andrew Pixton
What an interesting and thought provoking book. TST is a tribe I've become interested in and 'joined' a local chapter. If that idea scares you, then this book is for you. There's nothing to fear about The Satanic Temple or Satanism in general, unless your only concern is the dominance of one religion and the non-existence of another. It's not anti-Christian by any means. If it's anti anything, it's against Christian Supremacism and colonialist mindsets. This book is a cultural-legal history of a ...more
Myk Pilgrim
Satanist or not - you really should read this book.

I finished this book a few months ago and I've been thinking about it since then.
It's an utterly well-reasoned and even more balanced analysis of Satanism's journey to its present form. Joseph P. Laycock does an excellent job keeping the reader in step with the narrative as he walks you through events of all stripes, without pandering to either viewpoint.
Truth is always is self-evident.

I will definitely be reading this again.

The following is a
Lisandra Linde
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book Laycock provides an overview of the short history of The Satanic Temple, a religion/political movement that started in the US as a way to expose the power of Christianity in defining law and governance. TST asks that we consider what it means to actually respect religious pluralism. That is, how do we make sure that no one religion holds any kind of monopoly within society and politics?

Laycock further discusses the implications of TST's legal cases and the ways in which they challe
Sabrina Voerman
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fascinated book this was. I listened to it as an audiobook, and I think that was the best way to enjoy this book.
It was incredibly insightful and tackled all the angles of the Satanic Temple. The good that they have done, where they originated from, the issues and problematic side of it, and where they are now. It was quite a recent book, too, so everything was quite up to date.
I was fascinated by a lot of the creativity TST had in getting around laws, making themselves known, making hyp
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
After seeing the documentary Hail Satan? on Hulu a few months ago, I was intrigued by The Satanic Temple and joined up. A community that promotes activism? Cool. Exposes the Christian majority hypocrisy? Cool cool. Welcomes intelligent discussion? Nice. A sense of humor? Love it. Engages in philanthropy? Wonderful. I've never been a fan of organized religion, but TST sounded like what the idea of religion should be.

This is a very thoughtful piece that describes the history of TST, interviews cu
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Short but Very Informative

I cannot stress this enough; if you are looking into becoming a TST Satanist and value understanding the beginnings and issues that have arrived since it's creation, look no further than this book! I had started becoming interested with the documentary Hail Satan? and have since then been incredibly fascinated by this. I'm the kind of person that does a lot of research before I make a decision, and this book by itself really put the nail on the coffin on deciding to be
Raleigh A
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I approached reading this with an expectation that I was going to learn about The Satanic Temple's genesis, doctrine, and trajectory but what I didn't expect - particularly given the book's plain and academic language and structure - was just how much of the book's content was going to make me laugh uproariously. ...more
A good history of the Satanic Temple. My only complaint is that the author's voice was more formal than conversational; it was like reading a newspaper article rather than someone telling you a story. ...more
Anne Lydolf
Incredibly well researched! This book really seeks to understand at a fundamental level the appeal and viability of non-theistic satanism and tries throughout to keep an objective stance on the debate, representing both sides to its best ability.
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satanists
This book is wonderful!
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really interesting. follower of tst, interested in their politics. read this.
Feb 01, 2021 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
It's really interesting and well written. I guess I just don't have enough interest in the topic for a whole book on it. ...more
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A thorough and fascinating academic look at one of America's newest and most progressive religions. Amazing stuff. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Revolt of the Angels
  • The Happy Satanist: Finding Self-Empowerment
  • The Devil's Tome: A Book of Modern Satanic Ritual
  • The Satanic Bible
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism
  • The Satanic Narratives: A Modern Satanic Bible
  • The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American
  • Là-Bas (Down There)
  • From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
  • Lolly Willowes
  • Heart-Shaped Box
  • The Myths that Stole Christmas: Seven Misconceptions that Hijacked the Holiday (and How We Can Take It Back)
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4)
  • The Eyes of the Dragon
  • The Plot Against America
See similar books…

Related Articles

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
117 likes · 20 comments
“feel I have to comment on the comic relief of these flabby old men who fashion themselves the master race. They may not be fine physical specimens, but they’re not fine intellectual specimens either. Nor were they able to rally a good counter rally. But I’m sure your mommies thought you were handsome little boys.” 0 likes
“the Randazza controversy as a “purity spiral.”47 Sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning define a purity spiral as a phenomenon in which members of ideological and religious movements “strive to outdo one another in displays of zealotry, condemning and expelling members of their own movement for smaller and smaller deviations from its core virtues. . . . The result is an ever-increasing demand for moral purity, and ever-greater effort to meet the standards of the group.” 0 likes
More quotes…