Editor’s note: Since the publication of this article, Riaan Swiegelaar has removed the Facebook video describing his encounter with Jesus and has stated that he rejects all religion and is working as a BDSM professional. “I am done with religion as a whole,” he says, adding, “my beliefs are best explained as ‘spiritually agnostic.’”
One of the co-founders of the South African Satanic Church (SA Satanic Church) has cut all ties with the organization after having a personal encounter with Jesus. Riaan Swiegelaar shared his reasons for leaving Satanism in a July 4 Facebook video.
“I got involved with Satanism because at the time it resonated with me being very broken and being very sad without realizing it,” said Swiegelaar. “And I think the reason why a lot of people resonate with Satanism is they come from a very broken place.”
South African Satanic Church Co-Founder Experiences God’s Love
As ChurchLeaders previously reported, Riaan Swiegelaar, along with Adri Norton, co-founded the South African Satanic Church in February 2020. It was the first Satanic church in the country of South Africa.
In June 2020, Swiegelaar told IOL News that he got involved with Satanism after reading and resonating with Anton LaVey’s “The Satanic Bible.” Contrary to what some people assume, Satanists do not believe that Satan is a real being, nor do they believe in human or animal sacrifice. Their focus is on personal freedom, autonomy and self-expression.
Swiegelaar, who was involved in Christian ministry years ago, now has a different view of why Satanism resonated with him and others. Over the past three years, Swiegelaar says he has met thousands of Satanists. “They are extremely broken and extremely hurt, and that’s the one thing they all have in common,” he said.
Swiegelaar resigned as “presiding reverend” of the SA Satanic Church on May 30, 2022. He also left the church council and stopped being a member, according to an announcement about Swiegelaar’s resignation from the church. The SA Satanic Church thanked Swiegelaar for his contributions to the organization and wished him future success.
Riaan Swiegelaar wanted to be clear at the outset of his video that he is explaining his personal experience. His goal was not to argue with other people about their beliefs or to try to convert anyone. He said he was filming the video because hundreds of people, including journalists, had messaged him wanting to know why he had left Satanism and the SA Satanic Church. While he is not interested in doing interviews for the time being, he said the video would serve as his statement.
“I’ve never known unconditional love in my whole life,” said Swiegelaar, adding that there are only four Christians who have ever shown him unconditional love. He started to get emotional as he went on to thank two people who showed him unconditional love when he was a “monster, an ugly person.”