The leader of one of the most prominent American churches that worship demons says he turned to Satan to help him bear the guilt of killing a man in self-defense.
Adam Daniels, 35, is the & # 39; dastur & # 39; – or high priest – of the Church of Ahriman, which is based in Oklahoma City.
The Church of Ahriman has 15 members and worships Ahriman, another name of the original figure of the Persian devil Angra Mainyu, the God of Hell.
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Worship: Adam Daniels (pictured with his wife Kelsey), 35, is the & # 39; dastur & # 39; – or high priest – of the Church of Ahriman, which is based in Oklahoma City.
Past: Adam (pictured performing an exorcism in his ceremonial chamber) says his life changed after he killed a man in self-defense when he was 19 years old.
The followers of the church are in the house of Adam. He has converted a storage room into the ritual room where he performs ceremonies, including demon-worshiping weddings and satanic exorcisms.
However, Adam's beliefs were not always so hot. Before turning to the devil, he was really a Buddhist.
He says his life changed forever when, at the age of 19, he was working in a convenience store when an armed attacker stabbed a client with a knife and then turned his attention to him.
Adam says he defended himself using the martial art Aikido, but the attacker landed badly and died. The scene was captured by video surveillance and no charges were filed against him.
"He went to stab me and I had to end up defending myself, and the guy opened his head like a pumpkin all over the floor," Adam said.
"It was an event that changed my life because you're not expecting to have to kill someone.
& # 39; What could I have done differently for the man not to die? What could have happened differently so that he could have survived instead of having to carry that with me the rest of my life?
Process: First, Adam started seeing a therapist and resorted to a variety of religions, all of which suggested that he should have turned the other cheek.
Ritual: Adam (in the photo performing an exorcism) finally found comfort in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, whose motto is "self-preservation is the highest law".
Seeking a way to reach an agreement with the end of another person's life, he began to see a therapist and resorted to a variety of religions, all of which suggested that he should have turned the other cheek.
"I tried to find comfort and they told me that I had committed the sin of anger from Christians and Buddhists, even from my mother," Adam said.
He ended up finding comfort in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, whose motto is "self-preservation is the highest law."
"Devil worship became the tool to allow me to deal with my inner demons, gave me the strength I needed," he added.
Adam joins his church with his childhood wife and girlfriend, Kelsey, 33, who plays a key role as "mobed", one of the senior priests.
In addition to her duties as treasurer and secretary, she donates her menstrual blood to use in some of the group's rituals.
Family: While 14-year-old Adam's daughter said that she sometimes feels like an outcast because of her father's religion, he is determined to stick with his beliefs.
Adam's teenage daughter, Amber, is more ambivalent about growing up in a house that loves the devil.
"To have a father who worships the devil is to feel like an outcast, as if nobody wants to be near you, they hate you or they're afraid of you or something and it's hard to keep friends sometimes," said Amber, 14.
She told how when she was six years old, she was given a necklace inspired by Baphomet [an ancient deity, traditionally depicted as a horned goat]He took him to school and a teacher told him that he was not allowed to use it. Amber removed the necklace and put it in her backpack.
"In sixth grade, my grandmother took me to my local bookstore and I was able to get my full name printed in the Holy Bible, which my parents threw away," he added.
But Adam is determined to continue his religion regardless of the feelings of his children.
& # 39; What happens if my children wanted me to stop? We already had that conversation and that is not going to happen, "he said.
Role: In addition to her duties as treasurer and secretary, Adam's wife, Kelsey (left), donates her menstrual blood for use in some of the group's rituals.
Blasphemy: Part of the group's practice involves intentional blasphemy, and Adam says he has burned the sacred books of all the major religions of the world
Based in Oklahoma, where nearly 80 percent of adults describe themselves as Christians according to Pew Research Center research, the group's antics are not well received by the local population.
The decision of the Church of Ahriman to hold a public black mass in August 2016 attracted thousands of protesters.
"Being a Satanist in the Bible Belt can be restrictive, it's hard to keep working, it's even hard to get a job," Adam said.
& # 39; Once people know they treat you differently. I lost contact with basically all the members of my side of the family.
"We still have contact with Kelsey's parents, but beyond that, none of my family will treat me anymore."
Part of the group's practice involves intentional blasphemy, and Adam says he has burned the sacred books of all the major religions of the world.
"I have ritually burned the Holy Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, the Torah, the Buddhist sutras, different Hindu sutras, whatever, I have burned it with blasphemy," he said.
& # 39; I am not responsible for God and God is not responsible for me.
"Through my words and my actions, I am offending God and that is my goal, to make his people miserable, to provoke apostates, to cause anguish."