After four years in satanism, I was miserable. I had seen everything that Satan had to offer, and still I was miserable. I decided that the only thing left to do, as a “respectable satanist” was to kill myself. But before I even checked into the motel, I knew that something or someone might cause me to loose my nerve. For company and courage, I took along a bottle of whiskey and a bag of marijuana.
I put the rifle to my head but somehow I could not pull the trigger. I knew that the rifle worked, but I just could not pull the trigger.
Disgusted with myself, I tried again the next night. On a September night in 1981, I tried to hang myself. I put the rope over a rafter in the garage, and kicked the chair out from under me. I landed on the floor with the rope still tied to the rafter.
“What a failure,” I thought, “ I can’t even kill myself.”
The story of my involvement in satanism is so classic that it’s almost cliché. I was a lonely young man from a dysfunctional family. My father was an alcoholic. Things at home got worse until finally, my parents divorced. I was looking for a place to belong. I was looking for people who would pay attention to me and give me acceptance. I was looking for love, but I was caught in the middle of a violent house that left me feeling hopeless and frightened. In response, I started looking to the supernatural for courage and for some mystic power over my early existence.
I was ripe for such an experience, and for a long time I had been interested in magic and other aspects of the paranormal. Even as a young boy, I knew that there was a spirit realm, and that there had to be a way to tap into it.
My first contact with satanism came when in 1978; a snowstorm took my hometown by surprise. I was a 17 year old high school senior, and was working in a local store during the storm. I was just beginning to wonder how I would get home that night, when the store’s assistant manager, a young man of just 18, invited me to stay at his apartment, just a short walk away.
This young man seemed to have everything that I had ever wanted. Prestige, power, he gave every indication that he was in control of his life and much older that his 18 years.
That night, he told me the source of his strength. I was fascinated. He showed me the magic notions and occult objects, which he had accumulated. I was convinced. Later that night, we performed a ceremony, and I gave my life to Satan.
After I graduated from high school, my “teacher” and I moved away to attend college. The two of us attempted to begin our own satanic coven. Our coven was to consist of thirteen disciples but we were only able to recruit six, all of them males. The six of us shared a house, where we conducted what I call “free lance” satanic rituals, creating and improvising ceremonies freely. Coven activities included casting spells and desecrating Bibles and any other Christian articles that we could get our hands on.
During this time I was in contact with demons on a regular basis, though not with Satan himself. Demons were powerful underlings, that were at my beck and call…or so I thought. Eventually the frightening and distasteful parts of satanism overshadowed the thrilling parts. I began to worry about where the coven might be headed. I knew that I could not participate in the next step…Blood Sacrifice. I knew that there were lines that even I would not cross. I wanted out.
I thought, at the time, that the only thing left to do was to kill myself. To my dismay, I failed. Now I know that only Divine intervention could have save me from both the gun and the noose.
After returning home, I tried to drink myself into oblivion, but found that the taste of beer turned my stomach. So instead, I lit a cigarette to calm my nerves…but it burned my lips! So finally, I, the satanist priest in the making, went to my room, lay in my bed and began to cry.
I will never in my life forget what happened next. It was late at night. The rest of the coven was out partying so the house was empty. Out of the silence I heard a voice from beside my bed that said “Get Out!” I stopped crying and looked around the room expecting the presence of a demon. This was no demon. The voice moved to the foot of my bed and said again. “Get Out!”
I remember being so shaken at the command that I immediately obeyed. I crawled out of the nearest window in my bedroom and onto the driveway…and into the presence of God.
My knees went weak and I fell on my face, there was no mistaking who this was. Looking up at the sky I pleaded, “Jesus, just make my life O.K.”
I have come a long way from those days in the satanism. I still believe in a spiritual realm. I believe in both demons and angels, evil and good. I have simply traded darkness for light. The Lord has helped me through complete recovery. I have been married now for 15 years. My wife Liz and I live in Bonita Springs, Florida. With Gods help I have earned a Masters degree in Counseling and have launched REFUGE Ministries.
Together, we instruct others about the dangers of the occult and how to help someone through deliverance. We don’t just work with former satanists; I know how it feels to be a lonely and confused person, driven to despair. We are here for who ever The Lord would send.
Jeff Harshbarger REFUGE Ministries, www.refugeministries.cc