Wise then talks briefly about LaVey’s belief in an impersonal God, and then makes the following claim – a stark reversal of reality, at least for many people who live in the Bible Belt:
Satanism leads one into bondage through mind control and fear, whereas Christianity allows the individual the freedom of choice.
Wise then talks about “Personal initiation”:
Initiation plays a major role in group activity. Through initiation an individual is given a chance to declare total allegiance to Satan by participation. Often one will sever a portion of a finger or a toe to indicate their commitment to the unholy one.
As for cutting off a portion of a finger or toe, I’ve never heard of this being done by any real life Satanists. The idea seems to have originated in The Satan Seller by Mike Warnke, already discredited by the time Wise wrote his article in 1994.
After the end of the article, in an “About the Author” paragraph, Russ Wise is described as having been “an observer of the occult and cults (both Eastern and Western) for over 20 years.” Well, he must have spent those 20 years observing them only at a great distance, via second hand sources only …”
– Diane Vera, Russ Wise and his unwise research methodology: Comments on his article “Satanism: The World of the Occult”