A former Satanist turned pastor recently shared how he found Christ after being involved in Satanism for more than three decades.
Cole told Hallowell, “I was 10 years old, and I had an abusive father … I was bullied at school, and my mom forced us to go to church.”
Cole also suffered emotional abuse at his church. Eventually, he befriended a group of older kids who treated him with respect despite not realizing they were Satanists at the moment in time.
“They were talking to me, they were paying attention to me,” he said. “They weren’t calling me names and beating me down.”
Cole later realized his new friends were Satanists, and they wanted him to get involved in some of their practices.
“One of the first rituals I was in, they were going to sacrifice a squirrel. I told them I would not do that,” he said, citing his love for animals. “They said, ‘Well, [Satan] demands blood, so you’re going to have to cut yourself,’ so I did. And that ended up being an addiction for 33 years — the cutting and self-mutilation.”
As time went on, Cole would start wrecking Christian symbols in graveyards and smashing nativities even though he wasn’t theologically involved with Satanism until later on.
“I was kind of the dabbling guy from 10 until I was 18 years old,” he explained. “When I turned 18, I got arrested … I got a 10-year sentence and, when I went into prison, that’s when it went from dabbling to [being] all-in [on satanism].”
During that time, Cole began studying books on the occult and ceremonial magic. Additionally, he shared that he got a cross tattoo “on the bottom of my left foot so I could stomp on God whenever I walked.”
Eventually, Cole grew uneasy with satanism and the evil behind it, so he switched over to other forms of the occult in 1987 but would occasionally revisit his former practice.
“In the occult … I’d just sit down and allow myself to be possessed and just start writing stuff,” he said, adding that he also kept a dream journal.
Throughout his journey, Cole shared that he “didn’t believe Jesus existed” and that the Bible was another mythology book.”
“One of my biggest religions was hating Christians,” he said.
In 2009, Cole would once again be arrested, but this time, he realized something needed to change in his life.
“I had tried to commit suicide … I just didn’t want to live anymore,” he explained.
It was during his imprisonment that Cole would start to read the Bible as a way to get off drugs. While he initially scoffed when he read the Scriptures, his perspective on the Word would soon change after a copy of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ was slid across the floor of his jail cell.
“When I got done with that book, I could no longer deny the fact that Jesus existed on this Earth,” he said. “All my life, I had sought truth.”
He added that truth was the key to his life turning around for the better as he is now a pastor.
“This has set me free in so many ways I can’t even explain it,” Cole said.
Cole is now the pastor of The Oaks Community Church in Drummond, Wisconsin.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.