Durban - Co-founder of the South African Satanic Church, Riaan Swiegelaar, has resigned from the church after he was shown unconditional love and had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
Swiegelaar said in a live video on his Facebook page that he hoped to "quietly slip out the back door" because he did not think people would be so interested in his reasons for leaving and dissolving his membership from the SASC.
Swiegelaar explained that he joined the SASC at a time when he was "broken". He said he resonated with a lot of what was being shared in the Satanic church.
Swiegelaar said in May, he was interviewed on a Cape Town radio station, where he proclaimed that he did not believe in the existence of Jesus Christ. Swiegelaar said after the interview, a staffer from the radio station walked up to him and hugged him in a way that he had never been hugged before.
"She held me in a way that I have never been loved. That's all she did. She just said it was nice to meet me in person. A week later, I saw on WhatsApp that she is a Christian. I've never had a Christian showing me so much love and acceptance unconditionally. That stayed with me," he said.
Swiegelaar said a week later, he had to perform a ritual to see "how to get more power and influence", and Jesus appeared to him.
"I said, if you are Jesus, you need to prove it. And he flooded me with the most beautiful love and energy, and I recognised that immediately because the woman at the radio station showed that to me. That's how I recognised the love of Christ. Because four Christians showed it to me, not the others," Swiegelaar said.
He said, for the last month, he has been having conversations with God.
"When you experience it, it is something different. I am not here to attack people, but I want to get a few things off my chest. I have for a long time believed that I am not worthy of God's grace because I'm gay and I have certain abilities.
“So people made me believe for a long time that I am not worthy of that. The kingdom of God is not a gated community. The kingdom of God is open to everybody. It's called grace," Swiegelaar said.
In his video, he goes on to speak about God's unconditional love.
In a statement, the SASC confirmed that Swiegelaar resigned on June 29.
It said documentation and content of his exit interview, as well as a non-disclosure agreement signed by him, was placed on record and is available to all members.
"We, as the SASC Council, would like to thank him for his contribution both as Reverend and Co-founder of the SA Satanic Church. We wish him success with all his future endeavours," the Council said.