Church of Satan
The Church of Satan was started by Anton LaVey in San Francisco, California on April 30, 1966.
The Church of Satan neither worships the Judeo-Christian devil nor does it believe in the being's existence. "Satanism" to church members is more like a philosophy than a traditional religion. The following three lists are starting points in understanding the church's belief system.
The Nine Satanic Statements
The Nine Satanic Statements articulate what "Satan" means to the church:
- Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.
- Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams.
- Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit.
- Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates.
- Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.
- Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires.
- Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual development", has become the most vicious animal of all.
- Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.
- Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years.
The Nine Satanic Sins
The Nine Satanic Sins are as follows:
- Herd Conformity
- Lack of Perspective
- Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies
- Counterproductive Pride
- Lack of Aesthetics
The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth
The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth are as follows:
- Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
- Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
- When in another's lair, show them respect or else do not go there.
- If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat them cruelly and without mercy.
- Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
- Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and they cry out to be relieved.
- Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
- Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
- Do not harm little children.
- Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
There are two basic degrees of membership in the Church of Satan, "active" and "registered." Every member, upon induction, begins as an active member. Through church involvement, a member can become registered if they are invited to do so by church leadership. Degrees three through five belong exclusively to the priesthood.
The Church of Satan believes one can be a Satanist without being a member of their organization.
The 1960's and 1970's
In the 1960's and 1970's, the Church of Satan was the subject of media interest. LaVey regularly granted interviews and participated in documentary and film projects. Yet LaVey came to believe that the increased visibility of the church began to attract insincere people. As a result, the organization became more private. But with increased privacy came allegations of criminal activity. The paranoia about the church became known as "the Satanic Panic."
LaVey also write The Satanic Bible in 1969.
The 1980's and 1990's
In the 1980's, the Church remained accessible to the media, but tried to retain genuine members. When LaVey died in 1997, the role of high priest was bestowed upon Blanche Barton, a high priestess who was known as Magistra Templi Rex, and the mother of LaVey's third child. Barton wrote two books: The Church of Satan: A History of the World's Most Notorious Religion and The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey.
In 2001, Barton transferred her leadership role to Peter Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia, who moved the church's headquarters to New York, New York. This decision upset LaVey's oldest child, Karla, who then decided to establish the First Satanic Church in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Also in 2006, the church held a public mass in Los Angeles, California.
LaVey, Anton Szandor (1969). The Satanic Bible. New York: Avon Books.
Navy approves first ever Satanist". BBC News. 2004-10-24.