Myth:
You have to sell your soul to Satan and sign a pact in blood.

"Come on – souls come very cheap these days. This myth is perpetuated by Christian Satanists who are following the lead of medieval witch hunters. Satan demands a much harder task than signing over your soul in blood. He demands that you live your life as fully as you can, prosper by your wits and avoid misery. You wouldn't believe what a tall order that is for most people!"

Anton Szandor LaVey

On the night of April 30th, Walpurgisnacht, 1966, Anton Szandor LaVey ritually shaved his head and declared the Church of Satan, the definitive organized religious body of Satanism. That year became Year One, Anno Satanas.

The precursor to the Church of Satan was LaVey's "Order of the Trapezoid," which later became the governing body of the Church. Also known as the "Magic Circle," the Order consisted of representatives from a variety of professions — lawyers, artists, doctors, scholars, authors, entertainers, socialites, manufacturers, aristocrats, science fiction authors, law enforcement officers and city officials. Through the 1950s and 1960s, this group acted as LaVey's platform for researching a theory and philosophy of magic (and having fun, which are, in the context of Satanism, the same thing), and a corresponding (but not derivative) ethics – one whose central dictum is, "Have a good time, by your own standards," even if (especially if) you're a cantankerous old weirdo.

LaVey felt a need for a church which glorified the desires of the flesh and humanity as an extension of nature. Hence the Church of Satan.

Throughout the later 60s and early 1970s, the Church of Satan became the object of much media attention, but this fizzled out towards the end of the 70s. The 80s and 90s were characterized by an almost complete disregard for the existence of the Church of Satan, as the so-called "Satan Scare" became far too valuable for the media to allow any objective reporting philosophy to get in the way of ratings.

The Church of Satan pursues a five-point agenda, which it makes available to the public. This "Pentagonal Revision" consists of:

1: Stratification. Stupidity, mediocrity, pretension, and hypocrisy have had their day. The Church of Satan pursues the realization of élitism and meritocracy.

2: Taxation of all churches. Any religious organization which does not advocate illicit activities is permitted to apply for exemption from income tax under US law. The Church of Satan is eligible, but has never applied, out of principle. Churches are a business, providing a service and generating income and property. They should be called upon to have the same social responsibility of any corporation.

3: Return to the Law of the Jungle. The Church of Satan advocates responsbility to the responsible, and harsh and swift action against offenders. Too many people get away with crimes by blaming a convenient scapegoat – the conditions for insanity are far too liberal, and parole and "good behaviour" for human predators is a growing concern. Our society may not yet be ready for Lex Talionis or laws protecting vigilantes, but the Church of Satan looks forward to a time when these kinds of laws will be seen as common sense apparati for social power.

Also see The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth.

4: Development and promotion of robotic companions. For sex, for slavery, for self-superiority. A robot can't get you pregnant; a robot won't talk back unless you want him to; a robot can be whatever you want it to be. It's not perfect, perhaps, but the economy, the civic peace, and the quality of life in general would be improved if there were a legitimate and just slave caste.

Note that, with the rise of the Internet and the ready availability of not only pornography, but cyber sex partners, people are becoming increasingly satisfied with something that less and less resembles the "real thing." The Church's official position on this seems to be: "Whatever."

5: Development and promotion of total environments. This means VR, theme neighbourhoods, and so on. Eventually, it will be possible to live in a medieval-themed town, a Wild West frontier town, or any one of dozens of futuristic utopias, all with consistent immersion fantasy environments. Heck, there's little standing in our way right now.

The Church of Satan condemns the harm of little children or the gratuitous killing of animals. Joining the Church of Satan is not a good way to meet people. The kind of people you'd meet by joining the Church of Satan to meet people are the kind of people who would think you are a moron. Élitism is a way of life for members of the Church of Satan.

After LaVey's death in October of 33as (1998ce),* Blanche Barton became High Priestess of the church organization in San Francisco, California. She had sole responsibility for administrating the Church until May 3, 36as (2001ce), whereupon she named Peter Gilmore as co-High Priest and Peggy Nadramia as Grand Mistress of the Temple. On this date, the central administrating offices were moved to New York City, New York.

Although Satanists are by no means required or even specifically encouraged to join the Church of Satan, folks can join by sending $200 US (formerly $100, but increased for the sake of stratification as well as revenue) along with their name, address, and so on. In return for this fee, you will be sent a nice little red card emblazoned with the Baphomet – though you will have to get it laminated yourself. You will also be given contact information for your nearest grotto master, though it is made clear that you need not contact this person if you would not feel comfortable. You also receive a letter from the highest levels of the adsinistration, along with assorted other information. After that, your involvement is pretty much up to your own initiative, and your rank is related to your outside achievements.

In the words of LaVey: "Someone paid me a great compliment long ago when he said, about me, 'He's no fun anymore.' That's when I knew I was getting somewhere. That's when the Church was two or three years old and I realized people were beginning to regard us as more than just fun and games."

More information can be had at www.churchofsatan.com if you're interested.

* Though he died on October 28, his death certificate was filed by Dr Giles Miller to say October 31, Hallowe'en. Though LaVey's estranged daughter Zeena uses this as evidence of duplicity on the part of the Church of Satan, Blanche Barton had nothing to do with it. As she wrote to the Village Voice:

There were no "forged Church of Satan documents" claiming Anton LaVey died on Halloween. Dr. Giles Miller didn’t get around to issuing the official death certificate until November 4th, 1997. He’s the one who listed the date of Anton LaVey’s death as 10/31/97. No one from the Church of Satan had anything to do with it – we couldn’t have if we’d wanted to. It’s an official document, filed with the city. I don’t know why the attending physician listed Halloween as the Satanic High Priest’s date of death; I never even met Dr. Miller until the night before Mr. LaVey passed away. I simply took it as one more interesting grace note in LaVey’s fascinating legacy. But it is telling that Mrs. [Zeena] Schreck was so offended by it she had to file an amendment to her father’s death certificate to make sure that it didn’t go into the history books that way.

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