This past year has indeed been a period of grief and turmoil for all of us. We've wept over the loss of our founder and High Priest, yet have been strengthened by his philosophy, growing ever more determined to ensure Dr. Anton Szandor LaVey's writings and music will never die. Dr. LaVey was a private man who seldom disclosed family conflicts or health problems, even to his closest friends. Out of respect for him, I have not wanted to make any public statements regarding what has happened, what is still happening, concerning the Church of Satan in the wake of Dr. LaVey's death. But because of an announcement posted on the Internet several days ago by his oldest daughter, Karla, I am forced to come forward to clarify certain facts.
Before he died, Dr. LaVey did his best to make sure his wishes regarding his property and his organization would be understood and carried out. His two main concerns were that his three-year-old son, Xerxes, be provided for and that the Church of Satan would continue as it had since 1966. He left a handwritten will naming Xerxes as his beneficiary. He left a document appointing me to the position of High Priestess to ensure my succession after his passing, in accordance with the Church of Satan's articles of incorporation.
Zeena LaVey publicly denounced her "un-father" in 1990 (you've all seen her letter to Michael Aquino) and never reconciled with him before his death. Karla LaVey, though she'd gone through long periods of not communicating with her father, was supportive and present during his last months. After his passing, Karla and I vowed to work together to preserve Dr. LaVey's legacy. I offered her the position of co-High Priestess and allowed her to present herself as such to the press. Soon afterward, Karla began showing signs of discontent. Eventually she refused to accept the leadership responsibilities I had offered her, and has retained two lawyers to challenge her father's will. Now, a full year after Dr. LaVey's death, his legal affairs are still not settled.
Using an unauthorized web address, Karla LaVey has posted a letter claiming the title of High Priestess of the Church of Satan for herself. She is not. Though she has reluctantly agreed to a handful of interviews over recent years, she hasn't participated in the actual operation of the Church for a very long time. She is Anton Szandor LaVey's daughter and should be granted whatever respect that position confers. But she is not the leader of the Church of Satan and has no authority to speak on behalf of that legal entity.
I was not born a LaVey, but I was born a Satanist. I pridefully began calling myself such at the age of twelve, and have committed myself to the articulation and personification of those principles for the better part of my life. Many of you have had direct contact with me as the primary Church of Satan administrator over the last 14 years. Dr. LaVey appointed me as his successor because I had proven myself to be driven by the same diabolical fire of reason, enchantment and outrage he found in himself. He also appointed a number of devilish leaders to act as administrators and spokesmen around the globe.
I do not want our momentum to be sabotaged by greed, petty bickering and maneuvering for position. Dr. LaVey's directions were clear; I intend to follow them. I would continue in my heretical, sinful ways with or without the Church of Satan but we are all stronger, more focused and more determined because of the organization Anton Szandor LaVey founded. I will not stand blithely by and watch our High Priest's instructions ignored. Do not be confused or dissuaded from your commitment to this Infernal Cabal. We know who we are; we share the mark of Cain. Find your strength and truth in that.
Here's to an indulgent Halloween.
High Priestess Blanche Barton
Church of Satan