Order of the Trapezoid
Church of Satan
20 June X/1975
To: The recipients of Michael Aquino’s resignation packet
From: Anton Szandor LaVey
As you know, Michael Aquino has severed his connection with the Church of Satan. I have been increasingly aware that Mr. Aquino has become too large for his trousers, and have attempted to subdue him as tactfully as possible. In his recent packet to you, on page 2 of his letter of June 10, paragraph 3, he reproaches authoritarian whim and belief of infallibility. Two pages later, on page 4, paragraph 3, he himself assumes not only human infallibility, but spiritual and supernatural as well. He has relieved me of an “Infernal Mandate” which I have never claimed to hold.
I have freely admitted that I assumed my office of High Priest because at the time there was no one else who did. The titles “Infernal Empire”, “Exarch of Hell”, etc., are symbolic, not literal.
Magic is a way of life, not a divine right uniquely assumed by Mr. Aquino, or myself either. Let those who can, do. The Church of Satan is an organization dedicated to rational self-interest, indulgence, and a glorification of material and carnal elements. I held these beliefs in the beginning as I do now. If others re-interpret my organization and philosophy into a fundamental kind of supernaturalism, it stems from their needs to do so.
The infallible Mr. Aquino has, by virtue of “personal integrity”, paper pomposity, and cant, tried to mislead you in accordance with his own rigidly fixed moral code. He has exalted himself as the Great White Hope of Satanism, which seems to me a contradiction in terms. In wishing to save you from my evil and treacherous machinations, he forgets that saviors are no longer much in demand, especially among Satanists. I don’t wish to save anyone from anything and have said so in the Satanic Bible. Let each person be his or her own redeemer.
Judging from initial response to Mr. Aquino’s packet, the vast majority of recipients have reaffirmed their alliance with the Church of Satan. Response has been most gratifying and will not be forgotten. His behavior has been described by communicants as: "petty", "priggish", "raging", "puritanical", "bitchy", "disgusting", "foppish", "overbearing", "unimaginative", "lacking perception", "autistic", etc.—the list is long and varied, but unanimous on certain points.
I have been increasingly dissatisfied with the Cloven Hoof. Had I not frequently intervened, it would have served as nothing more than a vehicle for Mr. Aquino. Many issues were delayed because I had instructed him to print items which he altered both in content and meaning. The only reason he was not bounced long ago is because of my affection for him and curable optimism. Optimism that he would temper his growing self-righteousness and revert to the capable and productive associate he once was. Optimism that he would remain secure without adding any new certificates to his wall full of them. And optimistic that he would accept the growing numbers of competent candidates for degrees equalling his own, without the undisguised contempt he conveyed toward them.
Despite what you have been led to believe, Michael Aquino has presumed sovereignty in excess of his actual station. He is one of many, and he knows it. He is not one of the Nine, as some of you who read this know; but not wishing to burst anyone’s balloon, I have watched him toss the term about like a medicine ball.
Mr. Aquino is an impeccable and irrepressible letter-writer and excelled at test-passing and institutionalized paper work. He also ingratiated himself with me, staked me to some fine meals, bought beautiful gifts, and … attained his desired degrees. Now he sits, while others are qualifying for those degrees by the same—and other—means, and froths. Because of his impending condition, he was gradually cut off from both my own and Church developments. His mailing list has always been kept fractional for obvious security reasons, now emphatically illustrated. The type of "caucus race" he has criticized in the past is now consuming him.
I have never laid claim to sainthood, and I revel in whatever pleasures I am fortunate to receive. I’ll accept whatever I can get and enjoy it to the fullest. Insofar as my personal integrity is concerned, that is for others to decide. An empty barrel makes the most noise.
Don’t be fooled by Mr. Aquino’s obsession with material contributions as a means towards elevation. He has isolated it from other alternatives and beaten you over the head with it. Degrees within the Church of Satan are not only valid, but available to worthwhile persons by more diverse means than ever before. Despite Mr. Aquino’s withdrawal of my divine power to do so, I am running this outfit and am lawfully entitled to bestow degrees upon whomever I choose, whenever I choose to do so.
As for the Organization, it is progressing according to plan (including schism). Empirical evidence should confirm that. If you want to split, go ahead. I won’t soft-soap you into thinking that there are no hard feelings, because there sure as Hell will be. But I’ll soon get over them. I have too much to do. That’s all I have to say.
Anton Szandor LaVey