What is the Church of Satan?
We were established in 1966 C.E. by Magus Anton Szandor LaVey, who declared that entire year to be The Year One, thus opening the floodgates to a revolution designed to smash the hypocrisy and irrationality which has reigned for the past 2000 years. LaVey used “Satan” as our primary symbol, employing the hebrew term predating Christianity meaning “the opposition, the accuser”—it was later personified, perhaps accidentally, as part of a mistranslation. We use this term as it was originally defined, for we stand in opposition to theist religions and their inherent hypocrisy. We are a formidable threat to any who would halt progress in the name of spirituality. We are explorers on the untrodden paths of science, human motivation and all mysteries awaiting understanding—that which is most truly “occult.” Those who proudly carry our cards identifying themselves as members have the strength, perceptivity and dedication to implement the tools of Satan: the imagination to confound and confuse our adversaries, the wisdom to recognize and penetrate the unseen in our societies, and the passions of a classical Romantic soul. In modern parlance, the Church of Satan may be called a user-driven organization. Members are involved and advanced exactly as their own desires, abilities and accomplishments dictate.
Unlike most churches, we have no set activities, meetings or contacts. We are not a congregational religion. The new member comes to the organization, ideally, with his own goals and plans for achieving them; he presents them to us and is directed in the way that would be most mutually beneficial. Our church is not looking for people who join and want us to “put on a show,” taking them by the hand, introducing them to their new friends, telling them what time to show up for the weekly get-together and what to wear.
Satanists are not put in contact automatically, or by geographical proximity; this has been tried and found a failure. True elitists are by their nature very individualistic and neighboring members won’t necessarily have anything in common; “just being Satanists together” isn’t enough. When we observe members making advances on their own in their chosen fields of endeavor, we will put them in contact with other members running on the same track; we’ve watched this happen many times and we're pleased and proud to say the results are magical. There are also members who are satisfied simply to join and be counted among the adherents to a philosophy that best embodies their own true nature.
How many members does the Church of Satan have?
Our founder established as policy that we should never give out a precise count of our members as that would allow people to quantify us. He always said that the Church of Satan should be like a custard which can’t be nailed to the wall. He felt that if our numbers were judged to be too large, people might find us threatening. If too small, that might be used as a reason to dismiss our philosophy. All that we will say is that we have members in just about every nation on the planet, and the membership has always grown as the years pass.
Are there other Satanic organizations which you endorse that might be local to me?
The Church of Satan considers itself to be the only valid organization whose goal is the dissemination of the philosophy of Anton Szandor LaVey. One can join regardless of nation of residence so long as one is legally an adult. We do not endorse any other organization and must warn you about the many pseudo-Satanic organizations out there: Satanic Bunco Sheet.
Also this essay by our current High Priest, Magus Peter H. Gilmore, explains our views about much that you might encounter while researching Satanism on line: The Myth of the “Satanic Community” and other Virtual Delusions
Didn’t Herbert A. Sloane have a “satanic” group prior to the founding of the Church of Satan?
No. Sloane was a licensed barber, as “Kala” a card and tea leaf reader, and as Rev. Herbert Sloane of the Spiritualist Church of Truth he was a spiritualist minister conducting seances. These activities were prior to his learning about the Church of Satan, which he joined in January of 1968. When he failed his Priesthood exam in March of that year, he began reaching out to journalists with a story about having his own organization predating the Church of Satan. None of these accounts were published until December 1968 and thereafter. It is quite revealing that an article about Sloane dating from August of 1967, wherein he is identified as the fortune teller Kala, has no mention of him being any kind of Satanist nor of having any sort of Satanic or other religious group. However, he is said to be the president of a fan club for belly dancer and stripper Rita Atlanta, who supposedly performed with her pet skunks.
Sloane clearly was inspired by Anton LaVey and his own association with the Church of Satan, whose Priesthood he failed to gain, when creating a false story about having his own organization dating back to either 1930 or 1948, a claim for which there is no evidence. He did gain several followers after he joined the Church of Satan and publicized himself through journalists interested in occultism. Thus his actual group, called “Our Lady of Endor Coven, Ophite Cultus Sathanas,” dates from late 1968 and may have continued until Sloane’s death in 1975. Its only “literature” is a three page question and answer format document and a couple of prayer-like invocations. Sloane’s “coven” did not survive his passing.
What about The Satanic Temple?
The Satanic Temple is a self-described "Yes Men" satire/activist group that uses satanic-themed imagery and language to get media and public attention. Read more about it here.
Is it true that the Temple of Set is related to the Church of Satan?
In 1975, the Temple of Set was founded by Michael Aquino, who had recently resigned from the Church of Satan. He believed he was in communication with the supernatural entity Set and left behind the atheism-based Church of Satan along with a few other C/S members to follow a theistic path they call Setianism. This article details the situation.
Do not e-mail us with questions before you have spent time reading through this FAQ as we will direct you to go back and read it.
- INTERNET PRESENCE
- RESEARCH: PRESS AND STUDENT
- FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS
- ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
- SYMBOLS AND SYMBOLISM
- RITUAL AND CEREMONY (BAPTISM/WEDDING/FUNERAL)
- SEXUALITY & Gender
- ANTON LAVEY AND HIS FAMILY
- SELLING SOULS
- DEMONIC POSSESSION, STRANGE DREAMS, DIABOLICAL DESTINY
- FOR CHRISTIANS WHO WANT SATANISTS TO CHANGE THEIR WAYS
- YOUNG PEOPLE AND SATANISM
- DRUG ABUSE
- MILITARY ISSUES
- PRISONER ISSUES
- THE BLACK HOUSE