The Church of Satan (CoS):
Quotes, overview, founding, beliefs
||Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan: "You cannot love everyone;
it is ridiculous to think you can. If you love everyone and everything
you lose your natural powers of selection and wind up being a pretty poor
judge of character and quality. If anything is used too freely it
loses its true meaning. Therefore, the Satanist believes you should
love strongly and completely those who deserve your love, but never turn the
other cheek to your enemy!"
||Anon: "Satanism is the official religion of the American
Religious Satanism is a valid religion, generally followed by adults. It is
essentially unrelated to teen Satanic dabbling and to various other beliefs and
practices that have been described as Satanism.
The largest of the many traditions within Religious Satanism is the Church
of Satan (CoS), which some people believe was founded on Walpurgisnacht, 1966-APR-30, (I Anno Satanas) by Anton Szandor LaVey
(1930-1997). It was actually founded later that year.
The CoS, shares one property with the Church of Scientology: it is so
controversial that many versions of "the truth" have sprung up over the years.
It is impossible to separate reality from fake history. The following essay is
our best shot at describing CoS history.
The beliefs, practices and rituals of the Church of Satan have few, if any, points of
similarity with the Christian or Muslim concept of Satan. The CoS' Satan is
pre-Christian, and derived from the Pagan image of power, virility, sexuality and
sensuality. Satan is viewed as a force of nature, not a living quasi-deity. Their
Satan has nothing to do with Hell, demons, pitchforks, sadistic torture,
demonic possession, and profound evil. There are references in LaVey' writings
to having conducted a few Black Masses for publicity purposes, in which the Roman Catholic
Mass was ridiculed. But, it is unclear whether these references were satirical
or whether they reflected actual rituals. Assuming that the black masses were fictional, all
of their rituals have no connection to those
of Christianity or of any other religion.
Some of their beliefs and practices are:
||They do not worship a living deity. Members are
Agnostics or Atheists.
||Major emphasis is placed on the power and authority of
the individual Satanist, rather than on a god or goddess.
||They believe that "no redeemer liveth" - that each person is their own
redeemer, fully responsible for the direction of their own life.
||"Satanism respects and exalts life. Children and animals are the
purest expressions of that life force, and as such are held sacred and
There are probably fewer than 10,000 religious Satanists in North
America. The best known
Satanic organization is the Church of Satan. Associated with the CoS are
many local grottos. CoS membership is kept secret within the group. 2
Many Satanists prefer to work alone as solitary
Founding of the Church of Satan:
Many rumors have grown up about Anton Szandor LaVey's
(1930-1997) life before he founded the Church of Satan: that he was
a lion tamer, sideshow barker, police photographer, student of
criminology, "official church organist", etc. It appears
that none of this is true. The persistence of these rumors are a testimony
to Anton's extensive publicity talents. 1,2
Religious Satanists existed in the 1950's, both in the United States and the UK. But
they were little known to the public. Legends describe how modern Satanism burst into mass consciousness on
Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, (I Anno Satanas) when LaVey announced the creation
of the Church of Satan. 1 In
reality, LaVey was teaching weekly lectures on occult topics for $2.00 a
person during the spring of 1966. A professional publicist, Edward Webber,
suggested that he
"... would never make any money by lecturing on
Friday nights for donations ... it would be better to form some sort of
church and get a charter from the State of California ... I told Anton at
the time that the press was going to flip out over all this and that we
would get a lot of notoriety."
Formation of the Church of
Satan occurred much later in 1966; it was triggered by a newspaper
article that referred to LaVey as the "priest of the Devil's
LaVey is widely believed to have been the technical advisor for the
1968 movie Rosemary's Baby. He claimed to have played the part of
the Devil in that film. Apparently, his only involvement with the movie
was that he was once asked by a theatre in San Francisco to make an
promotional appearance when the film opened. 2 However,
LaVey seems to have been involved as an advisor in a later movie The
Devil's Rain which was released in 1975. He appeared in the movie as a
Satanic priest. Some chants and symbols in the movie come from his
LaVey wrote the Satanic Bible in 1969. This was followed by The
Compleat Witch (1970) (later republished as The Satanic Witch). The
Satanic Rituals was published in 1972. These are essentially the only readily available books on
Satanism that can be found in most bookstores. Many additional publications have been written by other
Satanic groups. However, they are not in wide distribution; one normally has to discover
them through specialist publications or Satanic Web sites.
Anton LaVey allegedly died on 1997-OCT-29. Some maintain that the death
certificate was forged to read OCT-31 -- Halloween.
||The nine Satanic statements: These form the core of the Church of Satan
beliefs. They were written by Anton
LaVey. In abridged form, they state that Satan represents:
||Indulgence, not abstinence.
||Vital existence, not spiritual pipe dreams.
||Undefiled wisdom, not hypocritical self-deceit.
||Kindness to those deserving of it, not love wasted on ingrates.
||Vengeance, not turning the other cheek.
||Responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires.
||Man as just another animal - the most vicious of all.
||Gratification of all ones desires.
||The best friend that the Christian Church has had as he has kept it in business for
||The nine Satanic sins are:
||Stupidity, pretentiousness, solipsism, self-deceit, herd conformity,
lack of perspective, forgetfulness of past orthodoxies,
counterproductive pride, and lack of aesthetics. 3
||The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth are:|
||These are 11 rules of behavior written by
Anton LaVey in 1967. 4 They include rules governing
conversations, behavior towards guests, avoiding theft, acknowledging
the power of magic, avoiding harm to children, refraining from
killing animals, and behavior towards others.
||People have created Gods in many forms; pick one that might be useful to you.
||Heaven and Hell do not exist.
||Satan is not closely related to the modern (post 1400 AD) concept of the Christian
devil. Satanists view Satan as a pre-Christian life principle which represents the carnal, earthly,
and mundane aspects of life.
||Satan is not a being, a living entity; he is a force of nature.
||Human life is held in sacred regard. Children in particular are not
to be harmed.
||"Satan...represents love, kindness and respect to those who
||Black Masses (parodies of the Roman Catholic religious service) are not normally
performed by Satanists (except on rare occasions for their entertainment or publicity value).
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
The Church of Satan has an official home page at: http://www.churchofsatan.com
They list web sites of Church of Satan Grottos, Satanic artists, musicians, members and publishers.
Zeena LaVey and Nikolas Schreck, "Anton LaVey: Legend and reality,"at:
A.S. LaVey, "The nine Satanic sins," (1987). See: http://www.churchofsatan.com/
Anton LaVey, "The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth," 1967, at:
Copyright © 1997 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2009-OCT-27
Author: B.A. Robinson
Links checked: 2002-JUN-5