The Church Of Satan – Interview
I have long been interested in The Church Of Satan, both as a reaction to the idiocy of Christianity and because of the controversy that surrounds the organization. Many would have us believe that the members of The Church Of Satan are lunatics, casting spells, abusing drugs and breeding babies for sacrifice. These lies and many others are endlessly perpetuated by frightened Christians and seemingly intelligent individuals alike. Upon closer inspection you’ll find that the beliefs and practices of The Church Of Satan are far more rooted in rational thinking than any other religious organization in existence.
The Church Of Satan’s on-line representative and Magistra, Peggy Nadramia, was kind enough to honor us with an interview which was conducted via email. It is my hope that the information below will clear up many of the misconceptions that surround this fascinating organization. If you’d like even more information about The Church Of Satan, either pick up one of the publications that Peggy suggests reading, such as Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible, or access their World Wide Web page through Hell – The On-Line Guide To Satanism (the site’s address can be found on our link page). Here you’ll find a wealth of information such as the nine Satanic statements, their five point program which explains the current thrust of Satanic advocacy, the nine Satanic sins, links to other Satanic and anti-Christian websites, and more. -Bob – (Taken from Worm Gear #2)
Firstly, do you consider The Church of Satan to be a religion? If not, how would you describe it?
The Church of Satan is an organization, a cabal, a fraternal order, a church founded for the practice of Satanism. Satanism is a religion, and may be practiced by those within and without the Church of Satan.
When did you join The Church of Satan and what were your own personal reasons for joining?
I joined the Church of Satan in 1982 to ally myself with Anton LaVey, the fountainhead of Satanism, and with other Satanists.
What duties/responsibilities does your position of Magistra entail?
Dr. LaVey awards titles like “Magistra” with very few strings attached, ostensibly; my only responsibility is to myself and the fulfillment of my own desires and ambitions. Dr. LaVey occasionally asks me to perform official duties such as interceding with other members and communicating information about Satanism to the outside world. Our membership functions like a fraternal order and we tend to network to get personal projects in motion; there are few “official activities” but we are a “mutual admiration society” and enjoy helping each other and working together on creative projects.
You’ve also mentioned that you’ve served as administrator for the Order of the Trapezoid, which is the administrative body of The Church of Satan. Could you explain this position as well?
The Order of the Trapezoid is integral to the structure of the Church of Satan; what functions we do carry out officially are seen to by the OTr. Any more information is given out to members only on a need-to-know basis.
Do you have a spouse or family? If so, are they involved in the church?
My husband is Magister Peter H. Gilmore, editor and publisher of The Black Flame, the international forum of the Church of Satan.
Many religions encourage the indoctrination of children. Are children allowed to become members of The Church of Satan?
No, but Satanic parents may involve their children in Satanic activity in their own home, as they see fit. Most Satanists I know don’t involve their children at an early age, because they feel religious indoctrination is hypocritical and more suited to the Christians who do it as a matter of course. However, Satanic kids are intelligent and curious and fascinated by magic, so they tend to get involved at a level they can understand. But again: this is always at home and by parental consent only.
Are women oppressed as in most religions or do males and females share equality in The Church of Satan?
In the Church of Satan, the sexes are seen as equal but delightfully different. Our High Priest is a raving heterosexual who dotes on his witches and tends to let them get away with more than the men do. However, some women come to the Church of Satan for the express purpose of finding a strong, masculine figure to “oppress” them, so it’s a matter of personal choice.
The name of your organization seems to lead many to believe your members actually worship the Christian deity, Satan. Is this the most common misconception about The Church of Satan?
Probably, along with the usual crappola about baby breeding and animal sacrifice. Most sheeple also immediately assume that a Church of Satan member is “out to get them.” For example: “Oh! You’re a Satanist? Please don’t put a curse on me!” Duh-uh. Or they assume that we’re looking for members, saying primly, “I just want to let you know that I agree with a lot of what you say but that I’m not joining your group.” Like we care.
Why is traditional religious ceremony and symbolism used if not intended for a specific deity? Does your organization believe in the supernatural?
That’s two questions! I think Dr. LaVey explains it pretty well in The Satanic Bible: many humans need ceremony and ritual in their lives. We perform rituals every day; it’s psychologically necessary. If you light a cigarette every time you get on the phone, you are performing a ritual. All we do with Satanic magic is direct those rituals toward a specific goal, using imagery and words that we find inspiring. It’s not for everyone; I know Satanists who have never performed a Satanic ritual. But they make “magic” every time they sit down at a keyboard or a drawing easel.
We believe in the supernormal, in aspects of reality that science may have not nailed down yet. We know that our magic can work because we’ve seen it happen. We see the tendency to believe in gods or devils or anything else “out there” as a Christian one, a need to take the responsibility for one’s life off of oneself by putting it onto some supernatural being who is actually running things. We recognize a dark force in nature and we call it Satan, but it is part of us and part of everything. Like entropy, it creates and destroys; it isn’t good or evil.
Why do you feel that the general public is frightened of The Church of Satan?
Because most of them are Christians and Christians are indoctrinated to believe that Satan is the bad guy. The Church of Satan would ergo be his cheerleading squad and general Li’l Helpers.
Does the church have any particular political standpoint?
No; we take a pragmatic approach to politics. We think Satanists should back whatever party or candidate promises specific improvements that will help Satanists individually. However, “responsibility to the responsible” does bear certain theoretical implications, so Satanists may vote pragmatically but their political ideals may be in another direction altogether.
What does The Church of Satan offer an individual?
The opportunity to ally himself with the founding organization for an idea whose time has come. Members may contact local Grotto Masters or network individually. The organization is “modular” in the sense that a member may avail himself of the literature, the networking, or not, as he sees fit.
How does one become a member of The Church of Satan?
By writing to P. O. Box 210666, San Francisco, CA 94121, and asking for application information. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 4 IRC’s if you’re overseas.
Who won’t the church accept as a member?
Those under the age of 18, and those whose answers to application questions and correspondence clearly demonstrate unsuitability. This last is up to the administrators at Central.
How would you suggest that someone who’s interested in The Church of Satan obtain more information about your organization?
The best way to start is by reading Anton LaVey’s books: The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals (Avon), and The Satanic Witch and The Devil’s Notebook (Feral House). He may also read Blanche Barton’s The Secret Life of a Satanist (Feral House) and The Church of Satan (Hell’s Kitchen Productions, Inc.). The Cloven Hoof, the Church of Satan’s newsletter, is now available to non-members via the address above, and The Black Flame, the international forum of the Church of Satan, is available for $6.00 per issue from us at Hell’s Kitchen Productions, Inc, P. O. Box 499, New York, NY 10101-0499.
How many members does The Church of Satan currently have?
We don’t release that information.
How many locations?
How does the church finance it’s activities?
Through application fees and donations.
What does the future hold for the church? How do you feel that Satanism has evolved and what will it become?
Interest in the Church of Satan and Satanism is growing all the time, if our mailboxes, answering and fax machines, and e-mail is any indication. It is my hope that more widespread personal acceptance of Satanism as a religion or philosophy will induce positive change in the products we can buy, the laws that govern us, and in the behavior of those with whom we must share the planet. I don’t see Satanism as something that has evolved; rather, the generations who embrace it now have been brought up under less rigorous religious indoctrination and their reaction to Satanism is very different from that of the rebellious iconoclasts of the Sixties. What the children of these present-day Satanists will do with the lifestyle will be very interesting.
Can you envision Satanism becoming a “mainstream” religion?
No. But I can see it as a more high-profile “third choice” in the future.
Do you have any closing statements?
I’d like everyone to read The Satanic Bible before they go around making pronouncements about Satanism. Ignorant Christians are one thing, but when you hear stupid misconceptions about the philosophy and the organization coming out of the mouths of those otherwise “in the scene,” such as band members, artists, writers, it’s really irritating. With the flood of Satanic ‘zines out there and the easy availability of LaVey’s books, there’s no reason for intelligent people to be repeating the lies.