Satanism 101


The Organized Group: Church of Satan

Founder: Anton Szandor LaVey

Inception: 1966

Membership: The church does not release membership figures.

Top Management: High Priest Peter Gilmore, of Manhattan

The Word: the Satanic Bible

The Symbol: the Baphomet, commonly known as a pentagram

God: Satanists do not believe in God or the devil; rather, Satan is a metaphor for personal empowerment and rebellion.

Path to Salvation: There is no afterlife. “We believe you live only once, so you want to get the most out of your life,” Gilmore says.

Place of Worship: There is no church building. “The Church of Satan is the people who find common ground in its literature.”

The Money Trail: There is a onetime membership fee of $200 to become a card carrier; the church hierarchy selects applicants in a more rigorous process for “active” membership.

On Getting In: “You have to understand the philosophy and achieve something in the real world. Success is a huge litmus test for who is a poseur and who isn’t.”

On Satanic Ritual: “Our rituals aren’t mandatory. Satanism is a tool to live your life, not occupy your time. We don’t sit around burning candles and joining hands.”