Last Train to Satanville

by Odal

What can one expect to find today, when looking at the organization that promotes itself as the very spearhead of Satanism - infact the only organization that "offers" true Satanism? I found that maybe the image we have, is not the image we want. I am talking, of course, of The Church of Satan.

I joined the CoS because I felt it represented what I believed was right. I'd read the Satanic Bible, and found something that I liked in there. At that point, I saw the CoS as the one serious organization in contemporary Satanism. I still feel that I understood what the late Doktor tried to pass on, and I still believe that I belong in that organization he called the Church of Satan. The values he set forth, the ideals that he held high, are things that I still see myself as in accordance with.

But I never knew him, never met him, and never spoke to him. I've heard things, from "He beat his wife" to "He kept a tiger that he mistreated", and honestly I never cared. What matters in this context is that LaVey obviously wanted to leave behind a legacy - to be remembered - as he himself put it in the Satanic Bible "...your immortal spirit shall the brains and sinews of those whose respect you have gained".

What did he try to teach the world, and is that still what we're advocating today? Exactly what is it, the Church of Satan is supposed to do?

In the welcoming statement on the CoS website, you can find the following quote from the High Priestess Blanche Barton: "... we don't need a lot of followers; we need more leaders in society in general and Satanism is a philosophy of leaders." I agree here - the CoS doesn't want a million sheep following the almighty leader. Yet the CoS has gone to great lengths - and indeed still does - to confront other organizations out there. If the CoS is so sure it has the right merchandise, why even bother? I didn't think we wanted all those members. If they join the "other guys" anyway, what good are they to "us"? We're letting everyone else pick our fights.

To quote Magister Peter Gilmore, in his essay "A Map for the Misdirected":

"I've noted of late that various pseudo-satanic types online (where else?) have been misrepresenting the position of the Church of Satan on many issues. Apparently, this is in hopes of misdirecting the gullible. Well, they are welcome to the gullible, but for those of you who are intelligent, yet new to this rodeo, and have questions-here's the real deal..."

He makes it obvious - the "other guys" can have all the dumb ones. Great. A display of confidence in what we are and what we have.

And he makes clear that he is about to define what Satanism really is. Here comes the map for the misdirected. Good!

In that aforementioned text, he goes on to define the roots of Satanism in the CoS as something very much to my liking. Let me quote the same text, by Magister Peter Gilmore:

"The Church of Satan has always looked for knowledge to science, both Western and the "hidden sciences" of the East, much of which is encoded in what are called the "Dark Doctrines." We call this "Undefiled Wisdom," and this is the ever-deepening understanding of the nature of the beast-called-Man and the Universe in which he exists. We don't accept faith or mysticism. We demand bedrock knowledge-Understanding-which can come from outward research and observation as well as carnal intuition."

and again...

"We seek to associate with the few at the top of the stratification pyramid, and that doesn't necessarily mean those with the most intelligence or talent. Many of them may be "damaged goods," Thanatos-centered creatures who are incapable of enjoying life and obsessed with quenching the lust for life that enflames we who are carnal."

A clear definition that the Church of Satan has it's foundation in science - in Knowledge. Good! It recognizes that Satanists are people of carnal existence, people who ARE. Not because of race, position, rank or anything else. People in balance. True beings. People that love life without even thinking about it. I could hardly agree more. A few studies into the works of Tani Jantsang and Phil Marsh will make clear what is meant by "Dark Doctrines" and "Thanatos-creatures". Peter Gilmore himself credits these authors and their work in that very same article:

"We've explored these domains from the very beginning of the Church of Satan, and some "multi-cultural" tid-bits were released in The Satanic Rituals. For many years we've been publishing in The Black Flame the work of Phil Marsh and Tani Jantsang (who both expound in detail upon these Dark Doctrines, which have been largely ignored in the West, as well as their relationship with the hard sciences)."

So far, so good. The CoS wants real people, not gullible fools who are "lured away by other organization and their nonsense". The CoS is confident that it, in itself, will attract the right kind of people.

Here's my first question:

IF the Church of Satan of today is confident that they are attracting the right kind of people, and clearly does not want "herd" members, why does it spend so much time engaging in conflicts both online and off, with that "wrong kind of people", by it's own definition??? Is the Church of Satan an organization for "the few at the top of the stratification pyramid" or is it simply a corporation, trying to make money?

I've witnessed myself how the Church of Satan has been very protective of it's Sigil of Baphomet. You better ask for permission, if you're going to use it on your website, or for anything else. Fine, I did. And waited 3 months for a reply that never came. I even re-requested 4 times. Finally, I got a mail that said "We don't have time to look at your site right now." Fair enough. But 3 months? Does not the CoS realize what they have? The Sigil is by most people seen as the symbol of Satanism. All the "intelligent" ones know this. All the "gullible" ones that use it anyway - well, we didn't care, right? The Sigil will only attract people's attention TO the CoS anyway, so from a marketing standpoint, "spread the Sigil". If we want to play "big corporation games" we'd better assign some serious people to key positions. If we don't, our business will fail. Having a webmaster that doesn't have time to review or update sites or links is not good for business. In this giant shopping mall called the Internet, having outdated merchandise on your shelves will not attract customers. I don't know if the webmaster doesn't have enough time, or he simply doesn't care. It doesn't matter. Either way, the customers are complaining.

I've also witnessed first hand, how "Church of Satan officials" have acted in ways that do not comply with the definitions set forth by Magister Peter Gilmore. I know that chatrooms are not "officially CoS affiliated", but when they are administrated by CoS officials, at least the CoS should care. I remember well the treatment I myself got from "Rev. Schlesinger", amongst others. Who was right or wrong at the time is completely irrelevant. If that guy had been at the front desk of my company, acting like he did on that chatroom every day, he'd have lost his job immediately. Fired. Period. Why does the CoS allow and ignore such behavior on the part of its officials? Why does the "firm" want people like him doing customer relations? Will someone please tell him to stop watching all those movies, and stop running his chatroom like it was the Gestapo. I know, I can stay the F*** out, and believe me, I do. I would be hard pressed to find a chatroom managed with such hostility and "holier than thou" attitude anywhere. These people are so busy acting out their own masturbatory fantasies of grandeur, that it makes me sick. Newsflash: "Everyone else is laughing behind your backs". Sure, they've build nice websites (and gotten their flashy titles to wave in everyone's faces) but what good is that when what newcomers are met with is hostility, suspicion and overinflated egos?

The only reason I can think of for anyone putting up with their shit (like being told not to go to other chatrooms, accusations of "spying" and so on - all childlike "secret club" hot-air bullshit) is because a few individuals out there still thrive on being told what to do. They want oh-so-bad to be a little part in that imaginary satanic puzzle. They suck up to the suckups, dreaming that one day THEY will be in that position of virtual, make-believe respect and power. They actually think that the Church of Satan wants people like that. Guess what? It seems that right now, the CoS not only WANTS them, it's giving them titles!

I find it hard not to laugh at these people. Puppets on a string, being given "title" like a carrot on a stick. Had it not been for other issues, I'd have complimented the current CoS leadership with great managerial and manipulative skills. These drones actually serve the purpose of those few leaders "high-up" in the CoS, and (as clear evidence of the true character of these drones) they never see it coming. They're pawns, being made to feel valuable by more important "pieces". And happily as little white poodles, they follow their masters bidding. They're being played, and bragging about it. Oh, how the leadership must be laughing their hearts out. Recently, yet more information has surfaced clearly documenting this. Again I quote Magister Peter Gilmore, from a mail he wrote to "inspire his poodles to fight for him". He feels the CoS is being attacked by those aforementioned people that the CoS doesn't really see as threats, and classify as gullible fools. Yet he needs assistance in combating them. Read this:

"We aren't theists, waiting for someone else to 'Make it so.' As Satanists, we must take the bull by the balls and shatter all who oppose us. That is, if you really do respect those who are being attacked. You are all our shock troops, our special forces, our Waffen SS, and we'd like to see you perhaps interact with one another and coordinate your attacks on those who dare to try to besmirch our organization, and those of us who I think have earned your respect as your leaders."

Pathetic references to "evil" regimes, Waffen SS and shock troops, in an attempt to lure the very same gullible fools to his side. "If you respect those who are being attacked". He's saying "If you don't help me, you're not respecting me". Nice doggy. Listen to him play "tough" and try to appeal to the very people who hold no regard for science and carnality, but respect only the sounds of marching boots. Either Peter Gilmore is a sorry magician, or he's addressing people he has no respect for, and sees as utter trash. Or both. "Those who have earned your respect as your leaders". What has he done as a leader? Neglect his assignment as webmaster?

While the High Priestess goes into detail about how "not real" the Internet is and how all the CoS wants is real-world leaders, the CoS is handing out titles to people who have made little or no contribution to Satanism at all, except perhaps construct a site on that web the High Priestess sees as completely "not real". They haven't presented new knowledge. They haven't spent hours fighting legal battles to ensure the rights of fellow Satanists. People who do that, are either ignored, patronized, bullied or kicked from the organization. I refuse to believe that this is what the CoS wants. By kicking Tani Jantsang as well as key Danish members, the CoS leadership has made it perfectly clear what it is looking for. And it's NOT science and knowledge, nor is it carnal beings. They want fans, plain and simple.

Whatever happened to actual leadership qualities? Whatever happened to manners and hospitality. Is there some rule that says visiting a chatroom run by CoS "clergy" has to be a bad experience. It's damned hard to convince skeptics of the many beautiful and just elements of Satanism, when the people that they run into when visiting us, are angry watchdogs with assertion problems? Why do we let people represent us online who have little or no knowledge of anything beyond what is written in the Satanic Bible? Sure, they know a few "scientific-sounding" buzzwords, but that appears to be it. Either the current leadership of the CoS approves of these people's ways of behaving, or they simply don't know. They've been told often enough, so that's not it. I cannot believe that the very organization I joined, wants their reception desk to look like this. I simply do not see where the "rational self-interest" of the Church of Satan fits into this picture. Please - anyone - enlighten me!!

This brings us to the next problem.

The following two quotes are from recent communications from the Church of Satan. Look closely at who said these things, and what they are saying! First, I quote Magister Peter Gilmore, author of "A Map for The Misdirected", from a private message he sent:

"If people have substantial disagreements with LaVey's work, or wish to promote something else as the basis for Satanism, like the "dark doctrines," then they should not be members and should tender their resignations immediately."

and - High Priestess Blanche Barton, in a recent letter to a respected satanic figure:

"Whatever your delusions about the "Dark Doctrines", Anton LaVey originally defined the roots of Satanism, and we will continue to place our heritage in the context he provided."

The first statement, by Peter Gilmore, is in direct contrast to his earlier article. Infact, by his own standard, he should exclude himself from the Church of Satan! He himself has defined Satanism to contain the Dark Doctrines. And now, he tells everyone who thinks Dark Doctrines are related to Satanism, to leave the CoS? It is apparent, at least to me, what is going on here.

The statement by Blanche Barton, also regarding " the so-called "roots" of Satanism again is in direct contrast to what Peter Gilmore wrote in his "A Map for The Misdirected". So if nothing else, the High Priestess herself should relieve the Magister of his duties.

What is becoming clear here, is that the CoS is turning rapidly into a corporation. The Dark Doctrines cannot be sold by the CoS, nor can they in any other direct way make money off of them, or claim credit for them. So now they're labeled "blasphemous" to what LaVey wanted, and any mention of them is banned.

This situation becomes even more amusing when one reads the works of the people recently kicked from the CoS and compares it to the works of Barton and Gilmore. What the leadership is now saying, is that all the "knowledge and science" is now irrelevant. I simply do not believe this. Will someone please tell me that I am wrong! Has all the CoS stands for in the hearts and minds of it's members been erased only 3 years after the death of it's founder? Now his works are untouchable and unquestionable. Well, let me again quote something, this time the Satanic Bible itself:

"The chief duty of every new age is to upraise new men to determine its liberties, to lead it towards material success - to rend the rusty padlocks and chains of dead custom that always prevent healthy expansion. Theories and ideas that may have meant life and hope and freedom for our ancestors may now mean destruction, slavery, and dishonor to us!"

I've always read LaVey's writings as inspiration. I've never thought of his words as "law". LaVey himself told me not to! I've never seen LaVey define Satanism. Exactly what part of exactly what book defines what Satanism is? The closest I can come to that, is the "Book of Satan" element. And he didn't even write that himself! Sure, I owe a lot to LaVey, and had it not been for his book, I'd probably never have found out about Satanism in the first place, had it not been for the Satanic Bible. Truly it is a great work, but it doesn't hold the key to understanding the universe, okay? Had the Satanic Bible been presented as "Untouchable Scripture", I'd have moved right along. Someone needs to remind the current leadership that the Satanic Bible is read not only by 15-year-olds looking for a way to get back at mom and dad. The many people who've joined the CoS haven't done so because LaVey said this and that. They joined, myself included, because here was an organization that emphasized individuality and free thought. They saw a little bit of LaVey in themselves. Here's a man who, of all things, does NOT preach, or state rules. Here's an organization that sees through the hype and the lies, and cuts to the bone of what we all are. Human animals.

Read it again, infact read all of the Book of Satan again.

"The chief duty of every new age is to upraise new men to determine its liberties, to lead it towards material success - to rend the rusty padlocks and chains of dead custom that always prevent healthy expansion. Theories and ideas that may have meant life and hope and freedom for our ancestors may now mean destruction, slavery, and dishonor to us!"

Conclusions? I think perhaps the current leadership is in over it's collective head. And frankly, that's sad. Perhaps they undertook a venture that they we're not well enough equipped for? I know I would never have been able to carry on the CoS from where it was 3 years ago. Perhaps the really sad part is that the current leadership is afraid to admit that they need help. I know of no current member of the Church of Satan who wouldn't in some way want to contribute to our common efforts. We all knew that it would be hard to get past LaVey's death. We knew that. I hope the current leadership has the outright balls to ask for a helping hand. To say "we could use a hand here". I know they're proud people, but perhaps they've edged into the 8th Satanic Sin. "Counterproductive Pride". You've done a great job guys, but lets review our organizational structure. Perhaps some of our employees could be used more efficiently? Let's see if we can't do everything better. I know that you guys want only the best for our Church of Satan, but it seems, recent events in clear memory, that this isn't working at all. One needs very little strategic perspective to realize this.

It's time we took a long hard look at what we're doing and where we're going. Do we want the CoS to end up, intentions perhaps to the contrary, on a sidetrack somewhere along the personality cults of people like Elvis Presley or even Jesus Christ? Or do we want to be that dynamic, living organization that is spearheading the fight for individuality and freedom of expression, free of the bonds of stifling dogma and the prejudice cast upon us by Christian propaganda and culture? HELL YES!

Please, before it's all to late, let's sit down and get this great locomotive of Satanism back on the right track!

Odal, November 19th, 2000, XXXV a.s.