Church of Satan Not a Cult?

By Actaeon  

The Church of Satan [COS] is in no way a cult.

They don’t recruit; they lack a compound or any real physical property for that matter. They do have a hilarious Twitter account and a wicked sense of humor.

They don’t believe in an actual Satan. They’re not devil worshipers. They don’t worship any kind of supernatural entity. They are a real religion nonetheless. How?

In the same way there are secular Jews.

To the CoS, Satan is a cultural and literary manifestation representing rebellion and individuality. They’re very knowledgeable about the history of Satan (a history which goes way, way, way back, predating Christianity by far).

There is a Satanic Bible.

They have a few publications, a podcast, a website.

I seriously doubt there’s any way this skeletal presence could make them a high control group, let alone a cult. There’s no party line to follow, no indoctrination. Unlike some major religions I could mention.

I’m not a member but I do find them interesting. They have an interesting history and their website is worth checking out. Their ideology is basically one of individuality, of self-respect and honorable behavior. Plus they have a sense of humor– something seriously lacking in all mainstream religions as far as I know.



From the official website of the Church of Satan.

Founded on April 30, 1966 c.e. by Anton Szandor LaVey, we are the first above-ground organization in history openly dedicated to the acceptance of Man’s true nature—that of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos that is indifferent to our existence. To us, Satan is the symbol that best suits the nature of we who are carnal by birth—people who feel no battles raging between our thoughts and feelings, we who do not embrace the concept of a soul imprisoned in a body. He represents pride, liberty, and individualism—qualities often defined as Evil by those who worship external deities, who feel there is a war between their minds and emotions.

As Anton LaVey explained in his classic work The Satanic Bible, Man—using his brain—invented all the Gods, doing so because many of our species cannot accept or control their personal egos, feeling compelled to conjure up one or a multiplicity of characters who can act without hindrance or guilt upon whims and desires. All Gods are thus externalized forms, magnified projections of the true nature of their creators, personifying aspects of the universe or personal temperaments which many of their followers find to be troubling. Worshipping any God is thus worshipping by proxy those who invented that God. Since the Satanist understands that all Gods are fiction, instead of bending a knee in worship to—or seeking friendship or unity with—such mythical entities, he places himself at the center of his own subjective universe as his own highest value.

We Satanists are thus our own “Gods,” and as beneficent “deities” we can offer love to those who deserve it and deliver our wrath (within reasonable limits) upon those who seek to cause us—or that which we cherish—harm. Magus Gilmore’s essay “What, The Devil?” from The Satanic Scriptures discusses this in greater detail.

Questions and Answers

Why do Satanists worship The Devil?

We don’t. Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.

Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”

Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person.

Do Satanists perform sacrifices?

No. We are atheists. The only people who perform sacrifices are those who believe in supernatural beings who would consider a sacrifice to be some form of payment for a request or form of worship. Since we do not believe in supernatural beings there is no reason for a Satanist to make a sacrifice of any sort.

I heard that Satanism supports sex with children and other ways to harm them—how do you justify that?

Satanism has strong rules prohibiting sexual activity with children and non-human animals. In fact, if a Church of Satan member abuses children sexually or otherwise, his membership is automatically terminated without possibility for re-instatement. The Church of Satan also does not accept anyone who is not legally adult as an Active Member. In Satanism, sexual activity is only advocated between consenting adults.

Do Satanists ritually abuse people?

No. Our ritual is basically a form of self-therapy and is most often done in private. The three basic rituals are presented in The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey and these do not demonstrate any type of abusive behavior.

What is “Theistic Satanism”?

There is no such thing. People who believe in some Devilish supernatural being and worship him are Devil-worshippers, not Satanists. Anton LaVey was the first to define Satanism as a philosophy, and it is an atheist perspective. “Theistic Satanism” is an oxymoronic term and thus absurd. In Satanism each individual is his or her own god—there is no room for any other god and that includes Satan, Lucifer, Cthulhu or whatever other name one might select or take from history or fiction.


The Nine Satanic Statements originally appeared in The Satanic Bible, © 1969

  1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!
  2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
  3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
  4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!
  5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek!
  6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires!
  7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
  8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
  9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years!

    The Nine Satanic Sins by Anton Szandor LaVey © 1987

    1. Stupidity
      The top of the list for Satanic Sins. The Cardinal Sin of Satanism. It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid.
    2. Pretentiousness
      Empty posturing can be most irritating and isn’t applying the cardinal rules of Lesser Magic. On equal footing with stupidity for what keeps the money in circulation these days. Everyone’s made to feel like a big shot, whether they can come up with the goods or not.
    3. Solipsism
      Can be very dangerous for Satanists. Projecting your reactions, responses and sensibilities onto someone who is probably far less attuned than you are. It is the mistake of expecting people to give you the same consideration, courtesy and respect that you naturally give them. They won’t. Instead, Satanists must strive to apply the dictum of “Do unto others as they do unto you.” It’s work for most of us and requires constant vigilance lest you slip into a comfortable illusion of everyone being like you. As has been said, certain utopias would be ideal in a nation of philosophers, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, from a Machiavellian standpoint) we are far from that point.
    4. Self-deceit
      It’s in the “Nine Satanic Statements” but deserves to be repeated here. Another cardinal sin. We must not pay homage to any of the sacred cows presented to us, including the roles we are expected to play ourselves. The only time self-deceit should be entered into is when it’s fun, and with awareness. But then, it’s not self-deceit!
    5. Herd Conformity
      That’s obvious from a Satanic stance. It’s all right to conform to a person’s wishes, if it ultimately benefits you. But only fools follow along with the herd, letting an impersonal entity dictate to you. The key is to choose a master wisely instead of being enslaved by the whims of the many.
    6. Lack of Perspective
      Again, this one can lead to a lot of pain for a Satanist. You must never lose sight of who and what you are, and what a threat you can be, by your very existence. We are making history right now, every day. Always keep the wider historical and social picture in mind. That is an important key to both Lesser and Greater Magic. See the patterns and fit things together as you want the pieces to fall into place. Do not be swayed by herd constraints—know that you are working on another level entirely from the rest of the world.
    7. Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies
      Be aware that this is one of the keys to brainwashing people into accepting something new and different, when in reality it’s something that was once widely accepted but is now presented in a new package. We are expected to rave about the genius of the creator and forget the original. This makes for a disposable society.
    8. Counterproductive Pride
      That first word is important. Pride is great up to the point you begin to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The rule of Satanism is: if it works for you, great. When it stops working for you, when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and the only way out is to say, I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I wish we could compromise somehow, then do it.
    9. Lack of Aesthetics
      This is the physical application of the Balance Factor. Aesthetics is important in Lesser Magic and should be cultivated. It is obvious that no one can collect any money off classical standards of beauty and form most of the time so they are discouraged in a consumer society, but an eye for beauty, for balance, is an essential Satanic tool and must be applied for greatest magical effectiveness. It’s not what’s supposed to be pleasing—it’s what is. Aesthetics is a personal thing, reflective of one’s own nature, but there are universally pleasing and harmonious configurations that should not be denied.

      An image from the Church of Satan’s Twitter account
      Another image tweeted by the Church of Satan


      Image result for anton LaVey
      Anton Szandor LaVey founded the Church of Satan. He was born Howard Stanton LaVey in 1930, in Chicago. When LaVey first founded the Church of Satan, he staged a series of Satanic rituals at nightclubs involving topless witches and a bikini-clad “inquisitioner” who claimed to be a former counselor for the Evangelical leader Billy Graham.

      Anton LaVey Facts
      One of LaVey’s tales was that he had an affair with Marilyn Monroe when she worked as a dancer in the Mayan Theatre.

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4 years ago

We’d want to know how the organization actually operates internally – as someone has pointed out, NXIVM exemplified how things can turn out to be different than what they might superficially appear to be. Occult organizations in particular have a tradition and practice of hidden inner teachings and practices. But the group has been around for quite a while now without any allegations I’ve ever seen of anything really abusive going on, so it’s fairly likely that they are in fact relatively harmless.

LaVey’s adoption of Aleister Crowley’s motto “do as thou wilst….” has potentially troubling implications. It’s a formulation that focuses on ego and self-gratification and is ripe for abuse, as Crowley’s own life showed.

Some scholars of what are classified New Religious Movements (NRMs) consider LaVey’s Church of Satan and Hubbard’s Church of Scientology to be sort of siblings in descent from Crowley’s Thelema and OTO. In some ways it could be argued that Scientology is actually more Satanic, or, more precisely, Luciferian with a truly inhumane and abusive bent, though that is obscured by its pseudo-science and “space opera” facade.

4 years ago
Reply to  AnonyMaker

The CoS is not occult, either in the sense of “hidden, mysterious” or its other sense of having to do with the supernatural. They don’t believe in supernatural beings and they are quite open about their doctrine and texts; they’re on the internet and anyone can buy their books. They are open and rational, the exact opposite of occult.

The objection that they appear to be innocent but heaven knows what that conceals is a canard. It could be applied to the ASPCA. Because something looks harmless is no reason to suspect it’s evil. (Though many a conspiracy theory is built on this erroneous logic).

Crowley was not a Satanist and he believed in the supernatural. The opposite of the CoS. The only thing they have in common is they both tweek their noses at convention and delight in making pearl-clutchers recoil in horror at their evil, evil ways.

I confess I’m drawn to both the same way I like loud Death Metal and Alice Cooper.

4 years ago

Ironically, in rejecting Christianity, which is their right to do, the Satanists end up appropriating the symbols of Christianity like the snake and the apple.
A total rejection of Christianity would use new symbols like the microscopes and telescopes used by scientists to discover Nature’s hidden truths.

4 years ago

The snake and the apple are from the Old Testament and thus predate Christianity.

To be delightfully pedantic, they probably predate Judaism as well; the snake entwined on a staff was I think an emblem of the Greek god Hermes. Most symbols in most religions go far, far back to early shamanistic rituals. The Church of Satan has a detailed and fascinating online history of the pentagram (the inverted five point star) as well as the figure of the goat-god Baphomet.

The Satanic Temple (different Satanic group) had a copyright lawsuit recently against the producers of the cable TV show Sabrina, which had used a direct replica of their (in)famous eight foot high Baphomet statue. The Satanic Temple won.

I find the religious impulse fascinating and have read quite a bit about various religions and their histories. Don’t believe in any of them; I think the more I know about them the more absurd they seem.

The Retard
The Retard
4 years ago

Jesus is real.

I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

All of my sins are forgiven which means I’m free to fornicate, swear and booze to my heart’s content and I’m automatically forgiven by Jesus. This is an AWESOME religion cuz you can do anything and you’re forgiven.

Jesus is fucken awesome. 🙂

Dianne Lipson
Dianne Lipson
4 years ago

There are some Christian churches that arguably do not practice the teachings of Christ. By the same token, it looks to me like the Church of Satan does not practice real Satanism.

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Dianne Lipson

Will the real catho.. I mean Satanists stand up – I mean if we are going off of aesthetics.

Fool Me Not
Fool Me Not
4 years ago

It’s not a religion. Dress it anyway you want, it’s evil.

Please don’t give them the time of day.

Kathy Cuse
Kathy Cuse
4 years ago

And with that, I say goodbye to this site, permanently. Many of us have spoken out about the polemic writing, and bizarre devilish agenda of this particular contributor, but Frank continues to allow him publication. Since Frank continues to allow this viewpoint (in such breadth and depth—how many words is this article?!) on his site, I will no longer visit it.

Frank, you have done incredible work exposing Keith, back when you first began the site. You had a laser focus, and exposed so many secrets that have benefitted the world, and eventually landed these criminals in jail. Since the trial, though, this site has been aimless and Radar online has done as good a job as you, without the nonsense, offensive articles by the above contributor. You have had weird appeals for Roger Stone and other things that indicate to me the site’s best days are behind us. Good luck in the future, Frank. I will not be around to see what you do next.

4 years ago
Reply to  Kathy Cuse

Tsk, tsk. Whatever happened to religious tolerance? (Yes, CoS is a recognized religion, as is Satanism and Paganism and Wicca. Our armed forces chaplains even recognize them as legitimate). Just because you vehemently disagree with a religion is no excuse for being intolerant of it. I vehemently disagree with the tenets of Islam for example, but I would never dream of taking my ball and going home just because there was a Muslim on the team.

It's Not Right
It's Not Right
4 years ago
Reply to  Kathy Cuse

I agree. We don’t need this. Please remove.

4 years ago

NXIVM followers didn’t think they were in a cult either. I’m sure Erica Durance will be pleased to learn that her number one fan on the Frank Report is a satan loving apologist. But this crap is just par for the course on the Freak Report.

4 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

“NXIVM followers didn’t think they were in a cult either.”

The funniest line from Nicki Clyne’s stand up comedy routine.

“I just don’t get why people call us a cult.”
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4 years ago

“openly dedicated to the acceptance of Man’s true nature—that of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos that is indifferent to our existence. ”

Satanism is a philosophy that perfectly describes Keith Raniere’s true nature.
He is a carnal beast and most, if not all, of his followers are carnal beasts.
There is an idea for Nicki Clyne to follow.
When she rebuilds NXIVM she should recast it as a Satanic Church.
After all the leaders of NXIVM are all Luciferians.

In case you think I come from an intolerant “hick” state I will have you know that Chicago’s Satanic Temple donated a holiday display that was displayed in the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield next to a Christmas tree and a menorah.

“Satanic statue erected in Illinois State Capitol with other holiday decorations
The resin sculpture, dubbed a “Snaketivity,” depicts a hand holding an apple, with a snake wrapped around it.”
“This holiday season, the Illinois State Capitol is celebrating both Santa and Satan.”
“A statue designed and funded by the Satanic Temple of Chicago is on display in the statehouse in Springfield along with a Christmas tree, Nativity scene, and a menorah.

The resin sculpture, which the Satanic Temple has dubbed a “Snaketivity,” depicts a hand holding an apple, with a snake wrapped around it. The arm and hand are 18 inches tall, said Dave Druker, the press secretary for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, which maintains the capitol building.

The figure rests on a 4-foot tall base that reads “Knowledge is the greatest gift.”

If you don’t think Illinois is a Satanic state just look at the politicians we elect to office.
Like the former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert who admitted in Federal Court to sexually molesting boys.

Let’s look at pictures of Anton LeVey and his daughter to see what kind of charming characters they are.
Here is Anton LeVey:
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He looks like Ming the Merciless from the old Flash Gordon movies and he is posing with a snake.

Now let’s look at his charming older daughter Karla LeVey.
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She looks like a chip off the old block.

I wonder if she bought the red horns from the Halloween store or they just grew out of her head naturally.

LaVey’s younger daughter Zeena Schreck has left the Church of Satan and become a Buddhist.
LaVey’s youngest daughter assumed the Germanic name “Schreck.”
Zeena Schreck’s last name has great meaning in German.
Schreck in German means “Fright” or “Terror”
Perhaps Zeena Schreck is an inspiration for Herr Doktor Brandon Porter.
Here is a description of Zeena’s falling out with her father’s cult.

“As she toured the United States on behalf of the Church of Satan, Zeena’s crisis of faith reached its highpoint when she learned that most of her father’s self-created legend was based on lies and that many of his works were plagiarized. When jealousy and spite motivated Anton LaVey and his administrator Densley-Barton to actually endanger Zeena’s life, she could no longer continue to cover up her progenitor’s true character in good conscience. ”

Zeena Schreck now lives in the Reich capitol of Berlin where she did a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s song “These Boots are Made For Walking.”
In the background contains the sound of Nazi hob nailed boots like the German Army used to wear.

“Zeena’s version of Nancy Sinatra’s, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” features a World War II-esque sample sound of marching boots to kick it off the song.”

In 1989 Zeena Schreck co-produced and narrated the documentary “Charles Manson: Superstar.””

Keep Deutschland Weird!

Here is a picture of the charming Zeena Schreck:
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“These Boots are Made for Walking” performed by Zeena LaVey Schreck from the album “Radio Werewolf”

4 years ago

I have found the satanic verses by Levay and other writings by Rushdie. Where is the Luciferian bible? What is their doctrine? Please dont mine venus like was done to the other outer planets? Is that the only ancient ‘source’ left to politicians and celebrities?

4 years ago

I am a Satanist

4 years ago


My guess is that the 9 Satanic Sins are the embodiment of some of your own personal beliefs.

I know you are too intelligent to believe in fairy tales.

The Church of Satan’s philosophical foundation outside of there mystical believes appeals to you in some way.

I myself agree with some of the 9 tenants of sin oddly enough.

Clearly the Church is making an appeal of sorts via their 9 sins. It is 9 rules that appeal to logical minds.

Just one caveat:

NXIVM on the surface seemed rather benign and innocuous to outsiders…..
…….It was not until the surface of NXIVM’s veneer was scratched and the facade breached that the evil inside NXIVM became apparent.

4 years ago
Reply to  Niceguy

Thank you for this post. I don’t even tell people I am a Satanist unless I have the time to explain to them what it is really all about.

4 years ago
Reply to  Niceguy

I like the idea that the cardinal Satanic sin, at the top of the list of nine, is stupidity. Without the stupidity of the Nxian true believers, there never would have been a DOS, no branding, no Nexium.

For me, Ten Commandments and the Nine Satanic Sins are seven and six too many. My code of ethics is simple:

1.) Don’t be a dick.

2.) Be kind to children and small animals.

3.) Never put ice in good whiskey.

Pea Onyu
Pea Onyu
4 years ago

Kathy is wonderful and stands for truth.

4 years ago
Reply to  Pea Onyu

Truth or dare, Pea.
Your real name is Nicki Clyne?

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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