It has been 19 years since Anton LaVey died, and PseudoSatanists in basements all over the country (perhaps the world, but that would be giving credit where it is not due) are taking to their keyboards to celebrate. “Since LaVey died, Church of Satan membership is on the decline” they declare, “and besides, the Church of Satan never did anything anyways. My organization is on the rise, and superior!”
I see things like this time and time again through links people share with me, and time and time again I feel like standing up and yelling “UMM, HELLO!” at the psuedos. There are a multitude of points to be made about that ignorant statement, and the first is the one I see most often. The Church of Satan doesn’t have to do anything, it is the members that do things. One of my favorite examples is Andy Howl. Mr. Howl owns the Howl Gallery and Tattoo parlor in Fort Myers, Florida. It is there he hosts art exhibitions and musical performances, and more than one of these has become an event for many members of the Church of Satan. The Church of Satan did not (to my knowledge) organize the event, Mr. Howl did so of his own accord and because it would please him. That is how it should be. The second point is the Church of Satan does not release it’s membership statistics. This means anyone who makes the claim that membership is declining is blowing smoke up your ass. They don’t have numbers now and if they did they don’t have numbers from then to compare it with. Furthermore, membership is not indicative of the number of Satanists in the world. That is because one need not be a member of the Church of Satan to be a Satanist.
But most of my readers already know this. This is where I come in. I believe the Church of Satan is growing, and that Satanism is becoming more common and here is why. Up until fairly recently in the history of the Church, information on Satanism was almost exclusively to be found at the local bookstore. Between the time of The Satanic Bible’s publication and the advent of the internet as we know it today, one would have to decide to disregard their public reputation (a very dangerous decision to make in the late 1980’s through 1990’s), drive out of town, or know a Satanist personally to even begin to learn about it. I stumbled on Satanism in 2013 by accident while researching something else. Within an hour I had read the 11 Satanic Rules of the Earth, The 9 Satanic Sins, The 9 Satanic Statements, samples of The Satanic Bible, and had made plans to order one. That order would come direct to my house in a discreet little box. The advent of the internet has made Satanism so easy to research, immeasurable numbers of people who would be de facto Satanists are now self identifying as Satanists. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter now make it possible for issues to be addressed head on when accusations are leveled against the Church. It is simply safer and easier to be a Satanist today.
Furthermore, if Satanism was about LaVey, I must be doing it wrong. I was born after LaVey died. Yet I chose to buy and read his literature, become a member of the organization he established, and identify myself under the banner he defined. Why? Because Satanism is not about LaVey. It is about me. It is who I am and who I always have been. It is because this feeling is shared by so many others and because Satanism is logically and functionally superior to all other religions for so many that this religion has and will continue to outlive its founder. Is Satanism on the decline? Please. . . That’s like asking if The Satanic Temple is Satanic. Of course not.