ClappingFetus Interviews the Church of Satan

This is an old interview I did back in 2006 while doing research on various taboo subjects. Forgive my shitty questions, I was fresh out of high school at the time.
It was a long long time ago but it is still an interesting read so check it out.

November 29th, 2006

After watching a documentary recently I contacted the Church of Satan for a little interview. Before you spit hate at me just know that I am agnostic and do not swear myself to any particular religion but I figured we should all still be educated so I went into it with a neutral stance. At first I didn’t believe anyone would respond to me but to my surprise not only did they respond promptly but I got an interview with the head of the entire organization Peter H. Gilmore and he is actually a very nice guy.

Here is the interview unedited in its entirety…

First off can you tell me your name?

I am Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan.

What position do you hold in the Church?

I am the head of the organization.

Why was the Church of Satan started?

Anton LaVey founded it as he saw a need for an organization that would be a device for presenting the philosophy of Satanism, which could serve as a worldwide source for accurate transmission of his ideas.

Was Anton LaVey ever part of any other religion before he started the Church of Satan?

No he wasn’t.

How did the Church grow as much as it did in the conservative society we have today?

There will always be an underground of iconoclastic thinkers who seek out their fellows, in both contemporary society and in works of past outsiders, and those individuals are active in their efforts to find kindred minds. When the Church of Satan was founded in 1966, that was a period of experimentation on many levels of society. That we continue to grow at a solid pace in this more conservative time is aided by the worldwide availability of clear information on the Internet, fueled by the dissatisfaction of people who feel stifled by repressive thought wherever and however it is implemented.

How far has the Church reached? Are there Churches over seas?

We are one organization, headquartered in New York City, and we’ve been international in scope since early in our history. It grows at a very satisfying pace these days, with members in just about every nation on the globe, and we work to translate our literature into as many languages as possible so that people who we feel are scattered members of our “meta-tribe” can find their way to a philosophy that reflects their true nature.

Does the Church have any restrictions on who may join?

We restrict membership to the age of adulthood in the member’s nation of residence. We also deny membership to legal adults who have been convicted of crimes which violate our philosophy.

Are there any restrictions on what members are aloud to do or wear like in other religions?

Members may wear whatever they choose, since we champion individualism. Each member perceives himself to be the god at the center of his subjective universe, and so personal taste reigns supreme. Our members are encouraged to obey the laws of their nations of residence, and if they disagree with certain laws, to become active in working towards legislation to change them or to relocate to another nation which is more to their liking.

How do you face skeptical people who are scared of the Church and its members?

We seek to educate them through our literature and via our representatives, however, you can lead someone to facts but you can’t make them think. Minds closed by choice, often because of timidity and fear of diversity, may never be prepared to function in a secular world which promotes widely varied alternative paths towards fulfillment.

What is the Churches opinion on drug use?

We see the compulsive use of drugs as a danger as they can serve to enslave an individual as well as to cloud their minds so that the perception of reality will be impaired. Satanists revel and succeed in the real world, we don’t try to escape it.

Is there anyone famous who is openly a member of the Church?

Yes, today you’ll see a number of popular musicians who are open about membership such as King Diamond, Marilyn Manson, and others whom you’ll find linked on our Links page at our official web site, www.churchofsatan.com. Past celebrity members include Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jayne Mansfield.

I read a quote by Anton LaVey where he said “I have no use for the bands who take the Devil’s name, but are too chickenshit to play the Devil’s game.” Are there any bands you believe he was talking about in particular?

He did not elaborate on that to me, and I don’t think he would give them any publicity by mentioning them specifically, as that just helps them to get attention that he would feel was undeserved. Those who are in the know will be able to see for themselves.

What are the Churches plans for the future?

To continue the course as set by Dr. LaVey, using evolving technologies for communication and for creating new literature and media that demonstrate the efficacy of Satanism as a life-enhancing perspective for those to whom it comes naturally.

If there were one thing you could say to all the christian evangelists in the world what would you say?

To those who have some sort of missionary goals, “Mind your own business.” Satanism is for the few who are born to it, having a nature that would not be able to bend itself to belief in spiritual fantasies. We Satanists do not proselytize, and we expect that the world’s other religions should do likewise. Satanism will always be a niche-religion, and many of the human herd will always need some sort of belief system which provides some “daddy figure” whether it be a government or a god. They are welcome to whatever beliefs give them comfort so long as they don’t force them on us, and so long as they are not used as a basis for governing or for understanding the nature of the universe. Open-minded science, not faith, must be the standard for expanding human understanding.

I think thats about all the questions I have. Thank you for your time. The crew at ClappingFetus.COM wishes you the best luck!

You are welcome!

Best wishes,

Peter H. Gilmore


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