Anton Lavey influenced a killer who became a Christian. This is his story told in his words:
I was 15 years old when I became a Satanist. Today I’m 29. 15 was a lifetime ago. My concept of Satan and God back then was so different from what it is now. At 15 we really do think we know so much, but lock a man in a box for a few years alone, let him get to know himself, let him grow and look again at the world, and what he sees is a world very, very different from the one he perceived at 15.
You know, I had The Satanic Bible practically memorized when I was 16. I’d read that book easily a hundred times. But I didn’t understand why Anton LaVey wrote some of the things he did. I didn’t really comprehend Anton’s ideology, his image of Satan or the devil. That also took years.
Back then I saw Satan as a friend to humanity. But that was based on my concept of God, so I guess there is where I need to start. I knew God was the Creator, but the image I had of Him was like some adult. Some authority figure supreme. What did adults do? They made me obey and serve them. They made me clean the house, mow the lawn, fix their drinks, and it was always when they said so, no matter what I was doing at the moment. I’d be watching T.V. in my room, and my dad would holler at me. I’d come to the living room and he’d be sitting in his recliner with his feet up, an empty cup in his hand. "Fix me another drink," he’d say, handing me the glass. He worked all day, so when he got home I served him. I was just a kid after all. What did it matter if I had been at school all day and had football practice and done homework. What did it matter if I was missing some "stupid movie." Of course when I obeyed I was praised. When I did my chores I was given money. That was authority to me. That was God to me.
God had His rules. And boy were there lots of them! He demanded you to do things His way, how He wanted, when He wanted, never mind what you wanted. If you obeyed, He’d reward you. Heaven. If you disobeyed, He’d punish you. Hell. There was no freedom there.
And because I saw God like that, Satan grew to become a liberator from that arbitrary authority. Evil represented freedom. If I did what I wanted, that was evil. Well. . .evil felt good. Everything God required was stifling, oppressing, and full of rules. If I got mad and wanted to cuss what was so wrong about that? If someone hit me what was so wrong about hitting him back? If I wanted to have sex what was wrong about it? What was wrong was that God said it was wrong. That was it. That was the only thing that made it wrong. Well. . .to hell with God then! Who cared about His stupid rules? Satanism said not only were God’s rules arbitrary, they were designed to keep us frustrated and controlled. It was natural to want sex, and to get angry, and to defend ourselves, and natural meant right.
So Satan became a liberator. Satan was a being who had rebelled against God’s tyranny, and been cast out of Heaven for it. But he must have had something going because a third of the angels had sided with him against God. They saw the truth. There was a better way to live. A more natural way. The way the animals did. With no arbitrary rules. No "sin". Just freedom. That’s what made me a Satanist. I knew I was evil, but my concept of evil was freedom. It was just a word. What people called "evil" felt good. It satisfied me. If I had no money and saw something at the mall I wanted, stealing it satisfied my desire for it. I never set out to hurt anyone. I never embraced Satanism as an excuse, a permission slip, to prey upon others. I embraced it because it made me feel free.
It took me years to fully understand the flaw of that philosophy. It took me even longer to fully understand who and what Satan really is. He went through several incarnations before I saw it clearly too. I guess the most startling realization I had was when I really studied what the Bible said about Satan, Lucifer, and his fall from Heaven and discovered what the church teaches is NOT necessarily so. I wrote an entire study on it breaking it down, (The Doctrine of Lucifer) but the short of it is the whole myth of Satan as an archangel called Lucifer, who led a rebellion against God with a third of the angels, and became known as Satan, is just that. A myth. It’s a fourth century church doctrine that came from an Ugaritic myth about the Northstar trying to take the place of the sun in the sky. A thousand years, and a man named John Milton, a poet, made that story so popular it became a deeply ingrained part of the Christian dogma. The truth is however, Satan was never called "Lucifer" and never led the choir in Heaven. The Satan of the Bible is very different from the Satan of church dogma. But I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s impossible to understand Satan until we understand God. Our image of the one is always greatly determined by our image of the other. In prison I found out who God really was, who He is, and that too took some time. I had seen God as an arbitrary rule maker. He made His rules the same way my parents did. The reason was, "because I said so!" But that was a false image of God. The way Anton LaVey saw God also affected his view of Satan.
Any disciple of the First Church of Satan knows Anton’s biography. He was a police crime photographer and saw all the violent and evil deeds done by humanity. He saw the unfairness of life, and decided God wasn’t real. That was a big surprise to me when I realized it. Anton LaVey was actually an atheist. Anton did NOT believe in a Creator God. To him, God was a figment of the imagination and psyche, and the myth of God was perpetuated by the Church. To Anton, the Church was Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church was a world power for a thousand years, and its religion, the evil and emptiness of it, he saw it for what it really was, and he concluded that GOD was just an ingenious myth, a part of a scheme to control people. Any natural desire a person had was labeled as "sinful." Because it was a natural desire no one would be able to control it, so they would always be in "sin", and the only way to be forgiven for that "sin" was to go to the Church and do what the priest told you. With the consequences of eternal damnation or the reward of eternal life, even kings would bow to the Church. It was all just a scheme. There was no "God."
So Anton LaVey turned to the opposite ideal. He made what the Church called Satan the liberator of that scheme. But to Anton, Satan was NOT a real being. If there was no real God then there was no real Satan. To him, "Satan" was the force that causes "sinful" desires. The so- called dark part of our psyche. Satan was represented in every culture by that darkness. Anton called this force a hundred different names, Abaddon, Belial, Beezlebub, from the Bible, the names of gods Israel was not supposed to worship. Lillith, Dracula, the names of vampires from ancient folklore and fiction. Satan was always represented by all these things because Satan was a base part of humanity itself. WE were Satan.
Satanism to Anton LaVey was the celebration of that part of ourselves. His rituals were parodies of Catholic rituals. His philosophy was to embrace that "darkness" within ourselves since it led to pleasure and pleasure was the real aim of life- after life there was nothing. No heaven, no hell, just the grave. We cease to exist.