Picture, if you will, an 18 year old male. He is playing an organ for a carnival sideshow. What does he see? "...men lusting after half-naked girls dancing at the carnival [on Saturday night.]" On Sunday morning, what did he see when he was playing the organ for tent show evangelists at the other end of the carnival lot? "...these same men sitting in the pews with their wives and children, asking God to forgive them and purge them of carnal desires." They learned their lessons, didn't they? "And the next Saturday night they'd be back at the carnival or some other place of indulgence." No, they didn't. Who is this man? Anton Szandor LaVey. What did these sights help him realize? "...that the Christian [Actually, he means the Catholic church] church thrives on hypocrisy, and that man's carnal nature will win out no matter how much it is purged or scourged by any white-light religion." This revelation drove him to create the Church Of Satan, where man's carnality is celebrated. His views and ideas related to his church have been described in different ways. Was he a carnival trickster, or a great philosopher? To decide, one must know what these views are.

One of the main things in his Church Of Satan is "vital existence." This refers to our time on Earth. As religious people know, there is a world after this one. A place where the artificial things of this present world don't matter (i.e. money, emotions, possessions, ect.) Anton's church has a different view of this. As the second of nine Satanic Statments states, "Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams!" Then there are the seven deadly sins (greed, anger, pride, lust, gluttony, sloth, and envy.) These, according to Anton, "...lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification." The Christian Bible states that we should, "keep our eyes on the things above," and not Earthly things like the seven sins. The Church Of Satan member are asked to indulge in the seven deadly sins, since they have very much to do with "vital existence" and not "spritual pipe dreams," or "things above."

Another thing Anton preached of was nonconformity, which is "Satanism's Greatest Weapon," as he called it in "The Devil's Notebook." Why does he feel strongly about this? This goes back to "vital existence." If you spend your life copying everyone else, what's the point of existing? There is none. A member of The Church Of Satan shouldn't live by the standards of other people. Why is this? A person who is part of a "herd" is easier to control. A Satanist is supposed to be their own god.

Indulgence is something that Anton thought everyone should partake of. As he stated in his writings, if a person can't vent their inner desires, they build up and become compulsions. Why would someone have to be told to indulge in their desires? Because it's not socially acceptable. The person's family, religion, or repressed memories in the subconscious keep him from doing a certain thing. This is why Anton created a religion (Satanism) which supports people instead of denouncing them because of their natural human needs or desires.

After reading some of Anton's beliefs, a person might think that Anton wants people to do only for themselves. This is not true. What he believes is that a person should do is decide who deserves what he has to offer (i.e. friends, family, ect.), and who doesn't. The people who don't, as stated in "The Satanic Bible," are "psychic vampires." These are people who "drain others of their vital energy," or, to put it another way, use people. They'll use phrases such as, "If you wouldn't mind...," or, "I woudn't think of imposing, but..." in an attempt to make you feel obligated to them. These people deserve nothing from the person they're trying to use. As is stated in the sixth Satanic Statment: "Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires," and, also in the fourth, "Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates." You should be the only one who chooses who is important to you.

As was stated before, Anton began the religion of Satanism. To under stand him more, one must understand what this religion teaches. To put is simply, it involves the worship of Satan. Here's the tricky part. To the Satanist, Satan is not the pointy horned, goat legged figure familiar to most people. It is the carnality in mankind. To the Satanist, the person is their own god, and responsible for their own good and evil. A Satanist should do the things stated in the previous few paragraphs. This will give the person the most satisfaction they can get while still on Earth.

After one knows his beliefs, they will be able to form a proper opinion on Anton, based on facts, and not news articals or talk show hosts. I shall end with an exerpt from "The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell," by Marilyn Manson, who believes that Anton was not the person he's made out to be by uninformed people, and has taken to heart the beliefs and values of Anton. "A few days after Halloween the following year [1997], I got a call at four A.M. telling me that LaVey had died. I was surprised how sad I felt, because he had actually become a father figure to me and I never got the chance to say good-bye to him or even thank him for his inspiration. But at the same time I knew that even though the world had lost a great philosopher, Hell had gained a new leader."