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Open Questions to Michael Aquino

To: alt.satanism
From: (Xeper)
Subject: Re: Open Questions to Michael Aquino
Date: 16 Jan 1999 22:15:15 GMT

Hash: SHA1

In article <77qab6$hmu$>, wrote:

>1) What are your thoughts on those who accuse the CoS as
>having started as a scam/business?

I first heard about it in 68, joined it in 69, and did not become
a Priest of Mendes III* until 70. Therefore my knowledge of
the conditions under which it began came from what Anton and
Diane told me, what Zeena has since told me (from what they
and her other relatives & friends told *her*), and various
published accounts in the media at the time.

A few years ago I made the acquaintance of Edward Webber,
the PR friend of the LaVeys mentioned in _Satanis_, who also
brought Jayne Mansfield into the picture and so on. I interviewed
him quite extensively about those days, and from that interview:

* * * * *

MA: What were the circumstances of your first meeting with
Anton LaVey?

EW: In early 1966 my wife Barbara had a hair stylist in the
West Portal area of San Francisco. He had been attending
lectures by Anton, who at the time was also playing the organ
at the Lost Weekend bar on Taraval Street. On Friday nights
he would lecture on various subjects - lycanthropy, voyeurism,
and so forth. Barbara's hairdresser suggested that we attend a
lecture, and so a couple of weeks later Barbara and I went to
6114 California Street. About 20 people were present, and it
was very interesting. After the talk we all went out on the back
porch to play with Togare the lion and have coffee. Barbara
and I returned for subsequent lectures. One weekend I said to
Anton that he would never make any money by lecturing on
Friday nights charging donations - that since at the time he
was starting to talk more about Satanism and the Devil than
other subjects, it would be better to form some sort of a church
and get a charter from the State of California. This would make
it possible to increase the attendance at his lectures and also
secure tax benefits.

MA: In the original edition of Arthur Lyons' book _Satanism
in America_ Anton is quoted as "referring mysteriously to the
'blinding flash' of his own Satanic dawning" where the
founding of the Church of Satan is concerned.

EW: Well, it might have been a blinding flash called Ed
Webber and Tony Kent! I know for a fact that the idea of a
church had never even entered Anton's mind. At the time he
was very comfortable with 20 people and $5-10 worth of
donations on Friday night and doing his little social sort of
thing. I had some background in churches and charters and
tax considerations, and I felt that this was the way to create
a vehicle for people to learn about Satanism. I knew that
nothing like a Satanic church existed at the time, because
we researched that pretty thoroughly too.

During the next few weeks I invited a number of people
here in San Francisco - real estate people such as Don and
Willy Werby, nightclub people such as Al Williams, a
couple of public relations people such as Anthony Kent -
agent for Leslie Caron - and a columnist to come and hear
Anton. I started bringing a lot of media contacts, and then
some celebrities I knew who'd be in town. Everyone
agreed that it'd be a lot more interesting if he’d form a
Church of Satan.

So we started working out the details. Tony Kent introduced
us to an attorney who specialized in charters, and we sat
down and talked with the attorney about getting a charter
for the First Church of Satan through the California
Secretary of State in Sacramento.

While the papers were being filed, we began looking into
possible meeting-places that could hold 2-400 people for
lectures and rituals. We approached the Masonic Temple
on Nob Hill and the Fugazi Hall - where Beach Blanket
Babylon is now - in North Beach. I knew the Italian family
who was running that building, and it certainly would have
seated more people than Anton's living room. We also
checked out the Unitarian Church on Franklin Street and
spoke with Cecil Williams about possibly using his Glide
Memorial Methodist Church. When Williams learned that
it was the First Church of Satan we were talking about,
he just laughed and said, "Well, you know, I don't know
how we could work that out."

MA: On Walpurgisnacht 1966, when the Church was
officially founded, was there any special ceremony and
if so what?

EW: We did celebrate on Walpurgisnacht when the
Church became official. I don't recall the details. I think
Kenneth Anger, Tony Kent, Barbara, and I were there.

MA: At the time did Anton assume any titles or offices?

EW: High Priest of the First Church of Satan. Barbara
became a Priestess, and I became a Priest. I told Anton
at the time that the press was going to flip out over all
this and that we would get a lot of notoriety, and that it
was best that I became his press representative to deal
with the media.

MA: Did he refer to himself by the term "Magus"?

EW: No, he never used the word.

MA: Was there any sort of initiatory degree system?

EW: No, there wasn’t. I believe Anton gave titles of
some sort to Diane and the kids, but that was it. There
was no Magus, no hierarchy at that point in time.

* * * * *

So the Church came into existence almost whimsically,
with very little thought to its future or consequence
beyond the moment. I understand from LaVey family
sources that even Anton initially regarded it only as a
short-run publicity device, and was somewhat surprised
when it began to grow into something more than that.

Incidentally, also from that interview:

* * * * *

MA: Since 1975 Anton LaVey has insisted that he
never believed in the existence of an actual Devil or
Satan - that "Satan" was only a symbol or metaphor.
Was this true when you knew him?

EW: Not at all. He was quite definite that he did
believe in the existence of Satan. This was exactly
what made the concept of a Church of Satan so

* * * * *

Michael A. Aquino, Ph.D.
Version: PGP Personal Privacy 6.0.2


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