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Data Hitch-Hiking on the Super-Highway

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  Data Hitch-Hiking on the Super-Highway

  By Reverend Lestat Ventrue

  Part 1.

       Ever since I developed The Satanic Network, I have watched
       Satanism grow on the Internet. With more and more people
       connecting to the Internet every day, our community presence
       on-line is growing. As with anything, growth causes problems.
       One of these problems is a conflict of interests. What I mean by
       this is how people define the word Satanism, and sadly this
       problem has two parts. The first part is "what makes you a
       Satanist?" Now from reading The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey
       this question is answered very easily, but a lot of people tend
       to take this to a different level. Some people believe that by
       acting in a Satanic manner on a message board, in a chatroom or
       by making a Website that focuses on Satanism, they are now
       Satanists. Well I will tell you right off, they are wrong.
       Satanism is a way of Life. It can, however, include the Internet
       but is not limited or centered around the Internet alone. "Life,
       On-Line" as they call it is not Real life, and I cannot stress
       that enough. The Internet is merely a Tool for communication, a
       form of Media for passing out information quickly and in many
       cases is more cost effective than phone, visits, and mailings.
       To sum it up it's Entertainment. The Internet is a great tool
       for showing others your Ideas, thoughts and projects but it does
       not make you a Satanist just because you use it. Most members of
       the Church of Satan are not even on-line, we interact within the
       real world. We have real jobs, work on real books, magazines and
       other real world projects. We make ourselves a formidable force
       to encounter in our everyday lives dealing with Satanists and
       non-Satanists alike. With the Internet a person can be whomever
       they dream up. There is no real interaction on the Internet
       since you cannot see the person you are communicating with. You
       could think you were talking to a really wonderful woman who
       seems very intriguing and her name "goth-girl" really lights
       your fire. You talk for a few days and everything seems as if
       it's going great. You decide that you want to be careful and
       take things slow, so you do some checking on her Email address
       and the information she gave you. You finally come across her
       Profile, and to your surprise you even find out something
       completely off the wall, like she is really a he. Wow, wouldn't
       that suck! Things like this happen all the time. It shows you
       that you can be anyone and anything that you want, and so can
       everyone else. So as I always say, "The Internet a REAL Satanist
       does not make," though you can sure as hell pretend. So, the
       next time you jump into that chatroom or post on that message
       board, think twice before trusting everything you see. Trust is
       built with time. In concordance with time is real life
       interaction, seeing, touching, and hearing, not typing. Another
       issue dwells on Websites. As I said before, a person is not a
       Satanist just because of his/her Website. To show my point, I
       will use my own history as an example. I started The Satanic
       Network over 6 years ago. I had been a member of the Church of
       Satan for over two years at that time. I became a Priest within
       the Church of Satan a few years after the site was created. Many
       people claim that my Website was the reason I was given the
       title of Priest. I can honestly say that part of that is true
       and part is false. I was not given the title of Priest just
       because of my Website, even though it did grow to become the
       largest, most visited and publicized Satanic site on the
       internet. But that was not the reason for my title or my "fame".
       While I was hosting the site, I also did many radio interviews
       and fought a court battle to keep Satanism on the Internet. Some
       Christian organizations took a few ISP's and mine to court
       because of the content of our Websites. Needless to say they
       lost, but the fact remains that I was doing things off the
       Internet. Along with the above mentioned items, I published an
       issue of my Magazine, worked on other projects, helped out other
       Satanists and ran a Church of Satan approved Grotto in my area
       (the grotto issue is another big problem on the Internet, but we
       will get to that a little later). To sum it up, No, my Website
       did not make me a Satanist nor is it the reason I was given the
       title of Priest. Now when you browse around the Internet viewing
       the plethora of "Satanic" sites, try to look a little deeper
       past all the graphics and text. Consider the person or group who
       created it, what do they stand for, or what have they done in
       the real world, and you may be surprised at what you find. Also
       another issue that comes to mind, "how much is too much?" Many
       web creators have this belief that if they post or display as
       much information about Satanism on their Website it makes them
       more of a Satanist or shall we say a "better" Satanist. I do not
       know how else to say that this is so very misleading. If you are
       familiar with The Satanic Bible, you should know that there are
       some key points to Satanism, one happens to be the whole mystery
       of it and finding things out for yourself. Now you tell me, if I
       were to post as much information that I could find on Satanism
       and the Church of Satan for the world to see, am I acting in a
       Satanic Fashion? If you answered No, you are correct. I have
       always said that to get the most out of Satanism you must find
       it for yourself. Finding the information on your own also gives
       you a sense of accomplishment, you did the work and you were
       rewarded for your work by the information you dug up. I believe
       that Websites created with a Satanic Nature should reflect the
       personal views and the personal creations of the owner. Copying
       and plagiarizing other people or using pictures made by other
       people is one of the worst ways to promote yourself as a
       Satanist. Write your own essays, design your own graphics or
       pictures from scratch. Do not just paste together a bunch of
       pictures of Anton LaVey, a Baphomet, a nude woman and then call
       it your own, because guess what, it's not yours. It just
       represents the fact that you aren't creative enough to come up
       with your own ideas. In other words "Don't quit your day job!"
       Now we move back to the Grotto Issue. On-line Grottos, are there
       any? The answer is NO. The Church of Satan created a system of
       local divisions in each city called Grottos. These Grottos are
       headed by a Church of Satan member called a GrottoMaster or
       Mistress. These people must go through an extensive screening
       and application process before they are granted this title. One
       of the main functions of a GrottoMaster can be to serve as a
       contact point and media representative for their area. Grottos
       exist within the Real world, not the On-line world. Again we
       move back to the fact that the Internet is a great place to
       relay information or to advertise information. The Internet is
       not a place to run an organization. A word of wisdom, if the
       group does not offer any off-line activities, Join at your own
       risk, more than likely you will end up disappointed by what you
       find. In short there are many Websites out there that present
       themselves as grottos but in reality are not a part of the
       Church of Satan, and many times do not even support the Church
       of Satan. If they did, they would have already applied for
       Grotto Status. So when looking for a group of like minded people
       within your area keep in mind the question: Are they a real
       Church of Satan Grotto or are they just using the Grotto name to
       sound valid? A good way to check them out is to contact the
       Church of Satan itself or a real Church of Satan representative
       and ask them about the Grotto you are interested in.

  Part 2.

       Ask yourself this question: "What is Satanism?"

       Ever since I created The Satanic Network, I have watched many
       different groups pop up on the Internet. The Church of Satan
       started in 1966, but when did these other groups start? Well
       truthfully, most of them started within the last two years,
       riding the coattails of the Church of Satan. The Church of Satan
       has always been the imperious focal point of the Satanic
       Movement, in fact The Church of Satan caused the Satanic
       Movement. So if you really want to get technical, The Church of
       Satan (including but not limited to the philosophies of Anton
       LaVey) IS Satanism. Many people will claim "Satanism started way
       before Anton LaVey", but if you actually look at the facts, it
       did not. Before 1966 people who lived on the dark side of life
       were call Devil Worshippers not Satanists. The term Satanism did
       not truly catch on until after 1966, when Anton LaVey introduced
       it. Just about any reference in today's world that has to do
       with Satanism points its ugly finger at the Church of Satan. The
       Church of Satan IS Satanism, as we know it today. Now mind you
       there are many people who will disagree with that statement.
       They want to lay claim to some of the Black Flame Anton LaVey
       created, and to do this, they must alter the meaning to suit
       them. They run over and grab their Webster's Dictionary, look up
       the word Satanism and find a definition pertaining to the
       worship of the Devil or something similar. Well, according to
       that definition we (The Church of Satan) are not Satanists, but
       take a hard look at exactly where this definition comes from:
       Christian mentality. This Christian who wrote this book cannot
       and does not want to understand the differences between us and
       the "Devil Worshippers." Why do they still call it Satanism
       then? Because Satanism is the Modern definition for Evil, Unholy
       people. We (The Church of Satan) know that Satanism is defined
       by us in this modern world, people still try and group everyone
       under one label. So I will make this very easy and very clear,
       Satanism is The Church of Satan. "Satanic" groups are popping up
       all over the place these days, but step back and truly take a
       look at them. Each and every non Church of Satan group that I
       have happened upon exhibits one particular trait. They ride the
       coattails of the Church of Satan, and what Anton LaVey created.
       In order to avoid promoting or advertising for these so called
       groups I will not mention names, but I know you at one point in
       your life must have run across one. Each group either states
       that they follow the ideas of Anton LaVey or "agree" with part
       of his philosophy but not all of it. Yet these groups choose not
       to actually support the Church he founded by becoming members.
       Why is this? It's very easy to see what they are trying to
       accomplish. They use the name but will not give the Devil his
       due, how typical. They start their groups with hopes of becoming
       the Church of Satan, it's as clear as day. Why else would you
       agree with the idea but not commit to the organization?
       Amazingly by going through the proper channels you can almost
       accomplish this same goal. With a Grotto you can build a group
       and run it like the Church of Satan without being the Church of
       Satan or disrespecting the Idea of the Church of Satan. With
       your Grotto you can better our organization, make it Stronger
       and feel better about yourself as you work with the organization
       that made this all possible. It's about respect. You have to
       have it in order to get it. We owe Dr. LaVey and the Church of
       Satan for everything they have accomplished for the Satanic
       Community over the years. We owe them Respect. These "groups"
       work hard at disrespecting the Church of Satan and its
       Officials, yet they continue to ride in our wake because without
       us they would be nothing. This type of group attempts to talk
       badly about the Church of Satan and its Officials, yet they copy
       us almost to the "T". One such group even dared to copy our
       name. When it comes to lacking original ideas, you cannot get
       any closer than that. On the bright side of things it is quite
       humorous to read that this group follows Dr. LaVey's Ideas yet
       refute them, then they mention that they communicate with
       "Satan" on a regular basis. That always brings a smile to my
       face. I can image it: "I was talking with Satan last night, he
       told me Dr. LaVey sucked, but to use his ideas since some people
       might think we are on that level." I guess they are really
       giving the Devil his due, every night under the covers with
       their crack pipes. I am glad to say that these groups barely
       survive a year before vanishing into nothingness. These groups
       are pathetic, and will one day get what is coming to them. Most
       of the time it takes little or no effort, since they almost
       always disappear months after their creation once they find out
       they cannot in their wildest dreams become anything like the
       Church of Satan. So called "Satanic" groups, just like "Satanic"
       web pages come and go. Alas, the facts of life of the Internet.
       The Internet is truly an ambiguous tool that both promotes
       Satanism and undoes the work the Church of Satan has
       accomplished over the last three decades. Do not get me wrong, I
       fully support the "Online" Satanic Community, Hell I practically
       started it. If a Website is done well, with original ideas and
       content, I support it 100%. I feel the Internet adds to our way
       of life, helps us with our creative selves, and makes
       communication between members and friends a lot easier. But
       watch where you tread. Your best bet is to stick close to known
       Church of Satan supportive and supported Websites, and if you
       get lost, sit back and have a good laugh at what you find out
       there. One way or another you can always find your way back to
       familiar territory. As one of my favorite maxims goes, "Choose
       your friends wisely, they can make or break you". You cannot
       image how important lesser magic is on the Internet, employ it
       often and reap the rewards you create for yourself.

       Hail Satan!
       Hail the Church of Satan!

       Reverend Lestat Ventrue

       GrottoMaster of Satan's PlayGround Grotto
       Priest of Mendes within the Church of Satan