Church of Satan splinter organizations
The First Satanic Church
The First Satanic Church is an organization founded by Karla LaVey on October 31, 1999 in San Francisco, California. The church is dedicated to LaVeyan Satanism as codified by Anton LaVey in The Satanic Bible. The church's stated mission is to carry on the legacy of Anton LaVey through "the study of Satanism and the occult sciences". The church operated the 600 Club, an Internet forum dedicated to discussions of Satanism, which eventually shut down in 2020 after almost two decades of operation.
The church's website claims the organization to have been founded in 1966, and the 1999 date to be a "re-establishment" of the original Church of Satan, claiming direct continuity with Anton LaVey. Karla asserts that she is re-representing the original teachings of her father from which the current administration of the Church of Satan has departed, and maintains an elitist stance of her father's original organization. Anton LaVey's book The Satanic Bible is stated as required reading prior to joining the First Satanic Church.
The First Church of Satan
The First Church of Satan emerged in the 1990s as an Inter-net fellowship focused upon the ideas of Lord Egan, the public persona of John Dewey Alle (b. 1951), a former member of the Church of Satan. Alle had joined the Church of Satan in 1970 and adopted what he saw as its Dionysian celebration of the individual. He believed that it was the duty of people to throw off the self-image imposed by their early social training and re-make themselves as the unique individuals they could become. Through the 1980s Alle turned his attention from the world of Satanism to pursue other concerns.
When he once again returned to the Satanic subculture in the mid-1990s, he noticed that the early atmosphere of individualism that had so pervaded the church that Anton LaVey had founded, had disappeared. Under current church leader Blanche Barton, he found an organization that had shifted from a celebration of individualism to an emphasis on elitism, a subtle but important change.
Lord Egan founded the First Church of Satan to champion Satanism as an alternative spiritual path. He saw Satanists as freethinkers moving toward spiritualism through spiritual stimulation and self-exploration. Alle saw the church as fitting the image of a public benefit association and promoted all causes that accelerate human growth and potential.
Lord Egan used many images to describe Satan, such as the Capricornian goat that leaps upon mountain tops ever seeking the lofty heights. He discouraged debate over the existence of Satan, and saw the important issue to be the nature of one's belief system. Is it dogmatic or non-dogmatic? He favored the latter, especially in light of contemporary life that must be lived without absolutes. Thus, the First Church of Satan did not replace the structures and rules of the past with a new structure and rules; rather, it offered a place to be that allowed all authority to be challenged. It accepted all spiritual paths as valid and a means to the same eternal truths. The Satanic Bible, first published by LaVey in the 1960s, and its teachings where seen not as another competing spiritual path to which conformity is demanded, but as a call to develop one's own way.
Satanism was seen as opposed to devil-worship, that is, the subordination to a post-Christian deity and the adoption of an anti-Christian creed. It did not believe in nor practice animal sacrifice, believing that killing can be done only for self-defense or for food. Given its emphasis upon individualism and its acceptance of a wide range of spiritual perspectives, the First Church of Satan included a wide range of belief and practice united by their common libertarian spirit. This organization is now defunct after John Alle passed away in June 2, 2014 at 11:13 am. His final wish was to have his time of death noted as his first message from the other side. It has been succeeded by The Alle Shadow Tradition, or ASTra.
Temple of the Vampire
Temple of the Vampire was founded in 1989 by Magister Nemo, the Temple of the Vampire is the only official Sister organization of the Church of Satan. It is the founding organization of the now popular Vampyre Religion, and claims to be the only organization to publicly represent it. It also claims to have a worldwide membership.
The Temple of Set
The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading left-hand path religious organization. It was established in 1975 by Michael A. Aquino and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan, who left because of administrative and philosophical disagreements. ToS deliberately self-differentiates from CoS in several ways, most significantly in theology and sociology. The philosophy of the Temple of Set may be summed up as "enlightened individualism"—enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment and initiation. This process is necessarily different and distinctive for each individual. The members do not agree on whether Set is "real" or not, and they're not expected to.
The Temple presents the view that the name Satan was originally a corruption of the name Set. The Temple teaches that Set is a real entity, the only real god in existence, with all others created by the human imagination. Set is described as having given humanity—through the means of non-natural evolution—the "Black Flame" or the "Gift of Set", a questioning intellect which sets the species apart from other animals. While Setians are expected to revere Set, they do not worship him. Central to Setian philosophy is the human individual, with self-deification presented as the ultimate goal.
In 2005 Petersen noted that academic estimates for the Temple's membership varied from between 300 and 500, and Granholm suggested that in 2007 the Temple contained circa 200 members. However, its current membership is estimated at around 500.