I thought it fun to review what an individual gets from paying $200 to be a member of the Church of Satan. Answer, f*ck all.
Reading through the membership pages of the CoS it quickly becomes apparent that the member is considered a cash cow who serves to benefit the hierarchy of CoS rather than gain any personal benefit from the membership.
Starting from the “Join the Church of Satan” page the prospective member is invited to purchase The Satanic Bible, which is fair enough, but the benefits of the membership process sinks like the ship Titanic after that. Peter Gilmore the current CoS leader exploits the membership process by suggesting a member purchases his book The Satanic Scriptures, so the individuals choice to join is “an informed one.” There follows verbose ego-stroking junk to pamper the prospective members ego into joining:
“We are a group of dynamic individuals who stand forth as the ultimate underground alternative—the Alien Elite. We realize what we have, what we are, and what we shall become. Our scope is unlimited, and the extent of your involvement is based upon your own potential.”
Then comes the financial sting – $200 membership fee, $208 if you pay via PayPal. The “registered” membership application asks the individual to agree the following:
“I recognize that failure to practice the principles of the Church of Satan and/or engaging in illegal activity may result in termination of this membership.”
The member is trapped into a predefined dogma that they must follow, otherwise they can at the subjective judgement of the CoS leadership be kicked out of CoS without refund of membership fee. Similarly, the CoS prefers conformity and total slavery to the law, however unfair, so no speeding, and if you live in the UK, no eating mince pies on Christmas Day, plus always pay the Christian demands for the upkeep of their churches.
The priorities of CoS are not member-orientated, and their administration is so crap that it takes 16 weeks to process a “registered” membership application, and a year for an “active” membership application. I just loved the following statement:
“Our administrative staff’s time is precious—isn’t yours?”
Evidently the CoS thinks their members are so worthless that they have more important things to do with their “administrative staff’s time” than offer an efficient membership application process and answer member questions. The CoS goes to some length to rationalize their excessive membership fee comparing it to that of the “tithes” of Christian churches.
The “Registered Membership in the Church of Satan” page contains mostly CoS-centric verbal masturbation whilst making imperialistic demands of the member to “follow” them on Twitter. Hidden inside all the verbal waffle is two membership benefits: “embossed crimson card declaring you a member of the Church of Satan” and on request an exclusive right to join their e-mail list to be bombarded by marketing and CoS indoctrination.
If the above two benefits did not enthuse the prospective member to hammer down the CoS door to become one of the exclusive sheep, then by submitting answers to an invasive questionnaire they can apply to become an “Active” member. Metaphorically the spelling mistake on their “Active” member page for membership spelt as “mebership” is the reason why they need to take a year to work out if a member is worthy of the title. The “Active” membership application seems to be more a way of how CoS can exploit any inherent skills, connections, wealth and influence that the applicant may have for the CoS benefit rather than for the individuals benefit.
Membership of CoS is incredibly restrictive, for instance the member cannot conflict with each other: “however they must refrain from publicly attacking or antagonizing each other.” In addition any aspect of the individual’s Satanism is required to be consistent with CoS dogma, whilst they cannot join any other Satanic group, show disrespect to CoS or any of its officers.
In conclusion, does the CoS offer a Satanist a tangible benefit in joining for $200? CoS says:
“So, our reasoning is quite simple, and we think it is a bargain. If you disagree, then you don’t have to affiliate with us.”
In my opinion most intelligent Satanists can probably work out that there are better ways of spending $200 than pampering Peter Gilmore’s ego and bank account.