In the 1950s, Anton LaVey, formed a group called the Order of the Trapezoid, which later evolved into the governing body of the Church of Satan. Those involved, or who attended LaVey’s activities included: “The Baroness” Carin de Plessen (who grew up in a Royal Palace in Denmark), Dr. Cecil Nixon (magician, eccentric, and maker of automatons), underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger, City Assessor Russell Wolden, Donald Werby (one of San Francisco’s most influential property owners), anthropologist Michael Harner, and writer Shana Alexander. Other LaVey associates from this time period include noted Science Fiction and Horror writers Anthony Boucher, August Derleth, Robert Barbour Johnson, Reginald Bretnor, Emil Petaja, Stuart Palmer, Clark Ashton Smith, Forrest J. Ackerman, and Fritz Leiber Jr.
In the first year of its foundation, Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan attracted considerable media attention by publicly performing a Satanic marriage of Judith Case and radical journalist John Raymond. The ceremony was photographed by Joe Rosenthal, who took the famous photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima during World War II. Another event was the public funeral of Church of Satan member and Naval Officer Edward Olson, at the request of his wife.
The Church of Satan was mentioned in many books and was the subject of multiple magazine and newspaper articles during the 1960s and 1970s. It was also the subject of a full-length documentary, Satanis (1970). LaVey also appeared in Kenneth Anger’s film Invocation of my Demon Brother, acted as technical adviser on The Devil's Rain, which starred Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, and introduced John Travolta. The Church of Satan was also featured in a segment of Luigi Scatini’s film Angeli Blanca, Angeli Negra, released in the United States as "Witchcraft ‘70".
“ "Satanism begins with atheism. We begin with the universe and say, 'It’s indifferent. There’s no God, there’s no Devil. No one cares!' ” —High Priest Peter H. Gilmore, 
In 1975, LaVey created controversy within the Church of Satan by phasing out the Church’s “Grotto” system and eliminating people he thought were using the Church as a substitute for accomplishment in the outside world. Thereafter, conventional achievement in society would be the criterion for advancement within the Church of Satan. At the same time, LaVey became more selective in granting interviews. This shift to “closed door” activities resulted in some rumors of the Church’s demise, and even rumors of LaVey’s death.
In the 1980s, voices including Christians, therapists specializing in recovered memories, and the media renewed concerns of criminal conspiracies relating to the Church of Satan. Members of the Church of Satan, such as Peter H. Gilmore, Peggy Nadramia, Boyd Rice, Adam Parfrey, Diabolos Rex, and musician King Diamond, were active in media appearances to refute allegations of criminal activity. The FBI would later issue an official report refuting the criminal conspiracy theories of this time. This phenomenon became known as “The Satanic Panic.”
In the 1980s and '90s, the Church of Satan and its members were very active in producing movies, music, films, and magazines devoted to Satanism. Most notably Adam Parfrey’s Feral House publishing, the music of Boyd Rice, and the films of Nick Bougas, including his documentary Speak of the Devil: The Canon of Anton LaVey. The Church of Satan and Anton LaVey were also the subject of numerous magazine and news articles during this time.
After Anton Szandor LaVey's death, his position as head of the Church of Satan passed on to his common law wife, Blanche Barton. To this day, Barton remains involved in the Church; however, in 2001 she ceded her position to long-time members Peter H. Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia, the current High Priest and High Priestess and publishers of The Black Flame, the official magazine of The Church of Satan. The Central Office of the Church of Satan has also moved from San Francisco to New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, where the couple resides. The Church of Satan does not recognize any other organizations as holding legitimate claim to Satanism and its practice, though it does recognize that one need not be a member of the Church of Satan to be a Satanist.
Many famous figures have at one time or another been publicly associated with the Church of Satan, including Kenneth Anger, King Diamond, Teresa Hidy, David Vincent, Marilyn Manson,Aaron Joehlin, Boyd Rice, Marc Almond, Alkaline Trio guitarist and singer Matt Skiba and drummer Derek Grant, professional wrestler Balls Mahoney, professional wrestler Sterling James Keenan, journalist Michael Moynihan, Death Metal Lead Guitarist Matthew McRaith, Sammy Davis Jr, and the artist Coop. As the Church of Satan does not publicly release membership information, it is not known how many members belong to the Church.
On June 6, 2006, The Church of Satan held the first public ritual Satanic Mass in 40 years at the Steve Allen Theater in the Center for Inquiry in Los Angeles. The ritual, based on the rites outlined in The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, was conducted by Reverend Bryan Moore and Priestess Heather Saenz.
The Church of Satan has two types of members: Registered Members and Active Members. Registered Members are simply people who have been inducted as members of the Church, and there are no requirements to achieve this position. To be deemed an Active Member, a person has to be involved with the Church and local members. Active Membership is divided into five Degrees:
First Degree - Satanist
Second Degree - Warlock/Witch
Third Degree - Priest/Priestess
Fourth Degree - Magister/Magistra
Fifth Degree - Magus/Maga
Active Members begin at the First Degree. One must apply and be approved for an Active Membership, and this is subject to one's answers to a lengthy series of questions. One cannot apply for higher Degrees, and the requirements for each degree are not open to the public. Promotion to a higher degree is by invitation only. Members of the Third through Fifth degrees constitute the Priesthood and may be addressed as "Reverend." Members of the Fifth degree may also be known as "Doctor."
Individuals seeking membership must be legally defined as adults in their nation of residence. The only exception made is for children of members who demonstrate an understanding of the Church philosophy and practices who wish to join. Their participation is limited until they reach legal adulthood.
The Nine Satanic Statements
The Nine Satanic Statements are to outline what Satan within the Church of Satan Symbolizes. They are:
Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!
Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!
Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek!
Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires!
Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!
The Nine Satanic Sins
Lack of Perspective
Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies
Lack of Aesthetics
The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth
Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.
Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.
Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires.
If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
Do not harm little children.
Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.