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FAQ: The Illuminati

To: alt.mythology
From: (Trevor W. McKeown)
Subject: Re: FAQ: The Illuminati

Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati of Bavaria on May 1, 1776 on the
principles of his early training as a Jesuit. Originally called the
Order of the Perfectibilists, "its professed object was, by the mutual
assistance of its members, to attain the highest possible degree of
morality and virtue, and to lay the foundation for the reformation of
the world by the association of good men to oppose the progress of
moral evil."(1)

Adam Weishaupt was born February 6, 1748 at Ingoldstadt and educated by
the Jesuits. His appointment as Professor of Natural and Canon Law at
the University of Ingoldstadt in 1775, a position previously held by an
ecclesiastic, gave great offense to the clergy. "Weishapt, whose views
were cosmopolitan, and who knew and condemned the bigotry and
superstitions of the Priests, established an opposing party in the
University.... This was the begining of the Order of Illuminati or the
Enlightened...."(2) Weishaupt was not then a Freemason; he was
initiated into Lodge Theodore of Good Council (Theodor zum guten Rath),
at Munich in 1777.

Status as a Mason was not required for initiation into the Order of
Illuminati since the fourth, fifth and sixth degrees of Weishaupt and
Baron Von Knigge's system practically duplicated the three degrees of
symbolic Freemasonry. Although Knigge claimed to have a system of ten
degrees, the last two appear never to have been fully worked up.(3)

"The Order was at first very popular, and enrolled no less than two
thousand names upon its registers.... Its Lodges were to be found in
France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, and Italy.
Knigge, who was one of its most prominent working members, and the
auther of several of its Degrees, was a religious man, and would never
have united with it had its object been, as has been charged, to
abolish Christianity. But it cannot be denied, that in the process of
time abuses had crept into the Institution and that by the influence of
unworthy men, the system became corrupted; yet the course accusations
of Barruel and Robison are known to be exaggerated, and some of them
altogether false.... The Edicts (on June 22, 1784, for its suppression)
of the Elector of Bavaria were repeated in March and August, 1785 and
the Order began to decline, so that by the end of the eighteenth
century it had ceased to exist.... it exercised while in prosperity no
favorable influence on the Masonic Institution, nor any unfavorable
effect on it by its dissolution."(4)

In the following year, 1785, Weishaupt was deprived of his
professorship and banished from the country. He moved to Gotha where he
died in 1811.

The Encyclop¾dia Britannica refers to the Illuminati "cells" in an
article on eighteenth century Italy as "republican freethinkers, after
the pattern recently established in Bavaria by Adam Weishaupt."(5) and
as a "rationalistic secret society" in an article on Roman
Catholicism.(6). Depending on your perspective, the lack of any
information on the Illuminati in the Encyclop¾dia Britannica can be
ascribed to their current power and secretiveness or to the much
simpler explanation that the editors found the order to be of little
importance in the flow of history and social development.

John M. Roberts claims that "The Illuminati were the first society to
use for political subversion the machinery of secret organization
offered by free masonry ... through the craft they began to spread."(7)
while Robert Gilbert feels that Christopher McIntosh "overestimates the
strength and significance of the Illuminati."(8) 

Documented evidence would suggest that the Bavarian Illuminati was
nothing more than a curious historical footnote. Certainly, this is the
opinion of Masonic writers. Conspiracy theorists though, are not noted
for applying Occam's razer and have decided that there is a connection
between the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the Trilateral Commission,
International Zionism and (if you read the writings of Jack T, Chick of
Chino California) communism that all leads back to the Vatican in a bid
for world domination. Believe what you will but there is no evidence
that the Illuminati survived its founders.
(1) Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Richmond, Virginia:
Macoy Publishing. 1966, p.474
(2) Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Richmond, Virginia:
Macoy Publishing. 1966, p.1099
(3) Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Richmond, Virginia:
Macoy Publishing. 1966. p.475
(4) Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Richmond, Virginia:
Macoy Publishing. 1966. p.1099
(5) Encyclop¾dia Britannica, 15th edition. Vol. 22, p. 223, 2b
(6) Encyclop¾dia Britannica, 15th edition. Vol. 26, p. 937, 2b
(7) J.M. Roberts, The Mythology of Secret Societies, New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons. 1972, pp. 123-4
(8) Christopher McIntosh, The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason Leiden,
E.J. Brill, 1992, reviewed by Robert Gilbert in the Transactions of
Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London: Butler & Tanner Ltd.1993 p.

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