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Strange religions

Updated on March 17, 2014

Illuminati | Satanists or Saints

Who doesn’t talk in hushed tones and conspiratorial looks when the Illuminati are mentioned. Thought to be everything from a secret society that controls world events or a satanic cult out to destroy our way of life, to a benevolent society out to transform mankind to a higher plane. Yet the “Official” Illuminati-order websites details their goals as highly moral, transformational and focused on individual freedom.

Meaning Enlightened, Illuminati is a name given to various groups both historical and fictional and that is where the boundaries blur.

In 1776 Adam Weishaupt founded the Bavarian Illuminati a secret society modeled after the Freemasons. Originally going to be named the Perfectibilists but changed to reflect the ideology called illuminism. It has been widely speculated that the American Dollar bill has the mark of the Illuminati; the eye over the pyramid. However, the symbol the original members chose to represent the society was an Owl. At it’s height the Bavarian Illuminati had around 2, 000 members, attracting literary men and scholars, but in 1785 an edict was made by the Bavarian government banning the illuminati and freemasons for treason and heresy. The Pope declared that they were incompatible with the Catholic faith.

So, legend has it, the illuminati survived and went underground representing an ongoing international conspiracy; but a conspiracy of what? Myron Fagan devoted the latter part of his life to finding evidence that waterloo, The French Revolution, even President John F. Kennedy’s assassination were orchestrated by the illuminati. No solid proof was found, and that too created a mystique that the organization was so secret that they could be invisible.

Multiple groups have openly used the name Illuminati and developed their own secret rites. Claiming to be heirs of the Bavarian Illuminati, I believe that just the idea of a secret society wielding power behind the scenes is attractive to people, especially those seeking explanations for the unexplainable. It’s kind of like modern physicists looking for the theory of everything. If one group can account for all the major unexplained events in the world it makes life that much simpler and easy to understand.

After all these years, why hasn’t there been anyone to confirm the existence of the Illuminati in today's society? Oh wait, there is, a 45 year old woman called Svali. She describes a sadistic, satanic cult that practices animal sacrifice and ritual murder. An organization that controls the worlds traffic in drugs, guns and pornography and, I suppose, all the criminal organizations. According to this person the Illuminati have infiltrated government, education, financial institutions, religion and the media. Wow, with the level of sophistication they seem to operate they must be geniuses, and how did they let Svali slip away when no-one else seems to have? I think that we humans like answers and seek to create explanations, while also being fascinated by mysteries. If the Illuminati are out there I’d like to believe they are benevolent and seeking to raise humans up rather than evil, corrupt power mongers.

Creativity and Nuwaubian | Two Sides of the Same Coin

Creativity, a religion that sounds like something I could get behind, after all who doesn’t want a little creativity, that is until I found out what it was really about and who was behind it. Founded in 1973 by Ben Klassen (inventor of the wall mounted can opener), Creativity is a nontheistic, ethnocentric “religion” that aims for a revolution in values, and a rejection of societies principles as they stand. To put it another way, it is anti-semitic, racists and anti-Christian.

"We call our religion Creativity, and members thereof, Creators, because, we believe these words, in essence, best describe the characteristic soul of the White Race."The term "creator" does not refer to any deity.” - Nature’s Eternal Religion

There are 16 commandments regarding conduct and 5 Fundamental Beliefs. There are also 14 recommended points of Salubrious living which deal with a members diet and healthy lifestyle. Guidelines for behavior and ideals to strive for include; placing a high value on honor and self-respect, being eager and optimistic, inquisitive and adventurous. However, their Golden Rule is – What is Good for the White Race is the highest virtue and what is bad for the white race is the ultimate sin.

Creativity rejects the supernatural, space exploration, the hereafter including, of course, heaven and hell. Adopting the phrase “racial socialism” to describe the religions political ideology, Klassen denied that Creativity was a rehash of Nazi-ism.

Believing that nature is governed by law and the laws of nature which is for the inner-segregation of the species and it’s goal is the conversion of at least half of all White people on the face of the earth.

It’s website questions why such White races as the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians did not embrace the natural laws of the White race. Of course Egyptians, for the most part, were not White, so that might have been one reason.

Their website explains that the Creativity Movement is a Professional, Non-Violent, Progressive Pro-White Religion who promotes White Civil Rights, White Self-Determination, and White Liberation via 100% legal activism. While they claim to not promote, tolerate, nor incite illegal activity: Mathew Hale, the third Pontifex Maximus (high priest), is serving a 40 year prison sentence for conspiring to kill a judge.


Nuwaubian Movement

If you thought Creativity was strange, the Nuwaubian Nation is downright bizarre. Founded by Dwight York, a former member of the musical groups Jackie and the Starlights, Passion and the Students, whose “ministry” began in the late 60’s. Originally centered around quasi-Islamic ideas he later moved to an Ancient Egypt theme, mixing ideas of black nationalism, cryptozoology, UFO religions and conspiracy theory. York was also involved in founding many Black organizations in New York City, changing their, and his name frequently.

Moving to Georgia to escape prosecution in New York, "Dr. York" built new headquarters in Eatonton, naming it Tama-Re. There he started claiming to be part of the Washitaw Nation, as well as the Moors (due to the Prehistoric migration to the new world) and called themselves the Yamassee Native American Moors of the Creek Nation.

Under the name "Nayya: Malachi Zodok York-El" he published The Holy Tablets (a.k.a. the "Nuwaubian Bible") in 1996, for which he claims divine inspiration, and in which he calls himself a messiah figure, expounding a UFO religion surrounding the "planet Rizq", according to which himself as well as pharaoh Ramesses II were extraterrestrials.

During the early 2000s Nuwaubian gained some local political influence in Putnum County Georgia where they put up their own candidates associated with the Republican Party. Mayor Bob Young of Augusta Georgia issued a proclamation expressing sympathy with York’s movement and teachings of black supremacism.

While the Nuwaubian ideas on race are often contradictory and based on many different racial origin myths but it is best summed up with this:

“The Caucasian has not been chosen to lead the world. They lack true emotions in their creation. We never intended them to be peaceful. They were bred to be killers, with low reproduction levels and a short life span. What you call Negroid was to live 1,000 years each and the other humans 120 years. But the warrior seed of Caucasians only 60 years. They were only created to fight other invading races, to protect the God race Negroids. But they went insane, lost control when they were left unattended. They were never to taste blood. They did, and their true nature came out.… Because their reproduction levels were cut short, their sexual organs were made the smallest so that the female of their race will want to breed with Negroids to breed themselves out of existence after 6,000 years. It took 600 years to breed them, part man and part beast.”

There are way too many more strange ideas that have been attributed to the Nuwaubian Nation and it could be said that they out crazied the crazies of Creativity. And it seems the leaders of both religions have suffered the same fate.

During the 1990’s Nuwaubian teachings had a definite influence on hip hop and black subculture. York himself has been honored by such groups as the Wu Tang Clan and Killah Priest. In 2002 York was arrested and charged with over 100 counts of sexually molesting children although the true extent of his crimes is well over 1000. In a strange twist of fate, or perhaps justice, York serves out his life sentence in the same prison as Mathew Hale.

I AM Activity

In the 1930’s Guy and Edna Ballard founded the original Ascended Master Teachings religious movement, the “I AM activity.” This activity was an offshoot of Theosophy (we’ll get to that in another post) and a predecessor of several New Age religions. In it’s hay day the movement had up to a million followers and is still active today, but on smaller scale; their motto is “Spiritual, Educational and Practical.” It seems that all new religions get their names from some dead or little used language; I AM is no different. There is an ancient Sanskrit mantra, So Ham, which means I am that I am and so I AM took it’s name.

It seems that Guy Ballard or Godfre Ray King his pseudonym, was hiking on Mount Shasta when he encountered a man who introduced himself as Saint Germain, an 18th century alchemist and regular proponent of theosophical religions. After that Ballard allegedly started talking with ascended masters regularly and founded saint Germain Press to publish their books.

In 1935, the Ballard’s hosted a gathering at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium that drew 6,000 people and they led the audience in prayers, affirmations and decrees, including adoration's to God. According to the group’s teachings the Ascended Masters included Jesus, and that Ascension was entering heaven alive, so I AM calls itself Christian. It also claims a direct link to the Declaration of Independence, which they believe Saint Germain inspired and guided. Yet after Ballard’s death in 1939, his widow and her son were charged with 18 counts of mail fraud. The case went to the Supreme Court which vacated the conviction on the second appeal.

The group teaches that the “mighty I AM Presence” is God existing in each person’s higher self and that a light, the “Violet Flame” can be generated by the I AM Presence to surround each person who expresses mercy and forgiveness. The goal of the teachings are purification so that the believer can become an Ascended Master when leaving their body.

“The movement teaches that the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent creator God ('I AM' – Exodus 3:14) is in all of us as a spark from the Divine Flame, and that we can experience this presence, love, power and light – the power of the Violet Consuming Flame of Divine Love – through quiet contemplation and by repeating 'affirmations' and 'decrees'. By 'affirming' something one desires, one can cause it to happen.”

I AM’s Emphasis on personal freedom, embracing patriotic symbols, positive thinking, overlap with such New Age movements as Religious Science.

As of 2007 the Saint Germain Foundation has a reading room on Mount Shasta, while it’s headquarters are in Schaumburg, Illinois and a 12 story I Am Temple is in downtown Chicago, Illinois.



New Religions | Summum

In 1975 Claude “Corky” Nowell claimed to have encountered beings he described as Summa Individuals. They allegedly presented him with concepts regarding the nature of creation. These concepts are continually re-introduced to humankind by more advanced beings – presumably because we keep forgetting them. Nowell founded Summum in order to share the “gift,” and shortly thereafter changed his name to Summum Bonum Amon Ra or Corky Ra for short.

The word summum is Latin, a form of summus which means “highest.” It has been used as a magazine title, style of bike, and a Volvo car. As for the religious philosophy of Summun, it stems from the writings of the Kybalion which was first published in 1908 and then reworked utilizing modern language and information that was presented to Corky Ra by the Summum individuals.

Summum’s Grand Principle of Creation states: “Nothing and possibility come in and out of bond infinite times in a finite moment.” I’m still trying to get my head around that one. Perhaps the key is their motto “Sealed Except to the Open Mind” and my mind isn’t open enough. In order to truly understand the Summum philosophy you can go to the teachings of Gnostic Christianity and that knowledge doesn’t come from the intellect or obedience or faith but from revelatory experience, just like Corky Ra had. They go on to explain that knowledge is attained through questioning and experience, that devotion and spiritual practices lead to “enlightenment,” similar to the authentic teachings of Jesus.

Summum has no deity but believes that all people are part of the mind of the universe and that the universe is collectively great.

But it isn’t the philosophy that makes this religion so unique, they have built a pyramid in Salt Lake City where they produce alcoholic nectars. These nectars are used in meditation to carry the spiritual concepts across the blood-brain barrier. Not a great place for an AA meeting and government authorities consider the nectars wine so required Summum obtain a winery license so it is Utah’s first federally bonded winery.

Another practice the Summum’s engage in is Modern Mummification. Hey why not, they have the pyramid. Designed to guide ones essence to a greater destination after the death of the body. Their mummification processes have been featured on the BBC and the National Geographic. They mainly mummify pets, but had the first person to undergo the mummification process in centuries when Nowell himself died in 2008.

If that wasn’t enough Summum followers snagged the attention of the media when they proposed to put their Seven Aphorisms next to the ten commandments in several locations in Utah, including Pleasant Grove. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court who unanimously ruled against them.

You have to hand it to the Summum-ites, they know how to do strange. On the other hand, I personally kind of like what they are saying about the universe being one mind, now if we could just get humans to be that way we may have a chance.

New Religions | Raelism

I am sure that back in the early days of Christianity people thought it a crazy cult and that only after decades, centuries, did it become the upstanding religion we know today. So who is to say that Raelism isn’t tomorrows Christianity. Founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, (now known as Rael), it is a movement teaching that life on Earth was created by extraterrestrials called Elohim. Raelians claim that these extraterrestrials appeared in human form and were mistaken for angels, messengers or prophets including Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad etc. which means that the Elohim were the genesis of these religions.

Vorilhon claims that on December 13, 1973 he found a spacecraft with an extraterrestrial named Yahweh inside who explained the Garden of Eden as a large laboratory, Noah’sArk a spaceship and the great flood a by-product of a nuclear missile explosion.

According to the Raelians the Elohim want to pacify and inform the world so they can come down and be friends. In what may seem as a stark contrast the Raelian religion has used the swastika as their emblem, claiming it is a symbol of peace but neither the Israeli’s nor Lebanese bought their story so they started replacing the swastika with a variant star/swirl symbol.

Sexuality is an important part of the Raelian doctrine. They are accepting of all consensual sexual practices and are vehemently opposed to pedophilia. Their initiation ceremony, or baptism, includes the “transmission of the cellular plan,” meaning the organic cells of the body (cellular) and the genetic makeup of the individual (plan). It’s not a huge leap to figure out what this means. Kids, don’t ask your parents.

Believing that genetically modifying organisms including cloning is the ticket to eternal life, Rael founded what is now called Clonaid and claimed to have conceived a human baby through cloning technology.

Here are a few of the Raelian beliefs in no particular order:

  • They do not believe in the soul, god or supernatural events.
  • They promote Sensual Meditation including body awareness and eroticism and mutual excitement.
  • They are an ally of Monsanto Company and genetically modified organisms
  • They are anti-war.
  • They support the topless rights of women
  • They believe that a judgment is coming, that the Elohim are recording our genetic information by a remote computer in order to judge us in our final hour.
  • They support sexual education for children
  • They claim that the universe has no center or creator, that it is an atom in a much larger level of matter. That the atom within an atom extends to infinity.
  • They believe in intelligent design – by aliens
  • They do not believe in reincarnation and instead think people can be brought back from the dead with technology.

So in conclusion, it appears Raelism was born out of technology and a strong belief in extraterrestrials, while also embracing, or explaining, the origins of other religions. Yahweh, one of the biblical names for God, is incorporated into their doctrine along with sexual freedom and the bio engineering of life. Sounds like they covered all the bases, so if you want to play it safe with the cosmos, it’s probably a good idea to become a Raelian.

New Religions | Eckankar

Human Beings have long had the desire to believe in something greater than themselves, so religions have always been around in one form or another. Especially in ancient times they were ways to explain the unexplainable, and the major religions started out as teaching tools, stories that helped people remember some basic truths. Over the centuries they changed and transformed and new ones have sprung up, yet the divide between religion and cult has narrowed. In this series we are going to look at some of the new religions that have emerged in the recent past. Like my mother always said, be informed before you choose your path.

Eckankar is a religion that was founded in Las Vegas by Paul Twitchell in 1965. Meaning “Co-Worker with God” Eckankar is described as the Religion of the Light and Sound of God and it’s Headquarters are now in Chanhassen, Minnesota that includes an outdoor chapel (rather chilly in the winter I imagine). It’s leader is known as the Mahanta, the living ECK Master, who is respected by followers but not to be worshiped. He is a spiritual guide for the ECK believers journey back to God.

One of Scientology’s first “clears,” Twitchell went on to study under the master teacher Kirpal Singh and those of Sant Mat surat shabd yoga, dropping the Indian cultural elements of the teachings when founding Eckankar.

Another word for Holy Spirit or Life Force, ECK teaches that the universe was created by the sound of the Divine. Humans are sparks of God trapped in a cycle of reincarnation but can return to the Divine by having the soul leave the body in full consciousness and travel freely to other planes of reality. Personal experience is emphasized and the use of mantras is integral to their journey.

Students or members of Eckankar are called Chelas’, they practice spiritual exercises at their own pace. Over one hundred different exercises are taught, all designed to give the Chelas’ a greater understanding of themselves and of God. These Spiritual Exercises include meditation, prayer, concentration, mental exercises, mantras, past-life discovery, and conscious dreaming. A central ritual is the chanting of HU, which is viewed as a love song to God.

Dreams are considered an important teaching tool as well. Dream travel is said to serve as the gateway to Soul Travel, the shifting of consciousness to higher states of being. Eckankar is about spiritual liberation, self-realization and God-realization in ones lifetime.

Currently Harold Klemp is the Mahanta and his spiritual name is Wah Z (sounds like a rap name to me) he is the 973rd living ECK master. I know, I know how can he be the 973rd when the religion was founded in 1965? ECKists claim that the foundation of it’s teachings reach back to the beginning of the human race and while Twitchell sourced many teachings both modern and ancient his main influence was Sufism.

Sounds interesting, right? While there are many intriguing things about the religion at the core it appears to be a compilation of other religions including Scientology and Occultism. By the late 1990s 367 ECK centers existed worldwide, 164 in the United States, the estimated membership was around 50,000.

"Since the Living ECK Master is the avatar of the world who has been sent here to take all souls back to their heavenly home again, none can dispute this. Anyone else who makes such false claims is indeed a false prophet in sheep's clothes. If anyone so makes claims that his teacher has gained the status of mastership that is likewise false." - Eck Satsang Discourses - 3rd series - P. Twitchell

That is sobering. You’d think that if he is not to be worshiped the ECK master would be a bit more humble.

"The ECK enters into the womb of a virgin, the queen of heaven, who has submitted to the true spirit of the universe. The consciousness of the Mahanta state is planted as the seed, and carefully nurtured in the womb. When the embodiment of flesh is brought into this world, a man-child is born. It starts its unfoldment over a period of years until the state of perfection is reached, in adulthood. Then the chosen one learns that he is the Living ECK Master of his times." - Shariyat ki Sugmad 1, pg. 111-112, 2nd edition, 10th printing, 1987

Now that sounds familiar, although it’s clear that all the “modern” Mahanta’s did not spring from the womb of a virgin.

One last quote.

" . . . each of those who are ECKists must come to the realization that they each, belong to the chosen race of the superior being. All others are aliens, that is those who have not yet voluntarily taken up the path of ECK. These aliens, as we speak of them, are, in a way, heathens or pagans who have not yet found truth. They are the agents of the Kal, and the enemy of those who are the followers of ECK." - Paul Twitchell in Illuminated Way Letters-

I have always felt that it’s up to each individual to follow the religion of your choice and I honor everyone’s right to do so, but you don’t have to call me an alien.

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