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Message Subject Describe the Illuminati In One Word
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Illuminati (plural of Latin illuminatus, "enlightened") is a name that refers to several groups, both historical and modern, and both real and fictitious. Historically, it refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1st, 1776. In modern times it is also used to refer to a purported conspiratorial organization which acts as a shadowy "power behind the throne," allegedly controlling world affairs through present day governments and corporations, usually as a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. In this context, Illuminati is often used in reference to a New World Order (NWO). Many conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati are the masterminds behind events that will lead to the establishment of such a New World Order. Confusing the issue further is the fact that there are also several modern fraternal groups which include the word "Illuminati" in their names.


Adam WeishauptThis movement was founded on May 1, 1776, in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830),[1] who was the first lay professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt.[2] The movement was made up of freethinkers, as an offshoot of the Enlightenment,[3] which some amateur historians believe was a conspiracy to infiltrate and overthrow the governments of many European states.[4] The group's adherents were given the name "Illuminati," although they called themselves "Perfectibilists". The group has also been called the Illuminati Order and the Bavarian Illuminati, and the movement itself has been referred to as Illuminism (after illuminism). In 1777, Karl Theodor became ruler of Bavaria. He was a proponent of Enlightened Despotism and, in 1784, his government banned all secret societies, including the Illuminati.

During the period when it was legally allowed to operate, many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members, including Ferdinand of Brunswick and the diplomat Xavier von Zwack, who was also the number two man in the operation and was caught with much of the group's documentation when his home was searched.[5] The Illuminati's members pledged obedience to their superiors, and were divided into three main classes, each with several degrees. The order had its branches in most countries of the European continent; it reportedly had around 2,000 members over the span of 10 years.[2] The scheme had its attraction for literary men, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder, and even for the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar. Internal rupture and panic over succession preceded its downfall, which was effected by The Secular Edict made by the Bavarian government in 1785.[2]

[edit] Modern Illuminati
Main article: New World Order (conspiracy theory)
Writers such as David dIcke, Ryan Burke, Jüri Lina and Morgan Gricar, have argued that the Bavarian Illuminati survived, possibly to this day. Many of these theories propose that world events are being controlled and manipulated by a secret society calling itself the Illuminati.[6][7] Theorists have claimed that many notable people were or are members of the Illuminati, including Winston Churchill,[8] David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski.[9]

In addition to the conspiracy theories, several modern groups have used the name Illuminati in founding their own rites. Some of these include the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) founded by Theodor Reuss, and later restructured by Aleister Crowley, The Grand Lodge Rockefeller founded by David Goldman, Orden Illuminati founded by Frater Lucis Nieríka, The Illuminati Order[10] and others.

[edit] In popular culture
The Illuminati are a common theme in popular culture. They appear in many fictional works and in many genres: in print,[11] in film,[12] on TV,[13] in numerous video games,[14] comic book series,[15] as well as in both trading card and roleplaying games.[16].

[edit] Cited references
^ The European Illuminati by Vernon L. Stauffer, hosted on the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon website (hereafter BC&Y).
^ a b c A Bavarian Illuminati Primer Compiled by Trevor W. McKeown hosted BC&Y
^ Goeringer, Conrad. "The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and The Illuminati". American Atheists. [link to atheists.org] Retrieved on 2008-12-31.
^ Payson, Seth; Proof of the Illuminati, The Invisible College Press, LLC, 2003 (first published in Charlestown: Etheridge, 1802) ISBN 1931468141
^ Introvigne, Massimo. "The Illuminati and Angels & Demons FAQ – Do the Illuminati Really Exist?". Center for Studies on New Religions. [link to www.cesnur.org] Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
^ Barkun, Michael. A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, Comparative Studies in Religion and Society, University of California Press, 2003,
^ Illuminati News website: The Secret Order of the Illuminati (A Brief History of the Shadow Government)
^ Makow Ph.D, H: Illuminati: The Cult that Hijacked the World, BookSurge Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1439211485
^ Springmeier, F: Blood Lines of the Illuminati, Ambassador House, 1998, ISBN 0966353323
^ The Illuminati Order Homepage
^ Prominent examples include: The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, The Fallen Angels by Susannah Kells & Bernard Cornwell, and The Illuminati by Larry Burkett.
^ For example, they are central to the plot of the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
^ For example, in the Disney animated television show Gargoyles
^ such as Deus Ex
^ CGD – New Avengers: Illuminati
^ Bergquist, Theodore; Jacobsson, Anders; Nilsson Richard, Sub Rosa - Hemliga Ordnar och Sällskap, RiotMinds Stockholm 2008, ISBN 978-91-977263-0-6

[edit] Additional references
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica: "Illuminati"
Die Korrespondenz des Illuminatenordens. Bd. 1, 1776–81. Ed. by Reinhard Markner, Monika Neugebauer-Wölk and Hermann Schüttler. - Tübingen, Max Niemeyer, 2005. - ISBN 3-484-10881-9
Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650–1750. Israel, Jonathan I. (Oxford University Press, USA; New Ed edition, 2002).

[edit] External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Illuminati
Complete text of 'Proofs of a Conspiracy...' by John Robison (1797) at sacred-texts.com
Illuminati Conspiracy Part One: A Precise Exegesis on the Available Evidence by Terry Melanson
1917 Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Illuminati
Blog about the historical Illuminati of Adam Weishaupt and their appearance in mainstream media like Angels & Demons (german)
[show]v • d • eConspiracy theories

Core topics Conspiracy (civil) · Conspiracy (crime) · Conspiracy (political) · Cabal · List of conspiracy theories · Conspiracy fiction · Conspiracy thriller

New World Order theories Bilderberg Group · Bohemian Grove · Skull and Bones · Trilateral Commission · Freemasons · Club of Rome · Illuminati · Black helicopters · ODESSA · The Protocols of the Elders of Zion · Judaeo-Masonic-Marxist plot · Eurabia · North American Union

False flag theories Sinking of the RMS Lusitania (1915) · Reichstag Fire (1933) · Operation Gladio · USS Liberty incident (1967) · Pan Am Flight 103 (1988) · Russian apartment bombing (1999) · Oklahoma City bombing (1995) · Port Arthur Massacre (1996) · TWA Flight 800 (1996) · 9/11 conspiracy theories (2001) · Madrid Train Bombing (2004) · London Bombings (2005)

Assassination theories Eric V of Denmark (1286) · Abraham Lincoln (1865) · Franz Ferdinand (1914) · Phar Lap (1932) · Marilyn Monroe (1962) · John F. Kennedy (1963) · Malcolm X (1965) · Robert F. Kennedy (1968) · Martin Luther King Jr. (1968) · Pope John Paul I (1978) · Olof Palme (1986) · Kurt Cobain (1994) · Yitzhak Rabin (1995) · Diana, Princess of Wales (1997) · David Kelly (2003) · Alexander Litvinenko (2006) · Benazir Bhutto (2007)

UFO theory Alien Abduction · Roswell Incident (1947) · Mantell Incident (1948) · Men in Black · Area 51

Other theories Soviet Space Program (1957-1966) · Paul McCartney's death (1966) · Apollo Moon Landing hoax (1969) · Elvis Presley's survival (1977) · Mind Control · AIDS origins · AIDS denialism · CIA drug trafficking · New Coke (1985) · Waco Siege (1993) · SARS (2003) · Reptilian humanoid · Global Warming · Titanic alternative theories · Barack Obama's citizenship · Lavender Mafia/Homintern/Gay Mafia · Jesuit conspiracy · Chemtrails · Scottish mafia

Verified conspiracies Dreyfus affair (1894) · Affaire Des Fiches (1904-1905) · Gleiwitz incident (1939) · Watergate (1972) · Project MKULTRA (1975) · Operation Mockingbird · Operation Northwoods · Iran-Contra Affair

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