Society is bounded by rules and regulations under one or more leaders. Such societies come and go but there are some who are secretly organized either to topple a current leader or to expand the horizons of human goodwill through charitable organizations. These secret societies have been known to be present since the earlier times and have garnered notoriety all over the world. These are the top 5 secret societies today.
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that has its origins in the early 1700s. Early Freemasonry was based on craft laborers who banded together to form a group within themselves. Soon after, the group grew in numbers, and hierarchy within the group was formed. One person can join the organization as an Entered Apprentice. One must be recommended by another Freemason in order to become an Entered Apprentice. Some would even have to be recommended several times in order to become one of their members. The second degree of the hierarchy includes the Fellow Craft. This degree aims to further their knowledge of their society and help keep the organization balanced through constant studies for their doctrines. The highest degree is Master Mason. A Master Mason conducts meetings and can become the head of their area of jurisdiction. It is necessary for one Master Mason to preside meetings and attend them whenever possible.
Freemasons have different areas of jurisdiction. Most masons use a secret handshake for recognition. Such handshakes are updated from time to time to avoid recruiting people under false pretenses. This helps them retain their organization free from traitors.
In the present, the masons are currently involved in charity and community service activities such as building shelters and nursing care facilities. They also provide educational grants and medical assistance. The most outspoken opposition leader of the masons is the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity. They usually forbid Catholics to join the organization through fear of ex-communication.
2. Ordo Templi Orientis
Ordo Templi Orientis or The Order of the Temple of the East is a 20th century international fraternal and religious organization. One of its famous members is the renowned English author and occultist Aleister Crowley. The OTO was intended to be modeled after the Freemasonry but the entire association’s views and religion were modified when Crowley was at its center. He promulgated the Law of Thelema as its central religious principle. The OTO has a ritualistic initiatory system that involves dramatic rituals in order to form fraternal bonds with each other. They also impart philosophical and religious teachings once recruited.
During Crowley’s leadership, there were a lot of philosophical and religious teachings that were modified to suit him. Rituals presided that involves different Egyptian gods and the Devil and sometimes it also involves naked women or priestesses and children. During World War II, the offices and the organization itself were driven to the ground. Most of the countries that have connections with the OTO fell.
There were only a few initiations being performed. After Crowley’s death in 1947, a German member of the OTO became the successor. Up until this day, claims of legitimacy for the heir of Aleister Crowley run deep within the organization to become the leader of their society.
3. Knights Templar
The Knights Templar or simply called the Templars were the richest and the most powerful military order of the Western Christian society. They were organized and endorsed by the Catholic Church around the year 1129. During the subsequent years, the Templars grew in both membership and power. The charity was their only source of income. They were the first organization to officiate a banking system within their organization in order to control the influx of charities. Although many people did not believe the banking system to be effective, however, their organization remained rich and powerful because of this. They were able to build fortification against enemies in the outer realms of their vast land. The Templars were tied closely to the Crusades who were on a mission to save the Holy Land.
It was also around this time that King Philip IV of France grew weary of the Templars and started a revolution against them. Most of the Templars who were situated within the country were arrested, tortured, and burned to the stake. This led to the organization’s demise. Up until this day, the Templars’ riches were never to be found when they also disappeared when the Templars themselves seek refuge from the dissolution of their organization.
One of the more famous and popular secret societies due to their involvement in fictional matters. Illuminati was founded on May 1, 1776, and was a name given to groups. In history, the Illuminati was named the Bavarian Illuminati. The Bavarian Illuminati was outlawed by the Bavarian government with the help of the Roman Catholic Church. They were permanently disbanded in 1785 after which several rumors of their organization resurfaced and were thought to believe that they have caused the French Revolution. The term Illuminati refers to the various organizations claiming to have purported the different conspiracies that threaten the current world. The fictional Illuminati is even more favored to have existed as of today and are the masterminds of world affairs to establish the New World Order and gain further political power and influence all over the world.
On May 1, 1776, the Order of Illuminati was founded with only five members. Adam Weishaupt was the first professor to provide canon law within the society. They were sworn to secrecy and the organization itself was modeled after the Freemasons. Members were divided into three classes each with different degrees. The goal of the organization was to eliminate superstition and prejudice which is the total opposite of what people believe to be existing today. They aim to reduce political oppression and support education as well as the equal treatment of women in society.
Over a span of ten years, it garnered several thousand supporters and members such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder. In 1777, Karl Theodor became the ruler of Bavaria and banned all secret societies. It was on March 2, 1785, that the dissolution of the Illuminati happened.
5. Opus Dei
Opus Dei is Latin for the Work of God and is an organization sanctioned by the Catholic Church to teach that everyone is on the path to holiness and that everyday life is part of sanctity. The organization is handled by priests under the supervision of a bishop who is appointed by the Pope.
It was founded in Spain in 1928 by St. Josemaria Escriva. As of 2010, there are more than 90,000 members of the Opus Dei. The organization is described as the most controversial force within the Catholic Church.