(1776 - 1784)
A Concise Account
To be brief, one Adam Weishaupt - at a time when
national revolution was popular (1776) - failed to create a new and powerful
He did, however, manage to leave a dark and inspirational legacy. If there is
any form of continuum of the infamous “Illuminati,” it is to be found
in the inspiration of the modern composite of integrated power networks,
operating as the “New World Order,” announced by George Bush Senior, in the
shadow of the 1991 “Gulf War.” There should be no doubt that such is operating
in high gear. Inspiration aside, there is no viable evidence of the survival
of the Illuminati, per se.
The order began as the “Order of
Perfectibilists.” It survived approximately
eighteen years, essentially ending in 1784 – by Bavarian royal decree; also
forbidding Freemasonry, or any other similar society. Beyond wild fantasies,
passionate claims, leaping logic and paranoia; there only remains a computer
game, of the same title.
It is not illogical to fear any powerful
society, not tempered by charity. Lord Acton left a permanent legacy in his
statement, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts – absolutely.”
In evidence, today (2009) we are seeing the appropriate re-examination of
the Bush Jr. Administration, in the light of American War Crimes.
In the history of the
Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt, with the aid of
Baron von Knigge and others, assembled the
controversial society; reportedly on
May 1, 1776,
It was ordered to be disbanded in 1784; disappearing completely by the end of
the century. There is no reliable evidence that it “…went underground,” to
arise at a more opportune time.
The Illuminati was formed independently of any Masonic
connection, save the coincidence of membership in the Illuminati, by
some of its founders. There was the firm goal to somehow ‘absorb’ the
Freemasons; and their Lodges. The Illuminati emulated many of the
traits and rituals of Freemasonry, aided by a number of prominent Freemasons
within the association.
Unfortunately for the institution, Freemasonry has received the
brunt of no small number of accusations, attempting to inject a false
association between Freemasonry and the (long dead) Illuminati. The
wide range of enemies of Freemasonry encourage the
premise that “Illuminism” (Illuminati) and
Freemasonry are essentially identical. Nothing could be further from the
truth. Sadly, Americans, in particular, are typically ignorant of the fact
that the Masons are responsible for the American Revolution and the American
Constitution, with the dynamic assistance of many others, outside the Craft.
Any knowledgeable Mason will advise that the
entirety of the “Craft” can be found in a large number of ‘exposures,’ dating
from the mid eighteenth century. Certainly, the signs in front of the Lodges &
the personal Masonic symbols, from rings to bumper-stickers, attest to the
falsehood of the Craft being any form of ‘secret society.’
Returning to the origins of
the Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt was a
Professor of Canon Law at the
In that tenure, he conceived his notion of founding a moral order –
essentially a ‘network’ – employing mutual aide and benefit, through superior
counsel and philosophic evolution. His plan did contain the Masonic traits of
morality and virtue, for which no explanation or apology is necessary.
was intent upon creating a foundation, attempting the reformation of the
world, while opposing the apparent progress of the ‘evil,’ of the time.
Obviously, Weishaupt developed
a contempt for the Catholic Church, in particular.
His original objectives were developed under
the name, "Order of Perfectibilists" or
"Perfectionists;" which soon became the infamous “Illuminati.” The term
"Illuminati" was apparently intended to mean "intellectually inspired,"
at a minimum; while seeming to attempt the development of a system of superior
and powerful knowledge – an attempt common to most cultures, during the course
of all recorded history.
Although his original goals were probably
admirable, they were naïve bait for those already in power. His greatest
mistake was to underestimate the intense survival commitment of the Church and
History strongly suggests that
Weishaupt’s judgment was badly outweighed by his
dreams. He lived in a very crude – nigh unto barbaric – time. Whatever the
stated ideals of the time, the Church could be as brutal as any peasant
The trustworthy accounts of the Illuminati
indicate that Weishaupt, and his aids, looked to
Freemasonry as a springboard, via ‘slight’ modification of the entrenched
society. Instead, the association – however slight – only served to degrade
Freemasonry. The attempt to prostitute Freemasonry was a total failure, but
not without a very negative effect on the Craft – to the present time!
attempts at being shrewd were counter-productive. He had a certain magnitude
of success, but only briefly. It should be illustrated that
Weishaupt formerly belonged to the Jesuits. It may
be assumed that he discovered something disturbing about the society, given
his later efforts.
joined Freemasonry, ironically, in a Lodge in
in 1777; named the "Lodge of Caution." Weishaupt
eventually became associated with Adolph Franz Friedrich
Ludwid Baron Von Knigge. The history of
that association is vague, given that Von Knigge
far from Weishaupt’s normal travels. Von
Knigge was a valuable asset to
Weishaupt, as Von Knigge
was of nobility.
However, after Von
Knigge was initiated into Freemasonry, in 1773, he
reportedly showed little further interest in the organization. His involvement
in the Illuminati is not too surprising, as during that period it was common
for noblemen to become members of any order in
which claimed any connection to Freemasonry.
In 1780, Weishaupt is reported to have sent the
Marquis de Costanzo to the north, to propagate his
Illuminism; where it is probable
that the Order was brought to the attention of Von Knigge.
By all accounts, Von
Knigge showed immediate interest in the society;
becoming more enthusiastic as the plan was revealed to him. In 1781, Von
Knigge accepted an invitation to visit
to be given full access to Weishaupt's materials.
Von Knigge completed the degrees of the
Illuminati, becoming a zealous proponent of
Illuminism; combining his efforts with the further
assistance of Johann J. C. Bode, a prominent German Freemason.
In its beginning, the order
quickly became very popular, attracting a wide range of German characters,
from nobility to scoundrels. At its peak, the order is claimed to have a roll
of 2000 names. The Illuminism quickly
spread all over
It is worth observing that Von
Knigge, was known
to be a highly religious and intellectual man; and would, in all likelihood,
have had no association with any order which was remotely anti-Christian.
In time, Weishaupt & the Illuminati
were subject to a variety of nefarious attacks and accusations. Chief among
the opponents were a French priest Abbé
Barruel and John Robison, author of “Proofs
of a Conspiracy,”
in 1797. That work alleged that there was a major social threat by both the
Illumaniti and the Freemasons.
and Robison came to the same opinion that
had infiltrated Continental Freemasonry, resulting in the violent excesses of
the French Revolution.
In 1798, a copy of
Robison's book was shipped to George Washington for his review. Washington
admitted his concerns that the
doctrines of the Illuminati, and
principles of Jacobinism (return of Catholic influence over England) had
reached American shores. However, there is no viable suggestion that the
Illuminati became much more than a notion, in the previous English
The Illuminati was quickly beset by
internal extremes of conflict. Von Knigge became
disgusted and resigned in 1784.
The Jesuits fought the
Illuminati from its first days. In time all Catholic priests were actively
opposing the Order. The Bavarian government suppressed the Order; as well as
Freemasonry, by edict, in 1784. Sufficient charges were made, that many of the
members of the Illuminati were thrown into prison, with others,
including Weishaupt, forced to leave
– a town of no small historical significance.
Weishaupt passionately defended his ideas in a
list of works on Illuminism, including "A
Complete History of the Persecutions of the Illuminati in Bavaria" (1785),
"A Picture of Illuminism" (1786),
"An Apology for the Illuminati" (1786) and "An
Improved System of Illuminism" (1787).
Weishaupt died in 1811.
By the end of the 18th century, the Illuminati left no more history, as
anything more than the continuing paranoid mythology.
To be fair, it should be noted that history records
Weishaupt as being a person of commendable moral
character, as well as an intelligent and a profound thinker. Despite the
internal conflicts of the Illuminati, Von Knigge,
spoke highly of Weishaupt’s intellectual powers.
History suggests that
Weishaupt became a victim of his own human failings. While he
apparently felt that he had justifiable hatred the Church of Rome and the
Bavarian government, his judgment failed him, as to a dynamic means to create
a secret movement such as his Illuminism.
By all appearances,
Weishaupt attempted to employ the methodology of the Jesuits, whom he
apparently hated, using a system of secrecy and spies. It is unfortunate for
the Masonic fraternity that Weishaupt attempted to
employ Freemasonry as a vehicle to advance his purposes. In consequence,
Freemasonry is unjustly associated with the Illuminati, in modern
Unless one is given to such high levels of accountability, as to hold the
Christian religion responsible for the Crusades and the infamous
"Inquisition," in the current time frame, then it is only appropriate to
regard the Illuminati in terms of:
Rest in Silence