23 Most Powerful Secret Societies
11. Independent Order of Odd Fellows
> Founded: 1819
> Mission: Aiding those in need
> Well-known members: Leland Stanford, Ulysses S. Grant, Charles Lindbergh, FDR, Rutherford B. Hayes
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows believes that friendship, love, and truth are basic principles. The group originated in England, and the U.S. chapter was created in the early part of the 19th century in Baltimore. Odd Fellows was one of the first fraternal organizations to open up membership to women, who are called Rebekahs.
12. Opus Dei
> Founded: 1928
> Mission: Working for love, finding God
> Well-known members: St. Josemaría Escrivá
Opus Dei is a Catholic group with 80,000 clergy and lay members who claim to find God in everyday life. In recent years, the group has had to fend off accusations that it is a cult with a far-right agenda. That image was not helped by the fictional book and the movie “The Da Vinci Code,” which portrayed the group as having dangerous beliefs.
13. Ordo Templi Orientis
> Founded: Early 20th century
> Mission: Law of Thelema is guiding principle-love of individual above all others
> Well-known members: Aleister Crowley
Ordo Templi Orientis means “Order of the Temple of the East” and its main principle is “Do What Thou Wilt,” meaning the love of the individual supersedes anything. The most well-known member of this group is English occultist Aleister Crowley. He was so famous that the Beatles included him on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
> Founded: Early 17th century
> Mission: Seekers of esoteric knowledge
> Well-known members: Isaac Newton, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Walt Disney, Napoleon Bonaparte
The Rosicrucians were founded in the 17th century and claimed to possess wisdom passed on to them from ancient times. Today, they are composed of those who study metaphysical laws that govern the universe. Members are required to take online lessons once a week regarding particular ideas and experiments, and then they are asked to perform an experiment.
15. Royal Arcanum
> Founded: 1877
> Mission: Comforting distressed
> Well-known members: N/A
Royal Arcanum is a fraternal benefit group based in Massachusetts. It has more than 20,000 members. It believes in God and the brotherhood of man, conducting oneself with kindness and generosity, and comforting the distressed. One of its missions is to provide life insurance for the less affluent members of society.