Scientology and "secret information" religions

True, but mandatory tithing such as theirs is essentially a pay-to-pray scheme.

the Druze religion is secretive.(It’s a breakaway sect of Islam, with about a million followers.) The believers are not allowed to read their own sacred texts, unless they take the vows and join the clergy.

This rule has a name now? Is it a new name brithed in the last couple of weeks since I asked in detail about it? If this post is better in ATMB (not sure), please move it there.

IANAM (not a Mason) but my understanding was that they developed as a secret society to counter the overly dominant Catholic church. Being a member of the Masons could get you arrested - hence the need to keep things secret. Whether that secrecy is really necessary now, it certainly has a valid tradition.

As for Masons and such now, I associate it all with the Fred Flintstone’s Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge, an excuse for husbands to get out of the house and go drinking.

It’s mandatory in a number of Christian denominations. Those who practice it believe it to mandated by the Bible. It’s practiced by Orthodox Jews as well.

Secrecy is half the point of freemasonry as I understand it. It’s a grown man’s boy club, essentially. None of the shenanigans they’re up to in their secret meetings amount to much but they won’t tell you about it.
They will, however, make a point to tell you they won’t tell you about it ;).

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n/m not sure ir clears the above warning…

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Right, but Mormons cannot attain the Celestial Kingdom (the highest level of heaven) without having attended the temple. They cannot attend the temple unless they are full 10% tithe payers. If they do not pay, it’s not like they’ll be excommunicated… they won’t be exalted unto the highest level. There’s no salvation without your ten percent. Does that apply to other Christians and Orthodox Jews? For example, if you don’t pay your tithing to the Catholic church, are you still allowed to attend a high mass? Or a wedding of a family member? In mormonism, weddings are supposed to occur in the temple. Only tithe paying, worthy members may be invited. That means your little sister (who is not old enough to go to the temple), your coffee-drinking aunt, your nevermormon cousins, your non-tithe paying grandparents are all not allowed to witness your wedding. Do other religions do that?

There are certain bits of doctrine that mormons do not encounter until temple attendance. For me, this all adds up to de facto coerced tithing and hidden doctrine.



Do Mormons audit tax returns? Serious question. Aside from one’s personal issues with lies to God, does the Church really know if you tithe or not?

Mainstream religions have steady streams of people joining and leaving. There’s always somebody willing to talk about it.

It’s like we’ve discussed in other threads about “secret societies.” The full ritual books with passwords are available online for just about any of them. If it’s been written down, some disgruntled former member has probably scanned it and posted it somewhere.

Aye, but while it may be mandatory in terms of being considered an offical member of a congregation, it is not mandatory tithing such as the Mormons’ where basic tenets and practices of the church are withheld and kept secret unless you pay. You can find out all of what Baptists and Jews believe and do, and experience it in the overwhelming majority of congregations, without spending a cent.

Masonry isn’t a religion (or a cult), though it has some non-denominational religious elements. But Masonic lodges certainly aren’t drinking clubs. There is no alcohol in Indiana lodges, I know that much, and although other states’ bylaws don’t forbid it, some individual lodges do. I don’t know what the situation in Europe is; I imagine they’re probably more tolerant about it there.

For all the talk about Freemasonry being an old men’s club or dying off, I have to say, I think it seems to be going strong right now. I am constantly bombarded with emails about degrees going on in nearby towns and cities, many of them EAs, meaning someone is being initiated into the fraternity. If you went to every Masonic initiation within 100 miles each week, you’d have no time to do anything else. When I went to the Scottish Rite convocation in Indianapolis, the 30-40 year old age group was strongly represented, probably more so than the older demographic. It’s probably all of the conspiracy theories and online bullshit that are drawing curious men into the fraternity, actually.

No, they do not do that. However, the bishop (the guy who presides over the local congregation, called a “ward”) schedules annual “tithing settlement” meetings at the end of the year. At these meetings, the bishop presents an itemized receipt showing the member’s contributions for that calendar year and asks if that is the correct amount the member shows in his own records that was paid. Assuming the records match, the bishop may and usually also asks if that represents a “full tithe”. There is much controversy amongst members as to what exactly “full tithe” means. Some pay tithing on gross. Some pay tithing on net. In general, most bishops will take the members word at face value and not probe further.

Note these meetings are held separately from temple worthiness interviews, in which a number of other questions are asked to determine if the member is following all the rules properly. The tithing question comes up again, but again, it’s a simple, “Do you pay a full tithe?” to which the answer is either yes or no. The member does not have to elaborate on what they consider the definition of “full tithe” to be. The bishop assumes the member is honest. Because, well, they’re all mormons! :smiley:

Come to think of it, back in the day when I was a mormon (full disclosure: I stopped attending at 18 and formally resigned in 2003), I wanted to participate in the baptism for the dead ritual in the Washington D.C. temple. I would not have been allowed to participate in any other ritual in the temple than that one, so my “entrance card” (which is called a “temple recommend”) was limited in scope. But I vividly recall being interviewed to determine if I was worthy and being asked that question. It was well known that I had a thriving little babysitting business going on ('cause those mormons create jobs for teenaged girls by having lots of babies!) so the bishop knew I made money. I was expected to pay tithing. Even young children are expected to pay tithing to prepare them for adulthood.

Had I lied to the bishop about whether my payment was a full tithe, I would have had to answer to the god I believed in at the time. So that’s the checks-and-balance system: if you don’t pay, you burn in hell. Therefore, mormons sometimes refer to tithing as “fire insurance.” :wink:

Just wanted to add, as a fully out-of-the-closet apostate, that much of the weirder doctrine I’d never heard of in all my years of church until I became an ex-mormon and started frequenting cult recovery websites. I started finding all manner of nonsense that is supported by mormon scripture and which was never once mentioned in church services, Sunday School, or in the Young Women’s meetings. I also attended Seminary, which is like every day Sunday School M-F, for four years in high school. None of the weird stuff, like the Adam=God theory, planet Kolob, not even polygamy, was mentioned in my memory. I learned a LOT after I left, mostly from reading other people’s exit stories and saying to myself, “Whaaa?” and then I’d go research and sure enough… Brigham Young was all about blood atonement. Never heard of such a thing when I was an active believing mormon, attending church meetings six days a week.

Perhaps the mormon church doesn’t qualify as a secretive religion to some of you, but I lived it and as a single data point, I’m here to tell you it does. YMMV, as always.

I believe that certain forms of esoteric western mysticism, most notably the OTO and the Golden Dawn (in its various incarnations) have secret ceremonies that are not taught except to the initiates. Membership takes dues. This may qualify for the OP’s request.

Mark Hoffmann made a lot of money* forging documents detailing things about the founding of the Mormon Church and then selling* them to people who then promptly handed them over to Church officials who locked them away so that no one else would ever see them.

Now, this says different things to different people. To some it says, “the Church officials knew they were false documents and wanted to make sure they did not inflict damage on the Church.” To some it says, “the Church officials knew there are things about the founding of their Church that people shouldn’t know and that need to remain secret.”

*But, unfortunately for him, not enough to keep his scheme from collapsing on itself.

I say the exact same thing.

The Mormons are master PR experts, and their take on Christianity is radically different than mainstream Christian denominations.

That said, if they sold stock to the public, it would be worth selling everything that you own to buy all in, as they know how to make $$$ hand over fist, giving the gaming/porno/hard drug industry, OPEC, and the Gambino Family a run for most successful “entrepreneur” on the planet.