Professor tells rise, fall of Illuminati during lecture

The Daily Eastern News, Eastern Illinois University/February 23, 2012

Signs of the Illuminati are supposedly everywhere. Jay Z plasters his album covers with their symbols. Dan Brown writes about how they are in conflict with the Catholic Church. But according to an Eastern professor, the Illuminati have not existed in more than two centuries and have no plans on returning.

Gustavo Albear, an assistant professor of secondary education and foundations, was the speaker at the "The History of the Illuminati" lecture, sponsored by University Board, Thursday in the Seventh Street Underground.

Albear said the Illuminati were indeed once an organization with motives toward removing religious influence in European government, but collapsed under political pressure prior to the French Revolution.

"You're not going to be seeing one walking around anymore, they're gone," Albear said. "They're off the face of the earth."

Albear said that the first people to take the title of Illuminati were those baptized into Christianity, thus becoming "illuminated" with the knowledge of God.

A group during the 18th century adopted the name Illuminati. They schemed to integrate themselves amongst the power brokers of Europe by aligning themselves with the charitable values of Freemasonry without informing people of their treasonous plot or the dangers involved, Albear said.

"Basically they're people into believing that what they're doing is the righteous and good thing to do and that no one is going to get in trouble," he said.

Today, the Illuminati are associated with Satanism and Devil worship, in part due to the influence of pop media such as Dan Brown's stories, Albear said.

"I want you to understand the Illuminati are not Satanists," he said. "That's stuff Mr. Brown shoves in for giggles."

Albear said the Freemasons ties to the Illuminati more than 200 years ago continues to color public opinion on who the Masons are and their activities.

"There are secret societies and there are societies with secrets," he said. "By definition, a secret society is not known to the public except to its membership."

Angie Bradley, the lectures coordinator for University Board, said she was pleased with the large turn out for the lecture.

"We had a lot of people show up," Bradley said. "We typically do not see this large of a crowd for the lectures.

Bradley said the audience in particular seemed to enjoy the professor's address.

"I thought the audience enjoyed it," she said. "They seemed really engaged."

Robert Clark, a freshman kinesiology and sports studies major, said Albear's lecture helped him understand who the Illuminati really were.

"I thought they were kind of mysterious or mythical almost," Clark said. "It was really good to hear what it actually was."

Clark added that Albear was particularly engaging as a speaker and managed to make the topic engaging through his tone.

"He had a lot of facts to back his opinions up," Clark said. "He really was defiant, it made you understand what he was trying to say."

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