I want to build one within my church that's main focus is charity There are virtually no initiations except prove your devout and want to work for a better world The main activities would include missionary work world wide and sponsoring of groups of people's that are oppressed As well as fellowship strengthening through bonding activities such as camping hiking and time in prayer But I don't know who to recruit how to go about it or start it

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    $\begingroup$ Why do you want a secret society with no initiations? I can't think of a secret society that doesn't have a substantial initiation concept because the initiation ceremony is also where one is given the secret that the society exists in the first place. Secrecy has a great cost, in terms of efficiency, so initiates need some reason to keep that secret as they work. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ The only secret is how to love and live a full and happy life $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ It's an extremely easy secret and is meant to be shared with eceryone $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 2:20
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    $\begingroup$ Why do they need secrecy then? Perhaps a social club is more in order? It's a bit tricky to have "live a life of love" and "exclusive secret society" side by side. The way you'd do that would be immensely dependent on the exact content of the "secret." By sticking to a social club, you avoid that issue. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 2:46
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of How do I recruit members for a secret society? $\endgroup$
    – T3 H40
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


You will find that secret societies arise when - and only when - its members have something to hide. Unless the group's aims are somehow shameful or unpopular, the group has no need to keep such knowledge or associations secret.

For such a secret society to arise, the proposed charity, proselytising and prevention of oppression must be sufficiently unpopular to the powers-that-be that the powers-that-be will actively hunt down and oppress those practising these activities. Without such an environment, your society need not - and will most likely not - be secret.

In the presence of such an environment, establishing a secret society is a tricky matter. The first order of business for the founder is to find other like-minded individuals. In an environment of repression, the founder must be careful not to reveal his inclinations to those who would report him to the authorities in return for a reward, and many a potential secret society has died out through breaches of confidentiality that have led to arrest and imprisonment or execution.

Such societies typically arise amongst groups of individuals with mutual trust, and spread slowly as the network of trust spreads through the environment of mistrust. Initiation rituals serve to bind new members to the group, typically by marking them somehow as members of the group, binding them to the group's fate should the group be betrayed to the authorities.

Think of a secret society as being like a terrorist organisation today. Every right-minded individual (for the powers-that-be's definition of right-minded) should want to destroy the group, yet they still manage to recruit new members.

The members subtly probe those they make contact with to gauge their receptiveness to the group's ideals, and when they receive a sufficiently strong sympathetic reception, they recruit the person as a new member.

Once a member of a secret society, there are additional levels of initiation that represent increased levels of trust. A high-level member would not reveal his identity to a low ranked member lest that newer member might be an informant.

Knowledge of the group's activities should be compartmentalised in a cellular fashion to prevent penetration and elimination of one cell from potentially bringing down the entire organisation.

Given the fate of many terrorist groups through the years, a lapse in secrecy could bring dire consequences to its members, and potentially spell the doom of the entire organisation.


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