Tags: american religion | cult

Fascinating American Religions & Cults Throughout Time

Fascinating American Religions & Cults Throughout Time
The Church of Scientology headquarters, known as the Flag Building or the Super Power Building, in Clearwater, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

George Mentz By Tuesday, 29 August 2023 09:18 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

As a historian, self help author, and law professor, I have always been intrigued with the number of presidents and celebrities who have dabbled in empowerment teachings, unique religions, and even secret societies over the last 300 years in America.

Throughout history, the presidents and celebrities of the United States have been individuals of diverse backgrounds and interests. In addition to their political careers, many presidents have belonged to intriguing groups and clubs that reflect their personal beliefs, hobbies and passions. Here are some impressive and interesting examples of religions, memberships and philosophies that U.S. leaders and VIP’s have participated with.


Freemasonry, a secretive fraternity, has attracted the membership of several presidents, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and Harry S. Truman. [i] Freemasonry espouses moral and philosophical teachings through rituals and symbols. It emphasizes brotherhood, personal growth, and ethical conduct, making it an appealing organization for presidents seeking intellectual and moral guidance. Even Bill Clinton, a Baptist, participated in the International Order of DeMolay, a youth organization affiliated with Freemasonry. [ii]

Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group is an annual invitation-only conference attended by approximately 130-140 global elites, including politicians, business leaders, and academics. The meetings are closed to the public, and there have been claims of U.S. Presidents and VIPs, such as Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger, attending in the past. However, the organization's activities are not fully transparent, leading to speculation and conspiracy theories. [iii]

Trilateral Commission

The Trilateral Commission is a non-governmental organization founded in 1973. It brings together influential leaders from North America, Europe and Asia to discuss global issues and promote cooperation.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States (1977-1981), is a notable member of the Trilateral Commission. Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States (1993-2001), has been associated with the Trilateral Commission. Joe Biden the 46th President of the United States, was not a member of the Trilateral Commission but has interacted with the organization's members and attended its meetings. [iv]

Theosophical Society

The Theosophical Society, founded in the late 19th century, advocates the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science. Presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were associated with this organization as well as Thomas Edison and William Butler Yeats.

The society aims to foster the unity of humanity, encourage spiritual exploration, and promote the understanding of universal truths through a blend of Eastern and Western philosophies. [v]

Bohemian Grove

Bohemian Grove, a private club situated in California, has seen the involvement of multiple U.S. presidents, including Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. This club serves as a gathering place for influential individuals from various fields, fostering networking and camaraderie through social events and discussions. While Bohemian Grove has attracted criticism due to its exclusivity, it remains an intriguing example of high ranking politicians engaging in exclusive social circles. [vi]

Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones, a secretive undergraduate society at Yale University, boasts a notable list of members, including William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, John Kerry, and George W. Bush.

This society engages in rituals and discussions centered on intellectual and leadership development. Despite its secretive nature, the society has generated public interest and speculation, making it a topic of fascination among historians and conspiracy theorists alike. [vii] Senate Finance Chair Russell Long and Governor Earl Long were members of the other Friars Skull and Bones at LSU Louisiana State University. [viii]

World Economic Forum

Presidents: Several U.S. Presidents have attended the WEF Annual Meeting. For instance, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump have all participated in WEF events during their presidencies. [ix]

Interesting Religions

Unitarian Universalism

Unitarian Universalism, a liberal religious movement, has captured the interest of several American presidents, such as John Adams, John Quincy Adams and William Howard Taft. This faith tradition promotes individual freedom, social justice, and the search for truth through reason and tolerance. Unitarian Universalism's emphasis on personal spirituality and intellectual exploration resonated with these presidents' philosophical outlooks. [x]

Mormons [xi]

1. Senator Mitt Romney: Bishop Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts and the Republican Party's nominee for president in 2012, is a prominent member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

2. Harry Reid: Harry Reid, a former U.S. Senator from Nevada and Senate Majority Leader, also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Sonny Bono, the late American entertainer and congressman, was associated with the Church of Scientology as well as actors such as Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, and John Travolta. [xii]

Roman Catholics

John F. Kennedy: Although not directly knighted by the Pope, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was awarded the honor of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1961, shortly after his inauguration, for his commitment to religious freedom and his support for the Catholic community. Joe Biden is America’s second Catholic president and Nancy Pelosi is also a Catholic.

Orthodox or Observant Jewish Faith

Joseph Lieberman: Joseph Lieberman is an American politician who served as a U.S. Senator from Connecticut from 1989 to 2013. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 presidential election, running alongside Al Gore. Lieberman is known for his mostly Orthodox Jewish faith and has been an advocate for various policy issues during his career. [xiii] Many famous authors, TV, and Movie executives are also observant. [xiv]


Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, who may have mentioned his interest in Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah in interviews. However, it is important to note that Weiner's involvement in Jewish mysticism did not play a significant role in his political career. [xv]


Richard Nixon: Richard Nixon was born and raised in a Quaker household. Quakerism, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, is a Christian denomination that emphasizes simplicity, pacifism, and the belief in the inner light of God within each individual.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised in a religiously mixed household. His mother was a devout member of the River Brethren, a Mennonite sect, while his father was a River Brethren convert. The River Brethren are a conservative Anabaptist group that emphasizes biblical literalism and nonresistance.

However, during his childhood, Eisenhower also had exposure to other Christian denominations, including the Jehovah's Witnesses and the International Bible Students Association, which later became known as Jehovah's Witnesses. [xvi] Other famous people include the Williams Sisters, Michael Jackson and Prince.


Attorney General Keith Ellison: Keith Ellison, a former U.S. Representative from Minnesota, was the first Muslim elected to Congress in 2006. He served in Congress until 2019 and has been an influential figure in advocating for progressive policies and interfaith dialogue.

Ilhan Omar: Ilhan Omar, also a representative from Minnesota, became the first Somali American elected to Congress in 2018. She has been a vocal advocate for her special views on social justice, immigration and foreign policy.

Knights, Chivalry & Knights Templar

A number of famous Americans have been knighted by various branches of monarchy for their significant contributions in various fields. Here are a few notable examples: [xvii] Dwight D. Eisenhower was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II in 1945.

Recognized as one of the greatest entertainers in American history, Bob Hope received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 1998. President Ronald Reagan was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II in 1989. Further, some U.S. politicians such as Alabama Sen. Bill Hightower have even been knighted by Karl Von Habsburg's as Honorary members of The Austrian Empire’s Order of St. George Habsburg Lorraine. [xviii] [xix] Not to be outdone, many high ranking American military Admirals and Generals are also members of the SMOTJ Knights Templar. [xx]

Native Americans

U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, is a Native American who has made significant contributions in the fields of politics and arts. He was raised as a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and was born on April 13, 1933, in Auburn, California, United States. Campbell began his career as an athlete and won a spot on the U.S. Olympic Judo Team in 1964.


Congressman and Iraq War Veteran Tulsi Gabbard is a practicing Hindu. She has openly spoken about her faith and how it has influenced her life and political career. Gabbard was born into a multicultural and multireligious family, with her mother practicing Hinduism and her father practicing Catholicism. [xxi] Still a potential Presidential candidate for 2024.


Mazie Hirono: Mazie Hirono is a Democratic U.S. Senator from Hawaii, serving since 2013. She is known for being the first Buddhist woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Hirono has openly spoken about her Buddhist faith and its influence on her life and political work. [xxii]

Socialists or Communists [xxiii]

Senator Bernie Sanders: A prominent figure in contemporary American politics, Sanders identifies as a democratic socialist. He has served as a U.S. Senator from Vermont and ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016 and 2020. [xxiv]

General Milley –“ I've read Karl Marx. I've read Lenin. That doesn't make me a communist.”

Various Faiths and Wild Preachers

Barack Obama: While it is true that Obama's father was a Muslim, Obama himself has consistently stated that he did not practice Islam during his childhood. Barack Obama Sr., was born into a Muslim family in Kenya.

The Besuki Public School Barack Obama attended had a majority-Muslim student population but was not a real Madrasah. Further, during visits to his ancestral home in Kenya, Obama participated in traditional ceremonies and cultural events, as is customary for individuals reconnecting with their roots and heritage. [xxv]

As a youth, Obama was also a member of the "choom gang", a self-named group of friends that spent time together and smoked marijuana. [xxvi] Obama was a member of the United Church of Christ, specifically the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, prior to becoming President. [xxvii] [xxviii] Everyone knows that Obama’s Rev. Wright who married him was a talented but dangerously wild preacher. [xxix] In 2009, President Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was blaming "them Jews" for keeping him from speaking to the president. [xxx]

New Thought, Empowerment & Human Potential

45th US President Donald John Trump has been associated with various branches of “Positive Thinking Movements” “Human Potential Movements” “Christian Healing Movements” and “Christian New Thought”. He attended church at Norman Vincent Peale’s services in New York for years. [xxxi] As a non-drinker and self-made billionaire, his empowerment speeches have commanded roughly one million dollars per talk. [xxxii]

Apparently, Trump and his wife have earned over $1 billion leaving office. Trump has authored dozens of best selling self-help books. One of Trump’s mantras is, “Today’s a great day. I live in the most powerful country in the world. I have a wonderful job. Today I’ll encounter many opportunities for success.”


The religions, clubs, and societies that politicians and celebrities have belonged to throughout history offer glimpses into their personal beliefs, interests, and social networks.

From the intellectual pursuits of Freemasonry and religious sects to the camaraderie of Bohemian Grove and the exclusivity of Skull and Bones, these associations have shaped presidents' experiences and potentially influenced their leadership styles. Many in American tend to explore religions, groups, occult organizations and sects involved in empowerment and Human Potential. [xxxiii] Exploring these diverse affiliations enriches our understanding of the complex individuals who have held the highest office in their respective countries. [xxxiv]

Commissioner George Mentz JD MBA CILS CWM® is an international lawyer, speaker, educator, tax-economist, and CEO of the GAFM Global Academy of Finance & Management ®. The GAFM is a ESQ accredited graduate body that trains and certifies professionals in 150+ nations under CHEA ACBSP and ISO 21001 standards. Mentz is also an award winning author and graduate law professor of wealth management for a top U.S. law school.


"Religious Affiliations of U.S. Presidents" - Pew Research Center: Link: https://www.pewresearch.org/2015/02/23/religious-affiliation-of-u-s-presidents/

"Fraternities and Secret Societies of U.S. Presidents" - WorldAtlas: Link: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/fraternities-and-secret-societies-of-us-presidents.html

"U.S. Presidents Who Attended Ivy League Schools" - ThoughtCo: Link: https://www.thoughtco.com/presidents-who-attended-ivy-league-schools-4052713

"U.S. Presidents and Their Educational Backgrounds" - University of Virginia: Link: https://millercenter.org/president/essays/us-presidents-and-their-educational-backgrounds

[i] Masonic Presidents of the United States | Harry S. Truman (trumanlibrary.gov)

[ii] Amazon.com: The Rosicrucian Handbook & Hermetic Textbook of Success Secrets: The Original American Illuminati Loge de Parfaits d' Écosse ™- 1764: 9781794548664: Mentz, George, Incognito, Magus: Books

[iii] List of Bilderberg participants - Wikipedia


[v] Theosophical Society - Wikipedia

[vi] Clarence Thomas and Bohemian Grove: What goes on at the all-male club? - BBC News

[vii] Yale, Skull and Bones, and the beginnings of Johns Hopkins - PMC (nih.gov)

[viii] delta_kappa_epsilon_outcome_8_5_19_case_2018265201_redacted.pdf (lsu.edu)

[ix] WEF_AM23_List_of_confirmed_PFs.pdf (weforum.org)

[x] Famous Unitarians (churchoftheriver.org)

[xi] List of Latter Day Saints - Wikipedia

[xii] Scientology and celebrities - Wikipedia

[xiii] DEMOCRATS: THE OBSERVANCES; Lieberman Balances Private Faith With Life in the Public Eye - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

[xiv] Category:American Orthodox Jews - Wikipedia

[xv] Kabbalah Centre - Wikipedia

[xvi] 28 Famous Jehovah's Witnesses (ranker.com)

[xvii] SMOTJ History-Priory of The Temple Church Home | The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem

[xviii] Senator Bill Hightower - Alabama Policy Institute

[xix] St. Georgs-Orden – Ein europäischer Orden des Hauses Habsburg-Lothringen (georgsorden.at)

[xx] Meet the Americans Following in the Footsteps of the Knights Templar | History| Smithsonian Magazine

[xxi] World celebrities who embraced Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma) ! (thehinduportal.com)

[xxii] List of American Buddhists - Wikipedia

[xxiii] Category:American communists - Wikipedia

[xxiv] Category:American socialists - Wikipedia

[xxv] In Photos: President Obama Visits a Mosque in Baltimore | whitehouse.gov (archives.gov)

[xxvi] Obama and His Pot-Smoking 'Choom Gang' - ABC News (go.com)

[xxvii] Obama's Ties To Church Examined - CBS News

[xxviii] Misperceptions about Barack Obama's faith still exist | CNN Politics

[xxix] Obama defends Rev. Wright as 'supremely gifted preacher,' hits Loeffler's 'crazy' attacks on Warnock | Fox News

[xxx] Wright says 'Jews' keeping him from Obama (nbcnews.com)

[xxxi] Trump’s Philosophy: The Power of Faith/The Liberty web GLOBAL: IRH Press Co. Ltd., Happy Science (the-liberty.com)

[xxxii] Donald and Melania Trump's speaking fees: New details revealed in revised personal financial disclosure filing | CNN Politics

[xxxiii] Category:American occultists - Wikipedia

[xxxiv] Human Potential Movement - Wikipedia

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Introduction to America's diverse spiritual heritage
american religion, cult
Tuesday, 29 August 2023 09:18 AM
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