The Illuminati was a secret society that promoted ideas in opposition to those of the Church and was founded in 1776 by Bavarian Jesuit Adam Weishaupt. Illuminati also refers to modern organizations that claim to have ties to secret societies, such as the original Bavarian group. Some conspiracy theorists believe that the Illuminati seek to control politics, mastermind global events and establish a New World Order.
The Illuminati are often portrayed in movies, video games, television shows and other forms of entertainment as a power-seeking underground group who want to eliminate Christianity and control the world.
The original, Bavarian Illuminati group that formed during the Enlightenment era promoted ideas that were similar to that of the Europe's intellectual renaissance. Because their ideas conflicted with teachings of the Church, Weishaupt's group became a secret society. The organization opposed superstition and the influence of religion over public affairs and was heavily criticized by the Catholic Church. In 1785, the group was outlawed by the ruler of Bavarian and dissolved. However, some members of the Church believed that the Illuminati was still active and were a contributing factor to the French Revolution. Illuminati means "bearers of light" and is considered to be related to the Masons, a fraternal organization that continues to have widespread membership around the world and of which George Washington, Thomas
Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were members.