View Full Version : Earlier non-public religions
March 29th, 2011, 10:13 AM
In the united States in the 20th Century, we have at least two religions where there is information about the religion which is not public*, the temple ceremonies for the Latter Day Saints (various sects) and various written works for Scientology. I can't think of any religion of which this is true of prior to the 1830s for the Latter Day Saints. Can anyone think of any way to have non-public religious practices prior to that date? Note, I'm not counting private events (like the Jewish High Priests on Yom Kippur or electing a pope)
March 29th, 2011, 10:15 AM
Druze religion was a closely guarded secret for centuries, although that was mainly so that they could pretend to be Muslim(ish) to appease their Ottoman overlords.
March 29th, 2011, 12:09 PM
If you regard the free-masonry as a ritualized form of Deism, they have some secret rituals, but it is not very fitting, as free-masons can and often do keep their non-masonic religious identity (unless their community forbids it, as it was the case for Catholics).
There is a lot of groups who have secret rituals or withhold parts of religious knowledge to non-authorized people. Actually the Catholic Church itself looked unfaroubly at widespread knowledge of the Bible in some periods and even forbade commoners to read its transaltion. Well, I wouldn't say that this can be described as keppeing the Bible "secret" though.
March 29th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Can anyone think of any way to have non-public religious practices prior to that date?
Can we think of any? There are and were thousands of examples because for millennia "non-public" religious practices were the rule and not the exception. Most have been lost to us because they were closely held secrets but, prior to the idea of proselytizing becoming widespread, most religions were at least partially secretive with closely held practices known only to the initiated.
Check out this link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Roman_mysteries) to begin exploring the topic.
March 29th, 2011, 01:15 PM
To avoid persecution Japanese Christians practised their religion in secret, and passed on the Bible orally: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakure_Kirishitan
March 29th, 2011, 01:44 PM
Some Native American religions are highly secretive:
Some mosques do not allow non-muslims inside, I don't know if there would be a POD to make this more widespread:
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