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The Ophites This sect originated around the 2nd century A.D. in Syria. The Ophites worshiped the serpent of Genesis, (i.e., the Devil, which they called Ophite) whom they believed brought mankind enlightenment, rather than his fall. This would technically make them the first Luciferians. They were said to have a very elaborate theology. Sophia was said to have given birth to the evil creator god, here called "Ialdabaoth". Sophia gave birth to another son, "Mind" (Ophite) that took the form of a serpent. The Ophites are an inspiration for many occult groups, from Theosophy to Satanists.

The Cainites The Cainite sect was a good example Gnostics who practice Biblical character inversion. They take their name from Adam’s son Cain who they believed was actually a virtuous person, rather than cursed by God for killing Abel. They also believed Judas, the Sodomites, and every villain of the Bible were virtuous people as well, since they were the enemies of "the Demiurge (Jehovah)", and the Demiurge was evil. Writers such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Epiphanus have all stated the Cainites were lawless, and tried to break every taboo. They sound very similar to modern occult groups who live by the creed "Do What You Will" as their only moral guide. They believe Judas brought about mankind’s salvation by betraying Jesus, which they considered a "sacred act". Among their scriptures was a forgery called The Gospel of Judas. The Sethians or Sethites A sect that existed around the 2nd Century A.D. They believed Cain, Able, and Seth represented three forces of the universe. They boasted the ludicrous and unprovable claim that they could trace their lineage to Adam through Seth, and were thus older than Christianity. Neoplatonism (i.e., Greek Paganism) is thought to have been an influence on the group, although they are said to have been similar to the blasphemous Cainite sect.

The Bogomils/Cathars/Albigenses A medieval Gnostic sect. The sect seems to have been a direct decedent of the Manichieans. The Manicheans were thought to have disbanded around the 6th Cebtury A.D., but the sect made a comeback in 11th Century Europe as the "Cathari". The Cathars started in Bulgaria as a movement in the 11th century and spread to Western Europe. In the 12th century the grouped flourished in Southern France and Italy and were called Albigenses. The sect lived in open defiance of the Pope, who of course wasn’t thrilled by that. The sect was wiped out in the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church by the 14th century. Yes, this was a terrible thing, but also keep in mind, they weren’t Wiccans. The group was divided into two levels, "the perfect" and "the believers". The perfect lived in celibacy and regarded marriage as evil.

Heterosexual intercourse was considered evil, since it created children. The sect is also said to have practiced homosexuality, since it didn’t create children. The vulgar term for anal sex, "bugger", comes from the word "Bogomil", another name for the sect. The sect rejected many Biblical doctrines, including the divinity of Christ, regarding him merely an angel. One peculiar doctrine of the Bogomils was that the soul escaped through the anus. They believed Lucifer created a mud stopper to keep Adam's soul from escaping. This ridiculous doctrine probably played some part in the group's belief in sodomy.

The sect influenced Jewish though in 12th century France, and thus led to the Jewish-occult system of philosophy called "Cabala". Cabala (also spelled Kabala, Qabala, Kaballa, Kaballah, etc.) became the basis for almost all Western occultism. The Bohemians Started by a German shoemaker named Jacob Boheim, born in Alt Seidenburg, in 1575. One day Boheme claimed he had a revelation that inside each person dwelt a "divine spark".Many of Bohem's ideas sound identical to Gnostic groups that existed centuries prior. The Lutheran Church of his day charged him with heresy, and he was ordered to cease writing, however he continued to do so anyway. Boheme’s writings are a favorite among various Rosicrucian Orders and Martinist Orders.

There are also some modern day Gnostic sects as well.

The Gnostic-Catholic Church/Universal Gnostic Church This church was started by Jules-Benoîît Stanislas Doinel du Val-Michel. He was an Occultist, Spiritist, and Freemason. While working as a librarian for the Library of Orleans in France he became obsessed with Gnosticism. In 1888 he claimed "Eon Jesus" appeared to him and commanded him to start a Gnostic Church, with a man known as Doniel as Arch Bishop. The group was said to teach Satan was the good god of the Universe and the God of the Old Testament was evil. They also were said to embrace ideas akin to Marxism, calling it "The Brotherhood of Man". This church has ties to the occult lodge Ordro Templi Orentis, and includes occultist and quasi-Satanist Aleister Crowley as one of its "Bishops". After Crowley became involved, the Church became completely "Crolweyized", and Crowley’s religion of Thelema replaced whatever similarities to Christianity there might have been.

Christian Science The Church has many beliefs in common with Gnostics, including that Jesus and Christ were two different people, reincarnation, that Christ didn’t died for our sins, and life is an illusion. Mary Baker Eddy started this movement from writings plagiarized from husband number three, a hypnotist named Phineas Quimby. Unity and New Thought are offshoots of Christian Science. Eddy predicted she would never die...but she did anyway in 1921. A false prophecy from a false prophetess. Her followers dressed up a manakin in her clothes and paraded her around in a carriage to fool people into thinking she was still alive. When people figured out the hoax they threw stones at the carriage.

Various "Mormon" Churches There are over 100 denominations that follow the strange teachings of the "prophet" Joseph Smith. The two largest denominations are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with headquarters in Independence, MO (which later changed it's name to Community of Christ). The beliefs of this sect are so out of align with the rest of Orthodox Christian Theology held by the majority of Christian Churches that Mormon denominations are closer to being classified as Gnostic sects. It would take another book to try to examine them all in detail, so I only will give a few details.

Mormon missionaries encourage their followers to ask god for the "burning of the bosom" to know the Mormon gospel is real, similar to "gnosis" of earlier Gnostic cults. Like the Gnostics, Mormons believe that Adam's fall was necessary for their other words, our salvation depends at least in part on Lucifer! Mormons believe Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, a view Gnostic groups of the past also held. Mormons believe in a goddess they call "Heavenly Mother", and many Gnostics also believed in a goddess. They also deny the Trinity, the virgin birth, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and many other core beliefs of Christianity...which is also similar to Gnosticism. Salvation by Grace is rejected for salvation through good works, which is another key point of many Gnostic cults. The Mormon temple rituals, and other practices such as the squaring of the arm to give a blessing or seal a grave, secret grips and handshakes, are lifted directly from Scottish Rite Masonry, which appears to have its roots in Gnosticism, via the Templars. The similarities between Gnostics and Mormons are even noted by Mormons. Mormon apologist Hugh Nibley wrote of the similairities thinking it somehow proves Mormonism to be true.

Jehovah's Witnesses a/k/a Kingdom Hall The Jehovah's Witnesses have many similar beliefs in common to the Gnostic groups of the past, and their theology is out of line with Orthodox Christianity. Again, here's just a sample of their beliefs. JWs deny the divinity of Christ, believing he was the archangel Michael incarnate, which was a belief of the Cathars and other Gnostic sects. They teach for some reason that Christ did not die on a cross, but died tied to a stake instead. JWs reject the idea of the Trinity and salvation through good works rather than grace, two more Gnostic beliefs.

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