Jon E. Graham is an award-winning translator, artist, and writer specializing in esoteric topics. He joined Richard Syrett (Twitter) to talk about the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati, the infamous secret society founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776. Weishaupt was a law professor at University of Ingolstadt where he was engaged in a constant struggle with Jesuits, Graham explained. "The basic enlightenment values that he was initially preaching were not tolerated... so that was one of the reasons he decided a secret society was the only way he could subvert the state and the church," he said. The Order Weishaupt founded essentially sought to liberate humanity from the oppression of church and state so they could pursue their own perfectibility, Graham added, noting the Order's use of the owl of Minerva to represent wisdom.
"[Weishaupt's] program involved a lot of manipulation but he called it guiding men to their better natures," he continued. According to Graham, once people went through his system they would be able to govern themselves as a federation of people with shared views and morality, having freed themselves from superstition and fear. In the Order's upper hierarchy were the priest grade and regent grade, which sought to infiltrate the existing power structure and turn its purposes to good (as defined by the leaders of the Illuminati). Weishaupt's idea was to was to educate people into the tenants of then Illuminati and then, through the network of the Order, get members placed into positions of power, Graham revealed, noting it was a kind of subversive movement to topple the state.
The Lightning Rod
In the first hour, author Brad Meltzer discussed his latest novel, The Lightning Rod. Chapter one begins with the death of a character killed while trying to stop a robbery at his home. Mortician Zig finds something on the body that no one was ever supposed to see and it leads to the U.S. government's most intensely guarded secrets, Meltzer explained. He described Zig as a person who believes in kindness, while his counterpart Nola believes "if you want the world to make sense you grab it by the throat and you force it to make sense." Neither character will ever have what they desire the most, Meltzer added. What Zig finds on the body ultimately leads him to Nola, and to uncovering the existence of a hidden group that is willing to compromise the security of the nation.