Skip to main content

Burnsville church changes its name because it sounded like conspiracy cult

People kept mistaking the Illumination Church for the Illuminati.

A Burnsville church says it's recent name change was necessary to stop people confusing it with a global cult.

What was the Illumination Church is now Mercy Road Church, a step taken because a number of online users were mistaking it for the very-similar sounding "Illuminati."

If you're not familiar with the Illuminati, it's a secret society formed in 18th Century Germany for "enlightened" individuals, according to The Week.

More recently its existence has fueled conspiracy theories about an underground sect that secretly controls the world, and the name came to even greater prominence thanks to its inclusion in Dan Brown's bestseller "Angels and Demons."

This ultimately prompted the name change from what is now Mercy Road Church, with the church announcing the switch last month and providing an explainer for worshippers.

It said that there's a "growing" segment of online users who assume the church is affiliated with the Illuminati.

Meanwhile, a smaller number took the use of "Illumination" to mean it was linked to the Eckankar spiritual movement that is based out of Chanhassen.

"We don’t want our name to give a false impression to non-believers as we endeavor to share Christ with them," the church said. "We don’t want our name to hinder Christian transplants looking for a solid Bible-based church.

"We don’t want any real or perceived negative associations with our name to make it harder to accomplish the mission Christ gave us to go and make disciples.

"Although the name has been Biblical and a source of healing, recent years have revealed several emerging negative associations that now call into question the sustainability of the name"

Follow Bring Me The News on Flipboard for the latest stories

It's now the third name change in the church's almost 10-year history. It was founded as the Lifeprint Church, but changed its name to the Illumination Church after its founding pastor had a "very public moral failure."

As the Pioneer Press reports, that moral failure was that former Pastor John Erbele pleaded guilty to soliciting a prostitute.

Of the confusion about the Illuminati, Pastor Mike Lotzer told the PiPress that it was "kind of amusing at first," but eventually they were getting as many as five inquiries a day.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 9.39.38 PM

Jordan Greenway runs into Darcy Kuemper, sparks fight

Kuemper got knocked out of the game, leading to the brawl.

Kirill Kaprizov

MacKinnon's controversial goal helps Avalanche top Wild

Kirill Kaprizov's two goals were spoiled by a questionable call.

powell itasca jail jan 2022 resize

Attorney accused of sex assault misses hearing, DMs judge

He was arrested the next day after a warrant was issued,

lorie shaull vulcan snow park st paul winter carnival 2018

Winter Carnival: Get vaccinated or test negative before coming

Organizers are also reminding people to be mindful of the city's emergency regulations.

hospital, emergency room

Driver, 15 years old, hurt when car collides with SUV

The road was wet at the time, the State Patrol said.

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.

Related

Proposed topless bar is too close to church, committee rules

3 Degrees Church said the proposed adult entertainment venue was within 500 feet of its home.

church-1398784_1280

Church embroiled in ageism claims after announcing relaunch

The Cottage Grove church is trying to attract younger worshippers.

Minnesota church calls time on its lutefisk dinner after 70 years

Faith Lutheran in Forest Lake has struggled to find new volunteers to help out.

Berean Baptist Church

Burnsville mega church pastor on leave amidst sex abuse investigation

Two women say Rev. Wes Feltner manipulated them while he was a youth pastor at another church.

Screen Shot 2019-11-27 at 6.19.25 AM

Mega church pastor resigns amid sex misconduct investigation

Rev. Wes Feltner had been placed on leave after allegations he manipulated young women 17 years ago.

HopCat say it's changing the name of its famous 'Crack Fries'

The bar chain has a location in downtown Minneapolis.

Ham Lake

PETA suggests changing the name of Ham Lake, Minnesota to 'Yam Lake'

Why are we covering this? Because we're cynical click chasers.

First Covenant Church of Minneapolis

Minneapolis church facing eviction over its LGBTQ support

The national Evangelical Covenant Church is to decide on whether to remove the church from its roster.