[T]here are hundreds of small groups with grand-sounding titles that have few members and that come and go like people through a revolving door at the bank on payday. Someone may decide one day to unilaterally announce the existence of the Glorious Hermetic Order of the Paisley Doodlebug with himself as Grand Exalted Poobah and Master of the World, and eventually, by means of correspondence and computer networking, he will work around to having as many as half a dozen members worldwide---if his dues are not too expensive. Having come that far, he may publish leaflets, pamphlets, even books outlining the philosophy and practices of the order. In spite of the fact that there has never been a meeting of the order, beyond informal gatherings of two or three friends at the local pizza parlor, one gets the impression of vast temples and tesselated pavements, with robed acolytes lining the cloisters like extras at the opera. Somewhere in a hidden enclave are the secret masters of the order, running the show---and perhaps the world---from their arcane hideaway. Then, two years later, everyone has lost interest and forgotten all about it, including the Poobah himself.
This scenario is not always true, however. Sometimes the group will survive for many years while maintaining this mysterious and impressive reputation---but with no members at all except for the founder and his wife.
Heads of orders will please not now contact the author or publisher to complain that their group has been unjustly defamed. How do you know it's your group we're talking about---unless you have an uneasy conscience? Maybe it's somebody on the opposite coast.
From Pilgrims of the Night (1993) by Lars B. Lindholm