On Jan. 21, a user posted a photo of Biden’s hand on the Bible. First lady Jill Biden is pictured in the lower right-hand corner.
“Sooo has anyone else realized this yet or???? Masonic/Illuminati Bible that Biden swore on yesterday,” the photo’s caption says.
The post has more than 16,000 shares. It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.
The term “Illuminati,” translated from Latin to mean “revealed” or “enlightened,” refers to a secret society called the Bavarian Illuminati that sought to infiltrate powerful institutions, such as monarchies, to promote Enlightenment ideals. “Masonic” refers to freemasonry, the practices of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organization. The Bavarian Illuminati infiltrated Masonic lodges before dissolving in the 18th century.
The Bible that Biden was sworn in on is not related to either organization, which have been the subjects of numerous conspiracy theories. Other fact-checkers have debunked similar claims.
Biden has used this hefty Bible, featuring a Celtic cross, throughout his career in public office. He told Stephen Colbert in December that it’s been a family heirloom since 1893.
“Every important date is in there,” he said. “For example, every time I’ve been sworn in for anything, the date has been on that and is inscribed in the Bible.”
The book is pictured in photos from when Biden was first sworn in as a senator in 1973. He also used it when he was inaugurated as vice president.
As evidence that the Bible is linked to the Illuminati, the Facebook post includes two screenshots.
The first screenshot shows a listing for a Haydock Douay-Rheims Bible, a 19th century translation with commentary from Christian scholar George Leo Haydock, on a third-party auction house website. The second screenshot shows text from a website that claims the Haydock Douay-Rheims book contains information about how the Illuminati “changed the name of God the Son of the Catholic Trinity” — a “Masonic trick” that the website calls “the Da Vinci Code.”
Biden’s family Bible is indeed a Haydock Douay-Rheims edition, which was common among English-speaking Catholics in the U.S. until the 1940s. But claims about this edition of the Bible being linked to Illuminati are related to a long line of conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, which only operated for a decade in the 1700s and sought to replace Christianity with a “religion of reason.”
“Beginning in 1792, several conspiracy authors began to combine the Masons, the Illuminati, the Templars, and the Jews in varying combinations to create a worldwide conspiracy of universal control,” wrote Christopher Hodapp and Alice Von Kannon in “Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies.”
“The Da Vinci Code” is a book about an elaborate conspiracy to suppress information that Jesus possibly had a child with Mary Magdalene. It is a work of historical fiction that has been discredited by churches, clergy members and Bible scholars.
We could find no credible evidence that Biden’s Bible is linked to the Illuminati. While many former presidents were Freemasons, we did not find evidence that Biden is a member of the fraternity.