Did you know there are actual Jedi in our midst? If you've ever wondered about the daily life of a Jedi, you're not alone in your curiosity. In fact, thousands of people have converted to Jediism, a religion inspired by the Jedi Order in Star Wars. Forget about the awful things the Jedi do when they turn evil, the real Jedi are all about peace, knowledge, and unity.
Jediism has been making its way through online communities since the early 1990s. Official organizations, such as the Temple of the Jedi Order and the Church of Jediism, have helped legitimize the religion. These two organizations, along with a few others, have been teaching the Jedi religion for more than a decade.
A staple since the '90s, Jediism finally received official government recognition in 2015. In fact, the Temple of the Jedi Order is the first Jedi organization to be recognized by the US government. Church founder John Phelan's group has earned the status of an "International Ministry and Public Charity," making the Temple a nonprofit that is primarily founded with donations.
Additionally, donations made to the Temple are tax deductible.
While their religion might be associated with Star Wars, the real Jedi don't actually worship the franchise or franchise creator George Lucas. Jediism's followers don't consider Lucas a god, and the religion is separate from the stories in the movies. Indeed, the movies may be used to teach lessons within the faith. However, the Temple of the Jedi Order believes:
"Jediism is not based in fiction, but we accept myth as a sometimes more practical mean of conveying philosophies applicable to real life."
Some people don't take very kindly to real Jedi. In 2009, founder of the Church of Jediism Daniel Jones was even thrown out of a Tesco store in the UK. He refused to remove his religious hood while shopping, much to the chagrin of employees. Jones reported that he felt humiliated and claimed:
"It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear. It just covers the back of my head... You have a choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work but you have to wear a cover for your head when you are in public."
The followers of Jediism are often called real Jedi. While they might not be able to use the Force to accomplish incredible, physic-defying feats, the real Jedi do follow the same code as the Jedi in the movies. In George Lucas's fictional universe, the code helps light Knights remain pure and resist the angry urges of the dark side.
The code reminds Jediism converts to abandon ignorance and recklessness in favor of knowledge and harmony.