Looking at the Aetherius Society's "Membership" section on their website, the following is expressly stated (an extract):-
The Aetherius Society is a Spiritual Order, which was brought into being not by man, but through man by The Cosmic Masters Themselves! It is an organization devoted to Spiritual action and the spreading of the Cosmic Teachings with which it has been entrusted.
Membership is a major Initiatory step.
Members of The Aetherius Society feel very privileged to be part of this Spiritual organization and to be able to give Service to humanity in the many practical ways made possible by our Dr. George King, who lived from 1919 to 1997.
To become a Member is a major initiatory step in a person's path of Spiritual development. Such a step opens the way for the karmic opportunities and initiations, which are available to members.
Access to the greatest Cosmic Teachings ever given to Earth;
Direct cooperation with The Cosmic Masters through world-saving missions;
Participation in our mission to help heal and uplift mankind;
Participation in our missions to help heal The Mother Earth;
Opportunities for great Spiritual advancement.
We invite all Spiritually minded individuals who wish to support the aims and objects of The Aetherius Society and cooperate with our world-uplifting activities, to apply for Membership..........
Full Membership entails a definite level of commitment to the Society and its global mission of world peace and enlightenment...........
During all official functions a link is created between the attenders on the physical plane and the attendees of the Temple of The Aetherius Society on the higher mental planes. Members also often hold their own Services at home to send out much needed Spiritual energy and healing to the world........
At the end of each Earthyear, Full Members are asked to detail their cooperation with The Aetherius Society activities throughout the year on a questionnaire, such as observance of Commemoration Dates, First and Last Hour of a Spiritual Push, regular Twelve Blessings Services performed in their homes each week, etc. Through this we can make sure that your Spiritual work for our great cause is recognized in an appropriate manner. Based on this information, future awards and Initiations will be assessed.
Certificates Of Merit
There are three basic categories of Certificates of Merit, which can be obtained after three years of Full Membership. These are awarded for regular participation in official activities, for financial support, and for direct help in the work of The Aetherius Society. As soon as two such Certificates have been earned, the Member can apply to sit for their Temple Degree examination.........
Help On Your Demise
Full Members of The Aetherius Society benefit from a unique Service when they pass on to the other realms. Our Spiritual Master, His Eminence Sir George King, arranged for Full Members who have passed over to be met by entities of a high caliber who will help them personally during the transition period.
All Members, whether Full or Associate, come under the Spiritual protection of the Group Soul of The Aetherius Society - an organization of tremendous karmic potency because of the great good it performs for the salvation and enlightenment of humanity. The largest and most potent part of the Group Soul is active on the Higher Mental Realms of Earth.........
"Saint Gu-Ling's" mother-in-law!
In particular, I believe that some members were deceived over the long term and induced by such membership conditions and assertations to fear for their personal spiritual progress, even after they died and passed on, if they did not continue to support the Aetherius Society in every possible manner during their lifetime.
In fact, they were most probably eventually so fearful of their own personal spiritual situation that they failed to realize that they were not acting in their own best interests and to the extent that personal service had become the sacrifice of any reasonable regard for their own individual rights.
Those so-called benefits of "Help On Your Demise" and "Spiritual Protection" were latterly always uppermost on the minds of some members and I believe that their personal unresolved fears and anxieties made some vulnerable and that was played upon if not preyed upon by the dubious claims of imagined spiritual benefits both during their lifetime and later upon whatever spiritual realm they supposedly eventually found themselves as a deceased discarnate entity.
In examing their claims, despite whatever spirtual abilities their Master, George King, had in the past, not one of the people running the Aetherius Society has in any way any personal ability whatsoever to manifest their touted promises of either "Spiritual Protection" to members or of "Help On Your Demise" to members and it is mischeviously conceited of them to continue such erroneous assertations after their Master's passing.
The fact that George King, as the founder of the Aetherius Society, made those claims himself many years ago was and is questionable in itself as, even if he actually had that rare psychic or spiritual ability, such promises would certainly have had some effect upon the minds of members of the Society. It would seem that the more devoted members were, the more gullible they became and the more naively susceptible they were as the result of being part of the founder's "very privileged" society.
There is no doubt that the surviving directors of the Aetherius Society are behaving arrogantly and pompously in asserting themselves as leaders of "a Spiritual Order, which was brought into being not by man, but through man by The Cosmic Masters Themselves..." and that to become a Member is in any way "a major initiatory step in a person's path of Spiritual development..." whilst they are running things for their own self-styled aggrandizement.
I can hardly imagine that such a path of egotistical delusion and deceit could any longer be called "spiritual service" or even be construed in any way to be a path of genuinely helping others and the world at large. They are instead profitably bargaining their way in the world with false blandishments of imaginary "karmic opportunities" and of supposed spiritual "initiations" that they themselves are not spiritual enough to be able to perform, if they are totally honest with themselves.
Thus there is no doubt that some members were induced one way or another over their years of membership in the Aetherius Society to erroneously believe that they could eventually buy their way into Heaven. There was obviously the likelihood of some negative result and one wonders how many other individuals who were once members of the Aetherius Society were eventually affected by that and fears of things that could supposedly happen to them upon the spirit realms of the dead and departed.
All that I can now see as a benefit of membership being offered is that you get to dress up and parade around in some kind of pretentious robes and pass yourself off as a "Temple Degree Initiate", uhh.