AFAIK the illumminati where an order which consisted mainly out of open minded people. That means scientiest, artists and freethinkers.
The church still had nearly a monopoly on science and power therefore they worked in secrecy.
Some say they were undermining the freemasons and other groups too.
Nevertheless their target was a new age. The age of reason, doubt and science. They wanted to crush the young (the older or elder are quite strange and different to them) gods which were worshipped and build a new world based on facts.
When thinking about everything one surely comes to the state at last.
So it might be that they had revolutionary ideas how to overcome things like state, money and possession etc.
Therefore they were crushed. Or at least they vanished from the open view. Some say they are still quite active others say they stopped their acts. I like to believe that they are still waiting out there in the darkness and will take over once they are too powerful to be stopped.
Others say they want to end the world (see also illuminati).
According to this sources there are different ways to come to a new form of beeing as pure energy (and therefore be immortal):
a mass of orgasms (think of tantra!) or they mass release of souls, mind power (however you will call it) meaning mass murder. If one is prepared he than can take the step to a pure energy form (think of WW2 and so on etc.
What is the truth ? Nobody knows. But if they have survived for so long in the shadows , waiting you could be sure they are quite powerful even in the medias etc. Think before you believe what you read wherever. (Movie hint: Wag the dog !)
Chris (who alway carries a 1 USD with him)
23 and SNAFU !