On the surface, the Universal Brotherhood looks like a typical New Age cult, except for its meteoric rise to popularity and acceptance by all social circles.
The Universal Brotherhood was founded in 2043 upon the principles of Dr. Caitlin O'Connal, a sociologist and statistician who lectured at UCLA, and the support of her husband Paul Grigg, a shaman and fellow instructor at UCLA. In the late 2030s, O'Connal believed that her mathematical studies of mob psychology proved that all Humans and Metahumans were linked by a bond she called the "universal brotherhood", a theory that was immediately dismissed by her peers. Unfazed by such a negative reaction, and despite the fact that no journal would publish her findings, she began work on developing a whole philosophy and framework around this brotherhood principle. The first chapters of the Universal Brotherhood opened on February 1, 2043. Four chapterhouses in all opened their doors in the California Free State. From these few chapters and from astounding donations from the membership, the chapterhouses grew and spread all over the world. By March 2050, it was estimated that the Universal Brotherhood had over 300 chapters in North America, with 100 more chapters internationally, growing from less than 100 members to over 35,000 members worldwide in seven years. The demographics of the cult members at the time included about 70 percent male membership and over 95 percent Human, with the average age of 20.5. During this period of growth, Paul Grigg's mental and physical health deteriorated and he committed suicide in 2045. O'Connal also suffered from mental health problems and committed suicide as well shortly before 2050.
The Universal Brotherhood became a religion similar to Scientology, which embraced all aspects of society and social class. Businessmen, CEOs, squatters, and laymen all rubbed shoulders in the chapterhouses, which grew from the considerable contributions of its members.
"The Universal Brotherhood was one of the few rays of light that shone into this part of the sprawl. They gave food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and medical aid to the sick or damaged. Sounded pretty good to me. Oh sure, I'd heard rumors that they'd managed to cut themselves a sweet deal when it came to dodging taxes, but what organized religion hadn't?"
-- Dirk Montgomery (from the novel 2XS by Nigel Findley)