Based mainly in eastern Varos, the Cult of the Moon is a niche religious order founded in the late 23rd cycle by a mystic theologian, Dov Gamma, who believed that the ethical complexities inherent within most "mainstream" religions tended to divide and exclude, whereas that which is right can only prevail when acceptance is made paramount- even if it meant welcoming criminals and former heretics into his flock. Establishing his first chapel in the town of Hilan, Gamma immediately gained notoriety for helping to reform a repentant witch whom had been forced to take sanctuary within his walls.
The chapel, which was originally called "The Reform Temple of the Common Gods" received its current name from critics, who decried it as nothing more than a fake church where thieves, prostitutes, dark magi users, and even murderers, all people who work "under the moon," might gather to convince themselves that they still held audience with the gods, wash their hands of their dirty deeds during the day, and resume their dark practices the following night. To a certain extent, the description was accurate; all manner of deeply troubled individuals gathered under the chapel's roof to seek forgiveness and guidance, but it was not a cynical affair: Gamma, and later, his closest students, practiced a form of deep, confessional dialog, touching on issues of sin and reparation. Those who attended were accepted, no matter their flaws, but they were also expected to make changes in their own life, to seek out that which is right in their hearts, as opposed to simply following rules.
Today, the Cult of the Moon has established dozens of humble houses of worship throughout eastern Varos, the northern Kingdoms, and western Elvan Realm, and is managed by Syd Zuqostygen, one of Gamma's last living students. Members of the Cult, once dismissed as falsely pious, are now usually recognized as properly religious.
That Which Is Right Edit
The Cult believes that "good" is archetypal, that is, that the peoples of Anvaris can sense it naturally. Within are certain fundamental qualities: the brotherly love of all peoples, the acceptance and uplifting of all, the forgiveness and reparation of past transgressions, the protection of nature's bounties, and the preservation of orderly, civilized life. The exact truth at the heart of each matter however is often difficult to quantify, or put into words eloquently. For that reason, That Which is Right is not necessarily that which is enshrined in law. The Cult recognizes that there are many circumstances which govern the lives of mortals which separate them from the divine or allegorical role models often presented in mainstream religious orders. Thus there is distinction drawn between transgressions against the law, transgressions against righteousness, and sin, with the latter representing only acts which the sinner knew were indefensible before their manifestation.
Those who have performed a transgression which the congregation agrees only violates the law, and not the sense of moral decency and good which permeates the realm, are protected with impunity. Those who have acted against those qualities listed above, regardless of the act's lawfulness, must examine their choices and recognize the inherent tragedy and the extent of suffering they have inflicted upon the world. The necessary changes within their life should then become evident; improvement is expected and fully supported. Those who have sinned must first make a pact to cease sinning, and then to begin a lengthy process of self-inflection, examining not just the sin itself, but the painful transgressions against the sinner by those in the sinner's past, which may have normalized or motivated the present behavior. Those who are able to will themselves to lay bare the heart of their own tragedy will then be ready to change their ways, as the root of their sin can no longer control them.