Johannism or Gnosticism is the understanding that a person can open up to and experience direct telepathic contact with the mind of God and receive Gnosis (spiritual knowledge). It was practiced by Shamanic Hunter Gather societies world-wide before mankind invented agriculture and developed organised religion. Prior to the advent of the church, people routinely used hallucinogenic drugs to achieve altered states of consciousness and received Gnosis. Beginning in Sumeria and Ancient Egypt, before developing a global power centre in Rome, organised religion claimed spiritual authority over the people and insisted that the only way to God was through its own priests and teachings; shamanic practices were gradually driven underground into mystery schools because the ruling aristocracy preferred obedient workers and soldiers over enlightened conscious members of society with their own moral compass. In western society today the ruling class are replacing organised religion with atheism and "expert" scientist authority figures such as Richard Dawkins tell the people that God does not exist and that creation of the universe is just a random accident. This is an excellent strategy for removing meaning from the life of the masses and making them slaves to consumer society.
Students of European mystery schools have been obliged to conduct spiritual practices in secret ever since the Roman Catholicism extinguished the Greek Elusinian Mystery School, which employed Ergot to generate altered states of consciousness http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries