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What are those cremation societies are all about?
If you research cremation, you will find "cremation societies such as the Cremation Society Minnesota (or fill in with whatever state you live in), the Neptune Society, and even internet cremation societies.
Given the term "society", you might think that a cremation society is a non-profit organization, formed so members can promote a common interest or belief. Plus, the term connotes a membership "privilege" that you would not get from a for-profit business. In the vast majority of cases, however, this is simply not true: cremation societies are licensed for-profit businesses that provide cremation services and, often, traditional funeral services.
Why are they called "societies"?
Cremation societies went from a "society" as we know the term to the current for-profit business structure through a series of steps:
1) Cremation societies started as reformed-based societies in the late 1800's. They were created to overcome the stigma that cremation had at that time. The mission of these societies was to promote cremation while providing information about cremation. Towards this, they promoted cremation as less expensive and cleaner than burials and, therefore, the best alternative.
2) These societies then started building crematories. This, of course, meant that there were major expenses that needed to be recouped. Also, it was difficult to build crematories any place but within a cemetery, so they needed to create partnerships with the very organizations that they were campaigning against, which chipped away at their reform messages.
3) At this time, cremation assurance societies were also formed, offering cremation insurance. These were based on the spirit of mutual aid and combined with a strong business practices, and allowed members to pay for their cremations while alive through regular fees. This, like the capital expenses of the crematories, moved societies more towards a business entity.
4) For-profit cremation societies were then formed. These were corporations, complete with company stock, and based on the business practices that would provide profits while covering the costs of the crematory and other cremation costs.
The current cremation societies are based on the same for-profit structure that most American businesses are formed on: they start with a a group of associates who form a corporation for cremation, which they then use as the business structure for their cremation business.
If I am planning a cremation, do I need a cremation society?
No. Any funeral home that is licensed for cremation can provide cremations. Since cremation societies are for-profit cremation providers, they provide the same types of services that any funeral home would offer.
Do cremation societies offer less expensive cremations?
Many believe that a cremation society will provide a lower-cost cremation over funeral homes. However, a quick search of the internet will prove that you funeral homes and cremation societies have similar-priced cremations.
So, choose your cremation provider not by a name but, rather, by choosing someone that you can feel comfortable with, and that will provide the services you need.
AUTHOR BIO: Do you need a Funeral Home in the Minneapolis area to help you parse through the myriad of options and considerations about cremation or burial? Let Gill Brothers Funeral directors in Minneapolis help. They have been providing services tailored to individual needs in a comforting environment since 1889.