I've heard a little here and there and want the scoop.
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December 27, 2002, 01:31 AM
Don't know a lot. Somewhat of a secretive group. Religious beliefs mixed with community service type thing. I think they use "degrees" to denote the level of attainment/seniority within the organization. If I remember correctly, I think some of the rituals are similar to those of the Mormon Church. I do know that several of the Founding fathers were Masons.
December 27, 2002, 01:41 AM
It is either a fraternity started in England in the 1600's and originally composed of tradesmen and was somewhat of a labor union OR it is a secret satanic cult responsible for everything bad happening as they secretly try to take over the world.
I tend to think of them as some reclusive club that on occasion has some famous members, that for the most part just try to help each other in whatever ways they can.
December 27, 2002, 01:56 AM
Being a John Bircher also I always had a hard time with Elmer Kieth's masonic hand grips on his guns. I can't imagine Kieth (or my dad) worshipping Lucifer(the light bearer) and wanting to overthrow the constitution for an elitist conspiricy. I got thrown out of De Molay for being too weird. Bill Clinton is the National head of De Molay I think. :rolleyes:
December 27, 2002, 02:12 AM
Read a book years ago called "The Brotherhood" by (I think) Steven Knight. According to him the Masons become more sinister and secretive at the high end of the membership pyramid, as well as quasi(read very weird)-religious and mystical. One guy I knew was very solemn and serious when (vaguely) referring to the ritual, commitment, fraternal aspects, etc. Another guy belonged and wore a ring, but would blithely remark that he joined to get business and business connections. My grandfather belonged but passed before I was old enough to quiz him. Whether true or not, the cult/conspiracy claims are probably an inevitable function of their being a closed social group exercising some antiquated rites. (By the way, I hear the Amish have the bomb.)
Sure better informed others will reply. (Or not ...)
December 27, 2002, 02:21 AM
There's a whole lot out there on the Web - try a Google search. To start you off, here's a pro-Freemason Web site (http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/) and a Catholic analysis of Freemasonry (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09771a.htm) (which is pretty factual, I believe, based on contacts I've had with many Masons). It's also important to note that Masonry in the US is often very different from that practised in Europe.
December 27, 2002, 02:23 AM
Generally good people, who take care of each other and give much back to their communities.
There is a religious component to their organization, and much of it is not consistent with traditional, orthodox Christianity, though this is not readily apparent in the lower levels. I'm not sure just how strong the religious component is, though. As far as I've ever been able to tell, it's mostly a community and social organization, with just enough religion thrown in to keep things interesting.
Anyway, the drifting from 'orthodox' Christianity is probably the origin of the more vicious rumors you've heard about the freemasons. "They" ain't "us," you know? :rolleyes:
Sir Conan Doyle wrote about 'em, in ... ummmmm, which one was it? Sign of Four?
December 27, 2002, 02:28 AM
Not quite, Pax... as I said, US Masonry differs from that practised in Europe, where it can be far nastier and more demonic (and I mean that literally!) than here. There have been several cases with Italian, German and French Masonic groups where devil-worship, the Black Mass, and other really nasty things have come up... you may remember the fuss about the P12 lodge and its connections to the Banco Ambrosiano debacle. There have been some interesting books published on the subject.
December 27, 2002, 02:50 AM
That is a deep question (one I’ve been researching myself lately) and not one that really could be answered in this forum. Here is a forum that might provide some answers for you. (http://www.freemasonry.net/welcome.asp) In short though, the best I can tell, a Mason is a man that believes in a “Supreme Being” that created and governs the universe (apparently that can be any god your religion dictates but that religion must not be a polytheistic one). Additionally, symbols and such are used in an allegorical manner to teach members (not sure what is taught though, perhaps traditional values?) There is an oath (and it must be a sworn oath, not an “affirmation” or some such) they swear to saying something along those lines. I believe the Bible they use (called the Sacred Text or Sacred Law or something) is a King James Version of the Judeo-Christian religion. I am pretty sure that Freemasonry has given rise to the Knights Templar, Eastern Star (female version of a Mason), Shriners, and Scottish Rite (and I’d bet there are more). My understanding is that they insist on not being considered a religion in and of itself, but rather a “supporter” of all religions (that are theistic in nature). In other words, they are religious but not a religion. That’s what I read anyway... The more I look, the more confusing it becomes. It is not a secret society in the normal sense (members are free to let others know they belong to a Lodge) but at the same time there is a ton of obfuscation and an amazing amount of outright contradiction from one source to another. FWIW, more than a few Popes have excommunicated Masons. IIRC, Pope John Paul says that Catholic Masons are in a state of sin and may not receive communion, and that Catholicism and Masonry are irreconcilable.
Oh, one other thing. It appears that there is a bit of a divergence between Masonry in England and Masonry in America. I couldn’t tell you exactly what that difference is though.
Here's a site that has a ton of stuff, but I couldn't tell you how accurate the information is. http://www.masonicinfo.com/
December 27, 2002, 03:10 AM
I think that the book Faucault's Pendulum pretty well covered Freemasonry (even though it is a work of fiction).
December 27, 2002, 03:48 AM
Contact a local masonic lodge and ask some questions. Seems like they had a small handout years ago entitled" What is a Mason".Be careful! They are always looking for new members. As most of you know many of our founding fathers were members of the masonic order. On the lower end you will find the blue lodge. It contains three degrees. Master Mason being the 3rd degree. If you wish, you can seek more light or knowledge by going through either the York rite or the Scottish rite.Some folks go through both. You then have the Shriners. What these people do for critically burned children through their hospitals is a study in itself. The masons that I have had the privilage of meeting down through the years have been both patriotic and god fearing. Take care.
December 27, 2002, 04:55 AM
There have been several cases with Italian, German and French Masonic groups where devil-worship, the Black Mass, and other really nasty things have come up...
This stuff happens now and then among the priests, too. Bored, mislead, or ambitious people can end up in all sorts of dark areas.
Hmmmm. My discordian side suggests that people read Wilson's The Illuminatus Trilogy (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0440539811/qid=1040982557/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/103-9818118-2591028?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) for possibly the funniest treatment of the Masons ever written.
I suspect that masons are different depending on where you are even within this country... I've seen lodges in Boston and in tiny towns in Oklahoma; the public levels probably vary in focus based on who is attending them; more unity probably comes higher up in the ranks, but I'm just making a S.W.A.G. here.
Hkmp5sd: I tend to think of them as some reclusive club that on occasion has some famous members, that for the most part just try to help each other in whatever ways they can.
Sounds like TFL Alums to me! :D :D :D
December 27, 2002, 09:56 AM
Aaron, are they free to leave at any time?
I hear that they must take all sorts of oaths to advance to the next degree and they exact horrific punishments from those that break ranks. Why the whole secrecy thing, what are they trying to hide from everyone else?
December 27, 2002, 10:03 AM
I agree with one of the above posts. Find one and talk to them about it. There is so much garbage on the net about every religion or belief, it makes it very difficult to tell truth from fiction. I have known several Masons. I never cared enough to ask them what it was all about however. That was stupid on my part. All were good men and mostly high acheivers.
December 27, 2002, 10:17 AM
Seeing how the FM have religious undertones and symbolism, compare how their rituals, traditions, history and practices stack up against what the Bible says. Research what the Bible says about oaths, secrets, symbolism, rituals, idolatry, etc.
Either FM is right and God is wrong, or vice versa.
Was Jesus Christ a Lodge member?
December 27, 2002, 10:17 AM
There was an article in the Washington Post Magazine section a while back about Freemasonry; turns out Kramer from Seinfeld is a Mason! The article said it's mostly a society of secret rituals and camaraderie. Personally, I think most of the mystique is due to the tin-foil hat club accusing them of running the planet, along with Elvis and Bigfoot.....:rolleyes:
December 27, 2002, 10:25 AM
It all depends on where you are. In TN and other southern states they tend to be borderline Klan rallies. Havens for bigots. I guess it is the same with all things. You have the good and the bad. People are people no matter what organization they belong to.
December 27, 2002, 10:30 AM
Aaron, are they free to leave at any time? I hear that they must take all sorts of oaths to advance to the next degree and they exact horrific punishments from those that break ranks. Why the whole secrecy thing, what are they trying to hide from everyone else? I don’t know for sure. The “bloody oaths” thing is one of the really confusing parts. More than a few actual Masons consider the punishments they are sworn to in their oaths to be symbolic and allegorical (remember that point I made about symbols used to teach). Then on the other side you have non-Masons that say that Masons swear to have their tongues cut out of their mouths if they ever divulge any secrets, or some variation of this. Since I haven’t actually read any of these oaths myself I couldn’t really tell you. One of the difficulties I have found in researching this is that for all the hundreds of thousands of books out there very few lend themselves to a valid analysis and what one book says can be the exact opposite of what another book says. For instance, Albert Pike (a high-order Mason) wrote a book about Freemasonry around the mid 1800’s. The book is almost 1000 pages long and is as difficult to understand as any I have every looked at. More than a few more modern books about Masonry reference this book, but in fact take their analysis from other books that analyzed Pike’s book. Confusing and crazy huh? As far as leaving the organization goes, I believe it’s easy. I think if you just stop paying your dues you are terminated by the Masons. Additionally, I think they have something called a demit (?) that is similar to an honorable discharge from the military. Just some sort of a certificate that says that the holder is no longer affiliated with Masonry, but left in good standing. I have no idea how easily a Mason can actually get this demit though, only that it exists.
All were good men and mostly high acheivers. This is exactly why I keep researching this issue. If the truth be known, I have never known a Mason that I didn’t respect and admire but there remains aspects of the organization that seem to be inconsistent with beliefs they (and/or I) hold. :confused:
December 27, 2002, 10:53 AM
I don't know how prevalent this is in other areas or states - perhaps other High Roadsters can provide input? - but in many of the towns around where I live, it's almost essential for a businessman to be a Mason if he wants to make a living. The Masons basically patronize each other's businesses, and "shut out" anyone who doesn't belong. This is a problem for some of the members of my church: they can't be Masons, as Catholics are forbidden to belong to this group, but if they don't join the Masons, their small businesses or professional practices (lawyers, doctors, etc.) will suffer financially. Has anyone else had (or seen) this experience in their own areas?
December 27, 2002, 10:54 AM
How could you tell from the Bible if Christ were a "lodge member" or not? We don't even get a decent physical description of him in the Bible. The Bible is moot on 99.9999% of what Christ did in his spare time. Most Bible scholars are so full of hot air they should be able to reach Mars without much problem.
December 27, 2002, 11:04 AM
When I was associated w/ them in No VA they consisted mostly of elderly old men with little more ambition than to get the free meal at the end of the lodge meetings. They may have been more active when younger but they sure weren't active then. As a young guy, I was the chief cook and bottle washer and general jack of all trades. My conscience began to bother me with the moral ambiguity of their rituals so I got a demit. Haven't looked back.
December 27, 2002, 11:28 AM
These posts do bring up a good point. I cannot recall ever meeting a Mason who was younger than 50 years old. I wonder if they are struggling these days.
BTW, pax, Doyle wrote about the Mormons in Sign of Four, not the Masons. I love Sir Arthur's stuff.
December 27, 2002, 12:08 PM
Russ, maybe Jesus Christ was a secret agent of the Roman government sent to cause division amongst the Jews, thus making them easier to rule over. Huh, you reckon? The Bible doesn't say he wasn't, so maybe he was. Whad'ya think?
Mitch asked a question. Some of the best answers are found by taking the time to research on your own. He's getting pointers from both sides of the issue.
I find it unusual when practices and rituals run contrary to the source they're claimed to stem from.
December 27, 2002, 12:35 PM
You needn't take what I said to such extremes. If Christ was a Roman agent , he sure pissed one of the higher ups off, whadya' think? What I mean to say is there is a lot of BS about Masons, Mormons, and other groups out there. One must be careful unless you are willing to claim yourself an unimpeachable authority on the Bible.
The story goes that that the Masons gained knowledge from things they saw and heard while building Solomon's Temple. What their practices and rituals in ancient times were, no body really knows for sure. Because the Bible is moot on a subject 1,000 years later, how do you know the practices really differ? The point is, that many people have spent years delving into this subject to come to differing conclusions. There is a mountain of stuff on every issue so it is near impossible to give a simple answer to the question. I really don't want to get into theological arguments with you or anyone else. I'm sure no Bible thumper and and not qualified to answer. Take heed of all sides and make up your own mind.
December 27, 2002, 12:51 PM
Wow, I'm sure learning a lot about Freemasons. All this time I thought they were the guys that made Homer Simpson burn his underwear.:p
December 27, 2002, 01:10 PM
I'm not a Mason, but one of my best friends is. I have a real hard time imagining him involved with the dark arts. Especially if it cut into his shooting time. :)
December 27, 2002, 01:26 PM
Russ, you gave the percentage. I think you may be onto something concerning the scholars. I'm no thumper. Wish we would get back to the simple message in the Bible, and not advance private agendas through false interpretations.
Some years ago, I read in a Mason published book about the Temple, Hiram, etc. I believe that's where their square and compass symbol comes from. Have read excerpts from Pikes book, and the views of those opposed to FM ritual practices.
I've also heard about the buisiness practices that Preacherman speaks of. It happens in my area.
December 27, 2002, 01:30 PM
Masonry is not a religion, is not demonic, is not a cult. It seeks to make good men better through a belief in the "brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God," and yes, requires a belief in a Supreme Being, without specifying which S.B.
Discussion of religion is forbidden in Lodge meetings, and no Mason considers it his business to tell you what religious faith you should practice or how you should practice it.
Masonry is basically a fraternal organization, similar to the Greek college fraternities. They have secrets, but are not a "secret society."
Masonry has been struggling with declining membership for 3 decades -- the WWII generation was the last generation to have much interest in joining such organizations.
I can write more later if anyone is interested -- I happen to work for one of the Masonic organizations and know quite a bit about them.
December 27, 2002, 02:04 PM
When I worked at Xerox in Rochester years ago, the members used to circulate lists of names of other Masons working at each facility so they knew who to contact for preferential treatment. The people on the lists were usually first in line for promotions, etc.
December 27, 2002, 02:17 PM
Sure is more heat than light in this thread. :rolleyes:
Discussion of politics or religion are not allowed in lodge. A belief in a supreme creator is part of the basis of the rituals. The dreadful punishments you may have heard of are -- at least for the last century or so -- symbolic or spiritual, not literal. An emphasis on doing good for your brother members, and for your community at large, are stressed. Many important people, from generals to a large number of the "founding fathers" are or have been members. There are always people around, usually religious or political reactionaries, who will slander that which they know nothing about.
Bottom line: don't listen to gossip, go and ask for yourself. They will not proselytize you, in fact one must ask to join as they're not allowed to recruit.
December 27, 2002, 02:18 PM
Is Jackie Mason in jail?
December 27, 2002, 02:57 PM
I'm no thumper. Wish we would get back to the simple message in the Bible, and not advance private agendas through false interpretations.You say that you are "no thumper." But what do you mean by "false interpretations"? Who decides whose interpretations are false?
but in many of the towns around where I live, it's almost essential for a businessman to be a Mason if he wants to make a living. The Masons basically patronize each other's businesses, and "shut out" anyone who doesn't belong. This is a problem for some of the members of my church: they can't be Masons, as Catholics are forbidden to belong to this group, but if they don't join the Masons, their small businesses or professional practices (lawyers, doctors, etc.) will suffer financially. Has anyone else had (or seen) this experience in their own areas?This practice is common with all kinds of religious and social groups, Catholics included, particularly in small towns with limited economic base.
December 27, 2002, 03:51 PM
They started out in England, and migrated to the United States, as an anti-Catholic society. Less so in the US.
Many of America's Founding Fathers were Freemasons. IIRC the cornerstone of the US Capitol was laid by George Washington in a Masonic ceremony.
My Grandfather and Uncle were both high-level Masons. Other than that, I've no clue about them, as I have no desire to participate.
December 27, 2002, 03:55 PM
Wasn't Kipling fascinated by the Freemasonry and its origins?
December 27, 2002, 04:14 PM
Apparently, you know a great deal more about this subject than you let on. Perhaps you could point us to a non-biased (or biased) history on or off the web.
I so do wish the Bible had a simple interpretation as you say. If it did there wouldn't be over 1,000 so called Christian denominations extant today. If you have a source on Freemasonry that gets down to it, then please tell us. Also, could you please tell me what hidden agenda I seem to be promoting? I wasn't aware one. My only point is that things of this nature tend to be far more complicated than most would think. Ever been to a Masonic funeral? More than I could explain there.
December 27, 2002, 04:26 PM
You don't have to "be careful" when you approach a Mason. Masons don't scout for new members. You have to ask one.
December 27, 2002, 04:55 PM
Am going away for a few days. Won't be able to contribute until then.
If one wants to be a FM, that's up to them.
Will try to get a few sources presented in near future.
The Bible isn't that difficult. Just take some time to read it, desire to learn from it, and try to live it.
If your faith tells you there is one god, why join an organization that has semi religious symbology and undertones, and implies all gods may be one Supreme Being/Creator?
Wisdom and knowledge is best gotten through honest desire, spending time, and effort instead of force feedings or spending little effort seeking.
Are we placing faith in God, or mans traditions? Is God real?
Russ, and any others: My apologies if my words implie someone hear having secret agendas. Was speaking generaly. Speaking of organizations, secret or open, and the hundreds of denominations claiming they're right.
December 27, 2002, 06:31 PM
When I was in college, I knew a guy who became a Mason. We were both in our early 20's at the time. I asked him what it was and he said it was a group of people who looked out for one another. I wasn't inclined to ask any for any more detail and left it at that.
December 27, 2002, 07:12 PM
My dad is a past master, 32end degree........... Both my Grandfathers were masons. All my uncles were masons. My cousin is a mason. I sat and watched a number of masonic funeral ceremonies over the years.
I have it on good faith that they are responsible for suppressing the metric system in this county. Of course this is in between sacrificing babies.:rolleyes:
December 27, 2002, 08:24 PM
I have the same family tree as 444. I liked Elmer Keith's grips, I like guys watching out for each other, I don't like Pike's reference in his modern tome of Masonry identifing Lucifer as the "light Bearer" when you ask for more light on each initiation to a higher degree.:cool:
December 27, 2002, 08:37 PM
The "sinister" stuff is not only limited to the highest levels but is also kept secret from all those Masons below, who are seen as basically guileless worker bees and a field to be winnowed down to the very very few who will become privileged to the higher knowledge and agenda. That's one take. Who knows? One would think there's been some kind of undercover journalistic expedition into this, but maybe not. Trilateral-type reputation, but maybe just a bunch of good guys nominally overseen by a bunch of delusional nuts. Sounds like most workplaces and clubs. Hell, sounds like government.
December 27, 2002, 10:38 PM
I'd hoped that this could be a fairly neutral discussion, but obviously there are those with strong opinions on Masonry whose feathers are being ruffled. In the interests of religious and social harmony on this board, I'm afraid I'm going to have to close this thread. Please, friends, let's remember that each of us has the right to believe in whatever he/she wants to, and belong to any group(s) he/she wants to. If others find those beliefs and/or groups objectionable, that's fine - they don't have to espouse/join them! Mutual respect and tolerance are the order of the day, in society in general, and here, where we really do want to take The High Road in our dealings with one another.
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