Worshipful Master, do you realize that by addressing
you as “Worshipful” I am providing absolute proof in the minds of some
credulous and ignorant religious zealots that this Lodge is in fact worshipping
you? Your mirth and that of the other Brethren present at such a
ridiculous suggestion was predictable and I have therefore made reference to it
in advance in this paper. You will be bemused by much more foolishness
from intolerants and cranks before this evening is over, I can assure you.
Worshipful Master, on several occasions you have
expressed the desire that this Research Lodge produce a response to the specious
allegations and downright lies emanating from a range of anti-Masonic sources.
You have expressed concern that many Freemasons may not be equipped to respond
to these allegations and criticisms even though they know them to be wrong.
Not every Freemason is an expert on Masonic philosophy or on the history,
constitutions and ancient landmarks of Freemasonry, in fact it would probably be
true to state that very few are. But every Freemason has a perception of
what Freemasonry is about and of what it is not about and in terms of that
perception by far the greatest majority of our members have chosen of their own
free will an accord to remain members of the Craft. In other words,
whether or not they know of the criticisms of Freemasonry, they have personally
found nothing in Freemasonry which is objectionable or untoward which might
cause them as a matter of conscience to resign from the institution
What I offer in this paper, is not an A to Z manual of responses to every point
made against Freemasonry, but an examination of the identities of our most
persistent accusers, the essence of their argument against us and their
motivation for attacking Freemasonry. It is important to understand what
has formed the mindset of the anti-Masons for, indeed, the distorted perceptions
they have of Freemasonry is all in their minds and does not represent reality.
Likewise, I will not touch too much upon the history of anti-Masonry,
interesting though it is, but rather I have focused on contemporary anti-Masonry,
bearing in mind that its origins go back a long way. This paper does
include responses to the major allegations against our honorable institution.
At the outset I wish to declare that the contents of this research paper contain
my own opinions and not those of the institution of Freemasonry as a whole.
No one man speaks for Freemasonry, which is something our critics should
remember before quoting statements by Freemasons out of context and using them
as supposed “proof” in support of anti-Masonic allegations. Secondly,
the subject of religion will inevitably be touched upon in some depth because
the most serious and persistent criticism of Freemasonry originates from
churches or religious groups or persons. Discussion of matters of religion
is, of course, generally not acceptable in Masonic Lodges but in the context of
this particular subject and as a Research Lodge project it is inevitable and
indeed unavoidable, but I must stress that in spite of attacks on Masonic belief
by the religionists, Freemasonry has never criticized their beliefs in return.
Freemasonry has indeed defended itself, as it is fully entitled to do, but
Freemasonry has never attacked the fundamental beliefs of its opponents, nor
will it. Any criticism of religionists in this paper is thus entirely my
Most anti-masons fall in the following categories:-
These are in the main authors of books on conspiracy
theories, so-called secret societies and “exposures” of Freemasonry of whom
the most famous and typical in recent years has been Stephen Knight with his
book “The Brotherhood”. Included in this category are former
Freemasons such as Leo Taxil whose 19th.C hoax ‘exposures’ of
Freemasonry are the major source of allegations of Satanism in Freemasonry
emanating from the Fundamentalist Right. Included also in this category
are authors who, whilst not anti-masonic have nevertheless created the wrong
impression of Freemasonry in the public mind. Such authors include Dan
Brown author of the ‘Da Vinci Code. Another example is J.Manly Hall,
whose writings about the symbolism on the
1 dollar note and the street plan of
are a favorite source for strident anti-masons conspiracy theories. Because
Manly Hall was a Freemason, his writings are quoted as absolute “proof” from
the ‘horses mouth’, as it were. In fact, Manly Hall did not become a
Freemason until many years after his book was published.
This category includes Freemasons whose writings,
though not anti-Masonic, have nevertheless created the wrong impression of
Freemasonry in the public mind and especially those authors who have described
Freemasonry as a religion. Extracts from their writings, usually quoted
out of context, are used as ‘ammunition’ by dedicated anti-masonry writers.
Such authors include the famous Albert Pike, author of ‘Morals and Dogma of
the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite’ and Albert Mackie, author of
‘Encyclopedia of Freemasonry’ and various Masonic authors who have strongly
asserted feasible but unlikely and unproven theories that the Freemasons
originate from the Knights Templars, Gnostics, ancient mystery schools and the
Secular Political groups
This category includes totalitarian governments which
have actively suppressed Freemasonry in the territories under their control for
political reasons, such as most current and former communist governments,
Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Falangist
under Franco. Included also are most of the Islamic states for religious
as well as political reasons and Islamic political parties such as Hamas.
There have also been anti-masonry factions within political parties in
democratic states and even an anti-mason party in the
Mainstream Religious groups.
This includes mainstream churches and other religious
groups and individuals that oppose Freemasonry on theological grounds on the
assumption that Freemasonry is a religion, or at least a philosophy which
substitutes for a religion. These groups have formed their views after
extensive consideration and discussion and their criticisms of Freemasonry are
generally free of sensationalism and deliberate falsification of the facts.
Their views are nevertheless the result of a misplaced mindset, but there is
good reason to hope that an improved understanding of Freemasonry might in due
course result in a change of attitude on their part towards the Craft.
This category includes the Roman Catholic and factions of the Anglican, Baptist,
Presbyterian and Methodist churches. In the case of the Roman Catholic
Church a succession of Popes have condemned Freemasonry on behalf of the whole
Church, in the case of the other denominations opposition to Freemasonry has
been confined to individual synods, parishes or ministers.
Extreme Fundamentists – usually referred to as the
It is misleading to apply the blanket term
‘Fundamentalist’ to the extreme religious opponents of Freemasonry because
most Christian denominations include followers who espouse fundamentalist
theology and the Baptist and Lutheran churches are specifically fundamentalist
in doctrine. The term “Creedist” was coined by Dr Bronwyn Elsmore,
Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at
to describe those religious or secular groups and individuals who actively
persecute, malign, defame and discriminate against those who hold a different
religious or philosophical view to their own. In the case of Christian
groups the term particularly applies to those who have an obsessive belief in
their own personal salvation and the righteousness of their personal faith to
the extent that they have convinced themselves that all others, whether
Christian or not, are destined for eternal damnation. In essence, the
Salvation Creedists, living in a world and a society which alarms and frightens
them, are desperately clinging to a rock of personal salvation, but in
condemning and slandering others are committing the very homophobic sins which
are responsible for much of the evils in the society they so despise. In
fact, in their own terms, they are committing the very sins which will prevent
their personal salvation.
The Salvation Creedists, which we may call Extreme Fundamentalists for the sake
of a more easily understood term, (another term is ‘Dispensational
Fundamentalists)are the most unscrupulous and outrageous slanderers and defamers
of Freemasonry and consist mainly of small activist groups or activist
individuals who have mounted a campaign or crusade against Freemasonry and
indeed against just about everyone apart from themselves. They are
generally anti-liberal, anti-socialist, anti-science, anti-mainstream
Christianity, anti-Catholic, and can be anti-Jewish even though some of them
make a great display about being pro-Israel. Their own Christianity is not
easily defined because they are outside of the mainstream churches, but they are
generally Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Dispensational, Millinarian, Revivalist
‘born again’ Christians who generally describe themselves as
“Evangelicals” if they describe themselves at all. They frequently go
under the name of a “Ministry”, which is either a single individual or a
group, usually dominated by a single individual male minister or pastor
supported by a small core of dedicated drones. Most of their anti-masonry
campaign is conducted these days through web sites. In general they give
the impression that they are much larger organizations than they actually are
and partly because of this they have considerable influence on public opinion.
It is very unlikely that these people will ever modify their views for reasons I
will explain in this paper. It is essential however that Freemasons never
cease to vigorously expose the base lies and false accusations originating from
these groups. For Freemasons it is a battle in support of truth against
these false witnesses and a battle for the honour of Freemasonry against
intolerants and defamers of honorable men.
The allegations and criticisms against Freemasonry can
be summarized as follows:
That the Freemasons are the custodians of ancient
secrets and mysteries, the inheritors of the ancient mystery schools,
the Gnostics or the Knights Templars, perhaps the custodians of some really big
secrets such as the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant or the secret life of
Jesus Christ, or the truth about the Resurrection or the role of Mary Magdalene.
There are sometimes hints that Freemasonry is involved in the occult.
Generally these allegations can be traced to the authors of popular books such
as Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” or “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail”
by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. Masonic writers, such as J.Manly
Hall, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomax also tend to give the impression to
the general public that Freemasonry is involved in mysterious and somewhat odd
activities or at the very least has some strange origins. The supposed
secrecy of Freemasonry and the sheer bulk and variety of theories and
allegations about Freemasonry amount to very good material for books on
mysteries, dark secrets, conspiracies and the like. Authors know that
books about taking the Lodge widows to afternoon tea or donating to the local
hospice do not make for best sellers!
The effect of these books has been to place Freemasonry frequently in the
limelight in a somewhat ambiguous context in that whilst the authors are rarely
anti-Masonic and indeed are often quite complimentary towards the Craft, they
nevertheless portray Freemasonry in a somewhat mysterious light which causes the
public to be wary. This is a perfect conduit for the rabid anti-Masons to
follow through with their sensationalist lies.
That the Freemasonry is a secret society dedicated to
promoting the preferential treatment and personal interests of its members.
In this regard, Freemasons are accused of favoring each
other in business dealings, in job promotions and in politics. Freemasons
are also accused of seeking favorable treatment for themselves under the law, as
in the well-known fictitious anecdote of a Freemason in the dock who gives a
secret Masonic sign which the judge, who is a Freemason, recognizes and a
consequence goes easy on the accused. The police force and judiciary is
allegedly stacked with Freemasons and so Freemasons who commit crime get away
with it or get lenient treatment.
Allegations of this kind generally come from authors of conspiracy theory books
such as “The Brotherhood” by Stephen Knight, but there have been public
accusations made from time to times by members of the general public who have
convinced themselves that a particular local council, for example, is dominated
by a cabal of Freemasons. Allegations of Masonic activities detrimental to
the public good have occasionally led to government inquiries, of which the most
famous example was that concerned the so-called P2 in Italy. I will deal
with this category of allegation in more detail later in this paper.
Freemasonry is a secret society with a political
Virtually its inception organized speculative
Freemasonry has come under attack from individuals and groups who have believed
Freemasons to be involved in plots and conspiracies against governments or else
have infiltrated the corridors of power in order to influence policy in favor of
Masonic ideas. Various revolutions are attributed to the activities of
Freemasons including the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the South
American revolution against colonial
, and the unification of
. Freemasons have also been credited with the growth of secular government
at the expense of the influence of the Church.
The latest allegations concern the supposed involvement of Freemasons in
creating a New World Order involving social, financial and industrial
globalization. Many of these allegations are extremely fanciful and
sensationalist and, as such, betray the paranoid nature of the perpetrators of
these myths but the fact that we have been witnessing serious demonstrations and
riots against globalization is evidence that the myths have influenced large
numbers of credulous people. It only takes one demonstrable half-truth to
turn an entire myth into a reality in some people’s minds. Once again,
the P2 episode has added grist to the mill. In general, the allegations
are not against individual Freemasons involved in politics, but centres on the
insinuation that Freemasonry either acts as a body or is governed by a cabal of
politically active Brethren of the higher esoteric degrees who allegedly govern
the whole of Freemasonry. Such a hierarchy does not in fact exist, but the
critics insist it does.
Allegations in this category stem from the secular conspiracy theorists and from
the Churches. Of the Churches, the Roman Catholic Church has historically
opposed Freemasonry on political grounds as much as on a theological basis but
the modern New World Order theory is virtually confined to the Extreme
Fundamentalists, for whom it is their main ploy. I will address these
allegations in more details later in this paper.
Freemasonry is a false religion.
This is the most serious allegation of all because
although the previous categories of allegations can be proved factually wrong
point by point, the allegation that Freemasonry is a religion of any kind is a
matter of perception resulting from and in a mindset on the part of the accusers.
That Freemasonry is a religion at all is essential to their allegations, for if
Freemasonry is not a religion it is impossible augment the allegation by saying
that it is a false religion or that the Freemasons are pagans, neo-Palagians,
Gnostics, witches, pantheonists, worshippers of Satan, heretical neo-Templars
and all manner of descriptions of men allegedly involved in a dark plot to woo
men away from true Christianity.
At the very least, Freemasonry stands accused of being “incompatible” with
Christianity and this tends to be the summation of the attitude of the
anti-Masonic components of the mainstream churches, much to the anguish and
genuine distress of individual Freemasons who are devout practicing Christians
These allegations originate in the Christian churches and religious groups.
The mainstream churches make a firm but relatively non-defamatory allegation
that Freemasonry is a religion, but since it admits men of all religions and
“denies Jesus” by not mentioning his name or teachings in its ceremonies, it
is therefore a false religion and incompatible with Christianity, which is the
only “true” religion because salvation is only possible through the saving
grace of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic Church has, in addition to this,
claimed that Freemasonry has advanced secular government to the detriment of the
Church and has in the past been involved in plots against the Church.
The Extreme Fundamentalists make all of the aforementioned allegations but in
addition claim that Freemasonry is ruled by an elite group of high degree Masons
who worship Satan. Lowly ‘Blue Lodge’ Masons are allegedly unaware of
the Satanic nature of the institution they have joined but are enslaved to it by
terrifying oaths. The Masonic elite are dedicated to creating a “New
World Order” in which the worship of Satan or Lucifer will be the global
religion. There will be world government in which everyone will be
micro-chipped and enslaved to the interests of big business! Such are just
some of the absurd accusations emanating from the Extreme Fundamentalists.
Allow me to examine these allegations in some depth an
expose what I consider to be the errors in the mindset that has created them.
The first category is easily resolved. Books
about ancient mysteries and the so-called secret societies which allegedly guard
them will always be sought after by avid readers of that sort research,
including myself. Likewise the various theories about the origins of
Freemasonry are of interest to Freemasons. The research involved in
producing books promoting these theories is impressive, as are the theories
themselves. Indeed, Freemasons tend to have an open mind about the origins
of Freemasonry, simply because we are not absolutely certain of the origins
ourselves. In spite of the tendency to convey a false impression to the
general public, such books at least serve to keep a worthwhile and interesting
debate going and one never knows what research might discover about the origins
and activities of the Craft.
In spite of exhaustive research by Masonic historians such as Robert Gould and
by the members of Quatuor Coronati and other research lodges, with all the
manuscripts and documents available to those Brethren, there is no conclusive
evidence which had led to a definitive statement as to the origins of
speculative Freemasonry. The theory most favored and frequently stated as
fact, is that Freemasonry evolved from the guilds or companies or lodges of
operative stonemasons. This can, in fact, be proven in the case of
but whilst the likelihood is very high in the case of
, it has not so far been proven beyond doubt. Likewise there exists some
slight evidence of a linkage with the Rosicrucians but it probably amounts to no
more than the possibility that some individual Freemasons were also Rosicrucians.
There may have been some exchange of ideas in the early days, but Rosicrucianism
is very different from Freemasonry even though both make use of symbolic and
With regard to the alleged Templar descent, this again is possible but unlikely.
Modern Templarism is symbolic and bears little actual resemblance to the
The books that promote theories in this category are rarely written in an
anti-masonic vein and it is left to the reader to form either a favourable or
adverse opinion of Freemasonry from what is written about the Craft. Some
who are already anti-Masonry may find another in these books source of material
with which to attack the Craft, but others may be pleasantly intrigued and feel
a certain empathy with Freemasonry.
As Freemasons we should not attempt to interfere with freedom of speech and
freedom to form opinions but we should always be prepared to respond questions
and criticisms which may arise from what people write and say about us.
With regard to the origins of Freemasonry we can honestly state that whilst we
traditionally believe our institution stemmed from the lodges of operative
, there is conclusive evidence to that effect except for Scottish Freemasonry.
Likewise, we can honestly state that Masonic Templarism emerged in the 18th.Century,
originally in Ireland, and that whilst the traditional history of the Masonic
Templars claims a descent from the medieval Crusading Order, there is no actual
proof to support such claims. Further, there is no proof of any connection
with the historic Rosicrucian movement other than joint membership on the part
of a few individual Freemasons. One of the modern Rosicrucian groups, the Societas
Rosicruciana in Anglia, is an allied Order recognized by the United Grand
Lodge of England and it is a prerequisite that members be Freemasons. The Societas
was formed during the 19th.Century and has very little in common with
other Rosicrucian societies.
Far more serious are the allegations that Freemasons
lodges are involved in advancing the pecuniary interests of their members in
gaining positions of power or preferential treatment or financial advantage in
national and local government, in the judiciary and law enforcement, in the
armed forces, in business and in society in general. Perhaps the best
known supposed exposure of alleged Masonic involvement in such activities is the
book entitled ‘The Brotherhood’ by Stephen Knight. First published in
1983, this book deals mainly with so-called “case histories” of alleged
Masonic preferential treatment and contains reports of many face to face
interviews with British Freemasons or former Masons. The book is full of
inferences and somewhat oblique conclusions, but very short on proof.
There have indeed been several investigations, both private and public, into the
activities of English Freemasons over the past two decades and there exists a
general public perception that Freemasonry exists as a conduit for the pecuniary
interests of its members.
For New Zealand Freemasons it is virtually impossible to know whether or not
some British Freemasons are involved in advancing themselves through membership
of the Craft and it is also virtually impossible to either confirm or deny such
. Suffice to comment, that in any situation where men are in a position to
make friendships or simply contacts, whether it be in a Masonic Lodge, Rotary,
Lions Club, Rugby Club, or church group there is a potential for what may have
been initially a purely social friendship to expand into a business,
professional or political relationship which mutually benefits both parties or
which might extend to several parties. It is entirely natural and
understandable that men who have got to know and trust each other may tend to
feel easier in dealing with each other than with comparative strangers,
especially as in the case of Freemasonry they may have good reason to suppose
that they share similar values and attitudes. That, one might say, is
life. It is very easy for someone who has been passed over to blame that
circumstance on the Freemasons, especially if a Freemason had succeeded where he
has not, but if Freemasons are not involved at all, some other group is just as
likely to get the blame.
There exists, of course, a very long list of Freemasons who have made fame and
fortune and very much longer list could be made of Freemasons who, whilst not
household names, nevertheless are or were high achievers. Every Masonic
Llodge could compile such a list from its own members. There are some
Freemasons who are high achievers in Freemasonry but not necessarily in anything
else, whilst some Freemasons who are high achievers in society are not
particularly active in Freemasonry. Many, possibly the majority of
Freemasons, were already successful before they joined the Craft and clearly owe
nothing to Freemasonry for their success. The point is, every Freemason
has a life outside the lodge, he is someone else apart from being a Freemason.
His life outside the lodge is, or should be where he strives to succeed in life
to the best of his ability for the benefit of his family, employer and himself.
The moral examples Freemasonry provides may well help shape his conduct in life
to the extent that advancement may be a result of his conduct but it is not the
purpose or intention of the institution of Freemasonry as a whole, or any
individual lodge, to render preferential treatment or provide any assistance for
the pecuniary advantage, personal promotion or interests of any Freemason or
group of Freemasons.
This is not to say Freemasonry has been entirely free of “bad eggs” or
people who have attempted to use membership of the Craft to their own ends, but
I can confidently state that such people are very rare indeed. Certainly,
from my own experience, I have never gained the slightest impression or hint
that membership of the Craft had any potential whatsoever for personal
No examination of this aspect would be complete without reference to the
infamous P2 Lodge scandal in
which broke in the 1981 and which has provided much anti-Masonic ammunition,
although not as much as one would expect. The original Propaganda Due
lodge was chartered in
in 1877 as a research lodge and as a lodge for visiting Masons but by 1965 had
only 14 permanent members. In 1965, the then Italian Grand Master,
Giordiano Gamberini installed one Licio Gelli as master of Propaganda Due urging
him to ‘form a circle of important people, some of whom might
eventually become Masons’, but all of whom could be useful to the growth of
Freemasonry. With extraordinary rapidity, Gelli built up a so-called
“lodge”, renamed Raggruppamento Gelli-Propaganda Due which rose to a
membership of 1000 in
and 2500 world wide and covered the entire power structure of
. Most of the members were fanatical anti-communists and practicing Roman
Catholics. Very few members became ‘regular’ Freemasons.
Licio Gelli was a former fascist who had fought in the Spanish Civil War on the
side of Franco. In World War 2 he joined the German SS engaged in tracking
down Italian partisans. Realizing that the Allies were winning the war,
Gelli became a double agent and thus escaped retribution when the war ended.
He made his fortune by stealing the national treasures of
and by helping Nazi war criminals escape to
in return for a hefty fee. Gelli was a master of making and cultivating
useful contacts and he rapidly became influential amongst the rich, powerful and
famous. One might well wonder how such a man could be accepted into
Freemasonry, which happened in 1963, but the fact is that Mussolini and his
Fascists had nowhere near as bad a post-war reputation in
, or indeed
, as Hitler and the Nazis. The greatest fear was communism and the old
Fascists were quickly forgiven and recruited into the anti-communist ranks.
The CIA even financed the P2 Lodge anti-communist activities.
The penetration of Italian society was so thorough that the P2 Lodge became a
state within a state. Members of P2 included high ranking politicians,
military officers, bankers, businessmen, industrialists, judges and clergy.
The list of Vatican clergy who were allegedly Freemasons included Secretary of
State Cardinal Villot, Vatican Foreign Minister Monsignor Casaroli, Cardinal
Vicar of Rome Ugu Poletti, Cardinal Baggio, Bishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the
Vatican Bank and his associatye Monsignor Donato de Bonis and Papal Secretary
Monsignor Pasquale Macchi, a total of 121. The list was compiled by a
former, disenchanted member of the P2 Lodge.
Thanks to the services of prominent Catholic layman and P2 member Umberto
Ortelini, the P2 Lodge became involved in the Vatican plan to divest itself of
most of its vast assets in
because of high taxation and fear of a communist takeover. Licio Gelli
introduced the chairman of the Vatican Bank, Bishop Marcinkus, to Sicialian
banker and P2 member Michele Sindona. Sindona bought of the
shares in a number of large industrial conglomerates and then started to work a
number of stock exchange swindles, tax evasions and money laundering scams in
conjunction with banker and P2 member Roberto Calvi. The two worked the
heady world of high finance with spectacular success until Sindona bought the
ailing Franklin Bank. The bank collapsed and with it all of Sindona’s
other banks. Calvi’s Banco Ambrosiano also collapsed and Calvi was found
hanging under a
. The P2 Lodge was implicated in the alleged murder of Pope John Paul I.
Sindona and Gelli were convicted and imprisoned in the
for fraud. The Italian Government of the day collapsed and a subsequent
inquiry, whilst ruling that Freemasonry is not a secret society, dismissed all
P2 members from public office and banned “secret lodges”. A law
excluding Freemasons from holding public office in
has recently been successfully challenged in the European Court of Human
The Grand Orient of Italy in fact suspended the P2 charter and expelled Gelli
from the Craft 1976. The Grand Orient had no complicity in the P2
activities whatsoever and the question must be asked, how could a Masonic lodge
contain both Freemasons and non-Freemasons? Its members were scattered all
and the world and the majority of its members had probably never been initiated
or seen the inside of a lodge room.
The P2 scandal brings us to the next category of anti-Masonry, the allegations
concerning supposed political activity and, in particular, the theory that the
Freemasons are bent on world dominance. The following excerpt from The New
Catholic Encyclopaedia is typical, in fact the anti-Masonry sources tend to feed
“Freemasonry is a politically powerful financial
organization operating under the guise of an all encompassing religion,
generally open, at least at some levels, to everyone but atheists. Their
goal is the domination of the world from a deistic perspective.
Freemason’s concern for morality is focused in relationship to their own
membership, not upon morality of the world. . . . Their goal,
world domination, is sought through control of currency, through control of
major corporations including banking, media, entertainment and communications,
through control of educators and textbooks, and most importantly the
infiltration of religions.”
The even more strident allegations emanating from the
Extreme Fundamentalists is very similar, even though they are bitterly opposed
to Roman Catholicism. Typical of the Fundamentalist approach was that of
evangelist Barry Smith. In his series of short books he attributes all
the misfortunes of the world, including the closure of local banks and petrol
stations, to Freemasons who are bent on bringing about the ”New World
Order”. He says that President George Bush and afterwards Bill Clinton,
indeed all American Presidents were hand picked by the New World Order men, the
American voters had nothing to do with it. It’s being going on, he says,
since the Illuminati were formed in 1761, the same year as the American
Declaration of Independence. The date on the US $1 bill (1761) refers to
the formation of the Illuminati and the pyramid on the seal represents the
orders of Freemasonry and the all-seeing eye at the top is the eye of Lucifer.
The street layout of
contains the square and compasses and the pentagram and the pentagram is
symbolic of the head of a goat. The date 1761 contains the number 666,
which is Satan’s “area code”, when added to others. Well, so it does
and so does any number higher than 666! The pages of his books are full on
this sort of nonsense and total falsehood, every paragraph screams from the page
in an attempt to drive fear into the hearts of the readers. Of course,
having hopefully driven fear of other people into people and forced them into a
paranoid, isolated frame of mind, Barry Smith has all the answers to the fears
that he, Barry Smith, has put into their heads. All they have to do to be
freed and saved, because they must be sinners as well as scared stiff of the
world around, is to give themselves to Jesus. That’s fine, but surely
Jesus is there for them anyway, without all the mental manipulation from Barry
Smith. It’s a desperate man who perpetrates total fiction and malicious
lies in the name of Jesus. In many ways his propaganda technique is
similar to that used by Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, Barry Smith was just
one of many clones from the standard Fundamentalist missionary production line.
There does not appear to be anyone following in his footsteps in
but his innuendos are typical of the Extreme Fundamentalist line disseminated
from US based websites.
Accusations of political activism have dogged Freemasonry on and off virtually
from the foundation of the English Grand Lodge in 1717, so much so that there
would be a great many of the general public aware of the accusations who feel
they must be true. The first allegations were that the Jacobite Masons,
supporters of the deposed king James II and his heirs and who were instrumental
in promoting Freemasonry on the continent of
, actively used Freemasonry as a cover for promoting the Jacobite cause.
There is no evidence to support such an assertion and, in any case, what would
have been the point when the
and all the Catholic monarchs already supported the Stuarts? Jacobite
support was minimal in
it was mainly confined to the Scots highlanders, hardly any of whom were
Freemasons at that time. It is very unlikely any English or Scots masons
would have attempted to disturb the harmony of the lodge by introducing Jacobite
politics and there is no evidence that they did.
There is no doubt, however, that the secretiveness of Freemasonry aroused
considerable suspicion and led to the first Papal Bull against Freemasonry, that
entitled ‘In Eminenti Apostulatus Specula’ of Pope Clement XII, 28 April
1738. This brief and decidedly vague Bull does not specifically state what
the Freemasons stand accused of other than admitting men of all faiths and
meeting in secret The Pope states that all he knows about the Freemasons
is from rumour and “common gossip” and they “have caused in the minds of
the faithful the greatest suspicion”. Having spent one paragraph
admitting that he knows very little about the Freemasons, he spends another
paragraph of waffle condemning them. That is the sum total of the Bull.
It seems to be simply an attempt to nip in the bud something he and others are
suspicious of from a political point of view. In my opinion the Pope was
reacting in a purely political way to the initiation in 1731 of the Duke of
Lorraine. In 1736 the Duke married Maria Theresa the heiress to the
Habsburg Empire. At the time of the Bull, the Duke would have looked
certain to become the Emperor of the
Holy Roman Empire
and in 1740, he did. To the Pope, the building political situation might
have seemed very much like the events of 1619 when the Protestant Elector of the
was elected King of Bohemia, which triggered the Thirty Years War. The
“secret college” of Rosicrucians, known to be anti-Papal, were supposedly
behind this Protestant attempt to gain possession of a kingdom which was
traditionally the fief of the Roman Catholic Holy Roman Emperor.
Much is said these days about the involvement of Freemasons in the American
Declaration of Independence and the subsequent war of independence as supposed
“proof” of Masonic revolutionary activity. This criticism comes from
the Extreme Fundamentalists who owe their very right to free speech to the
democracy forged out the War of Independence and the American Constitution.
That fact is that, although Freemasons were prominent amongst those who signed
the Declaration of Independence and in the American officer corps, there were
Freemasons on both sides. Most of the opposing British generals were
Freemasons and most British regiments which served in
had Masonic lodges. There is no evidence that Freemasonry was politically
active as an institution.
Likewise the French Revolution has been blamed on Freemasons but, once again,
there were Freemasons on both sides. The philosopher Voltaire, whose
writings are credited with having spurred the Revolution, was a Freemason but,
firstly, he did not directly instigate the Revolution, secondly his philosophy
was not especially Masonic and, thirdly, there were a whole range of reasons for
the French Revolution. No academic history of the French Revolution
mentions Freemasonry as having any influence on the course of events. The
Revolution in fact saw the closure of the French lodges until Napoleon allowed
the re-emergence of Freemasonry under the supervision of his brothers.
Once again, there is no evidence Freemasonry was politically active as an
There is no doubt about the involvement of Freemason’s in the revolution of
the South American colonists of
against Spanish rule. An unsuccessful revolution in 1796 was undertaken
mainly by Freemasons. Freemasons featured prominently in the subsequent wars of
independence, including generals Miranda and Bolivar. But, yet again,
there were Freemasons amongst those who remained loyal to
and when Bolivar came to power all the lodges but one were forcibly closed.
There is no evidence that Freemasonry was politically active as an institution
although there is no doubt that there was a core of revolutionary leaders who
The nineteenth century saw a progressive movement towards secular government,
whether under parliamentary democracies, dictatorships or despotic monarchies
and with it a marked decline in the authority of the Church, especially with
regard to its involvement in education and general welfare. In particular,
the despotic monarchies, with whom the Church was traditionally allied, were
under increasing pressure from the democratic movements within their own
countries to introduce democratic reforms and in this regard the Roman Catholic
Church found itself on the losing side in the conflict between the forces of
democracy and those of reaction. Failing to recognize the justifications
for democratic change and the reasons for the secular policies of the democratic
movements, the Roman Catholic Church saw fit to align itself with the
reactionary camp and to fulminate against those groups it perceived to be
driving reform, namely the liberals, socialists and Freemasons, accusing them of
plotting against the Church and God. Still less did the Church perceive
any potential for the propagation and preservation of Faith in partnership with
political reform even though Pope Leo XIII for the first time lent support to
the rights of the working men. It is against this nineteenth century
background that the current Roman Catholic position with regard to Freemasonry
stands for it is formed from the papal encyclical entitled Humanus Genus
of Pope Leo XIII, promulgated in 1884 and which remains to most comprehensive
condemnation of Freemasonry by the Roman Catholic Church.
The encyclical Humanus Genus starts with a declaration that there is only
on Earth, that is the
as embodied in the Roman Catholic Church. Everyone else belongs to the
. This introduction not only sets the tone for the entire encyclical but
also clearly exposes the mindset of the Church, that the Church is right and
everyone else is wrong. Apart from referring to the Freemasons as
followers of “natural” religion, that is to say religion which recognizes a
simple belief in a god or gods but not of revelation of God’s word through
Jesus, the encyclical is concerned with condemning the Freemasons for supporting
secularism and democratic reform. The following extracts encapsulate the
thrust of the condemnation:-
“They work, indeed, obstinately to the end that
neither the teaching nor the authority of the Church may have any influence: and
therefore they preach and maintain the full separation of the Church from the
State. So law and government are wrested from the wholesome and divine
virtue of the Catholic Church, and they want, therefore, by all means to rule
States independent of the institutions and doctrines of the Church”.
“The Sect of the Masons aims unanimously and steadily
also at the possession of the education of children. --- Hence, in the
instruction and education of children, they do not leave to the ministers of the
Church any part either in directing or watching them. In many places they
have gone so far that children’s education is all in the hands of laymen.”
“The principles of social science follow. Here
naturalists teach that men have all the same rights, and are perfectly equal in
condition, that every man in naturally independent, that no one has a right to
command others: that it is tyranny to keep men subject to any other authority
than that which emanates from themselves. Hence the people are sovereign;
those who rule have no authority but by the commission and concession of the
people; so that they can be deposed, willing or unwilling, according to the
wishes of the people. The origin of all rights and civil duties is in the
people or in the state, which is ruled according to the new principles of
liberty. The State must be Godless; no reason why one religion ought to be
preferred to another; all to be held in the same esteem. Now it is well
known that Free-Masons approve these maxims, and that they wish to see
governments shaped on this pattern and model needs no demonstration”.
The encyclical covers fifteen pages, but these three
paragraphs contain the substance of the condemnation of Freemasonry. The
encyclical was promulgated over 120 years ago in reaction to alleged Masonic
involvements in the secular democratic political and social scientific
developments of the time which promoted human rights we now take for granted.
In this regard it would be tempting to debunk the encyclical on its own terms,
but that is not necessary because the principle of secular democracy moved past
the obstacle presented by the Church at that time to become the idea to which
most nations now aspire and which most churches now accept as being the most
just political system. It is historical fact, however, that secularism in
government, which is now virtually global, has been brought about as much by
totalitarian regimes as by democracies. Clearly, this is because the
provision of universal education, health care and social welfare is most readily
and evenly provided through universal taxation and state control.
But to return to secular democracy, if the Roman Catholic Church has, to its
credit, now espoused the cause of democracy and human rights, why does it still
enshrine the encyclical Humanus Genus as the basis upon which it condemns
Freemasonry, which institution it alleges was instrumental in promoting secular
democracy? To this question must be added the weight of historical fact
that, although individual Freemasons were undoubtedly involved in democratic
movements and in support of secularism, there were equally those who were active
in the opposing camp and never, at any time or in any country, can it be
demonstrated that Freemasons were politically active as an institution.
Freemasons are someone else apart from Freemasons and, in any case, the Masonic
lectures do not specifically advocate either democracy or any other political
system, nor do they advocate secularism. Freemasonry does not say that all
men are equal in condition, that is demonstrably not so, but that all men (and
by implication women also) should be treated equally as persons. So why,
in the almost certain knowledge that its condemnation of Freemasonry is based on
misplaced and, at best, obsolete assumptions and in the knowledge that a great
many practicing Roman Catholics have from the outset disagreed with and ignored
the strictures of the Church with respect to Freemasonry, does the Church
persist with its condemnation?
The answer lies in the mindset of the Roman Catholic Church, and indeed of some
many of the Christian denominations that denies that they can commit error.
The Roman Catholic Church regards itself as the “Mystical Body of Christ”
and therefore its teachings and rulings are the very word of Christ and
therefore of God and the Holy Spirit also. Any criticism or denial of the
word of the Church is a criticism or denial of Christ. Christian
fundamentalists think the same way. I noticed on a Blog site an item by a
Baptist in response to criticism of a particular Baptist teaching – the
Baptist could not understand how anyone could criticize God! Criticism of
his church was criticism of God.
There is also, as I found out, a scriptural basis for the Roman Catholic
Church’s condemnation of Freemasonry. I found this in a book entitled The
Faith by Canon Ridley, which is a very comprehensive and definitive manual
of contemporary Roman Catholic doctrine. Father Ridley justifies the
strictures against Freemasonry under the Fourth Commandment “Honor thy father
and thy mother”. He goes on to say that we are thereby commanded to
“obey” not only our parents “but also our bishops and pastors, the civil
authorities and all our lawful superiors” We are also ” bound in
justice to contribute to the support of our pastors; for St.Paul says, “The
Lord ordained that they who preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel”.
It must be said, firstly, that St.Paul was not referring to the Fourth
Commandment but, more importantly, and with respect to Father Ridley and the
Roman Catholic Church, the interpretation of the Fourth Commandment simply does
not stretch that far. The Fourth Commandment say “honor thy father and
thy mother”, it does not say obey in all things, it does not say agree and it
does not say support. The Fourth Commandment is about honoring one’s
natural, human father and mother and does not include other persons, natural or
supernatural, and by “honor” the Commandment means to pay due respect to
one’s parents and, more particularly, to do nothing to dishonor them, bearing
in mind that human society has tended to hold parents responsible in some
measure for the behavior of their offspring. God’s Commandments given to
Moses were a simple set of common sense rules by which humankind could live in
amity and peace, the Commandments were not given with the intention of being
liberally interpreted 3000 years later by a Christian Church in order to condemn
its perceived enemies.
Father Ridley, reflecting the contemporary Roman Catholic standpoint states that
A Secret Society of a character opposed to right moral principles.
An organization demanding from its members an oath which is unjust and
Proved guilty of much social injustice
e) A false religion.
Our response cannot be otherwise than as follows:-
Freemasonry is not a secret society. It is established in the civil
law of all reputable democracies that it is not so. The constitutions,
laws and aims of Freemasonry are available to the general public and its
business affairs are open to the scrutiny of audit. Its ritual, whilst
private to its members, is also readily available to the general public as it
happens. The practice of moral rectitude is central to Masonic teachings,
exhorted on all members, and Freemasons both individually and severally endeavor
to conduct themselves in a manner beyond reproach.
Freemasonry simply demands of its members a traditional oath to keep the
traditional secrets of Freemasonry, being the means of recognition between
Freemasons, and an undertaking to treat other Masons as brothers. The
Masonic oaths are by no means as unjust and as sweeping as the demands of some
religions on those who seek comfort in the Church.
Freemasonry has not been proved guilty of much social injustice. If
any Church has aligned itself with a particular social policy, it should not be
surprised if it encounters opposition. It is more likely that that
opposition will come from another church or religion. Freemasonry, as an
institution, has no social policy. Individual Freemasons might well
support one social policy or another, as is their right, but Freemasonry does
not take sides. Freemasonry does, however, exhort its members to act with
moral rectitude and with brotherly love to all mankind in all their activities.
Freemasonry is not essentially anti-Catholic. Roman Catholics have
always been welcome to join Freemasonry and, since the inception of speculative
Freemasonry, Roman Catholics have been prominent and very active members of the
institution. There has never been a Masonic plot to overthrow the Catholic
Church and indeed there has been a desire on the part of Freemasonry in general
for an amicable resolution to what amounts to a misunderstanding.
Freemasonry is not a false religion or any sort of religion or substitute
Before moving on to the subject of religion, I will
touch briefly on the opposition to Freemasonry from non-Christian or secular
sources. Starting with the Soviet Union, Freemasonry was banned in all
communist countries except Cuba on the grounds that Freemasonry is an
institution of the middle and upper classes of society and therefore
unacceptable in a proletarian society. Freemasonry has vigorously
re-emerged in the former soviet republics and eastern European satellites since
the fall of communism. In 1926, Freemasonry was banned in
by the fascist government of Mussolini on the grounds that the Italian
Freemasons were involved in political intrigue against the state. In a
remarkable interview, Mussolini stated that he had no problem with Freemasonry
as practiced in
, but was convinced that the Italian Freemasons took orders from the Grand
Orient of France. There were 100,000 Freemasons in
in 1930 but by 1935 all lodges were closed by the Nazi regime. Hitler
himself is on record as stating that Freemasonry was “harmless” but other
Nazis associated Freemasonry with Judaism and with liberal opposition to Nazi
policies. Several thousand Freemasons in
and occupied countries were killed or imprisoned. Likewise, in
the fascist government of General Franco executed several hundred Freemasons
and imprisoned about 6000 on the grounds that the Freemasons were deemed to be
opposed to traditional Catholic Spain. Freemasonry is banned for Muslims
in most Islamic countries simply on the grounds that any system of philosophy
that is not Islamic is deemed to be either opposed to or superfluous to Islam.
In Muslim countries, Freemasonry tends to be associated with Christianity and
Judaism and is believed to lend itself to Zionist ambitions. This is
certainly the view of Hamas and Al Qaeda.
The assertion that Freemasonry is a religion and, in
particular, a false religion represents the most misplaced and stubborn mindset
on the part of sections of the Christian religion. It is the official view
of the Roman Catholic Church, of the Greek Orthodox Church and of individuals
and groups within the Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist and
amongst the mainstream denominations. The most strident and defamatory
accusations come, however, from a wide range of small but vocal evangelical
fundamentalist “born again” Christian groups or individuals.
It must be stated that the Roman Catholic Church simply contends that Freemasons
are deists or followers of natural religion. Deism is the belief in the
existence of a ‘Supreme Being’ who is the ground and source of reality but
who does not intervene of take an active interest in the natural historical
order. Natural religion involves the notion that there is a natural
religious response to the world, or religiousness that is a natural human
endowment and common to all religious belief and accessible to human reason, as
opposed to supernatural beliefs in concepts such as miracles, providence and
eternal life and in further contrast to revealed religion which is based on the
notion that religion is revealed by some external authority such as God.
Clearly, Freemasonry is an inclusive rather than an exclusive fraternity in that
it admits men of all faiths that confess a belief in God. Because of this
diversity in the personal beliefs of its members it is therefore not possible to
define or label Freemasonry or Freemasons as a group either as deists or by any
other specific religious definition. Neither does Freemasonry points its
members towards any particular religious path, whether in terms of natural
religion or revealed religion. The Roman Catholic Church has also
criticized Freemasonry for admitting men of all faiths without distinction, so
that no man’s faith is superior to another’s and that is wrong. If
that is so, and it is, how then can Freemasonry be accused of being a
self-contained religion and how can Freemasonry be wrong in admitting men to
meet in peace, love and harmony who believe in God and agree to abide by the
same moral law?
Amongst the latest condemnations of Freemasonry has been that of the 46th
Synod of the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney resolution 25/03 of 20 October
Affirms that Freemasonry and Christianity are fundamentally and
Affirms that Freemasonry teaches and upholds a system of false religious
and spiritual beliefs that are contrary to biblical Christianity.
Most Worshipful Brother Tony Lauer, Grand Master of New
South Wales and ACT in a media statement replied “the resolution is pure
discrimination, smacks of bigotry and religious fundamentalism and is a betrayal
of all Freemasons who practice the Anglican Faith”. “The stance is taken in
total ignorance and is a misrepresentation of what Freemasonry is all about”.
The resolution was made in spite of the statement given in paragraph 42 of the
Standing Committee Report that “the impression which obtained of Freemasonry
was of a society of men with a highly religious and ritualistic structure in
which the Mason is made to feel a welcome member of a warm sympathetic group
with high moral ideals. He is taught to believe in his won vale and
dignity and his ability to improve himself.” In paragraph 44 it is
stated “it is hard to criticize an organization which requires its members to
adopt a moral lifestyle generally consistent with what Christianity teaches and
which performs many charitable works”. We come across the mindset in
paragraph 45 – and this is the key to the opposition to Freemasonry – where
it is stated “The majority had difficulty in seeing how any person who loves
Jesus Christ as his Lord could take part in a ritual where the secrets of
godliness and eternal life are offered without any mention of Jesus’ love an
The allegation that Freemasonry “denies Jesus” is common to all Christian
critics of Freemasonry, except for the Roman Catholic Church, which does not
press that term. The Masonic response is that no mention is made of Jesus
in our philosophy touching upon religion, simply because Freemasonry does not
preach or point the way to personal salvation or moral way of life through the
example or intervention of any particular savior, prophet or avatar or any
particular religion or church. When the name of God is mentioned in a
Masonic Lodge it will mean to the Christian Mason the Holy Trinity, but it will
not denote a triune deity to the Jew or Muslim.
Anti-masons are quick to point out that some prominent Freemasons have stated
that Freemasonry is a religion, for example Albert Pike when he says “Every
Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion and its teachings are instructions in
religion … this is true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs” and
Albert Mackey who says “The religion of Freemasonry is non-sectarian”.
It is certainly true that some prominent Freemasons have expressed such views
but there have been many more who have expressed views to the contrary. It
must be said that both Albert Pike and Albert Mackey were markedly
self-opinionated individuals promoting a personal viewpoint which was not
representative of Freemasonry as a whole.
Neither do dictionary-style definitions help because it is possible to narrow
and broaden definitions to support or refute either argument until it becomes a
war of semantics. So does Freemasonry fit the profile of a religion?
Let us compare Freemasonry with a typical set of evangelical assertions about
They have there own god or hero
They have their own beliefs and practices
They present an alternative plan of salvation
They claim to take their initiates from darkness into spiritual light
They have their own distinct places of worship (
They have their own Christless prayers and hymns
They have their own religious offices which are alien to the Christian
Church and contrary to the teaching of scripture
They make use of the Bible
They have an altar
Our response is as follows:-
We do not have our own god or hero. Freemasons evince a belief in
God in accordance with their personal religious convictions formed and practiced
outside Freemasonry and Freemasonry does not provide them with an alternative.
Hiram Abiff is a symbolic hero as the traditional founder of Freemasonry and as
a model of fortitude. Hiram Abiff is not worshipped or sanctified in any
Freemasonry believes in and practices the virtues of brotherly love,
charity and trust as essential to an upright way of living. Freemasonry
holds that these virtues are those upon which men of all religions can agree.
Freemasonry provides a means by which men who aspire to live by these virtues
can work together in amity for the good of society rather than separately and
potentially in dissention. This not religion.
Freemasonry does not preach an alternative plan of salvation, neither
does it advocate a particular plan of salvation such a salvation through the
saving grace of Jesus or the Seven Pillars of Islam. The inference in
Freemasonry is that a Freemason should have “hope” in salvation through the
practice of high moral conduct and good works. This is fully in accordance
with the doctrines of all religions and, again, represents the common ground
upon which men of all faiths can agree. Criticism that Freemasonry
preaches salvation through good works alone is a purely Protestant one and is
misplaced. The Gospels clearly demonstrate that Jesus laid great emphasis
on how people should treat one another, with respect, understanding, compassion,
forgiveness, charity and, above all love. The teachings and practices of
Freemasonry, whilst not specifically based on the teachings of Jesus are
nevertheless fully compatible with the teachings of Jesus with regard to
Freemasonry symbolically takes initiates from darkness into spiritual
light by pointing out the Volume of the Sacred Law as the compendium of moral
teaching and to the symbols of the square and compasses, representing
Freemasonry and the path of brotherly love, rather than the path of intolerance
Freemasons do not worship any deity whatsoever in their meeting places.
Some Lodges refer to their Mason Halls as “temples”, but this is in
reference to King Soloman’s
, the figurative building of which is in a Freemason’s heart but which he does
in terms of his own religion as reinforced by Masonic teaching.
Prayers and hymns are used to invoke God’s beneficent approval of the
proceedings in the same way as they are used, or used to be used, in school
assemblies. In the
, prayer meetings are held before race car meetings – that does not mean that
the North American Stock Car Racing Association is a religion! Prayers on
public and private occasions was once commonplace, but less so these days.
The very fact that Freemasons use prayers and hymns to a God who we believe
listens is surely proof that the Freemasons are not deists.
All Lodges have deacons and a chaplain. The deacons have a purely
secular role and the chaplain intones prayers on behalf of the assembly.
These offices are not comparable with there equivalents in the Church. I
would challenge religionists to demonstrate how these offices are contrary to
The Bible, or the holy book of another faith, is revered in Freemasonry
as the symbolic and actual compendium of the moral law according to all faiths.
The candidates take their oaths on the VSL and by the help of God, by doing so
making a promise by that which they hold most sacred. This used to be
common practice in ancient guilds, investitures of knights and orders and, of
course, the ordination of clergy. Use of the Bible is not proof that
Freemasonry is a religion in itself.
Personally, I believe that the use of the term “altar” to describe
the structure upon which is placed the Bible in a Masonic Lodge, is wrong.
An altar is specifically a flat topped table or block upon which sacrifices or
offerings to a deity are made or upon which religious ceremonies are performed.
None of these functions apply to the so-called “altar” in a Masonic Lodge.
In summation, Freemasonry is not a religion in the
sense that its religious critics mean the term, that is to say an
institutionalized religious church or group equivalent to themselves, for the
reason that Freemasonry does not:-
Practice sacerdotal functions.
Define sin and salvation.
Publish or specify a Holy Book
Describe or define the Deity.
Preach the teachings of a particular savior, prophet or avatar.
Most importantly, although Freemasonry does feature
some religious overtones reflecting the natural aptitude towards religion in the
social and moral attitudes of mankind, Freemasonry does not perceive itself to
be a religion, does not aspire to be a religion, promote itself or act as a
religion or as a substitute for religion, rather it serves to teach and nurture
those fundamental beliefs and moral mores which are shared by all faiths and
which make for civilized society. In doing so, Freemasonry brings together
in harmony those who might otherwise be divided.
This paper would not be complete without reference to those who accuse
Freemasons as worshipping Satan and being involved in witchcraft. These, I
have previously called the Extreme Fundamentalists but who are more technically
referred to a Dispensational Fundamentalist. They exist both outside and
inside the mainstream Protestant churches and represent a composite belief.
They are “evangelical” in the purely Protestant sense of a belief in the
principles of justification by faith alone and the supreme authority of
scripture, “fundamentalist” in their belief in the Immaculate Conception,
the Resurrection and the literal interpretation of the Bible,
“dispensationalist” in the belief that history is divided into six distinct
periods or dispensations in which God works in a particular way (we are now in
the final period), “millenarianist” in the belief that there will be a
thousand-year reign of the saints either before or after the return of Christ,
“apocalyptic” in the belief that the Book of Revelation is true prophecy
about the end of the world and the “last days” which we are now in,
“Salvationist” in the belief that salvation is only possible though faith
and the saving grace of Jesus Christ, “dualist” in the doctrine that there
are two opposing principles at work in the universe, namely good and evil, and
“creedist” in that they regard any belief other than theirs as the evil work
of Satan. These religious extremists firmly believe that they, and they
alone know, God’s revealed truth. They and they alone are free from
scriptural error. They, and they alone are true Christians and will be
saved. All other Christians, together with the atheists, Muslims, Hindus
and, indeed, everyone else are condemned to eternal damnation to burn in hell.
People possessed of such implacable bigotry and intolerance are capable of
anything. In the
, the extreme fundamentalists have condemned and slandered all around them,
entered politics in a covert sort of way, indulged in personal defamation of
opponents or perceived enemies, all of whom they describe as “Satan’s
helpers”. They thrive on paranoia and total lack of compromise to bind
followers to total obedience to Jesus, meaning their church. Their
technique is to tell people that, because of their grave sins, the only hope
they have of being saved is to surrender themselves entirely to Jesus, otherwise
the devil will get their soul. If they surrender themselves to Jesus, he
will protect them, think for them and act for them provided they do as they are
told. Any negative thoughts and actions are the work of the devil and all
the bad things happening in the world are the devil’s works.
This is where the Freemasons come in. The fundamentalists have conjured up
Satan in their followers minds to a status almost equal to God, with Jesus as a
sort of mediator. Thus the fundamentalists have created in effect a
quadrune deity, which is bordering on pantheonism and occultism. However,
because all these beings are supernatural they need human helpers to bring about
human events. The fundamentalist pastors are, of course, Christ’s
helpers for the good, everyone else is the devil’s helpers for the bad.
The fundamentalists believe they actually have proof that the Freemasons worship
and assist Satan.
Fundamentalists claim the so-called “proof” is to be found in the 1984
book by Abel Clarin de la Rive, entitled La Femme et L’Enfant dans la
Franc-Maconnerie Universelle (Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry,
which was actually penned by one Gabriel Antione Jogand-Pages, otherwise known
as Leo Taxil, a former Freemason who had been expelled from the Craft for
writing pornography. In the book contained some false quotations from a
prominent American Freemason named Albert Pike, of which the following have been
seized upon by anti-masons:
The fourteenth day of the fifth month of the 889th
year of True Light (consequently July 14, 1889, of the vulgar era) Albert Pike,
Sovreign Grand Inspector general, 33rd and last degree; Most Puissant
Sovereign Commander Grand Master of the Supreme Council of Charleston, Premier
Supreme Council of the Globe; Grand Master Preserver of the sacred Palladium; as
Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, in the thirty-first year of his
Pontificate, he addressed to the 23 Confederated Supreme Councils of the entire
world these diabolical instructions
There follows a long discourse which includes the
“To you, Sovereign Grand Council Inspectors General,
we say, so that you can repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st
and 30th degrees:- the Masonic religion must be, by all of us
initiates of the higher grades, maintained in the purity of the LUCIFERIAN
doctrine” There are two other alleged references to Lucifer being God in
These quotations and, indeed, the entire book were a
total hoax, publicly confessed by Taxil in 1897. Albert Pike was Grand
Commander of the Supreme Council, 33 degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite, Southern Jurisdiction 1859 – 1891, but had no control whatsoever over
world Freemasonry. At the time, about 10% of American Freemasons were
members of the Rite and only about half of them were members of the Southern
Jurisdiction. Albert Pike had no influence whatsoever over the Northern
Jurisdiction. The proportion over both jurisdictions is about 33% today, but
much, much lower in other countries.
Insisting that the quotes are true and that the 33
degree Freemasons control the whole of Freemasonry, the fundamentalists claim
that the Craft is devoted to worship of Lucifer, or Satan. They recognize
that this is not true of the Blue lodges, but claim that the humble 3 degree
Masons have been duped in ignorance into joining a Luciferian organization.
The fundamentalist minister, Barry Smith, would not even talk to any Mason under
the 30th.degree, because “they do not know enough”. He also
attempted to debunk the denials of 33-degree masons by claiming they were lying.
So here is a non-mason claiming to know more about Freemasonry than any
Freemason and his approach is typical of the extreme fundamentalist line.
The plain truth is that the Antient and Accepted
Scottish Rite is not involved in the worship or even the consideration of
Lucifer. In any case there is nothing in scripture that equates Lucifer
with Satan – that is mere folklore. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite Masons operate under their own constitution and government, as do the
Antient, Free and Accepted Masons or Blue Lodge Masons. The three blue
lodge degrees, plus the three Royal Arch degrees, are the only degrees
recognized in regular Masonry. The doyens of the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite most definitely do not rule the Craft as a whole.
Brethren, this concludes the essay but before I resume
my seat I wish to take you back to the roots of Freemasonry. Brethren,
although the actual origins of Freemasonry are not known for sure, it is
nevertheless a fact that Freemasonry emerged as an active institution in the
years following the Reformation and, in particular, grew in strength during and
following the religious wars of the 17th Century. Freemasonry
represented, I believe, a reaction against those terrible and, in the end,
futile wars which were caused by nothing less than religious intolerance on both
sides. The Thirty Years War, fought between 1618 and 1648 reduced
to ruin, two thirds of the German population wiped out, towns razed to the
ground and once fertile fields turned to desert. Is that the kind of
Christianity that Freemasonry is incompatible with?
The English Civil War, fought between two factions of the Church of England,
spilled over into
involving Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Roman Catholics, all eager to spill
blood for the sake of religion. In these wars, fathers fought against
sons, brothers against brothers, uncles against nephews and, everywhere,
neighbour against neighbour. Is that the kind of Christianity that
Freemasonry is incompatible with?
Brethren, our Masonic forefathers found a better way than intolerance, division
and hatred of mankind. Realizing that good men were being forced to fight
against good men for the sake of the religion of intolerance and in
contravention of the teachings of Christ, they started to build a figurative
temple on the solid foundation of brotherly love, charity and trust and into
this temple they invited men of divergent religious and political persuasions to
meet in harmony on the basis of those things upon which all good men agree,
belief in God, obedience to the moral law, the practice of truth, honour and
virtue in daily life, the practice of charity and a belief in the brotherhood of
Brethren, times have not changed and the work our Masonic ancestors started is
not finished. Have we not witnessed in the 20th century the
vilest of all persecutions, the Jewish Holocaust? Hitler did not invent
, he simply capitalized on religious intolerance that had always been there,
encouraged it and made it legal. We have the example of
of intolerance at its very worst, and yet, Irish Freemasons of whatever
religious persuasion meet in peace, love and harmony. In the Balkans we
have witnessed an appalling war between Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and
Muslim factions with men and boys taken out into the fields in their thousands
to be shot because of their faith. Is that the kind of Christianity that
Freemasonry is incompatible with?
Brethren, mankind needs more than ever to cut out the cancer of
intolerance. Freemasonry has shown the way by recognizing that tolerance
and the pursuit of social harmony is the cement of civilized society and at the
heart of all of the great religions of mankind. To live in peace, love and
harmony is indeed the desire of all good people and is indeed possible with
Masonic attitude. Masonic attitude is the true secret of Freemasonry, but
we should share it with mankind.
It would be wishful thinking to believe that we can change the mindset of the
anti-masons by argument and the erudite presentation of the facts and proofs
because they seem to need to have that mindset in order to justify their baleful
view of the world. It is important, however, for the honour of the Craft
and in the interests of truth and the great work of Freemasonry, to make sure
our story is told to the public and, more particularly, that the public
justifiably gain a favorable impression of Freemasonry and will opt to trust our
word, rather than the lies and distortions of our critics. Much good work
is being done on Masonic web sites in this regard.
The world should know that we Freemasons speak truth about ourselves. We,
as Freemasons, know what Freemasonry is and what it is not, what we as
Freemasons believe in and what we do not believe in, what Freemasonry teaches
and what it does not teach, what Freemasonry does and what it does not do.
We Freemasons know all of these things, not the writers of books, not the
clergy, not the politicians and certainly not the religious bigots.
The most important asset Freemasons must preserve and nurture in themselves is
pride in their membership of the Craft because of what it stands for, quite
simply, brotherly love, charity and trust. These universal and
unassailable values, together with freedom from bigotry and prejudice and the
application of true justice for all men must be preserved and applied for the
sake of humanity. Freemasons should be very proud they are a part of this
great work. Once the general public compares the nature of Freemasonry
with prejudiced and distorted nature of our opponents, there can only be one
winner and that is Freemasonry. We must put our case and promote our cause
firmly, truthfully and without malice and let the public make up their own
But we must, we really must speak out. We have
got nothing to hide and everything to work for in a world that needs, more than
ever, an attitude of brotherly love, charity and trust.