Review of Freemasonry

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StarRed Special Project 2009 StarRed
PS Review of Freemasonry meets the Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council.

Ten selected papers first published by
the Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council.

Plus an illustrated account of the formation and activities of the ANZMRC:
by W.Bro. Tony Pope, Editor of the ANZMRC’s publications.

PS Review of Freemasonry
The Australian & New Zealand Masonic Research Council (ANZMRC) is an inter-jurisdictional association of research lodges for the promotion of Masonic research and education on an international basis.

by W.Bro. Robert Collins Barnes
PM Victorian Lodge of Research #218
United Grand Lodge of Victoria, Australia.
The 2006 Kellerman Lecture for Victoria, published in ANZMRC Proceedings 2006.

© No part of this paper may be reproduced without written permission from the The Australian & New Zealand Masonic Research Council. HTML code is property of PS Review of Freemasonry - All rights reserved ©



Over the last two hundred years or so, scientific developments have revolutionized our world in all respects. Science has created a social dynamic which has turned our modern Western civilization on its head and seen some traditional institutions largely abandoned. These societal changes have been the subject of much debate but very little rational insight over the closing decades of the twentieth century.


Foremost amongst those institutions which have seen their influence seriously eroded in modern Western society are Christianity and Freemasonry—both of which have been singled out as lacking relevance or as having lost touch with the modern, younger generations and New-Age lifestyles. Each of these institutions has suffered plummeting membership whilst retaining an ageing, committed core of followers which, in the fullness of time, will inevitably be lost.


Freemasonry has responded to these challenges by becoming more transparent and open in its practices, and by doing ‘good works’ (charitable activities, generally in the wider community). There can be no question that many Grand Lodges throughout the world have gone through extensive organizational analysis, self-examination and consultation in seeking to understand the causes of membership wastage and also in their endeavours to ‘find the answer’. However, the results of all this effort has not brought about a renaissance in membership.


ANZMRC publishes a quarterly newsletter, Harashim (Hebrew for Craftsmen), which is circulated worldwide in PDF format by email. Subscribe Harashim.

The response of the established Christian Churches has been more complex, with mainstream Christianity largely involuntarily spawning a plethora of Evangelical, Revivalist and New-Age Churches and cults. None of these changes has, in any real sense, addressed the core issues confronting Christianity as it moves into the third millennium. Interestingly, whilst their relevance (and membership base) has been threatened both by social change and (internal) religious dissent, elements of the established Christian Churches have, in part, responded to the pressures of our changing civilization by singling out Freemasonry as an abhorrent secret society which ought to be excised from Western Christian civilization. In this context, given the somewhat ambivalent relationship which has always existed between the Christian Church and Freemasonry, the behaviour of these elements is unsurprising in the face of the overwhelming threat posed by the rapidity and magnitude of technological and social change—Freemasonry, arguably, is an ‘easy target’.


Over the period in question—the latter part of the twentieth century—scientific and technological advances have continued apace, revolutionizing everything in our lives, if not our lives themselves.


If we are to understand these upheavals and take full advantage of the opportunities and challenges as they present themselves, it is necessary first to reflect on the past, for it contains powerful lessons.



The Nature of Early Western Civilization


For much of the period of Western Civilization, the institutions of State, religion and learning have been closely allied, if not inseparable. In ancient Greece, Plato [1] founded his Academy in about 387 bc at Athens for the purpose of ‘philosophical, mathematical and scientific research’, but—as his writings and records show—the Academy encompassed, in the broadest possible way, the intellectual pursuit of politics, philosophy, religion and science, and sought to influence the society of the day at all levels. The defining work of Plato was continued by his student and successor, Aristotle, as head of the Academy. The collected works of Plato and his successors formed the basis of the development of Western society over the next two thousand years.[2] These works still form the basis of modern philosophical thought and permeate all levels of our civilization.


There developed in almost all early Western Civilizations (or possibly always existed), a close if not intimate relationship between State (in its various forms), religion and science. This relationship remained strong and grew through the Dark Ages, reaching a high point during the Middle Ages where, although ostensibly separate, Church and State worked in a symbiotic relationship. Any Head of State who dared disobey or breach papal directives risked excommunication, seizure of properties and wealth. The ‘disobedient’ Head of State also faced certain warfare against obedient, pious enemies fired with the ‘love of God’ and the promise of wealth and power once the ‘enemy of the Church’ had been crushed. The intimacy of the relationship between Church and State can be best seen in the period of the Crusades which were initiated on 29 November 1095 [3] when, at the behest of Pope Urban II at Clermont, nation states were called to war, ultimately to gain salvation, remit sin, protect pilgrims or gain indulgences proffered by the Church.


Thereafter, in the suppression of the Knights Templar, which resulted in the confiscation and transfer of the wealth of the Order, we again see the closeness and intimacy of the relationship between Church and State. On 12 October 1307, Philip IV (‘The Fair’), King of France, moved against the Knights Templar in France. In these events, which culminated in the burning at the stake of the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, on 19 March 1314, we see Church and State working together for common purpose at the direction of Pope Clement V.[4]


Science also was intimately enmeshed with religion and whilst one of the objectives of the alchemists was certainly the transmutation of base metals (such as lead) into gold, the ‘higher alchemy’ sought the transmutation of man.[5] This involved a ‘spiritual alchemy’ which ultimately was deeply Christian in its intent.


The close relationship between religion and science, and the steady (but relatively slow) pace of scientific advances and discoveries in the two thousand years after Plato had first articulated his philosophies, allowed science to progress generally in amity with religion. That this was in fact the case is not surprising, given that both during the Dark Ages and beyond, the Church, via its monasteries and like institutions, had provided the primary centres of learning and research. Other individuals or isolated centres of learning and research were supported by the royal courts of the dominant powers of the time. These latter centres of learning remained very much under the influence of the Church through the various royal courts.


However, three momentous events occurred or were initiated in relatively quick succession which changed forever the measured, robust balance between Church and State which had held sway for two millennia in all Western societies and nation states. These events were:

  • The Reformation (1517)

  • The French Revolution (1789–1799)

  • The Industrial Revolution (1750–1850).


The French Revolution and the Reformation were watersheds which effectively destroyed the unique relationship between State, Church and Science. Henceforth it was no longer possible to integrate secular and ecclesiastical decision-making without challenge anywhere in Europe.


With the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the middle of the eighteenth century, we see the overt ‘face’ of the new dynamic—Science—in Western society. This new dynamic has changed the face of the entire world and has continued to grow in strength with the passage of time. The Industrial Revolution marked the ‘unshackling of science’ and the beginning of a new age dominated by scientific thinking: the Age of Reason. Unlike the preceding two millennia, which in reality saw slow and gradual evolutionary change, the Industrial Revolution brought with it radical, rapid, uncompromising change. These changes continue apace today. This new dynamic, the Age of Reason or the Scientific Revolution, is the dominant causal factor which has led to the erosion of influence of almost all traditional institutions in modern society, and is the ‘driver’ of the third millennium.



Freemasonry and Religion in the Twentieth Century


Whilst the Western (traditional) Christian Churches have seen a similar dramatic drop in membership as has been experienced by Freemasonry in many jurisdictions, it must be understood that the parallel only holds good over the latter part of the twentieth century. For example, in Victoria there are today almost double the number of Freemasons when compared with numbers in 1900, whereas membership of the (traditional) Christian Churches has fallen continuously over the twentieth century.


Prima facie, therefore, it might reasonably be concluded that whilst Freemasonry and Western Christianity have both suffered very serious attrition over the latter part of the twentieth century, it is in fact only the established Western Christian Churches which exhibit long-term deep-seated issues as to their relevance in Western society. However, this simplistic analysis begs the question. The population of Australia has increased approximately twentyfold over the twentieth century. Thus the plight of Freemasonry in reality is serious. Although our membership has not decreased significantly over the long term, two fundamental issues confront Freemasonry in the third millennium: firstly, our inability to attract ‘new’ members from the expanding population base; and secondly, the ageing demographic profile of our existing members.


Let us examine why these events have occurred on a broad scale, firstly by considering what Freemasonry and religion offer, and secondly by examining the impact of science and technology over the same period.


The combined Grand Lodges of Australia and New Zealand signify approval of a series of pamphlets which state that Freemasonry:


offers members with an insight and knowledge of history and philosophy, an appreciation for ancient ritual and symbolism, personal development, public service and hands on involvement in charitable activities and community issues.[6]


It is the hope of Freemasons that under the Fatherhood of God they might bring about the Brotherhood of Man, that each Freemason might so regulate his life and actions by the principles of morality and truth; and learn to limit his desire, so the he may live respected and die regretted.[7]


Unfortunately, these ‘definitions’ which exist as the ‘public face’ of Freemasonry in Australasia fail to articulate the purpose of Freemasonry. Freemasonry also possesses philosophical and psychological dimensions founded upon a belief in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. It provides a framework through its teaching, involving both ritual and symbolism, by which moral and higher principles are unveiled through allegory to the truly committed seeker of knowledge and light. The purpose of Freemasonry has been articulated by WBro VRevd Frederick A Shade, PJGD, as follows: [8]


The purpose of Freemasonry is to assist in the development of each member as a fully integrated person, to achieve psychological maturity . . . Whatever may be the official aim of the Craft, this is its primary purpose . . . and [it] is concerned with the interior growth and maturity of the individual.


Freemasonry, therefore, is intended to help us in our search for identity and in our quest for meaning.[9] Arguably, nothing could be more relevant, as we move into the twenty-first century, seeking to improve Freemasons as individuals and society generally—now.


The established Western Christian Churches offer salvation, stability, and hope for better things to come, all encapsulated in the acceptance or commitment to a belief system (a religion). In so doing, religion completely ‘explains’ and justifies the order of things (the world), with a promise of ‘better’ things to come. Therefore religion is comfortable in a world where knowledge and understanding are stationary, for the world is already fully ‘explained’. It is here that we find the inherent ‘friction’ which must necessarily exist as a consequence, between religion and science. The comfortable, understood and fully ‘explained’ world presented to a committed believer is, in reality, continuously changing as science and technology advance. Thus, rather indiscriminately, science is either removing completely, or challenging, vital elements of the various religious belief systems, setting up and maintaining a continuous friction between the two.


Science seeks to understand, order and explain every part of our world and the universe. It does this using the scientific method, an objective process wherein data is collected, measured, tested, assessed and ordered, allowing sound conclusions to be reached. This scientific method allows the development of ideas, hypotheses, concepts, models, theories, and ultimately laws. As such, science is empirically based, initially reaching tentative findings (conclusions) which become more certain (or fail) as more quantifiable data is accumulated. Science, therefore, is a self-critical, self-correcting, growing system of empirical (or factual) understanding, allowing practitioners (the true ‘believers’) to manipulate the world around us in a very predictable manner.


This friction between science and religion may be seen in the early twentieth century in the United States of America in what has been labelled ‘The Trial of the Century’.[10] In 1925 the subject of the teaching of evolution theory was contested through the Courts in the State of Tennessee in the renowned ‘Scopes Trial’. In this trial the merits of evolutionary theory were tested (against creationism) when a schoolteacher, John Scopes, was tried and convicted of breaching a state statute in teaching from George Hunter’s Civic Biology, a high school textbook that promoted the ‘theory’ of evolution as articulated in Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man. Ultimately, the decision was overturned on appeal, and the theory of evolution entered the mainstream of education on a permanent basis.


Science also confronts both Freemasonry and religion generally in the area of morality. Science, in its purest sense has little (if anything at all) to do with morality, whereas, by their very nature, Western Christianity and Freemasonry (‘a system of morality, veiled in allegory’) draw heavily upon and make judgments as to what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. For example, as Christians we find cannibalism to be abhorrent; however, no such inhibitions existed in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, where an Animist belief system prevailed until recently. Even today, clans still exist in which cannibalism is practiced. The Fore people have long engaged in ritual cannibalism of their dead relatives.[11] This practice led to the development of Kuru, human prion disease of the same type as BSE/n CJD (‘mad cow’ disease).


This practice of ritual cannibalism of relatives has been subjected to extensive scientific study and has been shown to be the single causative factor in the development of Kuru, or n CJD. For this reason, science is opposed to cannibalism—it is an unhealthy practice!


Interestingly, however, this practice of ritual cannibalism still forms part of the Animist religious belief system of the Fore people and is neither morally repugnant nor proscribed as such. On the contrary, young ones dying of the disease are particularly sought out for the practice of Kuru, although we Freemasons and Christians alike reject it out of hand as wrong or positively evil.


At the close of the twentieth century Freemasonry has become confused and uncertain as to its direction and role in society. It has increasingly become less relevant, as is evidenced by the widespread decline in membership. During the closing period of the twentieth century, Freemasonry has grappled with its role and purpose, but has been largely paralysed and unable to respond to the challenges of its major detractors—who may be found in the mainstream Christian Churches, and at the highest levels in public office. Interestingly, it may well be that the latter have drawn their opinions from their membership of, or involvement in, the former. Most importantly, the desire to respond to and gain acceptance from its detractors in the mainstream Christian Churches, has blinded Freemasonry to the true nature of the challenge that both Freemasonry and mainstream Christianity actually face. That challenge is the ‘new religion’ of a largely secular society—Science.


Both Freemasonry and the mainstream Christian Churches must engage Science, embrace it, accept it, and adjust to it, in order to regain relevance in society if they are to survive in any recognizable form in the third millennium.



The Third Millennium


In these early years of the third millennium, both Freemasonry and the mainstream Christian Churches have continued to fixate upon each other—in effect, squabbling over a diminishing available or potential population-base from which to draw membership, rather than attempting to ‘find themselves’ and engage with the new ‘social dynamic’, science and technology, which permeates every element of modern society.


At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is salutary to reflect upon our society. Science and technology have transformed civilization in every aspect and have created modern secular states. Science now provides individuals with security, identity and belonging, hope and a future with the promise of much more to come. Thus it may be seen that science has usurped both the mainstream religions and Freemasonry. It may also explain, in large measure, some of the conflict which exists between Islam and the West.


Science promises much in the twenty-first century, and we may rest assured that science will deliver. For example:

  • Mapping of the human genome,

  • Stem-cell research, culminating in the growth of purpose-designed, compatible, body parts,

  • Renewable energy, and

  • Climate control.


The consequences of scientific advances in each of these areas are incalculable. It may well be that, for example, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution itself will be radically modified as mankind, through science, supplants the natural evolutionary process.


Can we really be surprised that to many, science is ‘the new religion’? While all else has effectively stood still, science has continued to press forward in the pursuit of knowledge, bringing with it all those things once only dreamt about or promised in a future life. Long life and health are available to every man and woman (generally speaking), natural disasters and plagues are far away (thankfully) and we can now engage in warfare, also far away, and with little risk. That which is unknown or not explained is, with every passing day, reducing. Interestingly, an Order affiliated with Freemasonry instructs the Aspirant in the course of his Admission to: ‘press forward in the pursuit of wisdom . . . the advancement of science’.


One is inescapably led to suggest: perhaps Freemasonry has the answers but doesn’t know it.


From a religious perspective, there are, interestingly, signs of the beginnings of rational engagement between the Catholic Church and Science: the Vatican has (rightly) rejected Intelligent Design [12] as incompatible with the creation of the universe, whereas Darwin’s theory of evolution is ‘perfectly compatible’ if the Bible is read correctly.[13]


Failure to properly engage science is fraught with risk for both Freemasonry and Religion. For example, the arguments put forward by the proponents of Intelligent Design are demonstrably irrational, subjective and emotive, and will ultimately see the fundamentalist Christians who articulate them discredited.


Science, however, does have an Achilles heel—it does not moralise and is empirically based. Therefore science cannot provide guidance or judgment as to what may be right or wrong, good or evil. Interestingly also at the end of the (cosmic) day, when all that is knowable is known, there will remain those things which require a leap of faith or belief. For example, we may, with a high level of scientific confidence accept the ‘Big Bang Theory’ of creation of the Universe.[14] However, the singularity from which the ‘Big Bang’ emanated—that point which is infinitely small, infinitely dense, and in which time has ceased (stopped)—itself required creation.


Science also faces another ‘problem’ in absolutely ordering, explaining and predicting events in the universe—Godel’s (Incompleteness) Theorem, which (in part) may be stated as follows:


Any consistent formal system S within which a certain amount of elementary arithmetic can be carried out is incomplete with regard to statements of elementary arithmetic: there are statements which can neither be proved nor disproved in S.


Thus, Godel’s (First) Incompleteness Theorem simply tells us that whilst certain things happen, or are a predictable outcome, from which there is no apparent deviation, we can neither prove nor disprove that it (the ‘expected’) will always be the outcome. That is, to our current level of mathematical rigour, some things are ‘unknowable’ in the absolute sense; we simply trust or ‘believe’ that they will always occur. Ill-informed attempts have been made to apply Godel’s Theorem to all manner of problems—to ‘prove’, for example, that the Bible is ‘complete’. In this case all we need ask ourselves is: ‘Is the Bible a formal system? The answer becomes obvious, No; we cannot use science (and, in particular Godel’s Theorem), to prove the validity or otherwise of the Bible It is simply not applicable.[15]


Herein lies an inherent limitation of science, and an opportunity for Freemasonry. Science has actually proved that there exists ‘systems’ (‘things’ and event sequences) which are likely to happen, but are not provable, absolutely so; thus there are ‘things’ outside the parameters of science. These ‘things’ rely upon judgement, interpretation, opinion and belief.


This then is, arguably, the light at the end of the tunnel for Freemasonry. Freemasonry, a system of morality, veiled in allegory, illustrated by signs and symbols, can do two things: firstly, it can engage the ‘New World’ (so remarkably anticipated by Aldous Huxley in his classic science fiction novel, Brave New World) and contribute to and strengthen the Achilles heel of Science—its lack of morality and judgment—and secondly, by its very nature, Freemasonry is well suited, and able, to embrace science by articulating the fundamental belief system required to underpin Science. That is, a belief in The Great Architect of the Universe, for science can only ever explain what is ‘in the box’, not why or how ‘the box’ was made. All this is possible in the third millennium, providing Freemasonry embraces and articulates its true purpose which is, ultimately, to assist in the interior growth and development of mature individuals. It can do this by engaging science in specific areas where it is now, and always will be, unable to provide ‘the answers’ to mankind.



A possible ‘solution’


In the past, Freemasonry attracted members from society because it had something ‘special’ to offer. This special thing was, I suggest, over and above any opportunity to merely socialize at the more superficial level. However, over the latter part of the twentieth century and as we move forward in the twenty-first century, Freemasonry has failed to articulate its ‘special’ nature and purpose in the context of the modern era. That is, Freemasonry has, to this point in time, failed the primary test of survival—the ability to adapt to its new, ever changing environment.


Having set out a view of the true purpose and message of Freemasonry, how then may it be brought to relevance in the Third Millennium? Careful analysis unequivocally points out the way ahead:

  • We must engage society (become an integral part of our society as it continues to evolve, not be an ‘appendage’);

  • We must evolve radically (become relevant and robust);

  • We must articulate, in modern form, what we can do both for and in society; and

  • We must accept that Freemasonry never was, nor will be, for everyone.



What we must do


Freemasonry, of all organisations, can ‘fill the gap’ in the ‘godless’ modern society. We can inject the following both individually and organisationally:

  • Morality;

  • Ethics and Integrity; and

  • Good Governance.


Each of these values is inherent in the true purpose of Freemasonry and we, as an organization, are ideally placed to go out into society ‘teaching and preaching’ for the good of the Brotherhood of Man in the world today.



How can we do this?


Freemasonry must become entrepreneurial. We must, first and foremost, accept and embrace the true purpose of Freemasonry in the Third Millennium and articulate it in the form of a structured ‘doctrine’, leading to the development of (amongst other things) a system of training for the good of society. We ought to (for example), register as a training provider and offer courses and workshops for government, business, and all comers in such subjects as business ethics, governance, corporate responsibility and corporate morality. In this context, it is no accident that evangelical churches are on the rise, that individuals are seeking alternative lifestyles.


Freemasonry boasts an endless succession of outstanding leaders, of men of high morality, ethics and achievement—many of whom have attained high office both in society and in Freemasonry—surely therein lies the proof of this message.


Above all, however, we must inculcate the purpose of Freemasonry in all that we do. Charity is good, but we have much more to offer. What is more, our ‘special’ characteristics set us apart from all other organisations in society today. Freemasonry naturally inherits the high ground of ethical conduct and moral behaviour.





For approximately two millennia prior to the Industrial Revolution, little or no separation existed between State and Religion in Western societies. Furthermore, religion encompassed all manner of learning, or provided the framework in which it developed. This meant that religion, science/alchemy, philosophy and the arts were effectively, a continuum. However, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, preceded by other major societal changes—the Reformation, the French Revolution and the like—not only was the relationship between State and Religion shattered, but also science and technology were unshackled.


These changes precipitated great advances and also great friction and hardship as the established order of society was altered forever. The pace of scientific discovery and technological change continued to accelerate through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, leaving many social structures and groups isolated or disenfranchised. Two of these groups, namely Freemasonry and the established Christian Churches, find themselves struggling for relevance at the beginning of the third millennium. However, these same circumstances provide a unique opportunity for Freemasonry in particular: science provides no moral direction, and ultimately requires belief in a creative ‘force’. If Freemasonry engages science in society and articulates its purpose in a relevant manner, it will find a meaningful role in the third millennium. It will be filling a vacuum which currently exists, and for which there is no ‘natural’ heir in modern Western societies.


Freemasonry can do this by actively and forcefully projecting its core values and purpose unashamedly into society as a role model and training provider in the fields of morality, ethics and corporate governance. If we begin working towards this goal (and ultimately, succeed), membership of a Masonic body will become sought after and highly valued, both individually and organisationally, once again.


However, we must never forget two things that science inherently teaches: firstly, evolution is a continuous process (ignore it and we will become extinct); and secondly, we must identify and embrace what we truly are, then stand up and be counted, otherwise ‘competing organisations’ (our ‘natural competitors’ in society) will take our rightful place.


Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, as articulated in his seminal work, The Descent of Man, has never been more relevant.





Cooper, J M: Plato – Complete Works, Hackett, 1997.

Crystal, D: Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, 2 edn; Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Davies, P: The Mind of God, Penguin, 1992.

Franzen, T: Godel’s Theorem – An Incomplete Guide to its Use And Abuse, A K Peters, 2005.

‘Freemasonry and Religion’, brochure distributed by Grand Lodges of Australia & New Zealand, nd.

Klitzman, R: The Trembling Mountain: A Personal Account of Kuru, Cannibals and Mad Cow Disease, Lightning Source Inc, 2001.

Larson, E J: Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s continuing debate over Science and Religion, Basic Books, 1998.

Runciman, S: The First Crusade, Cambridge University Press, 1951.

Shade, F A: ‘The Psychology of Freemasonry’ in Masonic Inducements, Victorian Lodge of Research, Melbourne 2004.

Shade, F A: ‘The Value of Ritual’ in Freemasonry Victoria, August 1999.

Sherwood Taylor, F: The Alchemists, Paladin Press, 1976.

Simon, E: The Piebald Standard, Cassell, 1959.

Statement of Cardinal Paul Poupard, Head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in the Australian, 5 November 2005.

‘Why Freemasonry’, brochure distributed by Grand Lodges of Australia & New Zealand, nd.



[1]    Crystal, D: Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, 2 edn; Cambridge University Press, 1998; Cooper, J M: Plato—Complete Works, Hackett, 1997.

[2]    Cooper, op cit.

[3]    or about that date, as best can be established.

[4]    Simon E: The Piebald Standard – A Biography of the Knights Templar, Cassell, 1959, pp 238, 283; also Runciman S: The First Crusade, Cambridge University Press, 1951. But see Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia (1995 edn) p 207 for alternative dates.

[5]    Sherwood Taylor, F: The Alchemists, Paladin Press, 1976.

[6]    ‘Why Freemasonry’, brochure distributed by Grand Lodges of Australia & New Zealand, nd.

[7]    ‘Freemasonry and Religion’, brochure distributed by Grand Lodges of Australia & New Zealand, nd.

[8]    Shade, F A: ‘The Psychology of Freemasonry’ in Masonic Inducements, (transactions of the Victorian Lodge of Research) 2004.

[9]    Shade, F A: ‘The Value of Ritual’, Freemasonry Victoria, # 81, August 1999.

[10]    Larson, E J: Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s continuing debate over Science and Religion, Basic Books, 1998.

[11]    Klitzman, R: The Trembling Mountain: A Personal Account of Kuru, Cannibals and Mad Cow Disease, Lightning Source Inc, 2001.

[12]    a doctrine/belief system which argues that mankind is too perfect to have evolved by chance or natural selection—that is, the development of man and his environment has occurred under the direct influence or control of God and was not a random scientific process.

[13]    Poupard, Cardinal Paul (Head of the Pontifical Council for Culture), reported in the Australian, 5 November 2005.

[14]    Davies, P: The Mind of God, Penguin, 1992.

[15]    Franzen, T: Godel’s Theorem – An Incomplete Guide to its Use And Abuse, A K Peters, 2005.

ANZMRC The Australian & New Zealand Masonic Research Council (ANZMRC) is an inter-jurisdictional association of research lodges for the promotion of Masonic research and education on an international basis. A brief account of its aims, formation and development is contained at
Masonic Research in Australia and New Zealand. Full membership is open only to research bodies in Australia and New Zealand, but associate membership is extended to research bodies worldwide, and ANZMRC has associates in Africa, America, Asia and Europe.

Every two years ANZMRC holds a three-day conference at which major research papers, designated Kellerman Lectures, are presented. These are published prior to the conference in ANZMRC Proceedings. The venue for conferences is rotated between New Zealand and the six states of Australia.


In the ‘off’ years when a conference is not held, ANZMRC organizes a lecture tour by an overseas Masonic scholar, and publishes a book of the lectures offered in the tour. Past lecturers include: Yasha Beresiner, Robert Cooper, Neville Barker Cryer, James Daniel, John Hamill and Wallace McLeod.


ANZMRC publishes a quarterly newsletter, Harashim (Hebrew for Craftsmen), which is circulated worldwide in PDF format by email. This contains research articles (originals & reprints), book reviews, news and comment. ANZMRC is also developing a digital library of full-text research papers from Australia and New Zealand (about 2000 to date).


Membership of ANZMRC is restricted to organizations (lodges, study circles, etc), but its products (publications, lectures, etc) are available to individuals (Masons and non-Masons).
For purchase of Proceedings, tour books & CDs, free enrolment for the newsletter, and general enquiries, contact by email:
Colin Heyward (Secretary) or Kent Henderson (Assistant Secretary). For further information please visit ANZMRC website.

ANZMRC – Something Worth Reading


masonic-digital-library The Paper Masonic Research in Australia and New Zealand, by W.Bro. Tony Pope  talks about a project that was in development in 2007 when the paper was written.


The first edition of the “Masonic Digital Library”, sponsored by the ANZMRC was issued in March 2008, and a further edition is planned for release during 2009.


Many readers of Pietre–Stones Review of Freemasonry are also members of a ‘masonic research organisation’. They know that the publications of ‘research lodges’ cover the whole range of Freemasonry, and that within that huge range of material are some real gems – information to cover most general enquiries, talks that have inspired, discussions that have clarified uncertainty, and topical lectures that illustrate matters of concern to freemasons through the last century.


The problem is that these are inaccessible – often even to members of each organisation. The Digital Library gathers a file for each ‘paper’ or item of Masonic interest, collects these in electronic form, and allows the generation of lists by author, title, subject – or searches by any word or phrase. With many research lodges coming up to their centenary, the Masonic Digital Library offers a way to make past papers accessible to members – as well as sharing these with members of other research organisations, and giving your members access to papers from other research lodges.


The collection (currently over 2,100 files and growing) will only be accessible by members of participating research organisations – similar to sharing copies of transactions. The plus is that it is free to those who qualify for access.


This desirable reference collection can only get better as more publishers participate. If you are a member of a Masonic research lodge or association, make sure someone contacts the Secretary of the ANZMRC to discuss participation. 


W. Bro. Ed Robinson


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