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Is Freemasonry a Cult?

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posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 02:08 PM
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On this forum and in others, I've seen the accusation tossed around that Freemasonry is a cult. Here is my somehwat biased (as I'm a Mason) look on what a cult is and a comparison to Freemasonry.

Cult comes to us from the Latin word "cultus" meaning "worship, devotion, or reverence". Looking at the dictionary we see "cult" defined as follows:


noun
1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
7. the members of such a religion or sect.

Now to split hairs, I will say that Freemasonry doesn't fit this definition because Masonic Lodges are not places of worship. Freemasonry is religious, but far from being a religion or a religious institution (ie church, synagogue, mosque, etc). We also do not force our members to live outside of "conventional society" nor do we have a singular "charismatic leader".

We do have rites, rituals, ceremonies, but that is far from making an organization a cult.

Here are some characteristics of a cult:

Leadership: A cult will have a living leader who is self-appointed, has absolute authoritarian/totalitarian control, is accountable to no one, and is often messianic with a special mission or cause.

Truth: The leader, and sometimes the group, are in possession of a credible "truth". Often this surrounds some notion of salvation which can only be attained from affiliation with that particular cult. Only knowledge from the group is credible and often critical thinking is prohibited.

Devotion: The members must submit to all orders of the leader without question or inquiry. Promote dependency of the members upon the group.

Finances: Members are often required to turn over most if not all of their assets to help fund operations and the cause of the leader. Again, with the "no question" policy, there is no transparency in regards to where the assets are stored, used, or spent.

Profane world: There is instilled an illogical fear of the outside world. Members are often cut off or isolated from their pre-cult friends, families, and society. They have the polarized "us versus them" mentality.

Recruiting: Use deceptive methods in recruiting such as crisis creation, deepening a confessed guilt or fear, or state that they have all the answers.

Leaving: There is no legitimate reason to leave the cult. Members who do leave are criticized and seen as evil.

You can find more here: www.prem-rawat-talk.org...

Having looked at all the information, I'd have to say NO, Freemasonry is not a cult.

Our leaders/officers are elected or appointed by an elected officer, not self appointed. Least of all, do we have to do as bidden without question.

Masonry don't claim to possess some hidden secret that will give us salvation from God's Judgment.

There is no dependency or entitlement syndrome placed upon Freemasons.

The finances are tracked and, at least in my Lodge/Grand Lodge, audited annually; the Grand Lodge audit done by an independent auditor when a new Grand Secretary or Grand Treasurer is elected.

Freemasons are not cut off from the world or family/friends that we knew previous to joining Freemasonry.

Freemasonry doesn't recruit, but even to prospective members, we don't lie nor do we use deceptive means to bring them into our fold.

Lastly, Freemasons leave the group all the time. Some leave for poor reasons while others leave for personal or financial reasons. It just depends on the man.

I would point out though that many of these characteristics fit the description of some of the anti-Masons I have met.
edit on 6-4-2015 by KSigMason because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 02:32 PM
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a reply to: KSigMason

good for u clearing things up.

because you're absolutely correct. it's a brotherhood/society. it's an organization. there isn't brainwashing going on. they're about enlightenment to some extent so brainwashing would be totally counter-productive. cults normally have brainwashing and coercion--that's the difference. They're definitely not a cult.

And no, I'm not a mason. Though I do live near a ton of them and am friends with some. There's a lodge in my town. It's as much of a cult as a book club.

I think people think that it's a cult because of the Groupthink. But seriously what doesn't involve Groupthink? The cohesion might appear cultish i suppose but that's only due to sociological mechanisms and not due to an actual cult in operation. Like, heavens gate was a cult. so was jonestown. I don't see any similarity to freemasonry at all.

freemasonry seems a rather noble thing to me, actually. and i plan on checking it out once i get into my field. it almost seems like it might be like how it was to be in the national honor society.

anyone who thinks that it is a cult must be like totally uninformed.

I'm not saying that there are no 'bad masons'. But I think that they're probably the minority.
edit on 6-4-2015 by rukia because: (no reason given)


however, it does bear resemblance to the ancient mystery religion cults. but their main function was only to preserve wisdom, i believe. i suppose what i'm saying is that cults historically were not always directly harmful like the cults we think of from modern times. so perhaps it is like an ancient cult with regards to passing down ancient knowledge through ritual. please correct me if I'm wrong.
edit on 6-4-2015 by rukia because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 04:33 PM
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a reply to: KSigMason

If the "brotherhood" had any secrets they were hiding that would benefit mankind in anyway, wouldn't they have to be brainwashed not to divulge them? How do you keep everyone's mouth shut?

You obviously gain something by becoming a mason or they wouldn't be so entrenched in high positions of power across the world. I'll bend over and take whatever answer is coming to me. I asked for it.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 05:44 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 05:48 PM
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Nah Scientology is a cult freemasons are just THE SPaWN OF SATAN AND THE NWO.
YOU ALL EAT BABIES AND HAVE LOTS OF SEX.
I for one am jealous of the myths of Masons (apart from eating babies, I could only mange half).
Yeah OP met many masons in life and on ATS and you are a decent lot of folk attempting to dis spell the myths.
Good for you.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: noeltrotsky

I would suggest you read the T&C's also calling others shills and just attacking the OP without addressing any of his points is also against the T&Cs.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 06:04 PM
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a reply to: rukia
Thank you for the kind words.

As for the "bad masons", I agree. There will always be bad apples in every organization.

The only difference to the mystery cults would still be the concept of worship. i agree that cults are different in the past than what is conceived of today.

a reply to: eisegesis
The secrecy in Freemasonry today is really just privacy. Secrecy in Freemasonry is traditionally done as a result of tyrannical governments suppression.

The "secrets" of Freemasonry are concerned with the modes of recognition, nothing that is going to "benefit mankind". What we don't divulge in Freemasonry is because we promised not to, we gave our word in the form of an obligation, not because of brainwashing...unless you think integrity is brainwashing.

Everyone joins for their own reason. Masons have sat in a variety of positions all over the world. Anymore you don't see many Masons in high positions, but there are some.

a reply to: noeltrotsky
Can you keep it civil please?

a reply to: boymonkey74
Spawn? Meh, that guy has a restraining order on me.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 06:08 PM
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a reply to: KSigMason

I went along and had a couple of beer with my local masons and while decent folk I just didn't get a connection with them..maybe the age of them all was a little high and I doubt they have ANY sex parties Augustus has hinted about
.
I know where they are and will pop in to have a pint with them.
I really don't know where the fairy tales come from to di with the masons...I wonder where it started?.


(post by noeltrotsky removed for a serious terms and conditions violation)

posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 06:47 PM
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originally posted by: boymonkey74
a reply to: noeltrotsky

I would suggest you read the T&C's also calling others shills and just attacking the OP without addressing any of his points is also against the T&Cs.


Review his posting history and tell me what you see? If you have a free moment.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 07:14 PM
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a reply to: noeltrotsky

I know him from way back...
I know he chimes in to dispel the lies about freemasonry.
I know he and others defend the club they are in...you would do the same If all you saw on ATS about masons is BS.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 08:04 PM
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a reply to: boymonkey74
I understand that. Each Lodge has its own personality. While I love visiting other Lodges, my home Lodge is where I fit in.

A pint is always good to have from time to time. My Lodge is a varied mix of age, but of the officers, most are under the age of 40; most are in their 30s.

The history of anti-Masonry: www.travelingtemplar.com...

a reply to: noeltrotsky
I've never hidden my bias, but being a Mason doesn't mean what I say is wrong, and there's no reason for your behavior.



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 06:48 AM
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originally posted by: boymonkey74
...and I doubt they have ANY sex parties Augustus has hinted about
.


'Hinting' implies subtlety. I am anything but subtle.

Who do you think taught Berlusconi about the Bunga Bunga Parties?



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 08:16 AM
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a reply to: boymonkey74

I too wonder where/when the stories of our dirty deeds started. I haven't looked into it, but I assume they are fairly recent. Last 20-30 years or so?

Goat riding, baby eating sex clubs sound fun and all, but who/why made these stories up?

I for one am holding hope that we learn to fly at some point, stories are true. And not like the time I rode my bike off the roof into the pool. That kind of flying hurts... BAD!



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 08:22 AM
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originally posted by: noeltrotsky

originally posted by: boymonkey74
a reply to: noeltrotsky

I would suggest you read the T&C's also calling others shills and just attacking the OP without addressing any of his points is also against the T&Cs.




Review his posting history and tell me what you see? If you have a free moment.


so you would prefer to get your knowledge from people who had no ties to masonry? Perhaps some churchy site that tells all about the Satanic worship and baby eating.

A mason who posts in the Secret Societies forum. Damn. Who'd a thunk it.



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 08:28 AM
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originally posted by: eisegesis
a reply to: KSigMason

If the "brotherhood" had any secrets they were hiding that would benefit mankind in anyway, wouldn't they have to be brainwashed not to divulge them? How do you keep everyone's mouth shut?

We ask them nicely. But the secrets aren't something that you don't know, they are easily found. We just won't repeat them to a non mason. It's about integrity, not secrecy.


You obviously gain something by becoming a mason or they wouldn't be so entrenched in high positions of power across the world. I'll bend over and take whatever answer is coming to me. I asked for it.


I don't know of many at all in high places. But yes, you do gain something by becoming one. You gain an amazing understanding of others by replacing perceived knowledge with wonder and tolerance.



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 09:22 AM
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a reply to: KawRider9
Some of the roots have been around since the 18th century, but then they expanded through the 19th century and 20th century, but the last 30-years it has started to morph with the advent of the internet and the proliferation of misinformation.



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 11:54 AM
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Great thread. And again these are the things I never get when it comes to the accusations. They are always baseless and almost invariably followed by "you are just not high/important enough."

YET...somehow with all the insanely powerful secrets we keep, this random poster happens to know.

So I have an honest proposal/question here for...well masons and anti-masons alike. When we look around at this world we have this idea floating that Masons are running the planet and deciding everything.

So let's pretend for a moment that this is true

There are some massive logical problems offered by anti-masonic "experts"

1. You tell us that none of us here are "high enough." Now I am aware that the idea of "high enough" is BS, but pretending for a moment there was a rank structure. You have 32's on this forum. If there was a rank structure, don't you think these members would be privvy to such information?

Ok so you can combat such ideas with a couple responses...

2. "They aren't the TRUE high up Masons." My immediate question is WHO ARE THEY THEN? Every time you ask an "expert" this question, the response is "you need to research for yourself. Instead, why not just plain English answer the question. "I researched and found Joe Blow (or whoever) was the highest up Mason and makes up all decisions."

But no...instead it is "research for yourself! IT IS OUT THERE! It isn't MY duty to tell you." Why? Because you don't know or you are just making stuff up at this point.

3. "You aren't really a Mason." Fine...fair game...YOU aren't really an "expert." People will place the idea out there that Masons lie all the time and yet it isn't possible that you, the accuser, are full of it too?

Ok so back to the secrets

4. If we again pretend that Joe Blow is THE top Mason and makes the rules and us minions are not high enough to find them out, how in the world did a keyboard jockey or "researcher" find them out when little ole us can't even see who is supposedly the top dog in the first place? It's more believe to you that some outsider with no ties to Masonry would be able to find out all the details but us insiders couldn't get even a hint? As far as our rites and initiations...I will not speak of them personally but I could have found out every word and movement before I even petitioned if I wanted to. I chose not to because I wanted to be surprised...good move on my part.

None of this matters of course because it just isn't true. And yet again, when ask what the secrets are you get the two canned responses of "Research for yourself," or my personal favorite, arrogant response, "They are after me! I am not safe!"

5. All of what KSig explained is true. I am not bound financially or by anything other than my obligation. I miss meetings and nobody sends a tracker after me wondering if I am online telling the "truth." If I am completely unable to pay this year's dues, I am willing to be someone would either lower them or help me momentarily. Seen it before. And the most final nail in the "expert" coffin...If today I decided that Masonry was not for me, I could leave. Period. Make my case known and explain that I am no longer interested. In my year here I've only seen one person leave...and by golly I saw them at the Meijer...ALIVE! Amazing...

6. Finally...what I pointed out in the other thread. The biggest problem I have of all of this argument is when you request an "expert" to go talk to a Lodge. Heck you don't even have to petition just go see what is up. But unfortunately, nobody will because they are afraid that they will find out their "knowledge" of our evil ways will wither up and die when you go to said lodge and find a group of guys who do three things; better themselves, better their communities and EAT.

As I said way back when though...there is indeed one crime my lodge committed...they put onions in the ham and bean soup

I mean WHO does that!



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 12:30 PM
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a reply to: KyoZero

Since you're new, we will overlook the obvious mistake you made.
In the future, please accept that onions=flavor. If it happens again, well, lets just say you may indeed find out what the real penalties are. Muhahahahahahahah!



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 12:48 PM
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The word cult means 'hidden knowledge.' And yes, masons have hidden knowledge so I would say they are a cult.



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