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Freemasonry: "Riding the Fence" and Changing Sides --- Opinions

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posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:19 PM
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I was curious as to the experiences of other ATS members who consider themselves adhering to one of the following three positions on the subject of Freemasonry:

A) I have researched the subject and, based on my conclusions of that research, have decided to remain completely neutral on the issue, neither advocating nor condemning Freemasons and their traditions, practices, etc., in most situations.

B) I was originally Pro-Freemasonry but through research and/or experiences, I have changed my position and no longer support, advocate, or defend Freemasons and their traditions, practices, etc, in most situations.

C) I was originally Anti-Freemasonry but through research and/or experiences, I have changed my position and generally support, advocate, or defend Freemasons and their traditions, practices, etc, in most situations.


This thread is not for those who have always distrusted Freemasons and have never considered any other position, regardless of the reasons, which may include the secret society issue, rumours of Satanic worship, etc.

This thread is not for those who have always supported Freemasons and have never considered any other position, regardless of the reasons, which may include charity work, family affiliation, etc.

This thread is intended for those members who find themselves "on the fence" about the issue or those who have changed sides by their own decision. Please keep all other issues in their appropriate threads, as I do not want this thread hijacked by the typical "Member 'A' bashes Masonry so Mason 'A' feels compelled to defend the Craft" scenario. I do NOT want that drama in this thread.

I feel it is important to communicate honestly and accurately in order for people of opposing viewpoints to understand each other, even if they agree to disagree. I have not heard much from the folks who have changed their minds one way or the other about the Craft, and the neutral parties generally stay out of the issue because many times I see their posts getting lost in the shuffle of shouting and propaganda from both sides. I would like to discuss your reasons for changing sides, or choosing to remaining neutral.

I would hope that your decisions are based on a fair amount of legitimate research, in order to weed out some of the "I hate them because they eat babies and my cousin told me so!" responses that I'm quite familiar with by now.

Let's try to keep this as civil as possible.




[edit on 18-8-2005 by Stegosaur]




posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:29 PM
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I am not in the 3 cat. I was just wondering what you were looking for and why?

lost in the midwest



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:30 PM
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You forgot one group of which I fall into, I was aware of Masons, you see the lodges but just don't think about it. I only looked into it since reading this assigned forum.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:31 PM
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I'm not sure where I sit amongst those classifications.

Is there a door #4?

"Had no real opinion on Freemasonry but has gathered enough experience and evidence relating to a particular accusation to defend that accusation to the best of her ability"?

Or does that fit in A)?



TIA.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:38 PM
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Originally posted by intrepid
You forgot one group of which I fall into, I was aware of Masons, you see the lodges but just don't think about it. I only looked into it since reading this assigned forum.


Well, I guess you're somewhat of a neutral then but since you say you "don't think much about it", I figure those type of folks wouldn't say much on the thread anyway. Please, though, if you want to contribute, I would love your input.

I'm specifically looking for those who have changed their minds or have decided to remain neutral after doing adequate research.

I ask because I began as a serious skeptic due to some misconceptions of my own and after voluminous amounts of research and personal experiences with them, I reconsidered my position and admitted to myself and others that I had judged them unfairly, and in a fashion I would not have wanted to be on the receiving end of.

Just wondering about those like me, or those who became disillusioned with the Craft, or those who can confidently say after doing their homework that they have decided to remain neutral for whatever reason.

I don't think there's been a thread like this one yet so I thought I'd start it myself.

Thanks.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
I'm not sure where I sit amongst those classifications.

Is there a door #4?




How about in your case going into the reasons that perhaps steered you to one side versus the other? Maybe the classification thing is going to get in the way.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by Stegosaur
Well, I guess you're somewhat of a neutral then but since you say you "don't think much about it", I figure those type of folks wouldn't say much on the thread anyway. Please, though, if you want to contribute, I would love your input.


Neutral is what I have to be as a member of the staff. Although I will say that this is a vibrant forum.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:51 PM
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Sure, I can do that


(I can't promise that it won't start DramaFest 4.0 though)

There have been many posts here recently alleging that Freemasonry is responsible for massive conspiracies involving SRA (satanic ritual abuse). I've concluded that these allegations are without merit, and have offered many, many sources to provide evidence supporting this conclusion. Before reading those threads, I'd already concluded that SRA does not exist outside of media scaremongering, overzealous investigators and questionable methods of eliciting "memories" (and to date, nobody has been able - despite repeated requests - to offer proof to the contrary); however I had no opinion on whether Freemasonry was "good" or "bad". As it stands now, I'm more inclined to edge towards "Nothing untoward or sinister", as a result of the further research I did.

S'all, really


(I can list references, if you'd like? Would that help at all?)



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:54 PM
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It is nice to meet a honest, thoughtful person.
good luck on your research.


lost in the midwest



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower

(I can list references, if you'd like? Would that help at all?)


I've seen your quality posts. Please, I encourage you to speak freely. If you have references/sources that may help others regarding this issue as it applies to the thread, by all means contribute. As long as we are staying on topic, I'm fine with it.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 03:03 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
I've concluded that these allegations are without merit, and have offered many, many sources to provide evidence supporting this conclusion.

I can list references, if you'd like? Would that help at all?)


Yes, I'd like to see these references/sources. Please.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 03:43 PM
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Surely


First, the obligatory Wiki entry on SRA

APA page on abuse and memories

Science Daily's experiment

Christian Research's article, reprinted at rickross.com

On repressed memories and SRA

About "Michele Remembers"

The McMartin abuse trials

religioustolerance.org

More on repressed memories

Issues in researching False Memory Syndrome

Suggested Reading:

Satanic Panic - Jeffrey Victor

In Pursuit of Satan: The Police and the Occult - Robert Hicks

Satan's Silence - Debbie Nathan

The Myth Of The Repressed Memory - Elizabeth Loftus

Cognitive Neuropsychology of False Memories

UK Dept of Health report on ritual child abuse

Couple of things probably need to be clarified here.

1. There are, if only going on simple probability, child sex abusers who happen to be Masons. Just as there are abusers who happen to be Christian, Jewish, Boy Scouts, and members of a million other groups. It's essential not to confuse this issue; we should not presume that because Joe Abuser is a member of a worldwide choir association, that this choir is involved in conspiratorial satanic abuse ring.

2. Nobody here has been able to support the notion that SRA actually exists - but this is absolutely not suggesting that child sex abuse does not exist.

3. Furthermore, nobody has been able to offer any evidence that if it exists, it's being committed by Freemasonry either as a group, or as part of a further conspiracy.

4. As I've stated before, my objections are less about Freemasonry than they are about unsubstantiated allegations of a phenomena that doesn't exist.

In short: It's impossible for any group - Catholics, Freemasons, Bakers, Girl Scouts, Bus Drivers or anyone else - to be guilty of participating in a conspiracy to encourage something which doesn't actually exist.

Eudamonia...for a minute there, you almost had me. Then I convinced myself that you had to have read these sources before, simply as they've been posted elsewhere several times...



Edit: If anyone has any questions relating to evidence and experience, please either U2U me, read my other posts on the topic, or both, as it's best that the thread isn't derailed completely. Thanks.

[edit on 18-8-2005 by Tinkleflower]



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 03:52 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
Sure, I can do that


(I can't promise that it won't start DramaFest 4.0 though)

There have been many posts here recently alleging that Freemasonry is responsible for massive conspiracies involving SRA (satanic ritual abuse). I've concluded that these allegations are without merit, and have offered many, many sources to provide evidence supporting this conclusion. Before reading those threads, I'd already concluded that SRA does not exist outside of media scaremongering, overzealous investigators and questionable methods of eliciting "memories" (and to date, nobody has been able - despite repeated requests - to offer proof to the contrary); however I had no opinion on whether Freemasonry was "good" or "bad". As it stands now, I'm more inclined to edge towards "Nothing untoward or sinister", as a result of the further research I did.

S'all, really


(I can list references, if you'd like? Would that help at all?)


You don't think SRA exists, and you've found some places who agree. Well thats all fine and good, but I have seen both sides of the arguement. There are reasons to believe it exist, and your html evidence only goes so far as there is just as much 'evidence' that it does exist. This has nothing to do with the thread and if you wish to talk about it more, feel free to U2U me.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:24 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
1. There are, if only going on simple probability, child sex abusers who happen to be Masons. Just as there are abusers who happen to be Christian, Jewish, Boy Scouts, and members of a million other groups. It's essential not to confuse this issue; we should not presume that because Joe Abuser is a member of a worldwide choir association, that this choir is involved in conspiratorial satanic abuse ring.

(snip)

3. Furthermore, nobody has been able to offer any evidence that if it exists, it's being committed by Freemasonry either as a group, or as part of a further conspiracy.



OK to me these are the most relevant parts, as far as this thread goes. I'm not here to debate the existence of SRA, however, you are saying that you investigated Masonry in connection to this subject and found nothing legitimate enough in your opinion to incriminate them. If I have this paraphrased incorrectly, please let me know, but this is what I was getting from your post.

Indeed, this was part of my experience as well. I was automatically suspicious of secret societies, elitist cults, etc. It wasn't the Masons I didn't agree with per se, it was that I had listened to others about the "herd mentality" and "mind control" and "controlling the government", etc etc. You know, a lot of what you see here on ATS, I was buying it. I was anti-organization to the hilt, convinced that everything was a conspiracy.

But I'm a pretty good student and thrive on research so I started digging. And I started running into the usual suspects, all recycling their usual uncorroborated sources with the David Icke mentality. My eyes started to glaze over from all the hissy fits and once I really got into the meat of the issue, I saw no evidence of this grand Masonic conspiracy. What I DID see was a lot of witch-hunting from fundamentalists who like to hypocritically twist the words of the Bible to suit their own agenda, without living their own lives by the book themselves. So they discredit themselves as a reliable source, in my opinion.

Soon the dross began to fall away. I began looking into what Masons actually claim were the foundations of their traditions. I found MORALS. I found ETHICS. I found CHARITY. I found time-tested TRUTHS that are upheld in cultures all over the world, throughout the entire history of mankind. If that's what it takes to control the world, why haven't more people figured out how to stage a coup then?

I've read a LOT of Masonic literature. I've cross-referenced it with my own education, as well as my own personal research about related subjects (religion, philosophy, psychology, etc). I've integrated my own experiences into my opinion about it. But I also got to know some of them. And let me tell you, I would trust some of them more than I would some people I am related to, and more than some friends I have known for years.

I had a friend who became interested in joining the Craft and the change in his demeanour after doing so, especially after becoming a Master Mason... well, let's just say it was absolutely phenomenal. I was very proud of him, and he knew me way back when I was originally a skeptic. I know it makes men better, because I've witnessed it happen to someone I know personally. He didn't join because he wanted favouritism in his career. He joined because he is a good person and he wanted to become a better one, and to surround himself with those who shared his way of thinking, men who were positive about life and wanted to make a difference in the world.

You don't have to take my word for it, but frankly, I have no reason to lie. If anything, it would have been easier to stay in my little intellectual box and never search for the truth of it myself, blaming some "other" group for the evils of the world. But I found out that not only was this incorrect, it was simply unfair.


"Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance" - Albert Einstein

"Judge not, lest ye be judged." - Jesus Christ


I don't make this stuff up, you know. I have better things to do than that. But if you truly choose to live by the sentiment expressed in those two quotes above, the truth becomes pretty clear on its own, and that's how I came to my change of heart about Freemasonry.


*edit for typo




[edit on 18-8-2005 by Stegosaur]



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:32 PM
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"Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance" - Albert Einstein
Thank you for your post. Stegosour, I wish there were more like you out there.

lost in the midwest



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by lost in the midwest
Thank you for your post. Stegosour, I wish there were more like you out there.


Not fishing for accolades here, but thank you. Just trying to do my part to deny ignorance, you know? Maybe my perspective will help someone else out in the future when they look into the subject for themselves.




posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:54 PM
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perhaps you should just have people u2u and then post the list on the forum. this thread got hijacked.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 05:03 PM
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Originally posted by NuTroll
perhaps you should just have people u2u and then post the list on the forum. this thread got hijacked.



Nah, the SRA thing was an side topic but I don't think the thread has been derailed just yet. Tinkleflower's opinion was not off-topic when you consider points 1 & 3.

I want to encourage group discussion, not private U2Us. Defeats the purpose of what I'm trying to accomplish here.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 10:21 AM
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So am I to assume by the eerie silence on this topic that we have NO members here (other than the two neutrals that have responded) that have changed sides --either way-- or can say that they are truly neutral after looking into it?

With all the bruhaha over Freemasons vs. fundamentalism, I was sure that I'd have a slew of people who had at one time supported the Masons but then found out this so called "secret truth" about them that I'm always hearing about, which supposedly sends God-fearing folks running back into the arms of their churches.

No?

No "Ex-Masons for Jesus" on this board? Where are all the members of the "Order of Former Freemasons" (O.F.F.)? I wanted to hear similar stories here but apparently, there may not be any?

This is sorely disappointing when you give the floor to people who actually do their homework in an effort to prompt legitimate intellectual discourse and there is SILENCE.

(I think it speaks volumes.)

I realize that going from a skeptic to a supporter is rather rare in this case, but I do find it surprising that we have NO ONE that will admit to withdrawing their support of the organization after research and/or direct experience.

Do none of you naysayers qualify? What's up with this???

Did you all have closed-minds from the start? Is that what I'm seeing here?


Hmmm. Very telling, indeed.

So much for benefit of the doubt, eh?




posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 10:33 AM
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Heheh. Sorry, couldn't help it.


OK so here it is. I was never really classified in any of those groups, but close. I, like you Stegosaur, began as a skeptic. I wouldn't go so far as to say "anti," but close enough I suppose. I also can identify with what Intrepid said about seeing the lodges and not really thinking about it. Being as I am from a relatively small town in Arkansas, there weren't any grandiose Masonic edifices to behold in the community. The lodge, however, is only about 2 miles or so from my parents' house. Simple place, big Square & Compasses on the side of the building, but when you're a kid... well anyway I didn't pay much attention.

In my time as a soldier, I noticed alot of S&C's on my sergeants' cars and such, but again, never really thought about it much. I alwasy wondered what the "G" meant, but not really enough to go digging for answers just yet. I was still quite young, and frankly, didn't really care.

So a few years pass, and lo and behold a coworker hits me with all this "Freemasons run the world, yadda yadda yadda" stuff. So this gets me thinking. I start asking friends what they know or have heard about Masonry. "Oh they're crafty (hehe) bastards, those Masons!" Check out www.freemasonrywatch.org... for all you need to know! (God bless you for caring Joe, but you was wroooooong.
).

So after reading up on all the anti sites, and the few Masonic sites that I came across, I figured like alot of folks do, that they probably are good guys at the low levels, but the "Higher ups" are eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil.

Enter ATS. I think my first posts here were along the lines of “One of my friends told me that every President except Lincoln and Kennedy have been Masons. I told him it sounded fishy. Is that true?” To which I quickly got a response to the effect of “Use the search function for Pete’s sake!” *grins at DTOM* Some things never change here at ATS. So I started asking questions, and getting some answers. By no means convinced at this point...

Wait. Wait a minute. I think I remember my dad saying once that my grandfather was a Mason, and a high ranking one, too! Jackpot. So I ask my dad. Yeah, he says, Granddaddy was a Mason. He was even in the Shrine (back then you had to be a 32° to join the Shrine.). Whoa. Now hold up a sec. My grandfather (although crotchety at times) was one of the best men I have ever known. He was an upright, God fearing man, a war hero, a good father and a good grandfather, a preacher... no way would he ever be part of some Satanic cult! So now I'm really intrigued. I start digging more; looking, instead of at what others had to say about Masonry, what Masons had to say for themselves. Then it all started to make sense. I was being directed to good, well referenced and researched sites, not to mention the glowing example set by the Masons I came into contact with. To make a long story short(er, LOL), I kept reading, kept reading, and finally I decided that this was something I wanted to be involved in; not only for fellowship and spiritual and moral growth, but also to pick up the baton for my grandfather. I thought that if I walked in the same steps he did, perhaps I could understand him better. Unfortunately he passed away before I became interested, so I won’t be able to discuss it with him for many years yet, but it helps to think he might be seeing now, and being proud. Anyway, I digress.

So I finally called a Mason my dad knew, set up meetings and went and talked to them. I wasn’t able to be initiated before I moved out of state, but I’m still on the path same as I ever was, since coming to the realization that I want to be a Mason; an idea that is going to become reality very soon.

Sorry to ramble, but you asked.


My advice to those who have an open mind and are interested: Read, research, talk to Masons. The truth is much simpler than conspiracy theorists would have you believe.

-Axe out.



[edit on 8/19/05 by The Axeman]



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