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The 3rd Degree

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posted on Apr, 5 2006 @ 04:12 PM
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I have a question regarding the initiation, history and rituals behind Freemasonry's 3rd degree. I ask this because I read something from the book, The Hiram Key, and on page 187, it says...

" It would be useful here to say a little bit about the historical origins of the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry, as it relates to one of its central rituals, namely the king-making ritual. The 3rd Degree of Freemasonry is long and involved, with a series of deeply symbolic rituals and incantations. First, the initiate is blindfolded with a rope tied around his waste and his right pant leg rolled up. He is then led around the Masonic Temple, where three symbolic deathblows are administered at three separate exit points of the temple. This is a ritualistic reenactment of the murder of Hiram Abif, archaic French for the ‘Lost King’. The question is who is this ‘Lost King’ "?

" Masonic tradition maintains that Hiram Abif was the king of Tyre’s Master Mason and the chief architect and builder of Solomon's Temple. If this is true, why is there no mention of such a figure in the Old Testament? Masonic legend holds that the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry is a ritual reenactment of the chief architect's death. The story goes that, when Hiram visited the Temple to check on the progress of the work, he was accosted by one of his fellow masons, who demanded of him the secret of the Master Mason's word. When Hiram refused to divulge the secret, his apprentice dealt him a blow that sent him reeling. Hiram then tried to leave the Temple through a second gate, but was accosted by a second apprentice asking the same question. When no answer was forthcoming, the doomed Master received a second blow that sent him staggering to a third exit. Here, at the western entrance to the Temple, a third assailant lay in wait ready to finish the Master off if he failed to divulge his secret. It was here that the deathblow was administered as Hiram once again maintained silence. "

The Hiram Key states that this story is a ‘pesher’ or cover story for the original. The name ‘Hiram Abif’ actually refers to the murder of a king, who subsequently came to be regarded as the ‘Lost King’. This ‘Lost King’ was the Theban pharaoh Seqenenry Tao II, the last Theban pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom.

Okay, I bring this subject up because after reading this I thought to myself, "Well, if I decided to join freemasonry as a christian, and someone told me this history behind the 3rd degree, I would become very uncomfortable knowing that I'm being part of this kind of ritual...and forcing me not to join."

So to the masons here, when you're initiated into a 3rd Degree, do "they" tell you the history behind it all before blind folding you?




posted on Apr, 5 2006 @ 06:48 PM
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eudaimonia

Rather than "The Hiram Key", I'd recomend Robinison's books. Primarily "Born in Blood." His translation of Hiram Abiff is "he who is about to die", (mideavil norman french). This was written before he became a mason, and has convinced a fair number of masons that he may well be correct on the true origans of masonry.

His interpritation of the third degree is very good, and in all likelyhood the original meaning behind it. If he is right, Hiram is Grand Master De Molet; the three ruffians are King Philip the Fair of France, theGrand Master of the Hospitaliars, and Pope Clemonts the (? 5th?) (my memory fails me at the moment.)



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 12:47 AM
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I think everyone is reading way too deep into this.

I had no problems with the 3rd degree. It is very educational and makes you think a lot. I was never told about these possibilities before I got my 3rd. And I'm glad I didn't because I liked what was presented to me.

All of the information presented above is not factual and merely skepticism. I would recommend coming up with your own conclusions on the 3rd Degree.

Afterwards, "what happened" was explained very well.

Hiram Abif kept the true secret with him until death - what every true Freemason will do.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 05:48 AM
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Well whatever it means it seems like the message is - you go to your death with Masonic secrets. And they give three splendid attacks to show and let you symblically die to shew the seriousness of the situation. Someone correct me if I'm wrong thats just my idea of what the current lesson is.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 07:35 AM
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Originally posted by eudaimonia


So to the masons here, when you're initiated into a 3rd Degree, do "they" tell you the history behind it all before blind folding you?


If you're referring to the "history" as outlined in "The Hiram Key", the answer is obviously no. That particular book has been widely discredited by all serious historians, both Masonic and non-Masonic.

Rev. Martin L. Wagner, a Christian critic of Freemasonry, once wrote a very interesting book called "Freemasonry Interpreted". Although he himself was anti-Masonic, he tried to keep his criticism as honest as possible (unlike the majority of his colleagues).

Wagner informs us that there is a rabbinic legend that says that after the Temple was completed, Hiram was raised to heaven like Enoch, and it is almost certain that the Hiramic legend in Masonry is derived from this older legend, not a story about an Egyptian king.

The implements used to attack and assasinate Hiram in the Masonic legend are explained by Albert Pike in his "Symbolism of the Blue Degrees" and "Morals and Dogma". For example, Pike claims that the blow Hiram received on his throat is representative of an attack on freedom of speech by non-democratic governments, with Hiram representing justice.

[edit on 6-4-2006 by Masonic Light]



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 10:44 AM
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Originally posted by eudaimonia
This ‘Lost King’ was the Theban pharaoh Seqenenry Tao II, the last Theban pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom.

Er, why?

Hiram of Tyre is the king of tyre. Hiram of Tyre is the a friend of Solomon, and has skilled architects, and they are contracted to build the jewish temple.

"Abif" is supposed to represent something like 'servent of' or some such, so Hiram Abif is the guy who is the big worker for king Hiram of Tyre.

Also, in the bible, I think that the master builder is actually referered to, not as a mason, interestingly, but as an 'artificer', or a person skilled in inlaying works with gold and metals.

Any translation of Hiram Abif has a major problem, Hiram is simply a name, from the bible.


Hiram Abif kept the true secret with him until death - what every true Freemason will do.

I thought that the only secret that you are required to keep is the modes of recognition? Also, what is the moral in keeping a secret to the grave?


ML
there is a rabbinic legend

Interesting, what is the citation for that legend?

When was the ritual of the third degree worked out anyway? If I recall properly, there are constitutions that work out that Solomon wanted a temple, called his buddy King Hiram, who sent his master builder Hiram Abif, who was killed by three Jews. BUt the specifics are not there no?? THe three gates, the sequence of hits, etc?



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan

Interesting, what is the citation for that legend?


Wagner didn't give one, he just mentioned in passing that such a legend existed. I don't have the book available to me at the moment, but it's in the chapter called "The Masonic Mysteries" in his "Freemasonry Interpreted". In this chapter, Wagner details the Hiramic legend, comparing it to the legends of Osiris, Atys, Mithras, etc.


When was the ritual of the third degree worked out anyway? If I recall properly, there are constitutions that work out that Solomon wanted a temple, called his buddy King Hiram, who sent his master builder Hiram Abif, who was killed by three Jews. BUt the specifics are not there no?? THe three gates, the sequence of hits, etc?


The Third Degree was probably introduced around 1720, but we don't really know for sure. Many believe that Rev. James Anderson was the one who invented it, which seems probable, as his influence on the beginning of the modern Craft is extremely great. If Anderson was the one who wrote the first version of the Third Degree, it seems likely that he borrowed from the mythological dramas of the ancients, while interpreting within a Christian framework.

The claims made by some, that Hiram actually represents Prince Charles Edward Stuart, and that the raising alludes to a secret Masonic agenda of restoring the Stuarts to the English throne, has long been discredited, but is still alleged by some conspiracy theorists.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
I thought that the only secret that you are required to keep is the modes of recognition? Also, what is the moral in keeping a secret to the grave?


It is. Honestly, in my jurisdiction some portions of the ritual are not to be written, and therefore I suppose could be termed "secret."

The moral of that particular part of the story (or one of them) is fidelity. Hiram wouldn't give up the secrets to those who had not righteously earned the right to that knowledge, even if it meant death. That can be interpreted a number of ways, obviously.

The true secrets of a Master Mason are not really learnable by any ritual, no matter how profound it might be. In my opinion it is a very personal and spiritual thing, one that cannot be mistaken for something else. Am I in posession of the true secrets of a Master Mason? Honestly? No. Nor do I know if I will ever be in posession of them. That's the point; it's supposed to be a never-ending quest for more light (read: knowledge).

Seriously; folks read way too much into what they aren't privy to... it's really not that much, and it's nothing that doesn't come (more or less) straight from the Bible (In the Bible, for example, Hiram actually lives and sees the Temple through to its completion.).

Another important point: In the Masonic tradition, Hiram isn't "resurrected," He is merely exhumed for proper burial. So comparing Hiram to, say, Jesus is completely absurd in my opinion. I had heard it suggested before I was raised, and now I think it's pretty ridiculous. You have to stretch to make the connections, and when that happens I usually tend to look more critically upon the suggestion.

It is what it is.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light
that the raising alludes to a secret Masonic agenda of restoring the Stuarts to the English throne,

"Stuart Masonry", as its called no? Intersting that you should mention it. If i recall correctly, mackey rejects the idea that ramsay made up the higher degrees as "stuart restoration" re-interpretation of existing masonic legends because the legends, at the time, didn't exist.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 05:39 PM
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I guess this is where the old saying about giving someone the 3rd degree came from. Most of you probably already knew that.... I'm not up to speed on all this Freemasonry stuff.



posted on Apr, 6 2006 @ 10:49 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan

Originally posted by Masonic Light
that the raising alludes to a secret Masonic agenda of restoring the Stuarts to the English throne,

"Stuart Masonry", as its called no? Intersting that you should mention it. If i recall correctly, mackey rejects the idea that ramsay made up the higher degrees as "stuart restoration" re-interpretation of existing masonic legends because the legends, at the time, didn't exist.


Alot of people reject that idea. I have a book called "The Story of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry" By Harold V. B. Voorhis, 33° which states that the idea of "Jacobite Freemasonry" has been thoroughly put down.

"Put no trust whatsoever in accounts connecting the Stuarts with Freemasonry" -- George W. Speth

"All statements respecting Prince Charles Edward [Stuart] and his relations with the Order [of Freemasonry] are apocryphal and some of them most absurd." -- William J. Hughan

"Toward the end of his life Prince Charles Edward [Stuart] denied that he had ever been made a Mason, and according to Mr. D. Murray Lyon [another reputable Scottish Masonic historian] there is no evidence from any scottish source that he was. The Jacobite cabinet of forgery was in France, and nowhere else." -- Arthur Edward Waite

Like ML said, some people stilll push the idea, but serious Masonic historians have pretty much altogether dismissed it as untrue.

Deadboi: The phrase probably comes from the fact that the catechism includes a long list of questions and answers that have to be memorized, so, when someone is asking alot of questions they are said to be giving you the "third degree".



posted on Apr, 7 2006 @ 02:12 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic StudentIf he is right, Hiram is Grand Master De Molet


i think you mean De Molay
I only caught this because I am one (a De Molay that is, and a Chevalier
)



posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 11:26 AM
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Also, what is the moral in keeping a secret to the grave?

Do the terms HONOR, Fidelity, Respect, responsibilityring a bell?




I guess this is where the old saying about giving someone the 3rd degree came from


Nope. as far as I am aware the term 3rd degree dates from a much earlier time
and refers to The three degrees of torture instituted by the Emporess Maria Theressa (as I recall), the thumb screw, a version of the rack in which fire was used, and the strapadero ( a version of which was used by the NVA interogators). If you passed through all three "degrees" of torture with out
confessing you were then pronounced INNOCENT of all charges and freed.

LET ME REPEAT THAT FOR CLARITY,

If you passed through all three "degrees" of torture with out
confessing you were then pronounced INNOCENT of all charges and freed.

If you did not in all likelyhood you were burned,stoned/hanged, along with your family . AFTER they were subjected to the same treatment.

As A side note and barometer of the times with this proclamation the Emporess was hearalded as being the most compassionate of Monarchs.



posted on Apr, 8 2006 @ 11:54 AM
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Originally posted by stalkingwolf

Nope. as far as I am aware the term 3rd degree dates from a much earlier time
and refers to The three degrees of torture instituted by the Emporess Maria Theressa (as I recall), the thumb screw, a version of the rack in which fire was used, and the strapadero ( a version of which was used by the NVA interogators).
...


Ahh fair enough.



posted on Apr, 10 2006 @ 08:29 AM
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I've read in several books that the origin for "third degree" is Masonry. I'm no expert in phrase origins and can't say for sure, but also found this:



The third degree, thanks to old Hollywood cops and robbers movies, is now synonymous with police interrogation with bright lights and rubber hoses and without the benefits of counsel. But where did this phrase come from? And what are the first two degrees?

The phrase comes from freemasonry. To become a Third-Degree or Master Mason, the highest rank, one must submit to questioning. The questioning associated with a Third-Degree Mason dates to at least 1772. Some sources say the questioning is long and intense, others that it is a mere formality (not being a Mason I don't know), but whichever is true, the idea that the Masons' testing was an ordeal became fixed in the public mind. So, by 1880 the term became used for any long an arduous questioning or interrogation. Around the turn of the 20th century, the term began to be applied, outside of Masonic rituals, exclusively to police interrogations. The idea of a brutal interrogation being called the third degree was no doubt helped along by association with third-degree burn.

So, there really are no first or second degrees of police brutality.


Source



posted on Apr, 10 2006 @ 08:38 AM
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Originally posted by stalkingwolf
Do the terms HONOR, Fidelity, Respect, responsibilityring a bell?

And what do those virtues have to do with this instance? Keeping secrets isn't allways moral.

[edit on 10-4-2006 by Nygdan]



posted on Apr, 10 2006 @ 11:08 AM
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I'm with Stalkingwolf on this one. I believe the phrase 'giving the 3rd degree' predates freemasonry, although like many phrases and symbols it has been assumed the origin is masonic, whereas the usage is etymologically similar at best and conincidental at worst.



posted on Dec, 12 2008 @ 11:59 PM
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Some secrets are reserved for only the worthy and those with good intentions who's ACTIONS help others.



posted on Dec, 12 2008 @ 11:59 PM
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