Questions about Masonry: an open and honest forum

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posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 08:23 PM
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gottago

You ask some interesting questions - I hope my answers match up.


Originally posted by gottago
I thought it very interesting that you stress the linkage with the past and tradition, since both are increasingly diluted and enfeebled in today's world.

I agree wholeheartedly.


Politically then, are Masons predominantly conservatives?

A good question, which I shall answer in two ways. Many of the freemasons I have known in England are quite conservatively minded (with a small c) whilst being from all strata of society. But there are others who are quite radically minded, and find the solace and tranquility of a lodge meeting a great counterbalance to their outside life.

However the the question in itself begs a misleading answer, as freemasonry is entirely apolitical, and freemasons from all political backgrounds would never discuss politics in a masonic context. So there is no such thing as a political dimension to a freemason. Politics, like religion, is left outside the door of the lodge.


Have you seen a growth in membership from those seeking a deeper grounding in--for lack of a better word--tradition?

Most initiates are certainly seeking something and tradition is a big part of the mix that is 'freemasonry'.


Do you feel that the secrets Masonry imparts enrich your life? And if so, in which ways?

The 'secrets' are a red herring. Freemasonry as a whole has enabled me to meet many wonderful people and has brought me closer to Jesus. This may seem strange to many people, but to those who understand the Craft well, a deepening of one's faith is a natural development.


And if I understand Masonry correctly as broadly Humanistic, then what is the reason for not sharing these enriching secrets with everyone, as one does with religion?

Think of the 'lessons' rather than the 'secrets' being the mechanisms for personal development. These 'lessons' are imparted in a 'peculiar manner', that mechanism makes it distinctively freemasonry and is best conducted behind closed doors.


Historically it is a society of the ruling classes, the elites, so one could draw the conclusion that the secrecy is serving to perpetuate these structures--your thoughts?

My thoughts is that freemasonry is not a secret society, and the privacy it insists upon in order to achieve its goals are both reasonable, and benign. There is no evidence that this is otherwise, however I recognize that I am in a privileged position here as I am an actual genuine bonafide dyed-in-the-wool freemason so you may regard me as having a bias.


However I would argue that as freemasonry has no interest in the perpetuation or otherwise of interests outside of its remit, it cannot in and of itself perpetuate anything not related to its core activity. What people believe of freemasonry may be a quite different thing, of course.


As for the Mormon religion, what do you think the purpose of incorporating Masonic ritual is? Isn't this then a commingling of Christianity and Masonry, since the ritual has a meaning and purpose created and defined by Masonry and is basic to the practice of the Mormon faith?

You'll have to wait for someone else to answer this, I'm afraid, as I don't know enough about Mormonism.




posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 12:57 PM
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I am a 32 degree mason southern jurisdiction. It took me all of two months to become one and only that long because my lodge brothers postponed my fellowcraft and masters initiations due to a grand lodge meeting and they had some other things on their personal plates outside the fraternity. A tad bit of memorization work an viola, I am a mason.


I became familiar with masonry from conspiracy books. I investigated and found the philosophy fit me better.

I don't know any more about the meaning of things than I did before I entered. I have learned some interesting things that personally make me feel like i am a better person for it but nothing as profound as what a conspiracy theorist might desire.

Mostly it is a group of guys who get together and socialize, shake a few hands, see how everyones been doing, go through ceremonies of the lodge, and go home. We don't even discuss the meaning of the ritual/ceremonies we perform. The business of the lodge is usually reading of the minutes and to see what sorta fund raiser we can do to round up money to help pay for upkeep of the local masonic cemetery or to donate to someone in the neighborhood who has cancer or are in dire need. That is pretty much it in a nutshell unless there happens to be someone who is being initiated into the fraternity.

I have learned more about being a good person by example than i have about the fraternity itself. During memory work if you make a mistake, the guys usually applaud your efforts and that is an encouragement to succeed in the memory work. People make an effort to recognize you and remember your name. Even folks in higher ranks like the grand lodge. So even though one may have thought themselves to be a good person when they entered, there are always little tidbits here and there that make one realize they can be even better.

Yet I learn about speculative masonry through a store house of books that I purchased on ebay as our lodge doesn't really even have any informative books.

I will also say that the tennants of freemasonry are how i believe but I will also say, as in Christianity or any other system of proclaimed belief, they are not always followed. I have shockingly come across what seems to be some of the most racist individuals i have ever met in some instances.

Not everything is interpreted the same by all masons.

I also feel that there really shouldn't be that great of push to defend masonry against claims of devil worship. Why? Because folks interpret things differently. To some the devil is the saviour of man just like prometheus, thoth, or even jesus christ. The best way to know why they feel this way is to read, ask questions, and deduce for oneself. Life is full of paradoxes and folks interpret those differently. The main thing I have learned from freemasonry is live and let live. Even though I still state my opinion on religions, I also realize i could very well be wrong in my belief, therefore I am open as I can be to differing opinions. I believe i even read something in a masonic book that says be tolerant even of intolerance.

Thanks to conspiracy theories, I have found a great bunch of guys for the most part who like to help their community. Who cares if they worship allah, ishtar, satan, jehovah, dionysis, or the god of their underpants. In a story of Jesus, he once was questioned about healing on the sabbath. In like manner I ask, is it better to follow a particular belief because the mass deems it the only way, or is it better to do good? A lot of folks like to condemn what they don't understand.

Now this doesn't exclude me from wondering about some Freemasonry conspiracies. I find these things fascinating and it leads me to inquiry. Even the bible says, question everything, hold fast to the truth. Or something like that. Inquiry leads me to study. Study leads me to form my on conclusions based on the info presented and I am apt to change my opinion upon future information.



posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 07:48 PM
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Originally posted by gottago


Thanks for your reply. I thought it very interesting that you stress the linkage with the past and tradition, since both are increasingly diluted and enfeebled in today's world. Politically then, are Masons predominantly conservatives? Have you seen a growth in membership from those seeking a deeper grounding in--for lack of a better word--tradition?


Perhaps. I think many join because they agree with its basic philosophy, which could also be sort of a tradition.


Do you feel that the secrets Masonry imparts enrich your life? And if so, in which ways? And if I understand Masonry correctly as broadly Humanistic, then what is the reason for not sharing these enriching secrets with everyone, as one does with religion?


I would say that the "secrets" are probably the least important part of Freemasonry. They may have the power to fascinate the non-Mason, but if one believes they are going to change his life, the ritual will certainly be anti-climactic, and the individual will be disappointed. The secrets are really nothing more than a collection of secret handshakes and passwords used by the medieval stonemasons in England, and preserved in the Craft today, again, from tradition. They are kept secret as a tradition, but of course, such things would be of little interest to non-Masons anyway. In fact, most Masons aren't even interested in them, or even remember them all.



Historically it is a society of the ruling classes, the elites, so one could draw the conclusion that the secrecy is serving to perpetuate these structures--your thoughts?


I would say that the fraternity has never been a society of the ruling class. Indeed, historically, it is a club for stonemasons. Non-operative masons began to be admitted in the late 16th century, but all classes have always been well represented since that time.


As for the Mormon religion, what do you think the purpose of incorporating Masonic ritual is? Isn't this then a commingling of Christianity and Masonry, since the ritual has a meaning and purpose created and defined by Masonry and is basic to the practice of the Mormon faith?



The Mormon Church had already been founded, and was moving westward, when Joseph Smith received the Masonic degrees in Illinois. Before this, Mormonism was non-ceremonial.

He was expelled from the fraternity soon afterward, and probably held a grudge. He said that "Just as Christianity is the apostate religion, so Freemasonry is the apostate Endowment".

In other words, according to Smith, just as Christianity was supposed to be a corrupted form of the true religion that Smith had to fix, Freemasonry was supposed to have been a corrupted form of the "true priesthood", and Smith was divinely obliged to "restore" it in its "purity".

Of course, a skeptic such as myself may say that Smith was rather unimaginative and too dense to write an original ritual, and therefore had to a plagiarize a fraternity's ceremony.



posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 10:49 PM
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Trinity Man and Masonic Light,

Thanks very much for your replies, they're very helpful in understanding Masonry from "the inside."

Essentially you both describe Freemasonry as a venerable club or fraternal order, and the "secrets" and ceremonies as idiosyncratic, though not defining, traditions. You both stress its moral aspects as important, though these remain purposely vague.

Freemasonry was quite important and influential in the Age of Enlightenment; many of the founding fathers were high-level Masons, and in the last decades before the French Revolution, the aristocracy were all essentially Masons, so fervently so that they were accused of abandoning the Church. In fact, Masonry was practiced so intensely and to such an extent that many aristocrats built extensive Masonic landscape gardens for themselves, with broken columns, pyramids, lodges, and other symbols--enormous investments and opulent tableaux of their beliefs.

Would you say then that Freemasonry has subsequently declined markedly in "worldly" influence and importance? Putting aside the moral aspect for the moment, has it honestly subsided into little more than a private fraternity with some strange, abiding customs?

And could anyone offer to explain the hierarchy of the lodges; the political structure if you will?



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 12:02 AM
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Yes.. Freemasonry has declined in influential power over this past century, but not every where..

For instance, you mention France, in France Masonry still has political power, and is doing quite well for its self from what I see..

In the United States I think Masonry is slowly making a come back from a long depression.. with stronger leaders I think Masonry will not only come back, but play a more public and influential role in American society. I strongly believe the values Masonry uphold are indeed right for the country, and to have political power once again would be a very good thing.

Influential power is NOT corruption.. it is NOT "NWO" BS that you read .. it is using your influence and your Masonic beliefs to help pass or push legislation that would truly benefit the country.. Every one belongs to some kind of group, background.. something.. be it Baptist, Catholic, Judaic, Women Rights group, Racial group, Mother Against Drunk Driving, YMCA
something influences everything. Masonry is not different..

Not saying of course all Masons are good men. Every group has bad apples..
The town I grew up in, every mayor is a Worshipful Master, or past.. coincidence? I don't think so.. (I am not, nor would I want to be a member of the specific lodge which I am referring to)..

But there are so many groups that can say the same thing, that they can in certain circumstances assist in gaining political power .. what ever the agenda, what ever the cause.. every one is associated with something. Sometimes its good.. sometimes its bad.. sometimes you wouldn't know because its simply NOT an issue... Sometimes people blow things out of proportion..

But I do see masonry in the United States coming back.. I can only hope that the quality of the membership stays high, because that would be the deciding factor as to how big of a comeback, and how the comeback effects Masonry..



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 09:06 AM
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Originally posted by gottago
Trinity Man and Masonic Light,

Thanks very much for your replies, they're very helpful in understanding Masonry from "the inside."

You are most welcome.


Freemasonry was quite important and influential in the Age of Enlightenment; many of the founding fathers were high-level Masons, and in the last decades before the French Revolution, the aristocracy were all essentially Masons, so fervently so that they were accused of abandoning the Church.

Like any 'new thing', freemasonry became very fashionable during the first half of the 18th century. As the original operative masonic lodges continued to take on 'gentleman' members, and new lodges were formed as purely 'speculative' under the auspices of the new Grand Lodges, more of the Upper Classes joined - particularly in London.

Think back to the times... it was an exciting period. London and Paris were centers of high fashion and all the excesses of the period were exploding into what would end in national revolutions in the second half of the century. We can see from known history that freemasonry became a 'fad' amongst certain people in the 'ruling classes'. People joined lodges, did nothing and then left after a few years. The media followed this new fad... there were cartoons, exposures and imitators. By the middle of the 18th century things began to settle down somewhat - the English had a choice of Grand Lodges and the essence of 'what is freemasonry' began to settle down into something similar to what it has evolved into today.


In fact, Masonry was practiced so intensely and to such an extent that many aristocrats built extensive Masonic landscape gardens for themselves, with broken columns, pyramids, lodges, and other symbols--enormous investments and opulent tableaux of their beliefs.

Some would have done, although I am not familiar with any specific examples. Many non-masons confuse pyramids and obelisks and being masonic whereas in fact they are not. They are part of a wider interest in Egyptology which was popular at the time. Columns too were in widespread use in architecture as imitative of the Ancient World and not just an indication of freemasonic influence.


Would you say then that Freemasonry has subsequently declined markedly in "worldly" influence and importance? Putting aside the moral aspect for the moment, has it honestly subsided into little more than a private fraternity with some strange, abiding customs?

Throughout the latter part of the 18th century and the 19th century speculative freemasonry evolved into what we have today. However it was always designed to be instructive to the Individual, rather than the Society. Many influential people have been masons (and many have not been, of course), and in this sense masonry will have influenced society indirectly through these people. It has always been a private fraternity, albeit disparate before Grand Lodges bound the private lodges together in a more formalized union. As it has always worked on the Individual then the results are hard to quantify, so to say it is in decline can only really be judges by numbers (bums on seats
). There was a huge boom in membership in the middle of the 20th century and that is now working out through natural wastage (this also helps to give the impression that all freemasons are over 70 as well!). To get it in context, there are still many many more freemasons now in the US than there were in the aftermath of the Morgan Affair in the mid-19th century.


And could anyone offer to explain the hierarchy of the lodges; the political structure if you will?

Private lodges (Blue lodges, or Craft lodges) and the basic building block of freemasonry. These are organized into Grand Lodges, which are the ultimate ruling authority for its jurisdiction. Sometimes these Grand Lodge jurisdictions are subdivided into semi-autonomous Districts or Provinces. They have sometimes great autonomy and othertimes are just an administrative convenience, but in all cases they are fully subject to the rules of the Grand Lodge under which they operate.

The head of a private lodge is the Worshipful Master, a 1-year elected position. Heads of Districts or Provinces can be called District or Provincial Grand Masters, or sometimes District Deputies (in the US). They are usually appointed. The Head of a Grand Lodge is called the Grand Master, and is always elected. In the US typically the period is 1 year but other Grand Lodges can have terms of 10 years or longer.

There is no traditional 'reporting structure' as you might imaging in a formal organization. Everything is geared (or should be) to serve the needs of the private lodge, and the highest position a freemason can achieve in freemasonry is the Master of his lodge. Grand Masters have administrative powers to govern the running of their Grand Lodge, but any powers they have over private lodges has been assumed and taken over the years. Private lodges still have some self-autonomy although this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Hope this helps.



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 07:35 PM
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Originally posted by gottago


Would you say then that Freemasonry has subsequently declined markedly in "worldly" influence and importance?


In my opinion, yes. Freemasonry's influence has long since waned, to be replaced in the world by the almighty dollar.


Putting aside the moral aspect for the moment, has it honestly subsided into little more than a private fraternity with some strange, abiding customs?


Sadly, I must say that for the most part, it's mostly just another civic club these days. It still has the potential to be a life-changing tool of enlightenment, but unfortunately, such a tool is rarely put to use.


And could anyone offer to explain the hierarchy of the lodges; the political structure if you will?



The following concerns my own jurisdiction: they differ.

Each Lodge has three officials, who are annually elected to one year terms by the majority of the membership. There is the Worshipful Master, who is the presiding officer. The other two are the Senior and Junior Wardens, who sort of function as first and second vice presidents.

There are two other elected officers: the Secretary and Treasurer, whose duties are purely administrative.

The Master appoints the Senior Deacon, Chaplain, and Tyler. The Senior Warden appoints the Junior Dearcon, and the Junior Warden appoints two Stewards.

The chief governing body of Masonry is called the Grand Lodge. Each year, there is an assembly that consists of the Master and Wardens of each Lodge. This assembly is Grand Lodge. All Master Masons in good standing may attend, but only the current Master and Wardens of the various Lodges have a vote. Masonry is therefore a representative democracy.

The Grand Officers are analogous to the Lodge officers, and are also elected to one year terms. The Grand Master is the highest ranking Masonic official, and presides over Grand Lodge. In my jurisdiction, it is common for Grand Masters to serve two terms.

In the USA, there are 51 Grand Lodges, one in each state, and one in D.C. Each regular Grand Lodge in the US recognizes each other, although each is sovereign within its own state. Therefore, Masonic law and procedure slightly vary from state to state.

In Canada, there are different Grand Lodges for the different provinces. In the UK, there is the United Grand Lodge of England, which is the successor of the oldest Grand Lodge in the world. There are also Grand Lodges in Ireland and Scotland.



posted on Apr, 11 2007 @ 01:16 AM
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1) If politics are left at the door then why do so many city signs host masonry and sister organizational symbles?

2) Has anyone that is a mason reading this done Then Landmark Forum? Did you find them to be compatible? Similar?

3) What is the link between Free Mason and say Rotery, and other common secret groups?



posted on Apr, 11 2007 @ 07:39 AM
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Originally posted by Aton-Scott
1) If politics are left at the door then why do so many city signs host masonry and sister organizational symbles?

2) Has anyone that is a mason reading this done Then Landmark Forum? Did you find them to be compatible? Similar?

3) What is the link between Free Mason and say Rotery, and other common secret groups?


Hi Aton

Can you advise which city signs you are talking about? Also, I'm not familiar with the Landmark Forum - could you give some more information?

Rotary (note spelling) is a service organization with specific membership criteria based on business type. They are best known for their efforts to eradicate Polio around the world, and Rotarians are constantly involved in local charitable support. Freemasonry is a system of morality and is designed to work on a mans inner character, and support the faith of his choice.

I am not aware that either group is secret, websites with a great deal of additional information on both organizations can be found here or here.



posted on Apr, 11 2007 @ 07:53 AM
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Originally posted by Aton-Scott
and other common secret groups?


I'm perplexed... Wouldn't something being "common" preclude it being "secret?" If it is common, it can hardly be "occult." Now I've done it.


It may seem as though I'm mincing words, but you can't have it both ways.

This statement also begs the question, who are the "uncommon" secret groups?



posted on Apr, 17 2007 @ 01:54 PM
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There was a request for more information about Landmark Education. Please see landmarkeducation.com...


In summary it is a company that has you focus on who you are BEING in life. IE: focus on the Being part of Human Being.



posted on Apr, 17 2007 @ 03:35 PM
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interesting... a "company" that helps you focus.



Sounds kinda.. contradictory.



posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 11:10 AM
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A company that helps you focus?

Yeah, sounds like cult to me.
(then again, there are a lot of people who think Masonry is a cult too)



Anyone else know about this?
Sounds kind of shady to me.





Okay, upon further review of that "company", I have come to the conclusion, that it has nothing to do with Masonry in any way, shape or form, so it is no longer a topic of discussion in this thread.
It actually seemed kind of creepy, very cultish.
Perhaps we'll start a thread about that.

-Wu K'ung

[edit on 4/18/2007 by wu kung]



posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 01:01 PM
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Sadly, I have not seen much information in answering the original topic title, as it was fairly vague. What about the beginnings of Masonry and its constituents.

I can say that doing research on the people and situations that I learned about in DeMolay (a Masonic fraternity for adolescents) lead me to an array of information regarding the Knights Templar. That for me is a bigger mystery and might lead you back toward the original topic?

just my 2 cents....

[edit on 18-4-2007 by 12SeVeN34]



posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 01:09 PM
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Not sure what your talking about, could you please re-word?

The original topic? The thread was created to answer questions in regards to ALL topics related to Masonry that anyone wished to ask the Masons of the board here.

I think this thread has been doing a damn good job at sticking to the original topic?


What is your question friend?



posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 03:29 PM
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Heh, I thought it was just me.
Yeah, I have no idea what you're saying.
Could you please elaborate?

How is it that we're not sticking to the topic?





posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 06:44 PM
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I would say that the "secrets" are probably the least important part of Freemasonry. ......


I would agree, rather to state that Masonry is a Society with Secrets [as opposed to a secret society]

It is a system of morality, based on allegory and illustrated by symbols.

All of which are left to the study and discernment of each brother. As each one grows in knowledge so grows his deeper understanding and perception of the Brotherhood and his role in society as a Freemason.








[edit on 18-4-2007 by kewlfox]

[edit on 18-4-2007 by kewlfox]



posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 08:41 AM
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I guess I didn't see that there was any ACTUAL information in this thread. Sorry if I sounded like I was trying to moderate. I just wanted to see more specific questions and answers.



posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 09:22 AM
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We will give you any information we have save what we are obligated not to share with non Masons or those we do not know to be Masons.



posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 03:53 PM
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Originally posted by RWPBR
We will give you any information we have save what we are obligated not to share with non Masons or those we do not know to be Masons.


Incredibly well said.

Okay, so, with that in mind, what would you like to know?







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