Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.
So there is this thing called the internet. And people post things onto it. Like ideas. And theories. And there is this funny thing that happens. Sometimes people post ideas and theories that aren’t true. Either because A: They’re ignorant, B: Someone told them it was true, or C: Because they’re liars.
Surprising. I know. Who knew that anonymity would be the vehicle to allow people to spread misinformation and libel. You can’t ever trust anyone who tries to be secretive. Wait…us Freemasons are secretive, aren’t we?
So here is my response to secrecy, and I’m going to take a page out of the Christian Bible to do it. “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” Romans 14:14. As always, nothing is evil of itself unless we believe it to be evil. And we believe something is evil when there are other moral rules that we live by that prove something to be unclean. And I’ll clarify this a bit more in a moment. Secrecy can be used for good and bad. On the internet we can deal with many people who use secrecy to further their own agenda, whether altruistic or corrupt.
A long while back, when I was first learning about Masonry, I discovered an article about “Masonic Facts”. I didn’t know what to think at first and I had to take it seriously as I gathered information. I heavily considered its merits. However as time went on, I realized it had problems. Here it is.
Top 10 Scandalous Freemason Secrets by Anonymous at Listverse.com.
Essentially, Listverse is where people put top 10 lists ABOUT EVERYTHING! Yes, we want to hear the top “10 Mythological Ways to Become Immortal”. Essentially it’s an information drug factory of things that satisfy your brain’s hardwired desire to learn. But it’s irrelevant enough where you forget almost everything you read soon after. A time waster disguised as a place to learn.
I sound bitter. So how about we look through the article and I’ll let you decide.
Here is what they first write.
The Freemasons are one of the most secretive and controversial religious groups in the world.
A nice ambiguous sentence to start things off. Freemasonry is secular but very God oriented. In the Boyscouts you have to believe in God but after that it’s pretty secular. Same thing. But let’s look up the definition of religious order to see if they’re right.
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder’s religious practice. The order is composed of initiates (laity) and, in some traditions, ordained clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world’s religions.
So close, yet so far. Note “specific religious devotion”, “founder’s religious practice”, and “exist in”. I’ll throw them a bone and starting off I’ll help support their argument.
The says goes, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”
Well remember the whole “it is not evil unless we believe it to be evil?” Well that’s because people have told you how to look, or you haven’t been educated to understand what you’re seeing. Masonry really looks like a religious order from those who haven’t fully researched Masonry. Everyone believes in God, prays together, talks about morality, the afterlife, and has a recognized group element to themselves. But again, I’ll put in another Masonic detractor argument as the “duck”response is actually a good one. The reason being is because the duck line is used in debate formats to counter abtrusive arguments.
- (obsolete) Concealed or hidden out of the way; secret.
- Difficult to comprehend or understand; recondite; obscure; esoteric.
And Masonry is pretty abtrusive.
So let’s look at #1 of the Abtrusive definition. Masonry being secretive is well known and much discussed , but not in its identity isn’t so discussed. Many many books have been written on its teaching and sciences that are part of the ritual. It’s buildings are well marked and anyone can stop by and check it out. The CIA, NSA, and White House or more secretive then we are. I would argue you are more secretive then you let on. No one walks around telling people they got fired from a job, or the dirty thoughts they think in the shower, or some of your true feelings on politics or religion. Masonry sees secrecy as a reality of humanity and codifies it.
So, lets move onto #2 of the abtrusive definition and actually try and explain how it isn’t like a religious order. Let’s break down the three things I noted – “Specific religious devotion”, “founder’s religious practice”, and “exist in”.
Specific religious devotion – Nope. Each Mason prays to their own specific God when they have their non-denominational prayers. In your heart, you are praying to your God. So it’s actually wildly different in religious devotion. We all aren’t praying to the same thing which doesn’t fit what the definition is implying.
Founder’s religious practice – There isn’t any Masonic founder. Even the figures associated with Masonry don’t have a specific doctrine they have left us with. Masonry is up to each Mason.
Exist in – And the hammer. We don’t exist in any religion. We are not a religion. We’re a secular non-profit organization that doesn’t have any leadership.
It’s clear we’re not a religious order. Saying we’re “God Based” is more appropriate but religious order already shows this writer is clearly just throwing terms around right now without doing any research. You’ll notice this is a theme in this blog entry. Also you’ll notice me spending hundreds of words on a single sentence from that blog post as I have just done. This may or may not also be a theme of this blog entry.
Masons have existed for centuries – and if we are to believe their claims, they’ve existed covertly for even longer. Whatever their history, speculation has always been an enjoyable pastime – and this is especially true in the case of the Masons’ more scandalous secrets. Having passed down traditions and secrets from one generation of initiates to the next, they make it difficult to know what’s outdated and what’s still practiced. Consider these ten masonic activities as provisional facts – we don’t know for sure, but it’s always an interesting exercise to imagine what might be going on behind our backs.
I’m going to play wet blanket here and the whole part about not knowing for sure and how it’s fun to make “facts” is frankly…chocolate bullshit. No. If you don’t know for sure, it’s speculation. NOT A FACT. We Masons are called Speculative Masons when we try to interpret our rituals and moral instruction. But no one knows for sure and no one in their right mind would ever assigned “Fact” labeling to anything they say. I could wheel out the whole “Masons have been murdered for the lies and false facts people say about them” card. But I have seen other people use their identity to silence discussion. And out of principle I won’t have any part of that. So we’ll continue on, looking at these “facts” and I’ll do my best to guide you along to considering otherwise.
10.They will not testify truthfully against each other
Freemasons are commanded not to testify truthfully when another Mason is on trial. They admit that it may be perjury, but to them, it is a far greater sin to not protect one of their own.
10 – A: Firstly, let’s use our good friend science to solve this. They don’t have any statistical evidence to prove this is true. Point – Freemasons. Here is some analysis on my part. Since the mid-90s anyone in a public position in the UK had to declare if they were a Freemason or not. And here is what they found.
“The Justice Secretary said yesterday a review of the system for checking appointments had ‘shown no evidence of impropriety or malpractice’.
The list of “clear and documented cases” of Masons circumventing the system amounts to a few conspiracy theorists with blogs and people anonymous anecdotal evidence.
As for me, if someone broke the law and I had to testify against them in a court of law, why would my Masonic obligation supersede my court obligation? Why would I violate my obligation to The Bible for someone else? This is God’s and my afterlife we’re talking about here. If someone commits a crime and I’m asked by a lawyer to tell the truth, I will.
9.They have a secret handshake
Though some members deny it to the public, the Freemasons have at least one secret masonic handshake. Supposedly, there are even phrases a Freemason can utter when facing grave danger – causing other members to rush to their aid. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, is said to have uttered this phrase in the last moments before his death.
9 – A: This area is tricky because I want to truthfully respond without violating my obligation. Even explaining what the obligation itself may be violating my obligation. But this is going to sound funny but the obligation itself is also VERY much open to interpretation.
What does this have to do with the alleged Masonic handshake? If I deny something, that could technically be considered violating the obligation. Lets say someone tells you to pick a number between 1 and 2 and not to tell anyone which I picked. I’ll pick 2 in this instance. If someone guessed 1 and I told them they were wrong, they now know it is 2. I have violated my promise to keep it secret.
See, this secrecy thing can make you nuts! So I am interpreting this in the more minimal manner.
Long Answer Short: This is one of the few things I can’t comment on. Sorry.
8.They have several secret passwords
This is one of the best-known facts about the Masons, but the general perception is that they have just one password. In fact, there are several passwords for various occasions and reasons. As the one person with the final syllable for the ultimate secret word was murdered, they substituted “mor-bon-zi” for this word, and only very few people know the actual secret word. This secret word is used only for ceremonies: “tu-bal-cain” is the more common secret password, on the tip of every Freemason tongue.
8 – A: So much for few things I can’t comment on. Same as above. For modes of recognition, I have to play hardball and say no. Only Masons know the answer.
7.Their rituals involve a noose
The initiation rituals- though described by Masons as beautiful ceremonies – include a noose. It’s hard to tell whether this is meant as a threat, a call to maintain silence, or simply as the symbol of an umbilical cord (as they claim), but in any case, it’s unusual enough to warrant a mention.
7 – A: Alright, I can technically answer this one. Here is my interpretation off of “the noose” as this article calls it.
Ropes are used to tie things together. Ropes tie ships to a dock, boxes to the roof of your car and so forth. Ropes create bonds. They can also be used to pull things around.
As you learn in Masonry, you are introduced to a lot of things and the lessons from your interaction give clarity to things you will face in the future. There will be times where people will try to bond you to them or to an organization or concept. Remember that the bonds you make are two fold. When you choose to make a bond, you must uphold it. The only exception being if it conflicts with your moral code. Also, remember that the bond to something with a wrong moral code can very much corrupt you and you must be wary to make bonds to things that disagree with your conscious.
6.They’re obsessed with the sun
Freemasons believe that the east symbolizes rebirth. They sing the sun in its flight – marvelling at its passage through the sky. Masonic lodges tend to be built in the east and in the west, as an attempt to control solar power for their own purposes.
6 – A: Alright busted. I love the sun. I love warm weather, sunny days and a shiny world around me.
Everything else said here is hilariously untrue. East symbolizes rebirth? I giggled. This is the only website that I have seen where it says we sing to the sun. At least the author is creative. Control solar power for our own purposes? The mental image of some guy focusing really hard on the sun so it can move a little bit to get a better angle on his solar panels amuses me greatly.
5.Masons exclude atheists
It’s impossible to become a Freemason if you’re an atheist. The first requirement is that potential members must believe in a higher power of some sort. They claim not to care what higher power that is, but you must define it for yourself. You can lie about it, but religion seems to be a point of honor among them. On the other hand, traditionally excluded groups – such as gay men – are included in Masonry, so long as they behave in the same moral manner as other groups. The temple still excludes women, but some groups are currently challenging that fact.
5 – A: Yep. No atheists allowed. For a wide wide variety of reasons which are far to large to answer just here.
4.They work to control politics and finance in various countries
The official corruption of Masonry is well-documented, but often covered up. Half a million Masons in England are disproportionately involved in banking, politics, and government. Even hospitals and universities are often controlled by the Masons.
4 – A: The easy answer is no. But I am going to give you something to think about regarding this stereotype. Lets have a thought exercise. And this thought exercise will extend to much larger themes that I will be covering throughout my time on this blog.
So a company is looking to hire someone. They have a ton of very qualified applicants. They bring them in an interview them. Any of them could do a great job. But one of the applicants is a Freemason. The people doing the hiring know there is this story that flows around that Freemasons have international connections and are connected with people in power. So the people doing the hiring look at all these similar candidates and then they see this Freemason who supposedly has worldwide international connections. That sounds like one hell of a hire. And no threat to you because you run the company. But someone who could give you that little extra. Also Freemasons are disproportionately successful at what they do. Another reason to hire. While I have never seen this happen (see, I can make up things too, but I’m speculating) it has logical elements to it. The same way people complain about elitism because Ivy Leaguers run everything, the same elements can occur for Freemasonry.
So what is my answer to this you say? Again there isn’t a conspiracy. But we are disproportionally represented. We don’t have as much power as you think and because of the secretive nature of Freemasons, we don’t always know who is a Mason and who isn’t. No Mason could ever truly tell you how many are in “influential positions”. But the self-fulfilling prophecy is true. In my opinion, of which all of the above is, Freemasons are harmed because they are Freemasons but also are viewed positively because they are Freemasons. And things can work out in a funny way because of both viewpoints.
3.Their symbol is on the dollar bill
If you’ve ever looked closely at the US dollar bill, you’ve probably seen the All-Seeing Eye above the pyramid. This symbol is a Freemason symbol, and the Latin underneath is a Freemason motto, meaning “new world order”. Many say that the decision to include this masonic symbol was not influenced by Freemasons – Benjamin Franklin being the only Mason on the design committee – but the coincidence remains fascinating all the same.
3 – A: My magic 8 ball says this is completely untrue. The phrase is not Masonic. The all seeing eye is Masonic as other Freemason blogs have mentioned. But I do think the bill is Masonic. In my belief, this is true. I don’t have an intent or smoking gun that showed Masons designed it to be Masonic, but I can show how it is Masonic. I’ll show you soon.
2.Anders Breivik was a Mason
Breivik – responsible for the 2011 mass murder in Norway – was a member of the Lodge of St. Olaf in Oslo. He was promptly excluded – but his degree of involvement within the organization is open for debate.
2 – A: The guy went through each degree, attended a meeting, and that was it from all accounts we have heard. The guy as clearly nuts, but unfortunately the Masons who initiated him didn’t know. But maybe they did and just lied to themselves, thinking Masonry can round him out. We’ll never know. Remember the old Masonic motto of “Making good men better”? It’s specific to good men for a reason. If you aren’t a good man, there is nothing we can do to make you better.
1.Masons played a key role in space exploration
Some say that Masons have an agenda to take over the world – but some Masons seem to have their sights set on the moon. Astronauts in the Apollo program – including Buzz Aldrin – were self-professed Masons. Their rite flags have been to the moon and back, and Aldrin seems to have claimed the moon for his Masonic lodge in Texas.
1 – A: All true. Masons dominated the space program. Masonry attracts men that don’t fear the unknown. So it makes sense astronauts blasting off into space would would be an attractive career for Masons.
And they finish with this.
Some of these strange and scandalous secrets of the Freemasons are obviously urban legends, and should be taken with a grain of salt; but others seem to contain a degree of truth.
Wait. They have called these things facts and now they’re hiding behind their disclaimer that some of these are urban legend? Excellent trickery they are showing here. Strangely, they don’t point out which of the “facts” are actually the urban legends, leaving the speculation up to someone who knows nothing about Masonry. And they really don’t reference proof or other sources for many of these facts. Essentially, they absolve themselves of guilt while allowing you to choose which is true. The anti-Masonic echo chamber consists of many anonymous or semi-anonymous blogs repeating similar themes about Masons over and over again until the uneducated reader starts to believe it is true.
And then they finish with this.
One thing’s for certain – Masonry is by no means an outdated cult. It still has many active members who seem to be working for some purpose – even if we can’t all agree on what that is.
Time to hit the dictionary again.
: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
: a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
: a small group of very devoted supporters or fans
So we don’t fit #1 as we’re not part of a religion or a religion at all. Even anti-Masons, when exposed to the definitions of what a religion is know that we do not fit that description. Also extreme or dangerous? Probably the opposite. Freemason men have done a wonderful job of fighting tyranny, helping those in need, and fostering free thought. But maybe we are dangerous. For those who seek to suppress their fellow man, men who are Freemasons have been very dangerous.
#2 This is tricky because technically I can get behind this. Masons must believe in God to join. And dollars to donuts that if you believe in God, you love God. But also some religions have a fear of God and others have an admiration for God. And Masons accept all types of men who believe in God. Its complex. By definition you could also call a religion a Cult because people admire God too much. I wouldn’t though. In my opinion God is the exception. You can never love God too much.
And #3. Very devoted supporters or fans? Of what? Masons have the full spectrum of opinion about Masonry. Some men show up to every meeting and are part of every event. They are very devoted to Masonry. Others show up once in a while. And some just cut a paycheck to the lodge to retain their Masonic affiliation and that’s it. We don’t fit that definition either.
So there you have it. Exhausting to do this but important to do none the less. One of the reasons I created this blog was to be able to answer these articles in an academic and respectable way. While I do sometimes throw the anti-masonic label around, I ALWAYS make sure to explain myself academically and with logic to why something would be such a way. And we should always approach any matter as such. No matter how much it offends you, you must work civilly and dutifully to educate the other person to why their viewpoint can be flawed.
Thank you for reading. I need a nap.