Response to Ryan’s Thoughts: RE: Charlie Hebdo Entry

Hello Readers,

So I’m breaking my blog response cherry today. This blog is finally getting big enough (or insane enough. Depends on your view) where other Masons are weighing into my blog entries.

Just yesterday, Ryan Mercer at Ryan’s Thoughts, responded to my blog entry. He had a lot of disagreements. I’m going to read his blog in real time and write my thoughts in real time. So here goes.

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I appreciate your thoughts but I disagree on some points.

“because they were exercising their free speech”

There is the right to having free speech and being able to say what you want. I’m all for that. However there is also being repeatedly disrespectful to another’s views/beliefs/religion. This is no longer free speech, this is being uncivil and absolutely disrespectful to others. While I don’t think they should have died/deserved to die, I do think they were guilty of not exercising civility. Just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.

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At first glance, there is a lot to agree with here. Civility is the hallmark of a well run and upstanding society. But approaching this Masonically, there are some other things to consider.

We as Masons are taught to square our actions. For me interpreting squaring my actions means I strive to treat everyone the same. Idealistic, I know, but I at least try to at least treat everything within a certain station of life the same.

This station right here is in regards to criticism of religion. Considering this is a western world centric blog I’ll try to focus on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Christians and sects of Christianity are often satired in the Western world. Take a look at South Park alone. Look at the various politics cartoon of Christian characters doing and saying dumb things. Here’s a few to provide context.

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I understand where many of these political cartoons come from. For the record many Christians do and say some really off the mark things. Insane things even.

The biggest issue I have is how Ryan would classify disrespect. Showing images of Islam is considered disrespectful to many Muslims. Showing Israel in a bad light is considered disrespectful to many Jews/Judaism.  Because of the fluid and diverse range of views within each group it’s impossible to exercise free speech without disrespecting someone. So for me, I take the “gloves off approach” where all forms of satire are welcome. When a NY Art Exhibit displayed a Jesus made entirely of shit (Article), my first instinct was to be offended. My second instinct was to understand that this person was exercising free speech. And the best way to “push back” was to have an open and honest dialogue about this. Or to “vote with our attendance” and just not validate things like this. I still probably would have shown up anyways to see what we really going on.

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“constantly threatened with death for doing something as simple as writing funny cartoons”

One man’s funny is quite offensive to others. You don’t attack other’s beliefs, especially religion. You respect the rights of others to believe what they want. You don’t continually mock one’s religion/God/prophet in satirical illustrations that some even offend people NOT of the religion being mocked. They weren’t being funny, they were being mocking, nay, derisive and full of hatred in their magazine.

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I disagree. You ABSOLUTELY question other people’s religious beliefs. If people are twisting their own religious doctrine to fit an agenda, I would argue with them the same way I would a scientist who tries to twist his research to fit an agenda. Question everything is my motto.

Ryan calls them an attack, and I can see why he feels that way. But again, it’s so hard to find the line between questioning vs. attacking that I err on the side of considering everything questioning. This also makes other people feel less likely that you are attacking them and helps the conversations stay civil.

Also in regard to people not finding those comics funny, there were people who absolutely found those comics to be funny. They would have been out of business if they didn’t. And again regarding it being disrespectful, see my thoughts in the previous section.

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“We as Masons are taught through our ritual and through our culture that we have a bond to the fraternity and each other”

We are also instructed that we are all on the level and that we shouldn’t judge others for their beliefs. We’ve also learned as Masons that it’s not fun to be persecuted… I mean the wiki entry Suppression of Freemasonry is a good starting point. Let me ask you this Brother, how would you feel if someone took something sacred to you, let’s say Freemasonry, and began making hate-filled ‘satirical’ cartoons about Freemasonry. You’d be mad. Now what if you were devoutly religious and someone started taking your God/prophet/important religious figure and started making cartoons about them showing them doing idiotic thing, carrying out acts of a sexual or romantic nature with a person or animal that your religion prohibits etc? You’d be mad.

Pardon my language, but what really chaps my ass, is the fact that there WERE Brothers working at this publication. We shouldn’t be making fun of the beliefs of others, whether we find it comical or not (because they probably won’t). These satirical comics that Charlie Hebdo were producing were funny to some but grossly offensive to others. That’s just unacceptable.

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We shouldn’t judge other people for their beliefs? Where in the ritual is that? Also many many MANY Masons in history have questioned various religious and political beliefs. That is one of my favorite parts of the fraternity.

If someone made comics attacking Freemasonry, I would be THRILLED to offer a rebuttal. Them getting me mad would mean my passions are not in due bounds. I would stay calm and offer reasons to why the comic or such was misguided.

Also in regard to attacking my religion, I would be mad at first but my VSL calls for me to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. So anger would be something I would try to avoid.

I’m glad brothers were working at Charlie Hebdo. Again no matter what you do you will always find a way to offend someone. I do agree that we and they shouldn’t be making fun of people for their beliefs. Yet people are sensitive and just describing someone’s religions in the wrong way could make that person think you’re making fun of them.

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“I also felt pride that my brothers were there, doing things that stood for something and shaped the world.”

I’m sorry, I don’t take pride in bullying and bigotry. They weren’t making cartoons saying why they preferred their belief over the belief of their target, they were showing extreme prejudice and bigotry for a specific group of people that make up a significant portion of the world’s population.

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Bullying? Charlie Hebdo was a publication with 45,000 papers circulated per issue. A minor player on the grand scheme of things and treated as such by French society. Not quite the school yard bully who runs the show by intimidating the smaller kids around him. More like a fly in the ointment.

Also the criticism that they weren’t saying their preferred belief over the belief of the target shows a misunderstanding of the nature of political cartoons. They target a problem and show it in a humorous or thoughtful light. Asking them to clarify complex issues is like complaining that a poem doesn’t show real character development. It’s not their purpose to do what you’re criticizing them for.

Also the significant portion of the world population is immaterial to me. Wealthy people are a fraction of the population. Atheists are a moderately sized part of the population in Europe. Jews are a fraction of the population. Christians are a massive population. Muslims have a massive population. People who believe that Global Climate Change is real are a signification portion of the population. People who believe Evolution is real or not real both significant or small portions of the population depending on where you are. Etc. Population size is immaterial to me.

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“but Michel and Bernard were the ones who actually were going out and doing something. They were the ones with the guts. The ones without fear.”

They were the ones showing cowardice, afraid of the beliefs of others and lashing out against those beliefs with disrespectful illustrations that they claimed to be tasteful satire. Disgusting.

I’m truly sorry that these individuals were killed but let us take some good from this tragedy. Let us see it as a reminder to be more civil and tolerant of the beliefs of others, to be more respectful of the beliefs of others. There is absolutely no reason, in a civil society, that those comics should have been created and published.

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Afraid of the beliefs of others? Citation needed on this one.

Lashing out? Showing St. Peter having sex with a deity isn’t lashing out to me. It’s just shock value satire. By that logic, Howard Stern is lashing out all the time. However I could be convinced people like him a problem. That’s a worthy discussion.

Where did Charlie Hebdo claim it was tasteful satire? IMO, There is no way they believed that. Some of them may have believed that but any reasonable people would have seen all the other media publications out there and would have known where Hebdo stood among them.

As for your last paragraph, I covered that in my previous sections. And to finish off, I appreciate Ryan for putting all his thoughts together and carefully spelling it out. And I also really appreciate him for being civil while doing it.

To wrap up my rebuttal, the idea of question and attacking anything is one of the greatest things to come out of modern society. Many Masons lost their lives question and attacking the power structures of monarchal Europe and we should all admire them for their work. And we should continue to admire those people that exercise that very free speech in the face of danger. Words can’t hurt us unless we allow them to hurt us. We can only use our words to answer the satire that we disagree with. There is no need to get mad. We should always strive to be civil and there are always better way then how Charlie Hebdo did it. But they are not cowardly. They are not lashing out. And they were certainly never afraid of the beliefs of others. They did what they always did. They went after everyone. It’s the ones that killed them or tried to censor them are the ones we need to be disgusted by.

Livingstone

The Brave New World of Masonry: The Internet Part 2

internet-100016261-large Hello readers,

Livingstone here. As covered in my last blog entry, I described how Masonry is starting to shift into the internet age and I introduced what that could mean.

Now, it’s time to dive into the moral, philosophical, NSA, Social Network, and transparency aspect of this. Buckle up kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Internet Masonry is going to force dramatic changes on the Fraternity. The Masonry of the 1950s-1990s was a form of Masonry that valued the secrecy of the Fraternity almost too much. There are countless stories of Masons who badly wanted to have friends or family members join. But they were restricted from inviting someone based on our rejections of membership solicitation. Except they took this rejection two steps to far and many times didn’t even mention they were even part of the Order to those people. It’s one thing to not want to violate someone’s free will by not asking them. It’s entirely another for someone to not even know that it’s even possible for them to become a Mason. There has been so much misplaced orthodoxy to this that it has seriously hurt the Fraternity. Also considering how much the secrets of Masonry are up for debate, the vast majority of those brothers went to the extreme in trying not to violate their obligation. In a Fraternity that espouses the importance of education and knowledge, many Masons weren’t even telling people anything about Masonry. They acted like it didn’t even exist. Madness!

Yet the internet essentially blows that up. Take a look at the Freemasonry Wikipedia entry. There it is folks. Everything you need to know to get a primer on what Masonry is about, and that still is only scratching the surface. Which is pretty incredible in our digital age. Both that we now can get information on what “is” Masonry…and also how there is so much missing in that Wikipedia entry. But the debate on what is secret or not is now starting to be decided by the internet.

Alright boys and girls, I’m putting in my disclaimer that it’s Livingstone Speculation Time and I only speak for myself (and maybe potentially a new generation of  Masons). Many of our old ways are soon going to go. Firstly, our vow to not violate the secrets of Masonry can now be seriously geared back because of the internet. If something isn’t a secret anymore…then you can talk about it! With that said you do have to be specific about what you say. Wikipedia articles and lodge websites are a great guideline for what is secret. Obviously Masons should consult with their lodge and jurisdictional rules, but if it’s there…talk away! Also since we can see the past papers of Masonic writers with the click of a button then we can assume what they’ve talked about isn’t secret. So cut the crap. If what you’re talking about is reasonably easy to find and doesn’t violate your vow, have at it. Our order is all about bringing light to people and fighting ignorance. Embrace Masonry for what it stands for and enlighten people. The internet has now made it clear for how we will approach this.

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This all means that Masonry is ripe for another expansion and also another major internal question. We live in a society that doesn’t just value information…it can’t stop consuming it! Yet the overconsumption of information is a real problem. Also the context for what that information means, and who is interpreting it, can mean all the difference. I mentioned in the last entry that the free flow of information will be great for the fraternity. But how you process information is hugely important. There are a number of people who are in full backlash mode for websites like Upworthy, TheChive,  The Huffington Post (sorry, it’s true) and Drudge Report (sorry, also true) for their hyperbolic presentation of information. While forums like /r/Freemasonry have become a boon for the Masonic community, the real meat of Masonry is the secretive discussion. We Masons are made very aware of how words can be interpreted, but the human element attached to those words is FAR more important then just the words. An idea written online by someone can be interpreted much differently if that person tells you the very same thing in person. Body language, passion, and how they are taking the argument can speak volumes. And while we have such great access to all this information, we still must discuss in person. It’s one thing to quickly pass around things online, but I argue that it can create a regressive form of communication. While we can be far more exact, there’s a barrier between people that is very real. Look at the comments sections of most article. It’s a hellfire of ravenous opinions. And the majority of them don’t even bother to work with facts or discuss things in a scholarly way. It’s us vs. them. And that does disturb me. The internet and our exchange of information is seductive in it’s ease and exactness, but it loses the human element. And without the human element information will never be complete. We Masons know from our rituals how important our physical presence is to the ritual and it’s imparting of knowledge and Masonic light. The same applies to life.

I haven’t personally felt this type of coldness from brothers online that I do from non-brothers. This has been an interesting phenomenon and it says a great deal about the character of men who have joined the fraternity…and how Masonry has influenced these men. And also how our less than great members haven’t figured out the internet. But our worldwide Masonic bonds, the moral importance and our shared appreciation of light have made our exchanges better then what usually goes on around the web. And this isn’t confirmation bias. I’ve been around and it’s true. Masons don’t let the “keyboard barrier” between them turn them into assholes. Which inadvertently shows the importance of people feeling bonded together as a community for civil discourse in the digital age. I know better transparency is also helping this, but instead it’s using social pressure to suppress the problem instead of people actually fixing the problem inside themselves.

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Now our vow to keep our secrets of Masonry is sacred to us. I have found a few times where I have feel that I have been on the wrong side of the obligation. I haven’t violated any secret per se, I do feel like a bad person. While I have said how we’re moving in a progressive direction for Masonic understanding, I also think we’re breaking the spirit of our Masonic promise to secrecy. Again, when it comes to the transparency, the free exchange of knowledge and ideas of the internet…it can be seductive to want to join in as a Mason. I would also say the zeitgeist of the gay rights movement has secretly been a driving force for Masonry’s more liberal turn to showing itself. To watch the Gay Rights Movement is to watch a group of people who have been living in secret, oppressed and victimized all over the world, and yet cheered on by huge sections of society for their success and for revealing themselves. It’s rubbing off on us. Many of us Masons are sick of conspiracy. Sick of living in the dark. Sick of having to conceal our identity. We want what gay women and woman are starting to have…a chance to be ourselves and proud of who we are within society.

Social networking has really driven this as well. We used to live in a world where we wouldn’t know is someone was gay, Jewish, atheist, or whatever. This even applies to more well know groups of people like Christians and such. But if you were from a small group of people most people wouldn’t know who you are unless you specifically told them. But now, you can slap the details of your identity onto your Facebook profile and BOOM, the world knows who you are. And since we can see the status updates of each other even when we aren’t around we can usually figure out who someone really is pretty quickly. But more importantly it’s people now being able to freely decide who their identity is…and then letting the world know. When it comes to identity almost all of human history was about people being given their identity with little choice on their part about it. And if there was an identity that wasn’t accepted by mainstream society you lived in the shadows. Now due to the civil rights movement, gay rights and others, people have come to understand that if someone has an identity that isn’t normal…it’s not a bad thing. For Masons the time is ripe to start to be ourselves, so to speak.

But as things go in Masonry, things don’t always go with the tide. And I would say that most of the time they go against it.

The Masonic transparency camp is one side of the coin…the other side is the Traditional Observance lodge movement. I’m not going to go into specifics but the TO Masons are the fastest growing group of Masons and they are secretive as hell. They have an internet presence for a lodge website, but that is it. They are huge into knowledge and education…but only inside the lodge walls. They are very strict about not violating their Masonic secrets and they are very hard about not revealing their Masonic identity. Now the majority of Masons are secretive about their identity so this isn’t anything special and seems more par for the course. But their rapid expansion is sending a psychological message to the rest of Masonry in this regard. And that is “It’s ok to not feel like you have to tell the world about who you are.”

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I can’t always speak about why countless Masons have been secretive about who they are, but I can say that the Masons I have met and the Masons I have read about rarely struggled openly about their Masonic identity. For them, they were Masons and that was between their brothers, God, and themselves. No need to go around telling other people. No need to feel justified in being a Mason by having society accept you. It is ok to be who you are if you know what you are doing is right. Nothing more.

This line of thinking is starting to become controversial today. But it’s a rarely used one and one that I will guarantee will become part of our national psychology at some point.

The secretive nature of TO lodges and most Masons has also taken an interesting twist with the NSA and our growing understanding of their mass surveillance. As the split in Masonry starts to form between the Transparency Masons and the Secretive Masons, how we approach our relationship to the Masonic secrets needs to be addressed. Our phones and our computers are not secure. The exchange of Masonic secrets is being compromised every time we use one of these devices. Yet there are Masons out there who just shrug their shoulders and say the NSA probably already has the secrets so why bother. I’m going to come across as a bit of a hypocrite here and I’m going to say that just because something wrong is happening, doesn’t mean we should keep doing it. Now I’m being specific when I say that the things that are being put on websites that I don’t consider secrets aren’t secrets anymore because I trust the judgement of the Masons that put them there. I’m still on the reserved side but I trust the institutions that work in Masonry to know what they’re doing. The things we say to other Masons that are not widely known are still considered secrets and we should absolutely refrain from trusting ANY form of communication that isn’t person to person. Our ritual insinuates the importance of this if you’ve paid attention. Get off the phones brothers. Don’t touch your computer. Your Internet Lodge is a trap and if you really respect your obligation, don’t break it.

However again, the internet is going to force Masons to decide what the secrets of Masonry really mean. Are they a bond that brings us together in a special shared experience, to serve as an allegory for how knowledge is to be shared and understood? Or is what is happening now the logical and natural progression of Masonry from a rebellious secretive order to becoming the light that fights injustice around the world and seeks to improve all people. For that question, I’ll let you decide.

Livingstone

 

Is Barack Obama a Freemason


Hello Readers,

Livingstone here. Since I posted the Nelson Mandela article about his Masonic history and how it worked into his fight against apartheid, the views of this blog have gone through the roof. I am honored that my blog has gotten so much attention and that people are re-posting it to other places. Considering the interest in Masonic leaders, I figured I would have the next blog be focused on the biggest leader in the world, Barack Obama.

First things first. There is a conclusion to this that will surprise you near the end of this blog entry. But I am putting it down there and not up here because you must work yourself into it. Telling someone something out of context can be damaging to their understanding and context is key. So here goes.

In the 21st century, anytime someone is newly christened a leader of a nation or organization, you will soon find YouTube videos and conspiracy blogs accusing this person of being a Freemason. And sometimes it isn’t enough to be just a Mason, but a 33 Scottish Rite Mason. As if it takes being a 33 Mason to satisfy some requirement that they are without a doubt playing Satanic puppet master over the citizens of the world. And for Obama, his journey has been no different.

Is Barack Obama a Freemason

As you can see from the above link, the question is being asked early and often. And I will go step by step and assess each claim and counter claim, along with my own personal knowledge, to show you the answer.

Section A:

We can see Barack is being presented in many photos making Masonic handshakes, wearing rings, or having some secret element prove that he’s a Mason. Let’s go into a couple of these.

You will find this photo, or some variation of it all over the internet. Newsweek ran a story back in 2008 about Obama during the election cycle when Obama was running for president. And what sparked the storm of controversy was a photo showing a pair of hands with a similar skin tone to Obama, holding up the seal of the president of the United States. And indeed, that is a Masonic ring on that finger.

As far as we know, those hands don’t belong to Obama. It’s common for the media to set up certain things for a photo to connect to an article of some sort. Barack holding up a seal of the president of the United States makes for a great shot. An even better shot would have been him in it. But no, we don’t see his face. It’s generally likely these hands were staged, probably another reporter or a friend holding up the seal, and the photo of the person’s hand were taken. To further prove it, where is Obama’s wedding ring? I don’t know about you, but Michelle Obama would have the “other” ring missing.

What is curious, and we do have to give some credit to the conspiratorial here, is this person was wearing a Masonic ring. Here the conspiratorials actually have a point about something peculiar. Why would these journalists have the stand in wear the ring? Why would they have this shown prominently? What value or loss of value would this have for Obama or Newsweek?

From a conspiratorial perspective, Obama wearing a Masonic ring is a nice way to let other powerful Masons know that Obama is one of them. As such, they will use their financial and media power to influence Obama winning the election. And in some ways, that really isn’t an out of this world idea. Politicians are trying to tell people they are “one of them” all the time. The code words they use, the phrasing, etc all point to subtly saying small things that mean big things to certain people to get votes and support. But again, these weren’t the hands of Obama. This was some stand in. So what would Newsweek’s angle be? Maybe Newsweek knows something we don’t, and having a stand in do this gives Obama some plausible deniability.

So I did some searching around to get to the answer of this. Here is what Google provided.

Interestingly enough, not a single mainstream news source had an answer to this. All that existed were articles Infowars, Godlikeproductions, and Freemasonrywatch. Not one of them credible because of a lack of accuracy. The one credible one, The Grand Lodge of British Columbia website, said that Obama is not a Mason. Yet they had no answer for the Newsweek article of why this person had a Masonic ring. What I can say, is that while they think Obama is not a Mason because no lodge has announced it as such, they do forget that as Masons, we keep secrets and don’t “out” our brothers unless they choose to reveal themselves.

So our reasonings for Newsweek has done this are as follows. 1. Obama is indeed a Freemason, and they are subtly letting the world know. 2. They let some stand in wear his ring and didn’t know it was Masonic. Or 3. They intentionally did this to generate a story, get extra site hits, get people riled up and generate controversy.

If you ask me, “2” is bunk because these photographers know very well what is going on and they proof every photo that goes into their magazine by editors and such. “3” actually has more credence than people are giving because in the world of the American news media, site hits are the only reality they care about. But Newsweek is generally pretty credible, by American standards anyways. So more questions arise…

Section B:

You will find often on many Masonic watch sites a plethora of photos showing some handshake that doesn’t look normal showing that this person must be a Freemason. Because of my obligation I can’t comment on our modes of recognition because even acknowledging they exist can be construed as violating our obligation. But these people and their obsession with the “secret in the open” of a handshake have an interesting position  which warrants an entire article in itself. However we’ll focus on this photo and let’s look at this pragmatically.

Here is the video of the picture in question. Barack Obama is a Freemason Video. When Obama went to shake the hand of Bob Schieffer, he came in, shook his hand, and then went to McCain to shake his hand. The video uploader points out how Obama’s handshake was different then the one given to McCain. But here’s the question I ask…if this is true, why didn’t Obama give the handshake to McCain? Isn’t the system rigged for a false “two choices”? Also, do you think Obama and Schieffer just met on camera, that they didn’t meet before? Of course they met before, moderators are talking to people and getting people prepped all the time. You don’t think the Masonic handshake could have been exchanged then? Obviously, this is all dependent on whether the handshake was even Masonic or not. But let’s just say this YouTuber is taking you guys for a ride. Sure you could argue the handshake was done so Masons at home could confirm Obama was a Freemason. But considering how fast it happened, many of them would miss it. The uploader even had to rewind back to it and slow it down to show you. To further hit the point home, there is no Masonic network or super site for us all to talk to each other. Hence the forms of recognition. So Obama is not doing a good job showing the world he’s a Mason if you are to believe the handshake is true.

Of course the conspiracy crowd won’t have any of this, because I’m a Mason and must be lying. So let’s move forward to see what else we got.

Section C:

British Columbia Grand Lodge says Obama is not a Freemason

The BCGL website is an extremely reputable website when it comes to figuring out if someone is a Mason or not. But as we can see here, they don’t even have Nelson Mandela listed, perhaps the most famous human rights, revolutionary activist, and statesmen in the modern era. So they only go so far. As much as their article brings up some good points, again, if Obama became a Mason and wanted to make sure his lodge kept it a secret they probably would. Now of course people talk. And word might get out. But considering how society negatively views people with conspiracy theories most individuals would be deterred from spreading word that Obama is a Mason without hard evidence. Can you imagine the conversation?

“So this Obama guy is doing really well. To well”

“I got the answer for ya. He’s a Freemason. I know someone at his lodge who told me that over drinks the other night”

“Er, ok. Who was the guy?”

“:Mention friend’s name:”

So you have that. Now imagine how this new person will deal with this information. Are they going to go around telling people a friend of a friend says Obama is a Freemason? They don’t have any hard evidence. Only a friend of a friend. Also, people really don’t bring up Freemasonry in conversations because they A: Don’t even know what it is, and B: Because it sounds like you spend too much time on conspiracy websites. And even if people do talk and spread the word this becomes a game of phone tag and the tales get larger and wilder. Also mainstream websites don’t want to look like they have lost their minds by reporting rumor. So that’s an argument for why word wouldn’t spread about Obama. And for the record Obama has never been asked if he was a Freemason.

Section D:

Our next stop is Yahoo Answers. Yahoo Answers, which seems like a great idea in theory, is brought down by people with animated cartoon characters for avatars answering serious questions on a website that looks like it would fit better in the year 1997. Also it’s packed with terrible misinformation.

Yahoo 1: Is Barack Obama a Freemason

Here is the response to the question which also asks if he is being controlled by us which tips you off to the direction this whole thing will go. The answer is almost entirely bullshit but it’s a work in mad creativity so I enjoyed that. What is sad though is it’s been voted the top answer. There aren’t any solid links and even the question itself is largely ignored by the tangental answer.

Yahoo 2: Is Obama a Freemason or some Devil Worshiper

Quick tangent. You would think it would get to me seeing all these insane posts accusing us Freemasons of horrifying evil acts and behavior. Well you’re right. It does get old. Imagine if I were Gay or Jewish going through things like this. It would be supremely painful to say the least. But for some reason, Masons have taken a different approach to stuff like this and sometimes you just have to look at it like an academic.

So here is the response to the Yahoo Answers Masonic devil worshiper question.

Barak Obama is neither a mason nor a muslim, nor a devil worshipper. As usual the republicans pedal their fear to the ignorant and easily fooled. It’s all about him being a black man in a position of power, which is every republican’s nightmare. Everyone forgets he was the member of a church prior to running for president, and they forget how the preacher of that church was famous for anti-government rhetoric. They tend to ignore facts that disprove all their bull, like the fact that his US birth certificate was produced, and the facts concerning the church he attended and the fact that he DID NOT write the health care plans the republicans have called ‘Obama-care’, which basically would bring the drug companies down off their 200% profit pedestals, thereby reducing medical insurance costs. They call it welfare, and they hate welfare – unless of course it’s corporate welfare – which helps companies move all the jobs overseas so more people can’t afford medical care.
Yeah, you guys are all about results aren’t you?
You’re just not about truth or facts.

Added fact: masons started as STONE MASONS, not blacksmiths.

This is generally true, pardon the misspellings, lack of paragraphs, and manic anti-republican tangents. The amount of level headed responses to anti-masonry are few and far between but we’ll take things like this. Anything really.

Generally the rest of the Yahoo responses say as such, saying that Obama is not a Mason. The rest of Google’s responses have the same usual conspiratorial stuff I have mentioned and not much more. So what I’ll do, is talk about famous black leaders and Masonry.

Section E:

Famous Black Freemasons

As you can see, it’s a who’s who list of people who fought for progress in the civil right movement and then attained status within the US Government. Here are a few key members.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Charles Rangel, Carl Stokes, Booker T Washington, W.E.B DuBois, Kweisi Mfume. Also there are many mayors and statesmen not on that list. For example the last 4 mayors of Philadelphia were Masons but they aren’t listed.

So what am I getting at from all of this? What I am saying is that Black Freemasons have dominated civic life and have lead the charge of breaking through the racal barriers in America. Obama, being an educated man who spent a lot of time in the Chicago community, must have been exposed to Masonry at one point or another. Especially the Prince Hall Lodges which are very energized and active. At some point, Obama had to have wondered about becoming a Mason and what that meant. He wasn’t someone who worried about public perception, as we can remember his pastor, Reverend Wright. So Obama worrying about turning off people by becoming a Mason seems unfounded.

However Obama’s religious nature could have had an effect on him. But there is also a polarization on this. Most can agree that Obama is largely a secular man in his attitudes, things he does and his general conversation with people. Yet as a community organizer it was a church organization that he ran. And he did attend his church in Chicago for over a decade. And Wright was the person who would give invocations for him and was the man who baptized Obama’s two children. Sounds like a very Christian man to me. Of course you could say he was thinking about politics then, but we’re not sure and history shows that generally people reveal their true colors over a long period of time. If he was thinking politics, it wouldn’t have matched what he was actually doing and mistakes would have been made to reveal himself as such.

To say Obama’s religious views are complex largely true. I can see why people aren’t quite sure what to make of the man. His history was many different experiences and there is a nuance to how he carries himself now.

Obama did have a sense of gathering community and bringing people together. Also he story shows that he did have the urge and desire to chase after high level political positions. He must have been very aware that Masonry is conducive to helping men of color attain positions of power and influence due to the connections, shared experience, and trust that comes with it. It would have been ignorant for him to have not entertained the idea or at least talked to people about it.

Conclusion:

I have gone through enough articles and stories about whether Obama was a Mason or not. There have been many reasons given to why he’s a Mason or why he isn’t. As you can see, the Newsweek article causes the most questions to swirl but other then that, we have nothing to prove that he is a Mason. Yet I want to be clear when I say this, we have nothing to disprove that he isn’t a Mason either. No one has ever asked if he is a Freemason. If he was a Freemason there are good reasons why he didn’t reveal it. How can we say that someone is not a Freemason in a United States that is filled with conspiracy theorists. Just look at this article by Boing Boing. Half the country thinks JFK was killed by some conspiracy, 37% think global warming is a hoax, 28% thinks there is a New World Order, and 15 million Americans alone think reptiles run the government. I don’t know about you but telling people you’re a Freemason in this political climate, considering the success of it’s members and it’s secrecy, would be insane.

The conclusion. We don’t know. And the only one who should tell us is Barack Obama.

Therapy, Masonry, Entry 1

Hello Readers,

So I was sitting on the therapists’s chair not too long ago when the topic of Masonry came up. You never know how these therapy visits will turn out, I guess this day was my special day. Specifically, it was me admitting to being a Freemason. I have some people and groups in my life that are not fond of Masonry, and I keep my identity a secret primarily because of these people. I love being a Mason, don’t get me wrong. But keeping my identity a secret sometimes causes distress for me. Not all the time though. But enough where I figured I should mention it to my therapist.

Quick tangent. I’m seeing a therapist for a variety of reasons. The best explanation I can give is that us Masons are always looking to perfect our rough ashlar (our mind) and therapy is a perfectly acceptable and intelligent way of doing this. Self-Improvement can’t come through Masonry alone. And a lot of major executives have gone through therapy at one point or another. Read “Never Eat Alone”, it’s in there. I swear! Also I believe it. Being an executive is a cut throat job where you have to live a crazy life. Besides I work in the film industry. Seeing a therapist all makes sense to me.

So today I was in the session when I profaned (outed) myself as a Mason to my therapist. I had been stalling for a while on telling him I was a Mason. I was afraid to let him know about this right away. I wanted him to know I was a real person before I took the risk of letting him know about me being a Mason. But I can tell you that when you become a Mason, you ARE a Mason. It’s who you are. You can’t ever fully escape it an separate it from yourself. It’s like being Irish, or American or a Christian. It’s who you are. To expect a therapist to be able to fully fix my problems without me giving him the full picture would be a waste of our time and my money. So I said fuck it, I might as well do it now.

Therapists are experts at hiding their body language. Masons are also experts at hiding body language, or better then average anyways. Reason being is that when we see people saying nutty things about Freemasons, we have to make sure they don’t know we’re part of the craft as well. And trust me, it can be a real test. So when I told my therapist I was a Mason, I was immediately  analyzing his reaction. I’m getting pretty good at knowing when people are hiding their thoughts. But he was an expert. he sat there, quietly. Taking it all in. I couldn’t read much out of him.

I got into the details about why I was a Mason and I explained the distress I was sometimes having dealing with this double life. I explained how constricted I felt having one aspect of my life was seen in a very negative way by a lot of people. And their negativity to Masonry didn’t make any logical sense and many of their reasons where based on fiction or even tradition. But as I was delving into this new aspect of my life with my psychologist, something happened. I stopped.

Masons swear an obligation to not reveal the secrets and mysteries of Masonry, to NO ONE. Not even my psychologist. Moments ago, I was dribbling out how I was a Mason and attending lodge, and then in an instant I was silent. I hadn’t revealed anything, but I realized I was on the path to revealing mysteries of the craft. My psychologist asked me what Masonry was like. I told him that my brothers were great (true), I loved my lodge (true), and I enjoyed the Masonic lifestyle (mostly true). He could tell I was holding back. I realized that he would never know certain life experiences of mine. And he knew that but wasn’t saying anything. We both were holding back. Welcome to Masonry in the 21st century.

I proceeded to tell him reasons why I joined. That was safe at least. Some of my reasons were mundane and obvious, some controversial and complicated. I poured out my thoughts, fears, and emotions to him. I put myself out there, like I had never done before. The secrecy of the therapist room was the only way I could do this. I felt protected here.

As a note, I get the irony of all of this. The double irony I mean. I’m a Freemason who has a secret life that prevents me from telling my therapist about my secret life. But you could say I have a secret life in my therapists office and I have an “obligation” of keeping what I say in there, in there. And that is one of the few places what I am supposed to not be secretive and and to be uncensored. Yet here I am, secretly posting about my therapy visit online for the world to see. So there’s that.

After I told him about my Masonic life, he regaled to me how he had a friend a long while back who became a Mason. He knew what the experience was like. I warmed up. He would understand me. I discussed identity issues, and touched on how many Masons become successful. For me, the things taught in Masonry, the focus on self-improvement, the focus on charity, and the out of the box thinking of Masonry helps to create great thinkers and artists. There is a reason so many great writers and artists are Masons. That is what I thought anyways. Then he gave his response.

He said a reason why Masons are so successful was because you tend to meet many powerful people there. He didn’t mention any other reasons. I bristled. Interesting response. I countered.

I explained how Masonry’s system and identity can help people think differently and be seen differently. He then responded how the powerful people in Masonry can help other people see your work and get it exposed. Fuck. He wasn’t moving off this powerful connections thing. Yes, there are powerful people in Masonry, but it’s also overblown. If you read the book “10,000 Famous Freemasons” you be blown away at the people listed. A real whose who of people in power. But listen…that’s only 10,000 Masons…out of the 10 million F&A Masons that have walked this earth. Trust me, we do well. Very well sometimes. But powerful people…that’s not the average.

So I sat there, looking at my therapist. But I had the answers, I knew how to respond. Then I had a Costanza moment. My therapist told me we had run out of time. I looked at the clock, he was right. DAMN! I mumbled some things about how things aren’t always what they seem. He got up and started to prep for me to leave. I got up, nodded goodbye and I left.

I stumbled home, wondering if I could see this guy again. I wondered if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain and Voltaire ever dealt with something like this. Did they just leave those people? Did they try and educate them about how it’s not some group of powerful power brokers? I remember a brother telling me had was dating this girl, had her back at his place, and she walked out immediately when she found out he was a Mason. He said it was probably never going to work anyways and he moved on. Really!? That’s how to deal with it? What if it’s someone you really like? Someone who has all these great qualities…except for one quality… Is this my new normal?

In some ways though, while seeing how they approached it could be helpful, my experience was going to be unique to me no matter how I sliced it. I guess you could say having people say wild and ignorant things about the Masonic experience is as old as time. In my mind, you can’t scurry away from it every time and hide somewhere. Besides, I liked my therapist. Alright I’ll stay. And I’ll educate him about Masonry as he educates me about my Mother/Dad/Whatever issues I may have.

Livingstone

Becoming the High Church

Hello Readers,

Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.

So I was doing my daily Masonic reading when I read a post today by the distinguished Nick Johnson over at his blog titled The Millennial Mason. Nick is one of the leaders in the online Masonic community and someone who always thinks and works respectably.

He had an interesting post yesterday about Masonry and its “High Church. Here’s the blog entry.

High Church – Low Church and the Masonic Meeting

Here are some choice quotes.

As I have been exposed to different worship services and styles, I have found myself gravitating to what might be described as “high church” or “broad church.” (In this case, I’m not describing doctrinal high church, rather formalism in the church service.) Sometimes, this is pejoratively styled, “smells and bells.” And apparently, I’m not alone.

I view Masonry through the lens of tradition. I think, in the Fraternity’s transformation from the pre-World War II era to the post-World War II era, something was lost. The Fraternity ebbs and flows often. You know, maybe that’s not the right phrase. The Fraternity is a double edged sword; on one side, it’s a search for philosophy, for meaning, in other words, an introspective journey, and on the other side, it’s a search for fraternal love, belonging, in other words, a community building organization. Frankly, we’ve been cutting with the fraternal side so much, it’s becoming dull and blunt.

My optimal Masonry is focused almost solely on education, ritual, and tradition. In my mind, I see real candles for the lesser lights, formal dress (not tuxedos because they have been done to death), classical music or even better, organ music, incense, and deliberate take on the ritual. It’s not that I want to make Masonry into a church. Masonry is not a religion. Instead, I want more focus. I don’t want business meetings that drag on, I don’t want brothers to look forward to the outer lodge because the lodge experience itself sucks.

It’s a premise I could not agree with more. Masonry has always existed as this nebulous force that ebbs and flows. Right now the flow to Masonry these days is pancake breakfasts and quick meetings and because of that, the fraternity got it’s legs taken out from under it. The numbers don’t lie, Masons are vanishing. For most other organizations, this would be a call for alarm. A frantic question of what are we going to do as panicked decisions are made. But Masonry has been “killed off” a number of times before throughout history and always seems to come right back and become an influencing factor.

I don’t blame the fraternalism. Heck, I have had some newly raised brother who are EXTREMELY dedicated to brotherhood. That’s something that is a major part of Masonry. But what has become of Masonry is very ironic. In a ritualized society, just showing up has become a ritual routine itself. Sure it’s great to show up but Masons have forgotten why they’re showing up!

Right now, there is a push by younger brothers to have the lodge experience become more esoteric, spiritual, thought-provoking, educational, and ritualistic. This harkens back to how Masonry was during the 1750s, a few decades after it emerged out of the shadows and during the heart of the enlightenment. Back then, secret societies, radical thought, mind-expanding education and disciplined ritual were all the rage among the power elites. Masonry exploded in popularity as it was also a way to get people of radically different backgrounds and world views to come together in a communal experience. Many people in power and not in power did want to be in community and not always fighting each other. Masonry became a place for people with opposing world views to come together in harmony.

And I would argue it’s not just bringing people together of different world views, but giving all those people a different world view through Masonry. We need to give people that experience that lets them see the world in a different way. Masonry is so much about standing apart from society to see things differently and this is an amplification of that. The ritualized elements that Nick is speaking about also serve as a way to give the Mason a new and different experience then what they are used to in the outside world. And to also serve as a way to bring focus and lucidity to the mind.

We’re a culture of binge information consumption. We read many articles each day, scan tweets, analysis Facebook posts and so forth. But how much of that do we really remember? We remember parts of it probably. And learning something, and only remembering a part of it is not how Masons work. An idea is like a building. You must have every brick in place for the building to take form. The idea is the same way. If you know of part of the building and only have a muddied view of the rest, the idea won’t stand. You cannot lay the foundation of your knowledge on binge information consumption. You must plant the idea like a seed and continuously water it.

Rituals can be very powerful at causing information to be imprinted. As Masons, we learn very quickly that these rituals are fantastic at causing certain moral and scientific ideas to be “lodged” in your brain. Pun intended. Because that powerful experience as part of the information absorption causes your mind to clear out everything else and focus with intensity on what you are learning.

Now you ask, what would I have in mind for this “High Church”. I know speaking to Nick on Reddit, has is planning to write a piece on what the High Church of Masonry would look like. I’ll attempt to do the same here but make sure to read Nick’s post too because of his wealth of knowledge.

1. Wearing suits to lodge. What you wear is an element of your character and wearing clothing of status and regal background adds to the lodge experience. I’m not sure about wearing tails, tuxes or gloves the way Traditional Observance Lodges do it but I can be open minded.

2. Education. There must always be an educational presentation related to Masonry at each stated meeting. Something to expand our mind and elaborate on the things we learn through the ritual.

3. Leave cellphones outside. For some of you, this might be life or death so I am willing to make an exception there. But during meetings, there should not be any cellphone checking. Also because I strongly respect my obligation to secrecy, cellphones are a great way to record things and no recording device should be allowed in lodge. The cellphones should be put in a basket at the door before entering.

4. Light and dark. Light changes should be a more integral part of the stated meeting. The opening should have more pomp. More light change to symbolize the change from a mere room into a lodge of Masons. This may see hard to understand at first but here’s an example of how light can be used to add focus. Example

5. Incense, dust and bells. Look at how this church handles their service. The sound of the bell to denote change. The dust in the air to modify the feeling on our skin. The incense flowing through us to alter our sense of smell. This isn’t just some arbitrary element. These are environment modification elements designed to change how the mind reacts to the world around it. If the brain senses the environment has changed into a way it isn’t used to, the primal alert devices kick in and you REALLY start paying attention. It’s true. Your most vivid memories are when you experience something new and for the first time. This will really get people to pay attention. And once it becomes a theme, it will create a Pavlov’s Dog situation. The environment changers would alert the mind that education, solemn behavior and due form are now what is occurring.

6. Strong ritual work. This is usually something you always hear but it’s part of the equation. If you nail your lines and floor work, the experience becomes far more vivid for those involved. And that discipline you learn from working hard on getting your lines right and your ritual regimented is something that absolutely changes your habits. You become more disciplined and focused on all your endeavors.

So consider the “High Church” of Masonry for your lodge. It is something that many men are attracted to and it can help create a lodge environment more conducive to Enlightenment Masonry.

Livingstone

Debunking: “Top 10 Scandalous Freemason Secrets”

Hello Readers,

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.

From Wikipedia

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.

Abtrusive

  1. (obsoleteConcealed or hidden out of the way; secret.
  2. Difficult to comprehend or understandreconditeobscureesoteric.

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

Gavel
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.

Freemasons no Longer have to declare Masonic connection

“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

Pope Blair Mason Handshake1
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

Masonic French
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

759933-Noose Lg 716525 Large
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

Flat,550X550,075,F
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

Russell-2
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

Handshake
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

Dollar Ase
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 2194965B
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

Buzz Aldrin 01
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.

Cult –

: 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.

Livingstone

Masonology is BACK

Hello readers,

Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.

So I vanished last week. Yes, a Freemason descending into the depths of darkness and secrecy is something that probably seems predictable. You must think I went off on some clandestine adventure. To implement some sort of plot to cause a major shift in a major world policy measure.

Obama Hints He May Abandon Syria Strike

What? Obama went from being all gung-ho and ready to bomb Syria to now seeking congressional approval and even, gasp, calling the whole thing off? The same week I vanished off to parts unknown?

Probably just a coincidence. Nothing to see here. Move along.

So in my week away I was handling many things and one of those things was thinking about Masonry. For the profane (non-masons), there must be some curiosity to how much Freemasons think about Masonry. My answer? Too much. But when you have a system that forces the mind to be in a constant state of learning and processing because of it’s complex and interpretive nature, it tends to occupy your conscious a lot.

I will be frank with you. I am not a booster of Masonry. Not at all. Masonry attracts the type of men who are free thinkers and don’t always wish to be a part of the crowd. That makes sense, right? Considering the loaded history of Freemasonry being ostracized and pushed away from not just the mainstream but every stream, it only makes sense it would attract men who had a little bit of the outsider mentality. So when you have a society of Men who are used to thinking for themselves, you’ll find that many of those brothers are just as critical of Masonry. Sure, Masonry is great. It’s mind opening, reflective, challenges your long held views, gives you brotherhood, sense of purpose, etc etc. I could go on for a while with the pros but Masonry has its cons.

There are legitimate criticisms of Freemasonry. The system is very well designed to shield itself from most of those critics, but they do happen. Now when I say the system is very well designed, no one really knows who designed it. So Mote it Be on that. But Masonry seems to have figured out how the system works and has positioned itself to stay out of the hot light of humankind’s judgement.

In a society that heralds transparency, Freemasonry seems like this uncomfortable and bizarre relic from long ago. If you have a secret, then you have something to hide. And something to hide is something that doesn’t mesh with the popular way of thinking or system. That upsets people. Secrecy means that your carefully laid plans in this current system could be threatened by an unknown force that could topple it. Secrecy means you will have to confront something not by your plans. People hate secrecy for those reasons. I guess you can’t blame them. If you saw a group of people traveling around and shielding what it is from your view, you would have some natural mistrust. People are pretty smart in today’s day and age. They have seen just about everything. WHy hide anything from anyone? We get that. Transparency is good…but not always. But we understand those critics.

Freemasonry came to world understanding during The Age of Enlightenment. A time for a large part of the world it wasn’t hard work and smarts that got you up into the world, but connections and family status. So you can understand when people become repulsed by this system. A system that seems to have people constantly rise to the top of their respective vocations and become leaders in their field. It feels menacing. As if everything you have been told about hard work and smarts is a lie. That it’s really all about connections. And even worse. It’s all about conforming to a system to be able to get those connections. Sacrificing who you are for whatever goal you want. That goes against everything you have been taught. How you are born perfectly fine and the world needs to accept you for who you are. And I say there is some value in that. I can see the fear of changing who you are. Of changing your core belief systems to be able to attain your dream. It’s the stuff of horror movies. I understand how you feel.

Also the Masonic Obligation. To join, you have to follow through with a ceremony that binds you in almost a spiritual manner to something. It’s very oath-like. Jesus even speaks about it in Matthew.

Matthew 5:33-37

Kind of a bone chilling thing to see. We get that criticism. But poke around on the internet a bit regarding oaths or swearing in God’s presence. You’ll find it’s certainly not as obvious as it seems. But I get the criticism.

We also understand how frustrating that Masonry doesn’t allow women or atheists. We have always been brought up to accept and embrace everyone. But Masonry isn’t some force sent down by God that everyone should belong to. It was build by people. By guys who wanted a place where Men could work in secret on themselves and their thinking. I can understand how women would be put off about this. It almost feels like it’s from a time when women were viewed as lesser then men and we’re allowed into the male power sphere. I get those concerns. Atheists think Masonry is just some super-religious playhouse designed to make atheists feel bad by not allowing them in. I get that. It must feel lonely to not be accepted into something for your belief system.

What is the point of all of this? Of this entry? On my return back, you would think I would dive into something nice and comfortable for you to read on your iPad while you sit in the bathtub or lie in bed? Not on my blog. There won’t be any relaxing moments here.

As a Mason, I seek brotherly love, relief and truth. To shield Masonry from the search for truth, to leave Masonry blameless as I help people, and to mindlessly defend it while I search for love would make the whole system collapse. Nothing is off limits. Not even Masonry.

Yet of every viewpoint I posted above, there is a clear counterpoint. This was by design. But in the search for truth, we measure every point equally.

I am glad to be back and I am glad to be writing to you readers. Over the next month, expect the blog to undergo some serious construction. There is a lot of work to be done in the pursuit of truth. And I hope we can do it together.

Livingstone