Freemasonry/Talk

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"Freemasonry has been said to be an institutional outgrowth of the medieval guilds of stonemason?s, a direct descendant of the "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" (the Knights Templar), an offshoot of the ancient [Mystery schools]?, an administrative arm of the [Priory of Zion]?, the Roman Collegia?, the [Comacine masters]?, intellectual descendants of Noah, and to have many other various origins."

Can someone please elaborate on exactly who has said these things? Freemasons themselves? It's really important to know who is making the statement to give context to it. --Dmerrill


Done. --Alex Kennedy


I'm personally curious as to the claim the LDS Church members feel that the Craft Degrees are "corruptions" of ceremonies given (to whom?) during the building of King Solomon's Temple. I've never heard this before. Also, in what sense are the Degrees believed to be "corruptions?" The word certainly has a connotation of, at very least, inappropriate behaviour. Would "misunderstanding" be better? -- Alex Kennedy

First, I don't know whether the church itself has ever made that statement, but if you do a quick Google you'll find a large selection of member's pages in which the subject is discussed, and most of them say something along these lines.
As for "given (to whom?)": I don't know. :-) Presumably Solomon?
By "corruptions" I mean that the original ceremony was altered, parts forgotten, parts added, and so on, so that is no longer the "pure" ritual as given by God. I realize the word has some negative connotations, but I believe that is intended.

For the sake of NPOV the first paragraph should probably end with a 'Freemasonry claims to be' or 'Freemasonry represents itself as' compatible with Christian religion, since large percentages of Christian believers are officially enjoined that it is not so. Someone ought to look up the Eastern Orthodox, by the way. They are pretty explicitly anti-Masonic. What about different varieties of practitioners of Judaism? What about Islam? Do they accept the assertion of compatibility? --MichaelTinkler

That's an interesting question. What I meant by that is that Freemasonry itself will accept people from any of these religions, but I can see where you are coming from. Perhaps I should try to express this clearly. And Done.

What I'm trying to get across, and what might not be appropriate in an NPOV article, is that it is my opinion that nothing I've ever encountered in my particular brand of Freemasonry appears to contradict any Christian teaching I've ever heard of, except perhaps the teaching that only people of one particular faith can get into Heaven (which is, I guess, a fairly important phiolosophical point).

I guess, really, that the compatibility statement, as you (and I imagine most intelligent people) are reading it, is not meaningful. I'm certain that if you looked hard enough, you could find important members of almost every major religious faith who claimed, for whatever reason, that it is improper for people of that faith to be Freemasons; that doesn't mean, though, that the "standard" interpretation of that faith includes such a belief. The Catholic Church is, of course, a different case, since (as far as I understand) people of that faith are required to believe whatever the top people in the hierarchy and the Pope say is true. --Alex Kennedy

I ran and checked on the Code of Canon Law (1983) and had to check for interpretation, since Freemasonry is no longer explicitly named {Canon 1374: Can. 1374 A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty- one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.} Official communications to the US Bishops (and other national episcopal bodies who had asked) makes it pretty clear that Freemasonry is not approved. See: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/5229/religion/masonry.htm And: http://showcase.netins.net/web/clearlight/mason.html --MichaelTinkler
I looked at the second link you gave, Dr. Tinkler, and I'm sorry to say that it contains a number of falsehoods. For example, I quote from a subpage "Simply stated, the predominant Blue lodges refuse to initiate anyone known to be black. There is a single exception: Alpha Lodge No. 116 of Newark, N.J ..." This is entirely untrue. Although I am obviously not at liberty to give you any names, I know personally of at least one black member of Commercial Lodge no. 81 in Edmonton, AB, Canada, Grand Lodge of Alberta, and several Asian, East Indian and Arabic members (Admittedly, this is in Canada, but I've never heard of the American situation being any different). Certainly, there is a predominance of "white Europeans" in the Lodges, but I assure you that this is something that is almost universially viewed by my bretheren as a sad thing to be remedied as soon as possible within the confines required by our traditions, i.e. that we never solicit anyone whatsoever to become a Mason. The view, on this page, of why many Prince Hall Lodges are not accepted as regular is grossly oversimplified and in many cases plainly wrong. There are white members in Prince Hall Lodges, just as there are Black members in Regular lodges; the issue of integration is a political and traditional one, and in fact I personally see a lot of movement toward full integration of Prince Hall Masons into the "main" body of the Craft. One problem with this, just so that you know the facts, is that there are certain differences of ritual between the Prince Hall Lodges and Regular Masonry, which is why Prince Hall Masonry is deemed "irregular." But, this is just my unofficial view.
As well, Cardinal Law appears grievously mistaken about the acceptance of French Masonry. As far as I understand, no Grand Lodge in the world (outside of France, of course) recognises French Masons, since French Masonry admits atheists. This issue is plain and simple, as far as I understand. Anyway, I don't mean this as a criticism of you, at all, since I don't know what your beliefs and feelings are on this matter, but I do think that the link is not acceptable as a source of information on Masonry.