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What Masonry means to people

Their thoughts on the Meaning of Masonry

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Turning The Hiram Key

Find out what Masonry means to Robert by reading his latest book, Turning The Hiram Key.

- Robert's own thoughts about his new book
- The official launch website
- Get hold of a signed copy
 
By Johnathan Martin
I am a MM myself and have formed many opinions of the craft since being raised, and participating in the raising of many others. For your knowledge I'm a member of Charles R. Williams F&AM number 132 a Prince Hall military lodge, in Baumholder, Germany. The following is my unbiased opinion:
First My Observations:

1. I became a Mason in order to study with others, to engage in spirited debate, and to move towards knowledge myself. Instead I have found myself in an order more interested in chicken dinners and sticking decals on their SUVs. I consider myself an intellectual who conducts extensive study for my own enjoyment. I have bought books from Riane Eisler (my favorite) and more recently yourself, as well as the Koran, and have been completely ignored, and told "We have a ritual and Bible to read. We don't need other books."

2. The Masonic order is filled to the brim with Christians, who from my experience are highly intolerent to thoughts that run counter to their views. They do not alienate others; they simply don't want to hear the views of others. (I myself do not follow any organized religion.)

3. Masonry has no power in the social arena and is often seen as a detriment. I'm a U.S. Army officer, and forced to conceal my membership or face stiff retribution. These days it seems that Masonry best serves as a plot device for a Dan Brown novel.

4. There are few new recruits, and those who do join are inclined to be what I call "degree chasers" (i.e. Brothers who rush into attaining as many degrees as possible without even maintaining a cursory knowledge of the previous degrees.) These individuals also have a tendancy to flaunt their status, often times going to night clubs, wearing Masonic hats, shirts, jackets, necklaces, and rings (all at the same time mind you.) I find this regalia disturbing due to their lack of knowledge about the craft and its history.

5. The Order and associated Grand Lodge are seemingly obsessed with fleecing the craft for every last penny. Dues are increasing by leaps and bounds each year (doubling in cost next year!). Every district function has the Brothers coerced into buying raffle tickets, making miscelanious donations, purchasing cheap items for exorberent prices ($10 for a calculator, $20 for a phone directory), and attending very expensive functions. I speculate this is due to decreased numbers, but to me it's starting to resemble a pyramid scheme.

As you stated, Masonry soldiers are based on the glories of its past. Unfourtunately I believe these "last gasps" are to the detriment of its illustrious history. As you have shown, Masonry was important and has a rich tradition of innovation, tollerance, and brotherhood. I just wonder - would it be better to just let it die, it's legend to live on, rather than to allow the bastardization of its traditions? My heart tells me there must be another option; I just don't see it. Perhaps in the future there could be a "fundalmentalist" (I hate that term with a passion) movement or new branch of Freemasonry that would use the older rituals, traditional ceremonies, and foster the values that were formerly the hallmark of the Master Mason.

To answer your questions:

Masonry is harmless to society as a whole, but as I stated above, caustic to its own older, original self.

I was proud when I became a M.M. and I still am proud of my acomplishment, though I must say that the current state of the Masonic Order does not make me proud to be a member or declare such to others.

To me the ritual is a necessary part of the craft; however, the Masons that I know don't care about the meaning behind the ritual or its origins. I feel a lot more connected to the ritual after studying your reasearch, though my ritual now seems excessively censored.
 
By Woodduck
1. Freemasons should keep the ritual secret, however what freemasons are should be more public.

2. Ritual is what distinguishes us from other organisations like Apex & Rotary. It is integral to our existence. We are not too dissimilar to their charitable ideals with exception of our ritual.

3. I felt like a made man, in wonderment of the ritual I had just been part of and it has taken me years to start to understand the significance of it all, in particular understanding the writings within the ritual to analyse their meanings.

4. It has made me a better man to brethren and man alike - to understand what has been told and to follow the tenets I wish I would recall it more often - I will learn more as I progress through Freemasonry.

5. I feel that I have problems expressing my feelings, however I do not believe that they should be repressed, it is what sparks interest and debate amongst non-freemasons and may assist in furthering the interests of the craft.

I have found your writings in your book to provoke debate and conjecture among freemasons, on the other hand I have found it most interesting to read your books and feel that it has caused further interst in the Story behind freemasonry. The Story is obviously an extensive story told down through the ages, not in a dissimilar manner that Australian Aborigines tell there story in traditional dance and dreamtime.

The Freemasonry story has been "modernised" or "updated" through the ages to reflect current political and personal agendas - I feel that this is a shame that we are unable to review what was the original text. Again, there may be a need to update ritual but not at the expense of destroying that what was there previously, it should be archived so learned scholars of Freemasonry can ascertain for themselves rather than by taking the dogma of other individuals who may have a personal agenda.

Keep up the good work on your books, more reference to actual facts is needed in some of the tracts you follow and on the other hand more reference is needed when discussing "hypothetical situations"

Keep up the good work boys, you have made a name for yourselves through the works you have published so far, which I am certain has opened many doors to more information. I am certain that the day is not far away when all will be linked to provide the proof to the answers we all seek - I only hope it is in my lifetime.

Cheers
Woodduck
 
By ben hayes
hi my name is ben hayes and i am 25 years old.ever since i was 15 years old i have always wondered about freemasonry from books that describe the masons of old times,for some reason unbeknown to myself i have always been drawn to the freemasons.i have never really been able to read about the freemasons of today until i picked up"turning the hiram key"which i am really enjoying.i suppose what i am trying to say is thank you for giving me such a wonderful insight into the workings of a freemason(obviousley not too much of an insight).thank you
ben hayes
 
By Grigor
I am 52 years of age. I am not a Feemason. My father was a dedicated & serious Freemason all of his adult life. He did not discuss it, only to say that he would when I was ready. He died before he could do so. Over the years I have been approached several times to consider entering Freemasonry, but have never accepted.

I have no desire to pursue Freemasonry, nor do I find it a threatening proposition, any more than any of the World's dynamic, socailly beneficial religious institutions. All such institutions have been subject to the abuse of a few from the dawn of time. It does not therefore surprise me that distrust & sometimes hate evolves in a climate of suspicion.

A socially beneficial belief that transcends status, country & specific religions is an enormously appealing concept.

The tenets that make society work, thrive & endure are not generated by one society or one religion, rather the flow occurs the other way. The tenets are the root, not the religious or social structures. Fear & ignorance are bedfellows. Insecurity develops into full blown paranoia so easily. Freemasonry therefore has suffered because it is "secret", "exclusive" "strange".

As an outsider, I believe that Freemasonry should maintain it's activities, its standards & its discretion. Freemasonry should, however, continue to be open & honest in its public dealings. I believe that,as long as the organisation is causing no man any harm, then it is entitled to maintain its privacy. As ever was, with such freedom comes the responsibility too.

I perceive Masonic ritual as just as valid as any other rite or ceremony, from Communion to Rammadan to the formal opening ofa school. You don't need to be another Malinowsky to understand that such acts formalise association, create bonds & promulgate societal survival. People need a sense of belonging to a greater whole, of stability, of fellowship. Others wants to put something back into their community. Others appreciate the continuity throughout the centuries. Ritual cements these issues. Those Masons who cannot absorb this have probably not understood what they are doing.

I reiterate that I do not lie awake at night worrying about Freemasonry. If it wields power, then that influence has been, over centuries, benign.
 
By tre
I am not a Mason, though I have researched the Scottish Rite and similar orders for nearly 7 years. I am also a non-religious, but deeply spritual person. In my near-obsessive and ongoing interest in all things Masonic, I have maintained as objective a view as possible, and lent an open ear to Masons who might discuss the Craft with me. One such fellow has imparted some small secrets, with which he is piquing my interest, and encouraging me to join.

I have a real desire to be initiated, but I still have reservations. I have been relatively agnostic for the past 12 years, but I still have a passion for the Bible and its "apocrypha." I sometimes find myself believing some of what I have read, an example of which is the Book of Enoch, which was a part of Jewish tradition at the time of Solomon, and is therefore relavent to Freemasonry. I mean to say that the God of Enoch somehow makes sense to me, moreso than the God of the New Testament. Enoch describes a hierarchy of divinely created beings that better explains God's relationship with Man than any other story I've read.

I also have philisophical qualms with Masonry. If some are truly protecting, among other things, secrets and/or knowledge of Solomon's temple, and thereby preserving a Great Truth about the nature and identity of God, then I feel that it is unfair not to share with your fellow man. Furthermore, as in any group of people, there are some Lodges which do not, in practice, outwardly exemplify the ethos of the order. The fact that there are racist or otherwise intolerant Masons, not to mention Masons in positions of great power, who do not demonstrate good will toward Man, is abhorrent to me. I am much more interested in the mystical and ethical sides of Freemasonry, and would only consider joining a Lodge that I felt made a concentrated effort to live as they speak. All the same, I still have the words of Groucho Marx echoing in the back of my head: "I don't want to be part of any club that would have me as a member."

I frequently hear Masonry described as a secular order, and that merely a belief in some sort of Supreme Being is necessary for a petitioner. This seems utterly absurd to me, though I think some Masons still believe that they are merely part of a Gentleman's Club and are primarily members as such: going out to the dinners, being involved in charity, and perhaps studying the moral code. However, it has become clear to me that the parables used in ritual are more than symbolic. Some of my theories are only conjecture, but I am certain that at the core of Freemasonry is an attempt to preserve a purer form of Yahwehism (Jahbulonism?) that is more in the tradition of Eastern philosophies that preceded the reign of Solomon.

I, of course, find fault with this, as I find it difficult to make leaps of faith. When the characters of a religion or system of beliefs are not historically verifiable, it becomes difficult to incorporate them into my reality as valid. This is not to say that I have closed the Door on becoming a mason. I am only 24 years old, and have a long time to figure out what I really think about all of this. Overall, though, my primary feeling regarding Masonry is one of awe. If there truly is a Great Secret or group of Secrets that have been passed down through the ages from the time of Solomon and before, then Freemasonry has accomplished a unique and immeasurably important task.

Also, as an aside, there is a lot of evidence that I have found indicating that an underlying aim of American foreign policy over the past century is to conquer the Middle East, and through proxies and influence rebuild Solomon's Temple upon the Dome of the Rock, thus "immanentizing the Eschaton." But, that gets into a realm dangerously close to conspiracy theory, Baulderdash, and Hogwash. I have only formulated hypotheses around such matters.

I should admit here that the friend I mentioned before, who has told me some things that some Masons would probably scold him for, is initiated in the Scottish Rite (14°), York Rite, and is a Knights Templar, supposedly connected through blood to the original order. He also claims to be descended from Hiram Abif, and frankly is losing credibility with me. Still, his insight regarding the Craft has greatly influenced my point of view, though it is impossible to discern from which Rite he is drawing the information he imparts to me.

Regardless, I think I have given you a fair outline of my view of Masonry. I look at it from many sides, and from many perspectives, as I believe everything should be. If you would like to discuss further, please feel free!
 
By Doug Clark-Marlow
I am not a mason nor affiliated with its organization. I have friends, associates, and relatives who are freemasons or are associated with their organizations. Those people have improved their outlook towards life and are the most caring and giving individuals in our society. I have witnessed profound positive changes in their attitudes once they have become members of this organization. How can I criticize these people for making wonderful changes in their lives? People who attack what they do not understand do so out of fear. I suspect that because of the "secretiveness" of the freemasons that many would attempt to discredit and slander what they do not understand in attempts to instill fear in others or relieve the fear from themselves. Personally, I find that the persons whom I know are freemasons are the most kind, caring, and gregarious people in our society.
 
By Corey
> How do you feel when you were made a Mason?


I grew up in a household where Masonry was considered, by my father, the 'great dark evil'. It was surprising, because my father and our family were not religious, or at least not associated with any organized group that opposed Masonry. I can only imagine that his prejudice may have been the product of his mother's Roman catholic influence.

As a teenager, and later as a young man, my own opinions of the world and people came into conflict with my father's views. Many men that I respected and admired were Masons, and it seemed that these men were a 'cut above', not in words but in actions. I never acted on this contradiction, but it remained in the back of my mind.

I became very involved in church activities (Lutheran) as a young parent, finding every available avenue to feed my curious intelect. I participated in most available studies and activities that would expand my knowledge of our faith. Possibly because I was not raised within any faith, I approached my inquiries differently than someone who had been indoctrinated throughout their youth. There always seemed to be something missing for me. I believe it may have been the reality that 'salvation' was simply the product of 'grace' through belief in Jesus as savior. It seemed too easily gained, costing the faithful little to profess such a belief. Although I do not harbour any negative feelings or experiences from this formative time, I eventually fell away from this institution because I still felt that I was missing a great deal of vital information about the true meaning of spirituality.

Much time passed, and many life events occured; good and bad. Two years ago, after reading Dan Brown's novel "The DaVinci Code", my curosity and interest in Masonry were piqued. I talked to a very dear friend (a Mason) about becoming a Mason. He sponsored my entrance into the craft. In conjunction with my journey through the degrees, I read every book that I could lay my hands on concerning Masonry. I have read all but one work written by Knight and Lomas.

The night that I took my obligation, I felt an overwhelming sense of finally belonging to something that was significant, ancient, and worthy. My journey since that night has introduced me to ancient truths that have often fallen victim to various groups' attempts to supress to gain or maintain power and control. I feel empowered and liberated to follow a spiritual guidance that calls me to action......to light.

I hope and pray that my journey in Masonry will make me into the kind of man that could inspire a young man at some future point to also seek the truth.
 
By Topgizza
My sister has 'apparently' been approached to join a lodge.

My thinking is after having researched this subject a while ago that, lodges were and still are a male only thing.

I don't have any concerns about this, only that when i've questioned this she has got what could only be described as stropy.

Having been on the website of the Grand Lodge I felt that this went against all their teachings, i'm not asking to join, I am just curious.

Having read all Dan Brown's works & the back up material, plud tomes regarding the knights templar my curiosity is getting the better of me somewhat. If they aren't secret etc etc why hide then!
 
By Jonathan Grau, M.M.
Freemasonry maintains, protects, and disseminates a noetic tradition that integrates all of humanity. As we approach singularity in Science and Technology (following the Mayan calendar and prevailing theories in Historiography) we also arrive at the same point in timespace that ushered in the last full cycle of evolution; that of a common catastrophic paradigm shifting experience. Whether a great flood, a nuclear holocaust, the mapping of the human genome, or the arrival of a second solar body, how we use our Masonic teachings to prepare for such an event or series of events is I think really what we should be asking. This may sound apocalyptic but there’s enough evidence in religious and folk traditions to suggest that we have experienced similar cataclysms in the past. Are we on the right path? Do we have the right leadership in the Craft? Does anyone really care what predictive knowledge is contained therein? It is wonderful to draw conclusions about what Freemasonry is based on archeoastronomy and lithic evidence. Even if Freemasonry is purely the product of the Enlightenment we have lost so much of the meaning found in the teachings of Bros. Ashmole, Franklin, and Pike, to name a select few, that we may be at a loss regardless of how history unfolds.
 
By astragal
Some openness is beneficial.
The ritual was a wonderful experience, nothing equalled it.
I felt I had fulfilled a certain duty, and looked forward to further experiences.
I left the country in which I was made a mason, and had no words to continue in the new country.
So there it remained. I keep the secrets vouchsafed to me, and would never tell a non mason
anything at all, just as my father never told me.
May you and the masonic movement thrive.
 
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