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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 Curious in Canada
I understand the function of male-only activities, and recognize that it's socially important to reserve spaces for each gender to mingle alone, but for an organization that is so widespread, so apparently committed to moral uprightness, spiritual development and charity, why exactly are women so totally excluded from Freemasonry?

Do Masons have a problem with women? Do Masons consider women to be unworthy for spiritually enlightenment?

I enjoy your scholarly work, and I want to think well of your group, but this issue has never been adequately explained.
 
By Kewvet
Freemasonry is not for everyone. That is to say - we can only expect some male members of society to understand what the whole process of Freemasonry offers and many masons never advance past the 3rd degree, perhaps missing out on the rest of the adventure.
In many ways the methodology of performing our ritual which is in reality a play performed by the various office bearers [actors] is designed to not only inform the candidate but to impress on those who are performing the multifaceted aspects of living their lives in the most appropriate manner possible to ensure that society gains the greatest growth through the external activities of these lessons learned within the walls of a lodge.
 
By Bill La Valley, Desert Hot Springs, CA
Dear Dr. Lomas,

Thanks again for that interview you were kind enough to give me online several years ago. I had a wonderful conversation with a true gentleman and brother. I have been re-reading "The Book of Hiram", which was not yet published at the time of our interview, but it has certainly given me more to think about. Are you aware that Thomas Paine believed Freemasonry was a remnant of the Druid religion? I just read his essay on the subject. It made me want to re-read your book immediately.

I can't say enough about how much impact Freemasonry has had on my life. I am 41 years old. As a teenager, I was a member of the Order of De Molay in Southern California and still have a lot of friends and wonderful memories from those days. I met my wife through the Order of the Eastern Star. I have been master of my lodge in Whittier. Masonry has led me on a quest for light and the books of Robert and Chris have been a big part of that. My wife bought me the first book, "The Hiram Key", when we were in San Francisco.

As to whether Masonry should be more open, I would say that from a practical point of view, it would not be possible, since there is no central authority in Freemasonry to make that decision. Also, there is no agreement on what Freemasonry really means and I think the Grand Lodges want to leave it up to the individual to draw his (or her) own conclusions. I kind of lament, though, that the Grand Lodges are denying anything remotely controversial about the Order to try to bolster public relations.

Personally speaking, we need mystery in Freemasonry, not so much to draw in the curiosity seekers, but to give our Order a depth and character that goes beyond ordinary experience. When I first joined the lodge, it seemed kind of boring to a 21 year-old and I lost interest. However, after reading "Born In Blood" by John Robinson, I got a lot more interested, owing to the connection of Freemasonry, the Knight's Templar and the Order of De Molay of my youth. If it hadn't been for that first book and a spiritual search, I probably would have forgotten Masonry a long time ago.

Thanks to brothers like Robert and Chris, I now know that I am a part of something incredibly special and am very thankful for everything and everyone who led me here. Freemasonry is the cornerstone of my life, no matter where my spiritual search takes me.

Fraternally,

Bill La Valley, PM, and most important, De Molay Advisor
 
By handcuff
When sitting in Lodge, I realized quite quickly that it was an institution that seemed empty, the structure still exsisted, "sir I ask you for the next order of business ... nothing to report ... sir I aske you for the next order of business ... nothing to report". The Grand Lodge seems completly out of touch with the needs of new members, and does not seem to realize that in the formal obligations there is also an obligation from the institution to its membership, it seemingly does not value others time. Senor members, particularly those from Grand Lodge have no intrest in the lives of the membership, or at least it certinaly appears this way. What this basically comes down to is that senior members informally demand attendance, regardless of obligation landmarks like to look after family members before anything else, and when a person does this nothing but disrespect comes there way. Sometimes I think that the easiest way to follow the morals and values of what a freemason is supposed to be, is to stay away from the Lodge all together. Family, work, carrear, rising intrest and erroding standards of living are irrelevant as long as a person pays the dues. But most of all do not be a free thinker or someone that wants to be active, because other than the dues and time away from family with no prospect of respect, is all the Lodge wants from its membership. See what happens when a person spreads there affliation with the Lodge at the work place, nothing short of abuse, and if your supervisor is a feminist then your really in trouble, see, there is no benefit this way anymore either. Ultimately, the truth is don't ask us for anything institutionally, just give us what we want, enough money to pay this years property taxes. I truly love the Lodge and eithically, morally, and value wize what the conceptualizations of the Lodge are supposed to be, and the few friends I have made. unfortunately, this is not ever presented in Lodge or in the newsletter for that matter. Truly a sad state of affairs.
 
By Ameer Faris
Dear Mr. Lomas,

I give short answers/opinions to each of your questions.

* I think Freemasonry need not be more open, since in this age of cyberspace there already is tons of quality info of it. But we do have a great challenge: to somehow attract young, intelligent and innovative people, university students etc.

* Masonic Ritual to me (I am a Master Mason) is a deep and wide ocean. It is an ocean of inspiration, an ocean full of meaning and wisdom. There is no limit to the extent that the ritual and its symbols can guide me in my life. The Lodge to me is a laboratory to research and practice life and how to best use its challenges.

* When I was made a Mason, I was quite confused for a long time. Yes, I enjoyed the ritual, yes, I liked my brothers, no, I didn't understand the connection between the Lodge and the real-life. Now I do.

* Since initiation Masonry has gradually become an integral part of my life, always telling me to try harder, be nicer to others and more realistic in my endeavors.

* I think Masonry is much more than words can describe. The whole point in ritualistic behavior is, in my opinion, to overcome the limits of our everyday consciousness. Or perhaps to push those limits a bit farther.

I would like to thank you, Mr. Lomas, for the inspirational, intelligent and bold books that you have written. I think they are in a way setting pavement for a new, glorious interpretation of Masonry that will eventually replace the old-fashioned, anachronistic theories of the origins and characteristics of our Craft.

Yours,
Amir Faris
 
By Kheperer
Dear Robert,
I have read your book "The Invisible College" and found it excellent, although much too "British-centered", or "Anglo-centered". Free masonry does exist outside the United Kingdom or English-speaking countries. If it is really independent of race, tongue, etc., why don't you do something (in the position you are) as an attempt to reunite the "dispersed Brothers" and try to make them (a little) more united and unified they are at present?
A French Brother (at Paris).
 
By Benjamin
Dear Dr. Lomas;

Our extended family includes three paternal generations of Master Masons and women of the Eastern Star. My paternal grandfather is a 32nd degree Master Mason.

Our family involvement ceased in my generation. My father and his male siblings, brought up within DeMolay, either refused to join the Masonic movement as adults or joined and resigned their memberships. I was a DeMolay very briefly, but quit out of boredom. My grandfather spent many hours trying to get me to join the Masonic movement.

My grandfather tells me that only men of the highest, most impeccible ethics and lifestyles are admitted to the Masonic movement; he assures me that Master Masons are highly respectable individuals. However, I must reveal that my grandfather is an evil man. He horribly beat and tortured his wife, three sons, and daughter over a number of decades. He is a highly abusive individual, even now at 92 years of age, hated by his children and grandchildren. Of course, the Masonic movement guards and protects him from prosecution due to his high masonic rank.

If Freemasonry is such a respectable institution and only respectable individuals are permitted memberships, how in the world was my grandfather accepted into Masonry and allowed to work the higher degrees? I assure you, he really worked the degrees in earnest. He takes Masonry very seriously.

I am fascinated by the books you have co-authored with Christopher Knight but am reading them, in all honesty, to determine how much of my grandfather's evil may be rooted and/or exacerbated by his contact with Freemasonry.

Most Sincerely,
Benjamin
 
By ET
The meaning of Masonry is to live life in the way of Ma'at, and to keep the history together by virtue of a secret, memorized dialog. Unless we do ourselves in and lose all the knowledge again, this should no longer be necessary.

This is my first submission to this site. i have read The Hiram Key, Second Messiah, and now am in The Book of Hiram. I took a look at the slides of the wonderful stonework by the Grooved Ware People this morning. I couldn't help but be struck with the similarity of the closely fitted stones appearing to have the precision of the pyramid builders work. At my gut level, i have never felt the Egyptians built those things -- don't know why, it's just a feeling. The Grooved Ware people feel to me to have the complexity of mind to perhaps be the builders.

The book The Hiram key changed my life. It finally made "history" make sense to me. The work on the Shroud as well made all the spook stuff go away, and a sense of gentle spiritual meaning come forward in my life.

However important these two items are, nothing gave me more, personally, than the full understanding of Ma'at. I was saddened to not find Ma'at tied into the book of hiram. Ma'at appears to be the root for Masonic goals in life, and feels like it links to theosophy as well as the work of Wallace Wattles. That mind set I sense is connected at a gut level to me, in the same way as the feeling that the pyramids have a yet untold story.

There was a big kahuna mason in my family, I was a "Job's Daughter" but hated it, i just wanted to wear the nifty robe, but was not willing to "do" the meetings. Alas, as a retired school teacher, meetings out of my life is such a delight.

You two authors are wonderful scientists. you have helped this soul have some sense of placement in time. that is sensible.

Good Work, ET
 
By Jay
I was raised in a Masonic home. My father a WM of a local lodge. Mother an Eastern Star, my sister was a rainbow girl and myself a DeMolay.
At the age of 21 joining the Mason's was far from my mind but over the years I was always having a few thoughts about the order. But i don't know why. Why join a dying organization? I enjoy the history and the liniage but in my town the members of the lodge are all living in a past tense world.
 
By milo dailey
... Let's hit these one at a time:

First, Freemasonry already is no secret. It's simply too often an unknown. In the electronic era it's possible for anyone to find out almost everything about Freesonry except what it means to each Freemason to be one. That is a discovery that each man must find for himself and, in honorable Grand Lodges of women, what each woman must find for herself.

Second, I am a Freemason. At minimum in my family, my father and grandfather were. Our personalities are very different, yet I find I understand far better now how they perceived society around them with a more tolerant eye toward others.

Third, as a Mason, the ritual is a rite of passage very much in ways as a marriage or adoption ceremony. More than that, though, it also places additional responsibilties toward your self as well as to others. Some suggest there's something wrong with having true fraternal feelings for others, but isn't that what most religions say we should feel toward our fellow man? It doesn't mean ignoring faults, or immorally hiding the faults of others, but it does mean you recognize a kinship among men who are more tolerant toward others and dedicated to ethical and intellectual improvement.

When I became a Mason, I felt an additional dimension to my relationships with others, even including my father and brother who also are Freemasons and were at my final "raising" ceremony. There was nothing more than the teachings of our religious background or that I learned as a child, but it was as if a precis of all had been branded on the palm of my hand to see every day as a reminder.

I have been active in my Lodges as a way to help other men find the comfortable and instant friendship I found in Masonry; I have been active as a Masonic researcher and historian. These are lessons learned in regular Freemasonry. It's more a matter of Masonry aiding a man to focus his attentions than any attempt to change him from who he is. Each who develops this focus will respond differently, but increasing recognition of one's responsibility both to one's self and to others is a major positive step in life.

... What can't be put into words? Given that rituals are so available to anyone who wishes to read them, there's no secret in the words themselves. The secret of Masonry is how each regular Mason feels about being one. It is as impossible as it is to explain the feeling one has at love for a child or grandchild or at perfectly playing a Bach fugue. This is the secret of the Craft.

--- Does Freemasonry benefit society? Absolutely. In fact, it is to me a major factor historically as well as today in society's attempts to consider justice and "right" in systems that include nearly all institutions in a "free" world. It's a matter of the Craft lessons of tempering beliefs and law into a middle way as in representative democracies and increasingly multi-cultural national and international environments.

This view tempered early U.S. politics to maintain the political basis of our Anglophone "common law" in a new environment. It is not for the intellectually narrow or those whose belief system denies true humanity to those who do not share those beliefs.

In English history, there is reason to believe the Craft's foundation philosophies emerged from the Civil War and the difficulties in the following half century at maintaining a political and religious environment where all might reach personal potential rather than fearing for their lives because of political and religious conflict.

Is there not a need for an example in society of men of different poltics and religions, of different race and national origin to find common ground and recognize the brotherhood of man?
 
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