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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 sporty
I am a female that has known and still know many men that say they are Freemasons. Because I am a woman, most men are hesitant to discuss much about Freemasonry. Some were more open about different things than others. Usually the younger men are more open but are less informed about the history of the Freemasons. The older men take more stock in the history and the rituals but may not be doing a very good job of passing on the information or the understanding to the younger generation. I have done a very small amount of research into Freemasonry but by no means have an understanding of most of the material myself. In a way, I find Freemasons to be a dying breed to say the least. I feel that there should be more openess just because of that fact. The history is being lost and very rapidly. I am by no means as educated as the authors of this website or the books on the subject although every book I find fascinating for multiple reasons, but if you wanted an opinion of an average person with an interest, this is mine in a nutshell.
 
By Mesniu
My Brother--

Freemasonry is many things to many. Should it be kept secret? Well, with books out like "Duncan's Ritual and Monitor," and the advent of the Internet, it's difficult to keep anything Masonic a secret anymore.

I've read your works with a guarded interest over the years-- Just picked up "The Book of Hiram" (which should disgruntle one of my archaeology professors, if the table of contents is any indication). You and Brother Knight make very interesting points, many of which are credible and quite spot on, but sometimes the leaps you make to tie possibly-related points together are too great for my believability factor. While I am planning on citing some of your work in my Masters Thesis (field: sociocultural anthropology, topic: analyzing where Freemasonry came from, where it is today, and the discrepancies between those extremes), I will be pointing out where I do disagree with you.

But nevertheless, while I do disagree with some of your points, I laud the work you've done in keeping the Craft in the public eye in a psoitive light. Thank you.

Fraternally,
M.S.
Past Master, Ivanhoe Lodge #446 AF&AM, Kansas City
Founding Past Master, Heru Behutet Oasis, Ordo Templi Orientis
 
By D.T
Freemasonry is open to all men of good character, as such it should keep it's ritual secret. People who want to learn can become brothers. However, this should be balanced with an openness which promotes confidence in the craft and steers the publics perception away from that of a corrupt, sinister and secret organisation.

Ritual and the learning of it has taught me many things in the short time I've been a Mason. Patience, precision and most importantly, knowing there will always be someone to support and encourage me when I stumble.

Before I became a Mason I was becoming disillusioned with many aspects of my life. In particular in my professional life. Trust, honour and a feeling of belonging were quickly being lost. When I became a Mason I was accepted and welcomed like a long lost friend. Something that, without sounding odd, made me feel good about myself and my fellows.

I am relatively new to the craft, having recently become a M.M. I am still finding my feet, these few words are a brief summary of my feelings towards Masonry. Perhaps I will write again when I have become more confident in my new surroundings.
 
By K. Hovelmeier
I was proposed into freemasonry by my older brother and initiated into a Scottish Lodge on the Thursday, 20th July 2000. I remember this day well and have been told how proud my father looked on as he stood in the columns while my brother delivered the first-degree charge. I remember, although I had no idea what he was “waffling” on about, how impressed I was with his fluent and controlled delivery of what seamed to be an eternal lecture. I even made a point of congratulating him after the ceremony on a first class recital and thought to myself that I would never be able to carry off such a performance. The evening that followed was a fun filled event, full of the usual festive board indulgences and speeches with possibly a bit too much whisky to celebrate the occasion.

Although I should remember the date of this special evening for all the reasons I have mentioned above, the sad truth is that I remember it as exactly one week from the day that the very same brother who had worked so tirelessly in his preparation for my first step in freemasonry tragically died. This is the date I will never forget as the loss of my brother shook what I had always known to be a strong family down to its core. My life felt shattered which was further compounded when my wife, who carrying our second child, was informed that our unborn son had a congenital birth defect with his kidneys and would require an operation after birth and months of after care.

Now this is the part where I address the intriguing question “what does freemasonry mean to me?” as it is by far my intention to portray a depressing story of this episode in my life. This is a story of the strength, support and guidance I received from people I barely knew who I now call my Brethren, who operated with what seamed to be an alien system of morality that I now call the craft, within a strange and secretive organisation that I now call my Masonic career. It was the very foundation of Freemasonry that helped hold the frail fabric of my very sanity together during those dark and desolate times.

I thank Freemasonry for that and only hope that others may experience the wonderful true nature of being a Mason.

Because of my Brother and my Brethren, I am and will always be on the square.




 
By Jackson
While there is a good case for bringing Freemasonry into a more visible realm, the down side is that we tend to detract from its essence in an attempt to justify to/promote acceptance within, the cynical, misinformed but astute, knowledgeable and thinking public domain.I cringe at statements like 'well it’s just like Rotary or Lions' or 'no we don't have any secrets' or 'no there are no secret signs and handshakes'. Freemasonry does not need to justify itself to any, other than its members. If we are to be visible and understood let it be on the basis that we are and always will be secretive about our rituals, that we will continue to search as has always been done for truth and knowledge, that the truth and knowledge that an individual discovers will be unique to that individual but contributed to the larger pool of knowledge and understanding that is shared by Freemasonry.The visible side of Freemasonry should be our good works, charitable activities and the example set in the community by all brethren."Let them be known as Freemasons but let that which makes them Freemasons be known only to Freemasons"

Masonic ritual fills that gap that 'just belief' leaves in the hearts and minds of the discerning and analytical. By 'acting out' a theme or idea we are able to better interpret and understand that which we wish to practice or gain greater understanding of. Many churches are returning to and encouraging active participation in services and ritual, the followers of nature based belief and religious systems have always done it and the military and governments are steeped in active ritual.

When I was invited to become a Mason it was because I had been researching and writing about Freemasonry from the outside the organization. It was a personal quest and a deliberate direction to and through Freemasonry and the writing allowed me to check out by research and thinking with others. While impressed by the depth of research, local Freemasons explained that if I really wanted to understand I should become a Freemason. My first thoughts were that they were perhaps trying to silence me by binding me to a non-disclosure clause contained within a promise.This turned out to be figment of my conspiratal imagination and has not been the case. A s a member of three lodges and two Lodges of Research I have been encouraged to write and research to my hearts content. Not only have I expanded my own knowledge and understanding of Freemasonry and its history but have advanced a considerable distance in a very short time along my personal quest or pathway to broader and deeper levels the understanding of life, death and the meaning of it all. The fact that more and more of my writings are read by Freemasons and not the general public is a natural progression. These days my writings would mean as much to non-Freemasons as the schematics for a linear accelerator, published in the local tabloid, would mean to most of its readers.

In my mind Freemasonry is as much about establishing a chivalrous code of living as a providing fraternal companionship. Our rituals and lectures are designed to motivate personal growth and promote spiritual roundedness in brethren. Freemasonry is something that sits well with any religious belief, parallelling and supporting the chosen religious pathway of its individual members. We should continue to write about Freemasonry. We should refer to it in all forms of literature especially in novels and fictional works. Don't get hung up on what it is or what anyone thinks it is. Exposure will bring questioning; serious questioning will give rise to serious research. Serious research will uncover truths. Those who seek truth will be drawn to and welcomed into Freemasonry. It’s all good.

 
By John
I have been a Mason for ten years, and have served three years as Master of Isaiah Thomas Lodge A.F.&A.M. of Worcester, Massachusetts. I was the final Master of I.T.L. before merger with another Lodge. I am still active with another Craft Lodge, in Boston, as well as with the local York Rite Chapter, Council and Commandery. I am also a Shrine Mason, though less actively.

Joining the Fraternity was the greatest single thing I have ever done for myself, although of course it is an ongoing process. When a man (or woman, in some places) is made a Mason, it is only the first step in a long, long process and a lifetime of learning which never really ends. Becoming a Mason is just the first step over the threshhold of a new College - and it's a long time until Graduation.

The idea of "secrecy" in Masonry is rather a moot point, isn't it? All of the outward "secrets" of Masonry are readily available in any good bookstore, or with just a little research on the Web. That sort of secret has not been a secret almost since the beginning. Even the "Substitute Word" of Masonry, which Masons are sworn to never reveal to anyone, ever, except under very strict conditions, can be found very easily on the Net - I've just done a Web search and found over 45,000 references to that "secret" word.

The true secret of Masonry is one which CANNOT be discussed verbally, I think - it has to be experienced, it has to be found by each individual Mason, it cannot be revealed to him in any meaningful way. This, perhaps, is why G.M.H.A. could not give up "the Word of a Master Mason" to the Ruffians when he was attacked at the gates of the Temple - because each Master Mason has to find his own Masonry within himself.

I've just finished The Book of Hiram, and I am MOST impressed by the amount of work you put into it, so let me say, first -- Thank You.

I am not at all persuaded by the evidence you presented to prove that Jesus the Nazarene was 42 years old at the time of the Crucifixion, rather than the "traditional" 33 years old - but you made a good case for it, worthy of reflection and study.

I was somewhat distressed -- not a whole lot, but some -- by your dismissal of Astrology in the closing chapters of the Book. It might have been worth your while to consult an astrologer who is familiar with the mainstream of thinking on the subject;
better, to consult an astrologer with a good working knowledge of your work;
best of all, to consult an astrologer familiar with your work who is also a Brother Mason.

There may not be many of us, but I'm sure that I'm not the only professional-level Astrologer who is a Mason. You dismissed Astrology as a source study by making assumptions that most real astrologers do not make.

Best wishes to you and to Brother Knight -

John
 
By Dave
I believe that at the center of every person, is what unites us, and is who we really are. Who we think we are, is who is keeping us asleep. The death of the third degree is the death of this very thing that keeps us asleep. When we no longer need the defence supplied by this fabrication of our own making, we are then FREE to unite with our companions of our former toils. Masonry teaches us " how to die ". Just like we need this body to experience this reality, we will need a more subtle body to experience the next reality. The " superstructure " we are erecting from the NE angle of the lodge in my opinion is this body. Once we are concious outside of our cellular body, we will be awake to a higher level.
 
By Dennis
As a Freemason I am disapointed at the lack of knowledge and intrest the vast majority of members show in the real meaning of the rituals which they take part in week after week. Having spent a lot of time reading everything about Freemasonry I can get my hands on I am now beginning to understand what the ritual really means. When I try to explain things the vast majority of the Bretheran show little or no interest. Even a significant proportion of long standing members do not realise they are taking part in rituals based on Magic and the Occult. I have had debates with very senior members who have not got a clue what the ritual means.

I personally have got a lot from Freemasonry and found the initations ceremonies had a great impact on me. That lead me to want to understand the real meaning of the ritual and what lessons they teach.

On balance Freemasonry is a positive thing, members are expected to follow the highest level of personal standards and have respect of others. Millions of pounds are given to chirity by Freemasons every year.

Finally I believe that Freemasonry should be more open and in recent years great strides have been made to achieve this. Freemasonry is a good thing and we should be shouting this in public at every opertunity and drawing public attention to the possitives. In the days of the Internet it is impossible to keep anything secret.
 
By John
I have returned to the Craft only recently after many years as unattached but in that time I have always known what the Craft stood for and what it meant to me and, regardless of my travels, it was always there, waiting, patient and forgiving. Having thus returned I proffer some thoughts ...

How open is open. It appears to me that there is not a trick left standing in the pack with regards to FM. The 'hits' on the web run into millions - and it's all there, the good, the bad and the ugly.

But does that therefore mean that we throw open the lodge room doors and invited the world to roost on the benches? Many would argue that perhaps such should be the case - but that is popularism and I am cautious of following popular culture, whoever may leading the charge.

FM is not about being popular - in fact, it is just the opposite. The ritual, the symbols speak another language which can only be heard by those who have trained their ears and turned their mind in another direction. While the world at large scrambles for cheap tricks and cheaper happiness FM offers a inward joy that has no reason to flagwave or turn public somersaults. It offers no quick fix solutions. In fact, it offers no solutions at all because the path is the goal - a pertient fact missed even by many Masons. It is an individual path followed admist others who have their own paths to follow with ritual and symbol acting as beacons and landmarks. But one can only recognise these beacons and landmarks once the path is undertaken because they are disguised as every-day objects that have no instrinict value of their own - only the wayfarer will recognise their true meaning.

So I give a little shudder when I hear cries of 'openness'. This behaviour very much reminds me of an incident in my Army recruit training. I was with a section on a early morning 15 k run in combat gear, which was more an obstacle course. A rather young officer decided to lead until a particulaly large and chilly dam had to crossed. 'Follow me', the officer instructed. Seeing a a well worn path leading in a different direction I elected to follow this path rather than the officer with the rest of the section following my lead. Which was just as well as the young and inexperienced officer disappeared over his head in water while the rest of us trudge on and crossed the dam in knee-deep water. Oft times it is best to pay attention to where others have gone before than to follow new trends.
 
By Robert Hunter
I would like to comment on whether of not Freemasonry should be kept secret or whether you should be more public about it.

First I would like to give you a little background on my religious and education history.
I was raised in a poor blue collar family. We were not a very religious family and religion was not a part of my growth as a child. I was raised in a very predominant Mormon community in Utah. I struggled as a child to deal with pressures of a society that was so righteous in its claims to the one true pathway to heaven. So as I matured into an adult I found it very difficult to find a religion that made any definitive conclusions as to the path of God. I have been on a quest of sorts ever since. I must say that the first time I read the book Hiram Key I was deeply motivated and moved. To have such an un-biased introduction to the history of religion was a very profound experience to me. The average person does not have the means to study un-biased facts to discover the truth. Nor do the have the desire to. Most gain there faith and “truths” in life from there culture and or there families. Most people that I speak with about religion base there knowledge from there religious leaders and the printed bible they read. So, how does this tie into Free Masonry and why it secrets should stay just that. It’s simple really. It is the secrecy that has allowed the information of freemasonry to survive. When people fell like they are a part of something greater they become greater. It also requires a commitment of time and years to acquire the knowledge that is to be passed down. Those who are not worthy will lose interest. Although I am not a Mason maybe someday I will be honored to walk among you as a fellow Mason. Until then keep up the great work. We need to hear what you have to say.

Thank you
Robert Lynn Hunter










 
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