A Focus on Masonic Research, News, and other Tidbits

Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Worth Checking Out

The new blog that I have added to my list of sites to your left is Building Hiram. I recommend that you check it out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Secrets of Freemasonry Have Never Been Exposed

Many Internet savvy or research minded Masons might disagree with the opinion expressed in the title of this article. At a time in the past, I would also have disagreed with it. The many expos̩s Рwhether they are in books, on television documentary or history related channels, or on the Internet Рwould seem to give credence to those that have stated and continue to state that all the secrets of Freemasonry are out there for the uninitiated to find. Freemasons have often comforted themselves with the belief that, since there is also so much false information floating around, the profane are not able to determine truth from fiction and, thus, the exposed secrets are still safe.

I have come to the conclusion, however and after some thoughtful guidance from a very small group of learned members of the Craft, that the true secrets of Freemasonry have never been exposed – even to most members of the Fraternity. Note for those not of the Craft that may be reading this, especially the conspiracy theorists: I assure you that these unexposed secrets have nothing to do with world government, control of the banks, aliens, etc.

The real secrets have never leaked out because it is fundamentally impossible for them to be exposed. They must be discovered and such discovery requires an individual Mason to experience what may be described as a radical shift in the way he views things. In the business world, this change is often illustrated with such phrases as “thinking outside of the box” or “paradigm shift.”

It may very well be that the exposed secrets – the rituals and symbols – are actually just smokescreens intended to lead inquiring eavesdroppers in the wrong direction. More importantly, it is entirely possible that the rituals and symbols are intentionally in place to make it very difficult or impossible for Freemasons – the ones not ready to make or not capable of making the change to their personal paradigms – to discover the true secrets. A Mason that has discovered the path to the true secrets is incapable of sharing them with another Mason. He can only provide the guidance on how to discover them and, even then, can only share that guidance with someone that is capable of understanding it. In other words, the other Mason must be willing to and capable of shifting his way of viewing the symbols and ritual.

The ritual and symbols can possibly be described as doorways – sort of like the old “Let’s Make a Deal” game show. The difference is that most Masons never see one or more of the doors. They may see door number one, but not door number two or three. They can not open certain doors because their view of Freemasonry prevents them from even realizing that all three of the doors exist. In the case of profane eavesdroppers, they do not see any of the doors.

This is not to say that many, if not most, Freemasons do not have a gut feeling – a nagging suspicion – that there is something else behind all of the ritual and symbols. I have experienced this feeling myself and have observed others wrestle with the notion that there is something more to a particular symbol, part of the ritual, or a lecture. Most of the time, however, we are not capable of making the leap from a subliminal message to the Eureka moment of discovery. Those that train their minds to make that leap become the adepts and once they discover one of the true secrets they find themselves capable of discovering more of them. They can see all of the doors.

If the day ever comes when all or most Freemasons can discover the true secrets of the Fraternity, that may be the day to start teaching the rest of the world and we can get on with the business of taking over the banks, forming that world government, and introducing our alien friends to the other Earthlings. Until that time arrives, the real secrets of Freemasonry will remain unexposed and safe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Possible Loophole in the Second Charge of a Free Mason

Studious members of the Craft are familiar with the Charges of a Freemason, extracted from the Ancient records of Lodges beyond Sea, and of those in England, Scotland,and Ireland, for the use of the Lodges in London.* The Second Charge is oft examined and discussed by members of the Fraternity as it pointedly touches on a Mason’s role in civil society. It also calls the actions of famous Masons of the past into examination – the American Revolution offering an obvious example. The Second Charge reads as follows.
II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATES supreme and subordinate.

A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer'd the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in Times of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State he is not to be countenanc'd in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.*
On its surface, the Second Charge is rather specific. A Free Mason is not to plot or conspire against his nation. However, how would the likes of Brothers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington – the Charges having been around for some time by the beginning of the American Revolution – reconcile themselves to the possibility that they could honor the Second Charge and be involved in a revolution against Britain, which was their nation? It is possible that there is a loophole in the Charge and it is further possible that the American Masons who involved themselves in “plots and conspiracies” against Britain may have recognized it or have at least used it to justify their actions.

That possible loophole is contained in the second phrase of the first sentence. A Mason “is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation.” “Peace” and “Welfare” are key words in that phrase and are unlikely to be there by accident or by whim. If a Free Mason honestly believes that his nation – as ruled by the “Government for the time being” – is not enjoying peace or faring well, he may possibly and reasonably conclude that he is no longer bound by the terms of the Second Charge.

Of course, an individual Mason probably should not walk down the slippery slope of unilaterally determining that his nation is not peaceful or faring well. Suffice it to say that such a conclusion would require multitudes of the citizenship, regardless of their Masonic affiliation. In addition, the beginning of a revolution necessarily means that another government has been formed even if not recognized as legitimate by the longer existing civil powers. It could then be reasonably argued that a Mason gets to decide on which government he is going to apply the terms of the Second Charge if he was not involved in the formation of the revolution and was, therefore, not concerned with the “peace and welfare” clause of the Charge.

* Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, The Charges of a Free-Mason. http://www.freemasonry.bcy.ca/history/anderson/charges.html (Accessed September 20, 2010). Cross checked with Ahiman Rezon of South Carolina. Lexington, S.C., 2007, pp. 458-460. The Charges – six in all – were adopted by the Grand Lodge of England on 25 March 1722.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Should All Good Men Be Made Masons? – Revisited

Read this first: A Commentary: Should All Good Men Be Made Masons?

The theme of my above referenced commentary seems to run throughout the history of Freemasonry and I keep discovering it in my various readings. On 11 December 1894, the then Grand Master of Masons in South Carolina – Most Worshipful Brother Stiles P. Dendy, addressed the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina.
“I regard the non-affiliate, in most instances, as a parasite on the body of Masonry,” he said, “and is generally one who is wanting in appreciation of the true nature and purpose of the Order, and when admitted finds himself out of harmony with the whole trend of its teachings, or one who has sought admission from unworthy and improper motives….” What was to be the solution to the “bane of Masonry in the present age”? Bro. Dendy suggested that the Lodges take a more critical look at applicants for admission, “a more searching inquiry, not only as to the physical qualifications and moral fitness, but also as to the intellectual capacity of candidates to apprehend and appreciate the sublime teachings and mysteries of Free Masonry.” 1
1. Source: Cornwell, Ross & Willis, Samuel M. A History of Freemasonry in South Carolina; The Years 1860 - 1919. The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina, 1979.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is scheduled to commence on 1 January 2011. I have somehow and somewhat amazingly found myself on the schedule of lectures. The press release from the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F&AM, follows.

Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research, UD with the support of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F&AM is pleased to bring you…

Masonic Awareness @ the Speed of Light.

Begin and end 2011 with Freemasonry on your mind! The Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research, UD will present a series of free lectures beginning January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2011, via the Internet at www.WEOFM.org. A list of the diverse international presenters and stimulating topics can be found on the “Trestle Board” at the WEOFM website.

These lectures will be presented on the web at www.WEOFM.org on an announced basis, the first one being shown January 1, 2011 and continuing throughout the year. We are pleased to offer this group of experts in their subjects to bring you Masonic Awareness @ the Speed of Light. Each presentation will conclude with an on-line chat room where you may provide feedback to others as well as the lecturer. The exact time of the lectures will be made available as soon as an appropriate time is coordinated with the lecturer. These times and additional information about the series will be posted on www.WEOFM.org no later than December 1, 2010.

We encourage you to visit the website at your earliest opportunity and leave us a message by using our contact tab. You may join the site as a user and view the trestle board at any time. Furthermore, join us, January 1, 2011 and enjoy Masonic Awareness @ the Speed of Light.

For additional information please contact Al McClelland at WEOFM2011@live.com.