Food For Thought
As an organisation Freemasonry has attracted an awful lot of unjustified bad press and rumour. It is important that one recognises the fears and misconceptions that abound. Although almost all relate to the older and larger constitutions of England and the USA we in New Zealand still have our detractors. It is therefore important that we acknowledge their concerns and have our own thoughts in order. A good place to look for the general thrust of negative opinions is Wikipedia.
Masonic Conspiracy Theories
Conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry; hundreds of such conspiracy theories have been described since the late 18th century. Generally, these theories fall into three distinct categories:
political (usually involving allegations of control of government, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom),
religious (usually involving allegations of anti-Christian or Satanic beliefs or practices), Many conspiracy theory writers have connected Freemasons (and the Knights Templar) with worship of the devil; these ideas are based on different interpretations of the doctrines of those organizations.
And cultural (usually involving popular entertainment).
Political :- the claims that Freemasonry exerts control over politics, perhaps the best-known example is the New World Order theory. The statement that Freemasonry is out to rule the World may often grace your ears - My answer is
“Well Freemasonry in its current form has been going 300 years and it has not managed it so you should have no worries about us being successful in your life time!”
Another set of theories has to do with Freemasonry and religion, particularly that Freemasonry deals with "the occult". These theories have their beginnings in the Taxil hoax. In addition to these, there are various theories that focus on the embedding of symbols in otherwise ordinary items, such as street patterns, national seals, corporate logos, etc. However answers along these lines trying to change peoples' minds are too complex for their thought patterns. It is better to say -
“Did you know the Archbishop of Canterbury who crowned the Queen was a Freemason? Are you saying that he was involved in the Occult. Tell me more?”
“The Chief Rabbi in Britain at that time was also a Freemason, so are you telling me he was also involved?”
There are Masonic conspiracy theories dealing with every aspect of society. The majority of these theories are based on one or more of the following assumptions:
That Freemasonry is its own religion, requires belief in a unique Masonic "god", and that belief in this Masonic "god" is contrary to the teachings of various mainstream religions (although usually noted in terms of being specifically contrary to Christian belief).
“As a Christian do you call God Allah? No! - We Freemasons are a secular society with people of many different religions and so have a euphemism to cover for each individual's personal God, so when they hear G.A.O.T.U. (Great Architect of the Universe) they think of their name be it - God, Allah, Jehovah, Buddha etc.“
That the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite is more than an honorary degree, coupled with the belief that most Freemasons are unaware of hidden or secretive ruling bodies within their organization that govern them, conduct occult ritual, or control various positions of governmental power.
"Very few Freemasons ever get to be 33rd degree. So they are not the norm. Are you saying that on receiving the 33rd degree an individual changes his character? I think not."
"Where do you get your facts from? Are they from individuals as benevolent as Edward Jenner whose discovery has saved more lives than any other human, Dr. Barnardo who started homes for Orphans, George Washington “I cannot tell a lie”, Sir Henry Wellcome the philanthropist, Alexander Fleming inventor of Antibiotics, and an endless list of Freemasons who have benefited mankind. I believe in what they believed in, can you say the same for your sources”.
That there is a centralized worldwide body that controls all Masonic Grand Lodges, and thus, all of Freemasonry worldwide acts in a unified manner
"Nothing could be further from the Truth, every Lodge is different, and all countries' Grand Lodges are their own masters. There is no overall management structure, just the belief in the right of every individual to believe in their own way, and that all men who believe in Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are brothers in this world no matter their religion”
Wikipedia has even gathered quite a list of conspiracy theories associated with Freemasonry which they provide for us.
1. That the British judiciary is heavily infiltrated with Masons, who give fellow Masons "the benefit of the doubt" in court, subverting the legal system.
2. That Freemasonry overlaps with, or is controlled by, the Illuminati, especially in the higher degrees; Illuminati Freemasons secretly control many major aspects of society and government and are working to establish the New World Order. Some conspiracy theories involving the Freemasons and the Illuminati also include the Knights Templar and Jews as part of the supposed plan for universal control of society. This type of conspiracy theory was described as early as 1792 by multiple authors, beginning in France and Scotland.
3. That Freemasonry is a Jewish front for world domination, or is at least controlled by Jews for this goal. An example of this is the notorious (and fraudulent) The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Adolf Hitler believed that Freemasonry was a tool of Jewish influence, and outlawed Freemasonry and persecuted Freemasons partially for this reason.
4. The covenant of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas claims that Freemasonry is a "secret society" founded as part of a Zionist plot to control the world.
5. Hilaire Belloc thought Jews had "inaugurated" freemasonry "as a bridge between themselves and their hosts".
6. That Freemasons are behind income taxes in the US. One convicted tax protester has charged that law enforcement officials who surrounded his property in a standoff over his refusal to surrender after his conviction were part of a "Zionist, Illuminati, Free Mason movement".
7. The New Hampshire Union Leader also reported that "the Browns believe the IRS and the federal income tax are part of a deliberate plot perpetrated by Freemasons to control the American people and eventually the world."
8. That Freemasons have strong links with more selective secret and semi-secret societies such as the Bohemian Grove meeting, the Skull and Bones society, and Rhodes Scholars.
9. That groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Orange Order are intimately tied to Freemasonry.
1. There are a number of claims, predominantly made by Conservative Protestants that Freemasons at higher degrees deceive those at lower degrees, and gradually reveal a separate, occult religion:
2. That Freemasons worship Lucifer or Satan, often attributed to quotes by Albert Pike.
3. That Freemasons worship Baal, Baphomet, Dajjal, or Rahu
4. That Freemasonry is occult in nature and worships their own particular god, such as GAOTU the "Great Architect of the Universe", or Jahbulon, an amalgam of the gods YHWH, Baal, and Osiris.
Alleged occult influences on popular culture
1. That Freemasons intertwine various symbols and numerology into modern culture, such as corporate logos.
2. That the United States was founded by Freemasons who have interwoven Masonic symbols into American society, particularly in national seals, streets in Washington, D.C., architecture, and the dollar bill (indeed several Founding Fathers such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and James Monroe were Freemasons).
1. That Freemasons faked the Apollo moon landings.[who?]
2. That the September 11 attacks were astrological in nature, as part of a hidden war between Masonry (as descendants of the Knights Templar) and Islam.[who?]
3. That humanoid reptiles are behind secret societies like the Freemasons and the Illuminati.
4. That some prominent murders involved Freemasons, including the cases of Jack the Ripper,[ Roberto Calvi, and John F. Kennedy.
5. That the Masons are either intimately connected to or (conversely) in conflict with the Illuminati regarding a plot to control several countries.
6. That the Royal Order of Jesters, an invite-only club of Freemasonry's AAONMS, forced kidnapped Brazilian minors into prostitution with the help of a former Sheriff and a Police detective, according to FBI investigations.”
No doubt you the reader, whether a Freemason or not will have had someone repeat at least one of those allegations on this Wikipedia list. To those who are not freemasons trust your opinions on what you think of those Freemasons you have met. Get to know us.
To my Freemason brothers be prepared to answer any question with pride in the Craft, the knowledge of the good that your own Grand Lodge and its members have done for Society, and finally the good character of your fellow masons.
Note: To give you more information as to what negatives are going on in the rest of the world I have put a series of interesting links on my blog site.
John Barns Graham
What to say?