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Masonic Myths

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1519247
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08/24/2011 10:01 PM
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Masonic Myths
There are two kinds of myths about Freemasonry: those told about us by others and those we tell about ourselves. And make no mistake about it, we’ve been making up stories about ourselves since day one.

Myths of our origins

Our first chronicler was Dr. James Anderson who composed, or at least compiled our first Book of Constitutions in 1723. Included as a preface was a history of Freemasonry—a gloss of all the manuscript Charges then available. A rather fantastic interpretation by Anderson, it was not reprinted in the next edition in 1734. It claimed as fact the lineal descent of modern Freemasonry through King Athelstan, King Solomon, and Adam. Thus was our first myth born. To varying degrees, over the following almost two hundred years many freemasons accepted that history and many non-masons assumed that this was in fact Freemasonry’s teachings.

Today most freemasons are unsure who Athelstan was and recognize that the Solomon link is legendary. But we’ve created another myth: our Templar heritage. I hesitate to broach the subject as it is controversial with many freemasons convinced that the Templars took refuge in Scotland and either created or entered Freemasonry to hide their own practices and beliefs. John Robinson’s Born in Blood was one of the first to popularize this notion to a modern audience.

Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, who brought us The Hiram Key, and others, have demonstrated themselves to be excellent hucksters but woefully deficient as historians and I shan’t refer to them again, but Michael Baigent, who co-authored The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, among others, is noteworthy in having drawn back from his earlier promotion of the Templar myth.

I will only say that Robert Cooper, current curator of the museum of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, who has spent many years researching the subject—studying primary source documents, roaming forgotten graveyards and the like— wrote what I believe to be the definitive debunking of this myth in the 2002 edition of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. He has also published a book on the topic. It’s not as exciting as Holy Blood but it’s much better history.

More recently, the adoption of the blue forget-me-not by Nazi-era freemasons is another myth. The Grand Lodge zur Sonne (Bayreuth) used to have a pin made for delegates to wear to their annual meetings. One particular pin, in 1926, depicted a forget-me-not. Later, in 1934, the Nazis instituted the Winterhilfswerk, which involved youths collecting money on the streets for rearmament. To encourage donations, different pins and badges were given to contributors for them to wear during that collection period. The badge used by the Nazis for the collection made in March 1938 coincidently was the same forget-me-not pin chosen by the freemasons in 1926. There is absolutely no record of the pin, or the flower, ever having been worn during the war anywhere in Germany much less in concentration camps, as the legend would have it.

The Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Germany, Dr. Theodor Vogel distributed the same pin as tokens of friendship whenever he made official visits abroad after 1948; most notably at a Conference of Grand Masters in Washington, DC in February 1953, where he recounted the 1938 history.

This explains how the blue forget-me-not became a German masonic emblem after the war and why, when American freemasons later founded military lodges in Germany, at least one chose that flower as the lodge name. Many lodges in Germany, at least up until recently, present a forget-me-not to newly raised brethren or Master Masons.

We also encourage the myth that we belong to some universal, monolithic secular fraternity. But in fact we are very much each the products of our time and place. We recognize the Grand Lodge of Sweden but they restrict their membership to professing Christians and there are members of our jurisdiction who would be decidedly uncomfortable attending their meetings and certainly wouldn’t be allowed to affiliate. We recognize the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, but there are members of our jurisdiction who would not be allowed to enter their lodgehalls because of the colour of their skin.

Myths of our rituals

Some of you may not be aware that our current three degree system has not been the practice from what we style “time immemorial.” Prior to 1737, with the publication of Masonry Dissected by Samuel Pritchard, we only have records of two degrees. For some years earlier the Hiramic legend does not appear to have been as popular as a similar story involving Noah and his sons. As brethren in this jurisdiction are very aware, there is more than one ritual worked. None of them have come down to us from time immemorial. To say that prohibitions regarding innovations in the work is a landmark, is a myth.

It is also a myth to claim that A.L. is an abbreviation for Anno Lucis. The earliest mention of ‘Anno Lucis’ in England is in 1777.

The initials can be found as early as in 1725, and frequently in the years afterwards. But it does not follow that these letters stood for ‘Anno Lucls’. In both the first and second editions of our Constitutions (printed in 1723 and 1738 respectively), the author uses the English phrase ‘Year of Masonry’.

There are jewels extant inscribed ‘Anno Lat. 5732’. The abbreviation ‘Lat’ almost certainly stands for ‘Latomorum' , the genitive plural case of the Latin word 'Latomus' (or in its more usual form 'Lautomus') itself derived from Greek, and means ‘of stone-cutters’. First seen in 14th-century Fabric Rolls it came to represent ‘of freemasons’. Thus ‘Anno Latomorum’ can be read as ‘in the Year of Freemasons’ and, not unreasonably, ‘of Freemasonry’.

The abbreviation ‘AL.’ can apply also to ‘Anno Lithotomorum,’ which is found in 1735 in the Minutes of a lodge at Salisbury. The prefix ‘litho’derives from the Greek and the full word again means ‘the Year of Masonry’.

In 1752 we have the first List of lodges published by the Grand Lodge of the Antients and engraved by Ellis. He uses ‘Anno Lap’. This could safely be assumed to mean ‘Anno Lapidariorum’ ‘in the Year of the Stonecutters’ and, by definition, ‘of Freemasonry’.

Myths are not restricted to Freemasonry. The dating of Creation was based on a work by James Ussher, Bishop of Armagh, who gives the date of the Nativity as “Anno Mundi” 4004, i.e., 4,004 years after the Creation of the World. To this day there are geography texts that —to poke fun at creationism—report that Ussher “declared that the Creation had occurred on October 26, 4004 B.C., at 9:00 A.M.” This is a myth.

In 1650, the Irish Archbishop, James Ussher, published his computations that the world was created on Sunday, October 23rd, 4004, beginning at sunset of the 22nd. Eight years earlier, in 1642, Dr. John Lightfoot wrote that man was created at 9:00 a.m. Neither gave a precise hour for the creation of the earth. A minor point but still an error that has no place in scholastic textbooks.

Myths promoted by non-masons

We can be our own worst enemies. We create these immense list of famous freemasons, sometimes on the shakiest of evidence, and then expect non-masons not to jump to the conclusion that Freemasonry has had a rôle in creating the United States, or instigating the French Revolution, or trying to control the world. We can’t have it both ways.

Fifteen presidents of the United States were freemasons; not most, not all. Eight freemasons out of 56 signators to the USA Declaration of Independence (1776) were freemasons; not most, not all. Nine freemasons out of 40 signators to the USA Constitution (1789) were freemasons; not most, not all.

Closer to home, I’ve heard it said that most, if not all of our provincial premiers up until W.A.C. Bennett were freemasons. In fact, of the thirty-four premiers since B.C. joined Confederation in 1871 — thirteen of them were freemasons.

For the record, Louis Armstrong, Lord Baden-Powell, Captain James Cook, Carroll O'Conner, James Smithson, Sir Richard Steele, Bram Stoker, Emanuel Swedenborg, Richard Wagner and H.G. Wells were not freemasons. You may have heard that Sean Connery or Robert Plant were freemasons. They are not.



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[link to freemasonry.bcy.ca]
romulus stark

User ID: 1515449
United States
08/24/2011 10:04 PM
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Re: Masonic Myths
Thank you.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1519247
Canada
08/24/2011 10:16 PM
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Your welcome friend!
romulus stark

User ID: 1515449
United States
08/25/2011 02:19 AM
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Anything else on this subject?
SmartestOne

User ID: 1486221
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08/25/2011 02:40 AM
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Re: Masonic Myths
What you have posted is nothing but pure propaganda.

Freemasonry is its own religion, as evidenced by:

* Masonic funerals. What "fraternal org" conducts its own funerals and has its own cemeteries?

* In Albert Pike's book Morals and Dogma, (Pike was the worldwide leader of Scottish Rite Freemasonry at the time), he reveals that Masons worship Lucifer. This is explicitly revealed to the 32-degree initiate.

One of Pike's titles was that of PONTIFF, further underscoring the fact that Freemasons have their own religion.

I could go on all night but have to turn in. Reading Morals and Dogma or the works of Manly P. Hall or Robert Mackie is highly recommended to interested parties.
~The most plagiarized poster on GLP!~

Paultards started the war, but I won it!

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*The USA has NOT BEEN HIJACKED! Learn the TRUTH! 200+ years of LIES AND DECEPTION unmasked! Discount for GLP posters! Contact me for details*

Your ignorance does not constitute "craziness" on the part of others.

Let's talk Freemasonry! I'm armed with Pike, Mackey, and Hall.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1263100
Australia
08/25/2011 05:23 AM
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bsflag


This is how the devil has been able to infiltrate the gov, and important positions of power. It is the hand of the devil and how he is taking over on the local level, that is why there are freemasons halls everywhere. If people shut them down the world would be a better place, and we would get our countries back.
All just a bunch of sickos, on a power trip.
But their days are numbered.




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Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1519247
Canada
08/25/2011 07:41 PM
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Its a shame that you think that way about Masonry. Sure, there have been some rogue lodges throughout history such as P2 but my experience within the craft has been nothing but positive. I own a copy of Morals and Dogma as well as most of Mackey's literature. When Freemasonry refers to Luficer, they are not speaking of the 'Devil' from the Christian Bible, but as a force of light and knowledge. Fear of Masonry comes from ignorance.
romulus stark

User ID: 1515449
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08/25/2011 07:44 PM
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The more I learn about the craft the more I understand the appeal to some and the disgust of others...like you first posted about how the myths where created.