In my opinion, one of the most controversial subjects that can be discussed is Freemasonry. The reason being that it is shrouded in secrecy. Especially is this true when there is someone not in Freemasonry discussing it with someone who is in it. The Mason will become very disturbed that a non-Mason would even insinuate that there may be something wrong with his being a member of the lodge. This will even further disturb him if it involves the religious aspects of Freemasonry. The reason for this negative reaction is that it is difficult for a Mason to understand how a non-member could possibly know more about Freemasonry than an actual member. What will follow will be a brief look at not only what the leaders of Freemasonry say it is, but why there is such a misunderstanding on the part of some Masons as to what Freemasonry is really all about.
Degrees of Masonry
We must first explain for those not familiar with Masonry its various levels. There are 33 different levels or degrees. Each degree involves the memorization of certain material, and the going through certain ceremonies or rituals before the person may move up to the next level. The first three levels, called the "Blue Degrees," usually take approximately one year apiece to complete. After attaining the third degree, the person has become what is referred to as a "Master Mason." They spend months and months memorizing the various materials for levels 1-3, and are told that the reason for the tedious memorization process is that none of it is written down. They are misled here deliberately misled according to Albert Pike, perhaps their greatest writer and 33rd degree Master Mason. The reason for this deliberate deception will be discussed later. Next he may decide to move up into the higher degrees by going to a series of classes that range from one to several days in order to become a 32nd degree Master Mason. Though it took him about 3 years to go through the first 3 degrees, he can go from level 3 to level 32 all at once in only a matter of days. This is as high as he can go on a local level. If he should decide to try to attain the 33rd level, he would have reached the very highest degree and therefore attain a more complete understanding of what the organization is really all about. Should he decide, as most Masons do, to be satisfied with remaining at the 32nd level, he will never be taught what the symbols and allegories really mean. Until he reaches the top, he will not be taught what Freemasonry really believes about itself. Freemasonry is made up of autonomous local lodges. Most Masons don't even know that there is a level of worldwide organization. This upper level is where the 33rd degree comes in to play. Generally speaking, if you were to ask a Mason what the purpose of Freemasonry is, they would probably say that it teaches them how to become better citizens and that it is a very charitable organization. Its teachings, though, are cloaked in symbolism and allegories and that is where the problem comes in. Notice the following:
... the Mason who knows nothing of our symbolism knows little of Freemasonry. He may be able to repeat every line of the Ritual without an error, and yet, if he does not understand the meaning of the ceremonies, the signs, the words, the emblems, and the figures, he is an ignoramus Masonically. It is distressing to witness how much time and labor is spent in memorizing 'the work'; and how little in ascertaining what it all means. . . . The study of no other aspect of Freemasonry is more important, yet the study of no other aspect of it has been so much neglected (Symbolism of the Three Degrees, by Oliver Day Street, pp. 5-6, published by the Masonic Service Association of the U.S.).
The only way a Mason can learn "what it all means" is to reach the 33rd level. If for whatever reason he never does that, then he will never find out what the true picture of Masonry is all about. With the exception of course being that a Mason may come across material such as this. There are many books which contain this material and are published by Freemasonry itself. However, the availability of these books is restricted to 33rd degree Masons I It is from those books that much of this material has come. Though these books are somewhat scarce, they can be found at used and rare book stores. That is where I acquired those that I have.
Why is it that the vast majority of Master Masons never even attempt to reach the highest level, the 33rd degree? I believe it is a result of the fact that they are not aware that they have been deliberately misled concerning the meaning of symbols and secrets.
The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the Symbols are displayed there to the initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he should understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine that he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry (Morals and Dogmas, by Albert Pike, p. 819).
This apparently acts as sort of a filtering process to weed out those who are not worthy to understand the "Truth." The 32nd degree Master Mason must take the initiative to seek out those true meanings.
In the ceremonies of making a Mason we do not attempt to do more than to indicate the pathway to Masonic knowledge, to lay the foundation for the Masonic edifice; the brother must pursue the journey or complete the structure for himself by reading and reflection (Symbolism of the Three Degrees, by Street, p. 8).
If a Mason doesn't take the initiative to pursue this knowledge, then he will never find out what the true meanings are, but will only "imagine he understands them."
Now what are some of these things that are hidden from the lower degrees in Masonry? Almost all of it involves the religion of Masonry!
. . . to those who advance to the highest Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. That Rite raised a corner of the veil, even in the Degree of apprentice; for it there declares that Masonry is a Worship (Morals and Dogmas, p. 219).
Pike says that the veil begins to be lifted as one advances to the higher degrees. But even in the lower degrees, some of the aspects of what Masonry really is can begin to be understood, though only given in hidden symbols. He then goes on to tell what it is that those "who advance to the highest degrees" begin to see.
It (Masonry) is the universal, eternal, immutable religion, such as God planted it in the heart of universal humanity (Morals and Dogmas, p. 219).
Masonry Is a Religion
What begins to be understood is that Masonry is not only a religion, which they had always believed that it was not, but it is the original religion from which all other religions sprang, including Christianity!
. . . that all may see the benign influence of Masonry, as all true Masons have done from the beginning of the world, and will do to the end of time (The Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas, p. 63).
. . . the mysteries, of which Masonry is the legitimate successor - from the earliest times the custodian and depository of the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large, and handed down from age to age by an unbroken current of tradition, embodied in symbols, emblems and allegories (Morals and Dogmas, p. 210).
Masonry, when properly expounded, is at once the interpretation of the great book of nature, the recital of physical and astronomical phenomena, the purest philosophy, and the place of deposit, where, as in a Treasury, are kept in safety, all the great truths of the primitive revelation, that form the basis of all religions (Morals and Dogmas, p. 625).
All truly dogmatic religions have issued from the Kabalah and return to it . . . the Kabalah alone consecrates the alliance of the Universal Reason and the Divine Word . . . it has the keys of the Present, the Past, and the Future . . the Bible, with all the allegories it contains, expresses in an incomplete and veiled manner only, the religious science of the Hebrews (Morals and Dogmas, p. 744).
The appointed action of life is the great training of Providence; and if man yields himself to it, he will need neither churches nor ordinances, except for the expression of his religious homage and gratitude (Morals and Dogmas, pp. 211-212).
Masonry's View of Other Religions
They then are taught how they are to view those other religions and religious teachers as they relate to the original religion of Masonry.
It (Masonry) reverences all the great reformers. It sees in Moses, the Lawgiver of the Jews, in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in the Arabian Iconoclast, Great Teachers of morality, and Eminent Reformers, if no more. and allows every brother of the Order to assign to each such higher and even Divine Character as his creed and Truth require. Thus Masonry disbelieves no truth, and teaches unbelief in no creed, except so far as such creed may . . . strike at those great columns of Masonry (Morals and Dogmas, p. 525).
So the Arabic, hrm, an unused root, meant, "was high," and "made great," "exalted," and Hiram means . . . the personification of Light and the Son, the Mediator, Redeemer, and Savior ... chief or master (Morals and Dogmas, p. 79).
That was a reference to Hiram Abiff. He was called the Mediator, Redeemer, Savior, etc. Abiff, according to Masonry, was the chief Mason over construction of Solomon's temple. He was allegedly murdered by 3 men for refusing to reveal the secrets of Masonry (see Duncan's Ritual, pp. 122-123).
Now what have we seen so far concerning the religious teachings of Masonry? They are taught in the lower degrees that all religions are equal and that one is just as good as another, even those such as Islam that teach that Jesus was not the Son of God. That is why a Bible may be used in lodges in one part of the world and the Koran in another. Yet if and when they reach the 33rd degree, they learn that Masonry is the original religion. It contains the religious truths unknown to the world at large. It has preserved the great truths that form the basiq of all religions. The Kabalah alone contains the keys to the present, past, and future. The Bible, being incomplete, is only the religious science of the Hebrews. A Mason does not need a church because modem churches are just offshoots from the original truths contained in Freemasonry!
Masonry's Views of the Bible and Jesus
Next we will look at a few quotes that will shed some more light on Masonry's view, not only of Jesus, but of the Bible as well.
The Bible is just one of the Great Lights . . . But the shadow must not be taken for the substance. There is nothing sacred or holy in the mere book. . . It is what it typifies (Masonry) that renders it sacred to us. Any other book having the same signification would do just as well (Symbolism of the Three Degrees, p. 36).
The Bible, with a the allegories it contains, expresses, in an incomplete and veiled manner only, the religious science of the Hebrews (Morals and Dogmas, p. 744).
Any one who will make a little study of this doctrine of inspiration will soon realize what treacherous sands of theological dogma Masonry will find itself should it ever attempt to enforce belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God. There is but one escape from this jungle of dogmatism and that is frankly to acknowledge the Bible to be a symbol only (Symbolism of the Three Degrees, p. 40).
Not only is it the official position of Freemasonry that it is the original religion from which all others sprang, and that Jesus was just a "great teacher," but also that the Bible is an "incomplete," "uninspired" book that only belongs with "the other great lights."
Next, let's see what the upper level of Freemasonry teaches concerning the salvation of man. Remember that this is what is taught by the "Adepts," the 33rd degree Master Masons:
A little study will reveal to us that the great, vital, underlying idea, sought to be inculcated by the several degrees considered collectively and which runs entirely through the system, is to give an allegorical or symbolic representation of human existence, not only here but hereafter, and to point the way which leads to the greatest good both in this life and in the life to come (Symbolism of the Three Degrees, p. 9).
Let him who toils complain not, nor feel humiliated! Let him look up, and see his fellow workmen there, in God's Eternity; they alone surviving there. Even in the weak human memory, they long survive, and as Saints, as Heroes, and as Gods: they alone survive, and people the unmeasured solitudes of Time (Morals and Dogmas, p. 343).
There you have it! This probably comes as a shock to most who read this, especially to those Masons who have not achieved the 33rd degree! I have tried to include enough in each quote to properly set the context, but if there is a question about that, you may check the references that I have given.
Religions Ceremonies of Masonry
The last thing that I want to look at is how a man could be a Mason for years and not see the religion in it even if it is cloaked in symbolism. Consider these key points of Masonry:
1. The prayers that are offered.
2. The reference to a temple.
3. The title given to the head of the Lodge, "Worshipful Master" (A title forbidden to be worn in Matt. 23:91).
4. There are washings that are sometimes referred to as baptisms (Morals and Dogmas, p. 538).
5. There is a type of communion with bread and wine that is learned in the 33rd degree representing the bodies of all the great reformers, including Jesus (Morals and Dogmas, p. 539).
6. They call each other "brothers."
7. Many of their symbols represent God.
8. Many of their rituals speak of the "Great Architect in the Sky."
9. They have an altar.
10. They have deacons.
11. There is a Holy of Holies.
12. Certain ceremonies involve kneeling.
13. There is a High Priest.
14. In various levels they are given a "secret word." The word given at level 7 is " Jah-buh-lun, " which is supposed to be the word for God or Jehovah. (More on this word later.)
15. During the initiation ceremony the Worshipful Master (who represents King Solomon) takes the hand of the initiate (who represents Hiram Abiff) and tries to raise him from the dead. It is not until the proper hand grip is used that the "resurrection" takes place. He is now in "the light."
I have had 32nd degree Masons tell me that they don't know how they missed the religion in Masonry all those years. It was right there before their eyes, only veiled in symbolism. Had they attained the 33rd degree, it would have all been laid out in black and white before them. It all goes back to what Pike said regarding the deliberate deception of the lower degrees. It is intended that those in the lower degrees shall "imagine that he understands them." When I hear a 32nd degree Master Mason say emphatically that Freemasonry is not a religion, I understand that he honestly is not aware that he has been deliberately misled!
A Christian Cannot Be A Mason
How does all of this relate to Christianity? I dare say that a Christian cannot be a Mason and at the same time be pleasing to God! Notice what is said at an initiation of a new member in answer to the question "who comes here"?
Mr. _______, who had long been in darkness, and now seeks to be brought to light and to receive a part in the rights and benefits of this worshipful lodge, erected to God, and dedicated to the Holy saint John. . . (Duncan's Ritual, p. 29).
Listen to a part of the oath that they must recite at the end of the initiation:
All this I solemnly, sincerely promise and swear . . . binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by its roots, and my body buried in the rough sands of the sea, at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I ever knowingly violate this my entered Apprentice obligation. So help me God, and keep me steadfast in the performance of the same (Duncan's Ritual, pp. 34-35).
Can you imagine a Christian saying that he is "in darkness" and seeks to be enlightened through Masonry? As far as the oath, I can not picture any adult, much less a Christian, making such a statement! - It sounds more like what you might hear a child say at an initiation to the new clubhouse!
At various levels secret words are given. I find it very disturbing that the "sacred word" given at the 17th degree is "Abaddon" (Scottish Rite Masonry, pp. 452-453). If this word sounds familiar, you probably will remember that in Revelation 9:11 the name "Abaddon" refers to the one who is the angel of the bottomless pit, Satan! Not only is it odd that Abaddon is one of the secret words in Masonry, but it is called a sacred word!
What about the secret word for God or Jehovah that is given at level 7, "Jah-buh-lun"? Duncan explains the meaning of the word:
JEHOVAH. Of the varieties of the sacred name in use among different nations of the earth, three particularly merit the attention of Royal Arch Masons.
1. JAH. This name of God is found in the 68th Psalm, vs. 4.
2. BAAL or BEL. This word signifies a lord, master, or possessor, and hence it was applied by many of the nations of the East to denote the Lord of all things, and the Master of the world.
3. ON. This was the name by which JEHOVAH was worshiped among the Egyptians (Duncan's Ritual, pp. 224-226).
It is absolutely incredible that Freemasonry could have as its secret name for God, a word whose components come from the Pagan gods Baal and On! Baal is referred to many times in the Bible as being a false god to whom idolatrous nations were offering human sacrifices (see 2 Kgs. 16:3, 21:3-6). I cannot see how a professing Christian could possibly call the true and living God by a man-made name such as "Jah-buh-lun"!
Masonry is not the original religion; it is not the true religion! It is "another religion" teaching "another gospel"! Paul warned in Galatians 1:6-8 that anyone involved in any other gospel than that of Jesus Christ was to be "accursed." If you are a Mason and refuse to open your eyes and examine more closely this organization that you are in, then you will have no excuse on the day of Judgment for your ignorance. I pray that if you are in Freemasonry that you will carefully consider the points that have been made in this material.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 23, pp. 710-711, 724-725