An Exchange on Freemasonry

 

     Before you read the following exchange, I recommend that you read, "Freemasonry" located in Bible Truths. The subsequent exchange took place on a large Internet list during the summer of 2004. It involved a man whom I shall call "Jeff" and a high ranking Mason identified in the exchange as "Eric." Regarding Eric's credentials he wrote of himself: "As for my Masonic levels, I am a 32nd Degree Mason, a Knight Templar, an Actual Past Master, a Member of the Philalethes Society (The Only International Research Organization of Freemasonry) and a grand officer of the Grand Lodge of Indiana F. & A. M." Eric is also a member of the "Church of Christ." During the last couple decades, Freemasonry has experienced a revival, at least in the United States. As a result, there are more members of the church who are now active Masons. I held one gospel meeting where it became known that there were six Masons within that membership. Hence, the issue of whether or not a Christian can be a Freemason is very pertinent.

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

I see that my original post regarding Masonry prompted an avalanche of responding posts, some for Masonry and some against it. I also observed that there are active Masons on this list. In this post, I want to re-publish my original precipitating post (the Featured Question from Bible Questions). In my immediately following next post, I want to focus on weather or not Masonry is a religion. Here is the Featured Question from Bible Questions:

"Question: How about Masonry?

Answer: Our querist wants to know about Masonry. The particulars of the question pertain to the secrecy surrounding Masonry and if it is a good idea to become a Mason.

Masonry is a religious institution. There are a number of recognized works which one can consult to ascertain the basic nature and tenets of Masonry (Freemasonry). Works such as Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, Morals and Dogma, the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, and Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor. To quote a Masonic work: 'Masonry, then, is indeed, a religious institution.' (Ency. Of Freemasonry, Albert Mackey, pg. 729). The Masonic lodge is a temple of religion (Morals and dogma, pgs. 213, 214). The Mason kneels at the altar (Ibid., pg. 327), meets for a sacred purpose (Lightfoot, pg. 2), and searches for light (Morals and Dogma, pg. 741).

Masonry requires practices which are condemned in scripture. The god which Masons are taught to worship is designated as 'G.A.O.T.U.' (Great Architect of the Universe, Ency. Of Freemasonry, pgs. 290, 310). Masonry does not acknowledge Jesus Christ, as such (Ibid. pg. 619). Masonry requires oaths which violate the scriptures: '.binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by its roots,' swears the entered apprentice regarding keeping the 'secrets' of Masonry (Duncan's Ritual, pgs. 34, 35, cp. with James 5: 12).

Kind reader, much of the 'secrecy' of Masonry has be revealed (see foregoing reference works). The design of the temple, various rites and degrees, and the goals have been disclosed. Notwithstanding, the oath of secrecy is unthinkable (I Pet. 3:15, I Thes. 5: 21). In short, Christianity and Masonry are incompatible."

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

I have tried to study with a number of Masons through the years. I have observed that most Masons are basically decent people who have above average morals. They all seem to have an awareness of their fellow man that many in our world today have lost. What I am saying is that there are a number of good features regarding Masonry. However, there are also some serious problems with Masonry, especially from the standpoint of the Christian's perspective. I recall as a young boy an issue arising in the Primitive Baptist Church in which I was "brought up." A couple wanted to "move their letter" and the men of the church had a problem. A meeting of the men was called and since it was viewed as a very consequential meeting, the woman and young people were invited. I eagerly attended with my mother and grandmother (I was always wanting to learn and observe situations). The preacher stated the desire of the couple to have their letter accepted (join) and then stated that he (the man) was an active Mason. The pursuant discussion emphasized the fact that the man was already a member of a religion and that the Primitive Baptism Church did not normally accept people who were concurrently members of another religion. A vote was taken (the Primitive Baptist way of doing things) and the majority voted to refuse to recognize the letter.

Is Masonry a religion, this is the question. "No, Masonry is not a religion," some practicing Masons who are also members of churches of Christ answer. It is very difficult studying with Masons because they are not allowed to discuss Masonry with non-Masons (the "deeper secrets"). I have found it interesting that many of the non-Masons with whom I have attempted to talk have answered that Masonry is a religion; while Masons who are members of "the church" generally answer that Masonry is not a religion. However, just because one says Masonry is or is not a religion does not necessarily matter. What matters is the definition of religion and if Masonry meets that definition.

Masonry is a philosophy in that it inculcates philosophic principles. Masonry is a philanthropic order because it renders charitable acts. Masonry is philosophic and philanthropic in its essential organizational teaching, I might add. Is Masonry, though, a religion? Let us consider a standard definition of "religion" as offered by the Random House College Dictionary:

    
"1. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies usually involving devotional and ritual observances and often specific and institutionalized set of beliefs and practices....6. The practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith...." (pg. 1114).

Masonry (I understand there are different orders and rites, but what I am saying generally applies to all orders of Masonry) certainly has a decided view of a Supreme Being and offers this teaching regarding the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe as necessary doctrine to the initial and continued acceptance of all constituents of Masonry. Masonry engages in what could be called devotion in their ceremonies. Also, Masonry as an entity stresses the observance of moral principles and purports to make man better fitted to serve the "Divine Architect of the Universe" and secure an everlasting place with Him.

There are certain works that are generally recognized as authoritative by Masons. The Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry and Morals and Dogmas are two esteemed works. Consider what these works say as to whether or not Masonry is a religion:

     "Masonry, then, is indeed, a religious institution; and on this ground mainly, if not alone, should the religious Mason defend it." (Encyclopaedia. Of Freemasonry, pg. 729.)

     "Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion and its teachings are instruction in religion. Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other...This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures." (Morals and Dogmas, pg. 325.)

    
"On the contrary I contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Masonry is, in every sense of the word, except one, and that its least philosophical, an eminently religious institution - that it is indebted solely to the religious element which it contains for its origin and for its continued existence, that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good." (Ency. of Freemasonry, pg. 727.)

    
"The tendency of all true Masonry is towards religion. If it make any progress, its progress is to that holy end. Look at its ancient landmarks, its sublime ceremonies, its profound symbols and allegories - all inculcating religious doctrines, commanding religious observance, and teaching religious truth, and who can deny that it is eminently a religious institution?" (Ency. of Freemasonry, pg. 728.)

In closing this post, I would point out that the Baptist Church is a religion. As an entity, the Baptist Church purports to corporately worship God, set forth religious doctrine, and make man better suited to serve and be with his God. The acts performed in the Baptist Church (their assemblies) are religious. Hence, just because one might say, "The Baptist Church is not a religion" does not make it so. Masonry as an entity, purports to corporately worship God, set forth religious doctrine, and make man better suited to serve and be with his God. The acts performed in Masonic lodges (their assemblies) are religious. Hence, just because one might say, "Masonry is not a religion," does not make it so!

 

Don Martin to Jeff and the list:

 

My initial posts were mainly directed to examining Freemasonry (both York and Scottish Rite) from the consideration of being a religion versus simply a society or social order. I offered a standard definition of religion and I pointed out that their own authorities or recognized Masonic writers state that Freemasonry is a religion. The purpose and service of the Masonic Lodge is indicative of a religious service conducted by a religion. Consider the following:

    
"7. It is a lesson, which every Mason is taught at one of the earliest points of his initiation, that he should commence no important undertaking without first invoking the blessings of Deity -- hence the next step in the progress of the opening ceremonies is to address a prayer to the Supreme Architect of the Universe. This prayer, although offered by the Master, is to be participated in by every brother, and, at its conclusion, the audible response of 'So mote it be' should be made by all present. 8. The Lodge is then declared, in the name of God and the Holy Saints John, duly opened. A Lodge is said to be opened in the name of God and the Holy Saints John as a declaration of the sacred purpose of our meeting; of our profound reverence for that Divine Being whose name and attributes should be the constant theme of our contemplation, and of our respect for those ancient patrons whom the traditions of Masonry have so intimately connected with the history of the Institution." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, pg. 2).

Notwithstanding the above, Jeff appears to take issue with what I have said about Masonry being a religion.

Jeff retorted thus:

Let's follow Mr. Martin's logical analysis one step further using his own words ....

     "I would point out that [Don Martin] is a religion. As an entity, [Don Martin] purports to ... worship God, set forth religious doctrine, and make man better suited to serve and be with his God. The acts performed [by Don Martin] are religious. Hence, just because one might say, "[Don Martin] is not a religion" does not make it so!"

Don comments:

The scriptures plainly distinguish between individual and collective or corporate action (cp. I Tim. 5: 16). Also, an individual does not constitute corporate worship and function. Jeff is mixing apples and oranges. I, Don Martin, am religious but I am not a religion! The Masonic Lodge offers corporate worship, teaching, and guidance to light and God as a basic function of the entity; hence, it is by common definition a religion.

Jeff continues:

Additionally, consider the following ...

    
"I would point out that Bible Truths is a religion. As an entity, Bible Truths purports to ... worship God, set forth religious doctrine, and make man better suited to serve and be with his God. The acts performed by Bible Truths are religious. Hence, just because one might say, "Bible Truths is not a religion, does not make it so!"

Don replies:

Bible Truths is simply a Web site that is entirely owned and operated by me. It is my means or instrument of teaching the truth. Bible Truths is not an entity, it has no corporate essence or structure. However, Freemasonry has both.

Jeff adds:

    
"Also, examine the following edited citation from Don Martin....'Don Martin and Bible Truths ... certainly has a decided view of a Supreme Being and offers this teaching regarding the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe as necessary doctrine to the initial and continued acceptance of all constituents of Don Martin and Bible Truths, Don Martin and Bible Truths engages in what could be called devotion in their ceremonies. Also, Don Martin and Bible Truths as an entity stresses the observance of moral principles and purports to make man better fitted to serve the 'Divine Architect of the Universe' and secure an everlasting place with Him."

    
Woe unto those who call not Masonry, Don Martin and Bible Truths a religion!!"

Don concludes:

What strange reasoning! Again, an individual can be religious but is not a religion. An individual may inculcate and teach religion, but an individual is not a religion. An individual may belong to a religion such as the Baptist Church or the Masonic Lodge, but that individual is not the Baptist Church or Freemasonry.

 

Don Martin to Jeff and the List:

 

I appreciate Jeff responding to my responsive post and I shall briefly comment on his post.

I have contended that Freemasonry is a religion and Jeff has taken issue. Freemasonry has corporate worship, a redeemer, and a creed. The service of each Lodge is characterized by admitted religious worship and activity. Freemasonry claims to offer light and an ultimate dwelling place with the G. A. O. T. U. (Great Architect of the Universe). Freemasonry has all the requirements and vestiges to constitute a religion; yet, some persist in denying this, even in the face of Masonic writers who were scholars and very versed in the tenets of Freemasonry claiming that Freemasonry is, indeed, a religion.

Jeff wrote:

I do know, however, that Don's remarks do not constitute an actual representation of what he says they do. Thus, if Don's remarks "prove" that Masonry is a religion, then so do mine prove that Don and Bible Truths are a religion.

Don comments:

How does Jeff know that my remarks are false? I have quoted from Masonic authorities as to what is done in their Lodges; thus, I have provided proof for my statements. Jeff just says, "I do know, however, that Don's remarks do not constitute an actual representation of what he says they do."

Jeff continued:

Don wrote ... "The purpose and service of the Masonic Lodge is indicative of a religious service conducted by a religion."

It is quite interesting that many do not consider a worship service to be a worship service unless the five acts of worship are performed. According to such definition, Masonry does not practice worship services. [Of course I would disagree with this, but that is the argument used by some, to their detriment.]

Don comments:

Without meaning to be abrasive, I must say that Jeff uses strange, elusive logic. I have never said or hinted at the belief of five acts all having to be present to constitute a worship service. Why would Jeff introduce such and then use this line of reasoning in an attempt to refute what I have said? The Lord's Supper and giving into the treasury are limited to the Lord's Day; yet, is not the typical meeting on Wednesday night worship?

Jeff asked:

Additionally, I would ask Don, can a group that is not the Church of Christ actually engage in worship without the five acts of worship?

My answer:

Yes. As stated, a typical Wednesday night gathering of saints to sing, pray, and study the scriptures is worship. I might add that such is corporate worship in that the body is activated as opposed to an isolated, individual Christian worshipping God in the privacy of his house. Also, we must also acknowledge that there is false worship; hence, not all worship is acceptable worship (Matt. 15: 9ff.). Just because Freemasons claim to gather to worship does not necessarily mean that their worship is right (Ibid.). Yet, what they do, right or wrong, is worship.

Question two:

If they can, what acts must be present for it to be a worship service?

Answer:

Any act such as prayer, singing, etc. can constitute public worship (see I Cor. 12, 14).

Question three:

Also, can worship actually be engaged in by some thing/person/institution other than the Church? If not, then Masonry is not engaged in worship (according to your own theory).

Answer:

Jeff formulates his own logic and anticipates answers that I have not heretofore provided. As stated, the Bible speaks of false worship; notwithstanding, it is called worship (cp. Matt. 15: 9, Col. 2: 18).

Jeff added:

Don Martin quotes Lightfoot's Manual ... Masonry "should commence no important undertaking without first invoking the blessings of Deity -- hence the next step in the progress of the opening ceremonies is to address a prayer to the Supreme Architect of the Universe."

Is that not also what Congress does before its opening sessions--invoke the blessings of Deity? Address prayer to the Supreme Architect of the Universe? Is Congress also engaged in worship at those times? (Of course they are!) Does this make Congress a religion? (Of course not!)

Continuing the quote further ... "The Lodge [THE CONGRESS] is then declared ... duly opened. A Lodge [CONGRESS] is said to be opened in the name of God ...; of our profound reverence for that Divine Being whose name and attributes should be the constant theme of our contemplation ..."

Question four:

Is Congress a religion?

Answer:

Congress is not an organized entity that has the charter of leading men to the true light and salvation. Congress is not an order that seeks to lead men in the worship of "God" and inculcate religious and moral tenets. Comparing congress and Freemasonry is again mixing apples and oranges.

Jeff observes:

THEN ... this uninformed statement from Don ... "An individual may belong to a religion such as the Baptist Church" ... ???

The Baptist Church is NOT a religion, it is a denominational group of a religion--Christianity!

Does Don, by this remark, consider the Church of Christ a religion? It fits his application of Webster's definition!! It meets all the criteria identified by Don of being a religion.

Perhaps Don is a little over-zealous to disparage something he doesn't understand with definitions he equally fails to understand.

Does Don also have other misunderstandings? Let's see ....

Don comments:

It is apparent that one of us is confused, but which one? Jeff says the Baptist Church is not a religion. I imagine most Baptists and the corporate Baptist Church would be insulted with Jeff's statement that the Baptist Church is not a religion.

Jeff asked question five:

Does Don, by this remark, consider the Church of Christ a religion?

Don's answer:

The Lord's church is certainly a religion (as we have defined the term). It engages in worship as a corporate body, has a Redeemer, and a creed. The Lord's church offers salvation and inculcates religious truths and morals. Yes, the Lord's church is a religion.

Jeff's question six:

Don, is a person sinning if they are a Mason, engaged in Masonry, worshiping with Masons in a Masonic Lodge? Is that person going to hell if they fail to repent of such activity?

My answer:

Masonry is a religion and, I might inject, a false religion. Based on such verses as Second John verses nine through eleven, I cannot concur with the offer of salvation extended by Freemasonry. To claim to offer light and a relationship with God without Jesus is repulsive (Jn. 8: 24). To engage in false religion is to sin (2 Jn. 9-11). John says that those who fellowship false religion "...have not God" (Ibid.).

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

Jeff has denied the fact that Freemasonry is indeed a religion. Freemasonry has structure, corporate worship in their Lodges, offers a creed, and expressly represents itself as a religion. Not only is Freemasonry a religious entity, but it also offers the ecumenical form of religion, anything goes. Put another way, Freemasonry is a religion that accepts and is made up of all religions, regardless of manifest incongruity in doctrine. The deity of Masonry is G. A. O. T. U.  G. A. O. T. U. stands for "Great Architect of the Universe." Based on a study of Masonry, one determines that the G. A. O. T. U of Masonry is not the God of the Bible. Masonry accepts Brahman (god of the Hindu Religion) and Allah (god of Muslim Religion). Freemasonry also accepts those who do not accept the deity of Jesus. Consider the following quotation:

    
"But the religion of Freemasonry is not sectarian. It admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom, rejecting none and approving none for his peculiar faith. It is not Judaism, though there is nothing in it to offend a Jew; it is not Christianity, but there is nothing repugnant to the faith of a Christian. Its religion is that general one of nature and primitive revelation - handed down to us from some ancient and Patriarchal Priesthood - in which all men may agree and in which no men can differ." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, pg. 847-848).

Based on the above quotation notice the following:

1). This recognized Masonic work states that Freemasonry offers religion.

2). Freemasonry accepts all creeds.

3). It is claimed that there is nothing in the tenets of Freemasonry to "offend" the Jew and Christian alike. However, should not the Christian be "offended" at the absence of "Jesus"? (This is how the Jew is placated.)

 

Don Martin to Eric and the list:

 

I have stated that Freemasonry is a religion based on the common definition (provided) for religion. Freemasonry has its temple, altar, sacred book, prayers, and religious rituals. Freemasonry purports to impart the light and guide man to an eternal place with his God. Yet, some have denied the fact of Freemasonry being a religion. Eric now writes in defense of Freemasonry not being a religion and accuses those who say it is as being ignorant.

Eric writes: I am not surprised that non-Masons might think that Freemasonry is a religion but their a lot of non-Christians who believe Christianity to be a cult. Does the belief by non-Christians that Christianity is a cult make it a cult?

Don replies:

First, Eric, thank you for your post. You are evidently a practicing Mason and while I think you are deceived, I do appreciate you taking the time to defend the notion that Freemasonry is not a religion.

Eric has pointed out that there exists some discrepancies in the location references and provided page numbers in some of my quotations. Regarding the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, there has been a revision published. Perhaps this is some of the confusion. Also, there is a single one volume edition available.

Eric has pointed out one actual mistake on my part and I appreciate it.

    
"Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion and its teachings are instruction in religion," I quoted..."Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other..This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures." (Morals and Dogma, pg. 325.)

Eric writes: I just examined my copy of Morals and Dogma and check this citation. This quote does not exist on page 325.

Don responds:

Eric is right and I am wrong. The quoted statement is not on page 325 but on pages 213 and 214. However, if Eric had read further in Morals and Dogma, he would have find this quoted stated (correct page number):

    
"Masonry is a worship; but one in which all civilized men can unite." (Morals and Dogma, p. 526).

Again, Mason and scholar Albert Pike says Freemasonry is a religion. I would venture to say that Pike is far more knowledgeable in the matter of Freemasonry than Eric. Eric, would you agree? By the way, what Masonic degree have you attained?

Eric covers himself:

Even if it did, Albert Pike was never the spokesman for the Freemasonry. While many Masonic researchers and historians value Albert Pike's work and consult it as a resource providing one particular view of Freemasonry, it holds no authority.

Don comments:

Eric, you and I have an entirely different understanding of the Masonic influence exerted by Albert Pike and Morals and Dogma.

Eric wrote:

"On the contrary I contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Masonry is, in every sense of the word, except one, and that its least philosophical, an eminently religious institution - that it is indebted solely to the religious element which it contains for its origin and for its continued existence, that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good." (Ency. of Freemasonry, pg. 727.)

Eric writes: I have examined Albert Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and found no such quote on page 727.

Don comments:

Again, Eric, I am unaware of which printing you are using. I did notice, though, how you wording your statement: "...and found no such quote on page 727." Would you affirm that no such quote exists as made by Mackey?

Eric covers himself:

Even if Albert Mackey made these statements, they are his perspective in how he viewed Freemasonry. Albert Mackey was never the spokesman nor the single authority on Freemasonry. While his work is consulted by Masonic researchers and historians, its value only lies in what historical information is provided. The representations made of each particular topic within the resource are included according to Albert Mackey's perspective and bias.

Don comments:

Albert Pike and Albert Mackey are both highly esteemed and their books are held in high regard by knowledgeable Masons.

I wrote and then Eric replied:

In closing this post, I would point out that the Baptist Church is a religion. As an entity, the Baptist Church purports to corporately worship God, set forth religious doctrine, and make man better suited to serve and be with his God. The acts performed in the Baptist Church (their assemblies) are religious. Hence, just because one might say, "The Baptist Church is not a religion" does not make it so. Masonry as an entity, purports to corporately worship God,

Eric writes: Exactly how does Masonry purport to corporately worship God. Masonry corporately recognizes God as the Creator and Father of All, yet I have yet to see God worshipped in any context of a Masonic Lodge or in any of its ceremonies.

Don responds:

As I have many times stated, the Lodge is presented as a place of worship. The service is opened and closed with public prayer in the typical Masonic Lodge. There is religious instruction and symbolism that is indicative of religion. The whole claim of Freemasonry is to make Masons religious and instruct them in moral and humanitarian principles so that they can spend an eternity with the G. A. O. T. U.

Eric closed his post thus:

Eric writes: Hence just because Don Martin believes that Masonry is a religion does not make it so.

Don closes:

I shall close my responsive post to Eric by agreeing: "...just because Don Martin believes that Masonry is a religion does not make it so." However, if it barks like a dog, looks like a dog, and acts like a dog, it probably is a dog. Freemasonry teaches as a religion, looks like a religion, claims to be a religion and, I submit, it is a religion. I shall expand this thought in my next post.

Thanks Eric for your comments and for pointing out the wrong page number in the reference to Morals and Dogma.

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

I appreciate the interest possessed by those on this list relative to whether or not Freemasonry is a religion. Eric wrote:

Hence just because Don Martin believes that Masonry is a religion does not make it so.

Back in the late sixties, I briefly worked with a church that rented a Masonic Lodge. I found the symbolism very interesting. Masonry is divided into what they call the operative and speculative. The operative is believed to have involved physical stone work (mason) and the speculative refers to the corresponding spiritual symbolism. Mason and Scholar Albert Mackey wrote:

    
"Withdraw from Freemasonry its symbolism, and you take from the body its soul, leaving behind nothing but a lifeless mass of effete matter fitted only for a rapid decay." (Symbolism of Freemasonry, Mackey, pg. 72).

In Freemasonry, the speculative meaning of the twenty-four inch guage and gavel is measuring time and purity of heart. The square stands for morality, the plumb for honesty, the level for the equality of men, and the trowel symbolizes brotherly love. Notwithstanding, Christianity is the true source of purification, morality, honesty, equality, and brotherly love (2 Cor. 7: 1; Gal. 2: 14; 2 Pet. 1: 5-11; Acts 10: 34, 35; 2 Pet. 1: 5-11). The non-Mason is pictured by Freemasonry as ignorant and lost. Can you imagine for a moment a Christian who has been set free and has knowledge conforming to such in order to enter the first degree of Freemasonry? Yet, such is taught in the symbolism of Freemasonry. ".one immersed in intellectual darkness, groping in the search for that divine, light and truth which are the objects of a Mason's labor." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, pg. 151).

The Christian has been purified by being washed in Jesus' blood (Matt. 26: 28, Acts 2: 38). Notwithstanding, Freemasonry in the ritual of the first degree views all none members as stained and flawed. Regarding the symbolism of the lamb-skin apron we read:

    
"...by the Lamb-skin the Mason is reminded of that purity of heart and uprightness of conduct, so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe forever presides." (Lightfoot's Manual, pg. 161).

When one attends a Masonic funeral, one expects to hear the deceased Mason preached into heaven due to his Masonic connection: The Mason expects to be saved in heaven following the resurrection due to the life he has lived as a Mason. The following constitutes the common Masonic prayer heard at the funeral service of a Mason:

    
"Bless our beloved Fraternity throughout the world; may we live and emulate the example of our beloved brother; and, finally, may we in this world attain a knowledge of Thy truth, and in the world to come, life everlasting. Amen." (Lightfoot's Manual, pg. 99).

Freemasonry competes with Christianity. "No institution was ever raised on a better principle or more solid foundation; nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down, than are inculcated in every Masonic degree." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, pg. 33). Jesus the Son of God shed his blood to purchase his church (Acts 20: 28, Matt. 16: 18, 19). In Jesus, one has redemption, all spiritual blessings, and salvation (Eph. 1: 7; 3; 2 Tim. 2: 10). There is no institution, therefore, comparative to the Lord's church. Yet, regarding the Masonic Lodge the claim is made, ".No institution was ever raised on a better principle or more solid foundation; nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down, than are inculcated in every Masonic degree."

Freemasonry not only competes with Christianity, but it belittles the creed Book of Christianity, the Bible, making it comparable to the Koran and Vedas and positions Jesus along side Confucius and Zoroaster. "The Bible is used among Freemasons as a symbol of the will of God, however it may be expressed. Therefore, whatever to any people expresses that will may be used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic Lodge. Thus, in a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old Testament alone may be placed upon the altar, and Turkish Freemasons make use of the Koran. Whether it be the Gospels to the Christian, the Pentateuch to the Israelite, the Koran to the Muslim, or the Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere Masonically conveys the same idea - that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to man." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Vol. 3. ed., Vol. 1, pg. 133.)

    
"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." (Morals and Dogma, p. 525).

Freemasonry claims to have the true light and prepare men to be with their God. Notwithstanding, Eric and Jeff tell us that Freemasonry is not a religion!

In all fairness, allow me to possibly concede a point. Eric has stated that the Masonic Lodge that he attends does not worship. Since I have never attended that specific lodge, I cannot comment. However, I can and have commented on Freemasonry as an order.

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

As I have stated, discussions with Masons are usually very frustrating. While Mason scholars such as Albert Pike and Morals and Dogma are highly regarded as knowledgeable in the ways and teachings of Freemasonry, when quoted, some Masons deny their writings. To hear it told by some Masons, the Lodge and the Masonic Order has no single vestige of religion. They claim this when pressed about Freemasonry being a religion. I have, though, been approached by Masons and one appeal that they have is the religious aspects of Masonry, even to the point of presenting Freemasonry as a religion. Of course, Eric and Jeff would say that those Masons were ignorant and misrepresented Freemasonry, just as they say Albert Pike and other recognized Masonic scholars were ignorant. Whatever point is brought up and established, many Masons, especially those who are members of the church of Christ, deny and dodge.

There are standard oaths involved at various levels of Masonic progression and gradation. I call on you, concerned reader, to compare the Masonic oaths to Jesus and James' teaching found in Matthew 5: 33-37 and James 5: 12. Imagine a Christian taking such an oath not to reveal the "hidden secrets" of Masonry.

Before inserting these oaths, which I am sure the defenders of Freemasonry will try to dodge, let me relate a true story. The local preacher brought a sermon on Freemasonry and a member who was a Mason (no one knew) raised up and challenged the preacher. All he could say was, "The preacher is wrong, the preacher is wrong, the preacher is wrong.!" When pressed, his reply was, "I cannot discuss Freemasonry with non-Masons. When pressed as to why he could not discuss such and try to prove his points and accusations (I Thes. 5: 21), his reply was, "I have taken an oath not to discuss such." This Mason ended up dividing that local church because of his allegiance to Freemasonry. (A matter of interest, there was also another member who had been a Mason who said that what the preacher said was true.) Take a look at the oaths:

Before entering the Lodge as an Apprentice or First degree and prior to advancing to each of the subsequent degrees, the candidate must agree to take certain oaths. These oaths that pledge the taker to secrecy and proper conduct toward Mason brothers are spiritually objectionable. Can you imagine a Christian taking the following oaths:

    
"I, ___________, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of Almighty God, and this Worshipful Lodge erected to him and dedicated to the Holy Saint John, do hereby and hereon most hail, forever conceal, never reveal any of the secret arts, parts or points of the hidden mysteries of Masonry..And this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same.binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and buried in the sands of the sea, at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly violate or transgress this my Entered Apprentice obligation. So help me God, and keep me steadfast (Look To The East, pg. 30, 31).

Relative to the Second Degree, the candidate makes the following vow:

     "All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same.binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my left breast torn open, my heart plucked from thence, and given to the bests of the field and the birds of the air as a prey, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly, violate or transgress this my Fellow Craft obligation. So help me God and keep me steadfast (Ibid., pg. 96).

Watch the proponents of Freemasonry wiggle out of the inevitable consequence of the above oaths and observe their rationalism.

 

Don Martin to Eric and the list:

 

Eric, thank you again for taking time to read and reply to my posts. While you and I most decidedly disagree, you have been controlled and polite and I appreciate such.

May I pose a question to you? The following oaths, are they characteristic of Freemasonry and have you ever heard or uttered them? I would also extend the same question to other Masons on the list.

    
"I, ___________, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of Almighty God, and this Worshipful Lodge erected to him and dedicated to the Holy Saint John, do hereby and hereon most hail, forever conceal, never reveal any of the secret arts, parts or points of the hidden mysteries of Masonry..And this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same.binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and buried in the sands of the sea, at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly violate or transgress this my Entered Apprentice obligation. So help me God, and keep me steadfast (Look To The East, pg. 30, 31).

Relative to the Second Degree, the candidate makes the following vow:

     "All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same.binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my left breast torn open, my heart plucked from thence, and given to the bests of the field and the birds of the air as a prey, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly, violate or transgress this my Fellow Craft obligation. So help me God and keep me steadfast (Ibid., pg. 96).

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

I trust all are having a good day and night. Eric has posted that he will be unavailable until Saturday. I have several posts in abeyance to address his last posts. However, I will hold up posting them until Eric returns.

Jeff has replied regarding the Masonic oaths. Look at them again:

Before entering the Lodge as an Apprentice or First degree and prior to advancing to each of the subsequent degrees, the candidate must agree to take certain oaths. These oaths that pledge the taker to secrecy and proper conduct toward Mason brothers are spiritually objectionable. Can you imagine a Christian taking the following oaths:

    
"I, ___________, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of Almighty God, and this Worshipful Lodge erected to him and dedicated to the Holy Saint John, do hereby and hereon most hail, forever conceal, never reveal any of the secret arts, parts or points of the hidden mysteries of Masonry..And this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same.binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and buried in the sands of the sea, at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly violate or transgress this my Entered Apprentice obligation. So help me God, and keep me steadfast (Look To The East, pg. 30, 31).

Relative to the Second Degree, the candidate makes the following vow:
 

     "All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same.binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my left breast torn open, my heart plucked from thence, and given to the bests of the field and the birds of the air as a prey, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly, violate or transgress this my Fellow Craft obligation. So help me God and keep me steadfast (Ibid., pg. 96).

Jeff defends these oaths in the following manner:

In regard to the oaths taken by Masons I gave this link ...

Additionally, your citation of Matthew 5:33-32 as "proof" that oaths are not to be taken by Christians today is an illegitimate application of Scripture. Perhaps it would be wise for you to study this text, and Jesus' interpretation of the Law in opposition to the Pharisees interpretation of oaths. The Law allowed oaths unless they profaned the name of God.

Don comments:

I never said all oaths are forbidden. Paul took oaths and God himself also took an oath (Rom. 1: 9; Heb. 6: 13ff.). However, it is evident that Matthew 5: 33-37 and James 5: 12 are condemning certain type oaths.

Look again at the first mentioned oath and see if you think such is fitting for a Christianů.

I submit these oaths are patently wrong. Jeff provided a link to a Web site that attempts to explain away the problems of Freemasonry. The author of the article pertaining to such objectionable oaths defends them by again placing the guilt on the objectors. "These oaths are allegorical in nature," says he. So? Masons have a ready defense for the many biblical incongruities associated with their religion and one is to say such is "allegorical in nature." However, the defense of "allegorical in nature" is not acceptable and does not change the fact that professing Christians who are Masons are violating the teaching of the New Testament in order to practice Freemasonry, the taken oaths is just one example.

I suppose one can lie, teach false doctrine, and steal and justify such by saying, my actions were "allegorical in nature." Think about it, concerned readers.

 

Don Martin to Eric and the list:

 

Eric, I have held off addressing your last post to me because you said that you would not be available until Saturday. In a post yesterday to the list, I mentioned this and stated again that I would reply to your points when you returned, pursuant to your request. Yet, you wrote today (Friday):

"As I indicated in a previous post, which you ignored Don...."

Eric, we are having a hard time communicating, it seems. I will probably go ahead and make my posts this afternoon. However, let me now address your post today.

Eric wrote regarding the oaths characteristic of Masonry the following:

    
"I can unequivocally state that these two representations of the obligations created by Lester are not representative of Freemasonry. I have never heard nor have I uttered these two representations of the Masonic Obligations by Lester.

     As I indicated in a previous post, which you ignored Don, Lester's Look tothe East is a spurious work created by an Anti-Mason who had an agenda. The use of Lester's rendition of what he thinks is Freemasonry is a poor choice from which to build an anti-Masonic foundation."


Don comments:

Eric, it seems that every quotation and Masonic source that is provided that exposes an incongruity between Masonry and the New Testament, you dismiss. You have discredited Albert Pike and Morals and Dogma because Pike states Masonry is a religion and shows all the religious and spiritual nature of Freemasonry and now you say you have never even heard of the Masonic oaths that I published to the list and that "Lester's Look to the East is a spurious work created by an Anti-Mason who had an agenda." I suppose that I could cite the hundreds of books that you mentioned that were written by Masons and if I pointed out more contradictions, you would go down the line and dismiss each of the referenced works. This is nothing new, though, as I have experienced this with many Masons.

The pro-Mason Web site that Jeff presented to the list yesterday that dealt with the oaths never denied their existence as you do. In fact, it defended them saying that they were simply allegorical. This pro-Masonic Web site also said that some Lodges are changing the oaths to be more politically correct (omitting the harsh parts and substituting milder statements). Again, this Web site is not so audacious as to say such oaths are not Masonic. I am very disappointed in you, Eric. Perhaps you do not take the mentioned oaths in your Masonic circle, but to deny that they exist is something else!

Eric speaks out:

    
"Freemasonry has historically kept silent in the face of attacks by ignorant, misinformed individuals and those with a decidedly malicious agenda. However, times they are a changing.

     We have had enough of churches vilifying and attacking our brothers of the Christian faith. We have had enough of the judgments of others on our brothers of other faiths."


Don comments:

Eric, being in denial and rejecting all evidence of Masonic contradictions is no way to address these difficulties. I have nothing personally against you or Masonry in general. As I have said, there are many good men serving as Masons. I do, though, sincerely believe that one cannot be a faithful Christian and be a faithful Mason. I also know enough about Freemasonry to know that you are not being entirely forthright with me and the list.

Eric wrote:

After thinking about your presentation and the very narrow scope of your resource material, I am inclined to agree with Jeff that your research information is secondary, out of context which I have clearly proven in citing Pike's work in its full context, the strange difference in the page numberings of Mackey's work and Lightfoot's work. I spent a little time today chatting with a recognized historian of Freemasonry and the Philalethes librarian who informed me that Lightfoot's work was quite localized and considered great fiction by serious and knowledgeable Masons.

Don reflects:

Eric, I have repeatedly attempted to explain the page number difference and it appears you have not even read my posts. I shall explain one more time this afternoon. However, I point out to the list and all who read this exchange that you usually have not denied my quotations, just the page number provided. Again, I shall comment on this in a subsequent post later today.

Eric, you are basically a nice man, I am sure, outside the area of being questioned about your Masonic involvement. You are intelligent, there is no doubt. However, you are very caught up in Masonry, so much so, I fear, that you are blinded. Why would a professing Christian even be a part of an order about which there is so much disapproval?

Eric closes:

Now Don, I have addressed your question regarding these "Oaths" as you have called them and have stated that they are false. I repeat, I have never uttered nor heard these oaths uttered at any point in my experience with Freemasonry.

Don closes this post:

Eric, I am very let down with your dodge. I trust the list is observing how you escape various Masonic doctrinal and behavior consequences. I have, frankly, have never had a Mason to deny the existence of the Masonic oaths that I quoted, you are the first. I shall be posting after lunch today and will gladly address some matters that you injected in your post yesterday (the one you continue to charge me with ignoring).

Thank you again for your time and I commend others who are studying this exchange for their interest.

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

I appreciate the interest regarding this exchange on Freemasonry. Regarding Eric's affiliation with Freemasonry, he wrote:

    
"As for my Masonic levels, I am a 32nd Degree Mason, a Knight Templar, an Actual Past Master, a Member of the Philalethes Society (The Only International Research Organization of Freemasonry) and a grand officer of the Grand Lodge of Indiana F. & A. M."

All who are objective who have studied Masonry (yes, there are works that state the beliefs, practices, and essential nature of Freemasonry), talked with ex-Masons, or even attended a Masonic Lodge are aware that Freemasonry is a religion. There is an obvious play on the word "religion." Let us revisit a standard definition of "religion" as offered by the Random House College Dictionary:

    
"1. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies usually involving devotional and ritual observances and often specific and institutionalized set of beliefs and practices....6. The practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith...." (pg. 1114).

Jeff and Eric have both argued that Freemasonry is not a religion. They have said this notwithstanding the Lodge is viewed as a temple, the presence of an altar, all sorts of physical symbolism that is indicative of "God" and matters appertaining to him, the temple service begins and ends with public prayer, the whole purpose of the temple service is to worship the G.A.O.T.U. and find an everlasting place with "Him" in the next life. We can see that Masons who deny that Masonry is a religion have their own definition and concept of religion. I think all clear thinking (no agenda) people would view the Baptist Church as being a religion. Yet with Jeff's notion of religion, he asserted, playing on words:

    
"The Baptist Church is NOT a religion, it is a denominational group of a religion--Christianity!"

Religion in a board sense is service rendered to God (Jas. 1: 27, Rom. 12: 1, 2). When the Masonic Lodge, a corporate action, I might add, comes together to engage in their worship and teach their religion, this is religious activity and the Masonic order corporately constitutions a religion.

It appears that many Masons especially those who are members of churches of Christ are so determined to justify their involvement in Masonry that they cannot see the forest for the trees.

Jeff has contended that my accepted definition for religion and my associated comments would make Congress a religion because it opens with prayer. I have pointed out that simply opening with prayer does not make Congress a religion. However, if it open and closed with public prayer, taught religious principles in order to make its constituents or initiates wiser and provide them an eternal home with the "Great Architect of the Universe," had an alter, and openly rendered worship in their gatherings, have a corporate involvement in the inculcation of spiritual values, it would be a religion. Jeff and Eric just cannot see the difference. Jeff has even said that I, Don Martin, am a religion.

Eric wrote in his last post to me:

You keep citing these resources and yet when I examine these resources on the pages you have provided these quotes do not exist.

Don comments:

Eric, I posted two days ago and yesterday and addressed the matter you again mention. I shall insert below what I wrote at that time. Why do you continue to bring up this matter? Also, I noticed that you did not deny the quotations that I provided from Masonic writers but only said,

     "I just examined my copy of Morals and Dogma and check this citation. This quote does not exist on page 325."

Here is what I wrote:

Eric has pointed out that there exists some discrepancies in the location references and provided page numbers in some of my quotations. Regarding the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, there has been a revision published. Perhaps this is some of the confusion. Also, there is a single one volume edition available.

Eric has pointed out one actual mistake on my part and I appreciate it.

    
"Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion and its teachings are instruction in religion," I quoted..."Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other..This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures." (Morals and Dogma, pg. 325.)

Eric writes: "I just examined my copy of Morals and Dogma and check this citation. This quote does not exist on page 325."

Don responds:

Eric is right and I am wrong. The quoted statement is not on page 325 but on pages 213 and 214. However, if Eric had read further in Morals and Dogma, he would have found this quoted stated (correct page number):

    
"Masonry is a worship; but one in which all civilized men can unite." (Morals and Dogma, p. 526)."

Again, Mason and scholar Albert Pike says Freemasonry is a religion. I would venture to say that Pike is far more knowledgeable in the matter of Freemasonry than Eric. Eric, would you agree?

Eric covers himself:

Even if it did, Albert Pike was never the spokesman for the Freemasonry. While many Masonic researchers and historians value Albert Pike's work and consult it as a resource providing one particular view of Freemasonry, it holds no authority.

Don comments:

It seems that we are wasting time in diversionary matters such as a play on "religion" and "different revisions and consequent page numbers." Eric, Jeff, and every Mason with whom I have studied who is determined to stay with Freemasonry rather than face the problems presented by Freemasonry, simply wave these difficulties aside and go after the one trying to point out the truth to them. All who oppose them are called ignorant. Eric has even discredited Albert Pike and his work, Morals and Dogma. Consider what Eric wrote:

    
"Finally, Don, you give Albert Pike way too much credit regarding his Masonic knowledge. Pike was not a scholar but a creative plagiarist who merely modified and formed a series of ceremonies and out of an ancient document.

    
Regarding Pike's credentials as a Freemason, he was a 33rd Degree Mason, that he awarded to himself as he developed the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the United States."

The practice is to attempt to discredit all who take any issue or who say what one does not want known or said. In this case, Eric is attempting to destroy Albert Pike and Morals and Dogma (see next post).

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

Eric, who is a thirty-second degree practicing Mason, has sought to disprove what I have affirmed about Freemasonry by discrediting me and passing me off as a know nothing. Since I have quoted from Albert Pike and his Masonic work, Morals and Dogma, Eric has also sought to discredit Pike. Hear him again:

    
"Finally, Don, you give Albert Pike way too much credit regarding his Masonic knowledge. Pike was not a scholar but a creative plagiarist who merely modified and formed a series of ceremonies and out of an ancient document.

     Regarding Pikes credentials as a Freemason, he was a 33rd Degree Mason, that he awarded to himself as he developed the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the United States."

Don continues:

We read on page three of the Preface to Morals and Dogma, the work that Eric says cannot be used to show the beliefs, practices, and nature of Freemasonry, the following:

    
"The following work has been prepared by authority of the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, by the Grand Commander, and is now published by its direction. It contains the lectures of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in that jurisdiction, and is specially intended to be read and studied by the Brethren of that obedience, in connection with the Rituals of the Degrees....The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite uses the word 'Dogma' in its true sense, of doctrine, or teaching...."

Don comments:

I fully expect Eric and other Masons on this list to dismiss the above with the wave of the hand, as they have summarily done relative to other matters. As they so dismiss, I am sure they will again accuse me of misrepresentation and ignorance. However, you be the judge.

Eric and many Masons would have us believe that Freemasonry is a floating, abstract "whatever" that has no uniform core doctrine or goal. Hence, Freemasonry is to each man what he perceives it to be. Eric wrote:

Each individual determines what Freemasonry is for him in agreement with Anderson's Constitution of Freemasonry.

While there is no doubt subjectivism involved in Freemasonry, especially when it comes to members of the church who are Masons, one can still reliably establish certain features of Freemasonry as a whole.

Since Eric has now mentioned "Anderson's Constitution of Freemasonry," I want to end this post with some explanation for the reader.

Modern Freemasonry dates to 1717. By 1723 the organization had adopted James Anderson's Constitution as a guide. Anderson's work clearly reflected a change from the Old Charges of operative Masonry, which had been in use since the fourteenth century. The Old Charges were distinctively "Christian" in tone and dealt primarily with God and religion, the craft of masonry, and duty.

In 1738 Anderson produced another accepted document titled, "The Old Charges of the Free and Accepted Masons." By that year, operative Masonry had graduated into accepted Masonry. It continued to evolve until, by the second half of the eighteenth century it had become speculative Masonry, which interpreted "the symbols and artifacts of operative masonry in an allegorical, religious manner". For example, whereas operative Masons built stone edifices, speculative Masons seek to build spiritual edifices (please see my next post).

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

I shall continue to notice and address matters brought up by Eric in his last post.

Again, Eric seeks the refuse and unaccountability of not having an authority or authoritative writings to which one can point in establishing the purpose and nature of Freemasonry.

Eric stated:

Again, there is no such thing as a Masonic authority. There are an extraordinary number of Masonic philosophers and researchers of Masonic history and the role that Freemasonry has played throughout the history of the world. But there has NEVER existed a Masonic Authority.

Don comments:

I believe that I have shown that there are many recognized Masonic scholars whose writings are considered reliable in the presentation and explanation of Freemasonry. I personally have studied with a number of ex-Masons who have confirmed all these matters. There are a number of publications written by ex-Masons who learned the conflicts between Freemasonry and the New Testament and out of a sense of responsibility, produced these works to warn others. Eric says, "But there has NEVER existed a Masonic Authority." This is somewhat like his statement,

    
"I just examined my copy of Morals and Dogma and check this citation. This quote does not exist on page 325."

Notice that Eric did not say that Pike never said that Masonry is a religion. There may not be "an authority" that Freemasonry universally recognizes, but there are many Masonic scholars who are recognized as having expertise in the matter of Freemasonry.

Eric accepts my corrected page location for the quotation from Pike that I provided but now claims that Pike never said, "Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion," not in the sense that I mean. Again, a play on words. I suppose if the Baptist Church is not a religion, as Jeff stated, then one could say that Masonry is not a religion. Notice Eric's complaint regarding my quotation:

The entire quote that conveniently omits:

     "Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection, toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for those in want, Faith, Hope and Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are lenient to each other's faults, regardful of each other's feelings, ready to relieve each other's wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, they are intruders and not welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests" (Pike, p.  213-214).

     'They may be religious laborers....They may be religious in all the toils and in all the amusements of life. Their life may be a religion....' (Pike, p. 215).


    
As we can see, Pike's use of the words 'religion' and 'religious' are quite different from the context in which Don would have us view them. Pike used these terms in a general sense never intending that they be associated with the worship of God."

Don replies:

At least Eric is now acknowledging that Pike said what I said he did. However, Eric maintains Pike never had in mind "worship of God" in his use and concept of "religion." I really do not know why Eric takes the time to try to assign a limited meaning to Pike's use of "religion." I say this because Eric has utterly attempted to discredit Albert Pike and his famous work, Morals and Dogma.

Please see my next post.

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

Eric has gone on record as saying that Albert Pike never used "religion" in the sense of worship to God. Eric has also said:

    
"An operative Mason refers to the workers of stone and the specific tools they use in their work. The speculative Mason and refers to the Mason who uses the tools of Masonry as symbols to convey moral truths. There is NO spiritual side to Freemasonry nor is their spiritual symbolism."

Don comments:

I anticipate that Eric has his own idea of what "spiritual" is. To think and even advocate that Freemasonry does not purport to sublimate man spiritually is to show total ignorance of Freemasonry. God, man's spirituality, and preparing man for heaven are all intricate components comprising Freemasonry.

    
"Masonry, around whose altars the Christian, the Hebrew, the Moslem, the Brahmin, the followers of Confucius and Zoroaster, can assemble as brethren and unite in prayer to the one God who is above all the Baalim...," wrote Pike (Morals and Dogma, pg. 226).

Freemasonry is an amalgamated religion, but for sure, a religion. Pike thus defines Freemasonry and I submit that if you remove religion from Pike's definition, you would utterly deflate Masonry:

     "Freemasonry is the subjugation of the Human that is in man by the Divine; the Conquest of the Appetites and Passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort, struggle, and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual" (Morals and Dogma, pg. 854).

Notwithstanding the straightforward definition of Masonry, Eric is driven to contend:

    
"There is NO spiritual side to Freemasonry nor is their spiritual symbolism."

Mason Pike writes about the victory offered by Masonry and says (notice the "spiritual"):

    
"To achieve it, the Mason must first attain a solid conviction, founded upon reason, that he hath within him a spiritual nature, a soul that is not to die when the body is dissolved, but to continue to exist and to advance toward perfection through all ages of eternity" (Morals and Dogma, pg. 855).

Pike continues to mention over and over the matter of the "spiritual" associated with Freemasonry:

    
"Every Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, from the first to the thirty-second, teaches by its ceremonial as well as by its instruction, that the noblest purpose of life and the highest duty of a man are to strive incessantly and vigorously to win the mastery of everything, of that which in him is spiritual and divine, over that which is material and sensual...(Morals and Dogma, pg. 855).

Notwithstanding, Eric says, "There is NO spiritual side to Freemasonry nor is their spiritual symbolism."

Freemasonry is a system that is set forth by symbols; partly to hide the meaning of Masonry (Morals and Dogma, pp. 250, 251, 148).

In my next post, I want to notice some of the symbols regarding which Eric says there is no spiritual side or spiritual symbolism.

 

Don Martin to Eric and the list:

 

Eric has adamantly denied everything that I have presented relative to Freemasonry. Eric has now gone so far as to say:

    
"There is NO spiritual side to Freemasonry nor is their spiritual symbolism."

Don comments:

As we have seen, speculative Masonry is basically a system of symbols that were originally designed to prevent non-Masons from understanding what Masonry is (why the secrecy?) (See Morals and Dogma, pg. 148). When one understands the symbolism of Masonry, one then understands the essential nature of this belief system. I am sure, based on past experience with Eric, that he will deny everything that I say. Nonetheless, what I am about to say is true. (I have had a few Masons to tell me that it would not matter what I said and how true it was, Masons are totally committed at any cost to defending Masonry.) I shall only commit on a couple of Masonic symbols and then I may consider closing my part in this exchange.

I have shared the following quote with you, "Masonry is a worship..." (Morals and Dogma, pg. 526). Eric has said that I have taken Mason Pike's statement totally out of context and that Pike had no spiritual meaning attached to his statement or worship of God. Beginning on page 531, Pike presents questions and answers pertaining to Freemasonry (five pages subsequent to Pike's statement that, "Masonry is a worship"). I shall insert some questions and answers and allow you to determine what Pike means when he says Masonry is a religion and engages in worship. Keep is mind Eric's bold statement, "There is NO spiritual side to Freemasonry nor is their spiritual symbolism."

"Question, What are the symbols of the purification necessary to make us perfect Masons?"

"Answer, Lavation with pure water, or baptism; because to cleanse the body is emblematic of purifying the soul; and because it conduces to the bodily health, and virtue is the health of the soul, as sin and vice are its malady and sickness; - unction, or anointing with oil; because thereby we are set apart and dedicated to service and priesthood of the Beautiful, the True, and the Good; - and robes of white, emblems of candor, purity, and truth" (Morals and Dogma, pp. 538, 539).

     "Question, What is the symbol of the Triple Covenant?"

     "Answer, The Triple Triangle."

     "Question, "Of what else is it the symbol to us?"

     "Answer, Of the Trinity of Attributes of the Deity; and of the triple essence of Man, the Principle of Life, the Intellectual Power, and the Soul or Immortal Emanation from the Deity."

     "Question, What is the first great Truth of the Sacred Mysteries?"

     "Answer, No man hath seen God at any time. he is One, Eternal, All-Powerful, All-Wise, Infinitely Just, Merciful, Benevolent, and Compassionate, Creator and Preserver of all things, the Source of Light and Life, coextensive with Time and Space; Who thought, and with the Thought created the universe and all living things, and the souls of men: That Is: - the Permanent; while everything beside is a perpetual genesis" (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, pg. 533).


Even in the face of the plainness and lucidity of Mason Pike's statements, Eric has affirmed, "There is NO spiritual side to Freemasonry nor is their spiritual symbolism." Why has Eric so misrepresented Freemasonry, you ask. I cannot look into Eric's heart; therefore, I do not know the answer. I only know that Eric has misrepresented Masonry. Eric certainly is not ignorant of Freemasonry. I say this because Eric is a 32nd Degree Mason, a Knight Templar, an Actual Past Master, a Member of the Philalethes Society (The Only International Research Organization of Freemasonry) and a grand officer of the Grand Lodge of Indiana F. & A. M.

Please see my intended final post.

 

Don Martin to the list:

 

I have sought to be forthright and accurate in presenting reasons why a Christian cannot be a Mason. When it was pointed out that I had supplied a wrong page number for a quotation from Morals and Dogma, I accepted the rebuke and then supplied the correct page number. As to any discrepancies regarding some of the other page numbers in the Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, I have offered some explanations. Yet, while others have, in some cases, denied the page number reference, they have not denied the quotations. It is beyond me how anyone can say that Masonry is not a religion, a religion that conflicts repeatedly in doctrine and behavior with Jesus' teaching in the New Testament.

There was a time when the secrets of Masonry were secret. However, as Eric said, there are now hundreds and thousands of books that present and explain the intricacies and nuances of Freemasonry. No longer, then, can Masons deny what Masonry actually is. Nonetheless, some such as Eric, dismiss any Masonic writer (writing in favor of Masonry) that offer clear and decided biblical contradiction.

I started my part in this exchange regarding Freemasonry by mentioning that every debate that I have heretofore had on Masonry has been frustrating. The frustration has come due to total denial, deflection, and out and right misrepresentation of established tenets and practices associated with Freemasonry. I do understand that contemporary Freemasonry is being subjected to pressure to change and that in some areas, change is taking place (we noticed this regarding the standard Masonic oaths). However, Masonry remains Masonry, a system that is both, fraternal, philosophic, philanthropic, and one that is a religion, presented by symbolism and
ritualism.

Every phase and degree involved in the gradation of Masonry contradicts and collides with God's word. Operative Masonry was originally mostly the matter of the craft of material stone handling and art. As seen, speculative Masonry evolved, which constitutes contemporary Masonry. However, these symbols are no longer hidden and they reveal a system which every faithful Christian will shun (I Thes. 5: 21, 22). How and why a Christian would even insist on continuing in masonry is beyond my ability to understand. One must elect either Christianity or Masonry, not both (cp. Matt. 6: 24).

I do appreciate the opportunity to have this exchange on this list. While Eric and I end still miles apart, I do appreciate his willingness to talk about Masonry, notwithstanding his denials.