Christ or the Lodge? A Report on Freemasonry

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by Blake Bowden, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

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    I am attempting to uphold the point of view that there is no one authority in Freemasonry outside of the Grand Lodge. No author can claim to interpret the symbols of Freemasonry for another and set himself up as a "Masonic authority." To claim otherwise is to run counter to the aims of our great Fraternity. I could just as easily ask who wrote the book that said "Mackey has the last word on the teachings of Freemasonry."

    Mackey wrote a monitor. There are many monitors available if one takes the time to look. I would hope that a committee doing research like that would take the time to research the topic properly.
     
  2. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Except that these books are often not presented as such--even by Masons. Instead of being described as "works of mere personal opinion", they are considered landmarks in Masonic philosophy. Where is the "My fellow Masons, Mackey is full of it." book?
     
  3. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I don't think that any of the hermeticism is outside of the craft. When someone writes a volume as big as the ones masonry enjoys I wouldn't necessarily point it to just one brothers opinion. Of course your are right in saying that, but also remember that the majority of these men all say roughly the same thing. Also to say that it's up to the "pedestrian" faiths to perpetuate these works is crockery. Many of the great Masonic authors were Christian, but also avid deists. Manly p hall, probably the most influential Masonic author was a deist.Same with pike. No doubt that a Christian mason can equally if not more contribute light to the craft. But these men have traversed the world in some cases, I don't think their words can just be swept under the rug. JMO
     
  4. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I'm not one to tell anyone how to interpret masonry but how exactly is Mackey full of it?
     
  5. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    I believe the point the brother is making is that this document cited Mackey (and other high profile masonic authors) who declare, very clearly, that Freemasonry is a religion. I remember my eyebrows raising the first time I read it in the weathered yellow pages of my collection.

    Where is the book that takes these statements and says "Brother Mackey was a bit overzealous in that statement," or at least, "What I think he was trying to say was..."?

    Or more in general, "despite some historic assertions to the contrary, Freemasonry is NOT a religion."

    (Of course, there's another discussion about Religion versus religion)
     
  6. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Therefore, as a Mason, you say that Freemasonry DOES promulgate Hermeticism. That's the take-home message of what you wrote.

    You don't actually read what I write, do you? What I wrote is that it is up to us of the more mainstream faiths to write such works that give the "mainstream faith" interpretations of Masonic symbolism.

    Therefore, you are saying that Freemasons should adopt Hermeticism and Gnosticism as inherent to Masonry--that's the take-home message of what you wrote.
     
  7. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Thank you for actually reading what I wrote.
     
  8. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Do we really need this is opinion because no one speaks for all of Freemasonry to be printed in every book or written in every preface? I thought that everyone knew that already. Besides it wouldn't really matter if it was in the front of every book. Look at Pike who is referenced all the time, who wrote in the front of "Morals and Dogmas" this is my opinion take what you will from it and reject the parts that you don't agree with. The point is that to us, as Freemasons, we know that there is no one person that speaks for all of Freemasonry so why should we need it in print in the front of every book? This was the point I was trying to make.
     
  9. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Bingo!

    Masonry requires that each man believe in deity. A maker! STOP!

    The triangle (nay, Golden Rule) of:
    There is a maker who made you
    You have a soul connecting you to that maker
    That the maker who made you made all mankind and, therefore, you have a binding tie with all mankind.

    Where does that tell us that any one of the monotheistic religions has a personal claim on masonry.

    Especially if you are open-minded enough to delve into the underlying tenets of those monotheistic religions and discover their all to similar beliefs.

    I believe we have a bigger question here.

    The human instinct of judging our peers. All to easy to follow, and all to difficult to defeat.


    Who on this side of the compasses has the audacity of thinking he knows the maker's will? How could you possible get there looking through the eyes of the material world.

    As a Christian I do believe that the promise was fulfilled at the cross for me and my relations: all mankind. If a man is honorable and keeps to the teachings of the Golden Rule, who among us can judge his faith?

    Oh! please let me preference the above statement with a quick: this is my opinion only and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of masonry as a whole.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  10. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    The vast majority of people do not know this. Once of the reasons they do not know this is that respected Masonic-related outlets, such as Macoy's use language such as "Has been used as an authority by American Grand Lodges and Lodges for more than half a century. Recognized by civil courts as the authoritative statement of Masonic rules and regulations... Every Lodge and Lodge officer needs a copy at hand for quick reference."

    When referring to Mackeys Textbook, which is one of the Masonic works cited by the OEC essay. Do you get what that means? Now, you can retreat into a dogmatic "It's not my problem if 99.99999999999999999999% of humanity are a pack of filthy idiots", but that only adds to the problem. Sitting up in an ivory tower and denouncing ignorance without supplying an antidote is a luxury only affordable by the powerful and privileged.

    Specifically quote where I demanded that. I would like to see that quote.

    My point has been that many of the works held up BY Freemasons TO Freemasons as normative, REGARDLESS OF WHAT OFFICIAL POLICY IS, are full of this stuff, and there appear to be no such books routinely held up BY Freemasons TO Freemasons as normative that don't. Blindly shouting "Monitor!" over and over is not a solution to this. Can I go to any old bookseller and get a copy of the Texas Monitor? For that matter, if I want to get just one or two books to "clue me in", having to get 51 monitors just for the USA is a recipe for failure.
     
  11. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Therefore, WE SHOULD URGE EVERYONE TO IGNORE THE HERMETICISTS AND GNOSTICS, TOO! After all, if it is INHERENTLY WRONG for a conventional Trinitarian Christian to write a book that explicates Fremasonry from the standpoint of his own Church, it is EQUALLY wrong for the Gnostics and the Hermeticists.

    Quote, specifically and directly, where I have made any such claim. I lay down the gauntlet. You won't have the guts to pick it up.

    And, of course, according to your omniscient dogmas, the explanations of these similarities acceptable to the individual religions in question are and must be wrong.

    Someone questions whether or not Hermetic or Gnostic interpretations are the only correct interpretation for Freemasonry, and the response is to scream "INTOLERANCE!"

    Why is it right to deny that conventional Trinitarian Christianity is a correct basis to interpret Freemasonry and wrong to deny that Hermeticism/Gnosticism is correct?
     
  12. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

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    Could it be possible that neither basis is "correct" universally?
     
  13. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Quote, Where does that tell us that any one of the monotheistic religions has a personal claim on masonry.quote.--jwhoff

    Quote, specifically and directly, where I have made any such claim. I lay down the gauntlet. You won't have the guts to pick it up.Quote.--Maloney


    I wasn't aware of any monotheistic religions becoming involved in this discussion. Is there anyone here so qualified?

    My guts have little to do with your apparent, self-imposed gauntlet brother. Your posts to the group's comments appear to grow more personal, and in an angry tone. Why are we not entitled to our viewpoints without being subjected to this apparent rancor?

    Sounds like the topic should be closed. Are you willing to part with all in peace?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  14. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Gentlemen & Brethren:

    At this point I believe that it is fair for me to remind you all (the participants in this discussion) that Debate should be conducted in a non emotional or personal manner. Debates are to be factual in nature, and should be properly cited.

    It is common for politics and religion to be debated, both are also naturally very personal subjects. There is a reason that both subjects are discouraged in Masonic Lodges.


    Please take this break in discussion and reminder as a Warning to stay on topic and within proper debate form. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  15. cog41

    cog41 Premium Member

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    Thank you brother Blake for posting the report.

    I found it interesting and well written. The committee members specifically mention three books for "further" reference. I take this to mean they actually read more than a few pages from the other works they cited.
    Did they read the entire works they cite? We may never know but I doubt it.
    Would it have made a difference in their conclusion? I doubt that as well.

    I have read a great deal of anti masonic material, most from independent ministries or individuals claiming to be former masons. Most usually cite the works of individual masons and rarely quote from a monitor issued or endorsed by a Grand Lodge.
    Personally I suggest to the curious non mason to find and read a monitor/manual for a general understanding of freemasonry and follow that by spending time with a mason(s) that will sit down and give open and honest answers about the lodge.

    I do notice however, many brethren take the anti-masonic material a little too personal, especially if it comes from a Christian organization. I would remind my brethren that Christian faiths are not the only groups who dislike freemasonry.
    http://islamqa.info/en/ref/34576 , http://missionislam.com/nwo/invasion.htm , http://feemasonry.freemasonry.com/layiktezl.html

    Relax brethren. If these reports, summaries, and books do anything it should be they make us examine ourselves. What do we believe? Where do we stand and why?

    Brother Blake started the thread with "Christ or the Lodge?"

    If one or the other , I do and shall always choose Jesus Christ my Lord.
    I am an Evangelical Christian. I adhere to a Reformed Theology and I'm an active member of a conservative Southern Baptist Church. I believe there is only One Way to heaven. I make no apologies for these things and I make no apology for being a Freemason.

    I attend a lodge where even the visiting brethren acting as chaplin usually open and close in the name of Jesus. No one has ever objected. Please don't visit just to be the first! I've also heard the opening and closing without His name and no one objected. Didn't hurt my feelings either.

    I've posted here before that I practice my "own brand of Masonry". I borrowed that from another brother on this forum but I can't remember who it was. I view freemasonry from a judeo-Christian perspective. I would gladly share my views with any brother or any one else for that matter. I dare say each of us practice the Craft differently. Each day we work differently. We are each very different yet we all began the masonic journey the same way and of our own Free Will and Accord.

    I say all this because I agree with brother Stewart. This thread has had some contentious moments and itis VERY clear why these thing are left outside the lodge. Even then brethren we should show common courtesy and respect for each others beliefs. Tolerence doesn't mean you accept their beliefs but you are willing to defend his right to believe differently. He is afterall a masonic brother. If we feel the need, ask to discuss these things or simply leave it be.

    Now I'm starting to ramble so I'll quit.
    God Bless ya.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  16. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Your point being? Why is it right to deny that conventional Trinitarian Christianity is a correct basis to interpret Freemasonry and wrong to deny that Hermeticism/Gnosticism is correct
     
  17. Michael Neumann

    Michael Neumann Premium Member

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    OK, so I read the write up at http://opc.org/GA/masonry.html and recognized a few books they cited from my personal shelf. Then I read all 4 pages of this thread, finding several arguments I agreed with, even Brother Maloney whose posts are insightful but tainted with an offensive flavor. I myself remember raising my eyebrows at some of the comments made by Mackey,Wilmhurst, and Pike. BUT even before masonry I believed that all religions share a common goal whether they be mainstream or but a tributary. Masonry provides men of strong and differing opinion common... level... ground upon which they can meet. Masonry is indeed, as another of our brethren pointed out, following parallel to Christianity... and unknown to Christianity it is following parallel to a number of other religions.

    My wife is a minister and has her DD in Metaphysics. Her studies brought her through a variety of religions and her dissertation was on the commonality of the world’s religions. Almost every religion, at its core, seeks to build a man’s character and have him walk as an upright gentleman, his back resting upon the plumb line. Christianity does it through salvation in Christ, Islam through the prophet, etc.

    Each of us takes something different from masonry and that is what it was meant to do because each of us is imperfect in a different manner.

    Masonry stands on its own two feet; there is no need to defend it as there is no defense necessary. When a religious zealot approaches me I simply nod and say “well, everyone takes something different from masonry,if that is what you took then that is your reality and it is not my duty to change it.â€
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
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  18. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    BryanMaloney, I will offer my two-cents from a dual perspective, as a Mason and as an Ordained Christian Minister (surprise to some of you). I honestly believe what otherstar is saying is that he feels that no one form of religion is the "right answer" when it comes to masonry. We Christians are no more superior than any other religion. In this case, Christianity does indeed apply to certain aspects of our fraternity; and the same is also true for several other widely accepted religious schools of thought. I do not feel in this case that the perspective of thought is meant in a Right or Wrong, Black or White answer... what we have here is most certainly Grey.

    Point very well defined Michael. Thank you for your input here!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  19. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

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    My point is not something I will admit in public (but it has to do with the nature of several posts of yours that I have ignored because I found them offensive...and I AM a Christian!)

    I neither affirmed nor denied that any ONE interpretation was correct OTHER THAN the interpretation of the individual Mason, and that NO ONE AUTHORITY had the right to claim that their interpretation is correct for any other Mason.

    That being said, this is my LAST post on this topic because I wish to follow the advice of Bro. Stewart above.

    God Bless.

    EDIT: After reading Bro. Stewart's response above, he gets my point perfectly. Thank you Brother!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  20. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

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    So do I, well said!
     

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