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Greetings From The Shire of New Hamp.

GnosticWretche

Registered User
Can one be a 'born-again-freemason"? While I'm not "formally" a freemason, I've become quite a fan of Manly P. Hall, and after reading The Path of Freemasonry by Mark Stavish (and a few others), it seems I've been a solitary freemason for decades. Since a single image can be worth thousands of words, I'll wrap it up with one I've shared in the "Inspirational" section:


For what it's worth.
So mote it be.
 

Mike Martin

Eternal Apprentice
Premium Member
Hi and welcome to the Forum.

You pretty well answered your own first question as you can't be a "born-again" anything without having been that thing first and sadly you may have a bit of a wrong idea about Manly Palmer Hall's words about Freemasonry and so I have reproduced the words of a stock answer that I have when people mention or refer to his knowledge about the subject:

"Often Masons and non-Masons alike claim Manly Palmer Hall the (in)famous philosophical author as some kind of authority on the deeper symbolism and meanings of Freemasonry. This is sometimes exacerbated by the fact that he did eventually get made a Mason and therefore some think his status as a 33rd degree Mason has a bearing on his books that mention Freemasonry.

Manly Palmer Hall (18/03/1901 – 29/08/1990) is probably the most famous Masonic authority that actually wasn’t. Amongst the 75 books that he wrote several were specifically about Freemasonry, the most famous being “The Lost Keys of Freemasonry”. Unfortunately, he wrote his books as a non-Mason and in fact was pretty much describing the philosophies of Theosophy which he mistakenly thought was the same as Freemasonry as at the time he was an accomplished student of comparative religion.

He wrote:

The Lost Keys of Freemasonry in 1923,
Secret Teachings in 1928
Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians in 1937
The Secret Destiny of America in 1944 and
Masonic Orders of the Fraternity in 1950

He actually become a Freemason on his Initiation into Jewel Lodge No. 374, in 1954. He went on to to join the AASR and attained the 32rd degree in 1967 within the Valley of San Francisco and he was honored with the 33rd in 1973.

It does not seem to be well-known that he himself, admitted in the Foreword of the 10th edition of “Lost Keys” (reproduced below) that he had written as a non-Mason and had little knowledge of Freemasonry when he wrote that all he knew about Freemasonry at the time "was from a few books commonly available to the public". Despite this many both Masons and non-Masons still make the mistake of claiming him as a kind of authority on Freemasonry."

PREFACE TO THE TENTH EDITION

It is gratifying indeed that after more than forty years of continuous publication, and 30,000 copies having been printed, the demand for this little book justifies a new edition. At the time I wrote this slender volume, I had just passed my twenty-first birthday, and my only contact with Freemasonry was through a few books commonly available to the public.

It was from the study of comparative religion that I first became aware of the secret philosophical schools and societies of the ancient world. It was not possible to contemplate the State Mysteries of Egypt, Greece, India and Persia and not be profoundly impressed by the nobility of their teachings, the beauty and solemnity of their rites and ceremonies, and the profound meanings of their symbols, emblems and initiatory rituals. It became evident to me that these sacred institutions and colleges were the custodians of a universal wisdom, and conferred upon their initiates the keys to a sublime science or art dedicated to the regeneration of man and the reformation of human society. Moved by this conviction, I wrote The Lost Keys of Freemasonry.

Many changes have been wrought in the two score years since this writing came to print. A sickly sophistication threatens our way of life, and the very survival of human culture is at hazard. Through long years of confusion, depression, war and tyranny, Freemasonry has stood for the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. It has defended the right of every man to receive a proper education. It has taught respect for Constitutional government. It has sought to unite men in a fraternity of good works – these being the proper labours of a Master Mason.

Feeling that the time had come for all men who believed in the dignity of the human soul and the utility of enlightened ethics to stand and be counted, I petitioned for membership in the Masonic Order in 1954. In November of that year I was raised in Jewel lodge No.374, F.& A. M., San Francisco, California. A year later I took the Scottish Rite Degrees, and am a member of the San Francisco Consistory MRS. In 1961 I received the Investiture of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour.

I am happy to say that the admiration I had so long held for the Masonic Order was increased and deepened by a more intimate knowledge of its principles and a closer personal communion with my Brethren.

Manly P. Hall 32°
K.C.C.H
Los Angeles, 1967
 

Winter

Premium Member
Can one be a 'born-again-freemason"? While I'm not "formally" a freemason, I've become quite a fan of Manly P. Hall, and after reading The Path of Freemasonry by Mark Stavish (and a few others), it seems I've been a solitary freemason for decades. Since a single image can be worth thousands of words, I'll wrap it up with one I've shared in the "Inspirational" section:


For what it's worth.
So mote it be.
Welcome to the forum. We're happy to help you find the local Lodge where you live so you can petition to become a Freemason. But I must inform you that calling yourself a Mason without having been initiated into a Regular Lodge of Freemasons will not be well received by Brothers here. There is no such thing as an "informal" Mason.
 

coachn

Coach John S. Nagy
Premium Member
Can one be a 'born-again-freemason"?
If you mean that you are born again through some religious faith, AND be a Freemason, yes, unless that faith prohibits affiliation with Freemasonry.
If you mean that you were a Freemason, went away from it, and then able to rejoin, yes,
While I'm not "formally" a freemason,
Then you cannot be a Freemason who was able to rejoin.
I've become quite a fan of Manly P. Hall, and after reading The Path of Freemasonry by Mark Stavish (and a few others), it seems I've been a solitary freemason for decades.
If you are not a member, this is not so. However, if you are someone living what you believe to be the principles of Freemasonry, you're just someone living what you believe to be the principles of Freemasonry. You're still not a member.

WARNING: MPH wrote a lot of stuff that is grandiose, romantic, and not in line with the reality of membership, or what Freemasonic Ritual truly points toward. He contributed to a lot of romantic fantasy that's taken as reality by people who read his stuff. The reality is too often boringly routine. Until you actually join in on it, you'll likely never come close to understanding the Fraternity, much less its ritual.
 

Glen Cook

G A Cook
Site Benefactor
As Christopher Othen notes:

After briefly mixing with a Theosophy-style movement pushing a new Rosicrucian ‘Aquarian Age’, he started giving talks of his own about reincarnation in a small rented room above a bank. Tall, long-haired, and intense-eyed, he caught the attention of a local neo-Transcendentalist congregation called The Church of the People. Soon he was the church’s minister.

People liked the charismatic young speaker who mixed Christianity with sociology, philosophy, and ancient religions. Some saw him as a guru. Carolyn Lloyd and her daughter Estelle, wealthy with oil money, funded him on a trip around the world to examine the spiritual practices of Eastern nations. Hall began writing books like The Initiates of the Flame and The Lost Keys of Freemasonry.

In 1928 he synthesised his mix of Theology, occultism, Christianity, clasical philosophy, and eastern religions into The Secret Teachings of All Ages – An Encyclopedia Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolic Philosophy. It was a heavyweight, privately-published volume that was either a divinely inspired work that opened the portals of wisdom or semi-literate mystical trash, depending on your view.”
 

GnosticWretche

Registered User
My apologies! First, "born-again" was tongue-in-cheek, bad joke, poor delivery. My fault.

Second, I understand I am not a Freemason. Didn't say I was a "member". Perhaps I should have used the words "literal" and "metaphorical" instead of "formal" and "informal"? I think your taking it too literally. Obviously there can be no literal metaphorical "something'. My point was that I found myself described in The Path by Stavish, esp. the need of a small room devoted to The Work. My wife and I bicker over what to call mine (yes its a den or study and containes my library, yes its an art studio, buts its far more--a sacred space) She'll call it my "office" and I cringe. Stavish describes it perfectly, so I had her read that section. Our conventional living room is a television watching and laundry folding room (television belongs in a spare room). So I refer to it as my living room.

Third, thanks for the clarification on MPH, but I never said I thought he was a mason or an expert. He's an excellent writer, knows a lot and incites interest in his topics, but I see him primarily as a SPRINGBOARD INTO those topics. Until just recently the word "Freemason" would conjure Monty Python skits, the stone cutter episode of The Simpsons, and conspiracy stereotypes galore. His Secret Teachings flipped me on the subject, and led straight into The Path of Freemasonry by Stavish & The Meaning of Masonry by Wilmshurst, and so on... My fault for failing to be clear. Sorry.
 

Glen Cook

G A Cook
Site Benefactor
I think you have stumbled on a collective bugaboo. Many of us take the position that one is a Freemason when they take the obligation of a Freemason. For those with that view, there is no informal, metaphorical, metaphysical, metacarpal, megahertzical, …. Either you is, or you isn’t.

Now, if you feel you identify with Stavish’s views, great. Not all of us do, and he has no authority to speak for us. Consequently, even using his thoughts may or may not qualify your thoughts as those of Freemasons.

Aaaaaand, many of us are perturbed when a non-mason attempts to tell us what Freemasonry is. That would include MPH.

Your declaration that MPH is an excellent writer is an opinion which, of course, is yours to express. But it is only an opinion, and one at odds with those knowledgeable freemasons who view his writing as “semi-literate mystical trash…”

Despite those curmudgeonly comments, I do wish you the best in the enjoyment of your “office.” :)

edited
My apologies! First, "born-again" was tongue-in-cheek, bad joke, poor delivery. My fault.

Second, I understand I am not a Freemason. Didn't say I was a "member". Perhaps I should have used the words "literal" and "metaphorical" instead of "formal" and "informal"? I think your taking it too literally. Obviously there can be no literal metaphorical "something'. My point was that I found myself described in The Path by Stavish, esp. the need of a small room devoted to The Work. My wife and I bicker over what to call mine (yes its a den or study and containes my library, yes its an art studio, buts its far more--a sacred space) She'll call it my "office" and I cringe. Stavish describes it perfectly, so I had her read that section. Our conventional living room is a television watching and laundry folding room (television belongs in a spare room). So I refer to it as my living room.

Third, thanks for the clarification on MPH, but I never said I thought he was a mason or an expert. He's an excellent writer, knows a lot and incites interest in his topics, but I see him primarily as a SPRINGBOARD INTO those topics. Until just recently the word "Freemason" would conjure Monty Python skits, the stone cutter episode of The Simpsons, and conspiracy stereotypes galore. His Secret Teachings flipped me on the subject, and led straight into The Path of Freemasonry by Stavish & The Meaning of Masonry by Wilmshurst, and so on... My fault for failing to be clear. Sorry.
 
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Winter

Premium Member
My apologies! First, "born-again" was tongue-in-cheek, bad joke, poor delivery. My fault.

Second, I understand I am not a Freemason. Didn't say I was a "member". Perhaps I should have used the words "literal" and "metaphorical" instead of "formal" and "informal"? I think your taking it too literally. Obviously there can be no literal metaphorical "something'. My point was that I found myself described in The Path by Stavish, esp. the need of a small room devoted to The Work. My wife and I bicker over what to call mine (yes its a den or study and containes my library, yes its an art studio, buts its far more--a sacred space) She'll call it my "office" and I cringe. Stavish describes it perfectly, so I had her read that section. Our conventional living room is a television watching and laundry folding room (television belongs in a spare room). So I refer to it as my living room.

Third, thanks for the clarification on MPH, but I never said I thought he was a mason or an expert. He's an excellent writer, knows a lot and incites interest in his topics, but I see him primarily as a SPRINGBOARD INTO those topics. Until just recently the word "Freemason" would conjure Monty Python skits, the stone cutter episode of The Simpsons, and conspiracy stereotypes galore. His Secret Teachings flipped me on the subject, and led straight into The Path of Freemasonry by Stavish & The Meaning of Masonry by Wilmshurst, and so on... My fault for failing to be clear. Sorry.
You cannot blame us for mistaking your opening post when you said, "...it seems I've been a solitary freemason for decades." And, as Brother Glen has stated, there are no metaphorical Freemasons. The only way one can call themselves one is to knock on the door of a Regular Lodge of Freemasons (metaphorically, we use a lot of email these days) and ask to petition to receive the degrees. We're happy to help if that is your goal, but it is not required to join in the discussion here.
 

youngsandy

Registered User
Can one be a 'born-again-freemason"? While I'm not "formally" a freemason, I've become quite a fan of Manly P. Hall, and after reading The Path of Freemasonry by Mark Stavish (and a few others), it seems I've been a solitary freemason for decades. Since a single image can be worth thousands of words, I'll wrap it up with one I've shared in the "Inspirational" section:


For what it's worth.
So mote it be.
I’m sorry but if you are not a Freemason you shouldn’t be on here. I would suggest you firstly find a Lodge near where you live and apply to join. After that you can be apart of this group but for me you shouldn’t be on here and the moderators should block you until you are a bona fide Freemason.
 

Winter

Premium Member
I’m sorry but if you are not a Freemason you shouldn’t be on here. I would suggest you firstly find a Lodge near where you live and apply to join. After that you can be apart of this group but for me you shouldn’t be on here and the moderators should block you until you are a bona fide Freemason.
Whoa! Slow your roll, there. This forum is NOT only for Brothers. Anyone interested in Freemasonry who wants to discuss it regardless of whether they're a member or not is welcome here. Might want to dial it back.
 

youngsandy

Registered User
Really I certainly do
Whoa! Slow your roll, there. This forum is NOT only for Brothers. Anyone interested in Freemasonry who wants to discuss it regardless of whether they're a member or not is welcome here. Might want to dial it back.
I certainly don’t need you or anyone else telling me to dial it back.
I remember my 1st Degree obligation and if this group is letting non masons on I’m out.
 

Winter

Premium Member
Really I certainly do

I certainly don’t need you or anyone else telling me to dial it back.
I remember my 1st Degree obligation and if this group is letting non masons on I’m out.
We do not discuss anything that would be considered a Masonic secret or behind tyled doors. So no need to limit members here to only Masons. If you think this site violates your Ob. Then that's on you. Bye.
 

coachn

Coach John S. Nagy
Premium Member
Really I certainly do

I certainly don’t need you or anyone else telling me to dial it back.
Actually, you most certainly do. Do try not to confuse your wants with your needs.
I remember my 1st Degree obligation and if this group is letting non masons on I’m out.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out..
 
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mvantuyl

Premium Member
Really I certainly do

I certainly don’t need you or anyone else telling me to dial it back.
I remember my 1st Degree obligation and if this group is letting non masons on I’m out.
According to the site's Mission Statement:

My Freemasonry was started by a Masons for Masons, but does not limit membership based on Masonic affiliation. Many good men have registered asking "What is Masonry?" and "How do I join?," and we welcome those who seek answers to those questions.
 

GnosticWretche

Registered User
You cannot blame us for mistaking your opening post when you said, "...it seems I've been a solitary freemason for decades." And, as Brother Glen has stated, there are no metaphorical Freemasons. The only way one can call themselves one is to knock on the door of a Regular Lodge of Freemasons (metaphorically, we use a lot of email these days) and ask to petition to receive the degrees. We're happy to help if that is your goal, but it is not required to join in the discussion here.
Didn't "blame" anyone. "Solitary Freemason" is a contradiction, right?
 

GnosticWretche

Registered User
I think you have stumbled on a collective bugaboo. Many of us take the position that one is a Freemason when they take the obligation of a Freemason. For those with that view, there is no informal, metaphorical, metaphysical, metacarpal, megahertzical, …. Either you is, or you isn’t.

Now, if you feel you identify with Stavish’s views, great. Not all of us do, and he has no authority to speak for us. Consequently, even using his thoughts may or may not qualify your thoughts as those of Freemasons.

Aaaaaand, many of us are perturbed when a non-mason attempts to tell us what Freemasonry is. That would include MPH.

Your declaration that MPH is an excellent writer is an opinion which, of course, is yours to express. But it is only an opinion, and one at odds with those knowledgeable freemasons who view his writing as “semi-literate mystical trash…”

Despite those curmudgeonly comments, I do wish you the best in the enjoyment of your “office.” :)

edited
Hi Glen, Thanks for sharing! But I think you may be projecting a bit. A "solitary freemason" is a contradiction--it can't exist. Didn't say a thing about Stavish being an authority. And I defintiely didn't in any way shape or form try to tell anyone what Freemasonry is. That's cuz I'm NOT A MASON. Maybe you confused my post with another? I really appreciate the passion. And you deserve bonus points for using FUN words like BUGALOO and
 

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GnosticWretche

Registered User
OH! And "office" only makes me cringe when my wife says it. It's a "wife" thing. When you try it it's just "cute". Take care.
 

Winter

Premium Member
Didn't "blame" anyone. "Solitary Freemason" is a contradiction, right?
It's not a contradiction. It just isn't a thing. I'm not going to belabor the point. If you came here for specific information I think we can move past it and get on with more interesting discussions.
 
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