MASONIC MYTHS AND OUTRIGHT FALSEHOODS
By Nelson King, FPS, G.R.C.
Masonic myths and outright falsehoods are continually spread concerning
Freemasonry. Throughout the centuries Freemasonry has taught its valuable
lessons through allegory and symbols. The man from Galilee used parables
extensively and well. Many historians and better speakers constantly employ
anecdotes to illustrate the points they want to make. These methods
emphasize the search for truth in an interesting and factual manner.
Myths on the other hand, can be innocent or dangerous. They can be outright
lies or the perpetuation of distortions handed down through the generations.
Many of these were invented by Masonic writers and speakers to enhance the
image of Freemasonry. Some of these corruptions have caused the Craft
problems with creditable historians because they were outrageous lies.
Freemasonry, actually, requires no exaggeration to magnify its greatness.
The simple truth is all that is required to tell its story. This is the
reason for this speech is to attempt to destroy the myths that have been
prevalent, often for centuries, by telling the truth.
Myth: Freemasonry is a religion.
Fact: Absolutely false. This is one of several arguments employed by certain
religious fanatics in an attempt to discredit Freemasonry. They quote Albert
Pike and Henry Wilson Coil, among others, neither of whom was a man of the
cloth, to “prove” their statements. Pike was not a researcher. Most of the
hundreds of thousands of words he wrote came from his own mind, or the minds
of others whom he never mentioned but with whom he agreed. Coil wrote
millions of words about Freemasonry, and he was a lawyer and an excellent
Masonic researcher. Most of the time the words of these and other writers
are taken out of context to “prove” the thesis of the anti-Masons.
Freemasonry’s enemies conveniently ignore the thousands of Christian
ministers, and Rabbis, who prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that
Freemasonry, although religious is far from being a religion. Here are just
three of these Doctors of Divinity who have proven the critics in error:
Joseph Fort Newton, Norman Vincent Peale and Forrest D. Haggard.
Myth: Freemasons are satanists, because in their Lodges they do not pray to
Jesus Christ, but to a generic God such as TGAOTU or TGG or TMH.
What rubbish, Freemasonry encompasses all religions. Just because we do not
pray to one specific being does not make us satanic. If you follow their
logic that we Masons are satanist because we do not pray to Jesus then all
Canadians must be satanist because our National Anthem, which in itself is a
prayer has the line, “God keep our Land,” not Jesus keep our Land. All
Americans who sing “God Bless America” which also in itself is a prayer,
must be satanic because they do not sing Jesus Bless America, every American
who Pledges Allegiance to The Flag, “One Country under God” not One Country
under Jesus, must also be a satanist. Why even all Englishmen, must be
satanic because they sing “God Save the Queen,” not Jesus save the Queen.
Anyone who has been a witness in court and who has sworn to tell the truth
the whole truth and nothing but the truth, “So help me God” must also be
satanic, because they do not say So help me Jesus. To say we Masons are
satanic is pure rubbish.
Myth: Freemasonry is a secret society.
Fact: Unequivocally false. This is widely stated and believed, even by
Freemasons. Many Masons believe this so strongly they won’t even talk to
their wives and families about the Craft. Many writers of yesteryear helped
promote this error. Our ritualists have added to the belief. The critics of
Freemasonry want the world to believe in this secrecy because they have
little else on which to stand. Yet by no stretch of the imagination can
Masonry be termed a secret organization. If it was, no outsiders would even
know it exists. Anything that is known is not secret. Without question there
are many secret organizations throughout the world, but only men and women
within those circles are familiar with them. Most, if not all, ritualistic
religions have conclaves (literally: rooms locked with a key from
outsiders). Should these be condemned along with Freemasonry? Secret means:
“Kept from general knowledge or view; kept hidden; operating in a
clandestine manner”; and on and on. Secret groups meet in places known only
to the few. Freemasons meet in places clearly marked for the public to see.
Secret outfits never record anything that might become public property. All
Masonic functions are fully recorded, proceedings can be read by the general
public, thousands of books have been written and published about
Freemasonry, millions of words about the Craft come off printing presses
Members of secret organizations never advertise their affiliation;
Freemasons proudly wear the Square and Compasses and other emblems. The
complete Emulation Ritual [which is what our Work is based on can be found
in the Scarborough Public Library. Just get the book “Unlocked Secrets”, why
it even has pictures of a BBC TV broadcast in 1967 which showed all of the
three Craft Degrees So let us dispel the myth that Freemasonry is a “secret
Organization.” It isn’t. It never has been.
How many here were given or have a ” Masonic Bible”. Show of hands.
Well this is a myth. There is not such thing as an Masonic Bible. The Bibles
sometimes called “Masonic Bibles” are just Bibles (usually the King James
Version) to which a concordance, giving the Biblical citations on which the
Masonic Ritual is based, has been added. Sometimes reference material on
Masonic history is included.
Myth. The story of Hiram as we portray it in our Lodges is based on truth.
Fact. It isn’t. It has been called an “allegory,” but factually it isn’t. An
allegory is a story within a story. What we portray is actually a fable. But
it’s a fable that teaches valuable and unforgettable lessons. The Temple
Solomon had built to the glory of God was a fact.
The story as told in the third, or Master Masons degree, is not meant to be
factual. In a broad sense it can be called a legend. The “Hiramic Legend” is
an important part of the teachings graphically imprinted on the mind of the
candidate. Allen Roberts said, The lessons found in the Legend of Hiram Abif
reach to the roots of the soul and spirit. They are instilled in the heart
forever. You were an active participant, so that these lessons would be
deeply implanted, never to be lost….The ultimate triumph of good over
evil, and life over death, has been depicted throughout the ages in drama,
song and story. Legends depicting a central figure being killed and then
returned to life were common to many religions and rites. These undoubtedly
had a bearing on the development of the lessons the ritualists of
Freemasonry believed had to be taught. But the Hiramic Legend is more
intense, moralistic, and meaningful than any that preceded it.
“Hiram Abif did exist. He was a skillful worker in brass and other metals.
He was sent to assist King Solomon…. [But] the Hiram Abif who actually
worked at beautifying the Temple of Solomon lived to an old age! He died of
Myth. Pythagoras was Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.
Fact. So say the ritualists of yesteryear, and their successors have
compounded the fabrication. Pythagoras was indeed a great man. Although he
left behind no writings of his own, his students did. His influence has
extended to the present day. It is little wonder his teachings have reached
into Freemasonry, even if only fragmentarily. But, even if a form of
Freemasonry was known while he lived (582-507 B.C.), he could not have been
made a Master Mason. This degree wasn’t invented (or had it evolved) until
the late 1720’s. Actually there are those who believe that the Freemasonry
that did mature into what we have today was influenced by the Pythagoreans.
Myth: Much of our Masonic ritual was written by William Shakespeare.
Fact: There is no evidence to indicate Shakespeare even knew there was an
organization of stone masons that would eventually become Speculative
Freemasonry. The old Gothic Constitutions are the basis for The
Constitutions of the Free-Masons compiled by Dr. James Anderson in 1722 and
adopted in 1723. There is nothing in the Gothic tomes that remotely
resembles the writing of the Bard. Many of Shakespeare’s phrases have found
their way into the rituals of the Craft, but they certainly were not written
especially for this purpose. It would be nice to claim William as an early
accepted member, but we can’t. Let’s stop trying.
Myth: All, or most, of the Freemasons in Germany were murdered during the
Fact: The truth about the horrors of Nazism will never be known. The number
of German Freemasons sent to concentration camps, the gas chambers, prisons,
tortured or murdered in their homes will never be known. Unscientific
research, the only kind possible in this case, seem to indicate that about
two-thirds of the then 85,000 Masons in Germany were injured in some manner,
this left one-third untouched. The number actually murdered or tortured is
open to conjecture. It must be remembered that the Nazi horror reached into
other countries and the Freemasons in them.
We do know without question that Freemasonry is the first organization
proscribed by dictators. An organization that believes in and teaches the
Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God, that believes in the search
for truth, cannot be allowed to exist under a dictatorship.
Myth: Adolf Hitler hated and feared Freemasonry.
Fact: Not exactly. Oral histories (or accounts) can easily be fabricated,
this is especially true when publication comes after the subject’s death.
With this in mind I will tell you of such conversation recorded from
Gesprache Mit Hitler was reported to say. “Freemasonry has always been
harmless in Germany.” It “achieves the fruition of fantasy through the use
of symbols, rites and magic influence of emblems of worship. Herein lies the
great danger which I have taken in hand. Don’t you see that our party must
be something very similar, and order, an hierarchic organization of secular
priesthood? This naturally means that something similar opposing us may not
exist. It is either us, the Freemasons or the Church but never two side by
side. The Catholic Church has made its position clear, at least in regard to
the Freemasons. Now we are the strongest and, there, we shall eliminate both
the Church and the Freemasons.”
Myth: Freemasonry did not operate during World War II in the countries
controlled by the Nazis.
Fact: It did, but not openly. (Even today there are countries in which
Freemasons must meet in secret.) In the infamous Buchenwald concentration
camp the Masonic population reached close to 100 in October 1944, According
to M. Jattefaux, a French Freemason, the known Masons met daily. By
occupying the minds of these men with Masonic ritual and lessons helped
relief them of their anxieties. Masonic subjects were selected and by word
of mouth transmitted from one prison block to the next prison block. There
quiet discussions would take place. Then block by block the results of their
Our American Brothers have been saddled with many myths. Such as.
Myth: Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were Freemasons.
Fact: Neither Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry were members of the Craft.
An exhaustive search of Masonic records in Virginia, and elsewhere, offers
no iota of evidence to make them Freemasons. Jefferson participated in the
cornerstone laying of his University at Charlottesville, which was done
Masonically. He praised Freemasonry and his own words proved he had never
been a member of the Craft.
Myth: All of George Washington’s generals during the War for American
Independence were Masons.
Fact: Thirty-three of the generals serving under Washington were members of
the Craft, a long way from “all.” The late James R. Case and Ronald E.
Heaton made comprehensive studies of the Revolutionary period and debunked
many of the claims considered here.
Myth: Washington insisted that the Marquis de Lafayette be made a Mason
before he would promote him to general, and the same claim has been made
about the Baron von Steuben.
Fact: Both Lafayette and von Steuben were Freemasons before they arrived to
help fight the British. This was true of Lafayette even though he wasn’t 21
years of age when he arrived in America. It’s highly likely that Washington
never did know they were Masons. The stories of both of these men are highly
interesting, but space prohibits the telling of them here.
Myth: The Boston Tea Party was organized in St. Andrew’s Lodge in Boston and
its member participated in tossing the tea into Boston Harbor.
Fact: So well has the secrecy surrounding the Boston Tea Party been kept
that to this day not a single participant can be truthfully named! It’s true
that St. Andrew’s Lodge didn’t meet on the night of the “party.” This proves
nothing. The “T” that has been claimed is part of the minutes of the Lodge
is actually an indistinguishable scroll. By no stretch of the imagination
can it be called a “T” or any other letter.
Myth: There is no such thing as a woman Freemason:
Fact, Femine Freemasonry and Co-Masonry do exist, in fact there are many
many Feminine Grand Lodges, the largest concentration of women masons is in
England with some 60,000 members. Just because mainstream Grand Lodges do not recognize them does not mean that they do not exist.
Myth: Prince Hall Grand Lodges only accept Christian, black men as members.
Fact: All 44 Prince Hall Grand Lodges accept men of all faiths and color. In
fact at one time there were Prince Hall Lodges composed of mainly white
Jewish members. Prince Hall Grand Lodges use what we would call the American
Ritual, either Duncan’s or Webb’s, which is very similar to what the two St.
Johns Lodges of London use. By June of 1996 the only two Canadian Grand
Lodges not extending full recognition to Prince Hall, will be the Grand
Lodge of Alberta, and the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario.
Myth: Pope Clement XII condemned Freemasonry in 1738.
Fact. THE POPE DIDN’T DO IT There are many sources to prove Clement XII was
not mentally or physically able to preside over his religious kingdom. What
follows is based on information from several of these sources, particularly
Papes, Rois, Franc-Macons: L’histoire de la franc-maconnerie des origines a
nos jours (Popes, Kings, Freemasons: The History of Freemasonry from its
origins to the present) by Charles V. Boker, 1977. For the whole term of his
papacy, Pope Clement XII was blind and sick. He didn’t sign the Bull
condemning Freemasonry that bore his name. His church has been living under
false assumptions as far as it concerns this organization of friends and
brothers. Clement, 78 when he assumed the papal throne on July 30, 1730,
shortly after became seriously ill. His health continued to rapidly
deteriorated. Within two years after assuming the papal throne he became
completely blind. His hand had to be guided to the place where his signature
was required on documents. The pope reportedly said, when he heard about
something his nephew and others did that made him unhappy: “Well, let them
do as they wish, since they are the bosses anyway.” The suffering of the
pope was graphically described by Boker, whose information from many
authentic sources was carefully documented. Clement’s gout was particularly
severe causing him to practically lose his memory. Until his death he was,
without question, senile. But it served the purposes of those surrounding
him to keep him on the throne.
With the continual deterioration of Pope Clement, Cardinal Nero Corsini ran
the Holy See with tyrannical power. It was he who called together his
cohorts to produce the condemnation of Freemasonry. Among these conspirators
was the Chief Inquisitor of Florence. The dastardly deed was done on June
25, 1738. Boker proves that none of these participants were theologians;
none were knowledgeable about what they were asked to rubber stamp. “You
don’t have to be very clever to see that a man who had been completely blind
for six years, who had taken no part in Church business for even longer, who
had been suffering from senile debility for two years, could not have been
the one who drew up the Bull,” writes Boker. “The fact is, he didn’t even
sign the Bull that was proclaimed in his name.” In an accompanying photo
copy of the document only one name appears. And it’s written in the
calligraphic style of the balance of the document! Not a single name of
those taking part in the atrocity appears anywhere on it! Freemasonry, if
Pope Clement knew anything about it, was never condemned by him.
In my opinion and I stress that this is only my opinion, the reason the
Catholic Church banned Freemasonry was because there was a power struggle in
Church between the Jesuits and those who were the rulers of the Holy See.
The Jesuits who as we all know where and are the intelligencia of the Church
were and in some cases still are Freemasons. For example Freemasonry was
brought to Costa Rica by the Jesuits. Some 25 years ago when cleaning out
the Basilica in San Jose, a Bishops Miter was found and given the Grand
Lodge of Costa Rica. So what, well this Miter is adorned on the front with
an embroidery of the 18th degree Rose Croix, the piligan pecking at her
breast to feed her young. Yes this is a Christian symbol, however on the
tails of the Miter is embroidered the Square and Compasses. But I digress.
Lodges were formed and held in the Vatican. Because they met in secret,
Cardinal Nero Corsini was afraid that the Jesuits might take over the Holy
See. Again, can I prove it. No. But it makes an interesting story.
My Brethren the hour grows late, but there are many, many more myths but
these will have to keep for an other time. Thank you for your attention and
thank you for once again inviting me to address you. Thank you.
Author’s Note– My thanks to Allen E. Roberts, and Wallace E. McLeod for
allowing me to use some of their material in this speech.
Sunday Masonic Paper No. 745 – Masonic Myths and Outright Falsehoods
March 5, 2015