Knights Templar – Freemasonry Connections

Once again the Beehive is indebted to Brother Wayne Anderson of Ontario, Canada for a great article. Every Sunday Brother Anderson sends out an article to “his list.”

If you would like to be on his list please contact him at

The subject of the origins of Freemasonry is a hot potato. The article from Brother Anderson seems to have been written shortly after Born In Blood was published. Since that time much research has been done that points to The Templar as NOT being the source of the beginnings of Freemasonry. Some scholars have presented evidence that shows that very few Templar fled mainland Europe for the British Isles.  Many, they say, went to Portugal.  Others went to Switzerland, says Stephen DaFoe our resident Templar expert, where the now famous Swiss international banking system was set up by Templars.

My thought is that even if the Knights Templar, or knight Templar rituals, did not start Freemasonry, perhaps, they infiltrated it to hide from their persecutors and in the process added an additional dollop of secrecy to the Order. I have never been satisfied with the belief that builders needed such veiled secrecy with a myriad of passwords, grips and signs. It seems to me that is what the Templars needed to stay hidden. For a revelation of their affiliation could be lethal. Take the Grand Hailing sign, something I can see much more needed by a Templar over a stone worker.

Perhaps Freemasonry, invented by the ancient builder guilds, was influenced by  an influx of Knights Templar that occurred heavily in one fell swoop. Alas, I know that I am far from an authority on this aspect of historical Freemasonry. But I know that we have some erudite readers who perhaps will chime in. If you have some information and knowledge on this subject consider sharing it with all of us in the comments section so we can learn


From Summer 91 edition of the Missouri “The Freemason”
More about Born In Blood.

By John C. Allen,
Past Master Pleasant Grove Lodge #42 Otterville, MO.

In the summer issue of this year’s Freemason appeared a review by Zel Eaton of the book Born in Blood, by John J. Robinson. I am prompted to write this article by a conclusion drawn by Mr.  Robinson about the origin of Freemasonry. In his review Mr. Eaton alludes to this aspect of the book only vaguely.

I am referring to Mr. Robinson’s theory that modern Masonry actually had its origin from the Knights Templar, outlawed in 1312 by Pope Clement V and the French King Philip the Fair. It was Mr. Robinson’s conclusion that the Templars not apprehended went under-ground to escape the heavy hand of the Papacy and then resurfaced centuries later as lodges of Freemasons.

York, christian knight, templar descendant, english knight
York Rite Cross and Crown – A Cross and Crown laid upon the Cross Pattée inscribed with “In Hoc Signo Vinces”

Most traditional Masonic researchers, of course, have contended that the Order and its ritual somehow developed from the early crude organizations of the stone mason labor guilds. I, for one, have never been able to accept that view. Several years ago I arrived independently at the same conclusion as Mr. Robinson. Our Masonic ritual, steeped as it is in Kabbalistic occultism and mystery ceremonials of the Middle East, could never possibly have been developed out of the crude beginnings of the stone mason guilds. In that era even the skilled artisans and their speculative associates were far too unlettered and unlearned to have been capable of coming up with anything as elaborate and esoteric as even the earliest forms of Masonic ritual. Knowledge of the Hebrew Kaballah and the Middle Eastern mystery dramas had been ruthlessly suppressed by the Papacy during the Dark Ages and could have returned to Western Europe only by way of the Crusades. For bringing it back, the Templar became the logical bridge.  During their stay in the Holy Land, the Templars had come into close association with a Moslem sect called the Sufi, who previously had adopted many of the beliefs and ritualistic forms of the Gnostic, or primitive Christians. From the Sufi the Templars borrowed many of their own esoteric beliefs and ceremonials. A number of these have made their way into modern Freemason beliefs. One of these, for example, is the Junior Warden’s call of the Craft from labor to refresh-ment and from refreshment to labor, referring in a symbolic sense to death and rebirth. The Gnostics, the Sufi, and the Templars all believed in reincarnation.

Is this view about Masonic origins borne out by any prestigious Masonic scholars?

Read: In Hoq Signo Vinces

Yes, it certainly is—by one of our most celebrated scholars, Brother Albert Pike. My readings in Brother Pike’s Morals and Dogma have convinced me that Mr. Robinson, in his recent book, was on the right track.  Jacques B. de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, according to Brother Pike, masterminded the plans for Freemasonry while he was awaiting execution. Before coming in unequivocally to that assertion, Brother Pike cited conclusive evidence that long before the Templars went underground, they considered themselves builders, or masons, and were even called by the English, through careless pronunciation, Freemasons. This is clearly shown by the following extract with reference to de Molay:

“The Templars, or Poor Fellow Soldiery of the Holy House of the Temple intended to be rebuilt, took as their models, in the Bible, the Warrior Masons of Zorabel, who worked, holding the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other. Therefore, it was that the Sword and the Trowel became the insignia of the Templars, who subsequently concealed themselves under the name of Brethren Masons. The name Freres Macons in the French was corrupt-ed in English into Free Masons. The trowel of the Templars is quadruple, and the triangular plates of it are arranged in the form of a cross, making the Kabalistic pantacle known by the name of the Cross of the East.”

On page 820 of Morals and Dogma, Brother Pike leaves no doubt that he considered Freemasonry the brain child of Jacques de Molay as this extract will indicate.

“But before his execution, the Chief of the doomed Order organized and instituted what afterward came to be called the Occult, Hermetic, or Scottish Masonry. In the gloom of his prison, the Grand Master created four Metropolitan Lodges, at Naples for the East, at Edinburgh for the West, at Stockholm for the North, and at Paris for the South. The initials of his name, J.B.M., found in the same order in the first three degrees are but one of the many internal and cogent proofs that such was the origin of modern Free Masonry.”

Brother Pike’s reference to the initials, of course, is to the words Jachin, Boaz, and the Master’s Word in the third degree. Could this be a mere coincidence?

Brother Pike then went on to say that

“The legend of Osiris was revised and adopted as the central theme of the third degree ritual, to symbolize the destruction of the Order, and the resurrection of Khurum, slain in the body of the Temple of Khurum Abai, the Master, as the martyr of fidelity to obligation, of Truth and Conscience.”

templar cross, equal arm cross
Emblem of the Military Order of Templars.

According to the legend of Osiris here referred to, as the fragments of the god’s body lay on the ground, a lion reached down with his paw, scooped up the pieces, and lifted them back again to erect and living form. In the new Order succeeding the Templars this served as a symbolism. The Papacy and the King had slain the Grand Master but failed to accomplish their purpose. The grip of the lion’s paw had triumphed again over extinction’ The prostrate corpse of the Knights Templar had been raised from death. Once again it lived in the form of a new Order—Freemasonry. The old Order, vitally obsessed with building, lived on as builders still. The trowel remained still as its principal working tool. The Templars continued their role as “Brethren Masons.”

Why are Freemasons so obsessed with the Holy Saints John? “Oh, the labor guilds were expected to have patron saints, so the stone masons adopted the Holy Saints John.” We have all read that lame explanation. If a labor guild wanted patron saints, why would it choose two saints with contrasting religious beliefs?  For the Knights Templar to do so was perfectly logical, as Brother Pike took note in Morals and Dogma. From their very inception, the Templars functioned as a dualistic Order. Their avowed and pretended purpose was to protect Christians making pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Their actual and secret objective was to rebuild the Temple of King Solomon to recapture its original splendor and restore Jerusalem to the days of its pristine glory. In their outward aspects they posed as loyal supporters of orthodox Catholicism. This facade they craftily cultivated to gain the approval and sanction of the papacy. For this reason they adopted John the Baptist as one of their patron saints. St. John the Evangelist, however, was the one who had been regarded as the spokesman of the Gnostic religious views to which they adhered and wished to make supreme in their restored city of Jerusalem, designed by them secretly to displace Rome as the center of Christendom. St. John the Evangelist, therefore, became their most cherished patron saint. If Freemasonry did indeed stem from the Templars, it is only natural that the Masons would also adopt both of these patron saints.

fate of the templars, demise of the templars, templar execution
Templars burned at the stake

Since the Templars chief objective was the rebuilding of King Solomon’s Temple, one would reasonably expect them to continue in that preoccupation when they established a new Order to succeed the Templars. Need there be any mystery, then, as to why Freemasonry is similarly obsessed with the same Temple?

The Templar Connection would also nicely explain the mystery of the “bloody” Masonic obligations. If the Templars had any part in drafting these obligations, we would expect them to be fraught with dire consequences. We say today that the obligations are intended to be only symbolical. To a Templar member of the early guilds or lodges they would not have been considered symbolic. A Templar was a marked man with a price on his head. The long arm of the Papacy could reach him even in non-Catholic Scotland. Wherever he fled, there was always the threat of hired assassins. He could take no chances of having his identity or activities revealed.  Many of the other secrets of Freemasonry can be similarly accounted for as safe-guarding the security of the Templars who probably dominated the earliest lodges.

In one respect perhaps the traditionalists were right. Perhaps Freemasonry did develop in and come down to us from the stone mason guilds of Scotland. Its concept and ritual, however, could not have been originated by the stone masons per-se. Perhaps the Templars who escaped to Scotland decided to infiltrate the stone mason guilds and there introduce the system of de Molay’s new Order.  They had very good reasons to do so.  The Templars had also been builders, or masons. In their heyday the Templars had exerted complete control over not only the stone masons but also over all other skilled craftsmen throughout Western Europe. That being true, the Templars would obviously have experienced little difficulty trying to infiltrate the guilds.

As a final argument for the Templar Connection, we should not forget the religious element. Freemasonry is regarded as a semi-religious Order. If the Templars did really found Masonry, it would be surprising if they hadn’t placed a very strong emphasis on religion, because the Knights Templar was instituted primarily as a religious Order.

Albert Pike, Scottish Rite, Morals and Dogma, Magnum Opus, AASR, albert pike quotes

Possessed by the Devil of Commercial Avarice

Albert Pike, Scottish Rite, Morals and Dogma, Magnum Opus, AASRI take great wisdom from Albert Pike. When taken in portion, his writings in Morals and Dogma strike me almost a prophecy along the lines of Nostradamus or the Oracles of Delphi. It was in a deep reading of his work on the third degree that I found the passages below.

In navigating his writing in his Magnum Opus under the third degree, these gems of political observation ring true today probably more than they did in the nearly 150 years ago. I was at once shocked with a twinge of amusement that Pike foresaw perhaps the situation within which we find ourselves today. And in his writing he looks to Masonry as part of the remedy for it, but with his own cryptic warning about looking to the society of builders.

It was a problem America, and the world perhaps, is faced with today which is that those in charge are “possessed by the devil of commercial avarice” which he describes as being the point when “a nation becomes possessed with a spirit of commercial greed, beyond those just and fair limits set by a due regard to a moderate and reasonable degree of general and individual prosperity.”

Pike delves the subject deeply, without the realization that what he would write about could (or would) be happening.  But, in the subtext of his work, maybe he saw that it could happen.

When the thirst for wealth becomes general, it will be sought for as well dishonestly as honestly; by frauds and overreaching, by the knaveries of trade, the heartlessness of greedy speculation, by gambling in stocks and commodities that soon demoralize a whole community. Men will speculate upon the needs of their neighbors and the distresses of their country. Bubbles that, bursting, impoverish multitudes, will be blown up by cunning knavery, with stupid credulity as its assistants and instrument. Huge bankruptcies, that startle a country like the earth-quakes, and are more fatal, fraudulent assignments, engulfment of the savings of the poor, expansions and collapses of the currency, the crash of banks, the depreciation of Government securities, prey on the savings of self-denial, and trouble with their depredations the first nourishment of infancy and the last sands of life, and fill with inmates the churchyards and lunatic asylums. But the sharper and speculator thrives and fattens. If his country is fighting by a levy en mass for her very existence, he aids her by depreciating her paper, so that he may accumulate fabulous amounts with little outlay. If his neighbor is distressed, he buys his property for a song. If he administers upon an estate, it turns out insolvent, and the orphans are paupers. If his bank explodes, he is found to have taken care of himself in time. Society worships its paper-and-credit kings, as the old Hindus and Egyptians worshiped their worthless idols, and often the most obsequiously when in actual solid wealth they are the veriest paupers. No wonder men think there ought to be another world, in which the injustices of this may be atoned for, when they see the friends of ruined families begging the wealthy sharpers to give alms to prevent the orphaned victims from starving, until they may find ways of supporting themselves.

This seems to be speak directly to the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York, and now around the country over the “heartlessness of greedy speculation, by gambling in stocks and commodities…” who have “ruined families.” Has anyone questioned the patriotism and loyalties of the companies and banks that continue to benefit while those whom they prey continue to inch into “distress?”

Pike goes on to say:

We should naturally suppose that a nation in distress would take counsel with the wisest of its sons. But, on the contrary, great men seem never so scarce as when they are most needed, and small men never so bold to insist on infesting place, as when mediocrity and incapable pretense and sophomoric greenness, and showy and sprightly incompetency are most dangerous.

Like a call for action, Pike declares the need for the Masonic principles saying:

So much the more necessity for Masonry!

War has not ceased; still there are battles and sieges. Homes are still unhappy, and tears and anger and spite make hells where there should be heavens. So much the more necessity for Masonry! So much wider the field of its labors! So much the more need for it to begin to be true to itself, to revive from its asphyxia, to repent of its apostasy to its true creed!

So how does Masonry fit into this troubling world? As a Master Mason, it is the lesson of the third degree itself, Pike says:

Masonry seeks to be this beneficent, unambitious, disinterested guide; and it is the very condition of all great structures that the sound of the hammer and the clink of the trowel should be always heard in some part of the building. With faith in man, hope for the future of humanity, loving-kindness for our fellows, Masonry and the Mason must always work and teach.

We have to step back a bit to see Pike’s concern about this responsibility when he talks about Faith, Hope, and Charity saying:

These forces are within the reach of all men; and an association of men, actuated by them, ought to exercise an immense power in the world. If Masonry does not, it is because she has ceased to possess them.

An association of men? Masonry perhaps?

Interesting food for thought.

Freemasonry and Religion: Adversaries or Allies?


Through Freemasonry, however, I have had opportunity to break bread with good men of other than my own Christian faith. Freemasonry does not promote any one religious creed. All Masons believe in the Deity without reservation. However, Masonry makes no demands as to how a member thinks of the Great Architect of the Universe. Freemasonry is, for all its members, a supplement to good living which has enhanced the lives of millions who have entered its doors. Though it is not a religion, as such, it supplements faith in God the Creator. It is supporting of morality and virtue.

Freemasonry has no dogma or theology. It offers no sacraments. It teaches that it is important for every man to have a religion of his own choice and to be faithful to it in thought and action. As a result, men of different religions meet in fellowship and brotherhood under the fatherhood of God. I think that a good Mason is made even more faithful to the tenets of his faith by his membership in the Lodge.”
– The Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

I remember the horror in the eyes of my Irish Catholic in-laws when they discovered I had become a Mason.

According to them, the Masons were responsible for all of the union problems over the years and were not to be trusted. I also remember the shocked expression on the face of the rector of my Episcopal Church when he found me participating in a Masonic funeral service at the church. Fortunately, he was a little more understanding and asked me about the fraternity. Up until then, he had been suffering under the misconception that Masons were anti-Christian. Obviously, these are not isolated incidents, overcoming misconceptions is something Masons have grown accustomed to over the years. I guess it goes with the territory. Even in our degree work we are charged not to get into arguments with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule us. I have to question the validity of this charge in today’s world. True, Masons like to maintain a low profile, but make no mistake about it, the fraternity is still under attack by religious institutions, which hurts us by clouding the minds of the public and affects our membership.

Read: Freemasonry, The Religion of Not Being a Religion

Let me say unequivocally from the outset that Freemasonry is not a threat to religion. Instead, it is probably one of the strongest proponents of organized religion. To become a Mason, a person must believe in a supreme being; an atheist is ineligible to join the fraternity. This criteria is not done to contest the candidate’s beliefs as it is to act as a litmus test of the moral fiber of the person. I have personally seen men of many different faiths initiated into the fraternity; Christians, Jews, and Muslim. Following this, talk of religion (and politics) is barred from discussion in a Masonic Lodge so that it doesn’t cause any contention and discontent between members. True, we offer a nonsectarian prayer to open and close a Lodge, but this is essentially no different than what military chaplains offer in the field and offends no particular faith.

If you were to ask what religion Freemasonry adheres to, you might as well ask what political party we support (e.g., Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Socialist, Independent, etc.). Frankly, such talk is inconsequential as it is simply not discussed. This is a key reason why Masons enjoy harmony in the Lodge. We may not agree with each other’s religious beliefs but we respect the individual’s right to practice his own faith. This is called “religious tolerance,” something more people should practice. Opponents to Freemasonry believe the fraternity should be used as a bully-pulpit to preach the gospel of a particular religious denomination and try to convert people to their point of view. Hogwash. This is not what we are about. This is a fraternity; a Brotherhood that promotes fellowship, morality, charity, integrity, citizenship, honor, and brotherly love. The ultimate aim of Freemasonry is world peace and harmony, not world domination as some critics argue.

Another gross misconception of the fraternity in the middle East is that Freemasonry originated from Judaism. This misunderstanding is the primary reason why the offices of the Grand Lodge of Turkey was bombed a couple of years ago. Again, this is self-inflicted ignorance as preached by religious extremists/terrorists in the middle East. If you go into any Masonic Lodge you will find a “Volume of Sacred Law” on the Lodge’s alter to represent divine guidance. In those Lodges where the membership is primarily Christian, you will find the Holy Bible; in a Jewish Lodge you will find the Torah, and; in the Lodges in Turkey, I will guarantee you will find a Koran (I’ll bet the terrorists did not know this). As an aside, when Masons are initiated, the candidate’s holy book of choice is used in the ceremony.


Over the years, various religions have cast a suspicious eye on Freemasonry; Southern Baptists in the United States, the Anglican Church in England and Australia, the Presbyterian Church in Africa, and, of course, the Catholic Church. The division between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is an old one dating back in history. Frankly, the reasons for the division gets cloudier with the passing of each year but widened recently with the passing of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Following the new Pope’s installation, the following item appeared in the Catholic News Service:

Found among the list of the principal public documents and decisions issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 to 2005 when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) was prefect of the office was the following item:

NOV 26, 1983: “Declaration on Masonic Associations,” saying Masonic principles and rituals “embody a naturalistic” religion incompatible with Christianity. Those who knowingly embrace the principles or attend the rituals are involved in serious sin and may not receive Communion.

Following the 9/11 disaster, the Grand Lodge of New York invited New York Governor George E. Pataki to become a Mason in recognition of his work responding to the disaster. Initially, Pataki was pleased to accept the offer and even posed for a photo with New York’s Grand Master which was published on the cover of the “Empire State Mason” (New York’s magazine). However, after the Catholic’s declaration was brought to his attention (Pataki is a Catholic), he respectfully declined to join the fraternity.

The declaration has also led to problems in the Philippines where the local Bishop asked Catholics who are members of Freemasonry (and appendant bodies such as the Eastern Star) to stay out of the church:

“We would like to inform our Freemason brothers and sisters that you are no longer allowed to enter the church because your group contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
– Bishop Alo in a pastoral message read during masses

Fr. Medardo Salomia, spiritual director of the Diocese of Mati, said Bishop Alo and majority of the priests in the province have also agreed not to give Holy Communion to Catholics who are members of Freemasonry.

“The reason given why they are being barred from taking the Holy Communion was that they are being anti-Christ,” Father Salomia said.

Do not look for Pope Benedict to change his mind regarding Freemasonry any time soon as the subject of secret societies is a pet project of his; see related stories at: Reference 1 Reference 2

These recent events have been unsettling to Catholic Freemasons:

“Is it any wonder they call him the ‘German Shepherd’? It is this incredible arrogance of the church that has caused me to stop having anything to do with the Catholic Church. This is just another example of how they believe that they are the end all, and be all, of everything to do with the GAOTU. The epitome of arrogance.”
– a Mason from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

“My background is fourteen years of Catholic private schooling, alter boy, etc. Theology (four years) taught by French monks that came in the US as brothers vs. priest. We became French Catholic Theology students, so to speak, didn’t know there was a difference until later in life.

The teachings were pretty much the same as what I see in Masonry, treat each other with value and respect, the basic 10 commandments theme, with the difference being the church addition of specific scripture, a typical focus and part of religious beliefs, this is what makes a religion a religion. Masonry being non-religious, no scripture to believe in, cannot be a religion. I know it is hard to understand this when there is a Bible on an altar, prayer is given and things have names like catechism etc., should fall outside the above statement because it does not fit the incompatibility test. How can it be incompatible when it is pointedly non-religious?

Masonry probably does itself a disservice by using the old terms and symbols that scare people looking for something to be scared of. I have spent plenty of time out in the field, doing crazy things to evaluate our military strength, sometimes I was asked, “Did you see any snakes?” My answer is always the same, “I wasn’t looking for any.” They might be there, I’m sure some exist, but I didn’t have or let any of them hinder my mission. I’m convinced that if you go into the field looking for “snakes” you will indeed find them.

We were taught that each person, not just an ordained priest, has a special relationship with the trinity and no one can judge it but the two concerned. The fear of religious leaders is that they might lose followers, when they should be concerned with saving souls and doing good work. If they look to history, as we did, they will be enlightened as to the mistakes that are repeated continuously throughout history.

I have not seen the basis of the sin that is referenced here, like it is easy to see, killing an innocent person is wrong. Taking another’s wife or goods is wrong. Brotherhood and passing on an old mouth-to-ear order of words being a sin needs more explaining. I think the author is misinformed and has not done the research and homework needed to make a clear accurate proclamation. Too gray an area, there is only mortal and venial as far as I know. Keep in mind the background, with all due respect, of the human person involved, Germany is very tender about any other than mainstream groups because of the Hitler event and their lack of action against such atrocities. Look how they went crazy over the Scientologists in Germany.

I support my church, but it is my church, a church between me and my trinity as taught in theology at Trinity High School in the 1960’s. Remember in the 60’s it was a sin to be friends with a person of another faith. They would lead you to sin. You lead you to sin, not others.

Others may need the road map to heaven, we were given it as were others of other religions. We studied the old and new testament, everything brought into context of the time it was written, a year on each. We studied every religion known to man at the time and considered the differences of the teaching and beliefs.

I could go on forever, but, I know I’m okay because I do not embrace Masonry as a naturalistic religion replacing my Catholic upbringing and I know plenty of other Catholics that are of the same mind.

We all hope for the “lessons learned” part of the middle east to surface and hope religious leaders of all faiths, get over the “I’m the right one” and see the error of that way. Unite for peace thru understanding, temperance and defensive posture, it is the only future we can have or give our loved ones. What we see today is the other choice.

Man is what messes up religion. History proves it.”
a Past Master from Dunedin, Florida, USA


Wanting to understand the separation of Religion and Masonry, I established some Internet polls through the various Masonic Discussion Groups I participate in throughout the world.

The question was rather simple:

“If your place of worship (church/temple/mosque) said you must either abandon Freemasonry or the church, what would you do?”

3 (02%) – I would abandon Freemasonry
119 (93%) – I would abandon my place of worship and find another
6 (05%) – I would abandon my faith altogether

The results were to be expected. The overwhelming majority did not see any incompatibility between religion and the fraternity, but instead of causing a problem, they opted to move to another church where they could practice their faith.

Only a few others felt it necessary to choose sides. Here is a Brother who described why he would abandon Freemasonry:

Well, I guess I am a stand out in this poll. Being a newer member of a lodge I can say without a doubt, I would abandon Freemasonry. I was told from the very beginning that Masonry should never interfere with your service to your family, your usual occupation or your service to God. I belong to my church because I believe and have faith in my pastor. He has the vision of God (through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible) and does His work within and outside of our church. If I had no faith in this I could not remain an active member there. Please don’t think I belong to a cult or follow some nut job out there, our church is full of free thinking men and women who will let their opinion be known. Our pastor will listen to and consider all free thinking ideas, but when the final decision is made, it is made according to God’s word (Holy Bible) and not our pastor’s word. That is the reason I would abandon Freemasonry if it came down to a choice. I am very glad that choice will never have to be made. I spoke to my pastor before joining Masonry and although he is not a member of a lodge we have several members who are. My only problem is that there are several Brothers who attend my church who are Prince Hall Masons. In Tennessee our Grand Lodge does not recognize PH Masons. We treat each other as brothers anyway without holding any Masonic communication. But that is another discussion all together. Thank you for your time to hear me out.
a Mason from Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Another Brother felt entirely different:

“What has the Church done for me lately? First to criticize. Very dictatorial. Masonry promotes tolerance and mutual understanding.

If the choice was mandated by my Church, we would cease our association with each other. For I believe the terrible atrocities committed in those centuries past were by the Church that did not allow its parishioners the right to think for themselves.

As Freemasons this is our most treasured gift and ability. To be able to think for ourselves and to teach others of like minds to do the same for themselves is who and what we are. This is a major reason our way of life has existed for so many centuries! For if we cannot practice charity to or for whomever we wish, if we cannot have fellowship with whomever we wish or if we cannot hold a belief in whatever Supreme Being that we wish, what will our satisfaction be in belonging to a Church that refuses us these simple important pleasures?

I for one, like you too, believe in the life hereafter, and when push would come to shove, my relationship with my God is not hinged on belonging to a particular church! My faith in Him is contained in my heart, the same place my love for our ancient fraternity will live until the day that I die.”
Past District Deputy Grand Master, Havre, Montana


As I see it, this division between religion and Freemasonry is primarily our own doing. True, the ceremonies of the fraternity are well maintained secrets and, as far as I’m concerned, it is nobody’s business but our own. After all, Masons have no intention in meddling in the workings of our places of worship, why should others meddle in ours? Aside from this, we have done a horrible job of communicating to the public about our stance on religion.

One of the best ways to overcome misconceptions with the public is to develop a one-on-one relationship with members of the clergy. Let me give you an example; I know of a Past Master living in Clearwater, Florida who considers himself a well-read Catholic and actively supports both his Church and Lodge. He invited his priest over to his house for dinner where they talked for hours about Freemasonry and cleared up a lot of the priest’s misconceptions about the fraternity. I also know of another Brother who retired and taught Sunday School at his Baptist Church. Initially, his pastor was very suspicious when he discovered the Brother was a Mason. But over time he found the Brother to be an honest and honorable man, and an active supporter of the church. When the Brother passed away, the pastor not only wept, he openly welcomed the Masons into the church to perform a Masonic funeral service.

Knowing there is no discrepancy between practicing one’s faith and Freemasonry, I invite all members of the clergy to contact a local lodge to discuss the fraternity and to find ways to work together. Better yet, I encourage all Masonic Lodges to establish a program to meet with the local clergy and discuss the fraternity. One-on-one meetings can overcome a lot of problems. Maintaining a total cloak of secrecy over the fraternity does nothing but cast a cloud of suspicion over our motives. We must take a pro-active approach to communications as opposed to reactive. Failure to do so leads to rumors and inuendos which only creates barriers.

Do we really have anything to hide? Not really. After all, are we the ‘Good Guys’ or the ‘Bad Guys’? We’re the ‘Good Guys’ who help the needy and try to make the world a better place by practicing charity, citizenship, patriotism, honesty and integrity. Let’s continue to leave religion to those institutions charged with practicing it.

To summarize Freemasonry’s stance on religion:

  • Yes, men of many faiths are Masons.
  • No, Freemasonry does not advocate a specific religion.
  • Yes, many Masons have been (and still are) members of the clergy.
  • No, Masons do not worship Lucifer.
  • Yes, Masons are regular church-goers.
  • No, Freemasonry is not a religion.
  • Yes, Masonic Lodges have been used by many religious faiths to hold service (Lodges also make their facilities available for boy/girl scouts, civic and governmental organizations, and other non-profit organizations).

Anyone who thinks otherwise probably has a hidden agenda.

So, to those religious orders reading this article, what will it be: allies or adversaries? Since Freemasonry respects religious institutions and encourages its members to attend the places of worship of their choice, why can’t religion accept Freemasonry?

Keep the Faith.

Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

Originally published on FmI in 2007

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and

Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

Also be sure to check out Tim’s Pet Peeve of the Week (non-Masonic related).

Copyright © 2007 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved

The Value of Myth

If it doesn’t relate, then don’t celebrate.

Io Saturnalia, Good Yule, Cheery Solstice, Happy Holidays, Happy Ashura, Enlightened Bodhi Day, Good Boxing Day, Joyful Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas.

What ever your myth or belief, be it a joyful and happy season of celebration. Speaking of myth, have you heard about the dueling atheist and Catholic billboards that adorn the opposite ends of the Lincoln Tunnel in New York?

Erected by the Atheist Americans and The Catholic League respectively, two dueling factions – those who believe and those who don’t, have been dukeing it out over the souls of New York residents or at least dukeing out the idea of myth.

The fight is over the reality of the birth of Christ, or in a more general sense, the truth behind Christian theology itself. Erected by the American Atheists – the sign reads You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!

If the sign isn’t a simple enough statement their reason for erecting it can be found on their website which says:

Statistics show that nearly 50 million Americans are atheists. Some use names like freethinker, agnostic or humanist to describe or modify their position, but atheism (the absence of a belief in a deity) is broad, and encompasses all those terms. If you don’t have an active belief in a god, you’re an atheist. It’s a very good thing.

Millions of atheists are closeted, choosing to go along to get along, and feigning religion to their friends, family, and coworkers. American Atheists understands the pressure to fit in, but we maintain that for people to love you, they must know the real you.

An interesting inclusion in this list is the Humanists, which is where much of Freemasonry can trace its ideals back to – especially in the equality of man, the democracy of the lodge, and the more esoteric ideas.

Leon Zeldis, in a paper ENGLAND AROUND 1717 – The foundation of the first Grand Lodge in context, published at Pietre-Stones, says:

The Masonic lodge was a refuge of peace and tranquility at a time of political uncertainty, when the memory of religious warfare was fresh in the memory of all men, when the first discoveries and inventions were transforming the economy, and opening new perspectives of progress, when the hope that rationality and humanism would banish from the hearts of men the evils of fanaticism and intolerance. This was the fertile ground on which early speculative Freemasonry germinated and grew, spreading its branches throughout the western world.

This is not to say that the Humanism of the late Renaissance was the same as today, but its difficult to say that they are much different. Their similarity was in the study of Scholasticism which focused on the preparation of men to be doctors, lawyers or professional theologians, and was taught from approved textbooks in logic, natural philosophy, medicine, law and theology. Perhaps, even, in the study of Reason itself.

At the time of the Renaissance, it was a lesson for churchmen and Popes to study these new ideas which, even at that time led to the challenging of old beliefs.

Back in modern day, the Catholic League erected their own sign in response that reads:

You Know It’s Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus.

Originally, the competing sign was erected as a rebuttal or response to the Atheists sign, but with a more specific argument, truly the reason to celebrate Christmas, the Christ’s Mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Some onlookers, quoted in the New York Post commented that the rebuttal was unnecessary, that its a “it’s tit for tat, [which] defeats the spirit of Christmas”

Perhaps which side of the fence you come down on about the signs depends on your own personal beliefs, which are a very hard things to argue against. What stuck me about it was the need that we each have for Myth, whether its the season or reason.

Its an obvious omission to any who have read the Christmas story that fresh mountain pine trees and sparkly glass ornaments were absent in the telling of the nativity. Gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold were present, but they are a far cry away from the modern day giving of an iPad, an LCD HD TV, or a brand new and Bow-Tied Lexus.

So obviously the holiday didn’t originally celebrate in the manner we do today.  The first use of the Cristes mæsse (Christ Mass) wasn’t recorded until 1038, a thousand years after the birth of Christ – well before the giving of the latest Call of Duty Black Ops game.

So there must be some other reason for our focus of celebration, most likely our celebration of the myth.

Joseph Campbell, in his book The Power of Myth, says:

“The individual has to find an aspect of myth that relates to his own life. Myth basically serves four functions.

1. The Mystical Function – The wonder of the universe, the wonder of the self, and the awe before the mystery.

2. Cosmological Dimension – the dimension of science showing the shape of the universe but in a way that the mystery shines through

3. Sociological – The supporting and validating of a social order.

4. Pedagogical Function – how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.

So, even if it challenges the reason of some, the need and value of Myth is every bit important as it is to question them and ask yourself how they relate to your own sensibilities.

Campbell goes on to say:

“The story that we have in the West, so far as it is basedon the Bible, is based on a view of the universe that belongs to the first millennium B.C.  It does not accord withour concept either of the universe or of the dignity of man.  It belongs entirely somewhere else.”

This seems to be where the American Atheists are leaning, but get lost in the weeds of just disconting everything that fails their dogma test (missing the dogmatic-ness of their own proposition)

Campbell goes on to offer his idea of multicultural acceptance describing its Humanistic leaning as being “trans-theological.”  saying further “it is of an undefinable, inconceivable mystery, thought of as a power, that is the source and end and supporting ground of all life and being.”  Said another way, the myth transcends the source and takes on a more significant role.

This strikes me as the difference between Faith and Religion, the practice should follow the belief, not the other way around. We often celebrate a holiday or event without knowing its precise origin or purpose. What matters is how it relates to us today, what it means to us in the now.

If it dosen’t relate, then don’t celebrate.

If the myth of the event does not excite the mystical in you, then celebrate the mundane.

If your not of a religious bend, then pick another reason to celebrate the season. And, if that’s not good enough, then don’t try to wreck it, or shape it, for others.

This is where I believe the American Atheist’s  sign misses the mark.

Rather than condemn the beliefs of others – why not appeal to the 50 million atheists they claim affinity with to provide them an alternative to what they see as unreasonable celebration of Myth with their own unique celebration of Reason.

Happy Holidays – what ever your degree of leaning in your traditions.

The Unity of Light – a Universal Temple of Freemasonry

by Charles Lloyd Mashburn Jr. 32°
Thunderbolt Lodge # 693 Thunderbolt, Georgia


As a young Freemason involved in my Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite of the Valley of Savannah, Georgia the idea of a place of unity for all the orders of Freemasonry has been a thought in my mind for many years. Being an architectural graduate student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia gave me the opportunity to put these thoughts to practice.  The concept is to create universal temple of Freemasonry through the design of a visual and physical creation of progressive architecture. This architectural design and concept would use Freemason symbolism and will become a new symbol of Freemasonry for the 21st century. There hasn’t been a symbol of unity in Freemasonry since King Solomon’s Temple in 965 BCE. The UTF will become that new symbol of unity through enlightenment. The principle concept is to create a place where all Freemasons acknowledge one another, no matter their typology.  Defining a new progressive ideal of Masonic unity as: Education = Knowledge = Unity = Masonic Light.

“The Unity of Light”
A Universal Temple of Freemasonry
Jerusalem, Israel

Albert Pike said, “We have all the light we need; we just need to put it in practice.”

The unity of light in the fraternal order of Freemasonry is dwindling because of the different offspring of the original orders blueprint. The non acceptance of these offspring has prevented “Masonic Light” from reaching the “Roots of Unity”.  This diffraction of light has lead to certain orders not acknowledging other orders within the brotherhood of Freemasonry.  This is a contradictory of Freemasonry’s primary teaching of brotherly love and unity. There are Freemasonry lodges in almost all the countries of the world.

There are many members of varied religious faiths. The spectrum of religions span from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Hinduism, etc. The lack of solidarity of these lodges and the communication between them has been non progressive to the goal of unity in Freemasonry.  These issues are a driving force for the decline of Freemasonry in societies around the world. The non recognition of the individual aspects and elements that comprise the lodges are evident in the many orders of Freemasonry.

These issues are a dividing force for the decline of Freemasonry in societies around the world. The non recognition of the individual aspects and elements that comprise the lodges are evident in the many order of freemasonry.

Read: Freemasonry, The Religion of Not Being a Religion

The American orders for example might not recognize a lodge of Freemasonry in one state from another state because of its bylaws or codes.  Another issue in certain State Grand Lodges is that they might not acknowledge other Masons order of Freemasonry. The unity is no better internationally.

This is a fundamental problem for some Grand Lodges in other countries is that they do not allow women in lodge meetings. These orders need to come to a common agreement through the core values of Freemasonry. It is crucial to the survival and creation of a new blueprint for the order in the next century. This is the time in Freemasonry to write a new chapter in history by adopting the idea of unification for all the orders of Freemasonry into a well defined organization of unity.

A redefining idea of unity, presented through a visual and physical creation of progressive architecture, will become a symbol of unity for Freemasonry around the world.  The creation of such a symbol will bring a coming of age in Freemasonry in the 21st century.  That creation is a Universal Temple of Freemasonry.

The Universal Temple of Freemasonry (UTF) will be situated in Jerusalem, Israel. The selection of Jerusalem, Israel as the location site is significant to Freemasonry throughout the world.  King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem became the symbolic birthplace of Freemasonry. The proposed UTF site is outside the wall of the Holy City and is situated across from the Damascus Gate. In the history of Jerusalem, the Damascus Gate was the entry point where the religious pilgrims would enter the Holy City via traveling the Damascus road from the city of Damascus.

This is significant to Freemasonry because Freemasons are known as “Traveling Men.”  This comparison of the religious pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem in search of Holy Light mirrors the idea of freemasons traveling to Jerusalem in search of Masonic Light.

The site is located between the Armistice Lines of 1957, which divides the different regions and religions of Jerusalem.  This area is known as the “No-Man’s Land”, It is a land buffer between the different social, political, and religious persons and is considered by people in Jerusalem to be a site of a neutral nature. The site was also selected because of the discovery of King Solomon’s Quarry in 1854 in a cave system beneath the Damascus Gate and the Old City of Jerusalem. A large chamber was discovered that has been stated to be the site of Freemasonry Hall used by the Templar Knights in the Crusades.  The incorporation and placement of Masonic architectural elements in the UTF and its interior spaces are essential to the function and significance of the building to the site. The acknowledgment and study of historical Freemasonry architecture and sites in Jerusalem will influence and define the symbolic meaning to the building and site.

Unity Temple Blue Lodge
Blue Lodge

The construction of the UTF in Jerusalem, Israel will influence the surrounding cultural through Masonic unity. The UTF will be the new unifying symbol for all masons around the world.  The lodge will explore the knowledge and growth of brotherly unity in religion, philosophy, and morality within Freemasonry. This will become an expressing of ideals to the region of Jerusalem and the world.

The UTF will influence unity through a new idea of Freemasonry: Education = Knowledge = Light = Unity = Masonic Light.  The world orders of Freemasonry will be defined as the primary client.  The non – Masonic community will define the secondary client.  This place of unity and its client will change through the unification of the different orders into a more defined organization.  The unification will create a new primary client known as humanity and will influence humanity through unity in religion, philosophy, and morality.

Masonic Museum
Masonic Museum

This new idea Freemasonry: Education = Knowledge = Light = Unity = Masonic Light will consist of elements that will unite the orders of Freemasonry.   The Masonic Museum, (Education): is the first part of the new idea of Freemasonry. It will give members of all the orders of Freemasonry and the visiting public an understanding of Freemasonry history and its effect on world history.  The second is the Masonic Library, (Knowledge): will further educate the members of freemasonry and the visiting public through research. This research of Freemasonry will influence people from different societies to evolve to the new Freemasonry idea of unity.

Santum Sanctorum
Santum Sanctorum

The third is the Masonic Lodge of Unity: (Unity), which will be known as, “The Sanctum Sanctorum”. The creation of a lodge room known as the “Sanctum Sanctorum” in the UTF will influence the different orders of Freemasonry to embrace unity through the idea that the journey for the search of light ends in a destination called “Unity.” All Freemasonry orders must be unified before entering the “Sanctum Sanctorum.” Freemasonry member will meet in this place of unity once a year to express the overwhelming idea of unity among the Freemasonry orders.  The fourth is the five different lodge rooms for the five different orders of Freemasonry: (Masonic Light), will be defined as the Masonic Light.  These lodge rooms will give the different orders a place of unity where the different orders can meet throughout the year at the UTF.

The achievement of unity will be derived from and be driven by the hope of unification through my research.  I have created a visual and physical progressive architecture that will influence unity among the orders of Freemasonry.  This search for the unity of light has a frame work of ideas that incorporates unification through related topics in the different orders of Freemasonry. The history of symbolism and philosophy in Freemasonry incorporated with other related Freemasonry elements will be the foundation of the UTF.

West Gate
West Gate

My research of Masonic elements consists of the sacred geometries and how they are relevant to Freemasonry. The past influence of these sacred geometries on Masonic and non Masonic architecture will influence the idea of unity through their application in the visual and physical aspects of the UTF design process.

The goal is to provide a Universal Temple of Freemasonry that will redefined the ideal principles for the unification of the Freemasonry orders.  Unity and brotherly love are a fundamental ideal of Freemasonry.

There hasn’t been a symbol of unify in Freemasonry since King Solomon’s Temple in 965 BCE. The UTF will become that new symbol of unity through enlightenment. The principle new idea is to create a place where all Freemasons acknowledge one another, no matter their typology.  Defining a new progressive ideal of Masonic unity as: Education = Knowledge = Unity = Masonic Light.

Freemasonry Plaza
Freemasonry Plaza

A redefining idea of unity, presented through a visual and physical creation of progressive architecture, will become a symbol of unity for Freemasonry around the world.  The creation of such a symbol will bring a coming of age in Freemasonry in the 21st century.

The primary outcome of the creation of The Universal Temple of Freemasonry is to unite the different orders of Freemasonry through the design of a visual and physical creation of progressive architecture. The secondary outcome is to have this architecture and new idea influence better relations in the region of Jerusalem, Israel, by the implementing the new Freemasonry idea: Education = Knowledge = Unity = Masonic Light. This new idea along with the idea of a new age of progressive architecture will influence all relationships towards mankind and hopefully peace in the region of Jerusalem, Israel.

eye of god, providence, triangle eye

The Vast Indifference of Heaven

We contemplate eternity beneath the vast indifference of heaven.” -Warren Zevon

My favorite songwriter of all time is the late Warren Zevon.

Warren was incredibly adept at vocalizing the reality of his emotions through the medium of music. One of his works that has become a favorite of mine is his song “Indifference of Heaven.” To me, the song tackles an issue that most humans are afraid of addressing: does God really play an active role in the human existence?

Most people that I have met refuse to even consider this question and with good reason. The idea of an almighty being that doesn’t influence world events or care about our day-to-day existence is unnerving. We naturally want to believe that God is on “our side,” that God wants what is best for us, and that God will protect us. The desire to be one of God’s chosen people has been instilled in us through many different religions. It is a perfectly natural desire and it seems like a logical assumption. If God cared enough to create us, then he would care enough to make sure that everything turns out well for us, right?

all seeing eyeOne spiritual ideology that separates itself from this belief is Deism. Deism is a belief that came out of the Enlightenment Age of the 17th and 18th centuries. It is the belief that the Supreme Architect of the Universe created the universe and all things therein contained, but is not involved in man’s existence. It rejects the idea of divine miracles, revelations, or prophets. However, Deists do believe that all of the universe’s natural processes were put in place by the Almighty Creator and that God does desire for us to act morally.

Deism doesn’t necessarily declare that God is indifferent, but depending on one’s view of this theological ideal Deism could imply that indifference is one of God’s characteristics. Frankly, I think that the idea of an indifferent God can be comforting at times. Consider an event like the Holocaust. It is much more difficult to understand how a God that interferes with human actions would allow such a tragedy to occur. What about those times when a crime is committed and the victim is an innocent law-abiding and God-fearing citizen? How can we accept that a proactive Deity allows these things to happen? Yet, we find ways to rationalize God’s inaction and decide that tragedies are all part of God’s plan.

Maybe there is another way of looking at the vast indifference of heaven. Maybe we don’t have to accept that God is indifferent or that he does direct the course of human action and allows bad things to happen for a reason. Like many people, I like to think of God as a father figure. A good father knows that he cannot run the lives of his children, because if he doesn’t allow them to realize the consequences of their own actions they may become dependent on his guidance and will suffer in the long run because they are not capable of making responsible decisions. He may well know that his child intends on going to a party on the weekend which may result in his child making a wrong decision. So he raises his child by giving them a good example of proper conduct and trusts that they will make the correct decision when it is necessary. Perhaps God works in the same way. He has given us his guidance through various religious texts and trusts that we act in an upright manner, but he also realizes that we must suffer the consequences of our own mistakes.

The truth is that while we exist in this world, we may never know the real characteristics of God. He may be interested in our lives, indifferent, or like a loving father, gently guiding us to follow the right path. But one thing that will not change is that we will all–at one time or another–feel like we are “contemplating eternity beneath the vast indifference of heaven.”

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

THE GOLDEN RULE by Norman Rockwell 1894-1978

I thought that this would a good time to re-affirm the tenets of the Golden Rule and the scriptures that seem to capture the essence of it.

At its essence, reciprocity is the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have done to you.

Essentially, this is the application of the principal of the golden rule across 14 different faith traditions. It does not say they are all the same, rather it reflects a broader equanimity between all faiths and faith traditions and no matter your belief others believe similarly to you.

“By Speculative Masonry, we learn to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practise charity. It is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligations to pay that rational homage to the Deity, which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness. It leads the contemplative to view with reverence and admiration the glorious works of creation, and inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfections of his Divine Creator.”

Duncan’s Ritual & Monitor

The Golden Rule

“Lay not on any soul a load that you would not want to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”
Baha’i Faith – Bahu’u’llah

“Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”
Buddhism – Udana-Varga 5:18

“In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law of the prophets.”
Christianity – Jesus in Matthew 7:12

“One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct…loving kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”
Confucianism – Confucius, Analects 15:23

“This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.”
Hinduism – Mahabharata 5:15-17

“Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”
Islam – The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

“One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.”
Jainism – Mahavira, Sutrakritanga

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor, This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary.”
Judaism – Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a

“We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.”
Native American – Chief Dan George

“I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.”
Sikhism – Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 1299

“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”
Taoism – T’ai Shang Kan Yin P’ien 213-218

“We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
Unitarianism – Unitarian Principle

“An’ harm none, do as thou wilt.”
Wicca – The Wiccan Creed

“Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.”
Zoroastrianism – Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29

Have faith.

Dan Brown’s Influence On World Peace

lostsymbolAlong with my Short Talk Bulletin I recently rescued from my mailbox came with it MIC’s (Masonic Information Center – a part of MSANA)  FOCUS, a short communication on whatever is HOT right now in Freemasonry.  And what is hot right now, as we all know, is Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

MIC published a letter Dan Brown sent to the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, on his apology for not been able to speak before them.  In that letter was a really important gem.

“In the past few weeks, as you might imagine, I have been repeatedly asked what attracted me to the Masons so strongly as to make it a central point of my new book.  My reply is always the same.  ‘In a world where men do battle over whose definition of God is most accurate, I cannot adequately express the deep respect and admiration I feel toward an organization in which men of differing faiths are able to break bread together in a bond of brotherhood, friendship and camaraderie.”

While this is something all members of the Craft realize, yet its implication for application on a much wider scale is overlooked.  Come imagine with me, play fairy tale – what if all or at least an overwhelming number of people in the world were Freemasons?  What effect do you think that would have on world peace?

Dictatorships and totalitarian regimes who do not respect the worth of the individual do not like Freemasonry. Radical Muslims and radical Christians and other radical religionists who portray themselves as the only people on earth “to be saved” and who seek to eradicate other faiths and what they see as corruptions of their own faith, do not like Freemasonry either. Closed minds with agendas cannot accept free associations of differing views. The ability to “live and let live” is lost on those who have the one and only true way which becomes their mission to impose on everybody else for the good of the whole.

Learning how to live in peace and harmony – two very coupled Masonic words – has been something I have been writing on for many years as a Mason because it was Freemasonry that taught me the concept and it was Freemasonry that made me realize how it can be done and it was Freemasonry that showed me how important this is for the world.

In 2005 I wrote a long paper which I delivered in Alberta, Canada titled World Peace Through Brotherhood. In that paper I quoted Brother Joseph E.A. Salem of the Israeli Scottish Rite and his words are worth repeating.

“Too many people believe that peace is a diplomatic maneuvering, a series of talks and shuttle trips between countries, or a pile of documents signed in Paris or on the lawn of the White House, in Washington.  Real Peace can only come from the hearts of men.”

“The greatest ideal in the world today is fraternity, not as a mere sentiment, but as a science, a practical philosophy and a way of life.  If ever there was a generation eager and willing to try out the philosophy of brotherhood with wisdom and patience, it must be this generation.  We have been shown in letters of blood and fire, what hate, envy and greed can do.”

“I believe Freemasonry can do a lot towards building a better world, fit to live in, unstained by blood, undefiled by hatred.  This is the challenge to our craft.”

“’Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.’  This is the Commandment to which Freemasonry dedicated itself, to establish brotherhood among men so they can live in peace with each other in this world.”

“The struggle of Freemasonry is the struggle of the human race against tyranny and oppression.  From the beginning, Freemasonry has realized that religion, tradition, and habits of life can divide the peoples of the world into hostile camps.  Freemasonry takes no part in these quarrels, rather it provides a common meeting ground where all men can meet on the level.”

“Every Masonic lodge is a temple of peace. In it, men of different religions and stations in life meet together, and on its altars, the Sacred Volumes of all faiths are placed.  The spirit of harmony and cooperation prevails.  The Masonic teachings of equality and fraternity are the only tie that can bind the human family together, and create a world order based on brotherly love and peace.”


After I delivered World Peace Through Brotherhood at one Albertan Lodge, the Worshipful Master came up to me and he said. “Do you know what stood out for me out of that hour long lecture you gave?”  And he immediately answered his own question with, “Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of peace.”  EVERY MASONIC LODGE IS A TEMPLE OF PEACE. And that is so true.  Just as one might check his weapon at the door, every Mason checks his agenda at the door.

And what Salem imparts to us is that peace starts with the heart not with actions of civil servants. And that is where Freemasonry starts right from the very start.  Where is a man first made a Mason?  In his heart  – and he is raised, reborn into a new way of life, one of respect for others, for love for all humankind, for tolerance of different beliefs, styles and cultures and non judgmentalism leading to peace, harmony and accord.  This works very well as long as what is given is also received back. And here is where our dream, our fantasy of what would the world be like if every person was a Mason comes into play.

Lest anyone think that I am just substituting one, one and only true way with Freemasonry as the new one and only true way let me say this. Freemasonry is not the one and only true way.  It’s not even the only way.  But it is the best way I know of right now at this moment.  Religious organizations, houses of worship and secular organizations have a role to play also.  But the difference is this.  While they seek to impart peace through adherence to a certain dogma, creed or agenda Freemasonry does not.  Freemasonry’s dogma, creed and agenda is no dogma, no creed, no agenda except generalities of righteousness and nobleness that have been recognized by every religion, every culture, every free government since time immemorial.

Now talk as I may, and talk as the great writers around me may, none of us will have so many ears listening as will those who listen to Dan Brown.  His words that he tells us he repeats over and over again, will have a tremendous effect on those who seek to implement worldwide peace and harmony in our time.

Thank you Dan Brown.  We are overjoyed that you understand!

York, christian knight, templar descendant, english knight, Order of the Temple of the Commandery



York, christian knight, templar descendant, english knight, Order of the Temple of the Commandery

York Rite Cross and Crown – A Cross and Crown laid upon the Cross Pattée inscribed with “In Hoc Signo Vinces”

The LORD said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me.

Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 8:1-4

This passage will more than likely spark the interest of those who have taken the Order of the Temple of the Commandery in the American York Rite. When I opened up my Bible to examine this bit of scripture, I was not terribly excited. I find the book of Isaiah to be the Revelations of the Old Testament. Interpreting and understanding prophesies is something that I am very uncomfortable with and find that examining such writings typically results in a headache. But determined to find some sort of applicable meaning in this passage, I focused on the task at hand and forged ahead in a bit of Biblical research.

I thought that perhaps the name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz might be the key to understanding this passage. This name is defined in the New International Version of the Bible as “quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.” Considering the last part of the piece of scripture quoted above, this definition does not seem odd. But when considering its place in the Order of the Temple, this meaning does not seem to make much sense.

However, this passage from scripture is actually referring to information found in the seventh chapter of the book of Isaiah. In this chapter, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah, son of Ramaliah King of Israel, have decided to fight Jerusalem and overtake the city. Ahaz, the king of Judah, is troubled by these events, but God sends Isaiah to tell Ahaz:

It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” Isaiah 7:7-9

These pieces of scripture are relevant to the period during the Order of the Temple when the candidate is symbolically serving his three years as a pilgrim warrior. A pilgrim is a person that is on a spiritual quest, a religious journey. He is a traveler who has humbled himself and whose piety has urged him to seek a holy destination. As a warrior, he is engaged in a cause or conflict. Therefore, the ninth verse of the seventh chapter of Isaiah couldn’t be more applicable: “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

But what is faith? Is it that blind belief of something that can not be proven? The eleventh chapter of Hebrews says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” However, this makes the word faith, as found in Isaiah, seem rather worthless. Considering this definition, without an irrational belief in something with no empirical evidence, you will not stand at all. But what if faith is something more?

The Mason should exhibit wisdom, strength, and beauty in all that he does. If you have no faith in God, you have no wisdom; if you have no faith in yourself, you have no strength; if others have no faith in you, you have no beauty. Therefore, if you have no wisdom, strength, or beauty, you will not stand at all. Perhaps the name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz really means that without this wisdom, strength, and beauty a Mason’s life will be easily plundered and spoiled.

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The Evolution of God


hand of GodBefore reading this article, I would like to make one more plea asking you to fill out my York Rite Survey. The results of this survey will be used to help me develop a program to help the York Rite in my jurisdiction and hopefully the benefits will extend beyond my state. Anyone can fill it out, it is crucial that I get more responses from non-York Rite Masons. Please provide me with some brotherly relief and take two minutes to fill out this survey. Thank you.

I was having my coffee and enjoying my Sunday morning while watching a recent rerun of an episode of The Colbert Report when the show suddenly caught my attention. Colbert’s guest was Robert Wright who has written a book entitled The Evolution of God. This is a topic that I have long been fascinated with because as I have studied the Bible over the years, I have noticed how the depiction of God evolves throughout the history of the Hebrews and eventually gets a huge makeover when Jesus begins to teach.

The God that Abraham served was extremely personal and was even willing to appear to Abraham as a human, almost like a personal angel. The God of Moses was wrathful. The God of David was often a warrior. Then as the Bible transfers to the New Testament, God becomes a universal being who exists for all of creation. This evolution is not unique to the religions which look to the books of the Bible for enlightenment, mankind is continually making God into a more loving and universal creature. Polytheism and idolatry are types of worship which continually keep disappearing and our society is now starting to make the leap from Deism to agnosticism and eventually atheism. While I have not yet read Robert Wright’s book, he explains that he came to a similar conclusion in his interview with Colbert.

This is a topic that is very relevant to Freemasonry. As Freemasons, we have carried the banner of universality in spirituality for nearly three centuries. There are very few places in the world where men of all creeds can sit in harmony and recognize each other as equals and not judge a man based on his own religious choices. Oh sure, there are plenty of examples of Freemasons that don’t understand this and erroneously regard Freemasonry as a Christian organization, but the knowledgeable Mason understands the fallacy of this idea. It is crucial that Freemasons understand the critical role of the organization in creating peaceful relations among men of all beliefs.

In this age of combative 24-hour news and increased divisiveness in issues such as religion and politics, it is crucial for Freemasons to remain the peacemakers. This is an idea that Albert Pike expounds upon in the 6th degree of the Scottish Rite and the American York Rite gives an example of peaceful religious relations in the Order of the Red Cross, when Darius offers his protection to the Jews so that they can rebuild the temple of their God. Of course, these ideas are well covered by the symbol of the Master Mason’s trowel. As society evolves and the perception of God evolves with it, Freemasons should be happy to be at the forefront of the fight for religious understanding and equality.

Today’s men can use a place to go to escape from religious and political bickering and enjoy fellowship with men of all walks of life which are bound to aid, support, and protect each other. I plan on buying a copy of the book The Evolution of God and gaining some insight into mankind’s perception of Deity. After all, couldn’t understanding someone else’s perspective do us all some good?

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