Everybody is worried about Masons taking over the world. Heck, we can’t even organize a picnic.
– A Mason from Washington state.
To find an Anti-Mason, you need look no further than the Internet for there is an abundance of discourse on the Net berating and misrepresenting the fraternity. As Freemasons, we are blamed for everything from the assassination of JFK, to World War I, both Gulf Wars, and God knows what else. The same people who track UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and Elvis, are the same people tracking Freemasonry.
Why? Because we make a convenient target.
As a “society with secrets” (not a “secret society”) it is easy to draw erroneous conclusions about our motives and activities. And make no mistake, the Anti-Masons are capitalizing on the naivete of the general public in the same manner as the supermarket tabloids do and for the same reason: to make a buck.
In researching this subject, I visited numerous Anti-Masonic web sites on the Internet. Even though they are all closely related, I have categorized the Anti-Masons into three groups: Conspiracists, Religious Zealots, and Wackos.
I like to refer to these type of Anti-Masons as Michael Moore “wannabees” as they are alarmists claiming that the sky is falling. They are all self-proclaimed freedom fighters acting as watchdogs of the fraternity. They write numerous exposes on Freemasonry with just enough research to make them look authoritative on the subject. What is disturbing here is that although Freemasons can easily see through the malarkey in their writings, the general public cannot.
At the root of their argument is the premise that Freemasons are overtly concerned about the social engineering of the planet. Under their scenario, the Masonic Fraternity is an inherent member of the Illuminati, a group of international bankers and power brokers who are obsessed with enslaving the human race and putting all of the world’s wealth into their hands. If this was true, I wish the Illuminati would share some of their wealth with the many Craft Lodges who are struggling to make ends meet.
In a nutshell, the religious zealots portray Freemasonry as either an autonomous religion or as one dedicated to Satan. We also have people claiming to have been Masons but have “seen the light” and recanted their membership. Frankly, their membership in the Masons are somewhat questionable as their description of Masonic activities doesn’t jive with what we have learned.
“Ex-Masons for Jesus” is an organization of Christian men and women who claim to have been members of a Masonic Lodge or one of the affiliated Masonic organizations such as Eastern Star, DeMolay, Job’s Daughters or Rainbow Girls. “We have left Masonry because of our commitment to Jesus Christ and a realization that Masonry is not consistent with a sincere expression of the Christian faith. We have found that participation in Freemasonry interferes with a close relationship with Jesus Christ.” Nuts.
Finally, we come to the offbeat critics of the fraternity who attack it for a variety of reasons, such as child abuse and other forms of sexual misconduct.
To prove their point, the Anti-Masons turn to Masonic and news quotations to support their claims. In reality, the sources are either misquoted or quoted out of context. However, accuracy of reporting and truthfulness is not the forte of the Anti-Masons.
As Masons we are charged not to suffer our zeal for the institution to lead us into arguments with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule it. But because we often cloak our ceremonies in secrecy, we make a convenient target to be cast in the role of “bogeyman.” Laugh as we might at our critics, they do have an effect on the general public. Let me give you an example, I know of a young Mason in the Tampa Bay area of Florida who was initiated an Entered Apprentice and passed to the degree of Fellow Craft before falling in love with a young woman who frequents the Internet and became suspicious of the fraternity her fiancé had joined. Frankly, I think she jealously saw Freemasonry as something that would divert his attention from her. Nonetheless, she read a lot of the propaganda and came to the erroneous conclusion that Freemasonry was anti-Christian with hidden motives and, consequently, swayed her fiance to halt his Masonic involvement.
Whether we like to portray ourselves as a “secret society” or a “society with secrets,” we have become fodder for every crackpot accusation imaginable. This puts us in the unenviable position of having to defend ourselves of every charge brought against us. As Masons, we can readily see through a lot of these falsehoods, but how do you defend yourself against a crime you didn’t commit? Unlike American jurisprudence where a man is “innocent until proven guilty” we find ourselves in the predicament of being “guilty until proven innocent.” Our critics know this and use it to their advantage by charging us with any ludicrous accusation they can dream up. Their motto seems to be, “When in doubt, blame the Masons.”
What our critics don’t seem to understand is how we investigate the background of everyone who petitions to join the fraternity. The only general criteria for joining is that a person believe in a Supreme Being (based on their religion of choice), that he does not believe in the overthrow of his resident government, and that he hasn’t committed any heinous crime. From this perspective, we are God-fearing peaceful citizens who happen to enjoy the company of other God-fearing peaceful citizens. If this is a crime, I plead guilty, most guilty.
In reality, our critics are well aware of this, and if they were to honestly answer you, they would have to admit as such.
So what is their motive? Why do they find it necessary to harass Freemasons? Is it because some of them were blackballed? Perhaps a woman feels scorned? Perhaps. More likely, it goes back to a simple human trait: Greed. If you look at the background of the Anti-Masons you will find people who have failed in business, but having an aptitude for writing, have concocted inflammatory stories which appeal to conspiricists, the religious right, and other wackos. Bottom-line: they are out to make a buck at the expense of Freemasonry. To do so, they build arguments out of minuscule incidents from our past and paint a picture of distrust and felonious activities with the truth sacrificed in the process. Even the noted author, Dan Brown, uses this to his advantage with his highly acclaimed books, such as “The Da Vinci Code” and the upcoming “The Solomon Key.” But unlike the Anti-Masons, and to his credit, Brown is quick to point out his stories are works of fiction. Bottom-line, the Anti-Masons are capitalizing on the ignorance of the public to sell books and make public appearances. Plain and simply, it’s all about money. They take a little Masonic knowledge and blow it out of proportion knowing we cannot or will not defend ourselves.
One interesting attribute of all of the Anti-Masons is that they strongly safeguard their identity. In fact, they are cloaked in more secrecy than a Masonic Communications. You won’t find too many photos of our detractors, and their whereabouts on this planet are strongly guarded. To communicate with them, you must go through a “cloak and dagger” e-mail process which I find to be particularly ironic as they often accuse Freemasonry of being too secretive. Fortunately, their anonymity hurts their credibility with the public.
Understand this, Freemasonry wouldn’t be plagued by such voluminous false accusations today had it not been for the Internet, a powerful communications medium that can carry the Anti-Masons messages to the masses at little cost. Sure, Freemasonry has had detractors in the past, but the Internet has accelerated the volume of contrived nonsense being presented to the public.
Also, many young people are caught up in the Anti-Mason movement which may be natural since young people find it fascinating to discuss cover-ups and conspiracies of world domination. Let us not forget that we live in a day and age of extremists who can readily communicate through this powerful medium.
So what should Masons do, turn the other cheek and let our critics run all over us? As Masons we are taught to subdue our passions and not directly engage our critics. Maybe. However, when flagrant errors appear in print, they should not go uncontested, otherwise the public will think the detractor is correct. As an example,
I do not encourage our Brothers to get directly into arguments with our critics, but I think we have a responsibility from time to time to clarify our position, if for no other reason, to dispel misinterpretations that might hurt our membership. I am reminded of what M:.W:.Harold G. Ballard, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, said,
Masons should never forget, nor miss an opportunity to inform the uninitiated that Freemasonry is a fraternity of men from all walks of life who meet as equals in a common quest for knowledge and a better life, both philosophical and material, for all mankind.
In other words, I recommend we become proactive in our communications with the general public, not reactive as we have been.
Just remember, the anti-Masons are not interested in the truth. If they truly did their homework, they would inevitably arrive at a different conclusion. As evidence, consider the work of Dr. Jessica Harland-Jacobs who wrote Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927 a non-Mason who thoroughly researched our background and “gets it.”
So, what drives the anti-Masons? In a nutshell: Money. Why do they continue to argue with the fraternity? Because we represent a threat to their livelihood. It’s as simple as that.
Keep the Faith.
by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”
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 www.FreemasonInformation.com
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 © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
I wrote something similar a couple of years ago, in which I categorized them as the religious, the konspiracists, and the kooks. And even back when I started blogging, I wrote about the ways that some of them seem to create a conspiracy out of whole cloth. The religious antis are arguably the worst because they have an unassailable logic (of a sort) which is essentially: God tells me that Masons are evil, and if you try to prove differently, then it’s just proof that Satan has entered your heart.” They can’t see the problem in the reasoning behind the (mistaken) idea that some Masons don’t even know that they are praying to a “false God.”
Of course, the idea that Baphomet is hijacking our spiritual WiFi just cracks me up.
More recently, I’ve been following an anti-Mason thread on a religious group, and I’ve been amazed at how many people can’t make the connection between the things that the “authorities” are railing against, and the fact that they sell books and DVDs about those subjects for only $39.95.
It has struck me that what motivates some of these people is positioning freemasonry as an enemy in order to make their particular institution/set of beliefs look better. As Ed King puts it on masonicinfo.com, “We need a villain – and you’re it!”
They have an advantage in that their audience is often conditioned to accepting wild claims (freemasonry is “satanic” etc.) without employing the least bit of critical thinking on their part. They have an audience used to believing things without evidence. If a preacher or other person in a place of authority says freemasonry is bad, it must, in their eyes, be so.
There’s that, plus the the very low quality threshhold many place on information found on the net. Controversial and scandalous claims are more appealing to the baser parts of our natures: the sites that offer such stuff necessarily jumps up Google’s rankings when someone searches for “freemasonry”.
Unfortunately, it seems, fiction is far more entertaining than reality to today’s generation of Web Surfers… There are plenty of legitimate Lodge and Grand Lodge Web Sites, but browsing various discussion forums and BLOGS, one finds nothing but links to the disinformation on the Flim-flam and Conspiracy Spam Sites to make an argument against Freemasonry. How is an outsider to know the truth when it is buried deep in a pile of lies within the information super highway if there are no “Apologists” for the Fraternity?
I advocate a policy of freemasons providing individual robust rebuttals of the nonsense put about on the net when they come across it. As long as, when getting into a comments debate on YouTube or some other forum as the masonic apologist:
– you keep your cool and resist the temptation to indulge in or respond to personal attacks, which will surely follow when you’ve seen off their flimsy arguments with gentle, but firm and repetitive requests for evidence or logic.
– you understand that you will not be allowed to be seen to win the debate: the audience for anti-masonry is like a cult that believes without wanting the inconvenience of facts. Believing silly conspiracy theories about the “360” degrees of freemasonry makes them feel superior and you won’t be allowed to deprive them of that feeling. Know therefore, when to exist gracefully without necessarily having the last word.
The more we are seen to be shy and retiring, the more the anti-masonic conspiracists will be able to claim that we are secretive because we are up to no good.
I do wonder if the grand lodges are doing enough. Yes, they will conduct rebuttals in newspapers putting right articles that make untrue claims, but this policy completely misses the younger YouTube generation who have never bought a newspaper and are becoming convinced that freemasonry is a branch of a secret society run by alien lizards bent on bringing about a sinister “New World Order”. Barking mad, but people do seem to believe this stuff and I would urge the Grand lodges to be much more proactive in tackling it.
lol. You think if there was a real ‘illuminati’ cum ‘masonry’ global group, they’d tell small tea-party-get-together lodge members what they are all about?
You probably also believe that Saddam had WMD’s and that Afghanistan was harboring Osama?
One of those ‘Our government doesn’t lie to us, businesses are all honest, News casters can’t be bought’ people?
I’ll say one thing, for some people the comfort and mental peace attained by maintaining ignorance in a highly volatile and dangerous world is worth dieing for. It’s not easy to face the fact that you might have been brainwashed by media as you were growing up. It’s like being told you are adopted. It’s much easier to keep a shut-eye and pretend it’s all good. You’ve adopted the easy route.
Also, do you believe that the masonic symbols all being 100% directly related to pagan religions is just a coincidence? Or did the masons do that purposefully to create conspiracies for publicity? Wait, are you also an those extremist evolutionists who believes the entire universe and everything in it is a random coincidence? If so, that explains it lol. If everything is a coincidence, then what’s a few symbols here there.
I’m not sure that your three categories are adequate to cover the field. For example, what do you make of a book like “The Lion and the Covenant”? This new mystery thriller includes a great deal of painstaking historical detail (accurate in all that I’ve checked) to suggest that in the past some (senior British) Masons WERE involved in a significant conspiracy, concerning the Ark of the Covenant no less. Yet at the same time the book includes a great deal of material correctly explaining Freemasonry and rebutting many criticisms (e.g. in the long Grand Master versus Kate dialogue). It also contains the development of several major Masonic themes and in fact the protagonist’s progress appears to be a Masonic allegory, while near the end he & his friends are rescued by what appears to be hidden but benign Masonic assistance. Perhaps then there is not just “us or them” but some “us and them interacting” out there?
I agree with this article. I’d also like to sight the fact that to many, our successful gatherings and charity only makes other groups them jealous. It has been my experience in my lodge, that the men come together for practical reasons with little infighting. This is a contrast to other such groups, like my church that spend many hours bickering, and fussing over the tinniest scrap of “power”.
It is normally after the local Mason’s lodge has a successful fundraiser, that the clergy looks at his own unsuccessful charity event and wishes for the same thing. It is also we who compete with other charities endorced by TV preaching heads, and in so doing we compete with there paycheck. It’s only natural that these men and women, who have forgotten the real reason for charity and ministry, bash us out of envy.
Freemasons are involved in bringing a new world order, their is a lot of proof for that all through the history of western imperialism.
” French Freemasons and their African lodge leaders play a key role in the current impasse in the Ivory Coast. Virtually all the African leaders ranged against Laurent Gbagbo and supporting the elite cadre of French business and political leaders are Freemasons affiliated to the same lodges as the elite French business and political group. It is impossible to understand how Françafrique works without reference to the Masons.”
Ok, I understand that most anti-masonic people/ organizations are like that, but what about those of us who aren’t exactly stupid? You can’t just expect us to accept your word because some kook says you’re evil. These days, just about everyone in every situation is “guilty until proven innocent”. I understand that there are traditions and whatnot, but come on. It’s the 21st century. The least you could do is shed some light on that which has been cast in secrecy for so long. I mean, for pete sake, your EA’s still swear to have their throats cut from ear to ear and be buried to their neck at low tide if they murmor a word that threatens to expose any secrets. In a world of free thinkers, from the cynical to the progressive and everything in between, there’s no room for secrets anymore. Let the rest follow blindly whomever they wish. Thank you for your time.
I can’t account for the rest of the U.S. but the obligation in Massachusetts (some of the oldest ritual in the world which I can attest to) no longer contains the ancient penalties that you’re referring to.
Also – the “secrets” that you’re referring to don’t exist. Ben Franklin, one of the world’s most renowned Masons, a Past Grand Master of Philadelphia, originally applied to join three times before being accepted. The only reason why he joined was because he threatened to expose the secrets of the Fraternity. These “secrets” were exposed shortly after the Grand Lodge of England was officially recognized as an organization. It was chartered in 1717 and the “secrets” were leaked 3 years later. He would later write that “the biggest secret in Freemasonry is that there is no secret”.
What I can tell you about the secrets of Freemasonry is that no one can tell you what the secrets are. Not because they’re obligated, but because for each man it is different. They can’t tell you because you have to go through the process to understand it.
Consider that some of the greatest men (character traits not political affiliations) – these men were Masons. If they are good men and they are Masons, proud of their inclusion in this ancient order, what sinister thing is it that anti-masonic people think we’re hiding?
Wackos Freemason, isnt that the pot calling the kettle black ? Wait till Obama starts confirming the “theories” Well see how tuff you are KKK, I mean Freemasons! 🙂