Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 18:40:01 -0400
From: "Gary L. Dryfoos" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Freemasons in Iran?
During your discussion today about the Israeli pullout from Lebanon,
I was a little surprised to hear a caller drag "Iran Freemasons" into
the mix. But suspicion of Masonry is often part of the delusion-soup of
I was more surprised to hear host Chris Lydon refer to Freemasonry as
"a secret society". I would have expected he'd know better.
Though I am not an official spokesman of any Massachusetts Masonic
body, simply a member of some Boston-area lodges, I wanted to tell you
something about Masonry.
Freemasonry is a well-publicized fraternal society with lodges and
members in most parts of the world. Its traditions go back to the
mediaeval stone-masons' guilds of Britain and Europe, with an infusions
of other influences, most notably of Enlightenment-era ideals from the
time of the founding of "modern" Masonry in 1717 London.
Far from being a secret society, Masonic buildings are prominently
marked, and the ideals, writings, and activities of Masonic bodies are
regularly published. The only "secrets" so-called in Masonry are a
small number of words and gestures that commemorate the mediaeval
rituals of identifying and authenticating a guild-educated craftsman
upon arrival at a new worksite. These "secrets" have been exposed and
widely published repeatedly over the last two and a half centuries. (In
short, they are not secrets, although each Mason promises to treat them
as if they were.)
Freemasonry aims to give good men of all political opinions and
religions a place to meet together in harmony, to learn to improve their
character and to assist each other in that goal. As such it has always
forbidden any discussion of politics or sectarian religion within the
It is true that many committed thinkers and actors upon the stage of
history have been Masons (including George Washington, Benjamin
Franklin, Paul Revere, John Hancock, the Marquis de LaFayette, Winston
Churchill, Simon Bolivar, Edmund Burke, W.E.B. DuBois, Harry Truman,
George McGovern, Barry Goldwater, and Hubert Humphrey) but they did not
express their political beliefs in lodge, nor involve their lodges in
their political activities.
Likewise whatever activities some Iranians might be involved in, or
whatever your caller was alleging, they could only be doing so as
individuals. Masonry endorses no political opinions or activity and
never has. As an analogy, I don't know the sect or religion of the
Wright Brothers, but just as it would make no sense to say "the
Baptists" or "the Buddhists" invented the airplane, it is similarly
foolish to say "the Masons" are plotting in Lebanon.
Thanks for reading what I am sorry to say is not the short note I'd
intended. There are a lot of misconceptions about Freemasonry, and as
the manager of a website on the subject, I hear them all the time.
If you'd like to learn more about it, you could start with my website
http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/ and if
you were ever interested in doing an hour of The
Connection on the topic, I would be glad to suggest further
Up to the Letters: Main page
All the way UP to A Page About
Freemasonry main page.