Letter of the month: July 2001
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 16:31:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Kyle A." <email@example.com>
Subject: Who I am
I'am Kyle Autry. I'am not a religious nut. I'am just trying to find
out what God the Masons believe in. A lot of people tell me that your
God is not the same God that all true Christians believe in. I have
been reading up on it and can't find the answer to my questions.
I want to know who "The Great Architect of the Universe" is. Is he
the same God that has a son who's name is Jesus? also do you believe
that Lucifer is not really the fallen angel but a force?
I sent a picture of myself along with this email so that you can see
who I'am and maybe realize from my picture that I'am not some "Crazy
Religious freak" trying to cause you or anyone else in the Masons
Problems. I am just a person seeking some knowledge about the Masons.
To: "Kyle A." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Who I am
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Mon, 16 Jul 2001 16:31:23 PDT."
Thanks for the nice letter. I'll try to give answers to your
questions, and to help explain those answers.
First of all, since Masonry is NOT a religion, there isn't really any
one single answer to your question. Masons believe in God in all kinds
OFFICIAL MASONIC ANSWER: All candidates who wish to
join Masonry are required "to profess belief in A Supreme Being".
That's true in every country, everywhere that Masonry exists. If any
lodge ever stopped having that requirement, all other Masonic lodges
around the world would immediately end "recognition" of that lodge --
that is, the members of that lodge would no longer be considered
"regular Masons" by all the other Masons of the world.
PERSONAL ANSWER: Now I don't know how YOU figure it,
but I have thought about it for many years, and first of all there
either IS or there ISN'T a Supreme Being. (Personally, I believe there
But if you believe there IS "A Supreme Being", then there can be ONLY
ONE. That's what the word "supreme" means. It means "greater than
any other" "highest" "ultimate". Right? So that means, to me,
- a Christian prays to God the Father, and
- a Muslim prays to Allah the Merciful the Compassionate, and
- a Hindu prays to the Brahma the Godhead, font and ground of all
- a Jew prays to Lord Our God, Melekh ha'Olam,
that they are addressing their prayers to the Absolute Highest
Holiest in (or outside of) Existence, and that there can be Only Such
One Being, however we small humans of limited understanding may choose
to address Him/It/One.
Remember, all of this part is just MY opinion. On that, I don't
speak for any other Masons. But I don't think I can see any other way
to understand the idea of what "Supreme Being" means.
As Masons, we recognize that different men have different faiths and
different paths to God, so we use a Masonic metaphor, and refer to the
Creator of All as "Great Architect of the Universe" or "Grand Geometer
of the Universe".
ABOUT METAPHORS: A metaphor is a poetic comparison, like "the ship
plowed through the rough seas" compares a ship to a plow-blade and the
ocean to tough farm-land. Metaphors are used to make descriptions more
meaningful by using comparisons from one thing to another.
Metaphors are used in relgious hymns and prayers all the time, to
help people get closer to an understand of God. The most famous
metaphor in the western world is a religious one: "The LORD is my
shepherd, I shall not want..." This doesn't mean that the person
praying is walking around on four legs and growing a thick coat of wool
every year, or that after a few years, God will turn the person into
lambchops and eat them. Of course not. It is a poetic comparison to
say that God looks after people as carefully as a shepherd looks after
So, Masons don't really believe that God works in an Architect's
office and designs buildings all day long -- it's a metaphor. Just as
when the old hymn books call God a King: in olden times a king was the
highest most powerful person, so by a poetic metaphor God was called a
King, even though most people don't think that God collects taxes and
lives in a giant castle and makes war on other countries or whatever
kings used to do. Another example of metaphor: many people refer to God
as "He" but they really don't believe God is a male with a giant penis
-- it's a metaphor.
There are many many devout and observant Christians in Masonry,
including ministers of nearly every denomination, and there have been
since Masonry was started. The Mason who is Christian, when he prays to
"The Great Architect" is praying to the One he understands as Jesus's
But of course to a Mason who isn't a Christian, his belief is
different, as he prays to that same Supreme Being.
You also ask about Lucifer. There is no Lucifer in my religion, so I
can't speak with authority about that. But to my best understanding,
Lucifer, or "the devil" was an invention of the early Christian fathers,
so is strictly a part of Christian belief. You'll have to ask a
Christian scholar for more about "Lucifer".
There is in the Holy Scriptures that Christians call "Old Testament"
a figure called "Adversary" (Heb. "Shaitan") a being whose purpose was
to take the side opposite of God in heavenly disputes, in order to make
sure that all sides of a question were discussed. He appears in the
Book of Job, of course, and I'm not sure where else. I think that in
Christian belief, the Serpent in the Eden stories is identified with
'the devil' but in the actual words of the stories, it's called 'the
Anyway, there's no "Lucifer" in Masonry. "Lucifer" appears in a
couple of huge books by Albert Pike, but Pike was essentially writing an
encyclpoedia of all religions of the world, and trying to say where IN
HIS PERSONAL OPINION all the ancient and modern religions had beliefs
that were similar or different to something in Masonry. For various
foolish reasons there are people who have never actually read much of
Pike who claim that he tried to say that Lucifer was God. He didn't and
Masons don't believe anything like that.
Finally, I can tell from the letter you sent that you aren't a nut.
It's all in how you present yourself.
I hope my answer was a help to you. Sometimes it can be hard to
understand that different people of different faiths can all give a
prayer together and can work together in harmony, as brothers. But
that's what Masons do.
If you have any other questions about this, please feel free to write
| Gary L. Dryfoos <email@example.com>| PM: Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142 | PM: Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, MA
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/ | Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge, MIT, MA
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| | 32~; MPS; B'hood o/t Blue Forget-Me-Not
| | R.W. Grand Rep. GL Russia near GL Mass.
| "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
| whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
| or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."
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