[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: April 2002

From: "Brian Horvath" <misterhorvath@hotmail.com>
Subject: Questions
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 11:07:01 CDT

I'm teaching my theology about Freemasonry. One would have to admit that based on previous writings in the history of the lodge, it's rather "cultish."

With that said, What would be, and if I understand currently, there is none, but, what would be the "source" for the Masons truth or life? For Christians it's the Bible. What is freemasonry? I'im assuming there is nothing based on what I've read.

Thanks


Message-Id: <200204111808.OAA03446@thelonious.mit.edu>
To: "Brian Horvath" <misterhorvath@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Questions
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Thu, 11 Apr 2002 11:07:01 CDT."
             <F231XYOactwgaGjvivb00004705@hotmail.com> 
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 14:08:25 -0400

} I'm teaching my theology about Freemasonry.

I think you mean your "theology class" -- right?

}...  One would have to admit that 
} based on previous writings in the history of the lodge, it's rather 
} "cultish."

One would not have to admit. I disagree with your description of "cultish". I have met many cult members and have dealt with cults and there is nothing cult-like about it:

Cults have a Leader.

Cults insist on uniformity of thought, usually enforced with penalties in this world or in a higher plane or world to come.

Cults want to control all aspects of a member's daily life.

Cults almost alway engage in active propagation of their world-view, in seeking conversions.

Cults are exclusive, and want to own all the territory in your head -- they don't want you getting ideas from anywhere else or to belong to any other spiritual organization.

On the other hand:

Masonry has no "leader". The master of a lodge is an elected member who presides over the lodge meetings at the pleasure of his brethren, usually for a year or two. The grand master of each state's grand lodge is likewise elected, and serves a term as short as six months in some states to three years in others.

Masonry enforces no uniformity of thought. Masonic lessons of morality are taught by symbol and metaphor, and encourages each member to think about and apply those lessons in his own life as best he can.

Masons are encouraged to have active contributing lives in their communities, making the best of their talents for the good of their neighbors and the world.

Masonry does not proseltyze. Anyone who wishes to join must actively ask a Mason of his own free will. For many years, far from proseltyzing, we kept our affairs and activities completely private, to respect the privacy of our friends and neighbors. It is only in recent years, with ignorant attacks on Masonry multiplying that Masonic public information, such as my web-site, was decided by some to be a good thing; that it was important to publish the truth to counter the malicious slander or simply ignorant nonsense being presented.

Masonry does not demand that members read only Masonic books or engage in only Masonic activities. Just the opposite: the lessons of Masonry encourage each Mason to be a practicing member of his chosen religion, and a contributing member of that congregation. Masonry wants its members to be learned in the important subjects of his culture, to respect knowledge and learning, and to acquire it and use it for the betterment of his own life and those around him.

It would be hard to think of an organization more anti-cult than Masonry. The organization has roots in the mediaeval trade guilds of the stone-masons, and that middle ages flavor of recognition by signs and tokens might suggest "cult" to the uninformed mind, but Masonry is a product of the Enlightenment era, the greatest leap forward out of superstition and coercive cultishness in human history.


} With that said, What would be, and if I understand currently, 
} there is none, but, what would be the "source" for the Masons truth or life? 
} For Christians it's the Bible. What is freemasonry? I'im assuming there is 
} nothing based on what I've read.
} 
} Thanks

Next, since Masonry is not a religion, it does not use the term "source of truth or life". All Masons are taught to look for the guides to their life and conduct in the appropriate Volume of Sacred Law (which for Christian Masons would be the Bible).

Obviously, for other religions, it would be different sacred books.

In my experience, this open-mindedness gives some people (often Christians though I'm not sure why) a severe case of ants in the pants. That's their privilege and I don't argue with them about it.

Finally, if you are going to read from this letter to your theology class, and I hope you will, please show me the respect at least of reprinting this entire letter, and letting your students read it for themselves.

Thank you.


From: "Brian Horvath" <misterhorvath@hotmail.com>
To: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: Questions
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 20:23:17 -0500
Message-ID: <F101lvgYyk6QmhgyDvB00005a37@hotmail.com>

I'm using cultish with a different defintion. But, anytime a member of a sect calls Lucifer God, they would (regardless of who it is) be considered a Cult that opposes Christianity. We call that common sense. With that, I have no problem reading your entire reply (cut and paste) to the class. It says nothing that they don't already know. I always encourage my students to educate themselves...thanks for your immediate responses.

Message-Id: <200204120312.XAA17349@django.mit.edu>
To: "Brian Horvath" <misterhorvath@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Questions
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Thu, 11 Apr 2002 20:23:17 CDT."
             <F101lvgYyk6QmhgyDvB00005a37@hotmail.com> 
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 23:12:55 -0400

Thank you for letting me know where you're coming from.

There is nothing about Lucifer in Masonic ritual or teaching. The only claims to the contrary are found in various anti-Masonic pamphlets that mis-interpret the writings of Albert Pike. In fact, Pike is more widely-read, or at least quoted, by anti-Masons than by Masons.

I don't expect to change your mind, but I am glad you wrote. It gives me the opportunity to publish this exchange, and to point interested readers to a full explanation of mis-statements like yours regarding "Lucifer" in Masonry.


+---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| PM: Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142  | PM: Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, MA
| http://mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/  | Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge, MIT, MA
| w: 617.253-0184 f: 617.258-6875 | Internet Lodge #9659, E. Lancs UGLE
|                                 | 32~; MPS; B'hood o/t Blue Forget-Me-Not
|                                 | RWG Rep.GL Russia near GL Massachusetts
| "...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."
+===========================================================================

Up to the Letters: Main page
All the way UP to A Page About Freemasonry main page.