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Mike Martin

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  1. I found this paper to be a fascinating read. It destroys many of the myth/rumours employed by Anti-masons as the foundation of their silly stories. MASONIC MYTHS OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS© From: http://freemasonry.org/psoc/masonic.htm -by- Allen E. Roberts, FPS Throughout the centuries Freemasonry has taught its valuable lessons through allegory and symbols. The man from Galilee used parables extensively and well. Many historians and better speakers constantly employ anecdotes to illustrate the points they want to make. These methods emphasize the search for truth in an interesting and factual manner. Myths on the other hand, can be innocent or dangerous. They can be outright lies or the perpetuation of distortions handed down through the generations. Many of these were invented by Masonic writers and speakers to enhance the image of Freemasonry. Some of these corruptions have caused the Craft problems with creditable historians because they were outrageous lies. At least one of these items concerns the "Masonic" membership of the founders of the United States. It is recirculated constantly in usually reliable Masonic periodicals. It not only should be, it must be destroyed. In recent years other items have been circulated. These claim the Constitution of the United States comes from the Masonic Constitutions Anderson's compiled in 1723. A "play" called "the truth" is based on this. Many of the characters are called "Masons" who never received a Masonic degree. It's the stuff on which the critics of Freemasonry feed. What follows is the truth insofar as I have been able to find it. The facts herein come from reliable Masonic researchers, and include two late Fellows of The Philalethes Society, James R. Case and Ronald E. Heaton. They spent a lifetime researching the Masonic connections in the beginnings of the United States. Freemasonry, actually, requires no exaggeration to magnify its greatness. The simple truth is all that is needed to tell its story. This is the reason for this column; to attempt to destroy the myths that have been prevalent, often for centuries, by telling the truth. Here's what occurred, Masonically, during the period the spurious item covers. ---------------------------- Myth: Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were Freemasons. Fact: Neither Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry were members of the Craft. An exhaustive search of Masonic records in Virginia, and elsewhere, offers no iota of evidence to make them Freemasons. Jefferson participated in the cornerstone laying of his University at Charlottesville, which was done Masonically. He praised Freemasonry and his own words proved he had never been a member of the Craft. Myth: All of George Washington's generals during the War for American Independence were Masons. Fact: Thirty-three of the generals serving under Washington were members of the Craft, a long way from "all." The late James R. Case and Ronald E. Heaton made comprehensive studies of the Revolutionary period and debunked many of the claims considered here. Myth: Washington insisted that the Marquis de Lafayette be made a Mason before he would promote him to general, and the same claim has been made about the Baron von Steuben. Fact: Both Lafayette and von Steuben were Freemasons before they arrived to help fight the British. This was true of Lafayette even though he wasn't 21 years of age when he arrived in America. It's highly likely that Washington never did know they were Masons. The stories of both of these men are highly interesting, but space prohibits the telling of them here. Myth: The governors of the thirteen original colonies when Washington was inaugurated President of the United States were Freemasons. Fact: From Lexington until the inauguration thirty different men served as governors. Of these ten were Freemasons. That's one-third! Wouldn't it be wonderful for the country if we could claim the same percentage today? Myth: The Boston Tea Party was organized in St. Andrew's Lodge in Boston and its member participated in tossing the tea into Boston Harbor. Fact: So well has the secrecy surrounding the Boston Tea Party been kept that to this day not a single participant can be truthfully named! It's true that St. Andrew's Lodge didn't meet on the night of the "party." This proves nothing. The "T" that has been claimed is part of the minutes of the Lodge is actually an indistinguishable scroll. By no stretch of the imagination can it be called a "T" or any other letter. Myth: All, or almost all, Signers of the Articles of Confederation, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Signers of the Constitution were Freemasons. Fact: Ten of the signers of the Articles, nine signers of the Declaration, and thirteen signers of the Constitution -- and only this number -- were, or would become, Freemasons. Even so, this is an excellent percentage of the participants. It should be noted that Edmund Randolph, governor and Grand Master of Virginia, although an important participant in the Constitutional Convention, didn't sign the document. He did, however, fight for its ratification. It should also be noted that four Presidents of the Continental Congresses were Freemasons: Peyton Randolph of Virginia, John Hancock of Massachusetts, Henry Laurens of South Carolina, and Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania. (For further study see Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers, The Masonic Service Association). Myth: There are many aprons owned or worn by George Washington floating around. Fact: The only documented apron owned by Washington was one presented by the firm of Watson and Cassoul. It had been made by nuns at Nantes. It was the only apron listed in Washington's inventory that was released after his death. Myth: Washington was Grand Master in Virginia. Fact: Washington never was a Grand Master. At the instigation of American Union Lodge he was suggested for the office of Grand Master of a National Grand Lodge -- a non-existent body. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and some others agreed, but too many others disagreed with the concept of a National Grand Lodge. Washington was appointed Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22 in Virginia by Grand Master Edmund Randolph when that Pennsylvania Lodge requested a charter from the Grand Lodge of Virginia. The following year he was elected Master, but there is no record of his installation into this office, nor is there any record of him presiding over this Lodge. To keep the record straight, there is much evidence of his respect, and perhaps even love for Freemasonry. Proof? He was buried with Masonic rites! ----------------------- George Washington has been the source of many Masonic myths and exaggerations for more than two centuries. This is unfortunate. Of all the Freemasons we can eulogize he requires no embellishment. From his childhood to his death his extraordinary wisdom, industry and patriotism predominated. Let's try to set the record straight. Myth: George Washington was Grand Master of Masons in Virginia. Fact: Washington never was a Grand Master. American Union Lodge, on December 15, 1779, proposed Washington become General Grand Master of the United States! This proposal speaks volumes for the character of the Commander-in-Chief. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania agreed five days later! Too many others were frightened by the concept of a National Grand Lodge. It is highly doubtful that Washington would have accepted such an office. Washington was appointed Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22 in Virginia by Grand Master Edmund Randolph when that Pennsylvania Lodge (No. 39) requested a charter from the Grand Lodge of Virginia. The new charter was dated April 28, 1788. In December of the same year he was elected Master, but there is no record of his installation into this office, nor is there any record of him actually presiding over this or any Lodge. Myth. Washington acted as Grand Master when the cornerstone of the Federal Capitol was laid on September 18,1793. Fact. It was the Grand Lodge of Maryland that was called on to lay the cornerstone. Alexandria Lodge, of which Washington was a Past Master, held a place of honor. It was Joseph Clark, the Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, who acted as Grand Master, pro tem. Clark placed the President between himself and the Master of Alexandria Lodge. The newspaper article reporting the event mentioned Clark as the Grand Master, pro tem. on several occasions. So did the Maryland historian in 1885. Washington didn't act as Grand Master, but without question he was the most honored and influential Freemason participating in the event. Myth. George Washington never was interested in Freemasonry. He rarely, if ever, attended Lodge meetings. Fact. To keep the record straight, there is much evidence of his respect and even love for Freemasonry. True, he seldom attended Masonic meetings. This is understandable when it is realized that from the day he was made a Master Mason until shortly before his death he worked for his country. Did he love and respect the Craft. The ultimate proof -- he was buried with Masonic rites! And this even before the Congress knew of his death. (For further study of George Washington and a complete account of his Masonic activities see George Washington: Master Mason, Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., Richmond, VA.) Myth: There are m any aprons owned or worn by George Washington floating around. Fact: The only documented apron owned by Washington was one presented by the firm of Watson and Cassoul. It had been made by nuns at Nantes. It was the only apron listed in Washington's inventory that was released after his death. The "Lafayette" apron, purportedly made by the wife of the Marquis, may be a fact as many authorities claim (and I was one who did so claim in G. Washington). Myth. George Washington renounced Freemasonry. Fact. On the contrary he remained a member of the Craft from the moment he was Initiated into the Lodge at Fredericksburg, Virginia (No. 4) until the day he died. Even then his wife, Martha, asked the Freemason of Alexandria, Virginia, to hold and conduct his funeral (see above). In 1837, at state expense, Joseph Ritner, Governor of Pennsylvania, endeavored to "save" the reputation of the first President. He had published a tract "proving" Washington had never participated in Masonic events. Earlier the Blanchards, father and son and heads of a so-called "Christian" anti-Masonic organization, were among the first "Christians" to "prove" Washington wasn't a Freemason. Much of the anti-Masonic diatribe they promulgated has been carried to the present day by crusading "saints" against "secret" societies. Myth. Washington was uneducated. Fact. Uneducated -- no; unschooled -- yes. As far as we can determine Washington never attended any school. Through his father's vast library Washington learned the fundamentals of mathematics, surveying and many other subjects. At the age of 17 he earned a substantial wage as a surveyor. In 1749 he was appointed surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia, having produced a certificate "from the President and Masters of William and Mary College, appointing him to be surveyor of this county." From the many military visitors to Mount Vernon he learned the principles of warfare. From the intellectuals he learned how to study and use his common sense. The history of his life proves he became one of the most knowledgeable men of his, or any, day.
  2. Theories of the Craft ~ ~ November 2001 ~ ~ by Phil Elam 32° Member, Masonic Brotherhood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not Although many scholars and historians offer up their own theories about the nature and origin of the Craft, the four best known come from four distinguished Freemasons. This article presents a summary of each theory. As no one within the Craft can speak for Freemasonry as a whole, each Brother must make up his own mind which, if any, represents the "Truth." The Anderson Theory Rev. Dr. James Anderson's theory was first published in his "Book of Constitutions" in 1723; a second edition was published in 1738. Anderson, a Scottish Presbyterian minister, referred extensively to the latest version of the Legend of the Craft available at that time, and more precisely from "Record of Freemasons," a lost manuscript written at the end of the fifteenth century and the Legend of Euclid. Anderson was not probably aware of the earliest manuscripts such as those of Halliwell and Robert, which contain older versions of the Legend. In so doing, Anderson wrote a Legend of his own that differed in many points from the previous ones. It was accepted by the Craft as true history of the Order for at least one century and a half, if not more. The old Legend of the Craft was little known by the members of the Craft until the old manuscripts were published. On the contrary, the Legend of Anderson was largely diffused and known. Anderson first states the Adam had a good knowledge of Geometry, and that makes him the founder of Masonry and Architecture. Adam taught these Arts to his sons, Cain and Seth, who taught them to their own children. As a result, Masonry dates from before Noah who, with his three sons, built the Ark and divulged Masonry to the post-Diluvian world. Noah's heirs tried to build the tower of Babel, but God made them speak different languages and dispersed them in the world, with the consequent loss of Masonry. It was, however, preserved in Shinar and Assyria; Nimrod, the Chaldeans, and the Magi built many cities and preserved, and taught, Geometry and Masonry in many countries, including Canaan. Abraham brought the knowledge of these sciences to Egypt and to his descendants, the Israelites, who were a people of Masons. King Solomon had a beautiful temple built in Jerusalem with the help of King Hiram of Tyre and Hiram Abif. Anderson's story of the Temple of Solomon has had a strong influence on the following legends, and on the rituals and the modern concepts of Speculative Masons. The builders of the Jerusalem Temple taught Masonry to the known world. Anderson then introduces Nebuchadnezzar as a Grand Master who learned Masonry from the Jewish captives that he brought to Babylon. After came Cyrus and Zerubbabal, the leader of the Jews, who built the second Temple. From Palestine, Masonry went to Greece where great philosopher like Pythagoras improved its content. The work of Euclid in Egypt is also mentioned. Masonry reached also Rome - and then the conquered territories -- whose Emperor, Augustus, became the local Grand Master who introduced the Augustan style of architecture. When the Romans left Britain, the Masonic arts fell into disuse. It was revived in the eighth century under the Saxon Kings before disappearing again to come back in the eleventh century at the time of the Norman Conquest. Anderson then repeats the story of King Athelstan and of his son Edwin. The kings of Scotland encouraged Masonry from the beginning, and allowed the Scottish masons to have a Grand Master and a Grand Warden. Queen Elizabeth the First did not like Freeasonry, but her successor, James I, was one of its patrons. Charles I and II as well as King William, Queen Ann, and George I encouraged the Order. Anderson's theory is based on the latest versions of the Legend of the Craft, except the last part, which is semi-historical. The second version does not bring new material, but is written more like history than legend. The Prestonian Theory In his "Illustrations of Masonry," William Preston details the origin and early history of Masonry in a very interesting and succinct manner, even if it is also based on the Legend of the Craft. However, he ignores the beginning of the Legend and starts his story with the introduction of Masonry in England. Preston states that the Druids derived their system of government from Pythagoras, which, according to him, shows that they knew the science of Masonry. Masonry, in this story, is said to have been introduced in England at the time of its conquest by Julius Caesar, and reached a high level at the time of Emperor Carausius. He went as far as giving the masons a Charter. Masonry received the patronage of many kings: Kenred, King of Mercia; King Ethelwolf; King Alfred; King Edward; King Athelstan; King Edgar; Edward the Confessor; William the Conqueror; King William Rufus; Henry I; Stephen; Henry II during whose reign, in 1135, the Grand Master of the Templars employed the Craft to build the London Temple. Preston's traditional story based on the Legend of the Craft finishes here while the remaining of his document presents a historical tale. He borrowed a lot from Anderson's work, but he presented it in a much clearer way, especially in his presentation of the early story of Masonry. However, most of his assertions have no historical bases, and his theory is founded on legends in the same way that Anderson's is too. The Hutchinsonian Theory William Hutchinson expressed his view on the origin and story of Freemasonry in his book "The Spirit of Masonry" published first in 1775. First, he rejects any connection with any previous operative society such as the operative masons or architects. He also put in doubt the former organizations of operative masons, and the suggestion that they knew some secrets or mysteries. However he admits that organized Masonry existed at the Temple of Solomon, but he added that Solomon knew the principles of Freemasonry, that he communicated them to "some sage and religious men" of his kingdom who, incidentally, built the Temple before going back to their previous work. No other writer has accepted this total disconnection between the operative and speculative Masons. It is Hutchinson's theory, and nothing else. He divides the evolution of Masonry into three stages represented by the three ancient Craft degrees: The first stage, linked to the Entered Apprentice Degree, begins with Adam and the Garden of Eden and goes on until the time of Moses. The "knowledge of the God of Nature," as well as all the sciences and knowledge available at that time, were imparted to Adam who remembered them, as part of his punishment, after he was expelled from Eden for his sins. He was able to communicate them to his children, and by them to their descendants and this was the foundation of Masonry. After the deluge, this knowledge fell into confusion and oblivion and it was corrupted into idolatry. People, among them the Egyptians, started to adore the Sun, Moon, and Stars in contradiction with the Laws of the True God. The Egyptians, and later on the Greeks and the Romans, hid the mysteries of their religions behind symbols and hieroglyphs understandable only by their priests. The masons, as a mean of concealing their mysteries, adopted these methods of teaching by symbols. This first stage consisted in the simple belief and worship of the true God following the doctrine revealed to Adam and transmitted to his descendants by the patriarchs. It was a system of religious principles with few rites and ceremonies, and even less symbols. The second stage, represented by the Fellow Craft degree, begins at the time of Moses and goes on through all the Jewish history until the advent of Christianity. The Jewish lawgiver was, of course, aware of the true Masonry as taught by the patriarchs, but it was complemented by the instruction God gave to Moses on the Mount Sinai. One had now to believe in a Deity as required by God himself. The second, or Mosaic stage of Masonry, had become Judaic. Moses introduced the rites, ceremonies, symbols, and hieroglyphs used before by the Egyptian priests, which he learned during his stay in this country. The operative art of Masonry was also introduced at that time, but the main activity of these people remained speculative since their work as builders and architects was accidental. Masonry was not organized at the time of the Temple of Solomon that was built by masons of different nationalities including Israelite. However, its building occupies an important place in the history of the Craft. After the completion of the Temple, these Masons were dispersed in the entire world where they taught their art. According to this theory King Solomon was not the founder of Masonry at the Temple, nor its first Grand Master, but he propagated it in the foreign countries, whereas before Masonry was confined to the Jewish descendants of the Patriarchs. The third stage of the Masonry history began with Christianity; it is represented by the Master Degree that brought up the complete and perfect knowledge of God. Masonry assumes then a purely Christian form and a Christian interpretation, and the allegory of the Third Degree refers directly to the Christian Master. The Christianization of the Third or Master Degree, with its symbols referring to Christ, was common in the eighteenth century. Christian references were removed from Freemasonry at the initiative of Dr. Hemming although not all Masons accepted this until the middle of the nineteenth century. From the time of Anderson and Desaguliers, the Legend of Hiram Abif had been generally accepted by the Craft as a historical event. Now it is believed to be a myth that could possibly be based on distorted historical events. On the other hand, Hutchinson never mentioned Hiram Abif whom he did not recognize as a Mason, but as a painter or sculptor. For him, the Third Degree symbolizes the corruption and death of religion, and the moral resurrection of man in the new Christian doctrine. To Hutchinson, Hiram Abif's legend is false, and he denies the legend of the Third Degree at the Temple. At the time of the building of the Temple Masonry had only two degrees and the second, or Fellow Craft degree, was a system of Jewish religious ethics revealed by God to Moses; it came in addition to the simple creed of the Patriarchs that constitutes the first or Apprentice stage of the Craft. The Legend, or allegory of Hiram Abif, was unknown then, and was introduced later as a myth in the Third or Master Degree after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Hutchinson did not have any followers. In summary his theory states that Masonry went through three phases: first, the Patriarchal; second, the Jewish; third, the Christian which is still probably somewhat applicable today. During the first stage of Masonry, the Phoenicians who traded with Britain initiated the Druids. In the second stage, some of the Israelite Masons who had built the Temple came to Britain and taught their art locally. Christian missionaries have introduced the third stage in Britain at the time of the conversion of the Druids to Christianity from Rome. The Oliverian Theory Rev. Dr. George Oliver was the first to show that Masonry was not only a social club based on the principle of brotherly love, but that it was above all a philosophy and a science of symbolism by which its ethics was taught to its initiates. In other words, Freemasonry was a school of inquirers after truth. Unfortunately, being first a clergyman of the Church of England, his interpretation of the symbols, myths, and allegories of Masonry were those of a theologian and not of a philosopher. He was also gullible enough to accept the errors of tradition as truths of history. Oliver's theory is primarily based on the Legend of the Craft and other obscure legends and traditions that he accepted as facts. Dr. Oliver claims that the Masonic science existed before the creation of the earth, and was diffused in all the systems existing in the space. In the Garden of Eden, Adam was taught the science of Masonry, and he remembered it when he had to leave Eden because of his sins. His son, Seth, and his descendants preserved the Sciences whereas his brother, Cain, and his own descendants abandoned it. The children of Lamech, a descendant of Cain, had some distorted knowledge of Masonry. Cain's descendants were Operative Masons, whereas Seth's were Speculative, although they, too, erected buildings, but this was their secondary activity. Seth, first, and then Enoch, is remembered for being Grand Superintendent of the Craft. God revealed the sacred Word to Enoch as well as some other mysteries. Enoch also erected two pillars on which he engraved the known sciences of his days, including Masonry.Enoch was followed by Lamech and then Noah. This Primitive or "Antediluvian Masonry" was organized into lodges and was governed by only five Grand Masters: Adam, Seth, Enoch, Lamech and Noah. At that time, Masonry used only a few symbols and ceremonies, and it was a system of morals or pure religion whose object was to preserve the promise of a Messiah. After the deluge one of Enoch's pillar, the stone one, was found and, in this way, the knowledge of sciences and Masonry was transmitted to posterity through Noah?s son, Shem. His other sons lost the knowledge and their descendants became idolaters. They even corrupted the principles of Masonry by creating another system of secret rites, known as "the Mysteries" or "Spurious Freemasonry." They were more interested in the Operative Art by opposition to Shem's "Pure Freemasonry," that was involved in the Speculative science. Shem taught the Pure Freemasonry to Abraham, and the science was transmitted from generation to generation to Moses who, before, had learned Spurious Freemasonry from the Egyptians. Moses revived the Masonry that had declined during the captivity of the Israelites and called a General Assembly where the construction of the Tabernacle was decided. From then on Masonry was confined to the Jewish nation. To build his Temple, Solomon asked the help of some artisans of Tyre who were adepts of the Spurious Masonry, which is Operative Masonry and Architecture. Solomon reunited the two Masonries into the form we know today. After the construction, the Masons journeyed to all the known countries, including England, to teach their art. Dr. Oliver accepts as true the legend wherein Prince Edwin organized a General Assembly in York, and that the Halliwell poem is the exact text of the Constitutions adopted in that occasion. Dr. Oliver agrees with Hutchinson that Freemasonry is a Christian organization, and that all the myths and symbols have a Christian interpretation. However, where Hutchinson says that the Craft became Christian after the birth of Jesus, Oliver believes that it has always been Christian. Summary The reader will probably conclude that these great Freemasons from the 18th and 19th centuries had highly creative imaginations. While each of these theories offers some plausibility, there is also the equal opportunity that they are completely false. These, of course, are not the only theories held by various highly esteemed Brethren. The simple fact is that we do not know the origin of the Craft nor is it ever likely that we will. Each Freemason must decide for himself fact versus fiction.
  3. To the OP, it was me that posted the last black tie debate topic and it followed a lengthy discussion with a "learned" Bro. here at UGLE HQ. The bottom line is that the whole story about the black tie being worn to honour the fallen of WWI is I'm afraid, an urban myth! The black tie is merely part of the morning dress commonly worn by our "professional" brethren in the 30s and 40s and holds no particular Masonic significance. The Peace Memorial here in Great Queen Street is our memorial to those fallen. I was a confirmed black tie wearer until that point but see no point in upholding a false "tradition" so now alternate between black and craft ties.
  4. How can a woman become a Freemason? It is often stated that Women cannot become Freemasons. This is not strictly true! It is true that women cannot join the men-only Grand Lodges, however, Freemasonry for women has been around for more than 100 years in the forms of Co (mixed) Masonry and women-only Grand Lodges.These links will take you to some of the websites of Masonic Orders that Initiate women as Freemasons. Not to be confused with the Order of the Eastern Star which does not make women Masons.Women and Freemasonry.Women-onlyHonourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (UK): www.hfaf.orgOrder of Women Freemasons (UK): www.owf.org.uk/Women's Lodges in the US: www.womenfreemasonsusa.com/Women's Grand Lodge of France: www.glff.org/internet/fr/cois&devp.htmWomen's Grand Lodge of Switzerland: www.glfs-masonic.ch/Co-MasonryLe Droit Humain (LDH) International: www.droit-humain.org/American Federation of Human Rights: http://www.co-masonry.org/Belgian LDH: www.droit-humain.be/Brazilian LDH: www.droit-humain.org.br/British LDH: www.droit-humain.org/uk/Eastern Order of Co-Masonry: http://comasonic.net/French LDH: www.droithumain-france.org/German LDH; www.droit-humain.org/deutschland/Grand Lodge for Men & Women (UK): www.grandlodge.org.uk/Netherlands LDH: www.droit-humain.org/paysbas/Portugese LDH: www.droit-humain.org/portugal/Scandinavian LDH: www.droit-humain.org/scandinavia/Spanish LDH: www.elderechohumano.org/Swiss LDH: www.droit-humain.org/ch/US LDH: www.comasonic.org/
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