The Religion of Freemasonry
T. G. 0'Neal
That Freemasonry is "a religious institution" with a new birth, a redeemer, offering, to the faithful, salvation at last in that grand celestial Lodge above, none who are informed will deny. However, that is the problem. Many people have never tried to learn anything about Masonry. So they do not know what it is. Those who are in the Masonic Lodge either do not know very much about it or when the truth is presented about it, will not admit it.
Masonry has some "secrets" about it and I suppose some of these "secrets" most of us care little about learning. However, one can learn enough about it to know that a Christian has no business being a member of the Lodge.
In this article I will be quoting from official Masonic works. I have double-checked all quotations in the article and have either the books quoted from in my library or a photocopy of the pages from the books quoted. I suggest that if you have copies of these works and would like to check the quotations, be sure you have the same edition I am quoting from. I have found that quotes are on different pages in different editions. The quotations in this article are from the following official Masonic works:
1. Tennessee Craftsman or Masonic Textbook, 1942 Reprint of Sixth Edition, February, 1931.
2. Kentucky Monitor by Henry Pirtle, 10th Edition, 1921.
3. Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike, 1932 edition.
4. 2 volumes, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey, 1929 edition, Revised and Enlarged by Robert Clegg.
5. 5 volumes, A Library of Freemasonry, 1906 edition.
Origin of Freemasonry
Dr. Mackey says at one time the origin of Masonry was placed "at the building of Solomon's Temple" (Encyclopedia, page 87) but goes on to say, "I confess that I cannot find any incontrovertible evidence that would trace Freemasonry, as now organized, beyond the Building Corporations of the Middle Ages" (Encyclopedia, page 87) which he says "its age may not exceed five or six hundred years" (Encyclopedia, page 88). Dr. Mackey further says that Masonry may be connected "with the Ancient Mysteries of Greece, of Syria, and of Egypt" (Encyclopedia, page 88; emphasis mine, T.G.O.).
Albert Pike connects Masonry with the mysteries of ancient paganism. He says, "These old controversies have died away, and the old faiths have faded into oblivion. But Masonry still survives, vigorous and strong, as when philosophy was taught in the schools of Alexandria . . . ." (Morals and Dogma, pages 274-275; emphasis mine, T.G.O.). Pike says "our ancient brethren . . . took their philosophy from the Old Theology of the Egyptians, as Moses and Solomon had done" (Morals and Dogma, page 289; emphasis mine, T.G.O.) Pike further says that men sought "the wisdom of the Egyptian Initiates" for the purpose of "to seek the admission into the mysteries of Osiris and Isis" and that "from Egypt" "afterward these mysteries were introduced successively into Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Sicily, and Italy" (Morals and Dogma, page 363; emphasis mine, T.G.O.).
With Pike saying Masonry is connected with the mysteries of ancient paganism, one can understand Mackey's statement "that its body came out of the Middle Ages, but that its spirit is to be traced to a far remoter period" (Encyclopedia, page 88). Mackey says, "The theory, then, that I advance on the subject of the Antiquity of Freemasonry is this: I maintain that, in its present peculiar organization, it is the successor, with certainty, of the Building Corporations of the Middle Ages, and through them, with less certainty but with great probability, of the Roman College of Artificers" (Encyclopedia, page 88).
Further, Mackey says, "Of Grand Lodges thus constituted, we have no written evidence previous to the year 1717, when Freemasonry was revived in England . . . . The true history of Grand Lodges commences, therefore, from what has been called the Era of the Revival. In 1716 four old Lodges in London determined, if possible, to revive the Institution from its depressed state, and accordingly they met in February, 1717 at the Apple-Tree Tavern, whose name has thus been rendered famous for all time; and after placing the oldest Master Mason, who was a Master of a Lodge, in the chair, they constituted themselves into a Grand Lodge, and forthwith "revived the Quarterly Communications of the officers of Lodges called the Grand Lodge .... On the following Saint John the Baptist's Day (June 24, T.G.O.) the Grand Lodge was duly organized and Antony Sayer, Gentleman, was elected Grand Master" (Encyclopedia, page 416).
Thus, from the testimony of Masonic works one learns that Masonry based upon the philosphy of ancient paganism, was organized in London on June 24, 1717.
Masonry Is A Religion
Most people do not know that Masonry is a religion and Masons who know it will not admit it. Masonry is just another human religious denomination seeking to offer salvation.
Albert Pike says, "The religious faith thus taught by Masonry is indispensable to the attainments of the great ends of life" (Morals and Dogma, page 196; emphasis mine, T.G.O.). "Masonry is the legitimate successor-from the earliest times the custodian and depository of the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large" (Ibid., page 210; emphasis mine, T.G.O.). "Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion" (Ibid., page 213). "This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures" (Ibid., page 214; emphasis mine, T.G.O.) "The Degree of Apprentice (first degree of Masonry, T.G.O.) . . . declares that Masonry is a worship" (Ibid., page 219; emphasis mine, T.G.O.) "Masonry is a worship" (Ibid.. page 526).
Dr. Mackey says, "Freemasonry is a religious insitution (emphasis mine, T.G.O.) . . . it is of indispensable obligation that a Lodge, a Chapter, or any other Masonic Body, should be both opened and closed with prayer" (Encyclopedia, page 792). "Freemasonry may rightfully claim to be called a religious institution" (Ibid., page 847; emphasis mine, T.G.O.). "The religion or Freemasonry is not sectarian" (Ibid., page 847; emphasis mine, T.G.O.). "The tendency of all true Freemasonry is toward religion" (Ibid., page 847). "We contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Freemasonry in every sense of the word, except one, and that is at least philosophical, an eminently religious institution-is indebted solely to the religious element it contains for its origin as well as its continued existence, and that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good" (Ibid., page 847; emphasis mine, T.G.O.). "The doctrine of a resurrection to a future and eternal life constitutes an indispensable portion of the religious faith of Freemasonry" (Ibid., page 851).
"Masonry is a religious institution" (Kentucky Monitor, page 28).
Masonry and the Bible
Masonry teaches "The Holy Bible is given us as the rule and guide of our faith and practice" (Tennessee Craftsman, page 10); that is, the Bible is the rule and guide to the faith and practice of Masonry. Masonry also teaches that the "furniture of the Lodge consists of the Holy Bible" (Ibid., page 22).
While on one hand it appears they respect the Bible, let us notice some other statements.
Albert Pike says, "The great Apostle Saint John did not borrow from the philosophy of Plato the opening of his Gospel. Plato, on the contrary, drank at the same springs with Saint John and Philo; and John in the opening verse of his paraphrase, states the first principles of a dogma common to many schools, but in language especially belonging to Philo, whom it is evident he had read" (Morals and Dogma, pages 99-100). Masonry teaches that John, Plato and Philo all drank from the same common school of thought and'that John was influenced by Philo's language and not the revelation and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Again Pike says, "The familiar lineaments of these doctrines will be recognized by all who read the Epistle of St. Paul, who wrote after Philo, the latter living till the reign of Caligala, and being the contemporary of Christ. And the Mason is familiar with these doctrines of Philo" (Ibid., page 252). The writing of Paul was not, according to Masonry, the "commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37; see also 1 Cor. 2:10-14; Eph. 3:1-5) but rather the "doctrines of Philo" after whom Paul wrote. Reading Pike again, he says, "The Gospel is preached from many a book and painting, from many a poem and fiction, and review and newspaper; and it is a painful error and miserable narrowness, not to recognize these widespread agencies of Heaven's providing; not to see and welcome these many-handed coadjutors to the great and good cause. The oracles of God do not speak from the pulpit alone" (Ibid., page 212-213). Thus, Masonry, in addition to not holding to the inspiration of Scripture, teaches that the "Oracles of God" are spoken from pictures, newspapers, reviews, poems and even fiction. Again, "The doctrines of the Bible are often not clothed in the language of strict truth, but in that which was fittest to convey to a rude and ignorant people the practice essentials of the doctrine" (Ibid., page 224). Thus, the Bible, according to Masonry, teaches and tells lies. Pike again says, "Truth might not have reached us, if it had not borrowed the wings of Error" (Ibid., page 224). Also, he says, "What is Truth to the philosopher, would not be truth, nor have the effect of Truth, to the peasant" (Ibid., page 224). Thus, truth is not always the same. Pike says, "The religion taught by Moses, which, like the laws of Egypt enunciated the principle of exclusion, borrowed at every period of its existence, from all the creeds with which it comes in contact, while, by the studies of the learned and wise, it enriched itself with the most admirable principles of the religions of Egypt and Asia, it was changed, in the wanderings of the people, by everything that was most impure or seductive in the pagan manners and superstitions. It was one thing in the times of Moses and Aaron, another in those of David and Solomon, and still another in those of David and Philo" (Ibid., page 247). Thus, the Bible is not inspired of God but is a mixture of all beliefs into which the people of God come into contact, including paganism. This is what Mason's Albert Pike says of the Bible.
Dr. Albert Mackey says, "The Bible is used among Freemasons as a symbol of the will of God, however it may be expressed. Therefore, whatever to any people express that will may be used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic Lodge. Thus, in a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old Testament alone may be placed upon the altar, and Turkish Freemasons may use the Koran. Whether it be the Gospel to the Christian, the Pentateuch to the Israelite, the Koran to the Mussulman, or the Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere Masonically conveys the same idea-that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to man" (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, page 133; emphasis mine, T.G.O.). Masonry teaches that the Koran will express the will of God just as well as the Bible. The Vedas would do just as well also, for the Bible is only the "symbol of -the will of God." This is what Masons say about the Bible.
Masonry and Truth
While the Bible is truth (John 17:17) for it is the Word of God, not all then have knowledge of the truth. Man can know the truth by continuing in the Words of Jesus (John 8:32) which will cause them to know the truth. However, Masonry has a different idea about truth Pike says, "All truths are Truths of Period, and not truths for eternity" (Ibid., page 37). Further he says, "Masonry . . . uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it. Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, or would pervert it" (Ibid., pages 104-105). "It is the province of Masonry to teach all truths-not moral truth alone, but political and philosophical, and even religious truth so far as concerns the great and essential principles of each" (Ibid., page 148). Pike says that truth is not always the same; that Masonry on purpose deceives people and conceals the truth from them. He claims Masonry teaches all religious truth, but Christ said the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth (John 16:13). Either the Holy Spirit did that and Masonry has no truth to teach or Masonry has to teach the truth because the Holy Spirit failed to teach the apostles all truth. Which do you believe, dear reader?
Masonry has a lot of egotism to say, "Masonry is the . . . custodian and depository of the great . . . religious truths, unknown to the world at large" (Ibid., page 210) and then say that she intentionally misleads people with her truth. The truth of the matter is that there is no truth known to the world of a religious' nature that is not revealed by God unto mankind in the Bible (John 16:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 3:1-5; 1 Cor. 2:10-14; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3; Gal. 1:6-9; Jas. 1:25; 1 Peter 1:22-23; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
While most people are not aware of it, Masonry teaches that men may worship deity in it and at last receive salvation. This the reader's attention is invited to consider.
Truth Magazine XXII: 16, pp. 262-264