Some Basic Aspects of Freemasonry

Charles Cigrang
Harding College
Searcy, Ark.

There are many sincere Christians in Freemasonry who believe there is nothing wrong with the Lodge. The purpose of this writing is to consider Masonry for what it is and by so doing the author feels that Christian Masons will realize their error and come back to their first love.

Christian Masons cannot assent to Masonry being a religion, for Christianity excludes all other faiths. Many prefer to say that it is a moral foundation on which any f aith can be practiced, but no more help than the Boy Scouts. Others believe that being a Mason will help them find and keep a good job and it is not necessary to accept all Masonic teachings or even to attend the meetings.

To be quite fair to their position, in the three craft degrees the specific secrets are nothing more than knowing the different grips, signs and words that will prove a man on examination to be a Mason. All this seems quite harmless. The rest of Masonry seems to consist of symbolism of character building. The various implements and working-tools of operative stone-masons associated with certain events of King Solomon's temple are among the symbols used by Masonry.

Although the individual Mason may not go beyond the secret words, signs and grips of Masonry, the Lodge does. For Masonry represents man as being in darkness and seeking Light and the new birth. Although the candidate has to profess a belief in, a God (that is at least in America) and thus is not in total darkness, the symbolism still applies. The Entered Apprentice Degree "represents youth;" the Fellow Craft "represents manhood"; the Master M a s o it represents "old age," "death," the resurrection, and the everlasting life. (Albert G. Mackey, A Manual of the Lodge, at pages 18, 64, and 95).

Masonry compares Christ equally with, Krishna, virgin born savior of India; Osiris, the virgin born savior of the ancient Egyptians; and Buddha, the virgin born savior of the Buddhists. It attempts to show that it is possible to have light or truth through pagan beliefs. It would not matter if Masonry could produce one thousand of the best maxims from pagan beliefs. Each as a lamp, still would not produce the Light of the Son of God.

"That which differs Christianity from all other religions is not its theory of morals; this is a most real, yet at the same time only a relative difference, for there were ethics before there were Christian ethics. But its difference is, that it is life and power, that it transforms, that it transfigures, that it makes new creatures, that it does for all what others only promised to do for a few." (Richard Chenevix Trench, The Fitness of Holy Scriptures, pp. 141-142).

If Christian Masons doubt that the Lodge teaches immortality which is received through the death and resurrection of Hiram Abiff, then they only have to read and study the great writers of Masonry.

"A very 4imited knowledge of the history of primitive worship and mysteries is necessary to enable any person to recognize in, the master mason, Hiram, the Osiris of the Egyptians, the Mithras of the Persians, the Bacchus of the Greeks, the Atys of the Phrygrans, of which these people celebrate today that of Jesus Christ." (J. D. Buck, Mystic Masonry, pp. 74-75).

If this be true, then the world's greatest gift -- "God so loved the world that he have his only begotten Son"was to no avail, the gif t served no purpose. Paul and all the other apostles died f or nought; the suffering, hardships and persecution that they and all other Christians have and will continue to go through, for that city not made with hands, will be for nothing.

Masonry teaches:

" . . that it is only through the doctrine of the more ancient philosophies that the religion preached by Jesus may be understood ... if we seek for that "message of God" with dispassionate mind we shall soon perceive that the ethics of Gautama the Buddha, Plato, Appolonius, Jesus, Amonius Saccus and his disciples, were all based upon the same mystic philosophy; that all worshipped one God . . ." (Thomas M. Stewart, Symbolic Teachings or Masonry and its Message, p. 8).

The Christian agrees "that men could speak worthy things, and could really feel them, about the duty of overcoming their desires, of forgiving their enemies, of repaying injuries with kindness, of coming to God with clean hands and a clean heart. Such sayings abound in every code of morals." (Trench, op. cit., p. 142).

The tragic thing is that they who spoke these things did little more. All the things that man could feel after but could not realize, could dream of but could not bring into reality, the Christian, has in the Son of God. When man accepts those things which Masonry offers he is giving up the living Lord f or that of mere notions and phantoms.

Masonry holds out a hope of salvation through all religions.

"That is as operative masons, the mason erects his temporal building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the master on his trestle-board, so should we, as speculative, endeavor to erect our spiritual building agreeably to the rules laid down by the Supreme Architect of the Universe. To every Mason, whatever may be his peculiar creed, that revelation of the Deity which is recognized by his religion becomes his trestleboard -- Thus, the trestle-board of the Jewish Mason is the Old Testament; of the Christian, the Old and the New; of the Mohammedan, the Koran." (Mackey, op. cit., p. 53).

Since Masonic religion is that in which all men can agree, they can all agree on the principle to follow whatever revelation they have religiously. Thus when Masonry teaches its followers to build on their trestle-board, it teaches the doctrine of salvation in all religions.

Before initiation into the degrees of Masonry the candidate has to bind himself under an obligation, for what he does not know, except that he is asked to take an oath. Most men would not sign mortgage papers without first reading them thoroughly. The candidate swears that he will allow certain atrocities to be committed to his body if he should in any way reveal the secrets of Freemasonry. As an example, under t h e Entered Apprentice degree, " . . . then that of having my tongue torn out by its roots and buried in the sands of the sea, at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours . . ."; under the Master Mason degree, ". . . having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken from thence and burned to ashes, and thus scattered to the four winds of heaven, . . ."

Every oath is made "without any equivocation, mental reservation, or self evasion whatsoever." If a Mason means his oths, they are certainly wrong and he is bound to unChristian obligations. If he does not mean them, then, they are vain repetitions and the taking of God's name in vain.

What causes a man to take such vain oaths as the above when, he realizes that they are unchristian? The only answer the author knows of is that they are putting the hope and faith in something outside of the church of God. Dr. Newton expresses the Masonic faith very clearly in his book, The Religion of Masonry, on, page 57 as follows:

"Tell me, Brother Man, if in all the world of wisdom and prophecy, in science or philosophy, you have found a faith more profound, a plan of life more noble, a task more challenging, a hope more enchanting! One thinks of the Sonnet by Carl Claudy . . . Meaning of Masonry and Claudy's answer:

'What hath thy lore of life to let it live?

What is the vital spark, hid in thy vow?

The millions learned, as thy dear paths they trod,

The secret of the strength thou hast to give:

"I am a way of common men to God."

The question naturally arises, why the death of Christ if man is able to approach God without the High priest?

The discerning person can see from the brief aspects of Freemasonry presented above for his consideration that the members thereof err in, several points as follows:

1. Participate in an organization that is religious, thus taking the glory away from Jesus Christ.

2. Participate in an organization that teaches immortality through a person other than the Son of God.

3. Partake of an oath that is un-christian and unlawful.

4. Member of an organization that takes the place of the church and claims to bring men to God.

Truth Magazine I:7, pp. 16-18
April 1957