Masons deny that salvation can be attained through the practice of Masonry alone. In a previous article I quoted from Mackey's article on "Religion of Masonry" the following disclaimer:
"It supplies no scheme of redemption for sins. It points its disciples to the faith of righteousness, but it does not claim to be 'the way, the truth, and the life.'"
That is a plain enough statement. But there are other statements to be found in Masonic writings, Mackey's included, which, to say the very least, are not so clear in pointing the same direction.
Under the heading "Death" Mackey writes:
"The ancient Mysteries were based upon the dogma of eternal life, and their initiations were intended to represent a resurrection. Masonry, deriving its system of symbolic teachings from these ancient religious associations presents death to its neophytes as the gate or entrance to eternal existence. To teach the doctrine of immortality is the great object of the third degree. In its ceremonies we learn that life here is the time of labor, and that, working at the construction of a spiritual temple, we are worshiping the Grand Architect, for whom we build that temple. But we learn also that, when that life is ended, it closes only to open upon a newer and higher one, where, in a second temple and a purer Lodge, the Mason will find eternal truth. Death, therefore, in Masonic philosophy, is the symbol of initiation completed, perfected, and consummated."
Writing concerning the Mason's "Apron" he informed us:
"In the Scandinavian rites it has been seen that the shield presented to the candidate was white. The Druids changed the color of the garment presented to their initiates with each degree; white, however, was the color appropriated to the last, or degree of perfection. And it was according to their ritual, intended to teach the aspirant that none were admitted to that honor but such as were cleansed from all impurities both of body and mind. In the early ages of the Christian church a white garment was always placed upon the catechumen who had been newly baptized, to denote that he had been cleansed from his former sins, and was thenceforth to lead a life of purity. Hence it was presented to him with this solemn charge. 'Receive the white and undefiled garment, and produce it unspotted before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may obtain eternal life.' From all these instances we learn that white apparel was anciently used as an emblem of purity, and for this reason the color has been preserved in the apron of the Freemason..."
2."As to its material. A Masons apron must be made of lambskin. No other substance, such as linen, silk, or satin, could be substituted without entirely destroying the emblematic character of the apron, for the material of the Mason's apron constitutes one of the most important symbols of his profession. The lamb has always been considered as an appropriate emblem of innocence. And hence we are taught, in the ritual of the first degree, that 'by the lambskin, the Mason is reminded of that purity of life and rectitude of conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe forever presides."
The last sentence of article "VII" of the "General Directions" for a "Masonic Funeral Service" as given in the Standard Monitor is: "On the coffin will be placed or tied a white apron. At a funeral, "each brother in turn drops a sprig of evergreen on the casket." They do this alter the Master says,
"This evergreen is an emblem of our faith in the immortality of the soul. By this we are reminded of our high and glorious destiny beyond the 'world of shadows, and that there dwells within our tabernacle of clay an imperishable, immortal spirit, over which the grave has no dominion and death no power. (S. M.,P. 61)
We learn from Mackey's article on "Burial" that
"No Mason can be interred with the formalities of the Order unless he has been advanced to the third degree of Masonry, from which restriction there can be no exception.
You will recall that I quoted Mackey's article concerning the Masonic Creed in the third article of this series. In that quotation we saw that: a "belief in the eternal life" is the foundation of the third degree. In fact he writes, "Belief in the eternal life must be implicitly assented to by every Mason, especially by those who have received the third degree, which is altogether founded on the doctrine of the resurrection to a second life." When Masons conduct a funeral, they open the Lodge in the third degree (Standard Monitor, p. 51).
The statement Masons make concerning the "evergreen" is an unmistakable declaration that they believe that they possess souls so without sin that death and the grave cannot hold them. This must be the claim because we read concerning the power of death and the grave in I Corinthians 15:54-56a:
"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put
on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin."
The words concerning the "evergreen" are spoken over Masons of the third degree and higher degrees; these are those Masons who have been taught the lessons concerning "the eternal life."
The denials of Masons regarding the religious nature of the Order and their teaching of salvation through Masonry is an intentional deception perpetrated by the "Adepts." I believe that Mackey provides us with the key to the deception in his article on the "Religion of Masonry."
"The religion of Masonry is not sectarian. It admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom, rejecting none and approving none for his particular faith7"
This is very subtle language. What we are not to see in this is that in "rejecting none Masonry APPROVES ALL. Even though at the same time it is true that the individual is not approved "for his particular faith."
When it is all boiled down and we understand that they are in the deception business, we find that Masonry teaches that you must believe in a "Supreme Being" and the "immortality of the soul." As long as you believe these things you will, if you are a good Mason, enter "the Celestial Lodge above," after you die, regardless of what your other religious convictions might be.
But consider one more quotation. Mackey under the "Definition of Freemasonry quotes from Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry by Oliver,
"The definitions of Freemasonry,..' .have been numerous; but they unite in declaring it to be a system of morality, by the practice of which its members may advance their spiritual interest, and mount by the theological ladder from the Lodge on earth to the Lodge in heaven."
Dear brother in Christ will you, if you have been initiated into the Masonic Order or if you have been considering becoming a Mason, read carefully the quotations from Masonic authorities that I have given in this series of articles? I have no personal axe to grind, but there are brethren whose souls are in jeopardy. May God help us all to find the truth in all things, and to hold it constantly in our hearts while doing the Lord's will.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 35, pp. 8-10
July 16, 1970