Is Freemasonry A Religion?
In the United States, there are a reported eight hundred or more different secret societies. Multitudes of the most influential people are members of these secret orders. The membership includes hosts of church members and many preachers. A great many men that I know and love, including members of my own family, are members of lodges.
When the subject of secret societies is dealt with, the question is often raised: "Is Freemasonry and other secret societies a religion?" The average Mason will answer, "No." A mis-informed Mason once wrote: "The lodge and the church occupy two wholly different spheres, and things that are not alike cannot be compared. The church is of the Lord from heaven, the lodge is of human origin. The church ministers primarily to the soul, the lodge to the body" (The Discerner, Vol. V-No. 1, January 1965). It would be well if that statement were true, but it is completely erroneous. If the lodge were merely a fraternal organization seeking to benefit its members and limiting its activities to the non-religious areas of life, then the matter might be viewed in a different light altogether. While there still would be many objections to the lodge, if it left religion out, the opposition would find a different line of argument.
Men have always formed social groups and clubs. There are many fine civic organizations (Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc.) that are right in themselves. A faithful Christian may belong to any one of these for civic reasons. But there is this group of secret societies that most definitely classify as sinful for Christians to have part in.
The lodges claim to be centers of morality, claim to give great light on spiritual things, claim to make you a better citizen, and by many are claimed to be great aids to Christianity. The lodges themselves often profess to show the way to heaven. They speak much about God, have Bibles as lodge furniture in many countries, and call their building "temples."
The purpose of this article is to present factually that there is a very definite religious aspect to Masonry. The most authoritative spokesman of the lodge points out again and again that the lodge has a religious base. The words of Paul to the Athenians fit very well when applied to the Masonic Lodge, ". . . in all things I perceive that ye are very religious" (Acts 17:22).
No Secret Work
The appeal of Masonry is the secrecy of the order. Secrets are to be kept from all people, even their wives. The mason may tell her something about the dates of their meetings, a picnic or a party, but he is not allowed to tell her about the "work" of Masonry. Some people seem to think that just because the lodge is a secret order that its teachings are not known. Some have argued that it is impossible to know anything about Masonry without being a member.. This is a mistaken conception. I know exactly what the lodge is and what it stands for. This can be known by anyone who is willing to inquire.
Masons have been led to believe that no secret work is in print. According to them nothing is written. The only way, they have been told, for anyone to have a knowledge of the secret work of Masonry is to have another Mason tell them something about it and the only way another Mason will tell another is for that other one to become a Mason. I have over 40 books on my shelves that deal with Masonry. Included in these books are the official monitors for Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana; 2 sets of Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey, a 320 Mason; Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike (this work was prepared for the Supreme Council of the 320 for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States and published by its authority); and Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor. Some Masonic friends have been stunned to see that I have these. They are surprised to find that the books contain the secret work - word for word, step by step. Do you remember, Masonic friends, when you were sitting in the car late at night having some Master Mason teach you these things and emphasize that all of this is so secret and that nothing is in print? It was in print then and is still in print now. Do not ever let anyone tell you that the only way to learn about the secrets of Masonry is to get in the lodge, because that just is not so!
In this article, I shall not assume to speak for Freemasonry - Masonry shall speak for itself. By its own utterances, by its own words, Masonry must stand justified or condemned.
To become a Mason one must believe in the existence of a supreme being. The Tennessee Craftsman states: "The foundation on which Freemasonry rests is the belief in and acknowledgment of a Supreme Being" (p. 7). Albert Mackey said, "A belief in the existence of God is an essential point of Speculative Masonry - so essential indeed, that it is a landmark of the Order that no Atheist can be made a Mason" (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Vol. I, page 301).
No atheist can be made a Mason! But who is an atheist? Albert Pike argues that the "real question is, whether such Qualities exist, as we call God; and not by what particular name we shall designate the Qualities. The name is of the smallest consequence. Real Atheism is the denial of the existence of any God, of the actuality of all possible ideas of God" (Morals and Dogma, p. 644).
Masonry calls their god the G.A.O.T.U. (Great Architect of the Universe). One does not need to believe in the Holy God of the Bible, just believe in "a god." The reason for this is that Masonry is a universal religion and has members among those who believe in pagan gods. Pike says, "Masonry propagates no creed except its own most simple and sublime one; that universal religion, taught by Nature and Reason. Its Lodges are neither Jewish, Moslem, nor Christian Temples. It reiterates the precepts of morality of all religions" (Morals and Dogma, p. 718).
Suppose a Buddhist is praying in the Masonic Lodge (because Masonry allows the Buddhist to be a member) and prays, "Great Architect of the Universe," who do you think he has in mind? He is not directing his prayers to Jehovah, for his faith is in Buddha.
A False Religion
Some try to argue that Masonry is just a social institution; another says it is an insurance company; and still another, it is a benevolent organization; and a fourth affirms that it is a religion. If it should prove that the answer to this question must be that it is a religion, then the question arises, "What is the religion of Masonry?" If it is anything but Christianity, the religion of Masonry is necessarily false, for Christianity is the only true religion. And in that case no Christian may have fellowship with Masonry.
The evidence continues to be overwhelming that Freemasonry is a religion. There is no room for any reasonable doubt as to Masonry's being a religious institution. The lodge promises a new birth, has their own redeemer, and promises that grand celestial Lodge in the sky. Not only do the symbols, rites, temples, altars, songs, and prayers point unmistakably to it as a religion, but a great many Masonic authors emphatically declare it to be just that.
The Entered Apprentice is taught at intiation to invoke "The blessings of Deity . . . because Masonry is a religious institution . . ." (Kentucky Monitor, p. 28).
Under the heading, "Religion of Masonry," Albert Mackey finds fault with some, whom he calls "more timid brethren," who deny that Masonry is a religion. He replies, "On the contrary, I contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Masonry is, in every sense of the word, except one, and that its least philosophical, an eminently religious institution -that it is indebted solely to the religious element which it contains from its origin and for its continued existence, and that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good" (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Vol. 2, p. 618).
Mackey continued by saying, "Look at its ancient landmarks, its sublime ceremonies, its profound symbols and allegories - all inculcating religious doctrine, commanding religious observance, and teaching religious truth, and who can deny that it is eminently a religious institution?" (Ibid). The author concluded the section on religion by saying: "Masonry, then, is, indeed, a religious institution; and on this ground mainly, if not alone, should the religious Mason defend it" (Ibid, p. 619).
This should settle for all time the question as to whether or not Freemasonry is religious. According to its own claims, it is proper to speak of the "religion of Freemasonry." The man who contends that the Masonic Lodge is not a religious institution is either ignorant of the organization or else he is a willful deceiver! Masonry is religious and it teaches religion.
There is only one true religion. That religion is Christianity. All other religions are false. I need not argue that proposition. No Christian has ever denied it. We are now in a position where we can determine absolutely whether or not the religion of Freemasonry is false or true. Let us return to the writings of the Masons and see what they have to say about it: "But they religion of Masonry is not sectarian. It admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom, rejecting none and approving none for his peculiar, th. It is not Judaism, though there is nothing in; it to offend a Jew, it is not Christianity, but there is nothing in it repugnant to the faith of a Christian" (Ibid, emphasis mine, bb).
These are not my words! They are the words of Masonry's own encyclopedia, prepared by one of the greatest Masonic authors. It declares Freemasonry has a religion, and that religion is not Christianity. Let us use a little logic here: If the religion of Freemasonry is not Christianity, then it is false! If the religion of Freemasonry is false, then it is not of God! If the religion of Freemasonry is not of God, then it is of the evil one! Leave it and repent!
Truth Magazine XXIV: 45, pp. 722-723