The following testimony was provided by a former Freemason:
My name is Richard Mann. I am a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. I am member of Pleasant View Baptist Church. I am an ordained Southern Baptist Minster. I am a former member of Queen City Masonic Lodge No. 761. Conviction from the Holy Spirit caused me to leave Freemasonry.
At the time my mother was pregnant with me, my parents were struggling financially because my father had been laid off from his job. After a particular shopping trip, my parents passed by a group of Shriners collecting money for their charities (Shriners are an appendant body of Freemasonry). My father drove down the road for about a mile before stopping and remarking to my mother that he felt led to donate to the Shriners; he turned the car around gave the Shriners the last three dollars he and my mom had. “We might someday need help,” he told my mother. That day came very soon. I was born with a major heart defect which required surgery. I spent two months in Vanderbilt hospital receiving treatment. My daddy’s insurance paid very little of our massive medical bill. It just so happened that the Shriners came to the hospital and asked its administrators to pick a family that needed help. The hospital administrators picked my family and the Shriners paid our medical debt in full.
When I grew up, I was ordained as a pastor in a Southern Baptist Church.
One of my very close friends was an older gentleman and a Freemason. He began to tell me about the lodge. One thing led to another and I found myself at two different Masonic meetings being examined for membership in the Lodge. I was found worthy to become a Freemason. I am not only a pastor but a born-again Christian indwelled by the Holy Spirit. During every one of these meetings, the Spirit was advising me not to get mixed up in Freemasonry. Unfortunately, Masonry lured me in through my interest in history. Before answering the call to the ministry, I wanted to be a history professor. The history of the Masonic Lodge, or “the Craft” as they call it, intrigued me. I loved the history of the Lodge and was impressed by all the famous people who had been members. Seminary professors and even American Presidents had been Masons and I could be one, too. So, I disregarded the pleading of the Spirit and joined the Masonic Lodge.
Entering my first degree, the “Entered Apprentice” degree, was a strange experience. I found myself in a room with two Masonic brethren. They dressed me in the way an Entered Apprentice should dress and told me what an Entered Apprentice should say for the initiation ceremony. I memorized all the answers that I was required to know and learned what I was told to learn. I was particularly struck by the part of the ceremony that involved the Bible. I was brought blindfolded (or “hoodwinked” as the Masons say) before an altar. My hand was placed the Holy Bible, the square, and the compass (in the Lodge, these three items are referred to as “the furniture of the lodge”). When the Masons took off my blindfold, I saw my hands placed upon the Bible, the square, and the compass while my knee and leg formed a right triangle. This part of the ceremony was meant to make me understand the significance of the great light and the three lesser lights. The Worshipful Master then led me in my first Masonic blood/death oath. Please bear with me as I try to recall it in writing. It has been a while since I said it and, frankly, I have tried to forget it. I swore that I would not knowingly give out any of the secrets, parts, or points of the “Entered Apprentice degree” under no less a penalty than having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by the root and buried in the ground where the tide ebbs and flows in every 24 hours.” All this was done with the outstretched hands of the brothers pointed towards me in the dark.
The Holy Spirit was convicting me the whole time, asking me why I knelt at an altar before for a Worshipful Master when the only man worthy of worship was Jesus Christ. I shrugged it off. I found myself in the same place taking the second degree, “Fellow Craft.” In that degree, one has to do more of the work of preparing for the ceremony and take another oath. Again, I swore before the Worshipful Master to keep the secrets of the degree, this time “under no less a penalty than to have my body severed in two, my chest torn open, and my entrails placed on the highest point of the temple where the birds of the air would feed on them.” Soon after, I completed the work for the third degree, “Master Mason.” This degree is the big one. Once more, I swore before the Worshipful Master to keep the secrets of the degree, in this case, “under no less a penalty than having my body severed in half, my entrails burned, and my ashes scattered to the four winds.” I was prepared as a man named “Hiram Abiff,” who is, according to Masonic lore, the architect of Solomon’s temple. I was symbolically killed by three ruffians, played by other Masonic brethren, for refusing to give them the secrets of Masonry. I laid “dead” on the temple floor (all Masonic lodges are intended as replicas of Solomon’s temple) until I was symbolically raised by King Solomon, played by the Worshipful Master. This is what it means to be “raised a Master Mason.” I was then taught the secret word, “Mah-Ha-Bone,” and the stance of a Master Mason.
After that, boy, I could do anything in the Lodge and nothing was said or judged because I was a Master Mason. I learned more and more about my secret craft and was told I could go higher in the lodge. One particular branch of Masonry, is called “Royal Arch Masonry.” The highest degree in that branch is “Knight Templar.” I studied that branch. I also studied the Scottish Rite branch, which is only for Masons of the highest (32nd) degree. I will not go into the death/blood oaths of those branches but they have them. To the neglect of my Bible studies, I became proficient in many degrees of Freemasonry as well as the history of the Craft. Eventually, I was asked to give a lecture of the ancient history of Freemasonry. Of course I said yes! I was free to include in the lecture whatever I saw fit with the understanding that the content of my presentation had to be approved by the Worshipful Master before it was taught to the brethren.
For my lecture, I traced the practice of Freemasonry back to Babylon. I noted that technically and historically, Freemasonry and the New Testament Church were not compatible. I demonstrated this by providing scripture that contradicted the claims and practices of Freemasonry. The Worshipful Master told me to destroy my lesson and never speak of it again; although I was of a higher degree that he (he was only a 3rd degree mason), he held the authority over me in the lodge as “Master” to give this command. Another man ended up giving the history lecture. As part of his lesson, he claimed that the result of God confusing the language of mankind at Babel was that some cultures now connected to God through Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus. In other words, he was claiming that there was one God known by different names in different languages and religions. I took great offense at his twisting of scripture and lying to all the men listening to his lecture; I could not stand for it. I could ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit no longer.
God pulled me out of the lodge and gave me a hatred for the Masonic system; not the men in the Lodge but the false doctrine they proclaim. The Lord Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” If you are a Christian and are practicing Freemasonry, please pray and study. Your eyes will be open to the lies of Satan. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit telling you to get out of the Lodge. Contact me and I will give you scripture against the Lodge.
After ending my involvement in Masonry, I felt alone and scared. For the first time, I felt God was not moving in my life. I stood one Sunday morning, prayed, and renounced Masonry and all my death/blood oaths. When I finished preaching and left the pulpit, I went out to a water fountain and busted out crying. Yes, you can be a Christian and a mason, but you will do it without the approval of God and against the witness of the Holy Spirit. I beg you to get out of the lodge. Repent of all of it; it’s hard but you can do it.
I am happy to say I am no longer a Freemason!