Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal orders, with over 6 million members throughout the world. Members are taught moral lessons from the building of Solomon’s Temple and the Old Testament. It continues to attract new members, who appreciate the commitment to personal growth that it promotes. Here are nine facts about Freemasonry that you may not have known about.
1. When meeting, Masons do not discuss religion or politics
Piers Vaughan, master of St. John’s Lodge #1 in New York, said to Mo Rocca, “There are certain topics which are prevented or we simply proscribe from talking within the lodge. “And then there’s religion. Another is politics.”
This is confirmed by a renowned Freemason in the world.
“Is there a lot of talk about politics and current events? The answer is yes “Margaret Jacob, a history professor at UCLA, said this. “Have you heard anyone claim that because they identify as Democrats, they “think” this or that way? In other words: “…I am a Republican.” No, I don’t believe that’s the case here.”
2. Freemasonry is not a religion
““Freemasonry has the appearance of a religion,” Jacob stated. “When you think of religion, you automatically conjure up images of ceremony. It’s important to note that there are no clergy of any kind under this system. Everyone thinks for themselves.”
3. The Catholic Church condemns Freemasonry
Jacob claims that the initial reaction to Freemasonry in continental Europe, particularly in Catholic Europe, was suspicion due to the fact that “What could this be, all these men from different neighborhoods, different professions meeting in the cafe, breaking bread together, and performing rituals? Conspiracies in politics or in religion.”
The Catholic Church condemned Freemasonry in 1738, and has subsequently issued about 20 decrees against the fraternity, either directly or indirectly. It was reiterated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) in 1983.
4. Atheists are not welcome
No agnostic or atheist may be a member of Freemasonry, according to Masonic historian and Scottish Rite Journal editor Brent Morris, a 33rd degree Freemason.
“This is a group of believers,” he explained. “When it was formally established in 1717, many historians believe it was attempting to bridge the gap between the religious civil conflicts that were raging in England at the time.” The Catholics would rise to power and attack the Protestants; the Protestants would rise to power and attack the Catholics; and everyone would attack the Jews.
That’s why the Freemasons were formed: “Here are men who agree that God is central to their lives, and they can even agree that God compels them to do good in the community, and then they can shut up.”” Getting men to agree on something so basic and move on with their lives was revolutionary.”
In other words, is it possible for an atheist to participate? The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York, James Sullivan, answered no: “We’ve always sought someone who believes in a higher power because it’s part of our duty to be a good man and to support the fraternity, I believe. A religious responsibility would be meaningless to you without that believe in a supreme being.”
5. Most of the Founding Fathers were NOT Freemasons
Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Paul Revere were all Freemasons, as were George Washington and James Monroe, two of the country’s earliest presidents. The American Revolution was led by a number of non-Masons, among them John and Samuel Adams as well as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Thomas Paine.
Since just nine out of the 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence were certified Masons, barely one-third were Masons in Congress when they signed the Constitution in 1787, according to a report from Pennsylvania.
6. There are NO secret Masonic symbols on the U.S. dollar bill
An incomplete pyramid with an eye on top of it appears on the back of the one-dollar bill. Despite the fact that many people — even Freemasons — believe it is, this is not the case. According to Margaret Jacob of UCLA, numerous different organizations, including the Masons, have employed these symbols over the course of history.
It’s possible that many Freemasons will tell you that these symbols are Masonic in order to make the Lodges appear more serious, Jacob added. What a big thing it is if you have a symbol on the dollar bill!
According to Brent Morris, the pro- and anti-Masons camps are the only ones interested in spreading the word about the symbols’ Masonic origins.
Morris explained that the “Eye of God” is a frequent image for God watching over human concerns. “It’s a symbol that has appeared in many different cultures over the years. That our country has yet to be built was symbolized by the unfinished pyramid [which also appeared on a 50-pound Colonial note].”
7. The Shriners are Freemasons
The charity group the Shriners (officially known as the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine) is descended from the Masons and is best known for its parades in which members drive miniature cars. Their hospitals are completely free to patients, and they operate 22 of them.
In order to join the Shriners, you must be a member of the Masonic fraternity, according to Morris.
8. The secret Masonic password originated as a job tool
Originally, Masonry was a guild for medieval stonemasons who built castles and cathedrals across Europe. You could spend your entire life in one hamlet doing what you do best, Morris said. “You could be an artisan baker or a miller or a brewer.” “If you’re a mason, you might have to look for employment elsewhere when the church or town hall is repaired or built because there won’t be any mason work in that town for decades.
“Now you’re illiterate, and it’s likely that the lodge’s officers are as well. Since the Masons’ word was put into action, they believe it. It made it possible for workers to migrate from one workplace to the next while still being able to identify themselves as union members.
As a Mason living in Edinburgh, you may identify yourself to a fellow Mason in Lancashire as a member of the guild through the use of the Masons’ phrase, dating back to the early 1600s.
Is there any kind of a secret handshake? Rocca inquired.
Morris said, “Of course, secret handshakes.” What’s the point of a password if you can’t exchange a handshake with the other person?
9. There is no hidden Masonic code on Rolling Rock beer bottles
The Latrobe Brewing Company of Pennsylvania’s Rolling Rock beer, which was introduced in 1939, finishes a statement on its label with the enigmatic “33.” The 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry has been suggested numerous times over the years.
According to Latrobe’s “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry” (Alpha), the “33” refers to 1933, the year that Prohibition was repealed.
On the Straight Dope Column of Cecil Adams in 1986, “33” was found to be scribbled under the statement to indicate how many words it contained, which was accidentally added to the label by a printing error. Printing errors are usually to blame.
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