Once upon a time, it was nigh on impossible to learn much about Freemasonry without becoming a member of the fraternity. The secret society kept a lot of its rituals and traditions a closely guarded secret. It wasn’t until you were accepted as part of the society that you started to learn about the world as Freemasons see it.
However, with the advent of the Internet in the past few decades, and as information has become more widely accessible, many of Freemasonry’s secrets have been revealed to the outside world.
But it isn’t just the Internet on which you can learn about Freemasonry, as many books have been written about different elements of the fraternity. In this post, we explore some of the most popular books that have been written about Freemasonry and ascertain, which are worth your attention.
The Mason’s Words: The History and Evolution of the American Masonic Ritual
By Robert G. Davis
Arguably the best-researched book on Freemasonry in America, Robert Davis explains in meticulous detail some of the secret society’s most intricate ceremonies and rituals. Davis also provides an exciting history of Freemasonry and discusses the brotherhood’s evolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Although rather heavy and full of facts of historical significance, this book keeps the reader entertained throughout and serves as a great introduction to Freemasonry for anyone interested.
The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry
By Jay Kinney
Jay Kinney’s book reads like an informative history of the Freemasons and sheds some fascinating insights on Masons’ significance throughout the past few centuries.
One of Kinney’s book’s standout features is that it debunks some of the myths that conspiracy theorists place at the door of Freemasonry and reveals many truths that, in fact, are more startling than some of the conspiracy theories it refutes.
The Builders: A Story and Study of Freemasonry
By Joseph Fort Newton
Published in 1914, Newton’s book takes a scholarly look at the origins and the medieval history of Freemasonry. Perhaps not the most accessible book for those interested in general information about the Masons, the book is no doubt of historical importance all the same.
It’s a useful book for Masons to read. It describes Freemasonry’s transition from the religions and stonemasons of the past, all the way through to the Freemasonry of the early twentieth century.
Operative Freemasonry: A Manual for Restoring Light and Vitality to the Fraternity
By Kirk C. White
In a similar way to Newton’s book, White’s account of Freemasonry is best suited to those already within the fraternity, as opposed to people on the outside looking in, as much of the language used may be difficult for the unaccustomed to decipher.
This book serves as a manual on Freemasonry’s art and practice and is a must-read for any Masons who wish to make the most out of Freemasonry.
Freemasons for Dummies
By Christopher Hodapp
Published in 2013 and part of the increasingly popular For Dummies series, Hodapp’s book is often the first port of call for anyone interested in learning about Freemasonry in general.
It serves as an accessible guide to Freemasonry and covers everything from the fraternity’s history to debunking some of the myths put forward by conspiracy theorists. Well worth a read and complete with references to allow for further study.
The Meaning of Masonry
By W.L. Wilmhurst
A book of significance for Masons the world over, Wilmhurst’s text is essential reading for any Mason who wishes to hold a position of office within the fraternity.
Wilmhurst describes, in great detail, much of the thinking and history behind the most important rituals and ceremonies within Freemasonry, and the book is very relevant to Freemasonry today, despite its age.
Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry
By Albert G. Mackey
As with any decent encyclopaedia, this volume is an excellent point of reference for any Mason looking to verify any facts or information they discover throughout their journey as a Freemason.
It’s cumbersome and not intended to be read from cover to cover but serves as an integral part of any lodge’s library and should be available to all brothers that request it.
The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopaedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolic Philosophy
By Manly P. Hall
As the title suggests, this book is heavy reading. Still, it is a great starting point for anyone interested in Freemasonry’s theoretical underpinnings and many other associated societies that are poorly understood.
It’s well worth a read by Masons, who are particularly interested in the esoteric aspects of speculative Masonry and serves as an essential reference book for those conducting in-depth studies on Freemasonry.
Morals and Dogma: Of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
By Albert Pike
Albert Pike is well known amongst Masons as the authoritative source on the 32-degree Scottish Rite. Until 1964, this book was actually gifted to every Mason completing the 14th degree in the Southern Jurisdiction of the US Scottish Rite Freemasons.
Nowadays, Pike’s book is a reference of all of his lectures on the Scottish Rite and is essential reading for any Mason wishing to move through the degrees. At nearly 1000 pages, it goes into incredible depth, but it may take several readings to digest the key points made by Pike.
The Craft and its Symbols
By Allen E. Roberts
One of the most popular books within Freemasonry today, The Craft and its Symbols, is a fantastic resource for Masons at the start of their journey, hoping to learn as much about the historical significance of Masonic symbolism.
At just ninety pages, it’s tempting to read through it quickly, but it’s an important document for Masons and should be referred to again and again over time. It’s also beneficial for Master Masons to keep a copy of this book in case any of their brothers ask them for advice on particular elements of the fraternity.