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History of Freemasonry in the USA

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Freemasonry is an old world heritage and tradition. It is also a growing cultural phenomenon in the United States. In this blog, we look at the history of Freemasonry in the United States, how it has grown over the years, and how it is used in communities today.

History of Freemasonry in the USA

History of Freemasonry in the USA

Today’s question comes from a wonderful reader. Perhaps you might examine the history of freemasonry in America, the reader suggests. Why don’t we attempt to keep this brief? And rather than attempt to debate the entirety of history, which I am not qualified to do, why don’t we focus on one item that I recently learned, and it blew my mind that I had never heard of it before. Perhaps you’ve heard it, and if so, please stay with me and give your thoughts in the comments section below. But for the time being, allow me to share this with you. Have you ever heard of the Inaugural Bible of George Washington?

This is the Bible upon which George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, took his oath of office. Before I continue, it’s worth noting that there is considerable debate over some portions of the story surrounding this historic occurrence. Certain facts are universally accepted as true, while others are debated by historians and freemasons. Everybody appears to have a little different perspective on the extent to which the truth can be expanded. With that in mind, here is what everyone seemed to agree on. It was the day of George Washington’s inauguration, and all preparations had been completed except for the absence of a bible at the ceremony. Hold on a moment; let us come to a halt right there. It is critical to note that nowhere in our constitution, or any of its amendments, does it state that any president or other oath of office must be taken atop a sacred book of any kind, whether the bible or another religion.

Numerous witnesses indicate that this was George Washington himself, requesting explicitly that a bible be there for him to take the oath of office on. And that would appear to be consistent with what is written in our constitution and in our very founding laws, which George Washington assisted in forming, that we would ensure that there was no requirement for such a thing to be done, but also no restriction on someone doing so if that was their faith and desire. Thus, on the one hand, the myth goes that George Washington asked the whereabouts of a biblical bible. On the other hand, according to another version of the story, the master of this lodge will bring you back to this website. The Master of Saints John Lodge number one noted that there was no bible and asked another Mason present if he should retrieve one, to which he was then requested to do so.

As a result, he proceeded down the street to the lodge’s meeting place. Recovering the lodge bible, returning it to the inauguration, and saving the day by allowing George Washington to take his oath of office atop the holy book. The remainder of the story is now considerably more contentious. Everybody agrees that George Washington did indeed take his oath of office on top of the bible brought from St. John’s Lodge. Whether he requested it or not, the lodge recognized its necessity. It doesn’t really seem to matter too much in the overall scheme of things, but he did use that bible, and it is now on exhibit to be seen today, having a fascinating history of being almost destroyed only a few years ago. Therefore, return to the ST. John’s Lodge website and read all of the details for yourself. That was not even the lodge’s first bible.

The poor lodge was destroyed by fire, and their original bible was destroyed. Therefore, ensure that you read the entire story. In any case, the tale goes, George Washington may have added additional words at the end of his oath of office that were not included in the requisite words in the oath of office as specified in the constitution. Which words, according to certain historians, did he add? You can hear it in one of two ways. George Washington made the first unmistakable usage of the phrase “I swear.” Therefore, God help me! Or so some assert. He merely used the abbreviation. Therefore, God help me! As a result, I’ll allow you to disturb me. Whether or not he chose to change or add a few words at the end of the needed words, which I believe is part of this topic, some assert that George Washington, whether a freemason or not, would never add words to the required phrase as the first president to take this oath of office.

It is assumed that he was involved in determining which words would be included in the oath of office, but similarly to how it was not required for him to have a bible, but rather something he could do and an acknowledgement of his religion, why couldn’t he simply add the words at the end? Why would you request a bible and take your oath of office on it? Or be presented with a bible and take your oath of office on it, and then refuse to recognize God at the conclusion of your oath of office? And since that time, every president has chosen to use those words, despite the fact that they are not part of the required dual office. Thus, tradition endures regardless of whether it is essential, and we will continue. That concludes the story I wanted to share with you about freemasonry’s history in America.

It is assumed that he was involved in determining which words would be included in the oath of office, but similarly to how it was not required for him to have a bible, but rather something he could do and an acknowledgement of his religion, why couldn’t he simply add the words at the end? Why would you request a bible and take your oath of office on it? Or be presented with a bible and take your oath of office on it, and then refuse to recognize God at the conclusion of your oath of office? And since that time, every president has chosen to use those words, despite the fact that they are not part of the required dual office. Thus, tradition endures regardless of whether it is essential, and we will continue. That concludes the story I wanted to share with you about freemasonry’s history in America.

On another day, we’ll go into greater detail about another subject. We appreciate your time and interest.

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