Africa

The nature and Forms of free masonry: Its historical origin, fraternity and thrust

In the Nacaths Journal of African Theology, Dr.Columbus and myself made a critical evaluation of cult and occultism in the institutions of higher learning in Nigeria. Among other things, we noted were that cult threatens normal campus life and social order.  Today, many people are asking these fundamental questions: Is Free Masonry a secret cult or a creepy fraternity? One would argue that Free- masonry as a fraternal organization shares some characteristics of a cult. Fraternity anywhere in the world and under whatever manner or shape it appears is the product of an awareness that are secretive and therefore contradicts everything that is transparent. Beginning from ancient Greek culture to Europe, America and down to Africa, creepy fraternities have made its impact felt in many parts of the world, especially in places where different forms of oppression exist side by side with adherence to Christian faith (Odeh, 1993). I am pleased to explore the nature, range, scope and influences of freemasonry as a fraternal organization.

There is no gain saying the obvious that the nature and forms of Free Masonry as a fraternal cult is dressed up and presented to members as solidarity group with the aim to attract patronage and fellowship. This increased fascination in the occults and fraternal organizations are now a major threat to our secular society. It is not surprising to find prominent citizens among its members. Members are found in all levels of world’s fiancés, politics, education, and vocations. Members are equally drawn from various professions: government officials, law makers, law enforcement agents, school teachers, office workers, scientists, government officials, artists, celebrities, taxi drivers, commoners to mention but a few.
Evolution, the basic tenet of free masonry and occultism which theosophy takes to its logical conclusion teaches that human mind can develop its paranormal powers (powers beyond the five senses) or ‘psychic’ powers by which it can achieve whatever it wants including godhood in life. Besides evolution and powers of the godhood, men and women join fraternal societies in order to spare themselves the troubles of social economy and political crises. The unbridled lust for power, wealth and fame are other reasons why people join these fraternal groups. People join these fraternal organizations and the arcane of the supernatural in search of solution to their multi-faceted problems.

Departure:

Free masonry is the oldest and largest world wide fraternity dedicated to the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of a supreme being. Although of a religious nature, freemasonry is not a religion. This fraternity urges its members, however, to be faithful and be devoted to their own religious beliefs. Besides the beliefs of every cults and occultism, freemasonry projects two major manifestations of cults: Cults of strength in which the display of manliness and strength is the utmost objective, and religious cults orientated to the worship of the transcendental. Freemasonry is an esoteric society only in that certain aspects of their activities are private. Some masons state that freemasonry is not, in the 21st century, a secret society but a “society with secrets”. Some describe the organization as a “confidential” society in contrast to a secret society. Modern freemasons regard the traditional concern over secrecy as a demonstration of their ability to keep a promise and a concern over the privacy of their own affairs. Besides being an esoteric society, freemasonry is about world politics and world revolution. The Eugenics poster entitled “the relationship between Jews and Freemasons,” reads that Freemasonry is an international organization beholden to Jewry with the political goal of establishing Jewish domination through world-wide revolution. The map decorated with Masonic symbols (temple, square, and apron), shows where revolution first took place in Europe from the French Revolution in 1789 through the German Revolution in 1919.

Explication of Terms:

Freemasonry at its core is not a Christian organization. Like other “secret” organizations (Eastern Stars,) free-masonry appears to be harmless fellowship gatherings. This fellowship-gathering seems to take the form of a fraternal organization in whose members share moral and metaphysical ideals and in most of its branches requires members to conform to a constitutional declaration of belief in a Supreme Being or deity. Famous mysterious cults are in the like of Elusius adopted by Athens, Isis, and the cult of Egypt.  Similar fraternity of this kind is the mystery sorority of Dionysus for women (only included dancing, drinking, drugs, ecstasies, madness, Lesbianism, ritual shouting, and human sacrifice). Others are Cults of mythris, worshippers of Sybille who have always castrated themselves in the frenzy of the rites; Orphic cults centered on the singer Orpheus (emphasizing on purification, and the means whereby the soul might escape the body and ascend into the realm of the blessed). Freemasonry like other cults of the ancient world was based on Greek, Egyptian and Roman mythologies. Most of them are affiliated to the goddesses of the underworld like Dimetre, Dionysus, Sybile, Adonis, and Isis.

Who is a Mason?

Permit to say that a Mason is a man who professes a faith and uses the tools of moral and ethical truths to serve mankind. A Mason binds himself to the like-minded men in a brotherhood that transcends all religions, ethnic, social, cultural, and educational differences. In fellowship with his brother, a Mason finds ways in which to serve his God, his family, his fellowman and country. This is what their doctrine says in theory but in real life a Manson serves the forces of darkness, denounces his family and alienates his fellow countryman.

 What is Masonry?

Let us first clear the arena. A generally accepted definition of “freemasonry is an organized society of men, symbolically applying the principles of operative Masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building. The working tools and methods of the ancient craftsman are used to portray fundamental truths. Looking at the working tools of the entered apprentice, the 24-inch gauge and common gavel comes to mind. These were used by the operative mason to measure lengths, widths and heights and to break off the corners of rough stones, but a speculative mason is taught to use these to manage his time and to overcome the roughness of his character, thus making him a better person. When asked what Freemasonry means, a Minnesota Mason opined that Masonry is the following:
1.    In the lodge room, speculative Masonry is information and inspiration
2.    In the home, Masonry is kindness and fidelity.
3.    In business relationships, Masonry is honesty and veracity.
4.    In my daily works, Masonry is thoroughness and dependability.
5.    In social contracts, Masonry is moderation and self control.
6.    Toward the fortunate, Masonry is congratulations and best wishes.
7.    Towards the weak, Masonry is compassion and assistance.
8.    Towards wickedness, Masonry is rebuke and resistance.
9.    Towards the penitent, Masonry is forgiveness and another chance.
10.    Finally, towards God, Masonry is reverence, love and obedience.

Historical Excuses:

The historical origin and trust of freemasonry is complicated. It is complicated because its entire form and nature is fragmented and episodic. From pre-historic times, primitive man, who sought to understand the world of fraternity, represented cult and creation as a divine act.  In Greek culture, as well as the surrounding states that made up the ancient Mediterranean world like Malta, Alexandra and Byblos, several cults and fraternities developed, built around the mythologies of the people. In 666BC, the fraternity involving the sky (Uranus) penetrating the Earth (Eaea), who later gave birth to Aphrodite, developed with elaborate forms of ritualistic worship. Another cult and fraternity involving the illicit affairs between Adonis and Aphrodite evolved and culminated in the practice and institutionalization of sacred prostitution done by all women in honor of the goddess Aphrodite. At this time, the goals of cults and fraternities have been to celebrate the glory of sensual love and this was done in special temples built for the worship of Aphrodite. The Babylonians similarly had temples prostitutes dedicated to the goddess Ishtar.The first Grand Lodge of Freemasonry was the Grand Lodge of England (GLE). This Lodge was founded in 1717 when four existing London Lodges met for a joint dinner. At this dinner, the Lodge rapidly transformed into a regulatory body, which all English Lodges joined? Forty years later, the English Grand Lodges, referred as “the moderns” vied for supremacy with “Ancient” Grand Lodges. Both Lodges united in 1813 to form what is regarded as United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). In 1725 and 1736, the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland were formed respectively.
In 1730s, Freemasonry was exported to the British Colonies in North America. However, After the American Revolution, independent American Grand Lodges were formed within the state boundaries. At this period, the desire was to establish a “Grand Lodge of the United States”, with George Washington as the first Grand Master. In 1728, the oldest jurisdiction in Europe referred to as “the Grand Orient de France (GOdF) was founded. In 1877, the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise (GLNF) became French Grand Lodge that is in amity with the united grand Lodge of England. One of the most learned and distinguished of the early English Freemasons was the Rev. Dr. George Oliver DD. Oliver wrote extensively on ecclesiastical antiquities and all aspects of speculative Freemasonry. In his detailed work, “the Revolution of the square”, Dr. Oliver narrated that the society adopted the temple of Solomon for its symbol because it was the most stable and the most magnificent structure ever existed, whether we consider its foundation or superstructure; so that of all the societies men have invented, none was ever more firmly united, or better planned, than the Mason. Early masons copied the temple worship and patterned it to their activities. This imitation allowed man sonic rituals to make use of the architectural symbolism of the medieval operation who worked on stones gravels and pebbles. Based on the above, speculative Mason was formed to adopt the temple symbolism to teach members moral and ethical lessons of the principles of “brotherly love, relief and Truth.” Speculative masons thereafter began to teach members “liberty, Equality and Fraternity.” Falconer (1997) write that the edifices which Freemason builds are nothing more than virtues or vices to be erected or destroyed; and in this case heaven only occupies their minds, which soar above the corrupted world. However, the temple of Solomon denotes reason and intelligence. It also denotes wisdom and speculative rationality. Stones (2007) acknowledges that these words are most succinct yet a comprehensive explanations ever given in respect of the foundation, purpose and symbolism of freemasonry. It typifies all aspects of the operative craft form which Freemasonry is derived.

Is Freemasonry a Social Fraternity or a Cult?

The term “cult” conjures up images of the burning of David Koresh’s branch Davidian settlement and the mass suicide of Jim Jones’s people temple devotees. Scholars on one hand, describe cult as a group that worship Satan, scarifies animals, and takes part in evil and bizarre initiations. The Christian definition of cult is a religious group that affirms one or more of the fundamentals of Biblical truths. Also, a cult is a group that teaches something that will cause a person to not be saved if they fail to believe. According to Orukpe (1988), secret cult is a group of people who share and propagate peculiar secret beliefs divulged only to members. Since certain aspects of freemasonry are private, it is logical to call it a “secret society.” or more accurate to call it an esoteric fraternity. The reason is because some Masons regard the traditional concerns over secrecy as a demonstration of their ability to keep a promise or a concern over the privacy of their activities. Cults and fraternities are all built around these inordinate desires for the mysterious and the uncommon. Hellenistic fraternities had secret doctrines and cultic rites (Warren, 2008). And by whatever name and in whatever guise it comes, secret cult is death.
Margaret Singer, a former adjunct professor of psychology at the University of California (Berkeley) identifies many traits characteristic of cults that are shared by fraternities and sororities that practice hazing; the control and isolation of new-comers. This is a creepy technique used by cults, fraternities and sororities. Cults, fraternities, hazing and Free-masonry are an association rapped in mystery. The semantic analysis of the Greek word (Muster ion) means “mystery”. The Greek word (Mueo) also means to be initiated into the mysteries of the fraternity. This noun had originally been used in reference to the secrets of ancient mystery cults. Based on exploratory research, I have come to understand that this noun was originally used by ancient fraternities during the 7thc through 4th centuries throughout ancient Greece which employed secret doctrines and secret ceremonies. Only those initiated into the fraternity knew the mysterious doctrines and secrets. In distinction from a religion, a cult is a group that claims to be Christian, yet denies an essential truth of Biblical Christianity. In distinction from a cult, free masonry could be compared to the order of the star Spangled Banner, a fraternal order referred to most commonly as the know nothing party. When this order came into existence Tyle (1992) articulated that they attempted to increase their appeal by converting their network of lodges into a conventional political organization, which they christened the “American Party.” Beyond politics, economics, and social life, there were pronounced tendencies towards the formation of organized groups like cults and Masons. Critics of Mason doctrines and teachings claim that mason and the cults share some similarities. Both groups teach that Jesus was not God and that salvation is not by faith alone. In some dimension, the two could be compared to the two most Christian cults-the Jehovah witnesses and the Mormons, the un-evangelistic sects with messages of distortions, deceptions and false doctrines. If asked I would say, these two groups have often been viewed with indifference because some of their beliefs and doctrines are ‘conjectures,’ some true, some false.

The Philalethes Society (Masonic Research Society):

Another name that describes philolethes society is the international Masonic research society. The name of this society is pronounced fill a (as in a-bate) lay thess with the accent on the third syllable-lay. Etymologically, Philolethes is derived from two Greek words, philo and alethes. These two coinages mean lover of truth. The philalethes society was founded on October 1, 1928, by a group of Masonic students. It was designed for freemasons desirous of seeking and spreading Masonic light. Contrarily, when accused as the brain behind the dreadful “Pirate Confraternity.” Professor Wole Soyinka (noble prize laureate) opined that they formed that group in 1952 at the University of Ibadan merely as a pressure group that seek the light and to protect students from being victimized by unruly lecturers (Columbus & Gerald, O 1994). In 1946, the philolethes magazine was established to publish articles by and for its members. The publication was to chronicle Masonic beliefs and principles of living. The purpose of this research society was to act as a clearing house for Masonic knowledge. It exchanged ideas and research problems confronting freemasonry, and passes them along to the Masonic world. Affiliates in the Philalethes society consists of members and 40 fellows, who are master Mason in good standing in a regular Masonic lodge anywhere in the world. Today, Philalethes society has members within 185 regular Grand Lodges.  

Reasons for Joining Freemasonry:

Ignorance of the mystery surrounding human life causes individuals to join the arcane of the blood thirsty associations. Ignorance of the plan of God causes believers to make wrong choices in life, to establish wrong priority, or wrong decision to live secretive lives unknown to their own flesh and blood. The same ignorance that surrounds the power of the Supreme Being causes the weak to solve problems incorrectly. People join fraternity and sororities because they emphasize the notion of “family”. Hank (1999) writes that appeal to recruit those who consider themselves in need of friends and potential dating partners, or who find themselves under stress in a new environment” cause individuals to join secret sects. Violence is the cult’s official policy. It is a policy that attracts membership and patronage. This is the more reason why the National association of the sea dogs (pirates confraternity) protects its members even it come to violence and confrontation. It is common that privileged, educated, wealthy people are more likely to join this culture of death for personal protection and promotional reasons. Most politicians join cults of death to protect their life and the lives of the immediate families. Similarly, bad politicians use the services of the cult groups particularly, the black Axe and Eiye fraternity for election purposes. They use their services to threaten normal social order by causing confusion and chaos in the cities, campuses and some private and government establishments.

Beliefs, Doctrines of Freemasonry

Freemasonry has enigmatic belief system. The Only belief requirement is that members must believe in the existence of a “supreme being” that includes the “gods” of Islam, Hinduism, or any other world religion. A characteristic of this society is that they are anti Scripture and anti Christian. The very essence of joining the Lodge requires Christians to ignore the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior. Members of freemansonry believe a person would be saved and go to heaven as a result of his good works and personal self-improvement. Members of Masonic lodge see the Bible as one of those several “volume(s) of the sacred laws.” They describe the Bible as an important book designed for members who claim to be Christians. It is without doubt that masons belief that the Bible is not an exclusive word of God, nor is it considered to be God’s sole revelation of himself to mankind. On one hand, they purport that the Bible is a good guide for morality, a symbol of God’s will which can also be captured in other sacred texts, like the Koran or Rig Vedas.
On the doctrine of God, members are challenged to believe in a deity so profound to man. Based on these foundations, masons invite people of all faiths, even if they use different names for the nameless one, or the ‘I am’ of the Judeo-Christian religion, while praying to the one God who is father of all. Be it as it may, freemasonry does not believe in Christology. They do not believe that Christ was God in human form (Matthew 1:18-24, John 1:1). Members doubt the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ and deny the exclusivity in Jesus Christ or the triune God who is the father, son, and the Holy Spirit. Members refuse to invoke the name of Jesus when praying. It is un-Masonic to mention the name of Yahweh or Christ while praying. It is even against their strict code to mention the name of Christ in the lodge. During Masonic rituals, the holy name “Jesus” is entirely omitted. A mason perceives Jesus Christ on the same level as other religious leaders, past and present. They challenge the teachings of the trinity. Masons deny the idea that Christ is the second person of the trinity (Matthew 28:19, Mark1:9-11). Although members challenge the Christology and Trinitarian nature of God, this fraternity does not believe that the Holy Spirit is an advocate. They doubt the divinity of Christ and claim that while he was on earth, he was fully human (Mark 4: 38, Matthew 4:2) and fully divine (John 20:28, John 1:1-2, Acts 4: 10-12). Members find it difficult to believe the rationale why Christians pray in Jesus’ name and proclaim him before others, regardless of offense to non-Christians (John14:13-14, 1 John 2:23, Acts 4:18-20).
This fraternity teaches that man is not sinful, just “rude and imperfect by nature.” According Masonic doctrine, humanity possesses the capacity of moving from imperfection towards total perfection. Therefore, moral and spiritual perfection lies within men and woman. The fundamental question that comes to mind is: why these moral and spiritual preoccupations? There seems to be a magical edge to the messages propounded by masons to her initiates that rings a note to people through the media. Many tend to believe it or accept it as true. Many have accepted their teachings and doctrines as a window through which reality and society are seen as they really are. For the Masons, oath and secrecy are the manifestation of real membership. Its importance cannot be overemphasized. Masons rise and fall by the oath and secrets they share. Take it away and you cut off the central nerve of their whole secret life and foundation. Olayiwola (1991) described this form of manifestation as a unique cultural behavior of making clients to live under sacred protection. Undoubtedly, Man sonic oath and doctrines compels members to belief:
-that salvation can be gained by man’s good works.
-that Jesus is just one of many equally revered prophets.
-that they will remain silent in the lodge and not talk of Christ.
-that they are approaching the lodge in spiritual darkness and ignorance when the Bible says Christians are already in the light, children of the light, and are indwelt by the light of the world- Jesus Christ.
-By demanding that Christians take the Masonic oath, Masonry leads Christians into blasphemy and taking the name of the Lord in vain.
-Masonry teaches that it’s G.A.O.T.U (Great Architect of the Universe), who masonry believes is the true God of the universe. This true God of the universe is representative of all gods in all religions.
-Masonry makes Christians abide in a Universal approach in its prayers, demanding a “generic” name be used so as not to offend non-believers who are Masonic “brother.”
-By taking the Masonic obligation, he is agreeing to allow the pollution of his mind, spirit, and body by those who serve false gods and believe false doctrine.
-By swearing the Masonic oath and participating in the doctrines of the lodge, Christians are perpetuating a false gospel to other Lodge members, who look only to Masonry’s plan of salvation to get to heaven. By their very membership in such syncretistic type organization, they have severely compromised their witnessing as Christian.
Masonry denies and contradicts the teachings of scripture. Based on the above, Masonry requires member to engage in activities which Scripture condemns. In a bid to carry out the belief and doctrine of this fraternity, members vie away from conventional moral standards; tolerate members who perform illicit and illegal acts committed behind close doors. Members encourage a near delusional feelings of invincibility; fail to heed an individual members moral qualms in the interest of group unanimity; put a newcomer in harm’s way with seeming disregard for that person’s well-being; and after a dangerous or fatal incident deny that they have erred, even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. This is creepy and wearied. Christian should not join a creep society that denial the Christological foundation of the church and the Trinitarian nature of the God structure.

Some Notable Masons

The first world member of the Freemason was Fredrick, Prince of Wales. After Fredrick, notable Masons joined the fraternity. These Masons are:
Benjamin Franklin
James Monroe,
J.C Penny
Theodore Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
John Hancock
Duke Ellington
Sir, Alexander Fleming
Thurgood Marshall
Harry Truman
George Washington
John Wayne
Henry Ford
Gerald R. Ford
However, many other Masons are recognized by name, or by accomplishments. George Washington and thirteen other Presidents, eight Vice Presidents and forty-two justices of the supreme courts have been masons. Among other notable masons are Supreme Court justices and politicians, military personnel’s as well as business and market tycoons around the world. One can hardly argue against the fact that the word freemasonry has been bedeviled with secretive, myopic, lopsided, impoverished and somewhat attenuated consideration. I make bold to argue that freemasonry as secret fraternity is a clandestine sect. My argument is founded on the above logical analyses and not mere semantic cyclicism or philological verbosity.

Conclusion:

Any one who has been familiar with the unresolved state of affair with the forces of darkness should be aware that any fraternity by all standards is bloodshed and leads members on a course to a downhill. It leads members to plethora of problems and lingering frustrations. This is what Wole Soyinka did not foresee before modeling the national sea dog fraternity in the likes of Greek cults. Most Greek fraternities like the pirate confraternity limit communication, interaction/affiliations and sometimes avoid relationships with family, friends, relatives, classmates and others outside their evil chapter. Any association that makes these kinds of conditional relations with the above is creepy and wearied. A creep fraternity avoids speaking to non-members. A wearied fraternity does not find joy in helping family members. Members of wearied fraternity are wicked and have the bad blood to kill. It is creepy that an organization forbids one to take shower or change clothes, or wear clandestine apparel. It is creepy that an organization forbids individuals to be involved in the day-to-day lives of their families, church and social organization. It is wearied that members behave in such an extreme way to justify actions outside the range of normal social and human behavior.   Individual’s who joins creepy fraternity of this sort ends up to be confronted by social nomativism, moral contractism and hang on to poor rational negativism. All these have a yawning lacuna when the teachings of freemasony and other fraternities are challenged. Any fraternity enmeshed within the whole spectrum of false hope, false protection of initiates, and the alienation of immediate families, because of clandestine rituals and unaccountable sources of riches is creepy. It is nice to point out here that the teachings and messages of fraternities cannot survive without being confronted by moral accusations and judgment. The teachings of fraternities as many think is a mere myth and fantasies. They are exaggerations and misapprehensions associated with ordinary rituals that can never evoke belief for steal minded individuals. They are not comprehensible on the grounds of transparency on human behavior and interaction with the open society. The teaching and doctrines of fraternities cannot fit into the constitution of nature and God’s living relation to it, their necessity in the aim of revelation which they deserve (Encyclopedia, Britannica). Without prejudice, I have strong judgment that all fraternities have the capacity to suppress member’s common sense and rational thoughts. Freemasonry like other cults of death makes it hard for members to leave. They make quitting a complex reality for initiates and old cargos. A member who tries to quit can experience the same kind of post-traumatic stress disorder, disconnectedness, and angst that researchers and experts have associated with cult members who opt to leave their group (Hank, 2001). If this is the case, then fraternities are the devils constant reminder and activities at man’s world. They are signs of the devils intervention in a particular moment in the history of human life. These signs make fraternities a creepy association to join

References:

1. Columbus, O & Gerald, O (1994) Cult and Occultism in the Institution of Higher learning in Nigeria; Nacath journal of African theology

2. Hank, N (1999) Greek Letters Don’t Justify cult-Like hazing of pledges, retrieved @ stop hazing.org

3. John. J. Robison, a Pilgrim’s path. M. Evans and Co., Inc. New York, p. 129

4. Warren, D (2008) Doctrine of “mystery” Grace notes library, retrieved may, 19 2008 @ http://www.realtime.net

5. Odey, J (1993) Africa, the agony of a continent: Does liberation theology offer any solution, the encounter, Journal of African life and religion, Rome Vol. 2

6. Orukpe, T.  (1988). Secret cults and the law, National Concord newspaper, Thursday, December, Lagos Nigeria

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