Secret societies are difficult to write about since they are, afterall, secret. Many things that are known are repeated in the literature–not that a lot of that exists since it is often secret also. Having said that, it is amazing the amount of literature that is available about secret societies. The first three books about Secret Societies that I checked out contained much of the same information. Here are the first three books I perused:
Many secret societies began in secret because of beliefs that differed from the mainstream culture. Had certain groups stated publicly what they believed, the members would have likely been killed by their king or other leaders. Being secretive was about self preservation. This was particularly true of groups with occultic connections. Not all secret societies had occultic connections. For example early Christians were considered a dangerous sect by both the Jews and the Romans. This forced many churches literally underground. Many secret societies have origins dating back to ancient Egypt and some claim to date back much further.
In Secret Societies: and How They Affect Our Lives Today, Sylvia Browne divides these groups into the broad categories of political societies, religious societies, and the dark side of secrecy. Browne also says that secret societies have the following in common:
The Oath of Secrecy: Sometimes under penalty of death or excommunication, members not only pledge to keep all the secrets within the society, but often vow to give away money or other personal possessions.
The Oath Against Division: Members promise not to deviate from the group’s teachings or start their own organization based upon the one to which they’ve given the oath. They also vow to always work for the betterment of the society and not for themselves.
The Oath of Absolute Obedience: Members pledge to absolutely obey the rules and order of the society. They must also pay homage to their headmaster or founder and often (but not always) follow the laws of the land.
The Oath of Honesty: Members swear that they’ll never tell a lie about anyone in the society or about the organization, and they promise to live within the group with honesty and forthrightness.
The Oath of Support: Members vow to give support – morally, spiritually, or even financially – to the society. This can even extend to reporting insidious conduct that would bring harm to associates.
In Secret Societies A History, Arkon Daraul discusses numerous secret societies from all over the world. The author attempts to explore the beginnings of each group. The author also points out that many of these groups are suspicious of others. According to Daraul some Arabs are suspicious of Jews who they consider to be a suspicious and dangerous secret society bent on taking over the world. The author also believes that Freemasons and Catholics eye each other with similar suspicions. In short, it’s about perspective.
The Hidden World of Secret Societies: An Illustrated History of the Most Mysterious Organizations published by Life Books is a fascinating adult picture book with interesting comments on several known secret societies.
The best known secret societies are: The Illuminati, The Freemasons, The Bohemian Grove, The Opus Dei, The Ku Klux Klan, The Black Hand, The Knights Templar, The Bilderberg Group, The Anunnaki, and Anonymous. For a brief description of each of these groups, follow this link: Ten Secret Societies.
In Sacred Secrets: Freemasonry, the Bible, and the Christian Faith by Mike Neville the author attempts to explain many of the Freemasonry practices and rituals. Being Christian myself, I was rather fascinated with this book. The little that I know about Freemasonry is not compatible with my beliefs. There are some professing Christians who are also Freemasons and I’ve always wondered how they reconciled the two belief systems. In addition I’ve always wondered about the Freemasons and the Bible.
Of all the groups that I read about, Freemasons are probably the least secretive group. A Freemason is allowed to tell anyone that he is a Freemason. In addition, a Freemason may tell you what degree Mason he is and may even tell you about some lodge meetings. Of the known Freemasons that I’ve met, most appear to be good people. One thing I have learned though is that in Freemasonry nothing seems to be what it appears to be. I am not insinuating that all Freemasons are bad people. I mean quite the opposite, actually. I think very good people get involved in Freemasonry and perhaps not all of them are fully aware of hidden agendas which may not be revealed unless they go further into the organization. I base this idea on the fact that I have known of Freemasons who tried to get out of the organization and met with or feared a lot of oppression and even violence.
Bearing in mind that I’m writing about a secretive group I can not guarantee 100% accuracy in my information. However, from many things I’ve read and watched in documentaries, You Tube, etc. I’ve attempted to assimilate information for this post.
Freemasonry dates back at least to ancient Egypt and some think that it even predates that time period, possibly to creation. Some believe that the aprons worn by Masons are symbolic of a fig leaf worn by Adam after he (and his wife, Eve) ate forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Indeed, Freemasons may talk about the Tree of Life and The Knowledge of Good and Evil. Some gather from this that there is “secret (and/or evil) knowledge” which may or may not have connections to the occult.
Freemasons use a King James Bible in their rituals. Masons do not accept the inerrancy of the Bible nor do they think it is a reliable historical document. Of the rituals I’ve come across there are 18 that any Mason may choose to complete. There are also 4 special titles or degrees which only Christians can pursue. Each ritual is associated with Bible stories, characters, or the most important building to a Mason, Solomon’s Temple.
Indeed the buildings that the Freemasons meet in seem to be modeled after Solomon’s Temple in dimension and arrangement of the interior. Though the more modern verbiage seems to be to call their buildings a “lodge” most were built being called a Temple. One can still hear some of the buildings being called Masonic Temples.
This is the Masonic Temple (or Lodge) in Rochester, Indiana.
The front entrance of this building calls itself a “Masonic Lodge.” However on concrete slabs embedded in the building, it is called a “Masonic Temple.”
Since we are talking about the actual buildings, here is one last image of the building in Rochester, Indiana. Note that where windows should be, they are bricked up. All Masonic Temples, or lodges, either do not have windows or they are completely covered. No outside light is allowed inside the building with the possible exception of near the front door(s) where there may be a small vestibule. However, in the building proper there will be no outside light.
As far as I can tell there are three titles or degrees made up of various rituals (all associated with the Bible). Within each title or degree is a course of study. All Masons enter the Craft as Third Degree (Craft) Masons. As a Third Degree Mason a member, or brother, may choose to do nothing else and remain a Third Degree Mason or he may choose to further his study and move up in the organization.
Within each title or degree are 33 (a significant number) steps with 33 being the highest number to be achieved. Therefore it is possible to be a 33rd Degree Mason in one degree but not another. High status in one degree does not transfer to other degrees. If a Mason would want to be a 33rd degree across the board he would have to complete all of the necessary study for each title or degree.
Additionally there appear to be some blood curdling oaths taken with many (if not all) of the degrees. These oaths are mostly secret but basically seem to be the Mason saying, “May all of <these terrible things> happen to me if I break my oath or reveal secrets” (highly and liberally paraphrased).
Being Christian is not a prerequisite for being a Mason. Most modern day Masons are not Christian. Not long after the King James Bible was printed on the printing press it was adopted by the Masons for ritualistic use. Up until the 11th century Freemasonry was more “Christianized.” In the 11th century the Masons attempted to “deChristianize” in order to attract a broader range of people. The word “God” was changed to “Supreme Being” among other similar such changes. To become a Mason one has to believe in a Supreme Being of some sort. This appears to be a central idea since Freemasons will often refer to the “Grand Architect of the Universe.” Masons are builders and their logo shows the tools of the trade, or Craft. The lodge, or temple, will feature an open King James Bible with a compass and a builder’s square laid on top of it.
Approximately 2 years ago, a Masonic Bible was donated to the Fulton County Public Library.
It is in a display case in the Indiana Room. It is currently opened to a two page illustration of David and Goliath.
Underneath it is Masonic literature that speaks of shaping the world.
Because Masons were craftsmen and free to wander around seeking work it wasn’t long until the word “free” became associated with “mason” and “masonry” giving us the compound words “Freemason” and “Freemasonry.”
In the image above, we see the all seeing eye, a compass, a builder’s square, and the letter G. The letter G seems to be somewhat of a mystery. Some think it refers to the Grand Architect of the Universe. It may or may not be a reference to God or the “Sun god.” In Freemasonry, there is a lot of talk about the sun and the moon. The sun is the “greater light” to rule the day and the moon is the “lesser light” to rule the night. This wording is taken directly from the book of Genesis. In a lot of Masonic art you will see the G on an image of the sun or a sun disc so it could also be marking the “Greater light.” There is also speculation (and I tend to agree with this) that the letter G changes meanings for the various degrees the Mason has completed. Whatever the meaning of the letter G, it is often seen in artwork associated with Freemasonry.
The artwork above is loaded with meaningful Masonic imagery. Nothing is unimportant. Unfortunately one blog post won’t allow me to comment on this painting in depth. Imagery seen here is repeated in multiple architectural sites throughout the world. Many of our government buildings in the US are loaded with Masonic imagery.
At the courthouse in Rochester, Indiana there is an embedded concrete slab placed there by the Freemasons. You can make out the date 1895 at the top in a triangle. (Triangles have significance to Freemasons.) Underneath is a slab with Masonic information. The information on the slab is legible if you were actually standing there, but the photo isn’t great since I was aiming the camera way above my head. It was difficult for me to get everything in view. Due to the lighting I couldn’t see where I was aiming. I did however want to make sure I got the 1895 date shown.
Exactly 100 years later, the Freemasons left a centennial and rededication cube. (Cubes are also very important to Freemasons.) It is located at the same corner as the original stone slab. This stone is engraved on three (another significant number) sides.
Look around any building or organization pertaining to government and you will find evidence of Freemason involvement. Many things I read suggested that the ultimate goal of Freemasonry is to control the world through government and commerce. Some have even suggested that Freemasonry will lead to the One World Order predicted in the book of Revelation.
Several US Presidents and other political and religious figures are associated with Freemasonry and were sworn in on Masonic Bibles. Some of the Presidents are pictured below.
Freemasonry has influenced almost every area of life. There are ciphers which the brothers learn to decode messages at times. Some “messages” are encoded in architecture, music, art, literature, money, etc. Geometry and numerology is of extreme importance to the craft. Since one blog post won’t allow me to go in to all of this about “hidden knowledge,” I will encourage those interested to follow my link (you will need to scroll down for the video) about secrets in plain site for an in depth explanation. The You Tube presentation is very long and about the first third of it is laying ground work important to understanding symbolism for the rest of the presentation. Secrets in Plain Site. If you stick with it, you will uncover some very little known information. This presentation will cover topics I can’t fit in in one post.
In the DVD series, Cities of the Underworld secret societies are sometimes discussed. Among them in season one are the Christians, Cult of the Dead, Freemasons, and Mithraism. If you have an interest in preserved ancient history, this is must see viewing. If you are a Christian, you will absolutely want to watch this episode (Secret Pagan Underground) in which the first ever Christian monastery, Christian school, and Christian cathedral like structure has just been discovered. You will also learn the extent that Christians went to to protect themselves (and thus the Gospel). Also, if you are interested in the Freemasons you will want to watch the episode specifically about them. Information is revealed linking Freemasons to the Underground Railroad among other things. I found both episodes fascinating.
Is there a Masonic Lodge near where you live? Have you noticed Masonic symbols in public (particularly governmental) buildings? Where you aware that the Christian underground world was so extensive?
Addendum to Secret Societies:
Although I had no way of knowing this would happen, almost the same day that Secret Societies posted on Dewey Hop, National Geographic released a special edition paperback book about Secret Societies. I have skimmed through this book (and intend to read it) but wanted to let everyone know that if you are interested in this topic, you really should take a look at this book. It has many different secret societies in it and has several pages in it about the Freemasons.
Also at the same time the library added this DVD which you may want to check out.