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Freemasonary Research Paper

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Some would say freemasonry is a religion, some would say it is a cult; other would say it is a secret society and it is they worship the devil. Strange isn’t it, I would say so that one organization would cause so much confusion and all the attention and especially with the church. The church is more of a religious thing, it is a place where you go to worship and give praise in what you believe your religion is a way of life and what you believe in and live by that belief by putting forth good actions or the deeds that you are required to do. For example in Christianity in order to be saved you first have to confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and believe that Jesus died for your sins. Then you are saved so there is a criteria to become a Christian and get saved, so why is it when it is a criteria to become a freemason then all of a sudden the “church” has an issue; I think it is more of fear of the unknown and speculation. Hopefully this paper can give a little more understanding on what is going on between the church and freemasonry. I would also like for people to understand what freemasonry truly is. Freemasonry is not a cult of or a religion but a fraternal organization that requires you to believe in a higher being. So I will prove my point that freemasonry is not a religion, what is church main issue with freemasonry, and that freemasonry is just simply a fraternal organization.

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization
History of freemasonry
The history of freemasonry goes back to when King Solomon built the Temple at Jerusalem and that it was masons who built the temple, were organized into Lodges. Based on teaching in beliefs freemasons where told that King Soloman, King Hiram of Tyre and Hiram Abif ruled over these Lodges as equal grand masters. Now based on stories told that the ceremonies are built up of allegory and symbolism of the stories that goes around the building of the temple but this is not a historical fact. But to brief up this history we do know that on June 24th 1717 was when four lodges out of London, England came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St Paul’s churchyard , they formed themselves a Grand Lodge and elected a Grand Master (Anthony Sayer) and Gran Wardens. So the fact is that “organized” freemasonry began in the year of 1717. But to simply answer the question when did freemasonry truly began, no one will ever be able to give you that true answer because no one truly knows. Freemason beliefs are very simple they believe that mankind was created by God, that God is the author of all life, that the soul of a man in immortal, a man’s commitment to Divine Providence determines his destiny. Those are just a few there are many other but those are the main ones.
Freemasons mission is community service they just want to serve their communities by first acting as a man, and taking care of their community. They focus on brotherhood by having unselfish friendship and bonds that last a lifetime. Their first duty is to love and revere God (or the higher being they believe in), implore HIS aide in all laudable undertakings, always seek his guidance and wisdom by extending charity and sympathy to all mankind. Taking a quote from E. Dean Osbourne 33rd degree, “Masons are to shield and support the widow and orphan, defend virtue, respect aged, honor bonds of friendship, protect the helpless, lift up the oppressed, comfort the downcast, restore the dignity to the rejected, respect the laws of the government, promote morality, and add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding.” (Excerpt taken off of www.waco92.org) That is a lot to ask for in one organization but based on what I gathered from speaking with some other masons, that is part of becoming a better man. If you think about it all other Greek or college fraternities are all based on masonic order, I know that is where all African American College Greek fraternities are based from. Where is this coming from well is you research any college fraternal organization you would see that the founders of these organizations are freemason, for example the fraternity Phi beta Sigma the founders A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F Morse, are masons although they had 3 men that founded the organization 2 of them are masons.. In the fraternity of Omega psi Phi two out of four of their founders are masons. When I reviewed their principles the first thing that stood out under both organizations was manhood, perseverance, uplift and also the main one of them all brotherhood. That sounds very familiar doesn’t it? Even with Phi Beta Sigma, they founded their sister sorority, just like the masons founded the eastern stars, but the questions to ask here is why don’t the church consider these types of organization to be a cult or religion? Is it that because most of the time you pledge those organizations when you are in college? If that is the case then the argument to that can be that you can become a master mason as the age of 21 and an eastern star at the age of 18. Will the next comment or defense be that most college fraternities like to have parties and drink a lot, well that is not a true fact, so that can’t be argued or they don’t make religion part of their creed or oath, well they took an oath and it mentions God as well. After conducting an interview with Safee Colvin who is a mason as well as a member of the fraternity Phi Beta Sigma he stated that “both organizations have primarily the same beliefs it’s just one requires you to be in college or a college graduate and one does not.” With all this history and beliefs why does the church have such an issue with freemasonry and why do people feel like it is a religion.

The Church vs Freemasonry
After reading a piece from an article of an issue of “the Arlington Catholic Herald” it goes into some of the issues that the Catholic Church have with freemasonry. Based on what Fr. William Saunders wrote he stated “that freemasonry is indeed a religion unto itself” Why does he suggest this well in this article he states that “the practice of freemasonry is includes temples, altars, a moral code, worship service, vestments, a hierarchy of leadership, initiation and burial rites, and promises of eternal reward and punishments.”- Fr. William Saunders He also implies that some rituals involve corruption of Christianity The article implies that during the initiation rite that the candidate desire to seek the “light” and is insured that the light of spiritual instruction could not receive in another church. Well after researching and finally looking in a family member’s masonic ritual, the word “light” only means knowledge. The first level of initiation is only acting out the walking through the temple and getting the knowledge of Hiram Key, who we read is one of the founders of freemasonry. So if you have to believe in a higher being and most masons believe in God why would they want to corrupt Christianity? They don’t they are only using the faith principles to make a better man out of you and taking the simple principles of what the church is supposed to do which is take care of the community. The second issue is that when you pledge to become a freemason you have to take an oath. Based on Webster an Oath is a religious act which asks God to witness the truth of the statement or the fulfillment of a promise. Based on Catholics beliefs, only the church and state, for serious reasons, can require an oath. But you not only take an oath in this organization, you take an oath in all organizations that you join. Also with the other accusations of codes and secrets, yes you do have a code or a secret knock, but so do all other Greek Fraternities , that way you will be able to distinguish who is real and who is fake. In an article I also read from Touchstone in stated where a California court of appeals rules that freemasonry was a religion based off the criteria of believing in a higher being. That is the only thing they used nothing more, nothing less. On November 26th, 1983, the Sacred Congregation with the approval of Pope John Paul II reiterated the ban on Catholic joining mason. The reason is because their negative position remains unaltered, since the principles are regarded as irreconcilable with the church’s doctrine. Any catholic that is a freemason is stated to be involved in a serious sin and may not approach Holy Communion. Now with such a stance like this on freemasonry why do they not have that same stance for any other fraternal organization? Based on the article Principled Irreconcilability: either Freemasonry or Catholic Church; it states that catholic faith and the craft can go hand and hand. Based on reading about the rituals and belief it may be able to go hand and hand but that still does not prove that freemasonry is a religion, because other Greek fraternities has the same beliefs. Also in the article Eugenio points out that masonry brings all different people with different religious backgrounds together as one brother hood. I doesn’t matter who you believe n you don’t necessarily have to be catholic or Christian as long as you believe in a higher being. In the article it provided an example The Grand Orient of France admitted he was atheist, yes it was shocking to the Christian faith but once again he could not be turned away because he believed in a higher being. In the book the second messiah a book on freemasonry and religion it asked a question; Can deeper ritual and practices of freemasonry shad further new light on the origins of Christianity? The response was NO neither the old or new rituals of masonry shed a light or is religious parties of Christianity. In the words of David Sinclair Bouschor, Past Grand Master of the state of Minnesota, “ ….the beginning of reformation in Christian thinking and reconsideration of “the facts” which we have so blindly accepted and perpetuated for generations.”
In conclusion I would simply say that freemasonry is not a religion it is just a fraternal organization of men who focuses on brotherhood and community service with a strong belief in a higher being. Although they may have some similarities to church or religions they are not a religion, and they are not. You have men that goes to their monthly meeting and then attend their church on Sunday or whatever day they attend their worship service…...

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