HISTORY OF THE GRAND LODGE - Origins
of the Premier Grand Lodge and expansion overseas
Why would a society need to be secret?
have secret handshakes?
agree to lie for another in a court of law?
little matters speaks for themselves. Freemasons consider themselves to be
above the law and they want to keep these facts secret for obvious
Freemasonry in England - The origins of Freemasonry are the subject of
great debate. That there is a connection with the operative stonemasons
who built the great medieval cathedrals and castles is generally accepted
by Masonic historians – but whether that connection was direct or
indirect is the subject of speculation.
The first record of the ‘making’ of an English Freemason is Elias
Ashmole, the antiquarian and herald, whose collections formed the basis of
the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He recorded in his diary that a lodge met
at his father-in-law’s house in Warrington, Cheshire on 16 October 1646
to make him a Mason. None of those involved was a stonemason. In the later
1600s there is further evidence for the existence of Freemasonry as a
separate organisation unrelated to groups controlling the stonemason’s
Organised Freemasonry became established on 24 June 1717 when four London
lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House, St Paul’s
Churchyard, formed themselves into a Grand Lodge and elected Anthony Sayer,
Gentleman, as their Grand Master – the first Grand Lodge in the world.
Initially the Grand Lodge was simply an annual feast for lodges in London
but in 1721 John, Duke of Montagu, was elected Grand Master and the Grand
Lodge met in ‘quarterly communication’ and began to establish itself
as a regulatory body, attracting to it lodges meeting outside London.
In 1723 the first rulebook – the Constitutions of Masonry – was
published and William Cowper, Clerk of the Parliaments, was appointed
Secretary to the Grand Lodge to keep minutes of its meetings. By 1730 the
Grand Lodge had over 100 lodges in England and Wales under its control and
had begun to spread Freemasonry abroad, warranting lodges to meet in
Madrid and Calcutta.
For historical reasons separate Grand Lodges were formed in Ireland (1725)
and Scotland (1736). Between them the ‘home’ Grand Lodges took
Freemasonry around the globe. From the 1730s lodges were set up in Europe,
the West Indies, North America and India.
In the later 18th and the 19th centuries British Freemasonry was taken to
the Mid and Far East, Australasia, Africa and South
America, mirroring the
development of the British Empire. When those areas eventually achieved
nation status many of the lodges formed independent local Grand Lodges,
but other lodges decided to remain with their parent Grand Lodge –
resulting in the United Grand Lodge of England still having some 750
lodges overseas, principally in Commonwealth countries.
The premier Grand Lodge of England continued developing in the 1730s and
1740s without any opposition. There had been considerable public interest
– meetings were advertised and reported on in the growing number of
local newspapers – more especially in what the ceremonies of Freemasonry
were. Enterprising journalists and pamphleteers were not slow to produce
‘exposures’ of what they believed were the ‘secrets’ of
Freemasonry. Publicity increased interest and a growing number of
aristocrats, landed gentry and professional men began to seek admission.
In 1737 the first Royal Freemason was made - Frederick Lewis, Prince of
Wales, son of King George II.
60 Great Queen Street
(0) 20 7831 9811
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Grand Chapter of England
website of the Royal Arch Masons of England http://www.grandchapter.org.uk
and Museum of the United Grand Lodge of England
website of the Library and Museum http://freemasonry.london.museum
Shop on-line http://letchworthshop.co.uk
The Grand Charity www.grandcharity.co.uk
Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys www.rmtgb.org
The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution www.rmbi.org.uk
The New Masonic Samaritan Fund www.nmsf.org
Related Organisational Links
Canonbury Masonic Research Centre www.canonbury.ac.uk
Sheffield University Centre for Masonic Research www.freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk
Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research www.quatuorcoronati.com
Freemasonry Today Magazine www.freemasonrytoday.com
The Cornerstone Society www.cornerstonesociety.com
refers to the principles, institutions, and practices of the fraternal
order of the Free and Accepted Masons. The largest worldwide society,
Freemasonry is an organization of men based on the "fatherhood of God
and the brotherhood of man," using builders' tools as symbols to
teach basic moral truths generally accepted by persons of good will. Their
motto is "morality in which all men agree, that is, to be good men
and true." It is religious in that a belief in a Supreme Being and in
the immortality of the soul are the two prime requirements for membership,
but it is nonsectarian in that no religious test is used.1 The purpose of
Freemasonry is to enable men to meet in harmony, to promote friendship,
and to be charitable. Its basic ideals are that all persons are the
children of one God, that all persons are related to each other, and that
the best way to worship God is to be of service to people.
Masons have no national headquarters as such, but the largest regional is
the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction (35 Southern states), which is
headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. membership is claimed at about
3.5 million, with about five million worldwide. The basic unit of
Freemasonry is the lodge, which exists under a charter issued by a grand
lodge exercising administrative powers.
lodges are linked together informally by a system of mutual recognition
between lodges that meet the Masonic requirements. The lodge confers three
degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Additional
degrees are conferred by two groups of advanced Freemasonry: the York
Rite, which awards 12 degrees; and the Scottish Rite, which awards 30
higher degrees. In the United States and Canada, members have formed a
large number of groups to enable them to expand their social and
charitable activities. The best known of these groups is the Shriners
(official name: "Ancient
Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine"), who hold festive parades
and support hospitals for crippled and burned children. (To be a Shriner,
one must be a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, or its equivalent in the
York Rite [Knights Templar]). [The 33rd degree is an honorary degree
bestowed upon especially worthy masons who have accomplished outstanding
work in such fields as religion and politics.]
Although only men (of at least 21 years of age) can be Masons, related
organizations are available for their relatives -- there is the Order of
the Eastern Star for Master Masons and their wives; the Order of De Molay
for boys; and the Order of Job's Daughters and the Order of Rainbow for
young girls. The Masonic Lodge has more than a hundred such fraternal
organizations, including Daughters of the Nile, The Tall Cedars of
Lebanon, The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets Of The Enchanted Realm, The
Knights Of The Red Cross Of Constantine, and The Blue Lodge.
Though some Masons trace their organization's origin back to the beginning
of time (much of their teaching is tied to Solomon's temple, but they also
claim that John the Baptist and the Apostle John were Masons), modern
Masonry dates only to 1717. It was in that year that four lodges in Great
Britain formed the first Grand Lodge of England, which became the Premier
Grand Lodge of the world. Since that time, lodges have spread all over the
world with local grand lodges formed whenever enough lodges exist in an
area. Lodges first appeared in America in Philadelphia (1730) and Boston
The terminology and symbolism of Masonry seem to come mostly from the
actual craft of stonemasonry during the Middle Ages. The "free"
in Masonry probably came from the "freestones" (stones that
could be cut without splitting) with which Mason's worked. Stonemasons had
three classifications for workers practicing their craft: Apprentice,
Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. As mentioned earlier, this is also the
terminology used for the first three degrees in Masonry today.
Many allegories and symbols are used in Masonry. The old English
Constitution refers to an ancient definition of the ancient craft:
"Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, and
illustrated by symbol," [Freemason' symbols can be made to mean
almost anything a person chooses to make them; Master Masons take an oath,
"Ever to conceal, never to reveal."] It seeks to make good men
better through the form of belief in "the fatherhood of God, the
brotherhood of man, and the immortality of the
was originally a means by which people in the occult could practice their
"craft" and still remain respectable citizens. The
official publication of "The Supreme Council 33" of Scottish
Rite Freemasonry is titled New Age. Some church denominations
are also led by avowed Masons. For example, a 1991 survey by the Southern
Baptist Convention Sunday School Board found that 14% of SBC pastors and
18% of SBC deacon board chairs were Masons; it is also estimated that SBC
members comprise 37% of total U.S. lodge membership. (A 2000 updated SBC
report found that over 1,000 SBC pastors are Masons.)
Many other secret societies seem to be patterned after the Masons. L.
James Rongstad says that Freemasonry "is the 'Granddaddy' of all
lodges. Its teachings, rituals, customs and practices, and its secrecy
have had an inspirational effect on other similar groups such as the
Moose, Eagles, Elks, and the National Grange." Mormon Temple rites
are also strikingly similar to Masonic Lodge practices (probably because
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, was also a Mason). Most of
the rituals of today's college fraternities are also based more or less
directly upon Masonic rituals.
symbols on the back of the U.S. dollar bill (pyramid, all-seeing eye, the
number of feathers on the eagle's spread wings, the stars above the
eagle's head in the shape of the Star of David, and the mottos e
pluribus unum [out of many one] and novus ordo seclorum
[a new order of the ages]) also appear to emanate from Freemasonry; this
would not be surprising considering many of America's so-called founding
fathers were themselves Masons -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,
Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, John Hancock, John Paul Jones, Paul
Revere, Robert Livingston, and 35 other lesser known men who were signers
of the Declaration of Independence and/or the Constitution. (It should be
noted that there were also a number of the founding fathers who condemned
masonry: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James Madison, Millard Fillmore,
Daniel Webster, and Charles Sumner.) Other notable men in history who have
been Freemasons include Mozart, Henry Ford, Rudyard Kipling, Gerald Ford,
Norman Vincent Peale, Douglas MacArthur, and Will Rogers.
Since Masons are involved in so many worthy causes, many are unaware that
Masonic leaders readily admit that Freemasonry is actually a religion, not
merely a "fraternal, social, civic service organization." Joseph
Fort Newton (1880-1950), an Episcopal minister and recognized authority in
the Masonic world, said, "Masonry is not a religion but
Religion -- not a church but a worship in which men of all religions may
unite." In fact, Freemasonry even sees itself as superseding and
unifying all religions. (At various times and places, Freemasonry has met
religious and political opposition. Religious opponents, especially the Roman
Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, have traditionally claimed
that Freemasonry is a religion and is a secret organization.)
Henry Wilson Coil is the author of the encyclopedia that many lodges now
accept as their authoritative source (Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia).
Coil says that if Freemasonry is not a religion, nothing would have to be
added to make it such, and that the religious service at the funeral of a
Mason is evidence enough that Freemasonry is a religion. But the fact that
Freemasonry is religion would not necessarily condemn it, except
that the views of the Masonic religion are in open conflict
with Biblical Christianity, so much so that, in our
opinion, a knowledgeable and committed Mason could not possibly be a true
Below is detailed what the Masons believe about their source of authority,
God, Jesus Christ, sin, and salvation and future life:
1. Source of Authority. Masons refer to the Bible as the
"Volume of the Sacred Law" (V.S.L.), and it is considered an
indispensable part of what is called "the furniture" in a
Masonic Lodge. But the Bible is used only in a so-called
"Christian" lodge -- the Hebrew Pentateuch is used in a Hebrew
lodge, the Koran in a Mohammedan lodge, the Vedas in a Brahmin lodge, etc.
Jim Shaw, a former 33rd degree Mason, says that Masonry is not based on
the Bible (referred to as "The Great Light"), but on the Kabala
(Cabala), a medieval book of mysticism and magic. Masonic authority Henry
Wilson Coil also admits that the Kabala's teachings can be seen in some of
the mystical and philosophical degrees of Masonry. Albert Pike (see next),
the man responsible for virtually rewriting the Scottish Rite degrees into
their present form, said that the Masonic "search after light"
leads directly back to the Kabala, the ultimate source of Masonic beliefs
(Morals and Dogma).
One of the great authorities on Masonry was Albert Pike
(1809-1901), Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Supreme Council of
Scottish Right Freemasonry in the USA and "an honorary member of
almost every Supreme Council in the world" (Albert G. Mackey, 33rd
degree, and Charles T. McClenachan, 33rd degree, Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry, The Masonic History Company, 1921, rev. ed.; 2:564).
Pike authored Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite of Freemasonry for the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree,
which was published by its authority. This compendium of official Masonic
lore clearly traces Masonry to Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and
other Eastern religions. Albert G. Mackey, co-author of Encyclopedia
of Freemasonry, is also one of Masonry's highest authorities. In
his Manual of the Lodge, he traces Masonic teaching back to
"the ancient rites and mysteries practiced in the very bosom of pagan
darkness. ..." (Albert G. Mackey, Manual of the Lodge,
Macoy and Sickles, 1802, p. 96).
In the final analysis, Masons do not adjust their beliefs to fit the
Bible, the Bible is adjusted to fit their beliefs. A Mason's loyalty is
never to God but to the Lodge. Coil has concluded that: "The
prevailing Masonic opinion is that the Bible is only a symbol
of Divine Will, Law, or Revelation, and not that its contents
are Divine Law, inspired, or revealed. So far, no responsible authority
has held that a Freemason must believe the Bible or any part of it."
Masonry's only concern is that each person must swear by the most holy
book he knows, so that he will then keep the oaths of Freemasonry.
(See Endnote #2 again.)
2. God. Masons require one to believe in God to be a member, but
the candidate is never required to say what god he believes
in -- "Masonry ... requires merely that you believe in some deity,
give him what name you will ... any god will do, so he is your god" (Little
Masonic Library, Macoy Publishing, 1977, 4:32). Masons commonly
refer to their deity as the "Great Architect of the Universe" (G.A.O.T.U.)
or the Supreme Being. God is further described as Grand Artificer, Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge Above, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Brahma, Vishnu,
Shiva, or Great Geometer. (The "G" in the Masonic ring can refer
to God; it can also refer to geometry.) Masons claim that the actual name
for God has been lost (cf. Jn. 14:8,9; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Jn. 5:20).
3. Jesus Christ. The name of Christ is seldom referred to
in Masonic literature, apparently due to Masons not wanting to offend
their non-Christian members. Some Masonic leaders even teach that the
Messiah will not be an individual, but "the perfection of the human
race." One such leader thinks that the stories about various Messiahs
have their origin in the most ancient of religious beliefs -- Solar
Worship. Masons, therefore, consider the discussion about the deity of
Christ to be an endless, futile argument. When quoting from the Bible,
references to Christ are omitted, and prayer is never allowed to be
offered (in a "well-ordered" lodge) in the name of Jesus
Christ. Masons do not care whether a person privately petitions God
or Jehovah, Allah or Buddha, Mohammed or Jesus, the God of Israel or the
"Great First Cause," but in the Lodge, the only petition allowed
is to the "Great Architect of the Universe." Clearly then,
Freemasonry does not believe that Jesus Christ is God, nor that salvation
is available only through Him (cf. 1 Jn. 4:3). Freemasonry is a
religion without a Savior.
At the heart of Masonry is a secret Luciferian doctrine which a Mason only
comes to understand as he reaches the higher levels. Manly Palmer Hall,
another of the great authorities on Masonry, writes, "When the Mason
... has learned the mystery of his Craft, the seething energies of Lucifer
are in his hands. ..." (Manly Palmer Hall, The Lost Keys of
Freemasonry, p. 48). The Apostle John warned that those who deny
that Jesus is the only, all sufficient Christ, and that He came once and
for all in the flesh, have embraced the spirit of Antichrist (1 Jn.
4:1-3). That Jesus was not the Christ, but that He had attained to the
state of "Christ-consciousness" available to all mankind, is
again part of Masonry: "Jesus of Nazareth had attained a level of
consciousness, of perfection, that has been called by various names:
cosmic consciousness, soul regeneration, philosophic initiation, spiritual
illumination, Brahmic Splendor, Christ-consciousness" (Lynn F.
Perkins, The Meaning of Masonry, CSA Press, 1971, p. 53).
4. Sin. Sin is seldom referred to in Masonic literature.
The reality of sin in the Biblical sense is denied (much like the
Christian Scientists); Masons think that any "shortcomings" can
be overcome by greater enlightenment. Yet in attaining the degree of
Master Mason, the symbolism implies that a person is redeemed from the
death of sin and sin's pollution. [HJB]
5. Salvation and Future Life. Masons think that salvation refers
to being brought from the material to the spiritual; i.e., when man
returns to "his forgotten inherent spirituality." Masons believe
that the degree of Master Mason is symbolical of old age, which allows a
person to happily reflect on a well-spent life and to "die
in the hope of a glorious immortality." Because they deny the reality
of sin, Masons see no need of salvation in the Biblical sense. They see
salvation as a step-by-step enlightenment, which comes through initiation
into the Masonic degrees and their mysteries.
In the 19th degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the initiate is told that
attachment to Masonry's "statutes and rules of the order" will
make him "deserving of entering the celestial Jerusalem
[heaven]." In the 28th degree, he is told that "the true Mason
[is one] who raises himself by degrees till he reaches heaven" and
that one of his duties is "To divest [him]self of original sin
..." Masons clearly teach a salvation by works, or character
development, not a salvation by faith in Christ alone.
Even in the 32nd Degree, a Mason never can nor will find the
"light" he is looking for.
BANK of ENGLAND
In 1789 Alexander Hamilton became the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. Hamilton was one of many Founding Fathers who were Freemasons. He had close relations with the Rothschild family which owns the Bank of England and leads the European Freemason movement. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Ethan Allen, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Brown and Roger Sherman were all Masons.
policemen are Masons. This can lead to corruption at high levels,
where fellow Masons, members of the public, might obtain favours, charges
dropped, or charges brought against someone, as examples.
The law is
quite often used incorrectly (illegally) to further the objectives of
private causes. But who is there to investigate? Since many, if not most
high ranking officers are Masons, in whichever force, even an outside
force is unlikely to identify an officer who will make any effort to
investigate a fellow officer. It's a club, for a favoured few who
will do anything to protect their ranks from outsiders
bucking the system.
Our fonder was one of those who bucked the system, and when he fell foul
of a Mason's family, that was when he became the subject of unwanted
System' is a fictional work inspired by a true story. The names and
locations have been changed to protect the identities and characters both
living and dead. The book offers an insight into several aspects of the
British planning and legal judicial systems and once targeted by those in
authority, anyone can have their lives destroyed as those in
authority bring to bear unlimited resources against their victims. Our
founder is a victim of masonic abuse. One officer questioned about his
masonic links denied that he was a mason. What of Paul Whitehouse and Ken
- Z of officer investigations
above is just a few of a number of persons likely to be investigated in
respect of certain cases brought against Wealden Action Group members, on
the instigation of known Masons, councillors, or planning officers, many
of which are themselves Masons.
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