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Archive for February, 2008

John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, was an experienced statesman with a passion for this fledgling democracy.  His personal study of the public sector led him to the conclusion that the secret oaths of Freemasonry would easily undermine an impartial judicial process.  Police, lawyers, statesmen, and judges holding secret allegiances beyond the constitution could undermine the due process of law.  He further believed that the oaths and obligations were horrific, and did not reflect wisdom in a more civilized age.  He saw them as a reversion to the more barbaric tendencies within humanity.

Adams’ criticism of Freemasonry came primarily on secular grounds arising from his experience and study of Masonic obligations.  He believed that the entrance-level obligations were enough to prove the entire organization was built on foundation that was contrary to its stated purpose…to make good men better.

The obligations in question were taken in the first three degrees called the Blue Lodge, which all Masons take as they enter the the Craft.  Adams wrote extensively on the issue, sharing his concerns in personal correspondence with many people. 

The murder of William Morgan in 1826 at the hands of fellow Masons only propelled Adams to greater efforts to highlight the level of violence espoused in the oaths and obligations of Freemasonry. 

Adams formulated his five main criticisms of Freemasonry based upon the violent oaths of the Blue Lodge degrees.  Of the first of these degrees Adams stated, “The Entered Apprentice’s oath was sufficient to settle in my mind the immoral character of the institution.”1 and “that the Entered Apprentice oath, obligation and annexed penalty, was in itself vicious–and such as ought never to be administered by man to man.” 2

Adams’ five concerns regarding the oaths of the Blue Lodge were addressed in a set of letters to William L. Stone of New York. His five arguements can be summarized as follows:

1. They were extra judicial oaths and were in violation of the laws of the land.

Adams believed that the oaths of the Entered Apprentice degree were, in short, illegal. They pledged the brother to illegal secrecy in violation of the clear judicial laws of the United States and all civilized countries.  Adams stated, “The oaths introduce him to a “secret and exclusive favor, assistance and fidelity to the brotherhood and brothers of the craft.”3 Adams affirmed that a witness in a court of law is sworn to tell the whole truth, not to be selective, as per prior Masonic obligations.  Adams objected to the fact that Masons swore not to reveal anything related to the brotherhood if given under a Masonic sign, except in matters of murder or treason.  Adams states:

“The Entered Apprentice promises never to reveal to any person under the canopy of heaven, that which the laws of his country may, the next day after he makes the promise, make it his duty to reveal to any court of justice before which he may be summoned to appear, or to any committee of the legislature of the state in which he resides, or of the Union.” 4

Furthermore, “…the Master Mason promises to keep the secrets of a brother Master Mason, as secure and inviolable as if they were in his own breast, murder and treason excepted.” Adams went on to say, “ The naming of them emphatically (murder and treason) leaves all other crimes included in the promise and excluded from the exception.” In his fourth letter, Adams showed that every other crime communicated by a brother Master Mason, and “communicated to him as a Masonic secret”, was to be held in confidence.  However, according to Adams, it is the duty of a citizen to reveal any crimes of which he is aware.

2. They were in violation of the precepts of Jesus to not make vows.

Although most of the concerns of Adams rest securely in the secular argument, he was well enough aware of the spiritual implications of the Lodge to register this comment:

“If, as in this age but too often happens, he enters the Lodge a skeptic, the use of the Bible there, if it have any effect on him, will turn him out to be a confirmed infidel.”5

Furthermore, Adams warned that the Lodge’s use of the Bible should, to a trained Christian, raise red flags.

“If the candidate has been educated to a sincere and heart-felt reverence for religion and the Bible, and if he exercises his reason, he knows that all the tales of Jachin and Boaz, of Solomon’s Temple, of Hiram Abiff and Jubela, Jubelo and Jubeluem, are impostures–poisons poured into the perennial fountain of truth–traditions exactly resembling those reprobated by Jesus Christ, as making the word of God on none effect.” 6

3. The swearing of secrecy came before the secrets were ever revealed to the candidate.

Adams called into question the integrity of the organization, challenging them on this issue of secrecy.  Before a candidate was made aware of the secrets of the craft, he was sworn to keep them secret, upon penalty of self-mutilation. The candidate, when he took the oath, was kept in total ignorance of what was contained in the secrets of the craft. Therefore, he did not know the content or extent of the oaths he took. “He is sworn to keep secret what he does not know.”7 Adams believed that it was unfair, and inappropriate. “It promises light–its performance is darkness.” 8 Initiates, according to Adams, must be shocked with the incongruence of taking upon themselves personal mutilation to keep secrets, which seemed relatively mundane.

4. They included vicious penalties, leading to death.

The oath in question was as follows:

“All this, I promise and swear–binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and my body buried in the rough sand of the sea, at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours.”

Adams also pointed out the Master Mason’s oath, which stated:

“The Master Mason’s penalty is to have his body severed in two in the midst, and divided to the north and south, his bowels burnt to ashes in the center, and the ashes scattered before the four winds of heaven, that there might not the least track or trace of remembrance remain among men or Masons of so vile and perjured a wretch, as I should be.” 9

If the descriptions of the penalties were somewhat figurative, Adams asked why they were still continued: “Are the words so charming in themselves”, that they cannot be replaced by more civilized, less violent terms?” 10

5. The horrific ideas brought to the mind by these penalties

Adams believed that in civilized society the idea of mangling a body is indeed horrific. The very thought of it seems out of step with an organization seeking to bring the best out in people.  Freemasonry suggests that it makes “good men better.”  Does this necessitate the  violence-specific language of the ritual obligations?  Sensitivity to violence in the family and community suggest that these obligations are out of step.

Adams states that the Constitution of the United States forbids “the infliction of cruel or unusual punishments”.  The Mason swears consent to “ the mutilation of his own (body), for the breach of an absurd and senseless secret.”11 The obligations are clearly cruel and indeed unusual.

 These vows actually constitute a curse upon one’s life. They are violent in nature, and give tacit authority for the penalties to be enforced for breaches in secrecy.

Do these vows exist today in the Blue Lodge degrees?

Excerpt from Entered Apprentice Degree obligation:

“To all of which I solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind in me whatsoever; binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out, and with my body buried in the sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I ever knowingly or willingly violate this, my solemn Obligation of an entered Apprentice. So help me God and make me steadfast to keep and perform the same.” 12

Excerpt from The Fellowcraft Degree obligation:

“To all of which I do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind in me whatsoever, binding myself under no less a penalty than having my left breast torn open, my heart and vitals taken thence, and with my body given as prey to the vultures of the air, should I ever knowingly, or willingly, violate this, my solemn Obligation of a Fellow Craft. So help me God and make me steadfast to keep and perform the same.” 13

Excerpts from Master Mason Degree Obligation:

“Furthermore: I do promise and swear that I will keep the secrets of a worthy Brother Master Mason, when communicated to me as such, as secure and inviolate in my breast as they were in his before communication.”

“Furthermore: I do promise and swear that I will not have illicit carnal intercourse with a Master Mason’s wife, widow, mother, sister or daughter, nor suffer it to be done by another if in my power to prevent.” (note: Just Master Masons?)

“Furthermore: I do promise and swear that I will not be present at the initiating, passing, or raising of an old man in dotage, a young man under age, an irreligious libertine, an atheist, a person of unsound mind, or a woman, knowing them to be such.” (Note: Why not women?)

“To all of which I do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind in me whatsoever; binding myself under no less a penalty than having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken thence, and with my body burned to ashes, and the ashes thereof scattered to the four winds of Heaven, that there might remain neither track, trace nor remembrance among man or Masons of so vile and perjured a wretch as I should be, should I ever knowingly or willfully violate this, my solemn Obligation of a Master Mason. So help me God and make me steadfast to keep and perform the same.” 14

2nd letter to William Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
1st letter to William Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
2nd letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
4th letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, September 1832
2nd letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
2nd letter to William L. Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
First letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
2nd letter to William L. Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
1st letter to William L. Stone, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
4th letter to William Slone, John Quincy Adams, 1832
1st letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
Entered Apprentice Degree, State of Nevada, circa 1986, p.9
Fellowcraft Degree, State of Nevada, circa 1986, 9
Master Mason Degree, State of Nevada, circa 1986, p.10

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It is hard to understand.

It is difficult to understand how Christians can remain in the Masonic Lodge with the wealth of information that points to an occult foundation of its teachings.  Just a tour through Heredom, the critical journal of the Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction, can easily point this out.

I understand that most men do not know because they have not been told, or they do not really want to know.

A few years back a Masonic officer of education told a few of us that Freemasonry was not a religion, because it did not observe the sacraments.  I happened to have a copy of the Masonic baptismal service with me at the time, which I passed over for his inspection.   Instead of admitting his oversight, he simply asked how I got my hands on it.  So much for education.

Not only is there a Masonic baptismal service, but there is a ceremony that mimics the Lord’s Supper.  This should be a real concern.  It would send me running.

In 1855 the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction commissioned five men to revise the scattered documents of the Scottish Rite.  Two of the five men were Albert Mackey and Albert Pike.  Two years later, Albert Pike completed the task and handed his manuscript to the Supreme Council.  Albert Mackey coined the work Magnum Opus or The Great Work.  Although monitors and rituals are revised from time to time, key sections of the work are still present in more recent monitors of the Scottish Rite.

The bread and wine meal is one of them.

In the 26th degree, Scottish Trinitarian or Prince of Mercy, we read:

Qn: What is to us the chief symbol of man’s ultimate redemption and regeneration?

Ans: The fraternal supper, of bread that nourishes, and of wine that refreshes and exhilarates, symbolical of the time which is to come, when all mankind shall be one great harmonious brotherhood; and teaching us these great lessons; that as matter changes ever, but no single atom is annihilated, it is not rational to suppose that the far nobler soul does not continue to exist beyond the grave: That many thousands who have died before us might claim to be joint owners with ourselves of the particles that compose our mortal bodies; for matter ever forms new combinations; and the bodies of the ancient dead, the patriarchs before and since the flood, the kings and common people of all ages, resolved into their constituent elements, are carried upon the wind over the continents, and continually enter into and form part of the habitations of new souls, creating new bonds of sympathy and brotherhood between each man that lives and all his race.  And thus, the bread we eat, and in the wine we drink tonight, may enter into and form part of us the identical particles of matter that once formed parts of the material bodies called Moses, Confusius, Plato, Socrates, or Jesus who died upon the cross.  In the truest sense, we eat and drink the bodies of the dead; and cannot say that there is a single atom of our blood and body, the ownership of which some other soul might not dispute with us, and produce prior title.”  Magnum Opus, XXVI, p. 17,18

In case one wonders if the original work of Pike was carried into the Scottish Rite, in Liturgies of the Scottish Rite, 1962, the exact wording is found, minus the last two sentences.  It may well be that these sentences are verbally transmitted, and no longer deemed appropriate for print.

It seems obvious that the Scottish Rite borrows the most sacred meal to Christians and changes its meaning.  Albert Pike addresses the reality of the connection in the following paragraphs to the above section:

“To our Jewish Brethern, this supper is symbolical to the Passover: to the Christian Mason of that eaten by Christ and his Disciples, when, celebrating the Passover, he broke bread and gave it to them, saying, “Take! Eat! This is my body:” and giving them the cup, he said, “Drink ye all of it! for this is the blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for he remission of sins:”…”    Magnum Opus XXVI…18

While tipping its hat to the Lord’s Supper, the Scottish Rite drastically changes the meaning.  Jesus states the bread of the Passover meal refers to Himself; the Scottish Rite changes it to refer to the act of entering into and forming part of the identical matter of past Masters.  Jesus said the cup refers to His own blood; the Scottish Rite changes it to align with forming identical matter with the dead. 

It would seem to me that Christians would think twice before participating in a ceremony symbolically linked to the Lord’s Supper that has been deliberately changed.  The emphasis of this supper is not on Christ, but upon the particles of dead Masters.

 Paul the Apostle said it this way:

“No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too, you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”  1 Cor. 10:20,21

“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to examine himself before he eats the bread and drinks the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement upon himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”  1 Cor. 11:27-30

If Masons want to mimic the Lord’s Supper and change its meaning from Christ it is their prerogative, but it should jolt a Christian’s conscience.  How can we participate in a meal that strips the meaning of Christ and replaces it with integration into the dead?

I’ll bank my eternity on Christ, not Albert Pike.

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I never did finish my popcorn.  When a movie fails to deliver even the popcorn seems stale.  National Treasure: Book of Secrets seems to carefully sidestep the murky issues surrounding the Lincoln assassination and the accelerated return from exile of Albert Pike.  I went out the turnstile with an unease surrounding the quest for unending clues.

Just when you want to put the popcorn down, something happens.

In the most recent issue of the Scottish Rite Journal a question is asked:

“Is there a university laid out like a Masonic Lodge”?

I grabbed for popcorn.

The University of North Carolina appears to be fashioned off the interior of a Masonic Lodge, at least in it earliest form.  For two hundred years students have walked in and around the structures in question and no doubt failed to understand the significance.

The Scottish Rite Journal tells us that the buildings in question form a little design with the famous North Carolina cupola as the centerpiece.  Old South, Old East, and Old West complete the Masonic presentation.  It appears that the three buildings mentioned stand in perfect alignment to each other and to the Old Well.  Together they form an exact lineup of the three principal officers and altar of a Masonic Lodge.  The fact that there is no building in the north, only an empty park, further suggests to the Scottish Rite Journal that the early architects built this configuration as a symbol of the Lodge.  It makes sense.  In Masonic lore and thought, the north is considered a place of darkness and void.

The Old Well, which would be a symbol of the Masonic altar to the Great Archtect of the Universe, is kind of a big deal on campus.  It is often used as the symbol on the university itself. The Scottish Rite suggests to us that this well, which was used to give water to the early campus, is the altar itself.  It seems fitting that the architects used the well symbolically, as Freemasonry is thought to give its abundance of knowledge to a devoid and thirsty world.

The Old Well itself is actually fashioned after the Temple of Love in Versailles.  In its original French form it was dedicated to the deity of love, Eros, or Cupid.  Even this dash into pagan thought seems consistent with Masonry as the various male deities of antiquity are seen as diverse symbols of the one, unapproachable deity.  In this form it is just taking the form and function of Eros.

All of this wouldn’t be especially noteworthy, except to Masons and maybe followers of Western magical systems.  The reason is simple.  It is called sacred geometry.  Sacred geometry forms the basis of almost all Western magical tradtions, including Freemasonry.

A certain Hermes Trimegistus articulated the concept of sacred geometry as a metaphysical philosophy, which in turn gave rise to future occult thought.  He postulated that energy of the spiritual world is attracted or focused by use of certain geometric patterns.  Although this wasn’t entirely a new idea, he coined a certain phrase, which stuck.  In the book Emerald Tablet he states, “that which is below corresponds to that which is above, and that which is above, corresponds to that which is below, to accomplish miracles of the one thing.”  This phrase was revolutionary.  It is how magical theory is practiced and experienced by many.

An easily recognizable example of sacred geometry is the pentagram, a five-pointed star.  It can be drawn with a point up, or a point down.  It is usually drawn in one continuous line and itself mimics the movement of the planet Venus in its travels across the universe. When a pentagram, or other geometric figure is drawn, occultists believe it focuses spiritual energy. In this case what is above, Venus,  is as that which is below, the symbol.  It can create something.

His phrase is often shortened to “as above, so below”, or the opposite.  An attempt is made to align the below with the above thus creating change or energy.  This is probably why some people do crop circles.  I don’t really think they are done by space aliens.  Manipulating one level is thought to affect another level.  One could say that something budging in the celestial world, because of a drawn symbol, should reverberate down here on Main Street.

The Masons seem to use sacred geometry in a lot of their ritual work.  One can find pentagrams, triangles, stars of Solomon, among dozens and dozens of others.  Connecting the interior of a Masonic Lodge to the initial buildings of a university, and the celestial world, should create a spark. 

And so the Old Well may not be just an old well.  Old South may not just be old south.  The well fashioned off the Temple of Love in Versailles holds in its original form a statue of Cupid cutting a bow from the club of Hercules.  Maybe it is all about refinement. 

When I naturally think of water, as a Christian, I do not think of Cupid or Eros.  My mind turns to Jesus.  I remember the book of John telling me that Jesus alone gives living water. Water that leads to eternal life does not come from a pagan deity, but from Him.  I have found this to be true in my life.

Who really knows what the original designers had in mind at the University of North Carolina. But I agree with the authors of the Scottish Rite Journal; it is striking. 

Popcorn anyone?

http://www.scottishrite.org/ee.php?/journal/articles/current_interest_freemasonry_q_a/

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/arch/17thc/Versailles06.jpg

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