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Vol.  9  No. 5 May 2007  Page 20
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Since You Asked By Louis Rushmore

Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
Louis Rushmore


Freemasonry Defined

    Ordinarily, the word “masonry” literally refers to the work of a stonemason; Freemasons call this “Operative Masonry” to distinguish it from their practices, which they call “Speculative Masonry.” Freemasonry is supposed to have developed from trade guilds or unions of actual masons.

Origin of Freemasonry

    Masonry official position respecting the origin of Freemasonry differs substantially from factual data about the beginning of Freemasonry. Despite claims by Freemasons that their organization dates to antiquity, there was no Freemasonry before the early 18th century. The guilds or lodges of stonemasons in England dwindled to four, comprised almost entirely of persons who no longer were acquainted with actual masonry skills and who were referred to as “gentlemen” Masons.

With all but a few operative Masons left, the gentlemen Masons sought to revive festivals of the old guilds, and formed the Institution of Speculative Masonry in 1717. Rev. James Anderson [a Presbyterian minister, 1680-1739] and Rev. John T. Desaguiliers [1683-1744] took the tools of the builders’ trade and applied symbolic meanings to them for moral instruction in a Masonic life. At the same time they disguised in Biblical terminology the ancient pagan mysteries of Egypt and other rites used in the Masonic rituals. (Harris 23)

    After Anderson and Desaguiliers, Albert Mackey and Albert Pike contributed the most to the development of Freemasonry.

Mr. Albert Pike and Albert G. Mackey (1807-1881) were considered the two best interpreters of all Masonic ritual. Albert Mackey, desiring to contribute to the elevation of the order, spent some 35 years interpreting the degrees of Freemasonry, and produced a book entitled Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. …Albert Pike (1809-1891) …held the highest office in Scottish Rite Masonry and rewrote all Scottish Rite rituals which still are practiced today. These rituals are pagan and occultic in design. Mr. Pike was an admitted Luciferian, believing that two co-equal Gods exist in the universe; Lucifer, the god of good and light, and Adonay, the Christian god, who rules evil and darkness. (Harris 23-24)

    Masonic writer, J.D. Buck, acknowledged in The Genius of Free-Masonry, Vol. I on page 141 the futility and duplicity of projecting the origin of Freemasonry into the ancient past.

Various Masonic writers have endeavored to trace the history of Masonry beyond such records, charters and constitutions as have been accepted and verified, with little more than conjecture for evidence. To discern the origin of the present Institution as a growth from the guilds or trade-unions existing prior to 1700 A.D., is justified by neither fact nor reason. (qtd. in Hobbs 12)

Branches of Freemasonry

The only pure forms of Freemasonry are the Blue Lodge with the Royal Arch degree. All other degrees are “add-on” degrees, and are not, as such, a part of the original plan of Masonry. …The word “Freemasonry” encompasses every group under the direct influence of Freemasonry, whether originated or controlled by the Freemasons. Such groups include (and this list is by no means exhaustive): Blue Lodge of the three degrees, Scottish Rite, York Rite, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow Girls, Tall Cedars, DeMolay, Daughters of the Nile, Ancient Order Nobles Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) and Square clubs. (Harris vii-viii)

    Dates of origin and primary characteristics of various branches of Freemasonry are: Blue Lodge (1717); York Rite with its Chapter of Royal Arch (1750), Council Royal and Select Masters, Commandery of Knights Templar (1816); Scottish Rite “composed of 30 degrees along with the first three degrees of the Blue Lodge which equal 33 degrees” (1854); the Shrine “…[A] candidate must be a 32 degree Mason or Knights Templar to apply. It is Muslim oriented with a Muslim death oath”; Tall Cedars of Lebanon; De Molay “for boys 14 to 21”; Eastern Star “for women whose relatives are Masons”; Job’s Daughters “for daughters of Masons”; Rainbow Girls and Daughters of the Nile “for the daughters of Masons”; Square clubs “organizations to which any Mason can belong” (Harris 27).

    Unlike other branches of Freemasonry, the Commandery of Knights Templar claims a Christian orientation. However, actually, “the Knights Templar present a pseudo-Christianity which deludes many people” (Harris 30). The nature of the oath associated with this branch of Freemasonry confirms its anti-biblical character. Drinking from the upper part of a human skull, the inductee recites:

This pure wine I now take in testimony of my belief in the mortality of the body and the immortality of the soul and, may this libation appear as a witness against me both here and hereafter, and as the sins of the world were laid upon the head of the Saviour, so may all the sins committed by the person whose skull this was, be heaped upon my head in addition to my own, should I ever knowingly or willingly violate or transgress any obligation that I have heretofore taken, taken at this time, or shall at any future period take, in relation to any degrees of Masonry or order of Knighthood. So help me God. (Harris 29)

If said seriously and soberly, this oath makes more fatal the defection from or infraction of Freemasonry than compromise of the Christian faith, for which a person can be forgiven upon repentance. If said discounting the seriousness and soberness of the oath, it amounts to profane and ungodly references to Jesus Christ and God the Father.

    The attire associated with the Knights Templar Degree of the York Rite exhibits anything but a Christian demeanor.

The special garb worn in this degree consists of an Apron, sash, and cordon. The center of the Apron displays a hand holding a severed head, dripping blood. …The sash is white with a yellow fringe. It is illustrated with gory severed heads, arms, and legs, mixed in with knives, crosses, and crowns. The cordon, which goes around the neck, is dark satin with severed heads down the side and includes a small, ceremonial sword as the breast ornament. Along with these grotesque items is a human skull cut and pinned so that the top of the skull can be detached to use as a drinking vessel. (Decker)

Nature of Freemasonry

    First, Freemasonry is exclusively a male-oriented organization, for “no woman can be made a Mason” (Harris 26). Masonry has its auxiliaries that accommodate women or children, but no female can actually be a Mason. Second, Freemasonry excludes from membership certain physically handicapped men as well. “The Mason must be a man, free born, at least 21 years of age and not physically impaired as to prevent him from making the various due guards and signs with his hands and feet” (Harris 26).

    Freemasonry considers itself a secret organization accented with secret passwords, oaths and grips. Oaths typical of Freemasonry include murderous penalties for serious infractions of Masonry, including, in the first degree, “having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and with my body buried in the rough sands of the sea…” (Harris 35); the second degree, “having my left breast torn open, my heart plucked out, and with my body left to the vultures of the air…” (Harris 57); the third degree, “having my body severed in twain, my bowel taken thence, and with my body burned to ashes” (Harris 51); 10th degree of the Scottish Rite, “to have my body opened perpendicularly, and to be exposed for eight hours in the open air, that the venomous flies may eat of my entrails, my head to be cut off and put on the highest pinnacle of the world and I will always be ready to inflict the same punishment on those who shall disclose this degree and break this obligation, so help me God…Amen” (Harris 51-52); Shrine, “having my eyeballs pierced to the center with a three-edged blade, my feet flayed …my Allah the God of Arab Muslim and Mohammedan…Amen, Amen, Amen” (Harris 52). These oaths far exceed the biblical prohibition by Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:33-37.

    These oaths are terrorist incantations and criminal acts contemplated. Following his publication of his expose of Freemasonry in 1826, Captain William Morgan was kidnapped and murdered by Masons (substantiated by a published deathbed confession of one of the conspirators). “After his murder, it is estimated that 45,000 Masons quit Masonic lodges, leaving probably less than 10,000. More than 2,000 lodges were disbanded” (Harris 114). No one was ever brought to justice, owing to the saturation of Freemasonry among law enforcement, judiciaries and potential jurors.

    In addition to secret passwords, oaths and grips, Freemasonry has both a cunning physical gesture of distress as well as a verbal expression for the same. The mason “is instructed (if he can be seen) to throw up both arms over his head and let them fall by three distinct motions. …At times when this sign could not be seen, such as in the dark, a spoken signal is substituted: ‘O Lord, My God, is there no help for the widow’s son?’” (Harris 87).

Masonic Salvation

    Freemasonry preaches salvation through good works and secret rites, humanistic through and through with its mentality of earned salvation; humanism is the theory where in essence man defies himself, permitting him to save himself. The God of the Bible has no place in Masonic salvation; it is wholly of human doing. Further, Freemasonry purports to be the means by which a person prepares for habitation in “that spiritual building, that house ‘not made with hands, eternal in the heaven’” (Maryland Masonic Manual qtd. in Harris 17). “In other words, character and good deeds determine the destiny of the Mason, not the finished work of Jesus Christ” (Harris 18). With the sentiment of Mr. Slater we must heartily concur: “The Christ-less salvation of Masonry is a cruel deception, for Jesus said, ‘no one cometh unto the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6)” (12).

    To further illustrate erroneous notions within Freemasonry respecting the saving powers therein, notice a part of the first degree of Masonry (Entered Apprentice).

There he stands without our portals, on the threshold of his new Masonic life, in darkness, helplessness and ignorance. Having been wandering amid the errors and covered over with the pollutions of the outer and profane world, he comes inquiringly to our door, seeking the new birth, and asking a withdrawal of the veil which conceals divine truth from his unititated (sic) sight. (Harris 33 emphasis added)

The religious nature from this excerpt alone is undeniable; but, especially observe references to spiritual darkness, the new birth and divine truth, the latter two Masonry purports to provide to diffuse spiritual darkness. This is blasphemous that Masonry, this product of human imagination, would set aside the redeeming efficiency of the vicarious death of Jesus Christ and annul the divinely given and preserved Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19). Humanity already had in its possession all the divine revelation God intended for mankind to have well over 1,500 years before Freemasonry came on the scene (2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3). The new birth pertains to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not to Freemasonry (John 3:3-5).

    Freemasonry proposes a Christless salvation! Masonic writers J.D. Buck and R. Swinburne Clymer wrote respectively in their books Symbolism or Mystic Masonry and The Mysticism of Masonry that Jesus Christ is not Deity, but that every man has the potential of being a Christ (Harris 101-102). W.L. Wilmhurst wrote regarding salvation:

Our science in its universality limits our conception to no one exemplar. Take the nearest and most familiar to you, the one under whose aegis, you were racially born, and who therefore may serve you best; for each is able to bring you to the center, though each may have his separate method. To the Jewish brother it says: Take the father of the faithful, and realize what being gathered to his bosom means. To the Christian brother, it points to him upon the breast lay the beloved disciple. To the Hindu brother, it points to Krishna. To the Buddhist, it points to the Martreya of universal compassion. And to the Muslim it points to his Prophet, and the significance of being clothed in his mantle. (qtd. in Harris 107-108)

James Pilgrim cites the Kentucky Monitor on pages 26-27 on how Masonry displaces Jesus Christ as Savior for leaders of other world religions. “For example, they say Jesus is the Christian’s savior, Krishna the Hindu’s, Kioun-tse the mediator of the Chinese, and Hiram Abiff the redeemer of Masons” (3).

Is Masonry a Religion?

    Some uninformed or less than forthcoming Masons will deny that Freemasonry is a religion. “All Mason’s do not know all Masonry. Hence, for some Mason to deny some point of Masonry does not disprove it” (Hobbs 1). However, Freemasonry authorities plainly acknowledge Masonry as a religion¾the only universal religion as far as they are concerned. Albert Pike wrote on page 718 in Morals and Dogma: “Masonry propagates no creed except its own most simple and sublime one; that universal religion, taught by nature and reason” (qtd. in Harris 101). “The religion, then Masonry, is pure theism…” (Albert Mackey, A Lexicon of Freemasonry 402 qtd. in Harris 99). J.S.M. Ward wrote in Freemasonry: Its Aims and Ideals (185, 187): “I consider Freemasonry is a sufficiently organized school of mysticism to be entitled to be called a religion. …each man can, by himself, work out his own conception of God, and thereby achieve salvation” (qtd. in Harris 100).

    Albert Pike in his book, Morals and Dogma (213-214) penned: “Every Masonic lodge is a temple of religion, and its teachings are instructions in religion…this is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures” (qtd. in Harris 99). Another Mason wrote: “It is true that Freemasonry is the parent of all religion” (Frank C. Higgins, Ancient Freemasonry 10 qtd. in Harris 100). Yet another Mason resource records: “All our ceremonies of our order are prefaced and terminated with prayer because Masonry is a religious institution” (Mackey’s Lexicon 35 qtd. in Pilgrim 2).

    Freemasonry employs its own symbolism, howbeit borrowed from various sources. The “G” in Masonic symbolism represents Geometry, which Masons view as the most important science, at least in its relationship to literal masonry. The Grand Masonic word is (“Mah-Hah-Bone”), though until 1779 it was the word “Jehovah” (Harris 95). Regarding the eye associated with Freemasonry, Albert Mackey wrote, “on the same principle, the Egyptians represents Osiris, their chief deity, by the symbol of an open eye, and placed hierglyphics (sic) of it in all their temples” (qtd. in Harris 78).

    The white, leather apron that Masons where symbolizes spiritual purity¾a badge of innocence. Masons anticipate, in their words, the “celestial lodge above.” Hobbs observes, “Masonic hope of salvation is apart from Christ, his name, his blood, and his church” (5). How, then, could a faithful Christian have anything whatsoever to do with Freemasonry?

    Like many religions attempting to project a degree of biblical flavor without actually adopting biblical language, Freemasonry essentially uses several biblical words as little more than symbols.

There is Biblical terminology used in the lodge room, such as, “Jacob’s ladder, Holy Bible, Almighty God, Jehovah, Savior, I Am that I am, from darkness to light, ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you,” and many more. …All through Masonry there is Biblical terminology used contrary to God’s Word. (Harris 98)

    Despite the apparent religious overtones of Masonry, Harris writes that “…[T]he Scottish Rite is not only pagan but the most demonic and occultic branch of Freemasonry” (Harris 27). Decker illustrates:

A clue to the true identity of the Masonic Deity is given in the seventeenth degree of the Scottish Rite, or The Knights of the East and West. After the candidates have completed the initiation they are given the secret password, “Jubulum,” and the Sacred Word, “Abaddon.” …Revelation 9:11 teaches, “They [the demons and workers from hell] had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon.” One must ask, “How could any true Christian dare take that evil name as a sacred word?”

Freemasonry Incompatible with Christianity

    The ways in which Freemasonry is incompatible with true Christianity are innumerable. In Freemasonry, the leader of a local Masonic Lodge is called Worshipful Master; this is counter to instruction by Jesus Christ regarding religious titles (Matthew 23:8-10); only God can be worshipped correctly (Matthew 4:10; Revelation 22:8-9). Further, “[n]o one is required to take oaths to be found worthy to receive spiritual truths” (Harris 36). In truth, Christianity, based on the Gospel, is supposed to be a whole, new way of life, whereas Masonic theology purports that “Freemasonry is a way of life” (Grand Lodge of Maryland 1976 pamphlet qtd. in Harris 37). Freemasonry claims to be the foundation without rival for human moral development, whereas the Bible claims that for Jesus Christ and his church, discernible exclusively in the Gospel (New Testament) (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20). “No institution was ever raised on a better principle or more solid foundation, nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down, than are inculated (sic) in the several Masonic lectures” (charge given toward an Entered Apprentice Mason, qtd. in Harris 38). Whereas Masonry demands of its adherent’s secrecy, true Christianity demands that its adherents publish the good news of the Gospel throughout the world (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:8). Freemasonry teaches that hell will end whereas heaven is eternal (Morals and Dogma 847 qtd. in Pilgrim 3), clearly contrary doctrine, conflicting with clear Bible teaching (Matthew 25:41, 46; Mark 3:29). Freemasonry teaches a preference for Freemasons over other people, whereas Christians are obligated to prefer other Christians (Romans 12:10; Galatians 6:10).

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will assist a Companion Royal Arch Mason when I see him engaged in any difficulty, and will espouse his cause so far as to extricate him from the same, whether he be right or wrong. (Duncan’s Ritual of Freemasonry 230 qtd. in Hobbs 14)

    Freemasonry does not have the proper view of either the Bible or the God of the Bible. In fact, Freemasonry embraces polytheistic idolatry, not monotheism and the one, true God.

The Bible is used among Masons as the symbol of the will of God, however it may be expressed, and therefore, whatever to any people expresses that ill may be used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic Lodge. Thus in a lodge consisting of Jews, the Old Testament alone may be used upon the altar, while Turkish Masons may use the Koran. Whether it be the Gospels to the Christians, the Pentateuch to the Israelites, the Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere conveys the same idea, that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to men. (Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry qtd. in Harris 47 emphasis added)

Note also poem cited by J.S.M. Ward:

Bacchus died and rose again, on the golden Syrian Plan. Osiris rose from out of his grave and thereby mankind did save; Adonis likewise did shed his blood, by the yellow Syrian Flood; Zoroaster brought to birth Mirthra from his cave of earth. And we today in Christian lands, we them, can join hands. (qtd. in Harris 108)

    Nothing could be a starker and more blatant admission by Freemasonry of its total disregard of the rightful place of Jesus Christ in human redemption than this paragraph from The Lost Keys of Freemasonry by Manly Palmer Hall.

The true mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha, or Mohammed, the name means very little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth. (qtd. in Decker emphasis added)

    Notice the official low view of the Holy Bible in Masonry: “The doctrines of the Bible are often not clothed in the language of strict truth” (Morals and Dogma 224 qtd. in Pilgrim). Freemasonry reduces the Bible to the polluted plain of the uninspired sayings of world religions. Decker summarizes from The Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine on pages 35-39 that, “The Holy Bible as the Word of God is no better or worse than any other holy book.” He then introduces the Bible’s own testimony regarding itself, “The Bible says it is truly the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 5:18; 1 Peter 1:25; Psalm 119:89; 12:6,7; 19:7,8).”

    Further, Joseph Fort Newton’s article, “The Bible and Masonry,” appears in the front of the Masonic Bible. It reads, in part:

The Bible, so rich in symbolism, is itself a symbol…thus, by the very honor which Masonry pays to the Bible, it teaches us to revere every book of faith in which men find help for today and hope for tomorrow, joining hands with the man of Islam as he takes oath on the Koran, and with the Hindu as he makes covenant with God upon the book that he loves best. (qtd. in Harris 101)

Freemasonry views the God of the Bible on par with the various gods of Hindus, Muslims, etc., and Freemasonry views the religious creeds of Hindus and Muslims as equal to the Bible. The lone theological requirement for becoming a Mason appears in the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry at the pen of Albert Mackey: “a belief in God and, by implication, in the immortality of the soul as the only religious test” (Harris 47). “Masonry’s god [Grand Architect of the Universe] is a force in nature, not a personal ‘Supreme Being’” (Harris 62).

All prayers in Mason lodges should be directed to the one deity to whom all Masons refer as the Grand Architect of the Universe. He is addressed as Heavenly Father, Eternal God or Almighty living God. Prayers in the lodges should be closed with expressions such as “in the Most Holy and precious name we pray,” using no additional words which would be in conflict with the religious beliefs of those present at meetings. The brother who offers up the prayer does so for all members and visitors present, rather than just for himself. (Maryland Master Mason magazine March 1973 qtd. in Harris 112)

    Far worse than equating the God of the Bible with polytheistic gods, Freemasonry is outwardly blasphemous against Almighty God. The true God of the Bible is portrayed in Masonry as “a cruel, bloodthirsty, savage,” “cruel, short-sighted, capricious, and unjust; as a jealous, an angry, a vindictive Being,” “The Deity of the Old Testament is everywhere represented as the direct author of Evil, commissioning evil and lying spirits to men, hardening the heart of Pharaoh, and visiting the iniquity of the individual sinner on the whole people” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma 196, 223, 687 qtd. in Slater).


    Freemasonry is humanistic from its origin to its doctrines. Worse, Freemasonry is modeled after pagan and satanic rituals. Freemasonry is decidedly antagonistic toward the true God of the Bible and toward genuine Christianity. No child of God can be a Mason and a faithful Christian at the same time! “Masonry is a collection of the pagan rites, initiations and religions of Egypt, and the worship of the sun god, sprinkled with enough Biblical terminology to deceive the unsuspecting” (Harris 49). Freemasonry disbelieves in the triune God of the Bible.

    Why would anyone with religious conviction based on the Holy Bible encourage or count it as inconsequential that religious people become Freemasons? “Nazarene churches forbid members to join the lodges, as do the Mennonites and many branches of the Lutheran Church. The Christian Reformed denomination has denounced the lodge also, and forbids members to join the lodge” (Harris 111). Surely, the churches of Christ who earnestly attempt to duplicate primitive Christianity and decry denominationalism ought to reprove any of their members who would attempt to be Masons also.

    With J.M. Ward in Freemasonry: Its Aims and Ideals (187) we must concur respecting that true Christianity (since it is exclusive, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Revelation 18:4) definitely conflicts with Freemasonry. “I boldly aver that Freemasonry is a religion, yet no way conflicts with any other religion, unless that religion holds that no one outside of its portals can be saved” (qtd. in Harris 104). Whereas many denominations do not view themselves as exclusive but ecumenical, they may experience little concern about their members being Masons. However, the churches of Christ do not view themselves as denominational, are not ecumenical and attempt to duplicate first century Christianity. Therefore, we cannot be Masons and faithful Christians at the same time.

    Freemasonry is not essential to mortal man as promoted by Albert Pike: “The religious faith thus taught by Masonry is indispensable to the attainment of the great ends of life” (Morals and Dogma 196 qtd. in Slater 5). God’s Holy Word, though, is essential and by it alone will mankind face the Great Judge in Final Judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Works Cited

Decker, Ed. The Masonic Lodge: What You Need to Know. Quick Reference Guide. Eugene: Harvest House, 1997.

Harris, Jack. Freemasonry: The Invisible Cult in Our Midst. Chattanooga: Global Publishers, 1983.

Hobbs, A.G., Jr. What About Masonry? Third Printing. Kansas City: A.G. Hobbs, Jr., n.d.

Pilgrim, James. “7 Things Wrong with Masonic Doctrine.” Light for Living. 8 May 1988. Corinth: East Corinth church of Christ, 2-3.

Slater, Joe. Masonry Unmasked. Augusta, KS: Joe Slater, n.d.

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