|Part of a series on|
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that traces its origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of masons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of freemasonry, its gradal system, retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. These are the degrees offered by craft, or blue lodge Freemasonry. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are now administered by different bodies than the craft degrees.
The basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the lodge. The lodges are usually supervised and governed at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient. There is no international, world-wide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry. Each Grand Lodge is independent, and they do not necessarily recognise each other as being legitimate.
- 1 Masonic Lodge
- 2 History
- 3 Anti-Masonry
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 External links
The Masonic Lodge is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. The lodge meets regularly (typically once or twice a month) to conduct the usual formal business of any small organisation (pay bills, organize social and charitable events, elect new members, etc.). In addition to business, the meeting may perform a ceremony to confer a Masonic degree or receive a lecture, which is usually on some aspect of Masonic history or ritual. At the conclusion of the meeting, the lodge might adjourn for a formal dinner, or festive board, sometimes involving toasting and song.
The bulk of Masonic ritual consists of degree ceremonies. Candidates for Freemasonry are progressively initiated into Freemasonry, first in the degree of Entered Apprentice. Some time later, in a separate ceremony, they will be passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, and finally they will be raised to the degree of Master Mason. In all of these ceremonies, the candidate is entrusted with passwords, signs and grips peculiar to his new rank. Another ceremony is the annual installation of the Master and officers of the lodge. In some jurisdictions Installed Master is valued as a separate rank, with its own secrets to distinguish its members. In other jurisdictions, the grade is not recognised, and no inner ceremony conveys new secrets during the installation of a new Master of the lodge.
Most lodges have some sort of social calendar, allowing Masons and their partners to meet in a less ritualised environment. Often coupled with these events is the obligation placed on every Mason to contribute to charity. This occurs at both lodge and Grand Lodge level. Masonic charities contribute to many fields from education to disaster relief.
These private local lodges form the backbone of Freemasonry, and a Freemason will necessarily have been initiated into one of these. There also exist specialist lodges where Masons meet to celebrate anything from sport to Masonic research. The rank of Master Mason also entitles a Freemason to explore Masonry further through other degrees, administered separately from the craft, or "blue lodge" degrees described here, but having a similar format to their meetings.
There is very little consistency in Freemasonry. Because each Masonic Jurisdiction is independent, each sets its own procedures. The wording the ritual, the number of officers present, the layout of the meeting room, etc. varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
The officers of the lodge are elected or appointed annually. Every Masonic Lodge has a Master, two Wardens, a secretary and a treasurer. There is also a Tyler, or outer guard, who is always present outside the door of a working lodge. Other offices vary between jurisdictions.
Each Masonic lodge exists and operates according to a set of ancient principles known as the Landmarks of Freemasonry. These principles have thus far eluded any universally accepted definition, and Masonic author Alain Bernheim questions the usefulness of the concept.
Ritual and symbolism
Freemasonry describes itself as a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. The symbolism is mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from the manual tools of stonemasons - the square and compasses, the level and plumb rule, the trowel, among others. A moral lesson is attached to each of these tools, although the assignment is by no means consistent. The meaning of the symbolism is taught and explored through ritual.
All Freemasons begin their journey in the "craft" by being progressively initiated, passed and raised into the three degrees of craft, or blue lodge Masonry. During these three rituals, the candidate is progressively taught the meanings of the lodge symbols, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other Masons that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegory and part lecture, and revolve around the construction of the Temple of Solomon, and the artistry and death of his chief architect, Hiram Abiff. The degrees are those of Entered apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. While many different versions of these rituals exist, with two different lodge layouts and versions of the Hiram myth, each version is recognisable to any Freemason from any jurisdiction.
In some jurisdictions the main themes of each degree are illustrated by tracing boards. These painted depictions of Masonic themes are exhibited in the lodge according to which degree is being worked, and are explained to the candidate to illustrate the legend and symbolism of each degree.
The idea of Masonic brotherhood probably descends from a 16th century legal definition of a brother as one who has taken an oath of mutual support to another. Accordingly, Masons swear at each degree to keep the contents of that degree secret, and to support and protect their brethren unless they have broken the law. In most lodges the oath or obligation is taken on a Volume of Sacred Law, whichever book of divine revelation is appropriate to the religious beliefs of the individual brother (usually the Bible in the Anglo-American tradition). In Progressive continental Freemasonry, books other than scripture are permissible, a cause of rupture between Grand lodges.
Organisations of lodges
Grand Lodges and Grand Orients are independent and sovereign bodies that govern Masonry in a given country, state, or geographical area (termed a jurisdiction). There is no single overarching governing body that presides over worldwide Freemasonry; connections between different jurisdictions depend solely on mutual recognition.
Freemasonry, as it exists in various forms all over the world, has a membership estimated by the United Grand Lodge of England at around six million worldwide. The fraternity is administratively organised into independent Grand Lodges (or sometimes Grand Orients), each of which governs its own Masonic jurisdiction, which consists of subordinate (or constituent) Lodges. The largest single jurisdiction, in terms of membership, is the United Grand Lodge of England (with a membership estimated at around a quarter million). The Grand Lodge of Scotland and Grand Lodge of Ireland (taken together) have approximately 150,000 members. In the United States total membership is just under two million.
Recognition, amity and regularity
Relations between Grand Lodges are determined by the concept of Recognition. Each Grand Lodge maintains a list of other Grand Lodges which it recognises. When two Grand Lodges recognise and are in Masonic communication with each other, they are said to be in amity, and the brethren of each may visit each other's lodges and interact Masonically. When two Grand Lodges are not in amity, inter-visitation is not allowed. There are many reasons why one Grand Lodge will withhold or withdraw recognition from another, but the two most common are Exclusive Jurisdiction and Regularity.
Exclusive Jurisdiction is a concept whereby only one Grand Lodge will be recognized in any geographical area. If two Grand Lodges claim jurisdiction over the same area, the other Grand Lodges will have to choose between them, and they may not all decide to recognize the same one. (In 1849, for example, the Grand Lodge of New York split into two rival factions, each claiming to be the legitimate Grand Lodge. Other Grand Lodges had to choose between them until the schism was healed.) Exclusive Jurisdiction can be waived when the two over-lapping Grand Lodges are themselves in Amity and agree to share jurisdiction (for example, since the Grand Lodge of Connecticut is in Amity with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut, the principle of Exclusive Jurisdiction does not apply, and other Grand Lodges may recognise both).
Regularity is a concept based on adherence to Masonic Landmarks, the basic membership requirements, tenets and rituals of the craft. Each Grand Lodge sets its own definition of what these landmarks are, and thus what is Regular and what is Irregular (and the definitions do not necessarily agree between Grand Lodges). Essentially, every Grand Lodge will hold that its landmarks (its requirements, tenets and rituals) are Regular, and judge other Grand Lodges based on those. If the differences are significant, one Grand Lodge may declare the other "Irregular" and withdraw or withhold recognition.
The most commonly shared rules for Recognition (based on Regularity) are those given by the United Grand Lodge of England in 1929:
- The Grand Lodge should be established by an existing regular Grand Lodge, or by at least three regular lodges.
- A belief in a supreme being and scripture is a condition of membership.
- Initiates should take their vows on that scripture.
- Only men can be admitted, and no relationship exists with mixed lodges.
- The Grand Lodge has complete control over the first three degrees, and is not subject to another body.
- All lodges shall display a volume of scripture with the square and compasses while in session.
- There is no discussion of politics or religion.
- "Antient landmarks, customs and usages" observed.
Other degrees, orders and bodies
Blue lodge Freemasonry offers only three traditional degrees, and in most jurisdictions, the rank of past or installed master. Master Masons are also able to extend their Masonic experience by taking further degrees, in appendant bodies approved by their own Grand Lodge.
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is a system of 33 degrees (including the three blue lodge degrees) administered by a local or national Supreme Council. This system is popular in North America and in Continental Europe. The York Rite, with a similar range, administers three orders of Masonry, namely the Royal Arch, Cryptic Masonry and Knights Templar.
In Britain, separate bodies administer each order. Freemasons are encouraged to join the Holy Royal Arch, which is linked to Mark Masonry in Scotland and Ireland, but separate in England. Templar and Cryptic Masonry also exist.
Joining a lodge
Candidates for Freemasonry will have met most active members of the lodge they are joining before they are initiated. The process varies between jurisdictions, but the candidate will typically have been introduced by a friend at a lodge social function, or at some form of open evening in the lodge. In modern times, interested people often track down a local lodge through the Internet. The onus is on candidates to ask to join, while a candidate may be encouraged to ask, they are never invited. Once the initial inquiry is made, an interview usually follows to determine the candidate's suitability. If the candidate decides to proceed from here, the lodge is balloted before he or she can be accepted.
The absolute minimum requirement of any body of Freemasons is that the candidate must be free, and considered to be of good character. There is usually an age requirement, varying greatly between Grand Lodges, and capable of being overridden by a dispensation from the Grand Lodge. The underriding assumption is that the candidate is a mature adult.
In addition, most Grand Lodges require the candidate to declare a belief in Deity. In a few cases, the candidate may be required to be of a specific religion. The form of Freemasonry most common in Scandinavia (known as the Swedish Rite), for example, accepts only Christians. At the other end of the spectrum, "Liberal" or Continental Freemasonry, exemplified by the Grand Orient de France, does not require a declaration of belief in Deity, and accepts atheists (a cause of discord with the rest of Freemasonry).
During the ceremony of initiation, the candidate is expected to swear (usually on a volume of sacred text appropriate to his personal religious faith) to fulfil certain obligations as a Mason. In the course of three degrees, new masons will promise to keep the secrets of their degree from lower degrees and outsiders, and to support a fellow Mason in distress (as far as practicality and the law permit). There is instruction as to the duties of a Freemason, but on the whole, Freemasons are left to explore the craft in the manner they find most satisfying. Some will further explore the ritual and symbolism of the craft, others will focus their involvement on the social side of the lodge, while still others will concentrate on the charitable functions of the lodge.
Since the middle of the 19th century, Masonic historians have sought the origins of the movement in a series of similar documents known as the Old Charges, dating from the Regius Poem in about 1425 to the beginning of the 18th century. Alluding to the membership of a lodge of operative masons, they relate a mythologised history of the craft, the duties of its grades, and the manner in which oaths of fidelity are to be taken on joining. The fifteenth century also sees the first evidence of ceremonial regalia.
There is no clear mechanism by which these local trade organisations became today's Masonic lodges, but the earliest rituals and passwords known, from operative lodges around the turn of the 17th-18th centuries, show continuity with the rituals developed in the later 18th century by accepted or speculative Masons, as those members who did not practice the physical craft came to be known. The minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No.1 show a continuity from an operative lodge in 1598 to a modern speculative lodge.
The first Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster (later called the Grand Lodge of England (GLE)), was founded on 24 June 1717, when four existing London lodges met for a joint dinner. Many English Lodges joined the new regulatory body, which itself entered a period of self-publicity and expansion. However, many lodges could not endorse changes which some lodges of the GLE made to the ritual (they came to be known as the Moderns), and formed a rival Grand Lodge on 17 July 1751, which is now known as the "Antient Grand Lodge of England". These two Grand Lodges vied for supremacy until the Moderns promised to return to the ancient ritual. They united on 25 November 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).
The earliest known American lodges were in Pennsylvania. The Collector for the port of Pennsylvania, John Moore, wrote of attending lodges there in 1715, two years before the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London. The Premier Grand Lodge of England appointed a Provincial Grand Master for North America in 1731, based in Pennsylvania. Other lodges in the colony obtained authorisations from the later Antient Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which was particularly well represented in the travelling lodges of the British Army. Many lodges came into existence with no warrant from any Grand Lodge, applying and paying for their authorisation only after they were confident of their own survival.
After the American Revolution, independent U.S. Grand Lodges formed themselves within each state. Some thought was briefly given to organising an overarching "Grand Lodge of the United States," with George Washington (who was a member of a Virginian lodge) as the first Grand Master, but the idea was short-lived. The various state Grand Lodges did not wish to diminish their own authority by agreeing to such a body.
Prince Hall Freemasonry
Prince Hall Freemasonry exists because of the refusal of early American lodges to admit African-Americans. In 1775, an African-American named Prince Hall, along with fourteen other African-Americans,was initiated into a British military lodge with a warrant from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, having failed to obtain admission from the other lodges in Boston. When the military Lodge left North America, those fifteen men were given the authority to meet as a Lodge, but not to initiate Masons. In 1784, these individuals obtained, a Warrant from the Premier Grand Lodge of England (GLE) and formed African Lodge, Number 459. When the UGLE was formed in 1813, all U.S.-based Lodges were stricken from their rolls – due largely to the War of 1812. Thus, separated from both UGLE and any concordantly recognised U.S. Grand Lodge, African Lodge re-titled itself as the African Lodge, Number 1 – and became a de facto "Grand Lodge" (this Lodge is not to be confused with the various Grand Lodges on the Continent of Africa). As with the rest of U.S. Freemasonry, Prince Hall Freemasonry soon grew and organised on a Grand Lodge system for each state.
Widespread segregation in 19th- and early 20th-century North America made it difficult for African-Americans to join Lodges outside of Prince Hall jurisdictions – and impossible for inter-jurisdiction recognition between the parallel U.S. Masonic authorities. By the 1980s such discrimination was a thing of the past, and today most U.S. Grand Lodges recognize their Prince Hall counterparts, and the authorities of both traditions are working towards full recognition. The United Grand Lodge of England has no problem with recognising Prince Hall Grand Lodges. While celebrating their heritage as lodges of black Americans, Prince Hall is open to all men regardless of race or religion.
Emergence of Continental Freemasonry
English Freemasonry spread to France in the 1720s, first as lodges of expatriates and exiled Jacobites, and then as distinctively French lodges which still follow the ritual of the Moderns. From France and England, Freemasonry spread to most of Continental Europe during the course of the 18th century. The Grand Loge de France formed under the Grand Mastership of the Duke of Clermont, who exercised only nominal authority. His successor, the Duke of Orléans, reconstituted the central body as the Grand Orient de France in 1773. Briefly eclipsed during the French Revolution, French Freemasonry continued to grow in the next century.
The ritual form on which the Grand Orient of France was based was abolished in England in the events leading to the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813. However the two jurisdictions continued in amity (mutual recognition) until events of the 1860s and 1870s drove a seemingly permanent wedge between them. In 1868 the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the State of Louisiana appeared in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, recognised by the Grand Orient de France, but regarded by the older body as an invasion of their jurisdiction. The new Scottish rite body admitted blacks, and the resolution of the Grand Orient the following year that neither colour, race, nor religion could disqualify a man from Masonry prompted the Grand Lodge to withdraw recognition, and it persuade other American Grand Lodges to do the same.
A dispute during the Lausanne Congress of Supreme Councils of 1875 prompted the Grand Orient de France to commission a report by a protestant pastor which concluded that, as Freemasonry was not a religion, it should not require a religious belief. The new constitutions read, "Its principles are absolute liberty of conscience and human solidarity", the existence of God and the immortality of the soul being struck out. It is possible that the immediate objections of the United Grand Lodge of England were at least partly motivated by the political tension between France and Britain at the time. The result was the withdrawal of recognition of the Grand Orient of France by the United Grand Lodge of England, a situation that continues today.
Not all French lodges agreed with the new wording. In 1894, lodges favouring the compulsory recognition of the Great Architect of the Universe formed the Grande Loge de France. In 1913, the United Grand Lodge of England recognised a new Grand Lodge of Regular Freemasons, a Grand Lodge that follows a similar rite to Anglo-American Freemasonry with a mandatory belief in a deity.
There are now three strands of Freemasonry in France, which extend into the rest of Continental Europe:-
- Liberal (also adogmatic or progressive) - Principles of liberty of conscience, and laicity, particularly the separation of the Church and State.
- Traditional - Old French ritual with a requirement for a belief in a supreme being. (This strand is typified by the Grand Lodge de France).
- Regular - Standard Anglo-American ritual, mandatory belief in Supreme being.
The term Continental Freemasonry was used in Mackey's 1873 Encyclopedia of Freemasonry to "designate the Lodges on the Continent of Europe which retain many usages which have either been abandoned by, or never were observed in, the Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland, as well as the United States of America". Today, it is frequently used to refer to only the Liberal jurisdictions typified by the Grand Orient de France.
The majority of Freemasonry considers the Liberal (Continental) strand to be Irregular, and thus withhold recognition. For the Continental lodges, however, having a different approach to Freemasonry was not a reason for severing masonic ties. In 1961, an umbrella organisation, Centre de Liaison et d'Information des Puissances maçonniques Signataires de l'Appel de Strasbourg (CLIPSAS) was set up, which today provides a forum for most of these Grand Lodges and Grand Orients worldwide. Included in the list of over 70 Grand Lodges and Grand Orients are representatives of all three of the above categories, including mixed and women's organisations. The United Grand Lodge of England does not communicate with any of these jurisdictions, and expects its allies to follow suit. This creates the distinction between Anglo-American and Continental Freemasonry.
Freemasonry and women
The status of women in the old guilds and corporations of mediaeval masons remains uncertain. The principle of "femme sole" allowed a widow to continue the trade of her husband, but its application had wide local variations, ranging from full membership of a trade body to limited trade by deputation to approved members of that body. In masonry, the small available evidence points to the less empowered end of the scale.
At the dawn of the Grand Lodge era, during the 1720s, James Anderson composed the first printed constitutions for Freemasons, the basis for most subsequent constitutions, which specifically excluded women from Freemasonry. As Freemasonry spread, continental masons began to include their ladies in Lodges of Adoption, which worked three degrees with the same names as the men's but different content. The French officially abandoned the experiment in the early 19th century. Later organisations with a similar aim emerged in the United States, but distinguished the names of the degrees from those of male masonry.
Maria Deraismes was initiated into Freemasonry in 1882, then resigned to allow her lodge to rejoin their Grand Lodge. Having failed to achieve acceptance from any masonic governing body, she and Georges Martin started a mixed masonic lodge that actually worked masonic ritual. Annie Besant spread the phenomenon to the English speaking world. Disagreements over ritual led to the formation of exclusively female bodies of Freemasons in England, which spread to other countries. Meanwhile, the French had re-invented Adoption as an all-female lodge in 1901, only to cast it aside again in 1935. The lodges, however, continued to meet, which gave rise, in 1959, to a body of women practising continental Freemasonry.
In general, Continental Freemasonry is sympathetic to Freemasonry amongst women, dating from the 1890s when French lodges assisted the emergent co-masonic movement by promoting enough of their members to the 33rd degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to allow them, in 1899, to form their own grand council, recognised by the other Continental Grand Councils of that Rite. The United Grand Lodge of England issued a statement in 1999 recognising the two women's grand lodges there to be regular in all but the participants. While they were not, therefore, recognised as regular, they were part of Freemasonry "in general". The attitude of most regular Anglo-American grand lodges remains that women Freemasons are not legitimate Masons.
Anti-Masonry (alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry) has been defined as "opposition to Freemasonry", but there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement. Anti-Masonry consists of widely differing criticisms from diverse (and often incompatible) groups who are hostile to Freemasonry in some form. Critics have included religious groups, political groups, and conspiracy theorists.
There have been many disclosures and exposés dating as far back as the 18th century. These often lack context, may be outdated for various reasons, or could be outright hoaxes on the part of the author, as in the case of the Taxil hoax.
These hoaxes and exposés have often become the basis for criticism of Masonry, often religious or political in nature (usually by totalitarian dictatorial regimes, but also arising in the historical Anti-Masonic Party in the United States), or are based on suspicion of corrupt conspiracy of some form. The political opposition that arose after the "Morgan Affair" in 1826 gave rise to the term "Anti-Masonry," which is still in use today, both by Masons in referring to their critics and as a self-descriptor by the critics themselves.
Freemasonry has attracted criticism from theocratic states and organised religions for supposed competition with religion, or supposed heterodoxy within the Fraternity itself, and has long been the target of conspiracy theories, which assert Freemasonry to be an occult and evil power.
Christianity and Freemasonry
The denomination with the longest history of objection to Freemasonry is the Roman Catholic Church. The objections raised by the Roman Catholic Church are based on the allegation that Masonry teaches a naturalistic deistic religion which is in conflict with Church doctrine. A number of Papal pronouncements have been issued against Freemasonry. The first was Pope Clement XII's In Eminenti, 28 April 1738; the most recent was Pope Leo XIII's Ab Apostolici, 15 October 1890. The 1917 Code of Canon Law explicitly declared that joining Freemasonry entailed automatic excommunication. The 1917 Code of Canon Law also forbade books friendly to Freemasonry.
In 1983, the Church issued a new Code of Canon Law. Unlike its predecessor, it did not explicitly name Masonic orders among the secret societies it condemns. It states in part: "A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict." This named omission of Masonic orders caused both Catholics and Freemasons to believe that the ban on Catholics becoming Freemasons may have been lifted, especially after the perceived liberalisation of Vatican II. However, the matter was clarified when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations, which states: "... the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion." Thus, from a Catholic perspective, there is still a ban on Catholics joining Masonic Lodges. For its part, Freemasonry has never objected to Catholics joining their fraternity. Those Grand Lodges in amity with UGLE deny the Church's claims. The UGLE now states that "Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it.
In contrast to Catholic allegations of rationalism and naturalism, Protestant objections are more likely to be based on allegations of mysticism, occultism, and even Satanism. Masonic scholar Albert Pike is often quoted (in some cases misquoted) by Protestant anti-Masons as an authority for the position of Masonry on these issues. However, Pike, although undoubtedly learned, was not a spokesman for Freemasonry and was controversial among Freemasons in general, representing his personal opinion only, and furthermore an opinion grounded in the attitudes and understandings of late 19th century Southern Freemasonry of the USA alone. Indeed his book carries in the preface a form of disclaimer from his own Grand Lodge. No one voice has ever spoken for the whole of Freemasonry.
Free Methodist Church founder B.T. Roberts was a vocal opponent of Freemasonry in the mid 19th century. Roberts opposed the society on moral grounds and stated, "The god of the lodge is not the God of the Bible." Roberts believed Freemasonry was a "mystery" or "alternate" religion and encouraged his church not to support ministers who were Freemasons. Freedom from secret societies is one of the "frees" the Free Methodist Church was founded upon.
Since the founding of Freemasonry, many Bishops of the Church of England have been Freemasons, such as Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher. In the past, few members of the Church of England would have seen any incongruity in concurrently adhering to Anglican Christianity and practicing Freemasonry. In recent decades, however, reservations about Freemasonry have increased within Anglicanism, perhaps due to the increasing prominence of the evangelical wing of the church. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, appears to harbour some reservations about Masonic ritual, whilst being anxious to avoid causing offence to Freemasons inside and outside the Church of England. In 2003 he felt it necessary to apologise to British Freemasons after he said that their beliefs were incompatible with Christianity and that he had barred the appointment of Freemasons to senior posts in his diocese when he was Bishop of Monmouth.
In 1933, the Orthodox Church of Greece officially declared that being a Freemason constitutes an act of apostasy and thus, until he repents, the person involved with Freemasonry cannot partake of the Eucharist. This has been generally affirmed throughout the whole Orthodox Church. The Orthodox critique of Freemasonry agrees with both the Roman Catholic and Protestant versions: "Freemasonry cannot be at all compatible with Christianity as far as it is a secret organization, acting and teaching in mystery and secret and deifying rationalism."
Regular Freemasonry has traditionally not responded to these claims, beyond the often repeated statement that those Grand Lodges in amity with UGLE explicitly adhere to the principle that "Freemasonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion. There is no separate 'Masonic deity,' and there is no separate proper name for a deity in Freemasonry." In recent years, however, this has begun to change. Many Masonic websites and publications address these criticisms specifically.
Islam and Freemasonry
Many Islamic anti-Masonic arguments are closely tied to both antisemitism and Anti-Zionism, though other criticisms are made such as linking Freemasonry to Dajjal. Some Muslim anti-Masons argue that Freemasonry promotes the interests of the Jews around the world and that one of its aims is to rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem after destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In article 28 of its Covenant, Hamas states that Freemasonry, Rotary, and other similar groups "work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions ..." Many countries with a significant Muslim population do not allow Masonic establishments within their jurisdictions. However, countries such as Turkey and Morocco have established Grand Lodges, while in countries such as Malaysia and Lebanon there are District Grand Lodges operating under a warrant from an established Grand Lodge. In Pakistan in 1972 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then Prime Minister of Pakistan, placed a ban on Freemasonry and confiscated all the literature. The lodges were then disbanded. Masonic lodges existed in Iraq as early as 1919, when the first lodge under the UGLE was opened in Basra, and later on when the country was under British Mandate just after the First World War. However the position changed in July 1958 following the Revolution, with the abolition of the Monarchy and Iraq being declared a republic, under General Qasim. The licences permitting lodges to meet were rescinded and later laws were introduced banning any further meetings. This position was later reinforced under Saddam Hussein, the death penalty was "prescribed" for those who "promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including freemasonry, or who associate [themselves] with Zionist organisations."
Regular Freemasonry has in its core ritual a formal obligation: to be quiet and peaceable citizens, true to the lawful government of the country in which they live, and not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion. A Freemason makes a further obligation, before being made Master of his Lodge, to pay a proper respect to the civil magistrates. The words may be varied across Grand Lodges, but the sense in the obligation taken is always there. Nevertheless, much of the political opposition to Freemasonry is based upon the idea that Masonry will foment (or sometimes prevent) rebellion.
In 1799 English Freemasonry almost came to a halt due to Parliamentary proclamation. In the wake of the French Revolution, the Unlawful Societies Act, 1799 banned any meetings of groups that required their members to take an oath or obligation. The Grand Masters of both the Moderns and the Antients Grand Lodges called on the Prime Minister William Pitt (who was not a Freemason) and explained to him that Freemasonry was a supporter of the law and lawfully constituted authority and was much involved in charitable work. As a result Freemasonry was specifically exempted from the terms of the Act, provided that each Private Lodge's Secretary placed with the local "Clerk of the Peace" a list of the members of his Lodge once a year. This continued until 1967 when the obligation of the provision was rescinded by Parliament.
Freemasonry in the United States faced political pressure following the 1826 kidnapping of William Morgan by Freemasons and subsequent disappearance. Reports of the "Morgan Affair", together with opposition to Jacksonian democracy (Andrew Jackson was a prominent Mason) helped fuel an Anti-Masonic movement, culminating in the formation of a short lived Anti-Masonic Party which fielded candidates for the Presidential elections of 1828 and 1832.
In Italy, Freemasonry has become linked to a scandal concerning the Propaganda Due Lodge (aka P2). This lodge was chartered by the Grande Oriente d'Italia in 1877, as a lodge for visiting Masons unable to attend their own lodges. Under Licio Gelli’s leadership, in the late 1970s, the P2 Lodge became involved in the financial scandals that nearly bankrupted the Vatican Bank. However, by this time the lodge was operating independently and irregularly; as the Grand Orient had revoked its charter in 1976. By 1982 the scandal became public knowledge and Gelli was formally expelled from Freemasonry.
Conspiracy theorists have long associated Freemasonry with the New World Order and the Illuminati, and state that Freemasonry as an organisation is either bent on world domination or already secretly in control of world politics. Historically, Freemasonry has attracted criticism—and suppression—from both the politically extreme right (e.g., Nazi Germany) and the extreme left (e.g. the former Communist states in Eastern Europe). The fraternity has met with approval for supposedly founding, and opposition for supposedly thwarting, liberal democracy (such as in the United States).
Even in modern democracies, Freemasonry is sometimes viewed with distrust. In the UK, Masons working in the justice system, such as judges and police officers, were from 1999 to 2009 required to disclose their membership. While a parliamentary inquiry found that there has been no evidence of wrongdoing, it was felt that any potential loyalties Masons might have, based on their vows to support fellow Masons, should be transparent to the public. The policy of requiring a declaration of masonic membership of applicants for judicial office (judges and magistrates) was ended in 2009 by Justice Secretary Jack Straw (who had initiated the requirement in the 1990s). Straw stated that the rule was considered disproportionate, since no impropriety or malpractice had been shown as a result of judges being Freemasons. The rescinding of the rule did not change the disclosure requirements for police officers.
Freemasonry is both successful and controversial in France; membership is rising, but reporting in the popular media is often negative.
In some countries anti-Masonry is often related to antisemitism and anti-Zionism. For example, In 1980, the Iraqi legal and penal code was changed by Saddam Hussein's ruling Ba'ath Party, making it a felony to "promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including Freemasonry, or who associate [themselves] with Zionist organisations". Professor Andrew Prescott of the University of Sheffield writes: "Since at least the time of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, antisemitism has gone hand in hand with anti-masonry, so it is not surprising that allegations that 11 September was a Zionist plot have been accompanied by suggestions that the attacks were inspired by a masonic world order".
The preserved records of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (the Reich Security Main Office) show the persecution of Freemasons. RSHA Amt VII (Written Records) was overseen by Professor Franz Six and was responsible for "ideological" tasks, by which was meant the creation of antisemitic and anti-Masonic propaganda. While the number is not accurately known, it is estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were killed under the Nazi regime. Masonic concentration camp inmates were graded as political prisoners and wore an inverted red triangle.
The small blue forget-me-not flower was first used by the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne, in 1926, as a Masonic emblem at the annual convention in Bremen, Germany. In 1938 a forget-me-not badge—made by the same factory as the Masonic badge—was chosen for the annual Nazi Party Winterhilfswerk, the annual charity drive of the National Socialist People's Welfare, the welfare branch of the Nazi party. This coincidence enabled Freemasons to wear the forget-me-not badge as a secret sign of membership.
After World War II, the forget-me-not flower was again used as a Masonic emblem at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany in 1948. The badge is now worn in the coat lapel by Freemasons around the world to remember all those that have suffered in the name of Freemasonry, especially those during the Nazi era.
- UGLE FAQ retrieved 30 October 2013
- Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire Masonic Lecturers and Topics, retrieved 30 October 2013
- Grand lodge of British Columbia and Yukon Toasts for the festive board, retrieved 30 October 2013
- Sacred Texts H. L. Haywood, Symbolical Masonry, 1923, Chapter XVIII
- Masonic Dictionary Past Master, retrieved 31 October 2013
- GADLU Le Maître Installé, retrieved 2 November 2013
- For instance Provincial Grand Lodge of Hertfordshire Introduction into Freemasonry, retrieved 8 November 2013
- UGLE Charitable work, retrieved 8 November 2013
- (editors) John Hamill and Robert Gilbert, Freemasonry, Angus, 2004, pp 214-220
- Michael Johnstone, The Freemasons, Arcturus, 2005, pp 101-120
- Maconnieke Encyclopedie Les Officiers de Loge, retrieved 31 October 2013
- Pietre Stones Alain Bernheim, My Approach to Masonic History, from address of 2011, retrieved 8 November 2013
- Grand Lodge of Alberta What is Freemasonry? retrieved 7 November 2013
- Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon Mark S. Dwor, Some thoughts on the history of the Tracing Boards, 1999, retrieved 7 November 2013
- Robert L.D. Cooper, Cracking the Freemason's Code, Rider 2006, p79
- Masonic U.S. Recognition of French Grand Lodges in the 20th century, Paul M. Bessel. retrieved 8 November 2013
- (editors) John Hamill and Robert Gilbert, Freemasonry, Angus, 2004, Glossary, p247
- MasterMason.com Difficult Questions; Is Freemasonry a Global Conspiracy?, retrieved 18 November 2013
- "Frequently Asked Questions". United Grand Lodge of England. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- Hodapp, Christopher. Freemasons for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2005. p. 52.
- Campbell, Donald G.; Committee on Ritual. "The Master Mason; Irregular and Clandestine Lodges" (excerpt). Handbook for Candidate's Coaches. Grand Lodge F.&A.M. of California. Retrieved 2007-05-08. "The solution of the problem [of irregular Masonry] lies in the publication furnished every California lodge. Entitled "List of Regular Lodges Masonic," it is issued by the Grand Lodge of California to its constituent lodges, with the admonition that this book is to be kept in each lodge for reference in receiving visitors and on applications for affiliation. There may well be an old copy which you can use, for it is re-issued every year."
- Pilar lodge Jim Bantolo, On Recognition, Masonic Short Talk, 2007, retrieved 25 November 2013
- Masonic Trowel eBooks (pdf) Ossian Lang, History of Freemasonry in the State of New York, 1922, pp135-140
- Paul M. Bessel, Exclusive Jurisdiction, 1998, retrieved 25 November 2013
- Grand Lodge of Latvia, Regularity in Freemasonry and its Meaning, retrieved 25 November 2013
- Pietre Stones Tony Pope, Regularity and Recognition, from Freemasonry Universal, by Kent Henderson & Tony Pope, 1998, retrieved 25 November 2013
- UGLE Book of Constitutions, Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition
- Robert L.D. Cooper, Cracking the Freemason's Code, Rider 2006, p229
- Michael Johnstone, The Freemasons, Arcturus, 2005, pp 95-98
- Pietre Stones J S M Ward, The Higher Degrees Handbook, retrieved 11 November 2013
- Masonic Lodge of Education How to become a Freemason, retrieved 20 November 2013
- Grande Loge de Luxembourg Comment devenir franc-maçon?, retrieved 23 November 2013
- Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon. Swedish Rite FAQ Accessed 19 November 2013
- Grand Orient de France Foire aux Questions, Faut-il croire en Dieu?, Retrieved 23 November 2013
- Pietre-Stones Jack Buta, The God Conspiracy, The Politics of Grand Lodge Foreign Relations.retrieved 23 November 2013
- Hampshire Province Social events and activities, retrieved 20 November 2013
- MasonicLodges.com Who are Masons, and what do they do?, retrieved 20 November 2013
- Pietre-Stones Masonic Papers Current dating from - The Old Charges Revisited, Andrew Prescott, from Transactions of the Lodge of Research No. 2429 (Leicester), 2006, retrieved 12 October 2013
- A. F. A. Woodford, preface to William James Hughan, The Old Charges of British Freemasons, London, 1872
- John Yarker, The Arcane Schools, Manchester 1909, pp341-342
- Robert L.D. Cooper, Cracking the Freemason's Code, Rider 2006, Chapter 4, p 53
- David Murray Lyon, History of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No 1, Blackwood 1873, Preface
- S. Brent Morris (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry. Alpha/Penguin Books. p. 27. ISBN 1-59257-490-4.
- Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon The Formation of the Grand Lodge of the Antients, I. R. Clarke, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol 79 (1966), p. 270-73, retrieved 28 June 2012
- Pietre Stones H. L. Haywood, Various Grand Lodges, The Builder, vol X no 5, May 1924
- Robert L.D. Cooper, Cracking the Freemason's Code, Rider 2006, Chapter 1, p 17
- Pietre-Stones An Overview of Early Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, Francis Vicente, retrieved 15 November 2013
- St. John's Lodge No. 1, A.Y.M. Werner Hartmann, History of St. John's Lodge No. 1, 2012, retrieved 16 November 2013
- The Temple and the Lodge, M. Baigent and R. Leigh, Arrow 1998, Appendix 2, pp360-362, Masonic Field Lodges in Regiments in America, 1775-77
- Robert L.D. Cooper, Cracking the Freemason's Code, Rider 2006, p190
- Bullock, Steven C.; Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.) (1996). Revolutionary brotherhood: Freemasonry and the transformation of the American social order, 1730–1840. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4750-3. OCLC 33334015.
- Johnson, Lawrence (1996). "Who is Prince Hall? And other well known Prince Hall Masons". Retrieved 2005-11-14.
- Prince Hall History Education Class by Raymond T. Coleman(pdf) retrieved 13 October 2013
- Bessel, Paul M. "Prince Hall Masonry Recognition details: Historical Maps". Retrieved 2005-11-14.
- UGLE Website Foreign Grand Lodges, retrieved 25 October 2013
- Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania History of Prince Hall Masonry: What is Freemasonry, retrieved 25 October 2013
- GOdF website History of Freemasonry, retrieved 12 November 2013
- Paul Bessel U.S. Recognition of French Grand Lodges in the 1900s, from Heredom: The Transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society, vol 5, 1996, pp 221-244, retrieved 12 November 2013
- GLDF website History of the Grande Loge of France, retrieved 14 November 2013
- Pietre-Stones Alain Bernheim, My approach to Masonic History, Manchester 2011, retrieved 14 November 2013
- French Freemasonry Liberal Grand Lodges, retrieved 14 November 2013
- French Freemasonry Regular Grand Lodges, retrieved 14 November 2013
- French Freemasonry Regular Grand Lodges, retrieved 14 November 2013
- Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Continental Lodges, retrieved 30 November 2013
- For instance Corn Wine and Oil Women in Freemasonry, and Continental Freemasonry, June 2009, retrieved 30 November 2013
- Pietre-Stones Tony Pope, At a Perpertual Distance: Liberal and Adogmatic Grand Lodges, Presented to Waikato Lodge of Research No 445 at Rotorua, New Zealand, on 9 November 2004, as the annual Verrall Lecture, and subsequently published in the Transactions of the lodge, vol 14 #1, March 2005, retrieved 13 November 2013
- CLIPSAS Current members, retrieved 14 November 2014
- Antonia Frazer, The Weaker Vessel, Mandarin paperbacks, 1989, pp108-109
- for example, see David Murray Lyon, History of the lodge of Edinburgh, Blackwood, Edinburgh, 1873, pp 121-123
- Anderson, James (1734) . Paul Royster, ed. The Constitutions of the Free-Masons (Philadelphia ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Benjamin Franklin. p. 49. Retrieved 12 August 2013. "The Persons admitted Members of a Lodge must be good and true Men, free-born, and of mature and discreet Age, no Bondmen, no Women, no immoral or scandalous Men, but of good Report."
- ADOPTIVE FREEMASONRY Entry from Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry
- Phoenix Masonry Barbara L. Thames, A History of Women’s Masonry, retrieved 5 March 2013
- J Abron History of the Eastern Star, retrieved 12 August 2013
- Droit Humain Maria Deraismes (1828 - 1894), retrieved 5 March 2013. (French Language)
- Phoenix Masonry Jeanne Heaslewood, A Brief History of the Founding of Co-Freemasonry, 1999, retrieved 12 August 2013
- Droit Humain Histoire du Droit Humain, retrieved 12 August 2013
- UGLE FAQ retrieved 12 August 2013
- Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons Text of UGLE statement, retrieved 12th August 2012
- Karen Kidd, Haunted Chambers: the Lives of Early Women Freemasons, Cornerstone, 2009, pp204-205
- Anti-Masonry – Oxford English Dictionary (Compact Edition), Oxford University Press, 1979, p.369
- "Antimasonry – Definition of Antimasonry by Webster Dictionary". Webster-dictionary.net. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- Morris, S. Brent (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry. New York: Alpha Books. pp. 85 (also discussed in chapters 13 and 16). ISBN 978-1-59257-490-2. OCLC 68042376.
- Robinson, John J. (1993). A Pilgrim's Path. New York: M. Evans. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-87131-732-2. OCLC 27381296.
- de Hoyos, Arturo; S. Brent Morris (18 August 2002). "Leo Taxil Hoax — Bibliography". Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. Retrieved 2007-07-07. Lists many books which perpetuate Masonic ritual hoaxes.
- " The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) Soviet Russia outlawed Masonry in 1922. Freemasonry does not exist today in the Soviet Union, China, or other Communist states. Postwar revivals of Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia and Hungary were suppressed in 1950.
- infoplease.com definition of "anti-mason."
- Morris, S. Brent; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Alpha books, 2006, p,204.
- Cardinal Law, Bernard (19 April 1985). "Letter of 19 April 1985 to U.S. Bishops Concerning Masonry". CatholicCulture.org. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- Canon 2335, 1917 Code of Canon Law from "Canon Law regarding Freemasonry, 1917–1983". Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon.
- McInvale, Reid (1991). "Roman Catholic Church Law Regarding Freemasonry". Transactions of Texas Lodge of Research 27: 86–97. OCLC 47204246.
- UGLE FAQ retrieved 8 November 2013
- Jack Chick. "The Curse of Baphomet". Retrieved 2007-09-29.
- Arturo de Hoyos and S. Brent Morris, Is it True What They Say About Freemasonry, M.Evans & Company, 2nd edition (revised), Chapter 1, 2004 (On line copy available here )
- Pike, Albert; T. W. Hugo; Scottish Rite (Masonic order). Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction (1950) . Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Washington, DC: House of the Temple. OCLC 12870276. "In preparing this work [Pike] has been about equally Author and Compiler. (p. iii.) ... The teachings of these Readings are not sacramental, so far as they go beyond the realm of Morality into those of other domains of Thought and Truth. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite uses the word "Dogma" in its true sense of doctrine, or teaching; and is not dogmatic in the odious sense of that term. Everyone is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound (p. iv)"
- Snyder, Howard (2006). Populist Saints. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 727.
- Beresiner, Yasha (July 2006). "Archbishop Fisher – A Godly man and a Brother". Masonic Quarterly Magazine (18). Retrieved 2007-05-07.
- Hastings, Chris; Elizabeth Day (20 April 2003). "Rowan Williams apologises to Freemasons". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- "Freemasonry: Official Statement of the Church of Greece (1933)". Orthodoxinfo.com. 12 October 1933. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
- "Freemasonry and Religion". United Grand Lodge of England. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Sands, David R (1 July 2004). "Saddam to be formally charged". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2006-06-18.
- Prescott, Andrew. The Study of Freemasonry as a New Academic Discipline. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
- "Can a Muslim be a freemason?" (asp). Islamonline.com. Retrieved 2007-05-08.[dead link]
- "Hamas Covenant 1988". Avalon.law.yale.edu. 18 August 1988. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
- Leyiktez, Celil. "Freemasonry in the Islamic World". Retrieved 2 October 2007.
- Lodge Emerald in the East Kuala Lumpur lodge linked to Grand Lodge of Ireland, retrieved 22 August 2013
- Freemasonry in Lebanon Lodges linked to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, retrieved 22nd August 2013
- "The United Grand Lodge of England — Home Page". United Grand Lodge of England. 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "The United Grand Lodge of England — Two Grand Lodges". United Grand Lodge of England. 2002. Retrieved 2006-03-08.
- King, Edward L. (2007). "P2 Lodge". Retrieved 2006-10-31.
- Wilkenson, James; H. Stuart Hughes (1995). Contemporary Europe: A History. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-13-291840-4. OCLC 31009810.
- Zierer, Otto (1976). Concise History of Great Nations: History of Germany. New York: Leon Amiel Publisher. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-8148-0673-9. OCLC 3250405.
- Hodapp, Christopher. Freemasons for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2005. p. 86.
- Bright, Martin (12 June 2005). "MPs told to declare links to Masons", The Guardian
- Cusick, James (27 December 1996). Police want judges and MPs to reveal Masonic links too, The Independent
- Sparrow, Andrew (5 November 2009). "Jack Straw scraps rule saying judges must declare if they are masons". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- Prescott, pp. 13–14, 30, 33.
- "World War II Documents showing the persecution of Freemasonry". Mill Valley Lodge #356. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- Freemasons for Dummies, by Christopher Hodapp, Wiley Publishing Inc., Indianapolis, 2005, p. 85, sec. Hitler and the Nazi
- Katz. "Jews and Freemasons in Europe". In Israel Gutman. The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. p. vol. 2, p. 531. ISBN 978-0-02-897166-7. OCLC 20594356.
- "Das Vergißmeinnicht-Abzeichen und die Freimaurerei, Die wahre Geschichte" (in German). Internetloge.de. Retrieved 2006-07-08.
- Bernheim, Alain (10 September 2004). "The Blue Forget-Me-Not": Another Side Of The Story". Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry. Retrieved 2006-07-08.
- Francke, Karl Heinz; Ernst-Günther Geppert (1974). Die Freimaurer-Logen Deutschlands und deren Grosslogen 1737–1972 (in German) (Second rev. ed.). Bayreuth: Quatuor Coronati.Also in: Francke, Karl Heinz; Ernst-Günther Geppert (1988). Die Freimaurer-Logen Deutschlands und deren Grosslogen 1737 – 1985 : Matrikel und Stammbuch; Nachschlagewerk über 248 Jahre Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Deutschland (in German). Bayreuth: Quatuor Coronati. ISBN 978-3-925749-05-6. OCLC 75446479.
- "The Story Behind Forget Me Not Emblem!". Masonic Network. 11 December 2009.
- "About the... Forget-Me-Not". Monitor Lousbury Lodge, No. 522. Archived from the original on 9 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-04.
|Find more about Freemasonry at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Definitions and translations from Wiktionary|
|Media from Commons|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
- "Freemasonry". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911
- Web of Hiram at the University of Bradford. A database of donated Masonic material.
- Masonic Books Online of the Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry
- The Constitutions of the Free-Masons (1734), James Anderson, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Royster. Hosted by the Libraries at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- The Mysteries of Free Masonry, by William Morgan, from Project Gutenberg
- A Legislative Investigation into Masonry (1832) at the Internet Archive, OCLC 1560509
- The United Grand Lodge of England's Library and Museum of Freemasonry, London
- A page about Freemasonry – claiming to be the world's oldest Masonic website.
- Articles on Judaism and Freemasonry
- Anti-Masonry: Points of View – Edward L. King's Masonic website