Masonic conspiracy theories
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Masonic conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry; hundreds of such conspiracy theories have been described since the late 18th century. Generally, these theories fall into three distinct categories: political (usually involving allegations of control of government, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom), religious (usually involving allegations of anti-Christian or Satanic beliefs or practices), and cultural (usually involving popular entertainment). Many conspiracy theory writers have connected Freemasons (and the Knights Templar) with worship of the devil; these ideas are based on different interpretations of the doctrines of those organizations.
Of the claims that Freemasonry exerts control over politics, perhaps the best-known example is the New World Order theory, but there are others. These mainly involve aspects and agencies of the United States government, but actual events outside the US (such as the Propaganda Due scandal in Italy) are often used to lend credence to claims.
Another set of theories has to do with Freemasonry and religion, particularly that Freemasonry deals with "the occult". These theories have their beginnings in the Taxil hoax. In addition to these, there are various theories that focus on the embedding of symbols in otherwise ordinary items, such as street patterns, national seals, corporate logos, etc.
There are Masonic conspiracy theories dealing with every aspect of society. The majority of these theories are based on one or more of the following assumptions:
- That Freemasonry is its own religion, requires belief in a unique Masonic "god", and that belief in this Masonic "god" is contrary to the teachings of various mainstream religions (although usually noted in terms of being specifically contrary to Christian belief)
- That the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite is more than an honorary degree, coupled with the belief that most Freemasons are unaware of hidden or secretive ruling bodies within their organization that govern them, conduct occult ritual, or control various positions of governmental power
- That there is a centralized worldwide body that controls all Masonic Grand Lodges, and thus, all of Freemasonry worldwide acts in a unified manner
List of conspiracy theories associated with Freemasonry
Notable conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry include:
- That the British judiciary is heavily infiltrated with Masons, who give fellow Masons "the benefit of the doubt" in court, subverting the legal system.
- That Freemasonry overlaps with, or is controlled by, the Illuminati, especially in the higher degrees; Illuminati Freemasons secretly control many major aspects of society and government and are working to establish the New World Order. Some conspiracy theories involving the Freemasons and the Illuminati also include the Knights Templar and Jews as part of the supposed plan for universal control of society. This type of conspiracy theory was described as early as 1792 by multiple authors, beginning in France and Scotland.
- That Freemasonry is a Jewish front for world domination, or is at least controlled by Jews for this goal. An example of this is the notorious (and fraudulent) The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Adolf Hitler believed that Freemasonry was a tool of Jewish influence, and outlawed Freemasonry and persecuted Freemasons partially for this reason. The covenant of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas claims that Freemasonry is a "secret society" founded as part of a Zionist plot to control the world.
- That Freemasons are behind income taxes in the US. One convicted tax protester has charged that law enforcement officials who surrounded his property in a standoff over his refusal to surrender after his conviction were part of a "Zionist, Illuminati, Free Mason movement". The New Hampshire Union Leader also reported that "the Browns believe the IRS and the federal income tax are part of a deliberate plot perpetrated by Freemasons to control the American people and eventually the world."
- That Freemasons have strong links with more selective secret and semi-secret societies such as the Bohemian Grove meeting, the Skull and Bones society, and Rhodes Scholars.
- That far-right groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Orange Order are intimately tied to Freemasonry.
The Roman Catholic Church has been among the most persistent critics in Opposition to Freemasonry within Christianity. Catholic critics of Freemasonry observe that it refuses to promote one faith as being superior to any others, while at the same time it also uses religious-type rituals. That combination is seen as inculcating an indifference to religion. For the most part, Protestant protests come from relatively small evangelical church bodies which broke with the mainline Protestant denominations in recent decades, citing as their reason their opposition to theological liberalism or diversity. The largest by far of the Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist church bodies in the US have not taken a stand against Freemasonry, and many Masons are active members of them. The largest of the Anglican churches in the US, The Episcopal Church, has taken no stance against Masonry, nor have the various smaller Continuing Anglican and independent Anglican church bodies.
- That Freemasons worship Lucifer or Satan, often attributed to quotes by Albert Pike.
- That Freemasons worship Baal, Baphomet, Dajjal, or Rahu 
- That Freemasonry is occult in nature and worships their own particular god, such as GAOTU the "Great Architect of the Universe", or Jahbulon, an amalgam of the gods YHWH, Baal, and Osiris.
Alleged occult influences on popular culture
- That Freemasons intertwine various symbols and numerology into modern culture, such as corporate logos.
- That the United States was founded by Freemasons who have interwoven Masonic symbols into American society, particularly in national seals, streets in Washington, D.C., architecture, and the dollar bill (indeed several Founding Fathers such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and James Monroe were Freemasons).
- That Freemasons faked the Apollo moon landings.[who?]
- That the September 11 attacks were astrological in nature, as part of a hidden war between Masonry (as descendants of the Knights Templar) and Islam.[who?]
- That humanoid reptiles are behind secret societies like the Freemasons and the Illuminati.
- That some prominent murders involved Freemasons, including the cases of Jack the Ripper, Roberto Calvi, and John F. Kennedy.
- That the Masons are either intimately connected to or (conversely) in conflict with the Illuminati regarding a plot to control several countries. 
Notes and references
- Hodapp, Christopher; Alice Von Kannon (2008). Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies. For Dummies. pp. 174, 178. ISBN 0-470-18408-6.
- Robinson, John. A Pilgrim's Path: Freemasonry and the Religious Right. M. Evans, 1993. ISBN 0-87131-732-X
- Hodapp, Christopher L. and VonKannon, Alice, Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies, Wiley, 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-18408-0
- Freemasonry The worship of Lucifer, SATAN Part 1 of 5
- The Masonic Fairy Tale Known As The Leo Taxil Confession
- Freemasonry: Midwife to an Occult Empire
- Addison, Charles G.; David Hatcher Childress (1997). The History of the Knights Templars: The Temple Church and the Temple. Adventures Unlimited Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-932813-40-2.
- Here used to denote a particular range of the occult involving Satanic or anti-Christian beliefs.
- S. Brent Morris, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry (2006), pp. 171-172; ISBN 1-59257-490-4
- Christopher Hodapp, Freemasons for Dummies (2005), pp. 160-161; 298-299; ISBN 0-7645-9796-5
- See, for example, the claims made by William A. Whalen, in his essay The Masonic Religion, available on the ewtn.com website; or the claims made at evangelicaltruth.com.
- Freemasonry - Conspiracy Within
- Trial could force judges to declare that they are Masons
- Freemasons - moral guardians or centre of corruption?
- Why the NSA tried to recruit me by James Casbolt in St Ives, UK – October 31, 2006
- "The Road to Heart Mountain? Rumors, FEMA and the Future"
- United States Presidents and The Illuminati / Masonic Power Structure
- United States Presidents and The Illuminati / Masonic Power Structure Pt.4
- Berlet, Chip; Matthew Nemiroff Lyons (2000). Right-wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. Guilford Press. p. 258. ISBN 1-57230-562-2. "...Robertson resuscitated the Freemason conspiracy.... 'In earlier chapters we have traced the infiltration of Continental Freemasonry by the new world philosophy of the order of the Illuminati...'"
- Pugh, Joye Jeffries (2006). Eden: The Knowledge of Good and Evil 666. Tate Publishing. p. 244. ISBN 1-59886-253-7.
- Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf: Volume One - A Reckoning. Chapter XI: Nation and Race. 1924 (trans. 1943). - "Finally, the Jewish influence on economic affairs grows with terrifying speed through the stock exchange. He becomes the owner, or at least the controller, of the national labor force. To strengthen his political position he tries to tear down the racial and civil barriers which for a time continue to restrain him at every step. To this end he fights with all the tenacity innate in him for religious tolerance-and in Freemasonry, which has succumbed to him completely, he has an excellent instrument with which to fight for his aims and put them across. The governing circles and the higher strata of the political and economic bourgeoisie are brought into his nets by the strings of Freemasonry, and never need to suspect what is happening."
- Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement. "Chapter XIII: German Alliance Policy after the War", 1924, trans. 1943. - "The fight which Fascist Italy waged against Jewry's three principal weapons, the profound reasons for which may not have been consciously understood (though I do not believe this myself) furnishes the best proof that the poison fangs of that Power which transcends all State boundaries are being drawn, even though in an indirect way. The prohibition of Freemasonry and secret societies, the suppression of the supernational Press and the definite abolition of Marxism, together with the steadily increasing consolidation of the Fascist concept of the State – all this will enable the Italian Government, in the course of some years, to advance more and more the interests of the Italian people without paying any attention to the hissing of the Jewish world-hydra."
- 'The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS)-Palestine', articles seventeen, twenty-two and twenty-eight, 18 Aug 1988.
- Kristen Senz, "Ed Brown says Feds have no jurisdiction in New Hampshire," New Hampshire Union Leader, June 8, 2007 
- Kristen Senz, "Browns say they will either walk free, or die," New Hampshire Union Leader, June 19, 2007 at .
- Bohemian Grove Exposed!
- Freemasons, Illuminati and Associates
- Trosch - Masonry exposed
- Freemasonry and the Ku Klux Klan, hosted on www.jesus-is-saviour.com
- Satanic secrets of the Orange Order, The Observer, Sunday 24 October 1999
- Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? The Methods of Anti-Masons, Arturo de Hoyos and S. Brent Morris, M. Evans & Company pub, 2004
- Baal: Kjos Ministries website: Freemasons - Roots & Links to the Occult; Baphomet: www.religiouscounterfeits.org; Dajjal: Atheistic freemasonry - Harun Yahya website
- Freemasonry is a Non-Christian Occult Religion
- Islamic Party of Britain: What then is Freemasonry
- Satanic Voices: UNMASKING JEHOVAH JAH-BUL-ON
- Name of Deity (MasonicInfo.com)
- Corporate Logos
- Aho, Barbara, George Washington, Watch Unto Prayer [watch.pair.com][unreliable source?]
- Masonic Symbols in Washington
- Hodapp, Christopher L., Solomon's Builders: Freemasons, Founding Fathers and the Secrets of washington D.C., Ulysses Press, 2007, ISBN 1-56975-579-5
- United States Presidents and The Illuminati / Masonic Power Structure.
- "NASA Masonic Conspiracy - Apollo Missions Masonic Symbols"
- "Who's the Enemy: -- The End of Days Begun?" "What is not commonly known is that the roots of modern Freemasonry extend far beyond the mid-eighteenth Century, all the way back to ancient Egypt, and more importantly; through a Middle Ages movement commonly known as the "Knight's[sic] Templar. It is, we now suspect, the remnants of this Templar/Masonic/American axis that were the true target of these attacks -- in other words, September 11th was a direct thrust at the heart of the American Revolutionary Experiment … in the critical year of 2001."
- Most notably made by The British conspiracist David Icke, but repeated by others 
- A claim first made by Steven Knight in his book The Brotherhood, but repeated by others since. See: Jack the Ripper, Masonic conspiracy page at www.Masonicinfo.com
- An end to the mystery of God's Banker?, BBC Magazine, 31 March 2004
- James Shelby Downard, and Michael A. Hoffman II. "King-Kill/33°: Masonic Symbolism in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy", 1987. Website excerpt, 1998. Retrieved 16 July 2007.
- Freemasonry and the Illuminati
- United States Presidents and The Illuminati / Masonic Power Structure
- "A Report From Beneath My Tinfoil Hat: Obama Visit Reveals Illuminati War Against Masons"
- Conspiracy of Hate – A Christian Perspective on the un-Christian Tactics of the anti-Masons, A.W.Harper, 1995.