Talk:Freemasonry/Archive 31

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History[edit]

If there were lodges in the 16th century, this ought to be mentioned somewhere other than the introduction - specifically, it should be noted in the history section. john k (talk) 04:43, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

That would be the third line of the history section; Kilwinning, Schaw Statutes.
ALR (talk) 06:17, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I added the bit about Kilwinning and the Schaw Statutes was yesterday, so John may not have seen it... however, even before that was added, the History section clearly stated that there is "some evidence of lodges in Scotland in the 16th century" (cited to Stevenson's book). Perhaps he missed it? Blueboar (talk) 12:48, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure I put mention of the Schaw statutes in a while back, but not out of the question the mention got disappeared during an intervening period.
ALR (talk) 21:58, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry - didn't see the early reference, and hadn't seen that you'd added stuff yesterday. Anyway, good work. john k (talk) 23:39, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Freemasonry is a society that has secrets that are only told to fellow members. Freemasonry also has many of the worlds brightest leaders in the world and want to make the world a better place for man. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.195.54.112 (talk) 22:31, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

No source for statement[edit]

This topic was deleted from the talk page. As there has been no discussion on the problems I raised, and no resolution to the concerns I still have, I am reposting: avaiki (talk) 09:05, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Do keep up, this question was addressed and you've been absent so long it was archived, here.
ALR (talk) 09:35, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
What ALR said - he was just a tad quicker than me in replying (aka editconflict). This was also discussed the first time you raised the issue... WegianWarrior (talk) 09:51, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

. . .

I am a little surprised that is still no source for this statement:

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.

"... as a self-descriptor by the critics themselves."

Says who? Where is the sourcing? This sentence is so flimsy as to invite mockery. Please don't tell me this has been raised before - if so then obviously it has not been resolved satisfactorily because there is still no source quoted.

Without proper sourcing, this section falls apart under its wobbly category heading of "Opposition to and criticism of Freemasonry" ... As I've stated previously, criticism of masonry does not make me or anyone else anti-masonry, just as criticism of Catholics does not automatically make me or anyone else anti-Catholic. I can criticise George Bush without being anti-Republican too. Fancy that!

As for "self-descriptor" - that term does not appear to be in generally accepted usage, garnering only a few thousand links to obscure forums and the like. It sounds more like some coded dog-whistle wizadry than an encyclopedic term.

Finally, users who delete comments from a "talk" page risk looking like they have something to hide. Other than their real names of course.

Jason Brown Editor Avaiki Nius Agency

--avaiki (talk) 13:54, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Asked and answered, several times. And no comments were deleted... your previous posts were moved to the archives. Since you ask for a citation for the use of the term as a self-descriptor, I have added one. Happy now? Blueboar (talk) 13:47, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Just to also point out, before you get into any journalistic hot water by publishing questionable statements in print, any article with any decent level of talk page traffic is archived (not "deleted") occasionally. Most articles on Wikipedia do this. Based on your statement is it a fair assumption that you will now believe that there is a massive conspiracy on Wikipedia as a whole ot hide information, or does it only apply to a group you believe to be conspiracy-minded in the first place? MSJapan (talk) 15:58, 10 March 2009 (UTC)


There is no proper source for the claim of 80,000 dead Freemasons in World War Two. The website where this figure itself comes from provides no documentation or research to back up this number either. This is hearsay and is quoted only the one time on that particular web-page. This number is given and used by no other source; it appears to have chosen and used an arbitrary number that is then quoted here, as if it must be true. We have plenty of records of men being put in concentration camps because they were Jews and/or socialists or communists who happened to be Freemasons, but no records of any individuals who were put in camps just because they were (and were only) Freemasons. ATK66 —Preceding unsigned comment added by ATK66 (talkcontribs) 23:07, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm.... sound familiar? This has been discussed in detail before... go look thought the archives. Blueboar (talk) 00:15, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Going to take a stab at a rewrite soon[edit]

The lead has somehow gotten clunky again. It's to the point where it doesn't really say much, and things seem to be out of place or just need some clarification. I am relatively certain that a rewrite of the lead would lead to some work on the body of the article as well, so if anybody's got any useful stuff to add, now would be the time to do it. MSJapan (talk) 02:21, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

I strongly support the effort, let me know if I can assist in any way. One thing that the article lacks is an explanation of what the purpose of Freemasonry is... I know this is a very difficult question to answer (as the Craft does not have one single purpose, and often the answer will depend on the individual)... but perhaps we can address it in broad terms. Phrases such as "making good men better" come to mind. I'll scower the reliable sources and see if any of them discuss this.
Also, we say that "Freemasonry is a fraternal order" ... unfortunately, in the modern world there are people who don't know what a "fraternal order" is... should we explain it to them? Blueboar (talk) 14:08, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
IMHO the references should be removed from the lead. The lead should summarise the content of the article and therefore not need references. --Surturz (talk) 04:41, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Normally I would agree, but quotations and membership figures need to be cited, even if they are in the lead. Blueboar (talk) 12:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Right now, fraternal order redirects to List of general fraternities, so maybe some other phrasing would work better. Also, for the "purpose" of Freemasonry, maybe the best thing to do would be to say something like (if there is any verification for this) "The order was created for the purposes of doing (x), and has over the years become the largest fraternal organization on the planet." If there is any clear evidence as to why it was created, that would solve the "purpose" question, while at the same time allowing the writer to add any other information, independent of original purpose, which might be relevant for those later periods. John Carter (talk) 13:51, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm... It is going to be hard enough to state what the "purpose" of Freemasonry is, today... getting into speculations as to what its original purpose was will simply add to the difficulty. First of all, I am not sure if we can say what the original purpose was, since to some extent the answer will depend on when you say Freemasonry started... If we say that Freemasonry started with the medieval guilds of operative stonemasons (an early date of origin), then its "purpose" was the same as that of any guild... to regulate the craft: set wages and prices, ensure employment for full members and training for apprentices, giving assistance to widows and children of injured or deceased members, etc. If we say that Freemasonry started in 1713 with the formation of the Grand Lodge of England (a late date of origin), then its purpose was closer to what it is today... a combination of self-improvement, social interaction, charitable endeavors, etc. Between these eras we have a poorly documented transition period where the "purpose" lay between these concepts. Blueboar (talk) 14:37, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Granted, although I thought it would probably have been easier to say it was created as a guild, if that were verifiable. The article could be structured to take both possibilities into account. Something like, "The origins of Freemasonry remain difficult to determine. Some sources indicate that it began in the medieval era as a guild for the regulation of the trade of masonry. Others trace its origins to the early 1700s, when the Grand Lodge was formed, apparently for general social and charitable purposes." "Apparently" optional, depending on whether any RS actually explicitly say what the purpose of creating the GL was. John Carter (talk) 14:49, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
You miss my point... You can not really pin point the "origin" of Freemasonry in that way. Most serious Masonic scholars believe that Freemasonry evolved out of the Stonemasons guild. Trying to pin point a time when Freemasonry ceased being a guild of artisans and started being a fraternal order is impossible. As with all evolutions, during the transition you get something in between... part guild (with a guild's purpose) and part fraternal order (with more of a faternal purpose)... which "purpose" was paramount at any one time during the transition depends on the individual lodge you are looking at. If you take the year 1600 as an aproximate half-way point, some lodges were closer to being a guild while others were closer to being a fraternity. Blueboar (talk) 16:56, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Freemasonry and the Theory of Evolution[edit]

It appears that several important members of the Lunar Society were members of Freemasonry, including Erasmus Darwin himself, who apart from being the grandfather of Charles Darwin, also contributed to evolutionary philosophy. [1] ADM (talk) 02:41, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Your point? It sounds like you are falling prey to a common logic error... that because someone belonged to a fraternal society, that society must have been responsible for his or her thinking.
It makes as much sense as wondering about "Freemasonry and Pottery"... after all, since Josiah Wedgwood (another of Charles Darwin's ancestors, by the way) was a member of both the Lunar Society and the Freemasons, wouldn't your flawed logic indicate some sort of connetion? Blueboar (talk) 14:51, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
You aren't implying that all the Wedgwood material I've ever seen (and, in some cases, bought) somehow funnels its money into some sort of super-secret account which is used to further the interests of whatever dark and evil purposes your group currently is pursuing are you? Horrors! :O John Carter (talk) 16:43, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
No, of course not... the Wedgewood account can only be used to fund very specific dark and evil purposes. :>) Blueboar (talk) 17:36, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Historical problem[edit]

We still have the problem the article is identifying the Nazis as extreme right. This is essentially urban legend. Politically, there was almost no difference between a Nazi and a Communist.Aaaronsmith (talk) 16:13, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Right and Left are fungible terms... and often have political similarities. There is great scholarly debate about whether the Nazis should be considered as right or left. However, they are commonly identified as being a facist regiem, and facists are considerd extreme right. Blueboar (talk) 16:25, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think Right and Left are particularly "fungible". The definitions are pretty clear. Right is strong central government and left is no particularly strong government. i.e. Few think about it but Communism and anarchy are functionaly identical. The Nazis were VERY far left (i.e. Socialist) in their stated social/political goals.Aaaronsmith (talk) 17:07, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, you are entitled to your opinion. However, the consensus of editors at this article seems to be that the Nazis are on the political Right, so don't expect the article to change. You can post an RfC about it, to get neutral third party opinions, if you want. Blueboar (talk) 18:05, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

The Nazi article says they are on the political right. 203.3.197.249 (talk) 03:29, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Links[edit]

"Main article: Degree (Freemasonry)"

This link goes directly back to itself. Remove the link or create the page that it is supposed to be linking to. 72.177.34.13 (talk) 08:35, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out the error... I fixed it. Blueboar (talk) 12:05, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Freemasonry and Pantheoism[edit]

I have a question about it: are Freemasonry and Pantheoism compatible? I would be grateful if anyone could solve it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mediven (talkcontribs) 14:18, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Um, not sure what you mean, as I don't know what Pantheoism is. I'm myself not a member of the Freemasons. However, if you mean "pantheism", my guess would be "probably, yes", depending upon the specific kind of pantheism involved is. As long as it involves some sort of Supreme Being, there shouldn't be any problems. If any actual members of the fraternity know any different, however, I would welcome their input. John Carter (talk) 14:24, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm also assuming that you mean Pantheism, and would reflect on the description in the article at the moment in case it's not clear. It may not be, as the Hindu example doesn't draw it out and the Asatruar example was removed a while ago.
Broadly, it depends but it's largely up to the individuals interpretation of the relationships between $deity in any pantheon. The classic examples are probably Hinduism and Asatru, both of which have both a Pantheon and a figure who could be interpreted as a supreme Being. Buddhism is another useful example, getting even less clear, as their is no $deity in Buddhism although Mahayana may appear pantheistic to some there is a concept that can be interpreted as a Supreme Being.
The section may need to be reviewed, but it may be thought that it's undue weight given that the vast majority of masons are Christian.
ALR (talk) 14:32, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, "compatability" is often in the eye of the beholder... For example, most people would say that Freemasonry was compatable with Christianity, but there are some people who disagree and feel that it is not. So who's definition of "compatable" are we useing? Blueboar (talk) 03:07, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
A candidate must express a belief in a (single) supreme being. The details of their belief are not normally required. So if a candidate who believes in Pantheism can reply affirmatively to the question "Do you believe in a supreme being?", then their application is unlikely to be rejected on that basis. Polytheism (believing in a pantheon of gods) is generally considered incompatible, however for example a hindu who asserts that their various deities are aspects of the one divinity would be okay. --Surturz (talk) 03:25, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I would also assume, and I acknowledge that it is an assumption, that in some cases where there are multiple gods, but one who is seen as the head of the pantheon, like maybe Jupiter and Osiris, that might qualify as well. And, particularly in cases like Hinduism and others like it, where there are more than one entity who are given by various people the role of supreme being, they might well qualify. I'm guessing there doesn't have to be uniform agreement in a faith as to which is the supreme being, as long as the one potential initiate believes that entity to be the supreme being, right? John Carter (talk) 19:56, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course a lot depends on the Jurisdiction (and even the individual Lodge) you are talking about. Some are more accepting of polytheistic faiths than others. Generally, the more accepting Grand Lodges require a belief in some sort of "creator" Deity (which includes many polytheistic and neo-pagan faiths), while the more conservative have difficulty accapting anyone not from a traditional Monotheistic faith (ie Jews, Christians and Muslems). Blueboar (talk) 01:24, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I disagree, the requirement is that the candidate can express a monotheistic faith ie. that they believe in a single, omnipotent divinity... although that divinity may have different aspects e.g. trinitarian Christianity. A belief in the Religion in ancient Greece would be right out. A Hindu would have to believe their deities are different aspects of the same godhead, rather than separate gods. As for the OP, Pantheism (god is the universe) would be acceptable, "Pantheonism" (sic) or polytheism (belief in a pantheon of separate gods), is incompatible with Freemasonry. A belief in Jupiter also fails because Jupiter is not omnipotent. Freemasonry is heavily based on the old testament; there's not much in it for non-Abrahamic faiths in any case. --Surturz (talk) 08:25, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I have to disagree with the above poster (Surturz) on a number of the points he has made. Firstly, the requirement for membership is not a belief in a monotheistic religion. It does not ask you to have a belief in any type of formalised religion at all. All that is required is a belief in a supreme being. Now whether this leads to an understanding similar to that expressed above is open for discussion.

In my opinion the above interpretation is far to narrow and restrictive when considered against the masonic ideal of tolerance and acceptance of all faiths. Yes, 'being' may be defined as requiring a singular entity, but again this falls foul of the same point. Supreme being could also be construed as referring to a belief in a greater system which governs the universe. Although followers of a polytheistic faith believe that there are a number of gods that influence the lives of men, they also recognise that those gods are part of a sytem which has a plan and design for the human race. This is entirely compatible with Freemasonry.

Secondly I would like to discuss the assertion that because Freemasonry is based upon the Old Testament there is nothing in it for the Non-Abrahamic faiths. This displays a very literal (and in my opinion narrow-minded) interpretation of Freemasonry and its ceremonies. The lessons inculcated in the three degrees are eternal and universal. The settings used are those which were in common usage at the time of writing, and those which were well known to the members. This was especially important at a time when literacy was low among the general population. The settings could easily have been the building of the pyramids, or the great wall of china, or another setting which allows for the use of building allegories to impart the spiritual lessons of using moral tools to erect a perfect structure. The lessons and teachings of Freemasonry (along with the other benefits of belonging to a fraternity) are useful and valuable to all men, regardless of their faith.Ephesus207 (talk) 11:27, 3 May 2009 (UTC)Ephesus207

Again, all this depends on which jurisdiction we are talking about. The Grand Lodge of Sweden, for example, requires that its members be explicitly Christian (and so would not admit a pantheist), while the Grand Lodge of California is fairly open to those of "alternative" faiths... and of course, the Grand Orient of France and other Continental style jurisdictions have completely done away with all religious requirements completely. Freemasonry tends to reflect the public society that it is in. If the society is more narrow minded, Freemasonry will be as well... if it is more open minded, so will be Freemasonry. Blueboar (talk) 12:00, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

I understand and agree with the point you are making, however this strays into questions of regularity and whether the restrictions placed by some Grand Lodges (using your example of Sweden), or complete lack of any belief requirement such as in the Grand Orient de France, means we are still actually talking about Antient Freemasonry or derivatives there of. A hot potato I know, but one which logically follows on from this discussion.Ephesus207 (talk) 12:22, 3 May 2009 (UTC)Ephesus207

And again, that depends somewhat on the jurisdiction. Certainly every jurisdiction considers itself to be "regular". So regularity is really about how each jurisdiction views other jurisdictions. And there is no uniformity in that (although there are 'blocs' that mutually recognize each other, because each Grand Lodge is independant, Grand Lodge A might consider both Grand Lodge B and C to be regular, but Grand Lodge B might not recognize Grand Lodge C). Generally, each Grand Lodge will consider another Grand Lodge (or Grand Orient) to be regular if they agree on things... and will call the other irregular if they don't. Blueboar (talk) 12:57, 3 May 2009 (UTC)