Talk:Freemasonry/Archive 9

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DO NOT EDIT OR POST REPLIES TO THIS PAGE. THIS PAGE IS AN ARCHIVE.

This archive page covers approximately the dates between 10 Nov 2005 and 25 Nov 2005.

Post replies to the main talk page, copying or summarizing the section you are replying to if necessary.

Please add new archivals to Talk:Freemasonry/Archive_10. (See Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page.) Thank you.--SarekOfVulcan 19:30, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Is Freemasonry a religion?

Alfonse Cerza, quoted here, further quotes some other masons.

"Freemasonry is religious, but it is not a religion, nor is it intended to replace the church in devotion to Deity. It does not teach religion, but joins with religion for the moral betterment of mankind.
"Freemasonry possesses the grand characteristics of tolerance. It pre-scribes no sectarian views for anyone and dictates to him no partisan opinions. It requires faith in God, teaches that the Bible is the guide of faith and practice, demands the fulfillment of moral and philanthropic obligations and commands loyalty to government.
"There it stops. No lodge can be used to express an opinion as to the merits or demerits of a particular faith. The fathers of Freemasonry, when they set up the Old Charges, held that its devotees must leave 'their particular opinions to themselves.'"

...and...

"The leaders and students of the Craft, as well as the rank and mass of its members, in English-speaking lands at least, do not regard Masonry as a religion—though, as has been said, it has certain features which, in the strict technical sense, might lead those to regard it as such who wish, from whatever motive, so to regard it. As some of us prefer to put it, Masonry is not a religion but Religion—not a church but a worship, in which men of all religions may unite, unless they insist that all who worship with them must think exactly and in detail as they think about all things in the heaven above and in the earth beneath. It is not the rival of any reli­gion, but the friend of all, laying emphasis upon those truths which under-lie all religions and are the basis and consecration of each. Masonry is not a religion, but it is religious."

The preceding unsigned comment was added by SarekOfVulcan (talk • contribs) .

Ecumenical/syncretistic/indifferentism

MSJapan, I think your rewrite is the most accurate, but unfortunately, it takes away the reason for the objection. :-) The churches that object to us think we are dogmatic....--SarekOfVulcan 17:34, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, then it needs a rewrite to explain the position of the churches in question. The problem is, fact shows otherwise, so we may have to consider something "factual" for purposes of argument. MSJapan 01:04, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Copying the section here for anyone who isn't tracking what we're talking about:

In general, there are two doctrinal objections to Freemasonry made by established Christian denominations, Catholic and non-Catholic alike:

  • The non-dogmatic nature of Masonry, which is at odds with the claims of exclusivity of belief that distinguish the various religious denominations. Masonry itself takes no position on the validity of any given religion, but welcomes all men who believe in God, by whatever name they call Him.
  • The local Golf Club, "welcomes all men who believe in God, by whatever name they call Him", but I may well play golf without consulting a Minister of Religion. Am I wrong, as a Christian? ;-) Talk Masonic Skull n Femurs little.PNG Skull 'n' Femurs 16:55, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Mormons and Masonry

Can anyone give good sources for the following comments before re-adding them?

When the Mormons first settled Utah, the entire church hierarchy was composed of Freemasons. Many Mormon symbols and rituals bear a striking similarity to Masonic ceremonies.

--SarekOfVulcan 16:06, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

I've got a source, but it says that many of the original founders were Masons (I think it was 5 out of 6, but I'll get the actual numbers). When the Mormons went to Utah, most of those men had either died or had a fallinmg out with Joseph Smith, so it's not really accurate. MSJapan 07:23, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Unfortunately most references to Joseph Smith and Freemasonry I've encountered are POV to his claims that his religion, inspired from parlay with the gods, had masonic craft ritual in it BEFORE he became a Freemason. He did however marry the widow of William Morgan, the guy who allegedly got whacked for talking too much about the Craft which started a hell of a lot of anti-masonic propaganda and is still used today as a citation of the 'evils' of Freemasonry by born again cultists. Jachin 05:44, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

H. P. Lovecraft

I've been going through some old books of mine written by Lovecraft and stories derived from his Cthulhu mythos. Whilst the Lovecraft article bears no reference (and I don't think many of his fans would see the link), I am of the belief that he may have been a member of the Craft.

If any brethren in the US who reside around the districts he may of attended could have a dig about through the archives if they have some free time, it'd be worthwhile to verify whether he was, or was not.

The mans writings have too many masonic undertones for it to be blind luck. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Jachin 06:02, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

I know a bit about Lovecraft, and it leads me to believe that he would not have been a member. I've never heard anything indicating that he was.--SarekOfVulcan 07:23, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
There is some information at http://www.hplovecraft.com/life/myths.htm#freemason - I would assume they would have said if Lovecraft himself was a mason. WegianWarrior 08:55, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
In a bit of serendipity, I recently started reading Lovecraft, and I thought the same thing as Jachin, but after doing some biographical research, I think a lot of it may be a historical coincidence, as colonial-era architecture (and descriptions thereof) are all over his work, even outside of the Cthulhu stories. MSJapan 18:38, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, not to mention some of the concepts illustrated in his Cthulhu mythos having strong masonic undertones. The man was definately obsessed with the arcane, it wouldn't surprise me if he had of joined the Craft at some stage to be honest, whether his anti-social and reclusive behaviour affected that is another story. Jachin 18:22, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm based in Colorado & travel a lot in the US (i.e. I'm in NJ currently). I enjoy his writing, & it's an interesting question, so I'll look as I can. Where specifically? I'll look where you say, but I'm not going to become a Lovecraft biographer in the process... So, where? Grye 09:33, 7 December 2005 (UTC)


As a fan of Lovecraft and as a person who has a friend in Masonry, I must mention that it is possible that Lovecraft had a deep interest in all things associated with his idols, Poe in particular, but including Arthur Machen. Both Poe and Machen mention Freemasons in their stories, yet neither were Masons. Machen *did* in fact belong to an occult order begot by a Freemason who studied such things, but again, he himself was not one. The wide reading of Lovecraft may have brought him into contact with Freemasonry, and as accords the often unexpected help he recieved, it is no doubt that he (as any man) might have recieved the benificient smile of that charitable organization -- especially considering that during his brief life, Lovecraft was a poor orphan. One must not forget that while all Masons are free men, not all free men are Masons. Lovecraft, while probably being acceptible in many regards, was probably not a member of a regular lodge. Finally, it must be remembered that Lovecraft was outspokenly and steadfastly an atheist, which would not have denied him membership in certain French Freemasonic Lodges, such as l'Adroit Humain, would have denied him membership in the Blue Lodge of Freemasonry outside l'Adroid Humain. (- anonymous)

(forgive my error, that's Le Droit Humain)

Notes and references

This being a subject which seems to atract conspiracy theorist and nutjobs like honey atract flies, I think it's important that we make sure to refeence everything.. I went trhu the article as it stands now and picked up all the referneces I saw and converted them to {{ref|}} and {{note|}} style footnotes.. because that is the style I'm most comfertable with. I hope no one minds too much... and if I missed any out, feel free to add them. WegianWarrior 08:04, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Links (again)

FMWatch has returned, and the US News article has disappeared. I also don't see why we need four links pointing to various items on internetloge.de. Can we maybe thin those out a bit, such as posting the main page to internetloge and noting what's there? Furthermore, I *think* Hiram's Oasis is out of date (there was an archive available of it at some point). Would somebody mind doing the cleanup on links? MSJapan 22:35, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Ditched the nutjob sites. I'm a bit hesitant with the internetloge.de, even though the information is relatively superfluous for all intents and purposes, it has a kind of charm to it. The ritual disclosed is so old and different to what is practised these days that I can't help but wonder about it's accuracy. The right undertones are there however, so I'd be keen to leave them as is, maybe tuck them out the way down the bottom perhaps? Jachin 18:39, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
I know internetloge.de is OK, but I don't really think it's necessary to link to documents separately in 3 or 4 links, as everything is listed in a toolbar on the left side of the page. So, even if we link only to the main page, the same material will still be available. MSJapan 16:21, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
Restored link user Jachin deleted to Freemasonry Watch and Presbyterian Church report on Freemasonry. Added link to Southern Baptist Convention report on Freemasonry and Declaration on Masonic Associations by Pope John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The purpose of a links area is to provide readers with links to websites containing a range of viewpoints. It is well understood that Masons do not "approve" of websites that contradict or criticize Freemasonry.Novembre 19 23:40, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Why would you delete Freemasonry Watch entirely? That doesn't make any sense. Just label it a site opposed to Masonry so people know what to expect. It's certainly not NPOV to remove a major criticism link entirely. I think we were right to yank out a lot of links when the anit-Mason ones outweighed the rest, but a contrary viewpoint from the major voice against the group is not only not a bad idea, but I think it's almost necessary. DreamGuy 00:26, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

I thought the anti article was supposed to cover all of that. MSJapan 04:49, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
Uh, no... The anti article can go into more detail, but you can't argue that all contrary mention is banned from this article or even the external links section totally because of the existence of the other article, as that's an extreme violation of the NPOV policy. NPOV applies within every article, not by separating pro and con into separate articles. And since the Anti-Masonry article is not all anti-mason links only, the argument wouldn't work anyway. DreamGuy 17:48, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough, but as we see, it turns the article into a links repository of every anti-masonic site ever made, especially when said sites are stated to be questionable by ArbCom. The real problem with anti-masonic sites in general is that they tend to be based on conspiracy theory rather than fact. Furthermore, FW is a lousy resource; half their pages are uncaptioned pictures with a single link at the bottom, to another page of uncaptioned pictures, etc. It's simply not a good source of information. So, I don't think we should have anti--Masonic material here unless it is based in fact, and hence the "dilemma". MSJapan 17:33, 24 November 2005 (UTC)
It doesn't lead to making the article a link depository for every anti-Masonic site ever made, that just happens from POV-warring. And of course your opinion would be that any anti-Masonic site would naturally be not based upon facts, so you can't emove solely based upon that criteria. FW is probably theleading site for that POV, and the POV needs at least some recognition here, other than just linking to a Masonic site responding to anti-Masonic allegations, as that's cooking things so only your side is presented. DreamGuy 19:59, 24 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, having read a fair amount of anti-Masonic sites, as well as the accounts they use to make their points, they have a bad habit of a) ascribing Masonic connections to books that have no such connection, b) taking material out of context to prove a point, and c) calling people Masons who were nothing of the sort. I see no problem with the POV, rather that that POV is not supported by anything remotely factual, and my problem is with the inclusion of it in a factual article as a resource - anyone unfamiliar with the works FW cites will make a connection because FW makes it, thus creating a negative impression with no basis in fact.
I discussed this on the Arbcom case page, but, for example, Waite was never identified as a Mason in any of his occult writings (I looked at the covers on Amazon), and Hall was a noted occultist long before he was a Mason. H.P. Blavatsky was a Theosophist, and Mackey never wrote "Scotch Rite Masonry". All these things are simple factual inaccuracies cited on FW for their take on Masonic devil worship. So how is citing a factually incorrect page without stating such indicative of either showing both sides of POV or of being responsible editors? That's the same as me saying "DreamGuy = Lightbringer", and yet anything I could research would prove me wrong. However, the casual browser may not do that research, and will instead take my statement as fact (which it's not).
Therefore, regardless of what I think about the whole anti-Masonic POV, I think it is irresponsible to have the FW link in this article, as it isn't really a legitimate source of information so much as a hodgepodge of material taken out of context or altered from its original context to "prove" a point. MSJapan 01:23, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
The point of the NPOV policy is to show all sides, even those you disagree with. You can certainly make an argument about the sources on the FW site, but the point is that they meanwhile argue with your sources. At some point you have to step back and realize that there are certain topics where you will just disagree with another side, but that doesn;t mean you can remove their voice completely. So, tell me this, what would you consider as good sites to list here as a general overview site of anti-Mason sentiment -- if not FW, then what? Because like it or not, totally removing them completely makes it look like you (and especially that insane anon IP referring to them as Jew watch, etc.) are simply trying to only present your own side, which is simply not how things work here. You'll note that I was one of many working to remove totally inappropriate links before, and probably before most people were, but removing them all is just plain wrong. Give an alternate suggestion other than removing all criticism completely, otherwise you'll just be proving Lightbringer right in his criticism of you earlier when he said you were just trying to hide all criticism completely, and I know you don't want that. DreamGuy 04:12, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

It appears that we have the same thing happening again with The Brotherhood I agree with MSJapan, the anti article should cover those things.--Vidkun 13:41, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

In my opinion... The Brotherhood == Novembre 19 == Call of Duty == Lightbringer == who knows how many other sock/meatpuppets. It's annoying and agrevating, even more so since Lightbringer is banned from editing any articles relating to Freemasonry until the RfA is decided. WegianWarrior 13:51, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Anti-masonic sites

The other thread is getting a bit unwieldy, so I've started a new one. Barring the fact that these sites also refute the arguments, here are a few sites that lay out the various anti-masonic arguments. Personally, it's not my fault that the anti-Masonic arguments are made by people unfamiliar with the workings of Freemasonry (and therefore unqualified in the first place to make the statements they make), but the only way we're going to be able to present fact rather than speculation is to go from Masonic anti-Masonry sites. The arguments from places like FW are simply too fantastical and poorly done (as well as being copyvio) to be acceptable to be given to the average person who has done no research at all in Freemasonry. So, here's some other sources:

GL of British Columbia and Yukon Anti-Masonry Page

the Anti-Masonic POV categorized

Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?

MSJapan 05:09, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm only here to keep an eye on Lightbringer (and couldn't care a whit about Freemasonry), but all three of those links only lay out the anti-Masonic arguments insofar as they attempt to refute them. All of them have an obvious, very strong pro-Mason POV. I don't know if FW is credible (or sane or whatever), but if you're going to suggest an alternative, suggest an alternative that actually represents anti-Masonic POVs, instead of linking sites that only attack those anti-Masonic arguments.
Please don't suggest links that suggest that anti-Masonic viewpoints are founded in "jealousy, fear of the unknown, superstition, bigotry, or a dozen other causes," describe those with anti-Masonic views as "dishonest in both little and much," or sites titled "Anti-Masonic claims refuted." - A Man In Bl♟ck (conspire | past ops) 05:38, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
Ok, let's see. I'd consider the Catholic Encyclopedia a creditable anti-Masonic link. I know I previously said that I thought the Presbyterian report belonged on the Anti-Masonry page, but I suppose we can put it here, despite its issues. The Southern Baptist Convention report, I'm less eager to include: the first time they did the report, it came back favorably, so they sent it back until they could get results they liked. Maybe a separate section of links from mainstream denominations, including those two, Humanum Genus, and maybe others?--SarekOfVulcan 05:53, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure there's any other material out there otherwise; many of the arguments simply fall apart under the most superficial scrutiny, and I don't think it's either fair or factual to present them otherwise. Even the links Sarek is suggesting are not that good apart from the Catholic Encyclopedia, which IMO isn't really all that anti-Masonic (the Presbyterian and SBC reports don't paint their authors in a good light, which is going to nullify the effect of the reports a bit anyway), and furthermore only address religious objections. I simply don't know how to objectively present an argument that only works on false premises and incorrect assumptions in the first place without discrediting it in the interests of fairness and objectivity. It boils down to this:
1. The article needs to be NPOV. To do that (as I understand it), we need to address both sides, positive and negative, providing only factual material, without asserting opinions.
2. However, it is also fair to say that the positive and negative aspects of any group are only understood to their fullest extents by members of that group.
3. Particularly, the completely negative side of Freemasonry is espoused by people who have no understanding of the workings of the organization. Their arguments, in the main, are based on materials that are either unconnected to the organization and are therefore made to be connected (the various occult books written by occultists before they were Masons, for example, yet the same books are claimed by anti-Masonic proponents as being written by "so and so 33rd degree" when no such appellation appears on the book), even when they are contradicted by historical proof (Taxil Hoax, or they are exaggerated claims that also do not stand up to fact (Jack the Ripper, based on From Hell), or claiming that the theosophist H.P. Blavatsky was a Mason, when women are strictly prohibited from joining.
Therefore, given WP:NPOV, is it valid to give weight to a POV that can be shown to be factually incorrect if good research is done (as opposed to merely stating that the opinion is wrong, which would violate NPOV), given that a casual reader would not be inclined to do the necessary research, and would therefore come away with a (falsely) negative impression? I would think that NPOV would value clearly proven fact over clearly unprovable speculation. MSJapan 07:14, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
MSJapan, I don't feel that we can take the attitude that women are "strictly forbidden" from being Masons. While they are not allowed in "mainstream" Masonry, Co-Masonry isn't exactly a fringe group. It may be "irregular", but that doesn't allow it to be ignored. --SarekOfVulcan 14:39, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm aware of that, but my concern in this instance is more regarding Blavatsky's writings used as anti-Masonic argument because the anti-Masons don't differentiate between Masonry and Co-Masonry (or between Masonry and Theosophy, for that matter), so the argument is invalid in the first place. Furthermore, at least according to the WP article, Blavatsky wasn't even a Co-Mason (so I actually need to go fix that on the Anti page). MSJapan 17:11, 25 November 2005 (UTC)