When most of us hear the word “freemason” we usually think of a band of brothers that stretches across the world, a fraternity of moneyed men who engage in strange rituals and greet each other with a secret handshake. These people belonging to this mysterious nexus believe in a higher power and together
They share secrets and protect each other. And when they meet at the lodge they do so with the doors closed to the world. What happens at the lodge stays at the lodge. The Master leads the ceremonies, and what he says will never become public knowledge.
The fact freemasonry is shrouded in so much secrecy does of course elicit us non-freemason to be curious, so today we’ll try to separate the facts from the myth. But let’s first go back to the beginning and see how it all got started.
What we know as freemasonry goes back to what were called the guilds of stonemasons and cathedral builders back in Middle Ages Britain. A guild was a kind of an association for certain kinds of artisans or merchants, so you could call them clubs for skilled workers.
If you look at documents as far back as the 13th century you can find mentions of freemasonry, although the language used is either Latin or Norman French. So, it goes back a long way. As you know, a mason is someone who works with stone, and the free part was supposed
To signify just that, that these skilled artisans were not feudally bound. They were free. A potential medieval Master Mason as a kid would be educated in languages and math, and when in his teens he would learn how to work with stone.
Let’s remember that building things back then was very important, so learning how to work with stone was seen as a huge deal. As the kid grew into an adult he would become a journeyman, and once he became a master mason he would gain a lot of respect.
So, now you can see why these guilds were respected. In the 17th and 18th centuries these evolved into modern freemasonry, and people belonging to this order believed in a higher power and brotherhood, with the masonic rituals based on the myth of King Solomon’s Temple.
You can find manuscripts belonging to freemasonry that talk about the masons that built this temple. There were lots of manuscripts and these have been studied since. We won’t go into what they all contain, but later they evolved into what are called Freemasonry constitutions.
It’s said about 100 such manuscripts still exist, but very few of them contain details of rituals and rites of passage. All you really need to know is that there were lots of different groups of masons and lots of texts talking about codes of conduct and sometimes rituals.
Masons basically joined ceremonies and members had certain rules to follow based on chivalry. In 1717 the first Grand Lodge was established in England, and after that came more lodges. You could call the Grand Lodge the governing body and lodges branches of that body.
What’s important to mention is that freemasonry was not especially a religious order, and it actually at times banged heads with the Roman Catholic church. As we said, Freemasons believed and still believe in a higher power, but you are not supposed to discuss religion in regular Freemasonry.
Talking about politics is also verboten, although in short there was a split in Freemasonry and some masons refused to follow the order that masons must believe in a deity. That order came from the United Grand Lodge of England, and what happened was a masonry
Schism, meaning split, and then we got both Continental and Anglo-American Freemasonry. For instance, the latter group doesn’t allow political discussion but the former does. The split was a big issue, and the two groups engaged in rivalry over the years.
This was significant, and it’s written that this rivalry in part contributed to the rift that started the Mexican civil war. So, there have been splits and disagreements among freemasons. They are not all alike. Some branches for instance allow women to join, and while freemasonry is global it’s
Written that masons in Anglo-Saxon countries were predominantly white protestants. There are also other branches that don’t belong to the official order of freemasonry, so it’s actually quite complicated and the reported six million members don’t all follow the same rules. But what are the rules? What do these people do?
What’s actually the point of becoming a freemason? If African political leaders and wealthy American businessmen belong to masonic orders, surely there is something to it? In 2018 the BBC did an interview with a freemason, although this was a freemason belonging to a women’s lodge. Her husband was a mason, too.
She said there is nothing too strange about it, but she did have to pass three freemasonry degrees to achieve her leading role at the lodge. When you get this third degree you become a fully-fledged mason. She didn’t give her name to the BBC, well, they didn’t print it we mean, and she would
Not discuss what goes down at the ceremonies. Those ceremonies are led by a master, but what he or she says cannot become public knowledge. Not surprisingly, this kind of secrecy leads non-masons to thinking something really weird
Must happen, but all she said was that it’s like being in a play and you just do your bit. She said there is no back-slapping and she doesn’t take part in any kind of nepotism, meaning she’s not rubbing shoulders with people to get ahead in her line of work.
She said this to the BBC, “It’s a bit like Facebook in that way. You will come across people you’ve met in the past, certainly if you’ve lived in the area for a number of years. We come from all walks of life and professions but it becomes a network.”
She did say that the ceremonies are still based on the myth of King Solomon’s Temple, but refused to say anything else. This wasn’t good enough for us at the Infographics Show, and we wanted to know more. We read that masons are supposed to follow a certain kind of etiquette, but the problem
Is these codes of conduct are also kept secret. We found out that masons are expected to learn about rituals, history, freemason symbols, and people are supposed to understand how to act as a mason. You have to give the Worshipful Master his due respect, and that means knowing where
To stand when he is around. You can’t just turn up to a lodge with a bottle of beer in hand and start mingling. There are strict rules to follow as to how you should comport yourself. According to one website, it’s a bit like school.
You have to sit in the right place, wear the right clothes, stand when you speak, and it’s considered bad manners to talk when others are talking. When the master bangs that gavel, you must obey. If you don’t, it’s said to be a massive discourtesy.
Don’t turn your back on this guy when he speaks, and some lodges will have a salute you give to him. It sounds strict, and it is. You must also have good posture, or try to have, and don’t go around telling stories about your blocked toilet bowl.
No “off-color” stories we are told, and it goes without saying that your phone should not start beeping during the ceremony. You will know all this of course because you have read the codes of conduct and from the day you go to your first meeting you’ll be following these codes as you become an
Entered Apprentice, a Fellow Craft and in the end a Master Mason. Part of these meetings will include giving degrees to members who have climbed a ranking, this we know for sure. It’s said that this graduation type ceremony is one of the biggest reasons they have ceremonies.
Yes, people listen to the master and they follow the rules and they say hello to their mason buddies, but it seems many of the meetings are about giving degrees and telling people how to act when this happens. One person wrote that these ceremonies are basically an exercise in administration.
He wrote, “Deep and unfettered conversations on philosophy, science, arts, society, psychology, governance, foundational texts are very rare these days, especially in the US and Canada.” Another mason wrote that when he meets usually the start includes talking about the last meeting and the minutes of that meeting.
They might then discuss older members and new members, or just talk about things that need to be paid for, such as getting a new roof. He wrote this: “Often there are various announcements of upcoming events, discussion of community projects, or planning for a future activity.
Some meetings are reserved for ceremonies – such as admitting a new brother or advancing one to a higher degree. Others might honor members who have a substantial history of service in the Masons. Still other meetings may have an educational presentation.
In my jurisdiction – Connecticut – the Grand Lodge requires every meeting to have at least some component of Masonic Education.” As we said, he wrote that during these ceremonies they must follow strict codes of conduct, so it’s a rather serious affair.
He said at the end of this serious part, though, there are refreshments and people chat more informally. It all sounds a bit like a cross between a business meeting and a graduation, and perhaps at times a TedX just with funny clothes and upright postures. So, why is all this secret?
Another freemason said while when they make a member of the public a freemason during a ritual it’s supposed to be secret, it’s hardly the biggest secret in the world. He said yes, they don’t publish this ritual, but who publishes private business meetings.
Those rituals can change based on the lodge, but in the end the ceremony is about these old codes of conduct and what it means to be a freemason. It’s not as if babies are being sacrificed for the great higher power or members engage
Is orgiastic behavior while howling like banshees under a blood moon. You just need to know the secret codes to get in, just like entering a combination code on a lock. Every freemason we found online said the same thing. It’s business, graduation, talking about members, and bringing in new members.
You’ve just got to follow the protocols. Remember, stand up straight, listen to the master, and don’t let your Kanye West & Lil Pump ringtone go off during the ceremony. One journalist who interviewed a freemason in the UK said when he entered the lodge it was full of freemasonry symbols.
He was told that during meetings people have to stand in the correct place. It’s important where you stand in relation to the master. He was told that new masons are given the rules, learn the codes, and are told how to recognize another mason when not in a meeting.
This might not always be a secret handshake, but it is kept a secret. If you are a mason and you talk about this to other non-masons you will likely be thrown out of the order. Another journalist who’d interviewed a freemason was told there are not just secret ways to
Know who is a mason but each degree of freemasonry has its own password. This was in his lodge at least. When asked if anything weird went on, the mason said no, adding, “We had a man who joined our lodge, he took the first degree and was disappointed that there was nothing
Happening in the way of anything sinister and he left.” He also said, “Here in Ireland we have a strict constitution which we follow closely. I heard that there is a group of people in Ireland who are going into the rituals more deeply, but I don’t think there’s anything untoward going on there.”
He said at his lodge it’s all about dressing up, doing some rituals, then having a good old chat. He said where he goes if you want to join you’ll have to be interviewed, have a background check, and then it goes to the vote using black and white beans.
If they like you, you’re in. Too many black beans, and you’re not welcome. After hearing all this, would you like to be a freemason? Are you already one of them and can you tell us more? Tell us in the comments.
Also, be sure to check out our other video The Most Powerful Families Who Secretly Run The World? Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.