Friday, October 27, 2006

Masonic Religion

Excerpt from Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike, Chapter XIII. Royal Arch of Solomon
Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection, toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for those in want, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are lenient to each other's faults, regardful of each other's feelings, ready to relieve each other's wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, they are intruders and not welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests.

I enjoyed this little piece by Albert Pike. The application of Masonry to and as religion is one of the sweetest benefits to be had in Freemasonry (by those who are willing to receive it.) Masonry stays clear of the theological and salvific matters of Religion, and therefore is neither a Religion of its own, or the substitute for one, but as the handmaiden of Religion, a Brother should not be afraid to take up what it has to offer, sow it and reap a spiritual harvest from doing so.

My own religion is deeply Masonic (both on a personal level, and a historical level - me being a Mormon.) and I'm glad it is. The Masonic tenets of Liberty and Equality help to keep the whole system grounded for me, and allow me to avoid the type of vain pride that religionists can so easily become filled with and instead show genuine love and respect for all of my fellow beings.

6 comments:

Steve Sauder said...

Hello Brother,
I am a Master Mason wondering a few things. How long have you been a Mason and Mormon? I have wondered about the Mormon religion, how compatible it is with Masonry. I would appreciate your insights.
Fraternally,
Steve

Jeff said...

Steve,

I should qualify by saying that I am hardly a typical Mormon. I guess I would be classified as an independent liberal Mormon fundamentalist at this point, with a blend of Judaism thrown in the mix. That being said, I know a handful of normal Mormons who are active in Masonry. There is no compatibility problem between the two, except that some overzealous church leaders will be wary of any organization that competes for the time of their membership, and particularly of "secret" organizations like Masonry. But, there is a lot of Masonry in the history of the LDS Church so there is often a respect for it because of that. Mormonism teaches the literal Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man, and as such, its teachings are fully compatible with those of the Fraternity.

The only catch I've run into is apparently some individual Masons (or maybe certain jurisdictions) "require" or at least inquire into whether a petitioner for the Degrees of Masonnry holds a belief in Monotheism: Well, Mormonism is technically Henotheistic (recognition of the existence of many Gods, but the worship of one.) Since Masonry's reason for inquiring into religious doctrine is to verify that the lessons will make sense and that the obligations of Masonry will be binding upon the candidate when done in the name of God, this qualification is clearly met.

Further, there is a lot of Masonic tradition embedded within LDS religious culture and ritual, so a Mormon who becomes a Mason will receive insights both directions that will help him feel more comfortable as he begins the experience of initiation into Masonry, and also help him to better understand the history of his faith and its founders.

I hope this answered your question sufficiently.

Steve said...

Yes, this is very helpful. Thanks for this clear, thorough reply.
Do you feel the LDS church is in any way a "clandestine Lodge" due to the similarities? One other thing if you don't mind. Do you find your unique views to be a trouble while attending church functions or among other members?
Thanks again.
S.

Jeff said...

Steve,

The LDS Church does not claim to "make Masons" out of men, and although there are similarities in the ritual, there are no obligations that were broken in so doing. Although the Endowment does include tokens, signs, and words, each token(grip), sign(due-guard) and word(name) is different from what is given in Masonry, and no one could use them to attempt to enter a Lodge or vice-versa. I would consider them to be "complementary" rituals, in the eyes of those who have been initiated into both, and any accusation of it being a form of clandestine Masonry would be equally applicable to the Odd Fellows, Grange, or Elks, with one notable difference, in my opinion, the LDS ritual has more depth to it, and more symbolic resonance with the Masonic ritual, than that of any of the fraternities. Where the other fraternities apart from Masonry tend towards jovial fun, the LDS Temple tend stowards a deep solemnity and spiritual significance.

Your second question - Do my views get me in trouble? Yes, they do. I regret to report that as of tomorrow I will no longer be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On last Sunday I was informed that there is pending Church disciplinary action against me and my wife which could (and we are certain, will) result our Excommunication. That being said, there are a lot of people with unique views who survive well in the Church without facing such trouble, they just tend to be less noisy about their disagreements and unique opinions than I am. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Jeff said...

(I forgot to mention, for context, January 1 coming up would have been the tenth anniversary of my baptism into the LDS Church.)

Justa Mason said...

My condolences on the action of your church, Jeff. Especially to your wife.

I look at it this way .. Christ has never excommunicated a True Believer. Of course, your religious mileage may vary.

Justa