1 Why Do Freemasons Keep Secrets? Brother Steve Fetherman 32º Master Mason Gulf Beach Lodge No. 291 In the Beautiful City of Madeira Beach, Florida 6 February 2014
2 Why do Freemasons Keep Secrets? For Many years I pondered the question: Why do Free Masons keep Secrets? When I became a Demolay in November 1967, I asked my Father why we Masons kept secrets. His answer Ancient and Honorable traditions... When I was first initiated an Enter Apprentice in September 1980, I asked why we Masons keep secrets? Their answer Ancient and Honorable traditions... I have been asked many times why in this day and age, what are Free Masons trying to hide? Ancient and Honorable traditions... and Nothing at all We are in the White Pages, have websites, write books, wear pins on our coats, bumper sticker on our cars, rings on our fingers, and even produce high end videos about Freemasonry. So Why All the Secrecy?
3 Answer It all gets down to history.
4 Historical Context Nuvus Ordo Seclorum! Who knows what this means? Where does this come from? Where is it Found today? Who put it there?
5 Answer It is Latin and Means A New Order of the Ages. It is part of the 1 st Century Roman Poet Virgil s Fourth Eclogue Today it is Found on $1 USD note, in the tape under the unfinished pyramid It was put there in 1782 by Rep. Charles Thomson (PA) First Congress of these United States of America as a member of The Great Seal Committee.
6 Historical Context It Does Not Mean New World Order! New World Order: a conspiracy theory in which a secret elite is conspiring to rule the world via world government and globalization I do not care what the History Channel and Dan Brown say.
7 Question A New Order of the Ages can Easily be Confused with New World Order, Why?
8 Answer A New Order of the Ages can Easily be Confused with New World Order Because: In the 21 st Century Democracy is the Norm not the Exception Nuvus Ordo Seclorum is scrutinized from a 21 st Century Perspective Let s Look at this in the Historical Context of 1782 or better 4 July People were Subjects not Citizens You Belonged to the Preordained Church of the Country A Democracy did not exist anywhere on the planet A Constitutional Republic was a fledgling thought The Bill of Rights has not been drafted
9 Question These Precepts came from Someone or Somewhere. But Where and Whom?
10 Historical Context European Governments of the late 18 th Century (1700 s) Monarchy: people are governed by a King or Queen Oligarchy: people are governed by a select few or a class of people Theocracy: people are governed by a religious figure People were Subjects, not Citizens Everyone and Everything was property of the King Your Beliefs and Religion were Dictated by the Church The Ruler had the First, the Last, and the Only Word in everything. Conflicting with the Rights of the King (God s Representative on Earth) or the Church s s Edicts Meant Torture and Death
12 Questions? How did the Precepts of New Order of the Ages Evolve? How and Why is this Important to Free Masons?
13 Answer The Ideals and Principles of the Age of Enlightenment are: Separation of Church and State Individual Freedoms Rights of Man Freedom from State and Church abuses People s s Right to Self Determination (voting) Public Education Evolved during The Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason These are the Precepts of Freemasonry Belief in Your Supreme Deity not Selected by Freemasonry Every Master Mason has a Vote Every Mason has the Right to Self Determination participation and vote. We elect our Government We Require Every Mason to Learn and Read Memory Work Democracy and Freemasonry Embrace Identical Ideals Did Modern Democracy Embrace Masonic Ideals or Vice Versa?
14 Freemasonry and Age of Reason As the Age of Enlightenment or Reason Grew so did Freemasonry. Let s Examine the Time Lines of the Age of Enlightenment and Freemasonry.
15 Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment or Reason was a Cultural Movement predominately in the 18 th Century ( ) It reformed society and advanced knowledge by promoting science and intellectual interchange, and opposed superstition, intolerance, and abuses by church and state. Originated in England and Scotland, and then spread to France, the t German States, Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Russia, and Spain. With the establishment of the American Colonies by England and France it quickly spread to North America. Public Education made the tenants of the Age of Enlightenment available to all men not just God s s Chosen Few.
16 The Rise of Freemasonry Freemasonry Grew more Rapidly in the British Isles for these Reasons: King Henry VIII Broke the Strength if the Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain with a Series of Acts between 1534 and 1541 called the Monastery Suppression Acts By the Beginning of the Age of Reason or Enlightenment (1560), Great Britain had a Limited form of Representative Government. House of Lords House of Commons Church of England Reformation ( ) Limited the Power of the Church Commoners Upraises Against King Edward VI and His Lords over the Abuse of Public Lands and Rights ( ) English Civil Wars ( & ) led by Oliver Cromwell Establishment of the English Commonwealth (1649) by Cromwell Solidified Free Trade These Acts and Rebellions led to the Erosion of Royal & Church Powers, Enabling the Thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment and Reason to more easily Travel and Earn Master s Wages.
17 The Rise of Free Masonry The Oldest known Freemasonry text is a poem known as the Regius Manuscript or Halliwell Manuscript of Freemasonry. This document has been dated to the 1390 s. The Kilwinning Lodge has records dating back to the late 1500 s s and is the Mother Lodge No 0 of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, located at 99 Main Street, Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland The First Grand Lodge of England was established in London on 24 June 1717 The Grand Lodge of Ireland was established in The Grand Lodge of France was established in The Grand Lodge of Scotland was established in These Masonic Events Occurred in the MIDDLE of the Age of Enlightenment This is no Accident of History
18 Birth of Freemasonry in America John Moore the Port of Pennsylvania Tariff Collector wrote of attending Masonic Lodge in Philadelphia in 1715, two years before the formation of the Grand Lodge of England The first Grand Lodge in US was established at St John s s Lodge No 1 in Philadelphia in 1731 at a water front tavern known as Tun Tavern. Benjamin Franklin was elected the third Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1754 at a meeting held in Tun Tavern. On 10 November 1775, in this same building, a Freemason of the St John s s Lodge, Captain Samuel Nichols, began recruiting for a little known military organization now known as the United States Marine Corps.
19 The Greatest Achievements of the Age of Enlightenment The American Revolution The American Experiment in Democracy The Declaration of Independence The Constitution of the United States of America The Bill of Rights Right of Self Determination Freedom from Religious Persecution Right to Bear Arms Right to an Education (Public Education) Public Libraries
20 Question Who and Where did These Precepts Come From?
21 Answer The Great Minds and Men of the Age of Enlightenment
22 Freemasonry and Enlightenment Freemasonry, speculative masonry, arose from operative freemasonry ry as the Precepts of the Age of Enlightenment Evolved. Freemasonry was at the heart of the Age of Enlightenment. Freemasons were some of the greatest minds and men of the Age.
23 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment Baruch Spinoza ( ) Persecuted Jewish Dutch Ethics Philosopher whose theories were the basis of all other Enlightenment philosophies. Many of his ideas are within the Masonic Moral Code.
24 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment John Locke ( ) English physician and philosopher, the Father of Enlightenment, and developed the republican theory which the US Constitution is based upon.
25 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment Pierre Bayle ( ) French philosopher whose works stressed the separation of religious beliefs from government and religious tolerance. Our belief in religious tolerance and a single supreme being to whom you swear yourself to secrecy.
26 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment Sir Isaac Newton ( ) English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, naturalist, alchemist, and theologian, and who has been b considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived. Epitomized and advanced many of the disciplines contained within seven steps of a Fellowcraft
27 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment Voltaire ( ) French philosopher known for his advocacy of civil liberties to include freedom of religion, freedom of expression, free trade, and separation of church and state. The philosophy behind our Bill of Rights Benjamin Franklin sponsored Voltaire as EA at the Lodge of the Nine Sisters when he was American Revolution Representative to the French Court
28 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment Benjamin Franklin: Philosopher, scientist, inventor, printer, author, moralist, humorist, statesman, and helped Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence and participated in the Constitutional Convention. Founder of the first Public Library in America and along with George Washington Established the American System of Public Education.
29 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment Thomas Jefferson: Farmer, inventor, US President, Diplomat, and drafted the Declaration of Independence.
30 Great Minds of the Age of Enlightenment James Madison: Helped Alexander Hamilton and John Jay write the Federalist Papers, primary drafter of the US Constitution, Father of the Bill of Rights, participated in the Constitutional Convention, and US President.
31 The Disciplines of the Age of Enlightenment and Freemasonry The Age of Enlightenment stressed logic, reason, sciences, and man s s individualism. The disciplines of Enlightenment were: Biology Physics Logic Mathematics Geometry Reason Astronomy The liberal application of these disciplines to all men, regardless of station The Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences of Freemasonry: Grammar Rhetoric Logic Arithmetic Geometry Music Astronomy Freemasonry refers to these sciences as liberal, liberal, meaning free as in publicly available
32 Question How are these Men Pertinent to Freemasonry?
33 What is the Relationship? Of these Men Who were Masons? Baruch Spinoza - Yes John Locke From all outward appearances probably Pierre Bayle - Unknown Sir Isaac Newton Yes Voltaire Yes Thomas Jefferson From all outward appearances probably Benjamin Franklin Yes James Madison - From all outward appearances probably What did Operative Freemasonry Provide the Men of the Age of Enlightenment that Other Secret Societies did not?
34 Answer Secrecy and Trust! What was the need for Secrecy? Their Lives The Ability to Travel Freely without Kingly Interference Why their lives? Sedition! There was no freedom of speech or expression. Speak against the ruler and lose your head! Persecution! Speaking out against the Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church, C meant torture, imprisonment, excommunication, and death. They Required a Place and Organization to Meet to Exchange Ideas without Compromise. Within a Lodge of Freemasons and among Brothers, one knew that a secret within my heart was safe within the hearts of men of like minds, ideas, and morals. Because We must either hang together or we will surely hang separately. Right Worship Grand Master Benjamin Franklin
35 The Final Question and Answer Why does Freemasonry have Secrets? Ancient and Honorable traditions...
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