Freemasonry, God and Religion, in the Initiatory Degree
“Kneeling on my naked left knee, my right forming a square; my left hand supporting the HOLY BIBLE, Square, and compasses, my right resting thereon.”
Religion in the First Degree
I was raised in a Masonic family. My Mother was a rainbow girl, and was in Eastern Star. Both my mother and my father were in Amaranth and my father was a worshipful Master completing both the York Rite and the Scottish Rite. When I was in Junior High, I joined DeMoley. When I was 21, I joined the Masons and took the Entered Apprentice Masonic Degree. I write from experience and quote from the actual
Entered Apprentice Masonic Degree found in Duncan’s Ritual of Freemasonry and will include the page numbers. I chose this book because it is one of the most Common Monitors or Ritual books currently in print today. Most “B-Dalton Book Stores” carry it in stock and all of them can order it.
Religions, God and Heaven
Most religions have two major themes in common: they are God and Salvation; or who is God and how do we get to Heaven. Most religions are not ashamed of their faiths or belief systems. They usually proclaim their beliefs to the public in hopes of saving the listener. This is not the case with Freemasonry. They claim NOT to be a religion and swear oaths of death in an attempt to keep their religious secrets from the public. Masonic salvation is only available to obligated members who “subdue [their] passions and improve themselves in Masonry.” (Duncan’s Ritual Page 42) The following are quotes from the 1st Degree.
“Mr. Peter Gabe, who has long been in darkness, and now seeks to be brought to light, and to receive a part of the rights and benefits of this worshipful lodge, erected to God, and dedicated to the holy Saints John, as all brothers and fellows have done before.” (Page 29)
“As the sun rises in the east, to open and govern the day, so rises the Worshipful Master in the east, to open and govern his lodge, set the craft to work, and give them proper instructions.” (Page 15)
(Question and Answer sessions)
W.M. - “Why leave you the west and travel toward the east?”
S.D. – “In search of light.”
W.M. – “…place the candidate in the charge of the Senior Warden in the west, with my orders that he teach this candidate to approach the east, the place of light, …” (Page 32)
W.M. – “In your present condition, what do you most desire?”
Candidate (prompted.) – “Light.” 3 (Page 35)
Q. – “Why were you neither naked nor clothed?”
A. – “Because Masonry regards no one for his worldly wealth or honors; it is the internal and not the external qualifications of a man that should recommend him to be made a Mason.” (Pag48)
Q. – “Why were you requested to deposit something of metallic kind?”
A. – “To remind me of my extremely poor and penniless state, and that, should I ever meet with a friend, more especially with a brother, in like destitute circumstances, I should contribute as liberally to his relief as his circumstances demanded, without any material injury to myself.” (Pag50)
Q-“Of what do they [the three movable jewels] remind us?”
A. – “By the rough ashler we are reminded of our rude and imperfect state by nature, by the perfect ashler of that state of perfection at which we hope to arrive by a virtuous education, Our own endeavors and the blessing of God; and by the trestle-board we are also reminded that, as the operative workman erects his temporal building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the master on his trestle-board, so should we both operative and speculative, endeavor to erect our spiritual building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the Supreme Architect of the Universe, in the great book of Revelation, which is our spiritual, moral, and Masonic trestle-board.” (Pag52-53)
Q. – “What came you here to do?”
A. – “To learn to subdue my passions and improve myself in Masonry.” (Pag42)
W.M. – “The three great lights in masonry are the Holy Bible, Square, and compasses, which are thus explained: The Holy Bible is the rule and guide of our faith and practice; the square to square our actions, and the compasses, to circumscribe and keep us within bounds with all mankind, but more especially with a brother Mason.” (Page 36)
Belief that God exists and We need to Pray to Him
“There are three great duties, which you as a Mason are strictly to observe and inculcate – to God, your neighbor, and yourself. To God in never mentioning his name, But from that reverential awe which is due from the creature to his creator; to implore his aid in all of your laudable undertakings, and to esteem him as your chief good.” (Pag56)
Worshipful Master (W.M.)- “Let no one enter on so important a duty without invoking the blessings of Deity. Brother Senior Deacon, you will conduct the candidate to the center of the lodge, and cause him to kneel for the benefit of prayer.”
W.M. – “Vouchsafe Thine aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this our present convention; and grant that this candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote his life to thy service, and become a true and faithful brother among us! Endue him with a competency of Thy divine wisdom, that by the secrets of our art, he `may be better enabled to display the beauties of brotherly love, relief, and truth, to the honor of Thy Holy Name.” (Page 30)
W.M. – “Mr. Gabe, in whom do you put your trust?” Candidate, - “In God.” 1
W.M. – “Since in God you put your trust, your faith is well founded. Arise, follow your conductor and fear no danger.” - The footnote states, “This is the first admission of a candidate before initiation. He avows his belief in God; and it is on this avowal alone that his admission among us is based.” (Page 30, 31)
Q. – “Why were you asked in whom you put your trust?”
A. – “Because, agreeably to our most ancient institution, no Atheist could be made a Mason; it is therefore necessary that I should put my trust in Deity; …” (Pag49)
W.M. – the twenty-four inch gauge is an instrument made use of by operative masons to measure and lay out their work; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time. It being divided into twenty-four equal parts, is emblematical of the twenty-four hours of the day which we are taught to divide into three parts, whereby we find a portion for the service of God and the relief of a distressed worthy brother, a portion for our usual avocations, and a portion for refreshment and sleep.” (Pag41)
W.M. – The common gavel is an instrument made use of by operative masons to break off the superfluous corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder’s use; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our minds and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting us, as living stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, in the heavens.” (Page 41)
Q – “What covering has a lodge?”
A. – “A clouded canopy, or starry-decked heavens, where all good Masons hope to arrive, &c. &c.
(See Masonic monitor).” (Pag51)
Q. – “Why were you presented with a lambskin or white linen apron, which is the badge of a Mason?”
A. – “Because the lamb in all ages, has been deemed an emblem of innocence; he, therefore, who wears a lambskin as a badge of a Mason is thereby continually reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is essentially necessary to his gaining admission into that celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.” (Pag50)
Q. – “Why were you hoodwinked [blind folded], and a cable-tow [hang-man’s noose] put around your neck?”
A. – “For the reason, first, as I was then in darkness, so I should keep the whole world in darkness so far as it related to the secrets of Free-Masonry. Secondly: in case I had not submitted to the manner and mode of my institution, that I might have been lead out of the lodge, without seeing the form and beauty thereof.” (Pag48-49)
Q. – “Why were you caused to rest your right hand on the Holy Bible, square, and compasses?
A. –“Because the right hand was supposed by our ancient brethren to be the seat of fidelity, and so they worshipped Deity under the name of Fides, which was supposed to be represented by the right hands joined, and by two human figures holding each other by the right hand, therefore we masonically use to signify in the strongest manner possible the sincerity or our intentions in the business in which we are engaged.” (Pag50)
Q. – “Why were you neither barefoot nor shod?”
A. – “… a Mason plucked off his shoe and gave it to his neighbor. This then we do in confirmation of a token, and as a pledge of our fidelity; thereby signifying that we will renounce our own will in all things, and become obedient to the laws of our ancient institution.” 1 (Pag48)
The Worshipful Master (W.M.) asks the Senior Warden, “What makes you an Entered Apprentice Mason?” The Senior Warden answers, “My obligation.” (Page 13)
W.M. – “Mr. Gabe, “Before you can be permitted to advance any further in Masonry, it becomes my duty to inform you, that you must take upon yourself a solemn oath or obligation, appertaining to this degree, which I, as Master of this lodge, assure you that will not materially interfere with the duty that you owe to your God, yourself, family, country, or neighbor.” (Page 33)
Q. “Give me a sign.”
Q. – “Has that an allusion?”
A. – “It has, to the penalty of my obligation.”
Q. – “Why were you received on the point of a sharp instrument?”
A. – “As that was an instrument of torture to my flesh, so might the recollection of it be to my conscience, should I ever presume to reveal the secrets of Free-Masonry. (Pag49)
Q. – “What so you conceal?”
A. – “All the secrets of Masons, in Masons, to which this token alludes.” (here press with thumb-nail the first joint hard) (Pag42)
“Finally, keep sacred and inviolable the mysteries of the Order, as these are to distinguish you from the rest of the community, and mark your consequence among Masons.” (Pag57)
The Masonic faith is the superior one – Because of this; no Religious official can legitimately disagree with the religion of Freemasonry
Charge at initiation into the first degree
“No human institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation; nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down than are inculcated in the several Masonic lectures. The greatest and best men in all ages have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronize their assemblies.” (Pag56)
W.M. – “Brother, I now present you with a lamb skin or White apron, which is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason, … When worthily worn, more honorable than the star and garter, or any other order that can be conferred on you at this time, or any future period, by kings, princes, and potentates, or any other persons, except it be by Masons.” (Page 39)
[If the candidate be a clergyman, add the following:]
“You, brother, are a preacher of that religion, of which distinguishing characteristics are universal benevolence and unbounded charity. You can not therefore, but be fond of the Order, and zealous for the interests of Freemasonry, which in the same manner inculcates the same charity and benevolence, and which, like that religion, encourage every moral and social virtue; which introduces peace and good-will among man-kind, and is the centre of union to those who otherwise might have remained at a perpetual distance. So that whoever is warmed with the spirit of Christianity, must esteem, must love Masonry.
Summary of the First Degree of Freemasonry
According to the first degree, all those not in Freemasonry are in darkness. Initiates learn salvation “secrets” from Freemasonry called “light.” They start in an “imperfect state by nature” and by morals and “virtues” hope to arrive at a state of “perfection” which will qualify them to enter Heaven where God resides. One membership requirement, is a “belief in God.” Non-believing Atheists, can’t join. All Masons profess to dedicate time to the service and worship of God. Professing a deep sincerity to God, their goal is to arrive in heaven. Swearing an oath of death to God emphasizes and solemnizes this sincerity. The first degree calls God the “Supreme Architect of the Universe” not the creator of it. Masonry claims, “The Holy Bible is the rule and guide of our faith and practice,” yet, nowhere is Jesus Christ or the Trinity God of the Bible ever mentioned or worshiped. A Bible is placed on the altar where every Mason invokes “the blessings of Deity” in prayer.
They have a “worshipful Master” who guides them into Masonic truth and makes judgements as to whether the candidate’s “faith is well founded” or not. Freemasonry claims that its method of salvation is superior to all others and judges everyone else’s faith to be inferior. Salvation or getting to heaven is achieved in the first degree through becoming worthy. Developing morals through Masonry is considered good works. Attaining heaven by morals and virtues is not the biblical way to get to heaven. The biblical way is a gift from God to those who are unworthy but have faith in Jesus, who is worthy.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Masonry misleads well-meaning people into the mistaken belief that anyone can make it to Heaven without Jesus Christ.
Marshall Almarode (509) 582-5627 www.theolderthebolder.com