We’ve all heard of Freemasonry and the supposedly hidden agenda its members have to achieve global domination through a new world order, but how many of us really know anything substantial about the subject? Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternities. While its traditions date back to early history, Masonry in its current form appeared when its public events were noticed by the residents of London in 1717. Although Masonry—particularly during its early days—had some elements of secrecy, the first discovery of the supposedly highly secret Masonic ritual actually happened in 1696! Since then there have been tens of thousands of books published about this not-so-secret organization. Freemasonry’s singular purpose is to make men better and its bonds of friendship, compassion, and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military, and religious conflicts throughout the centuries. Freemasonry is neither a forum nor a place of worship. It is not a religion, as many believe, and it does not teach a religious philosophy. Still, many questions remain about this “fraternity”. The following 25 Curious Facts About Freemasonry will attempt to shed some light on the matter and help us understand the organization’s cause and purpose a little better.
Freemasonry exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around five million (including approximately 480,000 in Great Britain and over two million in the United States).
Contrary to popular belief, the Freemasons are not a secret society. A Mason can freely tell people they are a Mason. They just can’t reveal the secrets of the order.
The conventional establishment of Freemasonry is usually dated to 1717, when the Grand Lodge of London emerged on June 24. The emergence of this Grand Lodge marked the beginning of Grand Lodges governing other lodges.
Freemasonry employs the tools and instruments of stonemasonry to teach a system of morality, friendship, and brotherly love, hence, the standard emblem of Freemasonry is the square and compasses.
Masonic symbols are usually regarded as existing because of the fraternity’s secrecy. However, in reality, Freemasonry started being illustrated by symbols because at the very beginning most Freemasons could not read, so the symbols served to remind members of the fraternity’s teachings.
The oldest Masonic symbol is the square and compasses. It is also the most universally recognized symbol of Freemasonry, though its exact significance varies from country to country.
A Masonic “lodge” refers to the congregation of people who meet there, it’s not just the name of a building. Each lodge gets a charter from a “Grand Lodge” but they basically run themselves. There’s no overarching ritual for running a meeting; it varies with each individual group.
It’s impossible to become a Freemason if you’re an atheist. The first requirement is that potential members must believe in a higher power of some kind.
There are two known branches of Freemasonry. The Regular, guided by the United Grand Lodge of England, and the Liberal, represented by the Grand Orient of France.
Masons traditionally recognize each other by various “secret” signs, including wearing a ring with a Masonic emblem, various lapel badges, and sometimes the famous Freemason handshake (when shaking hands, the thumb briefly strokes the other man’s hand in a certain way), though the last is mostly restricted to Freemasons in San Francisco and Washington, DC.
Anders Breivik, perpetrator of the 2011 mass murders in Norway, was a practicing Freemason.
Freemasons are commanded not to testify truthfully when another Mason is on trial. They admit that it may be perjury, but to them it is a far greater sin to not protect one of their own.
Freemasonry has no single spokesman. It is comprised of many individuals in numerous organizations, all of which are subordinate to the Grand Lodge in their area. None of these members or organizations can speak for Freemasonry; that is the responsibility of each Grand Lodge in the area.
In case you didn’t know, there is a direct Masonic link to the Statue of Liberty. Frederic Bartholdi, the man who designed the famous statue, was a Mason.
The secret handshakes and passwords now associated with Freemasonry were used by the stonemasons to identify each other, which was important for keeping secrets in the guild.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was a member of Clear Lake Lodge #1417 in Texas. He was also the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history. When he stepped on the moon he had with him a special deputation from his Grand Master to claim the moon as being in the territorial jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas. John Glenn was also a Mason.
Catherine Babington wanted to know what Freemasonry was all about so she hid inside a pulpit at meetings in Kentucky for over a year. When discovered, she was held captive for a month.
Some of the most famous Freemasons include Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, J. Edgar Hoover, Benjamin Franklin, and the first president and founding father of our country, George Washington.
Conspiracies link Freemasons to the Illuminati. However, this seems unlikely because the Illuminati are an entirely secret society, to the extent that most people do not believe they exist today, while people are entirely free to divulge they are a member of a Freemason lodge.
Hitler believed that the Masons were a tool of the Jews and under the Nazi regime it’s estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were murdered.
In the type of Freemasonry practiced in the United States female members are not allowed, whereas in the type practiced in Europe, women are generally allowed to be initiated.
Sun worshiping is the core of Freemasonry and probably many other secret societies.
In the type of Freemasonry practiced in the United States, members are required to believe in God, though the interpretation of this is left up to the individual member.
At the time it was built in 1892 the Masonic Temple in Chicago, Illinois, was the world’s tallest building. It was twenty-two stories high.
During the American civil war enemy soldiers who recognized each other as Freemasons helped each other and saved each other’s lives. Even during war these Freemasons’ loyalty to the craft did not fade.
Photos: 24. Kim Traynor via wikimedia commons, 23. Eluveitie via wikimedia commons, 19. Sailko via wikimedia commons, 17. Kagaoua via wikimedia commons, 16. Arielinson via wikimedia commons, 15. Thierry Ehrmann via Flickr, 14. Eric Chan via Flickr, 9. Xauxa via wikimedia commons, 6. Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-02134 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia commons