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Mason Secrets Exposed

Masonic ritual is the scripted words and actions that are spoken or performed during the degree work in a Masonic lodge.[1] Masonic symbolism is that which is used to illustrate the principles which Freemasonry espouses. Masonic ritual has appeared in a number of contexts within literature including in "The Man Who Would Be King", by Rudyard Kipling, and War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy.

mason Secrets Exposed

Freemasonry is described in its own ritual as a "Beautiful and profound system of morality, veiled in allegories and illustrated by symbols". The symbolism of Freemasonry is found throughout the Masonic lodge, and contains many of the working tools of a medieval or renaissance stonemason. The whole system is transmitted to initiates through the medium of Masonic ritual, which consists of lectures and allegorical plays.[2]

Common to all of Freemasonry is the three grade system of Craft or Blue Lodge freemasonry, whose allegory is centred on the building of the Temple of Solomon, and the story of the chief architect, Hiram Abiff.[3] Further degrees have different underlying allegories, often linked to the transmission of the story of Hiram. Participation in these is optional, and usually entails joining a separate Masonic body. The type and availability of the Higher Degrees also depends on the Masonic jurisdiction of the Craft lodge that first initiated the mason.[4]

Freemasons conduct their degree work, often from memory, following a preset script and ritualised format. There are a variety of different Masonic rites for Craft Freemasonry. Each Masonic jurisdiction is free to standardize (or not standardize) its own ritual. However, there are similarities that exist among jurisdictions. For example, all Masonic rituals for the first three degrees use the architectural symbolism of the tools of the medieval operative stonemason. Freemasons, as speculative masons (meaning philosophical rather than actual building), use this symbolism to teach moral and ethical lessons, such as the four cardinal virtues of Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance, and Justice, and the principles of "Brotherly Love, Relief (or Morality), and Truth" (commonly found in English language rituals), or "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" (commonly found in French rituals).

In keeping with the geometrical and architectural theme of Freemasonry, the Supreme Being is referred to in Masonic ritual by the titles of the Great Architect of the Universe, Grand Geometrician or similar, to make clear that the reference is generic, and not tied to a particular religion's conception of God.[7]

Some lodges make use of tracing boards: painted or printed illustrations depicting the various symbolic emblems of Freemasonry. They can be used as teaching aids during the lectures that follow each of the three degrees, when an experienced member explains the various concepts of Freemasonry to new members.

Historically, Freemasons used various signs (hand gestures), grips or "tokens" (handshakes), and passwords to identify legitimate Masonic visitors from non-Masons who might wish to gain admission to meetings. These signs, grips, and passwords have been exposed multiple times; today Freemasons use dues cards and other forms of written identification.[9]

Worship in temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shares a commonality of symbols, signs, vocabulary and clothing with Freemasonry, including robes, aprons, handshakes, ritualistic raising of the arms, etc.[10] However, the meanings of each are different for the Freemasons and the Latter-day Saints.

An attempt was made to burn down the publishing house, and separately, Morgan was arrested on charges of petty larceny. He was seized and taken to Fort Niagara, after which he disappeared.[14] The suspicion behind this led to the creation of the Anti-Masonic Party, which enjoyed brief popularity but rapidly became defunct after they fielded a former Freemason as their presidential candidate in 1832.[15]

Morgan claimed to have been made a Master Mason while he was living in Canada,[18] and he appears to have briefly attended a lodge in Rochester.[19] In 1825, Morgan received the Royal Arch degree at Le Roy's Western Star Chapter Number 33, having declared under oath that he had previously received the six degrees that preceded it.[20][21] It has never been established if he actually received these degrees and, if so, from which lodge.[19][20] Morgan then attempted unsuccessfully to help establish or visit lodges and chapters in Batavia, but he was denied participation by members who disapproved of his character and even questioned his claims to Masonic membership.[22] Morgan finally announced that he was going to publish an exposé titled Illustrations of Masonry,[23] critical of the Freemasons and revealing their secret degree ceremonies in detail.[24]

There are conflicting accounts of what happened next.[32] The generally accepted version of events is that Morgan was taken in a boat to the middle of the Niagara River and thrown overboard, where he presumably drowned, since he was never seen again in the community.[33] In 1848, Henry L. Valance allegedly confessed on his deathbed to taking part in Morgan's murder, a purported event recounted in chapter two of Reverend C. G. Finney's anti-Masonic book The Character, Claims, and Practical Workings of Freemasonry (1869).[34]

In October 1827, a badly decomposed body washed up on the shores of Lake Ontario. Many presumed it to be Morgan, and the body was buried as his. However, the wife of a missing Canadian named Timothy Monroe (or Munro) positively identified the clothing on the body as that which had been worn by her husband at the time he had disappeared.[35][36] One group of Freemasons denied that Morgan was killed, alleging that they had paid him $500 to leave the country.[37] Morgan was reportedly seen later, including in other countries, but none of the reports were confirmed.[38] Eventually, Eli Bruce, the sheriff of Niagara County and a Mason, was removed from office and tried for his involvement in Morgan's disappearance; he served 28 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy for his role in kidnapping Morgan and holding him against his will before his disappearance.[39] Three other Masons, Loton Lawson, Nicholas Chesebro, and Edward Sawyer, were convicted of taking part in the kidnapping and served sentences.[40] Other Batavia Masons were tried and acquitted.[41] Author Jasper Ridley suggests that Morgan was probably killed by local Masons, as all other scenarios are highly improbable.[40] Historian H. Paul Jeffers also considers this the more credible explanation.[42] C. T. Congdon, in Reminiscences of a Journalist, cites a third-hand account "that Morgan was murdered by certain very zealous Freemasons," and notes that the resultant anti-Mason sentiment caused many elections to go to non-Masons for a number of years afterwards.[43]

The circumstances of Morgan's disappearance and the minimal punishment received by his kidnappers caused public outrage, and he became a symbol of the rights of free speech and free press.[45] Protests against Freemasons took place in New York and the neighboring states; Masonic officials disavowed the actions of the kidnappers, but all Masons were under a cloud of suspicion.[46] Thurlow Weed, a New York politician, gathered discontented opponents of President Andrew Jackson, a Mason, into the Anti-Masonic Party, which gained the support of such notable politicians as William H. Seward and Millard Fillmore.[47]

Members of Freemasonry criticized the Mormons for their adoption of Masonic rituals and regalia.[52] In 1830, Morgan's widow, Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, married George W. Harris of Batavia, a silversmith who was 20 years older.[13] After they moved to the Midwest, they became Mormons.[13] By 1837, some historians believe that Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris had become one of the plural wives of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.[53] She continued to live with George Harris.[13] After Smith was murdered in 1844, she was "sealed" to him for eternity in a rite of the church.[13] By 1850, the Harrises had separated.[13] When George Harris died in 1860, he had been excommunicated from the Mormons after ceasing to practice with them.[13] That year, Lucinda Morgan Harris was reported to have joined the Catholic Sisters of Charity in Memphis, Tennessee, where she worked at the Leah Asylum. She had been widowed three times.[13] In 1841, the Mormons announced their vicarious baptism of William Morgan after his death, as one of the first under their new rite to posthumously offer people entrance into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[13]

Sacred to the memory of Wm. Morgan, a native of Virginia, a Capt. in the War of 1812, a respectable citizen of Batavia, and a martyr to the freedom of writing, printing and speaking the truth. He was abducted from near this spot in the year 1826, by Freemasons and murdered for revealing the secrets of their order. The court records of Genesee County and the files of the Batavia Advocate, kept in the Recorders office contain the history of the events that caused the erection of this monument.[4]

In his novel The Craft: Freemasons, Secret Agents, and William Morgan (2010), the author Thomas Talbot presents a fictional version of the William Morgan kidnapping. He portrays him as a British spy, includes rogue British Masons, and has presidential agents thwart an assassination plot.[59]

Printed in the Summer 2013 issue of Quest magazine. Citation: Kinney, Jay. "Shhh! It's a Secret! Grappling with the Puzzle of Freemasonry" Quest 101. 3 (Summer 2013): pg. 94-99.

Only white men 18 years or older were invited to the secrets of itsinitiation, and in their oath they promised not only to be obedientand secret, but to "maintain and defend the social and politicalsuperiority of the white race on this continent." 041b061a72


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