Freemasonry is a fascinating subject, though it is something which is subject to a lot of theory and conjecture. Freemasons are members of a long-standing society with roots in the belief of a higher power. The Freemasons are falsely believed to run a secret society. However, they can freely tell you they are members – they simply cannot let you know what they get up to!
Masonry has been common for centuries, and to this day, lodge members are well known for their charitable work. While we can’t divulge any secrets to you, we will show some interesting facts about the Freemasons in this fact file!
Contrary to popular belief, if you’re Freemason, you can freely tell people. However, it is forbidden for you to tell other people of the secrets you learn inside.
There are many famous Masons. However, perhaps the most famous was George Washington, the first US President.
In fact, many US Presidents are thought to have been Freemasons. The most recent include Gerald Ford, Harry S Truman, and Franklin D Roosevelt.
First US President, the most famous freemason
There are thought to be as many as six million active Masons globally. There are said to be around 200,000 in the UK alone.
US Freemasonry requires members to swear that they believe in God. However, this does not have to be as straightforward as it sounds and can apparently be up for interpretation. This means you can believe in any religious interpretation of a higher power.
It is thought that European Mason lodges allow political discussion. It is forbidden in US Masonry.
The square and compass symbol that is commonly associated with Masonry can differ in terms of interpretation. Many people believe that it is related to building, and others believe it is related to philosophy.
Freemasons are known for charity work and donations. It is thought that they have raised more than £33 million for charities in the UK in one year alone.
Divulging any secrets you learn from Masonry is absolutely forbidden. It is thought that William Morgan, an ex-Mason, was set to reveal secrets in a lucrative book deal. However, this did not come to pass.
There are many different conspiracy theories surrounding Freemasonry. This is as a result of the group closely guarding their secret orders and activities.
Ceremonies regarding the welcoming of new members are reportedly based on the story of King Solomon’s Temple, at least in the UK. These meetings allegedly take place four times each year.
In the UK, Freemasonry was only open for male visitors and joiners for two centuries. However, this has since been relaxed.
The very first female lodge in England actually opened in 1908. All its Grand Masters have been female apart from the first, and men are not permissible to join.
While there are 200,000 male Freemasons in the UK, there are also 4,700 female Freemasons, too.
Other famous Freemasons over the years are said to have included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde.
Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, is also thought to have been a Freemason at one point in his life.
Freemasonry, contrary to some belief, is not seen as a religion, at least not by its members. Everyone is free to do as they please.
However, some religion has opposed Freemasonry. In particular, the Catholic Church has spoken out against European Masonry. They condemned it in 1738, and this was re-affirmed in 1983 by Joseph Ratzinger, who would go on to become Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Leo XIII, in fact, wasn’t much kinder – he referred to Freemasonry in general as ‘the kingdom of Satan’.
Theories connecting Freemasonry to the supposed Illuminati have proven false. Should the Illuminati exist, if it is actually a secret society, its members probably wouldn’t let you know. However, a Mason can tell you that they are a lodge member – they just cannot tell you what they do during their meetings!
There are conspiracy theories surrounding whether or not there are symbols referring to Freemasonry on US notes. However, this is reportedly not the case. The jury is very much out, as some US Masons may believe otherwise.
There was also a strange theory dating back decades referring to Rolling Rock Beer. Some people believed that the back of the bottles has a cryptic ’33’ in the description. Some believe that this might refer to some Masonic code.
However, the Latrobe Brewing Company, who makes Rolling Rock, insists it refers to 1933, the year that Prohibition ended in the US.
It is thought that those who signed the Declaration of Independence were also Freemasons.
In 1952, an astonishing 89% of Supreme Court Justices in the US belonged to the Freemasons.
There is a Book of Constitutions which applies to Freemasonry. It was written by the Reverend James Anderson.
Reverend Anderson originally wrote that a Mason could ‘never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious libertine’.
However, this was changed by 1815 to offer a little more freedom. It was modified to read ‘let a man’s religion or mode of worship be what it may’.
Freemasons refer to being ‘on the level’. This refers to honesty and truth, and the term has actually grown beyond the society. It’s commonly used in English nowadays to mean someone can be trusted.
Adolf Hitler was intensely suspicious of Freemasons. He had as many as 200,000 Masons killed during his tyranny in Nazi Germany, as he believed it was a secret ‘Jewish tool’.
It’s thought that Freemasons on opposing sides during the US Civil War actively helped each other, showing the loyalty that the society is known for.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about the Freemasons that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!