Depending on the part of the world where you grew up, Freemasonry has often been associated with worshipping Satan, among other freaking attributes. Conspiracy theorists have linked its members to various high-profile murders; they claim that masons have the power and finances to get away with anything. While all those accusations have never been proven, one thing is certain: Freemasonry is the world’s largest secret society. How the members have managed to keep everything to themselves remains a mystery. Here are some enlightening freemasonry facts from the information they and the internet have allowed us to have.
1. Michael Jackson’s Doctor Was A Member of the Freemasons
When Michael Jackson died in 2009, all attention shifted to his doctor, Conrad Murray. He stood trial for manslaughter, did his time, and was eventually released. However, among Murray’s many striking attributes was that he was a member of the Freemasons. When a picture of him wearing a Masonic officer’s collar surfaced, it resulted in more scrutiny; his lawyer had to “clear the air.”
2. About 200,000 Freemasons Were Killed By the Nazis
During the Nazi regime, between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons lost their lives in concentration camps. Apparently, Adolf Hitler believed that the members were allied to the Jews conspiring against Germany and classified them as political prisoners. They wore an inverted red triangle.
3. The First Poland President Was Assassinated After He Was Accused of Being a Freemason
Gabriel Narutowicz was the first president of Poland who was assassinated only five days after taking office. His death was a result of an opposition’s propaganda that labelled him an atheist, a Jew and a Freemason. Technically, it’s not possible to be an atheist and a Freemason or a Jew and an atheist.
4. It Started in the 14th Century
Freemasonry started near the end of the 14 century when a group of stonemasons created and regulated it. They controlled qualification standards and how members interacted with others and the authorities.
5. Freemasonry Is Not a Religion
Over the years, Freemason members have strongly disputed that they are a religious organization. If anything, spiritual conversations are forbidden within the masonic lodges; each member can have their own view of the Supreme Being. As such, politicians and members of other religions are free to join.
6. The Catholic Church Forbids Freemasonry
Freemasonry has received criticism and condemnation throughout its existence. In 1738, the Catholic Church forbade its members from joining the organization, citing concerns over the credibility of the Masonic temples and the secret rituals that the members performed. At one point, the Vatican even referred to it as the “Synagogue of Satan.”
7. Freemasonry Has Evolved Over Time
When it started out, freemasons didn’t admit female members. They did not discuss politics or religion at their lodges and believed in a supreme being. Today, the organization split to accommodate Regular and Continental Freemasonry, with the latter not adhering to most of the original restrictions.
8. The Masonic Lodge is the Most Basic Freemasonry Unit
The Masonic Lodge is the most basic, local organizational unit of Freemasonry. Often referred to as a private or constituent lodge, the Masonic lodges are under the direct supervision of the Grand Lodge/Grand Orient, which is national, provincial, or state. Interestingly, there is no international freemason body. If anything, every grand lodge is independent; they do not have to recognize each other.
9. Freemasonry Handshakes Vary
Handshakes among freemason members vary depending on an individual’s rank. For instance, the way an Apprentice greets a Master is different from how they salute a Fellowcraft. As members rise through the ranks, they are taught the different handshakes used during the Masonic ceremonies.
10. Freemasonry Grand Lodges Have Sometimes Fought Over Jurisdictions
Since there can only be one Grand Lodges in a particular jurisdiction, wrangles have sometimes ensued, especially when two Lodges claim the same area. For instance, in 1849, New York’s Grand Lodge split into two rival factions, each claiming legitimacy. It took the intervention of other Grand Lodges to heal the schism.
11. Three Degrees of Freemasonry Are Available
According to the ancient craft guilds, there are three degrees of Freemasonry. When a new member joins, they start as Entered Apprentice. They then move to Journeyman (Fellowcraft in modern Freemasonry) before graduating to the Master Mason. Progress is determined by the member’s ability to grasp the organization’s words, passwords, signs, and grips after initiation.
12. Masonic Lodges Are Headed By Officers of a Lodge
Usually, the Officers of a Lodge are tasked with undertaking the masonic lodges’ functions and work. Responsibilities vary depending on the jurisdictions; most are elected or appointed annually. Other famous figures in standard masonic lodges include Masters, a couple of Wardens, a secretary, and a treasurer. They sometimes employ an external guard to look over the property and maintain its security.
13. Freemasonry Is Famous for Its Symbols
Even though it is filled with secret signs, passwords, and grips, Freemasonry identifies as a “beautiful system of morality illustrated by its symbols.” Speaking of which, symbolism forms the organization’s main but not exclusively dealings. They are often derived from masonry tools such as compasses, squares, trowels, ashlars, and level & plumb.
14. There Is a Whole Catalog of Famous Freemason Members
Since its establishment, Freemasonry has attracted famous individuals, some of whom were/are not necessarily masons. They include George Washington (who rose to the ranks of a Master Mason), Henry Ford, Nat King Cole, and Winston Churchill.
Former United States Presidents such as Gerald Ford and Franklin D. Roosevelt were also Masons. By the Way, Benjamin Franklin was the founding member of the debutant Masonic Lodge in the United States.
15. The Detroit Masonic Temple is The Biggest
Located in the Cass Corridor of Detroit, Michigan, the Detroit Masonic Temple is the largest in the world. Its construction started in 120 and ended in 1926. In 2013, the building faced foreclosure until Jack White of the White Stripes paid off its $142,000 back taxes debt. According to an interview, he bailed the temple out because it offered his mother a job when the family needed the money.