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Is it OK for an Adventist to join the Freemasons?

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Is it OK for an Adventist to join the Freemasons?


Steve Answers:

Some people may wonder what Freemasons are. Are they construction workers who work with brick, block, or stone and do their work for free? No, Freemasons (sometimes called Masons) is a men’s club, sort of like Rotary, Lions, or Kiwanis clubs. However, there are a few differences.

While Freemasons refer to the construction of Solomon’s magnificent temple as a starting point for their organization about 1,000 years before Christ was born, the earliest record of the Freemason Society is dated about 1,500 years after Christ was born. Scotland and England seem to have been locations for the first Freemason group meetings.

It’s not surprising that when colonists from England moved to America, the Freemasons organized clubs here. Supposedly George Washington, the first president of the United States, was also the first grand master (top dog) of Freemasons in America. Some of America’s founders were Freemasons, while others spoke out against this society.

To join the Freemasons, you must be male, over 21 years of age, and recommended to the club by a current Freemason. Also, you must believe in a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul (the belief that when you die, your soul goes on living somewhere because your soul is immortal, it cannot die).

Well, that might provide the answer to your question. Adventists don’t believe in the immortality of the soul. To find out why we don’t believe in the immortality of the soul, you can read one of my archived columns on the Insight Web site called “What Happens When We Die?” In it I explain what the Bible says happens when we die. Just log on to www.insightmagazine.org, click on
“Advice” on the left side of the home page, then scroll down so that you can read a list of my archived columns, and you’ll find it.

While there are a number of positive things about the Freemasons, this difference in one of my key beliefs backed up in the Bible is enough to stop me from joining. This provides a good example of how many things—organizations, activities, and even people—are a collection of good and bad, truth and error, right and wrong.

What’s good about the Freemasons? Here are some of the elements that I think are positive about Freemasons:

• The club is based on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
• The club’s motto of morality is for Freemasons to be good, true men.
• They believe in a Supreme Being.
• They actively promote service in the community.
• Being a member of the club promotes friendship.
• The club pulls people together in harmony.
To find out more about Freemasons, go to www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/masons.htm.

This organization utilizes the tools of masons to illustrate and to symbolize their teachings. This doesn’t mean that all members are masons by trade. Usually there is some common interest that brings them together in the first place, such as having the same hobbies, having a similar background, working in the same profession, or may-be attending the same university.

Just as the art of masonry has three levels—entered apprentice, fellow craft, and master mason—so the Freemasons Club has three levels of membership with the same names. You start as an apprentice and move up the levels as you learn more about the club and do more in the club.

Two different Freemason groups have additional levels. The York Rite awards up to 12 degrees, and the Scottish Rite awards 30 degrees after you become a master mason. This provides a lot of levels of achievement for members of Freemason clubs.

There is no worldwide organization of Freemasons. The local lodge is the main unit, although a lodge usually has affiliations with other lodges. There have been splits between different types of lodges, and if you attend one of the “wrong” lodges, you can be penalized by your own lodge.

Each lodge can have its own signs, special handshakes, and agreed-upon words or sayings that are the codes or passwords for members. It’s sort of like gangs in this regard.

Because of the secret nature of these elements, a lot of things can be imagined by those outside of the secrets. That’s when discussions about Freemasons get juicy and can easily be nothing more than gossip, hearsay, and creative imaginations gone wild.

Because Freemasons believe in a Supreme Being, they certainly have a religious element that influences all they do. Freemasons don’t claim to be a separate religion, but open to all religions, provided they believe in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul.

I have a friend who is a mason, not a Freemason. He is an artisan who lays block, brick, and stone. I’ve been on a number of mission trips with him.
I asked him what he thought of Freemasons. He didn’t claim to know much about them but quipped that it seems like they are a group of overweight, middle-aged men—or older—who are trying to get others to join their club before they die, and they do good deeds in the community.

Joining a men’s club can certainly be a fine thing for an Adventist to do, provided you’re a male adult. While I applaud the wonderful service that Freemasons do in the community, I won’t be joining them. That’s because I believe the Supreme Being has a name, Jesus, and He wants a personal relationship with us. Also, based on my understanding of the Bible, I don’t believe in the immortality of the soul. And I would rather spend my time and energies as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian promoting:

•    males and females meeting and serving together.
•    openness rather than secrecy.
•    local involvement plus worldwide connections.
•    grace, not working up the degrees.
•    worship not being limited to service activities.

Praise God for all of the good things that Freemasons do. Pray to God for all the other elements. And be proactive in living out your Adventism by gathering with fellow believers and serving your community.



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