Received: by NEMOMUS (MUSIC Mailer V2.3.3); Tue, 29 Sep 92 23:00:00 EDT Received: from mbu

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Received: by NEMOMUS (MUSIC Mailer V2.3.3); Tue, 29 Sep 92 23:00:00 EDT Received: from by ACADEMIC.NEMOSTATE.EDU (IBM VM SMTP V2R1) with TCP; Tue, 29 Sep 92 22:59:11 CST Received: from by (911016.SGI/4.7) id AA11854; Wed, 30 Sep 92 00:01:34 -0400 Posted-From: The MITRE Corporation, Bedford, MA Received: by bistromath (4.1/SMI-4.1-MHS-7.0) id AA27249; Wed, 30 Sep 92 00:04:30 EDT Date: Wed, 30 Sep 92 00:04:30 EDT Message-Id: <9209300404.AA27249@bistromath> From: Peter Trei Subject: Masonic Digest, Vol. 4, Number 16. Apparently-To: JOHN%NEMOMUS.bitnet@ACADEMIC.NEMOSTATE.EDU MASONIC Digest Tuesday, 29 September 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 16 Today's Topics: Administrivia. (Peter Trei) Low quality of religious discussion in Masonry (Paul Rich) Another pagan Mason. (Edward M. Averett) Re: Wiccan Masons (Don Perkins) (Stuart Lewis) Occult vs. Masonry (Leonardo Stevens) Send all submissions and requests to MASONIC digest is moderated. Please remember: THIS IS A PUBLIC FORUM: YOU MUST ASSUME THAT MANY READERS ARE NON-MASONS. Please include a relevant subject line. If you require anonymity, say so at the top of your message (and give a nom-de-net). All contributions remain the property (copyright 1992), and responsibility of the authors. My own comments remain mine (Copyright 1992 Peter Trei), and represent only my views at the time of posting - not neccesarily those of my employer, or of any Grand Lodge. Back issues are available, as are a few standard pamphlets, either directly from me or via anonymous ftp to site ============================================================================== From: Peter Trei Subject: Administrivia. I've decided that the wicca/religion thread is becoming much to dominant in the Digest, and am killing it in this issue. The posts here represent the most recent stuff I've received on the topic, and I'm not going to permit followups in the Digest. Of course, interested parties are free to write directly to each other (and I would'nt mind being CC'd), but the topic of the suitability of various faiths will not reappear here for a while, probably not until the new year. I seriously considered just dropping it without sending out my current "inbox", but some of the posts are of good quality - I just don't feel that they are really on topic for the digest, and are generating far more heat than light. In particular, it bothers me that a lot of the posts are starting to be attacks by proponents of one faith on the faith's of others, a most un-Masonic behavior. If this is the first issue of the digest you are reading, please realize that it is atypical. ============================================================================== From: (Paul Rich Education) Date: Wed, 9 Sep 92 9:11:21 WST Subject: Low quality of religious discussion in Masonry The discussion which keeps going under different titles about the religious beliefs required for membership points up the lack of rationality to requiring a theological belief from someone (belief in deity) in an organisation that prohibits theological discussion. The views of members about what a god is (person, emotion, force, historical tendency, experience) would be just as varied as they are among members of an individual religious sect. A fairly common statement that God is Love doesn't really advance discussion very far, since concepts of love have caused endless debate. As for sacred books, if someone felt that their sacred book was the collected works of a particular poet, there is really no standard of orthodoxy to prevent Browning or (perhaps appropriately) Kipling being placed reverently on the altar. In actual fact, the intellectual quality of the members today isn't very high and the discussion of theology would be beyond most lodges - so there is a practical argument for not discussing the subject. Paul Rich The University of Western Australia ============================================================================== Date: Tue, 8 Sep 92 21:39:05 EST From: Morgen Corona Subject: Another pagan Mason. Hi Peter. I very much liked the article on Wiccans and Masonry. It was well thought out, well-spoken, and illustrated most of the points I was about to write you about, so I won't. However, I will contribute my own weight to list of those who are Pagan and Mason. I am a practicing pagan, an initiated Wiccan priest, and I am now on the path to becoming a Voodoun Priest. Without going into too much detail I will point out simply that voodoo (except in hollywood), has nothing to do with voodoo dolls, the devil or satanism, or human sacrifice. It is an afro-syncretic religion with a primary source of Western Africa, mostly the area we recognize as Nigeria and surrounding areas. They believe in a supreme deity, and represent more of a theological structure than the worship of any particular deity or group therein. There are even voodooists who worship Christ specifically. I also believe that I am a Christian to the extent that I believe in much of the doctrine of Christ, if not in much of the doctrine of the organized churches that claim to represent Him. I joined a Masonic lodge in Massachusetts. I was asked specifically if I believed in a Supreme Being, and truthfully answered yes. There are those in my lodge who know that I am not primarily of the Judeo-Christian belief system. The majority of the members of my mother lodge are what my wife called, "a bunch of old Jewish grandfathers", which made her very much happier with the notion of my joining the Masons for a number of reasons. Though I have not yet in North Carolina found a lodge within my commuting range of community that I would enjoy affiliating with, I am getting to know several Prince Hall Masons in the area, and hope one day to be able to consider affiliating with one of them. Unfortunately, North Carolina still seems to me to be rather monolithic in its cultural attitudes for the most part, and this has interferred with my ability to comfortably attend a number of lodges in my immediate vicinity, though I have visited several a bit farther from here that I would gladly affiliate with. (Note that I grew up in this area.) Edward M. Averett ============================================================================== From: (Don Perkins) Subject: Re: Wiccan Masons (anonymous) Date: Wed, 9 Sep 92 12:28:24 EDT > > Subject: Wiccan Masons > From: Anonymous > > [ PT: I received this indirectly - I don't know who the original author ] > [ is, nor can I confirm his Masonic status. However, I thought it was ] > [ worth including. I would like to note that many (probably the ] > [ majority) of regular Masons in the US would have a LOT of problems ] > [ with a Wiccan/Pagan candidate who was open about the nature of his ] > [ faith. ] > There are currently several reasons why I have chosen NOT to become a Mason, your comment above is one of them. [ PT: I'd like to point out that the problem is not so much one of ] [ Paganism being unsuitable (IMHO), but rather one of weirding out folk ] [ whose only "knowledge" of it comes from sensationalist articles on ] [ Satanism. ] The closing paragraph of this post was very inspiring to me: [ quoted text deleted - its the final paragraph of the the anonymous ] [ post in v04n014.] Unfortunately, it seems that while "great men of all times have supported Masonry", a large number of masons don't support the Masonic ideal of equality of mankind. [ PT: True enough - we're not perfect, though most of us are trying to ] [ improve. ] I submit for your consideration the post from another "Unsatisfied" customer: [ JS's post complaining (PT: I think on the basis of outdated info) of ] [ the lack of minorities in Rainbow deleted. ] The "situation" is not just with Rainbow... Concerning the current debate about Prince Hall, if Masons actually lived the Masonic creed, THERE WOULD BE NO DEBATE. Arguments for tradition are fine, if you are discussing ritual. But to apply this to Prince Hall is not rational. After all, haven't the Muslims traditionally hated the Jews? Throughout history, hasn't one people traditionally enslaved another? Is this any reason to continue the practice? [ PT: There are legit arguments against recognizing Prince Hall Grand ] [ Lodges, based on the irregularity of their origin, and the American ] [ doctrine of territorial exclusivity. IMHO, applying these strictly is] [ hypocritical in that many other GLs are now recognized which ] [ originally had similar or greater problems. ] There, now I have gotten that off my chest. I have been building up to that for some time now and I just wanted to get it out and do not wish to offend any person, Mason or not. I will close by stating that until such time as a majority of Masons profess their creed by virtue of their actions as well as their words, I will remain a non-Mason. Don P. ============================================================================== From: Stuart Lewis ( >Subject: Wiccan Masons > I have received copies of this journal through a brother who >thought I would be interested. I am attempting to read them but I >would like to respond to a number of comments that have appeared a few >issues back with regard to Wicca and Masons. ............... Well, depending on how far back you're reading, you are most likely referring to comments made by me. That would be Vol. 4, #5. I went back and re-read it so it would be fresh. > What I have read has contained a lot of hostility. From the >Wiccans or pagans who are not Masons there has been a general >misunderstanding of the fraternity and some impoliteness as to our >goals. ....... If you'll re-read that issue, and actually a few prior ones, you'll see that originally, my comments were not aimed at individuals - they were aimed at the subject matter itself which, I felt, was slowly taking over the newsletter. It seemed that we were talking less and less about Masonry, and more and more about the occult, withcraft, paganism, druidism; trying to find ties and connections with Masonry, etc, etc. My comments were an attempt to try and pound a stake through the heart of the "witch" dialogue :-), and steer it back towards Masonic dialogue - I felt that (still do) the mere presence and expenditure of a lot of space on these topics might create a lot of unneeded and un- welcome wariness by the non-Mason readers. (Re-read my opening paragraphs where I asked some specific questions of the brethren regarding lodge activity in an attempt to start a new thread). >...............................I am somewhat hurt by the suggestion >of some that I, as a Wiccan, might not be a proper candidate for >Masonry. I hope to address the Masons who read and pray that they >will look to this issue with the sense of brotherhood and Masonic >charity that is in each Mason. Done. However, with respect to your first sentence, my original "rebutts", if you will, were prompted by a non-Mason wiccan who, in a submittal regarding an appropriate VSL (Vol. 4, #2), proposed what would be his version and where opened, then basically apologized for having as much as a creed of conduct. He also made it apparent that he was multi-theistic (something that Peter and I communicated about - each of us learning something in the process) which, at least in my jurisdiction (Washington state), is very clearly not allowed. Based on these statements, I wrote what I wrote. It is obvious from your post that there are more facets to this than I was aware. I do humbly apologize to you for any offense taken. > I would note that there seemed to be an assumption by some that >there are no Wiccans who are Masons. This is not true. ....... I don't think I would assume that, but my position then, *based on what had earlier been posted*, would be that the belief (wicca) was incompatible with the tenets and landmarks of Freemasonry. However, the flavor of your post tells me that what you believe is not the same as what the prior person believed. (Are there different "sects" to this, i.e. like Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Sunni, Shiite, etc?) (*I just KNOW I'm going to re-start this whole thing all over again :-) *) > I would note that the fourth constitutional question previously >posted requiring an acknowledged faith in *one* Supreme Being is not >asked in our jurisdiction... This also is in reference to one of my posts. The four questions to which you refer were taken verbatim from the Washington Monitor And Freemason's Guide. However, the they also appear, very slightly re-written, on our Petition For The Degrees Of Freemasonry. I was quite surprised that this is not standard everywhere. (again, Peter and I corresponded to this point and he basically agreed that landmarks point to this (monotheism) as the standard accepted belief.) > ...I have only been asked if I profess faith >in a Supreme Being and the honest answer is yes. ... > ...No one has ever asked me how I >conceive "God". I would not dream of asking that question of another >brother. Neither do I feel that the question is relevant to Masonic >values, if the previous question is answered honestly. I agree wholeheartedly. > My understanding of Masonry is that we are, at root, an >organization based on the Universal brotherhood of all men as children >of celestial parents. (I would note that this belief is supported by >the discussion of Masonic tenets in one of the lectures in the first >degree. The exact content thereof each Mason may review for himself.) Ah, but here again (at least in Washington), the reference is clearly monotheistic: "...who, created by one Almighty Parent and in- habitants of the same planet..." (from the first of the three great tenets - Peter, this is not considered secret in Washington - Stuart) And indeed, this montheistic wording appears everywhere throughout the lectures, charges and rituals of all three degrees. It is not that way by happenstance. (* this anonymous submitter continued on with some very thought provoking writing, which I removed for space. As Peter stated, we can't know for sure whether this person really is a Mason, but I would assume so. I, for one, feel that there is a very acute difference of belief between this person and the previous Wiccan submitter. Based on this latest submittion, I admit that I appear to have painted what may be differing sects all with one brush. My education continues...... Again, to this individual I offer my apology for any offense taken or perceived with respect to my original postings this spring. >[name withheld] Stuart Lewis P.M. King Soloman #60, F&AM P.H.P. Rob't B. Palmer #46, RAM [ PT: Stuart, you'll be missed. If you get on Compu$erve or some other ] [ commercial service, I should be able to email the Digest. ] ============================================================================== Subject: Occult vs. Masonry From: cyberden! Date: Mon, 21 Sep 92 02:44:23 PDT Open Letter to Bro. Brandon Ray: Dear Bro. Brandon, Thanx for taking the time to examine my ideas regarding THE Craft & its relation to occultism, wicca, etc. Because this is an "open" forum, I feel it is not appropriate to discuss Masonry itself, due to our various obligations. As much as possible , I live by my Masonic oaths instead of just observing the ones I find convienent. Masonry badly needs a way to comunicate with itself -- away from "cowans & evesdroppers." I spent nearly 20 years studying various types of occultism & practicing many different religions; so I am able to clear up many misconceptions about both of these areas that can be confusing. Firstly, the difference between a "cult" and a genuine religion -- cults may come and go, but a real religion must withstand the test of time. Generally, religion refers to a belief system that has at least one million "adherents" world-wide. (Masonry has been very conservative about this. The G.L. of Utah for many, many years didn't allow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (L.D.S.) sometimes wrongly refered to as "Mormonism" -- to become Masons -- even though they have some seven million members and are still growing!) Cults are a whole subject of study in itself. Two good books are "All God's Children" and "Youth, Brainwashing, & the Extreemist Cults". These may be available at a large Christian bookstore & at least one of them is published by Zondervan publishing. There are very specific criteria for judging cults, which I won't go into here. Next --about "wicca". Firstly it is correctly pronounced "witch-ah" and is from the Welsh word meaning "bent or twisted". Modent wicca abounds with hypocrisy and contradictions. Witchcraft in any form was illegal in Great Britan untill 1951. Most wiccans won't admit it, but their major r"religious" text ie. _The Book of Shadows_ by Gerald Gardner was actually ghost-writtan by that old devil-worshipper Aleister Crowley. (More on him later) Crowley's hatred of Masonry caused him to try & add as much confusion between Masonry & occultism as possible. That's why wiccans falsely refer too what-they-do as "The Craft". (Read "A Witch's Bible" by Stewart & Jane Farrar pub. by Magickal Childe Press for more on this.) Wiccans worship a "horned-god" which they say has nothing to do with the devil. You have to study the history of witchcraft in Great Britan to understand all this denial of "the dark-side" which is obviously transparently, false. Again we don't have the time here, but FYI the term "white-witchcraft" was first used by William Seabrook in his book "Witchcraft - its power in the world today". Also see Marcello Truzzi's "The Occult revival as popular culture" and "The Complete Witch or what to do when Virtue fails" by Anton LaVey (If you can find it.) At the administartive levels at least, there is little difference between the "traditions" or "covens" etc. They are mostly led by fugatives from the political left who have little to do these days with the decline of communism. Politically this all ties in with the anti-nuclear, or environmental groups. The sad fact is that they have forgotten about helping "people". The homeless and the hungry are helped by the Christian Churches, The Masons, & service clubs like the Lions, Rotary etc. There is also a problem with rascism, & racial hatred, & that is very dissapointing from people who claim that they're going to "save the world". This is especially true among groups who are into Celtic or Welsh traditions. Even mainstream racial hate groups draw upon them for membership. This isn't to say that Christian are completely free from these problems, since they once accepted slave-owning as their devine-right; however Christianity was founded to be a spiritual advancement from paganism and its killing of animals & humans for religious ritual reasons, just as Bhuddhism was founded to supercede Hinduism & the Vedic sacrificial processes. Nothing is more backwords than believing that a return to paganism is going (spiritually) a step forward. I personally believe in the gods of Africa, Ancient Egypt, the Native Americans, as well as the various oriental religions. And I can still believe in fundamentalist Christianity. I see the unity behind the diversity. It's really simple, but can only work if you appreciate the humanity without self-deceit. Each set of gods represents the spiritual nature of a specific people. If you don't care about people, religion is a waste of time, or worse, a rationalization for doing evil to any culture you may personally dislike. There's no doubt, Masonry is the best system to see the truth about all of mankind and its various beliefs and religions. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now we shall look at the "other side of the coin" as it were. Crowley's influence on mass-movements is beyond the scope of the present effort, as is his elaborate system of "double-speak" he used to shield himself from prosecution; however we can clear up the questions regarding his relationship to both Masonry and satanism. It was unfair of me to call Crowley a satanist, this is unfair to the self-styled satanists who merely study the occult in its darker aspect. Crowley was involved in what could be more correctly termed "devil-worship". I could illustrate this with many facts, but space not permitting, I'll use one story which can be found in Crowley's "Confessions" his self-styled "autohagiography". Crowley loved to shock people, particularly those of Victorian England's upper crust. He appeared at a "society-affair" one night, & promptly pulled down his pants and defacated on the carpet. He then told the somewhat amazed crowd that since he was "a god" that they should build a shrine for his excrement and then worship it. This is a good example of the Crowley attitude, and that of his present day followers, who still find this kind of thing amusing. FYI there is no such group as the Satanic Church of America, if you refer to LaVey's Chuch of Satan, it is a one-man corporation registered a s a profit-making corporation. I have the incorporation papers of this and other groups in ASCII-textfile format as I am planning to write a serious study on this phenomenon. There are at least four different groups which could be called "Satanic-Churches" but again, space limitations prevent more than mentioning this briefly. I will include 3 definitions for you, from various reference books: Firstly, the entry on Crowley from "Dictionary of Occultism pub. by Doubleday: CROWLEY,ALEISTER Scottish Satanist (1875-1947) founder of a cult violently opposed to Christianity, and editor and author of many works on the occult. His numerous magical writings include many articles published in THE EQUINOX (a journal which he founded) & contributions to a niumber of obscure magazines.) Here lists some of his better known books. Secondly: The definition of Satanism from A Catholic Dictionary pub. by MacMillian Co. SATANISM: The conscious worship of Satan by miscreants banded together for the purpose. This worship finds expression in many hidious and obscene ceremonies and in particular in a blasphemous parody of the Sacrifice of the Mass, "the Black Mass". Though probably there has been much exageration as to the prevalence of this diabolical cult, it can hardly be questioned that it was practiced by such charactors as Gilles de Rais, the Abbe Guibourg and Mme. do Montespan, and that something of the sort persists today in holes and corners. One of the principle objects of Satanists is to obtain possession of the Consecrated Host in order to profain it. (From "Painted Black" by Carl A. Raschke pub. Harper & Row SF 1990.) Satanism is not a new is a sophisticated and highly effective motivational system for the spread of violence and cultural terrorism. Satanism today is not - if it ever has been- a rejection of middle class values and a somewhat ingenuous expression of chronic adolescent 'alienation' is the gestation of a permanent terrorist subculture in America. My writing on Crowley and Masonry will have to be continued next time, as there isn't enough space here. Fraternally, L. Stevenson 32~ __________________________________________________________________________ | / |\ | H E \ Y B E R |/ E N [ moon!cyberden! ] __________________________________________________________________________ ============================================================================== End of MASONIC Digest *********************


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank