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Unorthodox Doctrinal Discussion orthodox and unorthodox Christians only - A forum to discuss/debate theological doctrines not accepted by mainstream evangelical Christianity (eg. full preterism, unitarianism).

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  #51  
Unread 19th December 2010, 03:42 PM
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Apparently it was a long time ago.
More memory problems? I'm not surprised.

I cannot recall what I asked of you 3-months ago
You could not even remember it if you saw it 300 times, and all of them yesterday.

Please point to the source where I made this request.

Sure:


CARM BOARDS.

I would like to see exactly what I said, and how I said it, in full context.
Then go there and look it up. As you can see, I have my hands full complying with the request at the moment, not to mention, interrupting objections.

Given how you approached this thread and the second one by a similar title, I suspect you have gone far overboard with however I may have asked for it.
Not really. It was stated in just as general terms as I've stated it here. But I have to give you credit, this is a novel approach, even for you: try to shoot down the posting of this material by taking potshots at everything under the sun--except, that is, the statements of the OP; when that fails, bombard it with sidetracks; and when nothing else works, then just go into denial that you said it.

Seems to me if there was ever any legitimacy to your denial, the denial would have come first. Nobody goes to the lengths y'all have gone to with attempts to derail a thread, if they truly dispute matters they said; rather, they go into denial automatically. Sometimes timing is everything. In this case, the choice to introduce this now after several pages have gone by, comes across as any port in a storm.

**Note: Sound documentation, as it relates to our purpose, is the objective written Word of God (the Holy Bible) as compared to Grand Lodge issued Masonic literature buttressed by quotations from well-known Masonic authors.
That's a laugh. Anybody who has ever followed your posts knows that the "buttressing" generally comes first with you, and it's "Grand Lodge material" whenever you choose to get around to it--if ever. A stated methodology is just that--stated. The proof is in the pudding.

By way of example: You were away from this forum for quite some time. I returned here quite some time before you eventually returned. Let's check out what kinds of material you began appealing to for your arguments from the very outset when you came back and posted on the "Can a Christian be a Freemason?" thread:

(1) "As one Ex-Mason for Jesus put it,"

(2) Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, pages 213-219

(3) Indiana Monitor & Freemason's Guide, 1993 Edition, page 41

(4) The Craft and Its Symbols by Allen E. Roberts - Page 6

(5) Masonic Manual of Minnesota, p16, 1998

(6) William Larson, 33° Kenton Lodge #145 of the Grand Lodge of Oregon

(7) Max Müller

(8) Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

(9) Grand Lodge of California

(10) Theistic Satanism

(11) Golden Dawn

(12) Past Master, HJPT of Fargo, ND

(13) Eric Charpentier, Royal Victoria #57, Grand Lodge of Quebec

(14) Henry Wilson Coil 33°, Coil’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

(15) William Steve Burkle KT, 32°

(16) What I cited from a 32° Mason, on a well-Masonically-respected website

(17) Mike Gentry on the O.F.F. website
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'][/font]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'](18) [/font]Grand Lodge of Indiana, Indiana Monitor & Freemason's Guide, 1993 Edition, page 41

(19) The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, by Manly Palmer Hall

(20) Grand Lodge of Louisiana

(21) Wilmshurst, Meaning of Masonry, page 209

(22) Albert Mackey, from your very own Grand Lodge of South Carolina,

(23) Chapter 27, The Legend of the Third Degree, The Symbolism of Freemasonry
by Albert G. Mackey

(24) The History Of Freemasonry by Albert G. Mackey 33°

(25) George Oliver, The History of Initiation

(26) Wilmshurst, Meaning of Masonry, page 209

(27) J. D. Buck, George H. Steinmetz, and other well-known Masonic authors

(28) Masonic author J. D. Buck 32° Symbolism or Mystic Masonry (1897)

(29) R. Swinburne Clymer, M. D., The Mysticism of Masonry (1924)

(30) S. R. Parchment, Ancient Operative Masonry (1930)

(31) George H. Steinmetz, Freemasonry Its Hidden Meaning (published in 1948 by Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company)

(32) Grand Lodge of Indiana, The Master Mason

(33) Henry C. Clausen, 33° former Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commander, Your Amazing Mystic Powers(1985)

(34) J. D. Buck - A Militant Mason by Bro. Joseph Fort Newton, 33°

(35) The Builders, by Joseph Fort Newton, [1914], page 53

(36) PIKE, MACKEY AND THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES by S. BRENT MORRIS, 33°

(37) en.wiktionary.org/wiki/

(38) PIKE, MACKEY AND THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES by S. BRENT MORRIS, 33°

(39) Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Cleveland

(40) According to the Masonic Service Association

(41) Freemasonry and Hinduism: Chhotalal Pattni Talks to Julian Rees about Links, Freemasonry Today - Spring 2007 - Issue 40

(42) The following was presented in St. Michael Lodge No. 2933 in Singapore on 29th July, 2006 by a distinguished Muslim Mason by the name of Shaikh Hatim Fidahussein Nakhoda, a Past Master of District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelego, UGLE.

(43) Islam and Freemasonry, W. Bro. Shaikh Hatim Fidahussein Nakhoda PM, Research Lodge St. Michael No. 2933, Singapore Dictrict Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago, UGLE.

(44) AN EXAMINATION OF THE MASONIC RITUAL by W. Bro. Meredith Sanderson
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'][/font]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'](45) [/font]WOR. BRO. J.S.M. WARD, M.A., F.S.S. (Author of Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods.)

(46) MASONIC SYMBOLISM AND VEDANTA
by W.Bro.Chakravarthy Sampath Madhavan
Lodge Jyothi # 253, Salem
Grand Lodge of India.

(47) Albert Pike

(48) Colin Dyer: Symbolism in Craft Freemasonry

(49) F.V.Mataralay: The Masonic Way

(50) W.L.Wilmhurst: The Meaning of Masonry

(51) INTRODUCTION TO FREEMASONRY - ENTERED APPRENTICE by CARL H. CLAUDY

(52) As Albert Pike said

(53) Me and millions, upon millions, of other Christians

(54) it's been shown HERE where the Qu'ran is open during the first three degrees in Masonry in Muslim countries. [NOTE: it was "shown" with an unattributed "citation" whose source was not revealed, and comment declined when questioned about it]

(55) Wilmshurst, Meaning of Masonry, page 209

(56) Wilmshurst, Meaning of Masonry, page 212

(57) CAPRO Apologetics Project website Cults/Freemasonry

(58) CARM forums

(59) Henry W. Coil, 33º ‘Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia’, page 512

(60) Henry W. Coil, 33º ‘Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia’, page 512

(70) Carl Claudy, Foreign Countries, page 11

(71) Conscience and the Craft by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, 1992, pages 2-3 [NOTE: "Conscience and the Craft" is by Jim Tresner, NOT the GL of New Mexico, the attribution is false. Moreover, you did not quote this from the GL of New Mexico, you quoted it from Steven Tsoukalas, "Masonic Rites and Wrongs," who MADE the false attribution in his paper. Just one more case among many, of your plagiarism in citing without attribution]

(72) Grand Lodge of Florida, Lodge System of Masonic Education, Booklet 1, pg. 11

(73) Albert Pike 33º, Morals and Dogma, pages 213-219

(74) Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Albert G. Mackey 33º, rev. ed., Vol. 2, 1966, pages 846-47

(75) The Mystic Tie by Albert Mackey

(76) Lexicon of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey

(77) Robert Macoy 33º, A Dictionary of Freemasonry, page 324

(78) Joseph F. Newton, The Builders, pages 250-251

(79) T. S. Webb Masonic Monitor

(80) Lost Keys of Freemasonry by Manley P Hall

(81) Freemasonry: An Interpretation by Martin L. Wagner

(82) every Masonic ritual contains the following

(83) my point is eminently clear,“if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it’s a duck!”

(84) Roy L. Demming, S.W., of the Utah Research Lodge

(85) Union Lodge #48 under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Maryland

(86) The Bible in Masonry By R.W. and Rev. Joseph Fort Newton, 33º Mason

(87) Garfield Lodge #41 under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Washington

(88) MasonicDictionary.com

(89) "The Great Light in Masonry" by R.W. and Rev. Joseph Fort Newton, 33º Mason, page 85

(90) Holman Masonic Bible

(91) Entered Apprentice - Candidate Guide by the Grand Lodge of CA

(92) Bill McElligott under the auspices of the United Grand Lodge of England

(93) "Jurisprudence of Freemasonry" by Albert G. Mackey From the Grand Lodge of South Carolina

(SEE NEXT POST)
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  #52  
Unread 19th December 2010, 03:44 PM
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Okay, let's see how well you fared:
 
(1) ACTUAL GRAND LODGE MATERIALS: 7 times out of 93 citations, or 7%
 
(2) NUMBER OF TIMES A GRAND LODGE WAS FALSELY APPEALED TO: 9 times, just under 10%
 
But here are some of the more telling stats:
 
(3) NUMBER OF TIMES A MASON'S RANK OR DEGREE WAS ADDED FOR THE APPEARANCE OF GREATER AUTHORITY THAN MIGHT BE GIVEN IT OTHERWISE: 23 times, roughly 25%
 
(4) NUMBER OF TIMES PIKE, MACKEY, or HALL WERE APPEALED TO: 13, about 14%
 
(5) TIMES OBSCURE OR UNKNOWN NAMES WERE APPEALED TO: 19, 20%
 
Some things that may be concluded from your posting time spent on that thread:
 
(a) You follow your own claim about Grand Lodge material only 7% of the time.
(b) Combining #2 & 3, 34% of the time, GL's were falsely appealed to ("under the auspices of the GL of," etc.) or a Mason's rank or degrees were included, to bolster the appearance of legitimacy for the claims.
(c) The triumvirate of Pike/Hall/Mackey were appealed to 14% of the time.
 
Therefore, you give every reason to believe that you are more interested in creating the appearance of sticking primarily with Grand Lodge materials, while actually you are all over the map.
 
 
So if you are going to fulfill my request to my satisfaction, rather than your own, then I suggest you follow the same method. Start with God's Word, because it, and it alone, is the ultimate authority on religious matters; especially regarding His nature, who He specifically is, and what constitutes His divinely revealed Will to mankind. Secondly, support it with official Grand Lodge documentation, because it and it alone, is the ultimate authority on Freemasonry and Masonic matters. Then, and only then, feel free to support what Grand Lodge's have to say with the interpretations of Masonic authors.
Well, since the above was predicated upon an approach as indicated in your citation from your website, then that approach having been shown not to be followed in at least two of the three major particulars stated, and the third (the biblical) being only a literalistic, dogmatic, narrowed, and rigid form of interpreting Scripture, the claim has been invalidated by the failure to come anywhere close to adhering to it, by its chief (alleged) proponent.
 
Yet no one cares about the opinions of Masons.
Gee, Mike, my copy of the survey must have gotten lost in the mail. Can you please post for us a general outline of the manner in which that survey was conducted, and the results gathered?
 
What matters is what they are taught by the Grand Lodge and whether or not that teaching is aligned perfectly with the teachings of the Holy Bible. If what they teach is not perfectly and completely biblical, it is NOT biblically compatible.
In whose opinion? Problem is, I've seen some of your Bible "interpretation," and it leaves a lot to be desired. So I submit, it'll be a cold day in a hot place before anyone will be appointing you as the arbiter of what is "biblical" or "biblically compatible."
 
In the meantime, while you find the source from which I supposedly made this request, may I suggest your subsequent posts follow the correct method?
That's easy. No, you may not. I haven't seen any "correct method" from you, ever, that would warrant your making the claim in the first place.
 
Let's face it, this is how it has gone here since the threads began:
 
I started with some of the key historic documents of Masonry, which establishes the content found in its origins. I moved from there to the monitorial content found in Ahiman Rezon. Your objection to the biblical citations from Ahiman Rezon, in the past, were that "Masonry NEVER includes the biblical references" in its biblical citations. So I pared it down to only those which included the citations you CLAIMED were "NEVER" there, which resulted in very little change in the size of what had posted already.
 
I went from that to AQC, the world's most prestigious research lodge, to show the same from their publications. Then I moved to various monitorial and other Grand Lodge publications. At some point I separated, after Skip's objections, monitorial from anything of any other nature. When objections shifted to dates, I posted from very recent sources and posted quite a number of them to show that Christian and/or biblical content in Masonry is not a thing of the past as you claim.
 
Now, after having tried to sidetrack the posting of this material, and being unsuccessful, you try to insist on a methodology which you yourself do not even adhere to--which is nothing new, of course, we've known that for quite some time.
 
I do have a suggestion for you. If you really wish to tweak the stated purpose of this thread, come up with something that has at least a smidgin of believability.
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  #53  
Unread 27th December 2010, 03:10 PM
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We had a York Rite meeting last week that was very inspiring. The meeting was primarily intended to install officers for the coming year, so much of the regular business was deferred to the next meeting. At the opening of the meeting, one of the Sir Knights asked me if he could give the opening prayer. I gave him permission, and he proceeded to read the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, from the Gospel of Luke. Every time I hear it, I am moved, and this was certainly no exception. It really set the stage for the evening's proceedings. After we concluded the installations and business, we ended by wishing everyone a joyous Christmas, and then closed with a solemn prayer to Christ, our Savior.

It is amazing being a part of an organization that reveres Jesus Christ, integrates Christianity into all that it does, and whose members pledge themselves to defend the Christian religion. Truly inspiring.
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  #54  
Unread 13th January 2011, 10:24 PM
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It is amazing being a part of an organization that reveres Jesus Christ, integrates Christianity into all that it does, and whose members pledge themselves to defend the Christian religion.
I'll tell you what's amazing too, about the threads here: after 24 pages between this thread and its sister thread, the available material from regular Freemasonry has been so abundant, it hasn't even come close to being exhausted. In fact, the main reason there haven't been FAR more than that already, is trying to find the time to get it all assimilated and posted.

By way of contrast, the thread begun to try to counter it, after going half as many pages, has already had its material get so scarce, that its proponents are having to rely on spurious pseudo-Masonic groups and fringe Freemasons who were Masons in name only, to find anything to post. The BC/Yukon website, which has come to be regarded as a solid source of reliable information, says of such Masons:

It must be stressed that although Freemasonry recognizes many of these men as freemasons, no recognized masonic body, and few freemasons, endorse their opinions and conclusions as an accepted extension or interpretation of the teachings of Freemasonry. Their published works have had no positive or lasting impact on Freemasonry. In fact their writings are more often quoted, out of context, by anti-masons attempting to link masonic teachings with these individuals' opinions.

These authors do not, in any fashion, represent the teachings or beliefs of recognized Freemasonry.
That closing line says it all.
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  #55  
Unread 14th January 2011, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Rev Wayne View Post
By way of contrast, the thread begun to try to counter it, after going half as many pages, has already had its material get so scarce, that its proponents are having to rely on spurious pseudo-Masonic groups and fringe Freemasons.
Interesting word you use there; “spurious” meaning fake, bogus, false, and the like. But if you stop and think about it for a moment, when you position specific applications, by Grand Lodges, of general Masonic principles as though they are the standard, rather than the other way around, technically you are creating spurious Masonry.
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  #56  
Unread 15th January 2011, 09:41 AM
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Interesting word you use there; “spurious” meaning fake, bogus, false, and the like. But if you stop and think about it for a moment, when you position specific applications, by Grand Lodges, of general Masonic principles as though they are the standard, rather than the other way around, technically you are creating spurious Masonry.
Typical that you would put your own spin on it to turn it to your wishes--even more typical that you do so as you criticize someone else for what you perceive to be the same thing. Not that it's anything new, I've pointed out for quite some time the antimasonic double standard that always gets employed.

But the interesting thing on this thread and its companion has been, that despite a couple of occasions where there have been objections (usually by you), and then replies to the objections, for the most part this material has been posted as is, and allowed to speak for itself. Yet, even without any comments being added to it, you STILL have found it objectionable, and raised charges similar to what you just said. The objection has been raised about the dates of it, yet there has been abundant material provided as well, that comes from within the last couple of decades of Masonry.

And if it's "spurious" Masonry, as you claim, to post material with biblical/Christian content, then why on earth has Swedish Rite, and the lodges that practice it, NOT been declared "spurious" or "irregular" as well?

And the fact still stands, even if one were to acknowledge what you just claimed, that you engage in spin jobs to "create" the things you accuse, because you have been shown over and over that the "esoteric" side of Masonry you love to accuse, is not mainstream by any stretch of the word, and has been denounced by some leading Masonic writers and leaders of our time. So the matter is still as I said, that what I present seems to be endless, while what you come up with, you are having to resort to pseudo- and quasi-Masonic content. And while what I post pretty much speaks for itself, yours has to be "helped" with mega-spin.
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  #57  
Unread 15th January 2011, 02:18 PM
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And if it's "spurious" Masonry, as you claim, to post material with biblical/Christian content, then why on earth has Swedish Rite, and the lodges that practice it, NOT been declared "spurious" or "irregular" as well?
That's a fair question. First of all, to post YOUR opinion based on "Christian" content is NOT "spurious" Masonry. To stress YOUR opinion as if it IS Freemasonry, would make it "spurious." My assessment of how strongly you've argued your interpretation has led me to conclude that, that it is precisely what you believe is—Freemasonry. So therein lies my concern and my contention; on that point.

Second, the Swedish Rite is NOT "spurious" because they adhere to the general standards of "regularity" and take NO position, as you so vehemently imply, that their practice or interpretation IS the standard that constitutes "regular" Masonry.

If any "regular" Grand Lodge, suddenly declared — or vehemently implied, as you do — that the "Christian" interpretation IS THE standard interpretation that is to be considered as the only proper Masonic interpretation of Freemasonry, generally speaking, then they would be in violation of the "Basic Principles" of both "regularity" and would probably suffer denouncement of their overall "recognition" as a result.

The only reason YOU have not been "Masonically" ex-communicated, so to speak, is because as an 'individual' Mason you have the Masonic privilege to "interpret" Freemasonry as you wish. However, as an institution, Freemasonry in general, and Grand Lodges in particular, do not have that luxury.

That's why it would be more ingenuous of you, if in your defense of Freemasonry, you would stress the general principle(s) as the RULE. And that the privilege of individual Grand Lodges to apply those principles more specifically, or for an individual Mason to apply them personally, is merely the freedom afforded them to do so, as they see fit in their respective jurisdictions.

Again, until you do, you give the false impression that the specifics matter more that the general principles, and from a Masonic standpoint, that is simply incorrect—and YOU know it. Failure to operate truthfully on this matter makes you appear dishonest in the true spirit of Freemasonry; plain and simple.
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First of all, to post YOUR opinion based on "Christian" content is NOT "spurious" Masonry. To stress YOUR opinion as if it IS Freemasonry, would make it "spurious." My assessment of how strongly you've argued your interpretation has led me to conclude that, that it is precisely what you believe is—Freemasonry.


Check yer files, then. What I think you'll find me saying is, Freemasonry is not a religion. What you will also find me saying is, that although its principles would best be described as "moral" than "religious," that its principles are biblical, and that they are more practical than ideological.

When I've done anything that goes beyond that, it has generally been more like a question, and you've heard it many times. Freemasonry is not a religion--but if we were to make of it one, based on (1) the religious expression it contains; and (2) the only places where it goes beyond its supposed "neutral" stance and affirms anything specific about God beyond "Architect," i.e. Creator, or anything more specific about a sacred book than "Volume of Sacred Law"; then what religion would it have to be?

And I think you yourself already know the answer, which is what bugs you. The only ritual content I can find from anything considered to be a "sacred book" or "VSL" is from the Holy Bible. The only places I find "Grand Architect" defined more specifically, is as Jehovah, or as identified in some way as the God of the Bible. There simply is no other God that Masonry directly sets forth as the Grand Architect. Check it and you will find it to be true, you can find where if affirms the Mason's RIGHT to believe otherwise, it says a MASON may believe otherwise, but you will not see any place where any other god is either set forth as, or is taken to be, the god of Masonry.

And you also need to go back and review this thread and its companion, and if you should choose (by some strange miracle) to be intellectually honest for once in your life, you would have to admit there has been no direct attempt on my part to make this thread about anything else other than presenting the citations posted for what they are, and for what they have been described to be in the OP: passages that contain either biblical/Christian content or interpretation of Masonry. Granted, there have been things that have come out in discussion as some of what has posted has been challenged. But after reminding you of the thread's OP and statement a couple of times, I really get the idea that the only reason you and Skip continue to challenge is to provoke a response that goes beyond the OP statement, so you can use that as a challenge to it. The fact is, yes, I have not been as careful as I might, and a couple of times have permitted the challenges to evoke such a response. But each time it has happened, I have eventually realized it, and every time have come back to the OP and what I stated as the purpose for the thread, and have at that point posted another reminder to you and anyone else. The fact is, if there were no challenges, there would be no responses, and it would not deviate from its stated purpose.

Second, the Swedish Rite is NOT "spurious" because they adhere to the general standards of "regularity" and take NO position, as you so vehemently imply, that their practice or interpretation IS the standard that constitutes "regular" Masonry.

Where did you get THIS fantasy, Michael?? I never said one THING about Swedish Rite being "spurious." And I CERTAINLY never said they considered their version of the ritual, or their requirement of Christian faith, to "be the standard that constitutes regular Masonry." I think your obsession has you over the edge, if this is an example of what you thought you saw when you read my post. Do you REALLY have no working concept of the ironic or rhetorical question? That WAS what was being employed, after all. I was saying to you, that if we accept YOUR idea that posting ideas about Christian content is "spurious"--which WAS your basic accusation made to me--then what will you do with Swedish Rite, where Christian faith is REQUIRED for membership in the Blue Degrees? I was simply trying to point out to you the obvious implications of your own accusation.

If any "regular" Grand Lodge, suddenly declared — or vehemently implied, as you do — that the "Christian" interpretation IS THE standard interpretation that is to be considered as the only proper Masonic interpretation of Freemasonry


That wasn't what I said, as I already pointed out. You need to get a reading comprehension checkup.

The only reason YOU have not been "Masonically" ex-communicated, so to speak, is because as an 'individual' Mason you have the Masonic privilege to "interpret" Freemasonry as you wish.

Your opinion, of course.

That's why it would be more ingenuous of you, if in your defense of Freemasonry, you would stress the general principle(s) as the RULE.


Well, I happen to live in a jurisdiction where I have heard at some point, in nearly every Lodge I've attended, a prayer ended "in Jesus' name"; where I have heard even a DDGM end a prayer "in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"; where the Holy Bible is the VSL that resides open upon the altar with Square and Compasses; where "Jehovah" is the name given for God in our monitor, in at least 3 separate places--and where numerous other references are made to the "tetragrammaton"; where the Bible is referred to as the "Great Light"; where the interpretation of "a small hill near Mount Moriah" is identified as Calvary, where Jesus, though not by name, is referred to as "our Savior," and the interpretation said to be easily recognizable to the Christian; where the Bible is directly cited in ritual; where the ritual content is about the biblical story of the building of Solomon's Temple, and its allegories draw upon the same account; and where the Bible is said to be the "rule and guide of our faith."

What's disingenuous about speaking of things as I find them here? The point is, you claim an overall neutrality for Masonry that in reality does not exist much of anywhere, when it comes to content. The MSA and other agencies tell you that the VSL can be whatever holy book the lodge wants it to be, but then declares that all the lodges in the US use the Holy Bible as theirs. The Grand Lodges fare no better. They talk in one statement about Masonry's universality, and make the same kind of statement about VSL's; and then turn around and have in their officer's manuals and Mentor's Manuals, and other places, statements about pointing to the open Bible and telling the Mason to "follow the light he therein shall find"; or telling the Mason that "no lodge in our jurisdiction may stand open unless it has the Bible opened upon its altar, and a warrant or charter allowing them to work." The difference between you and me is, you don't seem to have a clue why that is, and keep doggedly ignoring one whole complete set of such references, while trying to assert the other side of the issue as though it were the only one that existed. In other words, denying the reality of it. I, on the other hand, try to make sense of the context, and believe I have it stated correctly when I say that the one set of references that talks about neutrality and affirms generic terms, is taking into account the wide variances that can be found in Masonry in general, and naturally in that context does not assert any one over another; while the more specific references that are found, invariably derive from the statements made in individual GL jurisdications, in reference to the more specific applications that apply to their own lodges. Occasionally there will be exceptions, but mostly they are statements made by individuals within GL's, who are trying to "be Masonic" in what they say, and incorrectly think they cannot make specific statements even in cases where they are referring to specific Grand Lodges.

But we're not talking about just "MY opinions." So TELL me, Michael! THEY ARE THE ONES SAYING IT, NOT ME!!! What is "DISINGENUOUS" about POINTING THAT FACT OUT TO YOU AND TO THE READERS????

We know EXACTLY why you claim it:

Disingenuous: Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating: (freedictionary.com)
You want "straightforward or candid?" You want "sincere" and "uncalculating?" Well, you've had them all along, but you are NOT going to get anything ELSE by labeling the straightforward posting of materials, EXACTLY AS THEY APPEAR IN THE DOCUMENTS THEY WERE CITED FROM, as something that is all due to "MY OPINIONS!!"

Speaking of which, as I see I am about out of space for this post and cannot do so here, observe the following statements and what THEY (not "I") declare. Not only THAT, observe the variety of locations they come from.
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Unread 15th January 2011, 09:03 PM
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Again, until you do, you give the false impression that the specifics matter more that the general principles, and from a Masonic standpoint, that is simply incorrect—and YOU know it. Failure to operate truthfully on this matter makes you appear dishonest in the true spirit of Freemasonry; plain and simple.


Okay, let's look at some things that are being done in "general"--and apparently right under your nose--while you make claims like the above that show you are blissfully unaware of ANY of it.

Not so long ago, both you and Skip began raising holy hullabaloo about a comment cited from the Florida Mentor's Manual, to this effect:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their altars. In other countries the candidate who is not a Christian or a Jew is entitled to have his own sacred book substituted for the Bible. In some Lodges in other countries the altars of Masonry have more than one Volume of the Sacred Law on them and the candidate may choose the one on which he is obligated. No Lodge may stand open unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its altar with the Square and Compasses displayed thereon indicating the Degree in which the Lodge is working. The open Bible signifies that by the light of its teachings we must regulate our conduct, for it is the rule and guide of our faith. (p. 9)


With the stink you both tried to raise about this, and the spin you tried to put on it by applying statements which, unlike these, do NOT apply specifically to Florida, but to all Masonry, I naturally decided to look into it and see what was being said in other jurisdictions. And whether YOU guys ever do any research with an interest in simply finding out the TRUTH, and NOT just to find materials that you can toss around or give partial-quotes to back up your own claims, I went into fully prepared to see what I found, and see whether the bolded Florida comment about "no lodge standing open unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its altar," would prove to be an isolated comment from Florida only, or prove to be something otherwise.

What I found, I never would have thought to find, nor would I have thought to find it so quickly. After a week where I have had much church business that took priority and prevented me from finding the time to really look into this at all, I finally got the time last night. And in the course of just one evening--and I cannot over-stress to you, that what I present is only the tip of the iceberg, there is FAR more ground to cover--here are the discoveries I made in that one evening:


California:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in California may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.

This manual does not disclose any of the esoteric portions of the ritual of the Grand Lodge.
The contents of this manual therefore may be discussed with, and read by, any person interested in acquiring knowledge about Freemasonry.

Masonic organizations are invited to reproduce, extract, copy or reprint the contents of
This book.

Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of California
1111 California Street, San Francisco
CA 94108-2284 415.776.7000
Revised 2000.1
(From California Masonic education manual, "Entered Apprentice")
What I came to find was, that the above version of this statement has come to be the standard upon which a LOT of Grand Lodges are apparently modeling their own. In fact, many of them cite this statement directly, in accord with the assurance that California posts along with the statement, that they can use it as they see fit, whether that be to "reproduce, extract, copy, or reprint" it.

But check this one out, this is a statement from Canada:

The Grand Lodges of Canada use the Holy Bible as the VSL on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man's acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
As you can see, almost word for word the same, only adapted to address "Grand Lodges of Canada" rather than "Lodges in the US." But notice the same thing already stated, that "no lodge can stand open without the Bible" on it.

Now let's compare Florida again:
[FONT='Arial','sans-serif'] [/font]
Florida:

No Lodge may stand open unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its altar with the Square and Compasses displayed thereon indicating the Degree in which the Lodge is working. The open Bible signifies that by the light of its teachings we must regulate our conduct, for it is the rule and guide of our faith. (Mentor's Manual)

Now Louisiana:

The Three Great Lights of Masonry are the Holy Bible, Square and Compass. The Volume of the Sacred Law (no matter what religion) is an indispensable part of a Lodge. The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in California may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man's acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
Now Manitoba:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. (Volume of Sacred Law) on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
One thing I immediately notice, the "no lodge may stand open" sentence does not appear there.

Now let's look at Maryland Prince Hall, who has the same statement:

The Three Great Lights of Masonry are the Holy Bible, Square and Compass. The Volume of the Sacred Law (no matter what religion) is an indispensable part of a Lodge. The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in Maryland may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man's acknowledgment of his relation to Deity. (PH-MD website, "Entered Apprentice")
Now Minnesota:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the VSL on their altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In some lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no lodge in Minnesota may stand officially open unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its altar with the square and compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
[FONT='ArialNarrow','sans-serif'] [/font]
Now Nebraska:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. (Volume of Sacred Law) on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
Nebraska also does not have the "no lodge may stand open" statement. (However, to be fair, we still must acknowledge that both Nebraska and Manitoba define the symbolism of the open Bible to mean, that we should "regulate our conduct according to its teachings.")

New Jersey:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may have request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In some Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in California may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man's acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
Again, I see I am approaching space limits and with such an abundance of references, I must continue this to another post.
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Unread 15th January 2011, 09:14 PM
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South Carolina, one of only two lodges (along with PA) to use Ahiman Rezon, is, as you might expect, worded differently--though it still says essentially the same affirmation about the Bible being required for opening:

Every lawful assemblage of Masons, duly congregated for work, will be “a just and legally constituted Lodge.” It Is just, that is, regular and orderly, when it contains the requisite number to form a quorum, and when the Bible, Square, and Compasses are present. It is legally constituted when it is acting under the authority of a Warrant of Constitution, which is an instrument written and printed on parchment or paper (but properly it should be on the former), emanating from the Grand Lodge in whose jurisdiction the Lodge is situated, and signed by the grand officers, which authorizes the persons therein named, and their successors, to meet as Masons and perform Masonic labor. As no assemblage of Masons Is legal without such an instrument, it is not only the privilege, but the duty, of every Mason on his first visit to a strange Lodge, to demand a sight of its Warrant of Constitution; nor should any brother sit in a Lodge whose members are unwilling to exhibit the authority on which they act. (Ahiman Rezon)
Then there's Texas:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in California may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.

And much to my surprise, I found the same statement reproduced by the Grand Lodge of Turkey:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in California may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.

Then there are other places to find it reproduced, though they be sites that do not carry the same import as Grand Lodge websites:

MasterMason.com:

The Three Great Lights of Masonry are the Holy Bible, Square and Compass. The Volume of the Sacred Law (no matter what religion) is an indispensable part of a Lodge. The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in California may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
WhatsaMason.org:

The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the V.S.L. (Volume of Sacred Law) on their Altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the Altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In Lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the Altar in place of the Holy Bible, but no Lodge in California may stand officially open, unless the Holy Bible is opened upon its Altar with the Square and Compass displayed thereon. The open Bible signifies that we should regulate our conduct according to its teachings because it is the rule and guide of our faith and is a symbol of man’s acknowledgment of his relation to Deity.
To make this as "straightforward" and as transparent as possible, partly for the reader's sake if they choose to go see these for themselves, and partly to refute your claim that any of this qualifies as "disingenuous," the place where all of these were found stated by these individual Grand Lodges, is in their manuals that are usually titled "Entered Apprentice."

Again, before you make the ridiculous, assinine, and completely unfounded insinuation that by posting these I have been asserting "my own opinions," or that I have imagined that these are being affirmed in Grand Lodges of the US, and as you can see, in Grand Lodges elsewhere as well, I simply point out once more:

These are THEIR statements, not "mine." Just because I am aware of them and you are not, does not mean I invented them, or that they constitute "my opinion." NOR can you assert this as something deviating from "general Masonic principles," when there are as many of them reproducing and using the California statement as there obviously are.

No, I think what's happened here is, you have given us the evidence of your own misunderstanding of what "general Masonic principles" are, particularly the expression of those principles in regard to GENERAL Masonry, as opposed to the more specific applications of them that occur when they are applied by SPECIFIC Grand Lodges, in regard to their own SPECIFIC bylaws. (These, of course, apply only within their specific jurisdictional boundaries as well.) My own opinion of what you have presented: I think you tend to stick your head in the sand when it comes to anything other than the points you wish were true, and wish you could apply in the haphazard manner you seem to favor, of jamming square pegs into round holes. It would make far better sense for you to simply acknowledge what can everywhere be detected, that when speaking of Masonry in general, the broader general or generic terms are used; but when speaking of specific jurisdictions, where those generic points often have specific applications, it is not "unmasonic" to speak of them in their more specific application, when doing so within the specific bounds of, or addressing the specific subject of, any specific GL jurisdiction.

This is not even a complete investigation of the matter either. It's what I managed to compile in a little over an hour last night. Imagine what I'm going to find when I DO find the time to give this a thorough going-over.

Naturally, I'll be back to share the results when I do.
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