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Interested Atheist
Posted: 15 December 2016 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Justin - What you are seeking MAY be found in our Fraternity however it is not a common topic AND it will not simply be given to you.  You MAY find some members who delve into the esoteric side but the number of men who decide to venture there is relatively low.

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Master St. Georges Lodge #6
Schenectady, NY
Feliciana Lodge #31
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St. George’s Council # 74 Cryptic Masons
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Posted: 15 December 2016 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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I’ve read through this thread and would like to try to clarify some of the thoughts here from my own perspective.

Freemasonry is a fraternity, not a school of philosophy. Like most fraternities, we have initiation rituals that give us common ground so wherever we travel when we meet a brother, we know they have been through the same rituals we have. That is a very powerful beginning and can lead to a lifetime of friendship.

The rituals are time-tested teaching tools that deliver the same moral lessons found in all religions of good will. The delivery method is what makes these lessons so powerful. The tag line, “Making good men better”, doesn’t say we make bad men good. We take a person who is already a good man and through ritual and example show him how to achieve his potential.

We believe that the source of all goodness is the Grand Architect of the Universe (our non-denominational name for God) and that without a belief in and accountability to that Supreme Being, any promise you make would only be binding on you while it is convenient. A professed atheist is only accountable to himself. A Mason is accountable to himself, his brothers, and his Creator.

So, are we going to help you resolve your spiritual quest for truth? No, we assume that you have already resolved that and have as strong a belief and trust in the Grand Architect as we do. Many of us never questioned our faith but some, like me, have. I would not have been ready to join the Fraternity while I still questioned the existence of God. After seeing the hand of God in my life, I consider myself a fool for ever doubting that He loves me.

What we offer is the chance to make true friends and the chance to be a true friend. We offer membership in a group of men that can be trusted to treat you and everyone else fairly. We offer a sanctuary from the chaos of the world today where you are encouraged to shake hands or hug your friends, not just submit an electronic request. We are a brotherhood of men under the fatherhood of God.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 15 December 2016 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Dan-O - 15 December 2016 01:05 PM
nymaso3 - 15 December 2016 12:59 PM

Everything in Freemasonry is about God, if you are not so convinced of its existence you will just waste time and money.

So that you aren’t confused, I want to go on record as disagreeing with this statement.  Not everything in Freemasonry is about God.  In fact, a good portion of Freemasonry focuses on our relationships with each other and our families and the world in general.  God is a premise from which we all start, but Freemasonry is so much more than that.

Well, I didn’t say it is “only” about God….but let’s say that the Supreme Being plays a crucial role in Freemasonry.

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Mazzini Lodge #824 F. & A.M.
32º AASR Valley of Washington

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Posted: 16 December 2016 12:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Thank you to everyone for the information, and taking the time to answer my questions.  You’ve certainly given me things to consider.  For now, I’ll keep studying different paths, and I will see where that leads, for future endeavors.

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Posted: 16 December 2016 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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PDH825 - 15 December 2016 01:24 PM

Justin - What you are seeking MAY be found in our Fraternity however it is not a common topic AND it will not simply be given to you.  You MAY find some members who delve into the esoteric side but the number of men who decide to venture there is relatively low.

Thank you, that is the answer I was hoping to hear.  I don’t mind waiting, and proving myself in some way, I just wanted to be sure that if I invest the time into this fraternity that I would be taking a correct path to reach the destination.

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Posted: 16 December 2016 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Brother John - 15 December 2016 03:25 PM

We offer a sanctuary from the chaos of the world today where you are encouraged to shake hands or hug your friends, not just submit an electronic request. We are a brotherhood of men under the fatherhood of God.

John makes a very good point. Our current Deputy Provincial Grand Master told me that when he was working, the opportunity to sit in a meeting amongst friends and forget all his daily stress for a couple of hours gave him the strength to carry on without burdening his wife and putting stress on their marriage.

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Richard
Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Provincial Grand Treasurer (Royal Arch)
Member of Craft, Royal Arch, Ancient & Accepted Rite, Mark, Royal Ark Mariner, Knight Templar, Knight Templar Priest, Order of Secret Monitor, Royal Order of Scotland
UGLE.

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Posted: 16 December 2016 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Justin808 - 16 December 2016 12:20 AM
PDH825 - 15 December 2016 01:24 PM

Justin - What you are seeking MAY be found in our Fraternity however it is not a common topic AND it will not simply be given to you.  You MAY find some members who delve into the esoteric side but the number of men who decide to venture there is relatively low.

Thank you, that is the answer I was hoping to hear.  I don’t mind waiting, and proving myself in some way, I just wanted to be sure that if I invest the time into this fraternity that I would be taking a correct path to reach the destination.

Be forewarned though, if you are interested in the esoteric, there will be those that will tell you that there is nothing more to our ritual or that the esoteric is a bunch of baloney.  You, more than likely, rarely see esoteric discussions in lodge meetings, if at all.  That is because not everyone is interested in those topics.  Discussions will still be meaningful and educational in other ways.  If you go in expecting to have esoteric discussions all the time, you will be greatly disappointed.  In my lodge, for example, I know who I can and more importantly, can’t, have those types of discussions with.  Not out of fear but out of knowing that the topic just goes completely over their head or that they have no desire or ability to “see” it.  Regardless of whether or not a mason subscribes to the esoteric views, he is still, first and foremost, my brother.

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W:.Paul Hulseapple
Master St. Georges Lodge #6
Schenectady, NY
Feliciana Lodge #31
St. Francisville, LA

32°AASR Valley of Schenectady
St Georges Chapter #157 Royal Arch Masons
Scribe

St. George’s Council # 74 Cryptic Masons
Giles Fonda Yates Council #22 AMD
Jr. Warden

St. George’s Commandery #37
Oriental Shrine A.A.O.N.M.S.

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Posted: 19 December 2016 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Dan-O - 15 December 2016 01:05 PM
nymaso3 - 15 December 2016 12:59 PM

Everything in Freemasonry is about God, if you are not so convinced of its existence you will just waste time and money.

So that you aren’t confused, I want to go on record as disagreeing with this statement.  Not everything in Freemasonry is about God.  In fact, a good portion of Freemasonry focuses on our relationships with each other and our families and the world in general.  God is a premise from which we all start, but Freemasonry is so much more than that.

Not to speak for another Brother, but to me this can mean that if you believe in God you can take away a certain amount of reward, fulfillment and connection in Freemasonry. But if you have a DEEPER stronger, more serious relationship and accountablity with your God you can glean a LOT more fulfillment and personal reward from it. Each man’s walk and path is different, the tools and teachings are the same.

Anyone can learn to flip pancakes. You can be given a spatula and a pan, taught the technique but if you don’t have a desire to help the Lodge, help the fundraisers, or to serve people who come to eat pancakes, then that as an example will not be very fulfilling either.

Take that allegory and apply it to receiving the tools and training of Masonry but without a relationship with God will not be for you what it should be.

Having spent the past 10+ years seriously pursuing understanding of the Bible and a relationship with the Christian God, I personally think my EA ritual had a bigger meaning for me than for some Masons.

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Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

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Posted: 19 December 2016 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Brother Joseph - 19 December 2016 11:17 AM
Dan-O - 15 December 2016 01:05 PM
nymaso3 - 15 December 2016 12:59 PM

Everything in Freemasonry is about God, if you are not so convinced of its existence you will just waste time and money.

So that you aren’t confused, I want to go on record as disagreeing with this statement.  Not everything in Freemasonry is about God.  In fact, a good portion of Freemasonry focuses on our relationships with each other and our families and the world in general.  God is a premise from which we all start, but Freemasonry is so much more than that.

Not to speak for another Brother, but to me this can mean that if you believe in God you can take away a certain amount of reward, fulfillment and connection in Freemasonry. But if you have a DEEPER stronger, more serious relationship and accountablity with your God you can glean a LOT more fulfillment and personal reward from it. Each man’s walk and path is different, the tools and teachings are the same.

Anyone can learn to flip pancakes. You can be given a spatula and a pan, taught the technique but if you don’t have a desire to help the Lodge, help the fundraisers, or to serve people who come to eat pancakes, then that as an example will not be very fulfilling either.

Take that allegory and apply it to receiving the tools and training of Masonry but without a relationship with God will not be for you what it should be.

Having spent the past 10+ years seriously pursuing understanding of the Bible and a relationship with the Christian God, I personally think my EA ritual had a bigger meaning for me than for some Masons.

That’s quite a different thing than saying “Everything in Freemasonry is about God.”  Saying that makes it sound like a religion.  It sure isn’t.

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 19 December 2016 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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PDH825 - 16 December 2016 06:50 AM

Be forewarned though, if you are interested in the esoteric, there will be those that will tell you that there is nothing more to our ritual or that the esoteric is a bunch of baloney.

I would disagree entirely and point out that many sadly confuse the word “esoteric” with “mystical”. There is definitely no “mystical” content within our Ceremonies but there is “esoteric” content in abundance, which we are taught by our study of the Lectures of the Degrees. However, esoteric understanding of the Ceremonies should not be confused with various belief and occult systems practised elsewhere (outside of Freemasonry) which seems to have become quite common during the 20th century especially thanks to (non-Mason) Authors like Manly Palmer Hall and Harold Percival.

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Mike Martin
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Posted: 19 December 2016 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Certainly not a religion. But he may not have expressed what he meant properly.

So far, God can be found in all the Masonry I have experienced.

Sometimes things can be said or viewed the wrong way around.

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Entered-06-20-16
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Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

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Posted: 19 December 2016 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Mike Martin - 19 December 2016 03:07 PM
PDH825 - 16 December 2016 06:50 AM

Be forewarned though, if you are interested in the esoteric, there will be those that will tell you that there is nothing more to our ritual or that the esoteric is a bunch of baloney.

I would disagree entirely and point out that many sadly confuse the word “esoteric” with “mystical”. There is definitely no “mystical” content within our Ceremonies but there is “esoteric” content in abundance, which we are taught by our study of the Lectures of the Degrees. However, esoteric understanding of the Ceremonies should be confused with various belief and occult systems practised elsewhere (outside of Freemasonry) which seems to have become quite common during the 20th century especially thanks to (non-Mason) Authors like Manly Palmer Hall and Harold Percival.

Excellent point. For this age (actually 21st century now) Occult, Paganism, and Hethenism seem to be a very popular trend, as well as Atheism….

And I guess according to this topic, some of those mentioned DO actually have a welcome place in Masonry. Just speaing from opinion and not experience, I would suppose that few of those mentioned in those religions would be interested in studying Masonry. I think our lodge has one Jew that visits occasionally, and years ago there was one Hindu. The rest of or membership seems to be Christian, Catholic or completely unspoken. I ask these questions from my ritual coaches. Otherwise it doesnt come up since we do no religious teaching at Lodge.

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Entered-06-20-16
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Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

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Posted: 27 March 2017 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Justin808 - 16 December 2016 12:12 AM

Thank you to everyone for the information, and taking the time to answer my questions.  You’ve certainly given me things to consider.  For now, I’ll keep studying different paths, and I will see where that leads, for future endeavors.

I wish you the best of luck in your search.

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St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
King Solomon Chapter # 5, Royal Arch Masons
Louisville Council # 4, Royal and Select Masters
Louisville-DeMolay Commandery #12, Knights Templar

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Posted: 10 November 2017 02:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Brother John - 15 December 2016 03:25 PM

I’ve read through this thread and would like to try to clarify some of the thoughts here from my own perspective.

Freemasonry is a fraternity, not a school of philosophy. Like most fraternities, we have initiation rituals that give us common ground so wherever we travel when we meet a brother, we know they have been through the same rituals we have. That is a very powerful beginning and can lead to a lifetime of friendship.

The rituals are time-tested teaching tools that deliver the same moral lessons found in all religions of good will. The delivery method is what makes these lessons so powerful. The tag line, “Making good men better”, doesn’t say we make bad men good. We take a person who is already a good man and through ritual and example show him how to achieve his potential.

We believe that the source of all goodness is the Grand Architect of the Universe (our non-denominational name for God) and that without a belief in and accountability to that Supreme Being, any promise you make would only be binding on you while it is convenient. A professed atheist is only accountable to himself. A Mason is accountable to himself, his brothers, and his Creator.

So, are we going to help you resolve your spiritual quest for truth? No, we assume that you have already resolved that and have as strong a belief and trust in the Grand Architect as we do. Many of us never questioned our faith but some, like me, have. I would not have been ready to join the Fraternity while I still questioned the existence of God. After seeing the hand of God in my life, I consider myself a fool for ever doubting that He loves me.

What we offer is the chance to make true friends and the chance to be a true friend. We offer membership in a group of men that can be trusted to treat you and everyone else fairly. We offer a sanctuary from the chaos of the world today where you are encouraged to shake hands or hug your friends, not just submit an electronic request. We are a brotherhood of men under the fatherhood of God.

This really spoke to me.

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