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"Better be ignorant of a matter
than half know it."
"Why should I learn about Masonry?"
These are questions asked by Masons and non-Masons alike. It's estimated that over 100,000 books have been published on this subject yet people often find it difficult to know if their book or source is 'authoritative' and whether it's actually worth pursuing. Many have picked up books looking for substantive and positive information only to find it is some kind of 'exposť', while others have seen a display on the cover of a bookseller's catalog and ordered only to find out that the book they received was written 150 years ago and has no relevance to today's Masonry whatsoever.
On these few pages, we'll provide some brief information about various popular books and educational resources. Perhaps through this you'll be saved a bit of cash while actually getting to what you want to read.
Before we begin, however, you must remember this VERY KEY POINT:
No One Person Speaks for Freemasonry!!
Frankly, this single phrase cannot be emphasized enough. A Grand Master - by virtue of his office - can speak for Masonry but only for his jurisdiction and only during the term of his office! Attempts to make this person or that a "Spokesman" fail.
Books and other writings about Freemasonry, while perhaps interesting, are simply one person's opinion. Some are researched far better than others and some are more accurate - but just like every other book today (excepting, of course, inspired religious texts) they are no more or no less "true" than the facts the author has provided.
It's also important to note that Freemasonry is over 300 years old. During this time LOTS of books have been written about it. In the earliest days, many such writings were the fanciful imagination of the author and were published without peer review of any kind. Some have passed down to us today because the copyright protections are long gone and a printer has found a way to make a few dollars on the reprinting of material that was probably laughed at even in its own time.
It is important to note as well that because no single book constitutes 'dogma' for Freemasonry - even if its title contains that word - that no writing should be taken as 'gospel'. While many will agree on certain points, there are always those who will dissent. Further, Freemasonry in one country is not identical to that of any other and thus the author's viewpoints can easily be clouded by xenophobia or lack of knowledge.
It's frustrating, then, for someone who wants "just the facts" on Freemasonry: there are precious few. If you enjoy arguing about the number of angels that can sit on the head of a pin, then we enjoin you to become a Masonic researcher: there are precious few areas of research that will yield as many different opportunities for divergent opinion as this organization!
Where do I go next?
And if you want to find out about some particular authors commonly cited by anti-Masons, just head off to this page!
Just click on "Prince, the Search Dog" to find things on our site. He's here on every page and he'll take you directly to our search form where you can see if we've written about whatever it is you're interested in. Prince has a great memory; he always remembers where things are! We also encourage you to use our Site Map and Contents Page for a full overview of the many things you'll find here.
This site and its contents are © (copyright) 1998-2012 by Edward L. King (Ed King). All rights reserved. All comments and opinions are mine personally.
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