"I have striven not to laugh
at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them."
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In addition, we provide information on the tactics people and groups use in their condemnations of Freemasonry.
Although most Freemasons are unaware of the objections which have appeared against their organization, they have been around longer, it would seem, than even the organization itself. Freemasonry in its present form first came to the attention of the residents of London in 1717 yet anti-Masonic documents can be found dating back to 1698 (below).
One Masonic writer mused "It would be most natural that any society of men which maintained an element of secrecy concerning its transactions and which recruited its membership through selective methods should become an object of jealous hatred among narrow and bigoted persons."*
Why do they do it?
Those who object to Freemasonry often use what they believe are religious teachings. There are also those who object thinking that somehow they're helping save society from some encroaching oppression while others who object have even more base motives including hate and greed.
The world of anti-masonry becomes a very murky mish-mash of seemingly contradictory ideas, values, and opinions. Sometimes, an 'anti' is not only a religious intolerant but also a person who sees impending doom through conspiracy theories. They're convinced that their religion tells them Masonry is wrong but they also know 'for certain' that there's a cabal of Masons planning world domination somewhere and - quite handily - they'll get a LOT of attention, something they seem to crave while making money in the process. It's a VERY tangled web.
What is particularly curious, however, is that - depending on the tack taken to disparage Freemasonry - other 'claims' against it will be totally ignored. Even more curious, however, is that while there are a very few Masons who have quit the organization based on changed religious beliefs, NONE OF THEM make charges that the organization is pulling the strings in world affairs. How can this be? SURELY those who were within the organization must be aware of such things? Ah, it's just another of the dichotomies one finds when attempting to sort the wheat from the chaff in the many and varied claims against the organization. In some ways, it's reminiscent of the old saw about throwing enough mud against a wall that some of it will surely stick!
Hate and fear are powerful human motivators; Freemasonry is often caught in the cross-fire of these emotions!
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Here's the world's oldest known Anti-Masonic document:
The only known copy of the above leaflet is in the possession of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and its text appears in the book, "The History of English Freemasonry" by John Hamill (Revised Edition, published in 1994, page 42-43). Hamill was, at the time, the Librarian and Curator of the UGLE and is a recognized Masonic author/historian.
The Mason who called this to our attention wrote "What I find most interesting about the leaflet - aside from the period grammar and spelling - is that the nature of Anti-Masonry is the same today as it ever was: fear and hatred based on ignorance and intolerance with millennial and conspiracy paranoia."
Thanks to Bro. Ben Hoff of Highland Park Lodge #240 (New Jersey, USA)
*History and Evolution of Freemasonry by Delmar Duane Darrah, 33o
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