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"Intolerance is evidence of impotence."
Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), British occultist
and NOT a regular Mason

When you 'go online' looking for information about Freemasonry, it's likely you'll find out about USENET Newsgroups and one of the first you'll probably find is alt.freemasonry - which is mentioned in numerous places on this site.

If you're a Freemason, we suspect that the very first group of messages you download will be either totally disgusting or grossly uninteresting. Either way, we suspect that you will, without fail, find at least one that will 'make your blood boil'. Relax and understand that you've just waded into a cesspool and that what you've seen is nothing compared to what has gone on in the past or what might come. Whether it's an anti-Mason posting ludicrous claims about satanic ritual killings or whether it's an absurd charge that 'proves' Freemasonry is a part of some world domination or religious persecution, you're likely to instinctively write a response. Sadly, those who do that embarrass themselves and sometimes don't even understand the issue.

Beyond that, writing, "You're a liar!" really doesn't accomplish a whole lot, does it? Much like a child in a school-yard argument, the 'You're wrong because I said you were.' response only serves to invite taunts and more argument. As we recommended on the parent page, DON'T REPLY TO ANYTHING without having at least observed for a period of time. You'll come to understand the 'flavor' of dealing with anti-Masons in newsgroups where it's a sport, almost, to take pot shots and the organization and its members. At times, you'll wonder about the age and maturity of the anti-Masonic posters: your angst is no doubt quite justified.

If you're not a Mason but simply seeking information about the fraternity, you'll also wonder if all Freemasons are as angry or seemingly irrational as those who post there sometimes seem. They aren't - but getting the same 'stupid' comments from the same cast of characters day in and day out tends to make even the most magnanimous be caustic and hardened.

Like all newsgroups, though, one reading doesn't give you the 'full flavor' of what's going on. You should also quickly understand that very, very few Freemasons spend their time on this particular newsgroup; there are many other venues in cyberspace where Masons meet to exchange ideas and build friendships.

All newsgroups have their 'regulars'. Friendships and animosities have been built up through days, weeks, months, and years of messaging back and forth. You don't know about ANY of that background and if you leap in, it's like jumping head first into a lake before you know how deep it is!

Read messages for a couple of days at least, preferably for a couple of weeks. You don't have to reply right off the bat and you don't get extra points for being the first to answer a message.

Like the old carpenter's maxim:
"Measure twice: cut once"!
Don't just jump in feet first, because the water may be a LOT deeper than you think.

If your e-mail program doesn't have 'threading', you'll want to read through ALL of the messages first (hopefully for a few days) so that you can see what else is being said in response. Remember too that some messages might be sent to several newsgroups and it's relevance to yours might be greatly limited. Be careful when replying to a message which has been cross-posted to a large number of newsgroups.

Freemasons should not assume that they're going to instantly (or ever) change an anti-Mason's mind! Particularly in groups like alt.freemasonry, some posters are truly "professional" at this and they've been at it for a LONG time! If you're new to the newsgroup, watch and see how the 'old hands' do things before you get too involved.

Those interested in Freemasonry should understand that this newsgroup regularly is visited by anti-Masons (often the same people using different nicknames/identities) 'trolling' for Masons to say something which they can pounce on. As a result, a simple question posed honestly can be easily misinterpreted as a provocation from an anti-Mason.

There are antagonists in every newsgroup. This is particularly true in alt.freemasonry where they 'get their kicks from inciting angry responses. Don't play their game!!! You can dispute if you want but there's no reason to lower yourself to the profanity and name-calling they regularly employ.

Try to remember who's writing what. It really doesn't make anyone look good if you start screaming and hollering about something that is dealt with in another message.

At least once a month someone (well-intentioned) will suggest that the anti-Masons posting on alt.freemasonry should simply be ignored. While this tactic would probably result in far less 'heat' (although not likely more 'light'), it also allows anti-Masons to make ludicrous claims which would sit unchallenged. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, will read those messages and it is from them that they draw their conclusions about Freemasonry. Allowing those lies to stand would certainly be more gentlemanly but we don't believe it would help explain to readers what the truth really is.

For this reason, a small cadre of Masons continues there, posting the truth time after time. The end result is that anti-Masons' lies are not allowed to stand and those interested in the truth can find it.

Anti-Mason? Mason reading lies?

Those thinking that the anti-Masonic faction that posts on alt.freemasonry might just be trying to stir someone up should think carefully.

One poster actually stated that he would rather let his daughter DIE than allow her to receive life-saving care at a Shriners Hospital.... That kinda says it all, we think.

You can read about the current crop of 'marginals' posting to alt.freemasonry by clicking here.

Updated just a bit in June, 2005

 

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