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Apophenia: Illusory correlation (behavioral sciences). "Spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena." Skeptic’s Dictionary, Robert Todd Carroll.
Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions
Section 3, version 2.9

1. Who was Elias Ashmole ?
Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) was a chemist and antiquarian of the late 1600s with connections at Oxford. Some sources have reckoned him to be the first person whose name is recorded as having been made a speculative freemason (1646). He was deeply interested in the medicinal uses of plants and was made a member of the Royal Society in 1661, although not active.
Assertions that Ashmole introduced Solomon’s legend into the masonic ritual ignore the Sloane Manuscript (No. 3329, British Museum) or the rituals of the 12th century French stonemason corporation, Compagnonage. These clearly show that operative masons were familiar with the legend. Ashmole’s reputation with his contemporaries was that of an antiquarian and historian, not a ritualist. And unfortunately he never got around to writing a history of the Craft. [RETURN TO INDEX]

2. Who was Francis Bacon?
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, and author.
His Novum Organum and later work,The New Atlantis "exerted a considerable and beneficial influence on the manners of his age"1 Simply put, he proposed that truth is not derived from authority and that knowledge is the fruit of experience. In his utopian allegory The New Atlantis, Bacon wrote of a 'House of Solomon': a college of scientific observation and research.
His association with, or influence on, Freemasonry is questionable. If he was initiated or active in any operative or speculative masonic lodge, no record is known. Christoph Nicolai [Nicholai] wrote in 1782 that Lord Bacon had taken hints from the writings of John Andrea2 , the founder of Rosicrucianism and his English disciple, Fludd3 and that his ideas heavily influenced Elias Ashmole.4
Christoph Nicolai claimed that Ashmole and others used Masons' Hall, London to conceal their secret political efforts to restore the exiled house of Stuart and to build an allegorical ’solomon’s House'.5 The New Atlantis did exert a strong influence on the formation of the Society of Astrologers with Elias Ashmole in 1646 and they did meet at Masons' Hall. Many members of this society also became freemasons. If they had any influence on the ritual or doctrines of Freemasonry, it is not apparent, from what few records remain.
Albert Mackey refers to Nicolai’s theory on the Bacon inspired origin of the Grand Lodge of England as "peculiar".6 [RETURN TO INDEX]

1.Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert G. Mackey. Virginia : Macoy Publishing, 1966 p. 361.
2.Fama Fraternitatis, John Andrea (1586/08/17 - 1654/06/27). [Arnold in his 'Ketzergeschichte' claims Andrea as the founder yet others claim he was merely an annalist of the Order or that the whole was a mythical invention created as a vehicle for Andre’s ideas of reform.].
3.Apologia Compendiaria Fraternitatem de Rosea Croce, Robert Fludd (1574 -1637/08/09): 1616. Although opposed to Rationalism, his writings are erroneously claimed by Thomas de Quincey as the source of the symbolism in Freemasonry.
4.Elias Ashmole initiated 16/10/1646 at masons' Hall, London
5.Versuch über die Besschuldigungen welch dem Tempelherrnorden gemacht worden und über dessen Geheimniss; nebst einem Anhange uber das Entstehen der Freimaurergesellschaft Christoph Freidrich Nicolai (1733/03/18 - 1811/01/08). [An Essay on the accusations made against the Order of Knights Templar and their mystery; with an Appendix on the origin of the Fraternity of freemasons], Berlin: 1782. Reprinted in freemasons' Quarterly Review, 1853, p. 649.
6.Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert G. Mackey. Virginia : Macoy Publishing, 1966. p. 707.

3. Who was Abbé Barruel?
Augustin Barruel (1741/10/02 - 1820/10/05) published Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire du Jacobinisme, in four volumes octavo, in London in 1797. He charged the freemasons with revolutionary principles in politics and infidelity in religion.1 Equally unsubstantiated were his claims that Freemasonry was derived, by way of the Templars, from the Manicheans.2 Often quoted by modern anti-masonic writers, his claims and accusations were widely denounced and discredited by his contemporaries.3 [RETURN TO INDEX]

1. Cf.: "The Romances of Robison and Barruel" by the Rev. W.K. Firminger. F.M. Rickard, editor. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. London : Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076." vol l (1940). pp. 31-69.
2. Cf.: "The European Illuminati," Vernon L. Stauffer. <freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/stauffer.html#0245">.
3. See: "The Misrepresentations of Barruel and Robison Exposed", William Preston, reproduced in Golden Remains, George Oliver. Vol. 3, pp. 274-300; and also "Anti-masonry," Alphonse Cerza, AQC, London : Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076. vol. lxxx, (1968). pp. 241-270.

4. Who was Cagliostro?
Giuseppe Balsamo (1743-95), Italian adventurer and gifted con-man. His alleged initiation into the irregular Esperance Lodge No. 289 (London) in April 1776 is undocumented. Regardless, he quickly turned his association with Freemasonry to his profit; convincing clients in England and the Continent to invest in his own invention, "Egyptian Freemasonry". He was arrested in Rome for peddling Freemasonry in 1789, and died in prison. [RETURN TO INDEX]
5. Who was Albert Pike?
General Albert Pike (1809-1891) was a lawyer and editor, and Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (1859-1891). Although held in high regard by many North American freemasons, his writings on the history or symbolism of Freemasonry are not considered authoritative.
Author of Morals and Dogma, he extracted much from earlier authors, such that the book’s preface reads: "Perhaps it would have been better and more acceptable, if he had extracted more and written less." The preface also states that, "Every one is entirely free to reject or dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound."
Albert Pike is popular with anti-masons for three reasons. Firstly, Léo Taxil falsely accused him of claiming that the god of Freemasonry was Lucifer (Note Taxil’s public confession); secondly, Susan L. Davis and Walter L. Fleming, without documentation or proof, claimed him as a leader of the Ku Klux Klan; and thirdly, Pike’s extensive writings are easily quoted out of context to demonstrate pagan or occult leanings. [RETURN TO INDEX]
6. Who was John Robison?
John Robison (1739-1805)1 was Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, Secretary of the Royal Society in that city, and author of "Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe carried on in the Secret Meetings of the freemasons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies, collected from Good Authorities."2 Due to the anti-Jacobin sentiments of the day it was received with some excitement but the Encyclopaedia Britannica says that this book, "betrays a degree of credulity extremely remarkable in a person used to calm reasoning and philosophical demonstration." Robison had been initiated into Freemasonry at Liege. [RETURN TO INDEX]

1. For a biography, see Vernon L. Stauffer, New England and the Bavarian Illuminati. fn. 2, p. 200 <freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/stauffer_notes.html#182>.
2. Cf.: "The Romances of Robison and Barruel" by the Rev. W.K. Firminger. F.M. Rickard, editor. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum London : Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076. vol. l (1940). pp. 31-69

7. Who was Léo Taxil?
Born in Marseille, France, March 21, 1854 and schooled by the Jesuits, his real name was Marie-Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès. He tried the shortcut of financial fraud, and when he was discovered he fled from France to Geneva. There, Gabriel Pagès adopted the name of Léo Taxil. Expeled from Switzerland for fraud, he returned, under amnesty, to France in 1879
In the strongly anti-church climate existing throughout France, Léo Taxil believed that he would find a ready market for anticlerical publications. He wrote anti-Catholic satires, poking fun at church leaders. In hopes of gathering anti-Church material, Taxil joined the lodge Le Temple de L'Honneur Français in Paris in 1881. His true character quickly surfaced, and he was expelled from the lodge before going beyond the first degree. Over the succeeding years, his anti-Catholic writing brought him very little income but earned him a great deal of criticism and condemnation from the clergy. He needed another target for his literary talents.
Léo Taxil confessed on April 23, 1885 to the sins he had committed in writing and publishing anti-Catholic pamphlets. He then began writing a series condemning the freemasons. Titles include: The Three-point Brothers; The Anti-Christ and the Origin of masonry; The Cult of the Great Architect; Pius IX, Freemason? and The masonic Assassins.
Taxil honed the simple declaration, "Lucifer is God," and attributed it to Albert Pike, supposedly delivered to freemasons on Bastille Day, July 14, 1889. (See Section VI Subsection 2)
He also coined the non-existent title, "Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry", for Pike. Of the hundreds of masonic bodies in the world at that time, Pike was the leader of just one, the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. A blatant fraud, Taxil’s forgery was a huge success.
On April 19,1897, Taxil used his celebrity status to attract a large audience to a meeting in Paris. Journalists came, along with members of the Catholic hierarchy. There Taxil announced that every word written about masonic devil worship was the product of his own fertile imagination. A Paris newspaper published the thirty-three page text of his speech the following week. The incorrigible opportunist moved away from Paris to a stately home in the country, where he enjoyed a comfortable life until his death at the age of fifty-three, in 1907.
An English translation of Taxil’s published confession appeared in in Volume 5 for 1996 of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction’s education journal, Heredom, edited by S. Brent Morris. [RETURN TO INDEX]
8. Who was Adam Weishaupt?
Adam Weishaupt was born February 6, 1748 at Ingolstadt and educated by the Jesuits. His appointment as Professor of Natural and Canon Law at the University of Ingolstadt in 1775, a position previously held by an ecclesiastic, gave great offense to the clergy of the day. "Weishaupt, whose views were cosmopolitan, and who knew and condemned the bigotry and superstitions of the Priests, established an opposing party in the University.... This was the beginning of the Order of Illuminati or the Enlightened...."1 Weishaupt was not then a freemason; he was initiated into Lodge Theodore of Good Council (Theodor zum guten Rath), at Munich in 1777. (see Section V, Subsection 2.) [RETURN TO INDEX]

1. Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Richmond, Virginia: Macoy Publishing. 1966, p.1099.
9. Was [insert name] a freemason?
There are over 200 recognized masonic jurisdictions around the world, each of which keeps its own records and rolls. Several books have been published listing details of well over 10,000 famous freemasons but it is not always easy to document membership.
No individual speaks for Freemasonry, nor does Freemasonry dictate opinion and belief to its members, so masonic membership is no real criterion for evaluating views, opinions, conclusions, or actions. One list of freemasons can be found at: <http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/textfiles/famous.html>
American President George Bush Sr.?
No. Some draw an association with his use of the phrase "new world order" in a 11 September, 1990 televised address to a joint session of Congress, but no regular lodge is on record as having initiated either him or his son, USA President George W. Bush. He was a member of the Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale University; which has certain superficial elements in common with Freemasonry, of which the principal one might be summarized in their motto, "memento mori".
William Marrion Branham?
American Christian minister and faith healer, William Marrion Branham (1909/04/06-1965/12/24) was recorded in a Living Word Broadcast on 15 October 1961 as seeing no conflict between Freemasonry and Christianity, but there is no documentation of his initiation into Freemasonry.
Question 87: "Brother Branham, is there anything wrong with belonging to a lodge after we have become a Christian, such as the Masons?
"No, sir. You be a Christian wherever you are. I don't care where you are, you can still be a Christian."
Those who wish to identify Branham with Freemasonry will point to his pyramid-shaped tombstone in Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA. The pyramid has no masonic significance and its use here is possibly a nod to Charles Taze Russell's pyramid-shape monument
Aleister Crowley?
Crowley was initiated into an irregular lodge in Mexico. He had only four contacts with regular Freemasonry, was never active as a freemason, was never recognized as a freemason by any regular body of Freemasonry, and had no impact on Freemasonry.
Walt Disney?
USA motion picture and television producer, Walter Elias Disney (1901/12/05 - 1966/12/15), was a member of the appendent organization for boys, DeMolay International. He was not a freemason. For reasons of their own, a few anti-masons, detractors of American pop culture and conspiracy theorists have referred to Disney as a 33º freemason but this claim is unfounded.
American President Millard Fillmore?
An active anti-mason until 1835, Fillmore, after his presidency, later attended two masonic cornerstone layings, but there is no record that he was a freemason.
The designers of Washington DC’s streetplan?
Although much has been made of the so-called masonic symbolism in the street plan of the USA capitol, Washington DC, there is no record that either Thomas Jefferson or Andrew Ellicott were freemasons. Pierre Charles L'Enfant was initiated as an Entered Apprentice but there is no evidence that he took any further interest in Freemasonry.
Billy Graham?
The Reverend Billy Graham is not a freemason. The following correspondence to a reader of the Cutting Edge Ministry makes this very clear:
Subject: Freemason
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 97 11:23:21 -0500
From: dkinde@graham-assn.org (Don Kinde)
Thank you for your e-mail message. We understand your concern about rumors that Mr. Graham is in some way associated with Freemasonry. The reports are erroneous — though we continue to hear them. Mr. Graham is not, has not been and does not expect ever to be involved in Freemasonry. Your help in keeping the record as accurate as possible would be much appreciated.
Don Kinde
Christian Guidance Department
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
One possible source of this rumour was Composite Lodge No. 595’s website in Santa Monica, California, USA. The brother maintaining the site reproduced a list of famous freemasons that mistakenly included the Reverend Billy Graham’s name. Once the error was brought to his attention, the list was amended on December 28, 1996. Other masonic websites unwittingly reproduced the list and several years passed before most, if not all of them, were corrected.
The late Jim Shaw claimed that Billy Graham was present when he was made a 33rd Degree freemason. This is only one of Shaw’s many lies exposed in such publications as Is it True What They Say About Freemasonry?
On 13 June, 1997 anti-mason and fundamentalist Christian, Steve Van Nattan went on a syndicated Christian Fundamentalist radio talk show, "The Cutting Edge," to announce his "proof" that Graham was not only a freemason but that the freemasons were trying to hide his membership. The Cutting Edge Ministry subsequentially accepted the denial issued by Billy Graham’s office.
L. Ron Hubbard?
Author of Dianetics (1950) and founder of the Church of Scientology; there is no record that Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911/03/13 - 1986/01/24) was initiated into any regular lodge of Freemasonry.
The purported link is Hubbard’s association with John Whiteside Parsons (1914/02/10 - 1952/06/17), chemist and founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratories. 1
"Jack" Parsons was head of the Agapé Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) in Los Angeles, California, and later head of the Pasadena OTO branch. Hubbard is alleged to have been initiated into the OTO in 1944 by either Aleister Crowley or Parsons, and also to have first met Parsons in August of 1945. There is no documentation of Hubbard’s initiation. Others have claimed that Hubbard was a spy for either the FBI or US Naval Intelligence.2 Although Hubbard’s association with Parsons is unquestioned—as is his regard for Crowley3
Hubbard’s role or involvement with the OTO is a subject of some conjecture. Claims by authors such as Maury Terry ("The Ultimate Evil") are unsubstantiated, and in some instances, demonstrably wrong. The point here is that this is not a masonic association and does not demonstrate that Hubbard was a freemason.

1. cf.: Barefaced Messiah, Russell Miller. London : 1987; Michael Staley, AHA No. 8 (pp. 91 "ff"): "The Babalon Working of Jack Parsons" (published in "Apocalypse Culture", edited by Adam Parfrey, Los Angeles 1987-90, and "Starfire", London 1987, p. 32.) ; Scientology, F.W. Haack, Munich: 1982; Über die Verbindung von L.R. Hubbard zur Magick von A. Crowley, Roland Winkhart (an ex-member of Scientology and the 'Caliphate', subsequently in the Temple of Set). Vienna: 1985. Cited at: http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/white.htm (accessed 2002/05/10). See parareligion.ch (2011).
2. Neuropolitics,Robert Anton Wilson & Timothy Leary, 1977 ; cf. "Scarlet and the Beast,"John Daniel. Vol. 1, pp. 429-430 ; A Piece of Blue Sky,Jon Atack. New Jersey : Lyle Stuart Books, 1990.
2.L. Ron Hubbard, "Conditions of Space/Time/Energy" Philadelphia Doctorate Course cassette tape #18 5212C05 (1952)
Vladimir Lenin?
Lenin was not a recognized freemason. Although claims have been made that he was a member of the Grand Orient of Russian Peoples, there is no proof of this. The Grand Orient of Russian Peoples was an irregular and clandestine body, having no relations with regular Freemasonry. The Revue internationale des Sociétés Secrètes (Vol. VIII, 1919. p. 702) claimed, without citation, that Lenin was a member of a secret masonic lodge in Switzerland. Prince Dr. Otto zu Salm-Horstmar said in a speech in the upper house of the Prussian Diet, in August 1918, that Lenin was a Jew and belonged to a masonic lodge in Paris with Trotsky, but his sources are also uncited.1

1. Norman Cohn (1915 - ), Warrant for Genocide. London : Serif, 1996. p. 144.]
Karl Marx?
An avowed atheist, Heinrich Karl Marx (1818/05/05 - 1883/03/14) would not have qualified for membership. There is no record of his having joined a regular lodge. Marx’s alleged masonic link stems from his involvement with the League of the Just.
Friederich Engels (1820-1895) helped Marx transform this socialist secret society of émigré German workers into the Communist League when they held their first congress in London in June 1847. In 1848 he and Karl Marx were authorized to draft their statement of principles, "The Communist Manifesto."
Claims, such as that in None Dare Call it Conspiracy [p. 30], that this society was associated in any form with any Illuminati—or by extension, Freemasonry—are unfounded.
The fact that almost forty years later Karl Marx’s daughter, Eleanor Morris, co-founded the Socialist League, and that the masonic fraud Theodor Reuss joined soon after [AQC Vol 91], does not prove that the earlier Communist League had anything to do with any Illuminati. Eleanor’s marriage to Theosophist lecturer and friend of Annie Besant, Edward Aveling, is also cited by Richard Wurmbrand as "proof" that Marx was a satanist.
Charles Taze Russell?
Claims have been made that "Pastor" Russell (1852/02/16-1916/10/31), founder of the International Bible Students Association — forerunner of the Jehovah’s Witnesses — was a freemason; that the banner on the front of early issues of the Watchtower contained masonic symbols; and that Russell’s gravestone bears a masonic cross and crown symbol.
Russell was not a freemason. Neither the symbols found in the Watchtower nor the cross and crown symbol are exclusively masonic. And the cross and crown symbol does not appear on his gravestone in the Rosemont United Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — it appears on a memorial erected some years later.
In an address delivered in a San Francisco masonic hall in 1913, Russell made positive use of masonic imagery by saying, "Now, I am a free and accepted mason. I trust we all are. But not just after the style of our masonic brethren." He further develops this idea: "true Bible believers may or may not belong to the masonic fraternity, but they are all masons of the highest order, since they are being fashioned, chiselled and polished by the Almighty to be used as living stones in the Temple Built Without Hands. They are free from sin, and therefore accepted by the God of Heaven as fit stones for the heavenly Temple." Later in this address, Russell stated quite clearly that "I have never been a mason." Those who claim Russell was a freemason quote this address out of context without noting the rhetorical imagery.
Although Russell wrote about the pyramids and the Knights Templar, the pyramids are not a part of Freemasonry and Russell’s understanding of the relationship between the modern Knights Templar and Freemasonry displays an outsider’s ignorance of both organizations.
Was Joseph Stalin a Martinist freemason?
The Rectified Rite of Martinism, except in North America, did not restrict its membership to freemasons but did require a belief in a Supreme Being. Stalin, an avowed atheist, would not have qualified for membership in either Freemasonry or the Rectified Rite. There is no record of his membership. This claim seems to have first been made by William Guy Carr in the 1950s.
Miss. Diana Vaughan?
A figment of Léo Taxil’s imagination, he claimed Miss Vaughan belonged to a fictional lodge called Palladium. [RETURN TO INDEX]

For information on famous freemasons, visit <freemasonry.bcy.ca/textfiles/famous.html>.


© 1871-2024 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A. M. Updated: 2020/02/14