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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 1, version 2.9

1. Did the freemasons cause the French Revolution of 1789?
French freemasons of the 18th century were, in the main, aristocrats, priests, military officers or bourgeoisie. They were not in sympathy with radical social change. A growing belief that a ruler governed by right of the people and not by right of God provided a backdrop for much of the French Revolution. Whatever the actions of individual freemasons, Freemasonry as a whole was indifferent to politics.
"Not only did Freemasonry have no part in instigating the movement but it was one of the principal sufferers... and the majority of Paris Masters lost their lives." Before the Revolution the Grand Orient of France had 67 lodges in Paris and 463 in the Provinces, Colonies and Foreign Countries; the Grand Lodge had 88 in Paris and 43 outside. During the Revolution period only two or three of the Paris lodges kept open.1
There were too many people, too many ideas, too many events, too many grievances, to ascribe the actions of the French Revolution to any one source. In general, those who "blame" Freemasonry for causing the French Revolution are more interested in blaming Freemasonry for the bloody Terror, than in crediting Freemasonry for creating a system of representational democracy. The French Revolution was a complex process in which freemasons played a role, but to assign Freemasonry, as a body, a controlling role in the Revolution displays a simplistic and unrealistic view of the history of the period.
It is believed that Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was initiated into Army Philadelphe Lodge in 1798. His brothers, Joseph, Lucian, Louis and Jerome, were also freemasons. Five of the six members of Napoleon’s Grand Councel of the Empire were freemasons, as were six of the nine Imperial Officers and 22 of the 30 Marshals of France.
French General of the Revolutionary Army, Jean Victor Moreau (1763-1813) was one time Master of Loge Parfaite Union in Rennes, France. He headed the Republican and Royalist conspiracy against Napoleon.2 [RETURN TO INDEX]

1. Henry Wilson Coil, Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia. Richmond, Virginia : Macoy Publishing. 1995. p. 274.
2. William R. Denslow, 10,000 Famous freemasons. Independence, Missouri : Missouri Lodge of Research, 1957.

2. Did the freemasons kill William Morgan?
William Morgan was an itinerant stoneworker who settled in Batavia in 1824. He convinced the local freemasons that he was a brother and participated in lodge activities, made speeches and visited other lodges. He signed a petition for the formation of a Royal Arch Chapter in Batavia, but some other freemasons questioned his masonic legitimacy. Another Royal Arch petition was then submitted, which he was not permitted to sign. Morgan was furious about this, and vowed revenge. He agreed to work with David Miller, publisher of the Batavia Advocate, and several partners, in the publication of a book exposing Freemasonry. The project was made public, resulting in consternation among the freemasons of Batavia and the surrounding towns in western New York, and leading ultimately to his disappearance on September 19th, 1826. It is generally agreed that William Morgan was taken to Canada by freemasons and there given $500 and a horse, with the agreement that he never return. However, despite a lack of evidence, rumours persisted that he had been murdered.
Those involved issued the following statement;
"The plan from inception to completion, contemplated nothing more than a deportation of Morgan, by friendly agreement between the parties, either to Canada or some other country. Ample means were provided for the expenses and the after-support of Morgan and his family. This plan had been perfected from the fact that the minds of Masonic brethren had been agitated by rumors that William Morgan was preparing an exposition and was preparing to give it to the public. It was then mutually agreed that Morgan would destroy the document, refuse all interviews with his partner and hold himself in readiness to go to Canada, settle down there and upon arrival he should receive 500.00 dollars with his written pledge to stay there and never return to the States. We also agreed that Morgan’s family should be cared for and sent to Canada as soon as a suitable home had been provided for them. What a tremendous blunder we all made! It was scarcely a week until we saw what trouble was before us. Morgan had sold us out as he had sold his friends in Batavia. Within forty eight hours after his arrival in Canada he had gone. He was traced to a point down the river not far from Port Hope where he had sold his horse and disappeared. He had doubtless got on a vessel there and left the country."
Morgan’s deportation cannot be justified by any legal, moral or masonic principle. It should be noted that Morgan’s "exposé" was little more than a cobbled plagiarism of earlier English exposures, of little interest or value.
Public interest in the affair began about three weeks after Morgan’s disappearance in the form of inflammatory hand-bills printed throughout New York and Canada accusing the freemasons of Batavia of abducting and murdering William Morgan. Conventions and public meetings were held demanding an investigation and offering rewards for the discovery and conviction of those involved.
DeWitt Clinton, a distinguished and eminent freemason, was Governor of New York at the time. He issued proclamations condemning the actions of those accused of abducting Morgan and secured indictments against four men involved in the conspiracy.
The Grand Lodges throughout the United States passed resolutions, disclaiming all connection or sympathy with the outrage.
Further details can be found at <freemasonry.bcy.ca/texts/morgan_affair.html>. [RETURN TO INDEX]
3. Did the freemasons kill Roman Catholic Pope John Paul I?
David A. Yallop wrote In God’s Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I in 1984 [Poetic Productions Ltd. Jonathan Cape], making him the first to promote the theory that the freemasons were responsible for Pope John-Paul’s death. Neither he nor any other has provided any proof for this accusation.
Mgr. Giulio Nicolini, a prelate in the Roman Curia and the author of the first biography of the "smiling Pope" has declared that Yallop’s hypothesis is "absurd and baseless." This is also the opinion of the right wing paper Minute (29 June). For Jean Bourdier, "one would search in vain in this enquiry for the shadow of a proof, even per absurdum."1 [RETURN TO INDEX]
1. <www.johannes-paulus1.web-uno.org/pope5.html>. [2002/01/02]. archive.org.
4. Did the freemasons kill John F. Kennedy?
Although many participants in the events surrounding Kennedy’s assassination were freemasons, and a number of accusations have been leveled by popular authors, there is no evidence or proof that freemasons were responsible. (Also see Section VI Subsection 7). [RETURN TO INDEX]
5. Was Jack the Ripper a freemason?
To date, the perpetrator—or perpetrators—of the 1888 Whitechapel murders has not been identified.
The royal conspiracy theory—in which Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, the Duke of Clarence (known as "Eddy" to his friends) is accused of committing the murders to cover up his alleged marriage to a Catholic shop girl, Annie Crook—achieved popularity in 1973 with the broadcast of a BBC programme, Jack the Ripper. It was further enlarged by Stephen Knight (1951/09/26 - 1985/07), in his Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, (George G. Harrap Co. Ltd., London, 1976)
The theory that the murderer was Eddy was first posed by Dr. Thomas Eldon Alexander Stowell (d. 1970/11/08) in the November 1970 issue of The Criminologist, Vol. 5 No. 18, in an article entitled "'Jack the Ripper' - A Solution?", pp. 40-51. He subsequently wrote a letter to The Times on 9 November denying that his suspect, referred to merely as a demented and syphilitic suspect ’s', was Prince Eddy. While Philippe Jullian had implicated Eddy in his 1962 book Edouard VII [Edward and the Edwardians, New York, the Viking Press and London, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1967. pp. 143-144], Stewart P Evans has demonstrated that Stowell had related his theory that Eddy was the Ripper to Colin Wilson in 1960 and that Wilson had passed the theory on to at least a dozen others.
Knight also based his book on interviews with Joseph Gorman, calling himself Joseph Sickert and claiming to be the illigitimate son of noted painter Walter Sickert. In The Sunday Times of London, on June 18, 1978, Gorman said of this story: "It was a hoax; I made it all up." By 1991 Gorman had renounced his confession and wrote the forward to Melvyn Fairclough’s The Ripper and the Royals (London: Gerald Duckworth, 1991). In 2002 Patricia Cornwell published Portrait of a Killer; Jack the Ripper Case Closed. The author purported to present hard evidence that the Whitechapel murders were committed by the noted painter—and non-mason—Walter Sickert.
Further objections to the royal conspiracy theory were raised by Donald Rumbelow, one of the most respected researchers of the Ripper murders, in his revised edition of Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook: "Whichever way you look, there is not a shred of evidence to back up Knight’s theory." (The Complete Casebook, pp. 207, 209, 212)
On the contrary, there is considerable evidence refuting these allegations. Court and Royal records document that the prince was not in London on the murder dates. The baby girl said to have been the child of Prince Eddy was born on April 18, 1885, so she had to have been conceived during a time when Prince Eddy was in Germany, while Annie Crook, the alleged mother, was in London. Knight’s story says that Eddy and Annie met in 1888 in Walter Sickert’s studio. But that building had been demolished in 1886, and a hospital was built on the site in 1887.
There is nothing to identify the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders as a freemason, and nothing to implicate Freemasonry in the murders or any alleged cover-up. Although fictional accounts such as the movies From Hell and Murder by Decree depict the murders as resembling masonic ritual and the location of the murders as having masonic significance, neither historical facts nor published masonic ritual bear out this claim. Knight’s theory depended on the assumption that such figures as the Marquess of Salisbury, Sir William Gull and Sir Robert Anderson were freemasons, but in fact they were not. [RETURN TO INDEX]

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. Philip Sugden. New York : Caroll Graf, 1994.
The Jack the Ripper A to Z. Paul Begg, Martin Fido, and Keith Skinner. Headline Book Publishing, London, 1991.
Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook. Donald Rumbelow. Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1988.
Further information can be found at Paul Bessel’s www.bessel.org/ripper.htm and Stephen P. Ryder’s http://www.casebook.org/intro.html where much of this information was gleaned on December 25, 2001.
Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, Stephen Knight, (London: Harrap, 1984). An annotation by John Hamill, former Librarian and Curator of United Grand Lodge of England, on the copy of Knight’s book in the Library and Museum of Freemasonry reads: 'This volume is to be treated with caution. The Marquess of Salisbury, Sir William Gull and Sir Robert Anderson were not freemasons. The masonic information has been largely culled from "exposures". In particular, the Royal Arch "oath" has been taken from an American early nineteenth century exposure and has never applied in England'. Cited in "Brother Irving: Sir Henry Irving and Freemasonry" by Andrew Prescott.
For a detailed refutation of the accusations of masonic complicity, see Dennis Stocks, "Freemasonry and the Ripper" found at www.casebook.org, [2005/11/02]. Stocks accepts that Gull was a freemason, while noting that he was not a member of Royal Alpha Lodge.
6. Is Freemasonry corrupt?
No. But of course we'd say that, wouldn't we?
Stephen Knight’s The Brotherhood and Martin Short’s Inside the Brotherhood: Explosive Secrets of the Freemasons, among others, will claim that Freemasonry is corrupt. This belief is most often held by people unwilling to accept that Freemasonry, as a body, has no control over individual members in their private and work life. While the possibility exists that individual freemasons may be corrupt, Freemasonry, in its teachings, beliefs and practices, is not. Freemasonry does not tolerate criminal or immoral acts on the part of its members.
Without entering into a case-by-case analysis, by far the greater majority of accusations of corruption have come from individuals who have been unsuccessful in their legal or official pursuits and are looking for somewhere to place the blame. Neither Knight’s nor Short’s accusations actually involve more than a handful of freemasons and the accusations are levelled by an even smaller handful of people with no substantial proof of their assertions. And assertions, no matter how loudly repeated, are not proof.
While it is popularly believed by non-masons that freemasons all take an oath to protect each other and keep each other’s secrets, in fact they have taken a solemn obligation to uphold the laws of the country in which they reside and have promised to keep each other’s lawful secrets. Treason, felony and criminal acts are specifically noted as being excluded from the obligation of secrecy. A newly made freemason is clearly told that his obligations to his country, his religion and his family take precedent over his obligations to Freemasonry. Masonic critics who claim that this is a lie will generally quote The Charges of a Free-Mason, a 280 year old text that made sense in the political climate of the time but has little application today. [RETURN TO INDEX]


© 1871-2024 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A. M. Updated: 2019/07/07