April 18, 2017, 12:00 am
That headline might be a bit extreme.
I dunno if I've ever mentioned this, but I am a 32nd-degree Freemason.
Let me back up. I joined Freemasonry in 2009 for a very specific purpose: I wanted to go through all the secret rituals to see if Freemasons did indeed worship the devil, as conspiracy theorists have since the 1700s claimed.
Spoiler alert: No, they don't.
There is a conspiracy theory floating around that Freemasons worship a "light", and in the 32nd degree, they learn the "light" is Lucifer, otherwise known as Satan, but by that point, they're too involved and realize they have to worship Lucifer, too, since they've already done all the other rituals.
It's absolute bullshit, and I'll tell you why.
Like I said, I joined Freemasonry myself specifically to figure out if that was true. The fact is, there are only three levels to true Freemasonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. An Entered Apprentice is just a guy (yes, "guy". There are no women in Freemasonry) who has pledged to become a Mason and keep its secrets. (Spoiler 2: The secrets are no great shakes; you take more solemn oaths if you join a church). To become an "Entered Apprentice," the initiate is taken through a series of secret lectures all pointing to one ideal: Freemasons are a fraternity of men dedicated to helping and supporting the other men in the fraternity. I can say that without betraying my oaths to keep the specifics secret.
To become an Entered Apprentice, you have to recite an oath that is dictated to you by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, which is a guy who has been a Master Mason for some time and has been elected for that year to be the guy leading all the rituals.
The next level of Freemasonry, level 2, is a Fellowcraft. To become that level, you have to be able to recite the oaths of the Entered Apprentice by heart. One Master Mason asks questions, and you answer them based on the oath you take. Some people recite both the questions and the answers, which I guess shows that you really paid attention or something. I was one of those: I asked my own questions and answered them, which appeared to impress the hell out of the guys in the lodge.
As a Fellowcraft, you take a new oath (Masons call them "obligations") which is very similar to the Entered Apprentice oath, only expanded: you renew and re-confirm your dedication to helping fellow Masons out if they need it, and to asking for help if you need it.
To get to the third degree, Master Mason, you have to be able to answer questions about your second obligation, which you recited in your initiation into the Fellowcraft degree. Again, I asked my own questions and answered them, which, following the pattern, impressed the hell out of the other Masons.
You are then taken through a lengthy storytelling and ritual (with more questions and answers) for the third and final degree of Masonry, Master Mason. And at the end of the day, the only thing you're committing to, other than supporting your fellow Masons, is being a good person who believes in God.
And voila, you're done.
Unless you want to pursue the ancillary degrees of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, which takes you from the fourth degree to the thirty-second degree, which I did about a month after I became a Master Mason.
And after all that degree work, which I completed in McAlester, Oklahoma, you learn the final secret of Masonry, which I can't reveal directly because of the oath I took, but which I can tell you without reservation, is a commitment to God and Jesus in the traditional sense of who they are, much as you would hear in almost any church in the world.
Never, in my entire experience with Freemasonry (of which I have achieved the highest rank), was there any mention of serving the devil, Lucifer or any other such nonsense. Since I don't believe in the devil (a totally different post), I would have laughed and left the building, had that been the case.
I tell you all that to tell you this: Two main characters in my book Robby the R-Word (coming out May 23) are Freemasons. And their Freemasonry is key to the mystery that is finally solved in the book.
You should pre-order the book, which will not only give you a great bit of mystery-solving fun and the craziness of Freemasonry, but will also enter you into a sweepstakes where I'm going to sign and send a copy of one of my other books to the winner ... ABSOLUTELY FREE! Do it! Pre-order the book now, because (at least until Father of Malice comes out) Robby the R-Word will be your favorite book ever.
I swear, on my obligation as a Freemason, you will love Robby. Go order it, because.