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Masonic Service Association of North America

Focus January 2003

Facts and Fiction About Freemasonry

A new 17-minute audiotape discusses several issues important to Freemasons such as how Albert Pike is both misquoted and misrepresented in his writings about religion; how anti-Masons distort the relationship between Freemasonry and Religion; what Masonic symbols are intended to portray; how Freemasonry affects our lives. Responding to numerous false claims about Freemasonry by anti-Masons are several noted Masonic leaders such as Gary Leazer, Jim Tresner, Brent Morris, Terry Tilton, and Bob Davis.

Facts and Fiction About Freemasonry is available through the Masonic Information Center in either audio cassette or CD format. The cost is $5.00 + s/h. When ordering please specify audio cassette or CD format. Order from Masonic Information Center.

Masonic "Old English" Terms

A recent e-mail to the Masonic Information Center said; "A friend told me Freemasonry is a cult." To substantiate this charge was a quote from the book Cults which stated: "The term So Mote It Be is a witchcraft oath."

The title Worshipful is often misrepresented by anti-Masons as well. Here is the explanation for both terms from the Masonic Service Association digest One Hundred One Questions About Freemasonry,

Why is a Master addressed as "Worshipful"?

Few Masonic matters are less understood by the non-Masonic public than this. The word "worchyppe" or" worchyp" is Old English, and means "greatly respected." In the Wycliffe Bible, "Honor thy father and thy mother" appears as "Worchyp thy fadir and thy modir." English and Canadian mayors are still addressed, "Your Worship." In some of the Old Constitutions of Masonry is the phrase, "Every Mason shall prefer his elder and put him to worship."

"Worshipful," therefore, in modern Masonry continues an ancient word meaning "greatly respected." A Grand Master is "Most Worshipful," that is, "Most greatly respected" (except in Pennsylvania, where the Grand Master is "Right Worshipful," as are Pennsylvania's and Texas' Past Grand Masters).

Why do we use "So mote it be" instead of "Amen"?

"So mote it be" are the final words in the Regius Poem. "Mote" is old English for "may." Masons have used the phrase since the beginning of the written history of the Craft. Freemasonry includes many other words, now obsolete, which bring the sanctity of age and the continuity of ritual from ancient days to modern times.

Freemasonry in the News

Washington Post - Sunday - 12-29-02

The Washington Post did a story on the George Washington artifacts in the possession of Fredericksburg Lodge #4, Fredericksburg, Virginia. The article was extensive and covered a wide variety of issues involving the Masonic Fraternity. Of special note was a section about George Washington, which said:

Scholars have long studied the significance of Washington's experiences as a Mason. When Washington joined the lodge, it was a place where landed gentry would gather and one of the few places where the British and colonials could mingle. It was a more sophisticated worldly group than Washington had generally been exposed to.

The impact of Masonry pervaded Washington's writing and ideas, said John Kaminski, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who wrote A Great and Good Man about Washington and heads the university's Center for the Study of the American Constitution.

Washington's writings rarely include references to God, and never to Jesus, Kaminski said, but rather use the terminology and philosophy of the Masons referring to "The Great Architect" and building in general. Washington became a promoter of an extensive canal system aimed at facilitating westward expansion and Kaminski suggests that he was influenced even in that by his experience as a Mason.

Washington Times - Monday - 1-1-03

The Washington Times did a feature story on the beautiful frescoes on the walls of Winchester-Hiram Lodge #21 in Winchester, Virginia. Winchester-Hiram Lodge was originally chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and has a most unique history. In the Civil War period from 11-28-1864 until 6-24-1865, 231 candidates were raised including 207 from the Union Army. The article described the frescoes as follows:

A treasure trove of frescoes has adorned the plaster walls of a Loudoun Street building for more than 100 years. The 1868 artwork on the walls of the top floor of the Winchester-Hiram Lodge #21, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons building, was a surprise and a delightful treat to many residents who took part in the recent Preservation of Historic Winchester's (PHW) tour.

"Amazing" and a "real treasure" is the way Donna Thompson, executive director of PHW, described the artwork, which includes depictions of George Washington, the four cardinal virtues (temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice) and the Israelites crossing of the River Jordan.

(Interested Brethren might also wish to read the following articles on the same subject: The Scottish Rite Journal (July 2002) and the Short Talk Bulletin (August 2002)

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