The Freemasons have captured the attention of conspiracy minded people around the world for hundreds of years. The secret meetings and signs promote rumors and accusations that range from satanic worship to controlling the world powers. Yet, what is the true history of the Freemasons? Do we really know or is everything conjectured?
Books, websites, and documentaries have all explored the secret world of the Freemasons. One leader in the Freemasons stated that if they were such a secret society how come everyone knew their secrets? One has to take what the man said to heart and be careful in everything they read. It is usually the fear of the unknown that sends most people down false paths, and the Freemasons are full of the unknown.
Many say they can trace the origins of the Freemasons to the Knights Templar. Yet, concrete evidence of that is sketchy at best. The farthest historians can get in truly tracing the Freemasons is to the early 1700s in England. If there is history beyond that date, it has been lost or is actually being kept a secret by the Freemasons which should not be assumed automatically.
According to Thomas Paine, "It is always understood that Free-Masons have a secret which they carefully conceal; but from every thing that can be collected from their own accounts of Masonry their real secret is no other than their origin, which few of them understand; and those who do, envelope it in secrecy." Most historians will agree that the Freemasons started as a guild of stone workers who developed into an intricate society that helped support each other through hard economic and political times. Over time, the group became a brotherhood that developed rituals for everything and secret codes.
Why all the secrecy? Believe it or not, it began as a protection against the Church that began persecuting many groups that acted suspicious or could be accused of satanic acts. From there the rituals and codes developed to create an intricate society that no one outside of the group could access.
As the group developed from actual masons into a society that accepted men of all levels of society, men of power began to be Freemasons. The society developed into a club of powerful men that stretched beyond the English borders. The vast number of men who could claim to be Masons grew at alarming rates. This set fear in the hearts of many who were fearful of the secret meetings, signals, and rituals. Rumors began to spread.
It wasn't long before the Freemasons were associated with satanic rituals, anti-church activities, political coups, assassinations, and many other covert activities. The truth more than likely lies somewhere in between as some lodges through the years probably did participate in questionable activities as their secrecy would have helped them with their movements. This would not have included all lodges who continued meeting as business and social clubs.
Throughout history, the Freemasons have been an object of suspicion and accusations. Movies and books have enhanced this image and have added to their mystery. Their reach has been said to control all the money of the world and protection of hidden treasures. Many world leaders including American presidents have been Freemasons.
Are they a world power secret organization or are they a group of men who have their own club where they can have secret rituals and codes? Maybe it is a combination of both. What can be said with fact is that the Freemasons have been a society for three hundred years that developed a level of secrecy as a protection from societies that were suspicious of them. Whether or not they actually are guilty of all they have been accused of we may never really know.
New Advent - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09771a.htm
On the Origin of Free Masonry by Thomas Paine