For centuries the Freemasons have been known as a cloak and dagger society that employs the use of secret handshakes, mysterious passwords and bizarre blindfolded entry rituals. Their fondness for secrecy has led to outlandish speculation and has even made their practises outlawed in certain countries.
Some accuse them of being members of a hidden worldwide shadow government, worshiping the devil and even performing human sacrifices at the foot of a gigantic effigy of Magog. With a slight trepidation of having my throat slit with a double-edged letter opener for discovering "too much", I managed to speak with two third degree Master Freemasons from America to find out what the deal really is with their ominous rituals and so-called world domination plans.
Jake Hanrahan: Morning guys, first of all could you tell us where you're both from and what level you're currently at in the world of Freemasonry?
SJ: I'm Stephen Jennings, from Ohio, USA. That's where I was "raised" in the Masonic sense to the third degree. It's also where I attained the level of 32nd degree from the Scottish Rite. Currently I reside in Washington State. 32nd degree is the highest degree I have attained.
MB: Hello, my name’s Mike Braun, I am from North Carolina and I am a third degree Master Mason and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite mason also.
So what's the difference between a Scottish Rite mason and a regular one?
MB: Masonry has side orders. Actually, there are a bunch of them, but the popular ones are Scottish Rite and York Rite. If you think about Freemasonry as High School, then the side orders are like taking college classes. In the US, Scottish Rite is not the same as it is in the UK. In the southern Jurisdiction of the US, you go through the degrees of four to 32 in a weekend. It’s not as prestigious as it in the UK. Over there it takes time, and those are the same guys who get the 33rd degree and are accused of ruling the world [laughs].
Scary. How did you first get involved in Freemasonry?
SJ: I majored in History while at college and always enjoyed reading about Masonry just from a historical point of view. You could be reading articles or manuscripts and sometimes Freemasonry was inserted without explanation. There was a lot of mystique surrounding the Craft, especially in British, Irish and French histories. So when I was 19 and still in school, I went to the biggest lodge I could find, which was the most impressive building in the city, and I asked to join. About six months later I was raised to the third degree.
MB: I have several friends whom I look up to who all happened to be Freemasons. After seeing that they all had this in common, I was curious. Then, after reading how evil they apparently were on a conspiracy forum, I had to find out the truth for myself. I didn't believe my friends could be part of anything other than a respectable organisation.
In the UK it takes time, and those are the same guys who get the 33rd degree and are accused of ruling the world.
Why do you think that a lot of people perceive the Freemasons as this ominous society that rule the world from behind the scenes?
SJ: That's a very complicated question. Ultimately I believe it has its roots in history and ignorance. Freemasonry was a secret organisation from the start. It may not be now, but at the beginning and into the 20th century, we were a very secretive organisation… that much is fact. We were secret because we did some very audacious things [laughs]; such as allowing Irishmen to drink with Englishmen and do business, discuss personal freedoms, rail against the monarchies, push away from social injustices caused by religion. In the 1600's and into the 1800's these were some very serious crimes. The secrecy was more or less to hide those who were members in case the authorities discovered, as well as hide the actual society itself from those that would do it harm. Freemasonry has been persecuted in every major country in Europe, and the Catholic Church ensured that no one was mistaken about the evil deeds we performed, spreading rumours and lies to taint the reputation of the Craft.
In modern times there is still the stigma lasting from the centuries of persecution. Hitler rounded up Masons and placed them in the same camps as Jews. Jews had a gold star; Freemasons wore a blue forget-me-not. Mao and Stalin also persecuted Masons, and Freemasonry is illegal in China and most Middle Eastern countries to this day. In Britain, public officials have to detail their membership to the Craft and so on. In the United States the largest ever third party in our political system was the "Anti Masonry Party".
MB: And people fear what they don't understand. In the past the stance of Freemasonry was to ignore all the rumours, rather than try to explain things to the public, so some of the rumours got out of control.
SJ: Yes, and then we have ourselves to blame. We are a weird organization… we talk funny, hold funny rituals and antique ways of acting: oaths and obligations, initiations and bizarre customs. By today's standards we are downright weird. Many people look at us and have no idea what to think… often the overly religious write it off as Satanism or other such nonsense.
What about the strange antics of things like Bohemian Grove though? Do you not think that has a detrimental effect on the Freemasons? After all, when a load of rich fellas meet in a secret forest to worship a gigantic stone owl and make mock human sacrifices, the wrong impression can be given, especially when it’s performed so secretly...
SJ: The Bohemian Grove is not Masonic in any way shape or form… it gets thrown into Masonry because it's a group of well-connected rich guys getting together and doing bizarre rituals in the woods like you said. But not every bizarre ritual is Masonic. The Grove was first established by very successful actors and journalists, and soon encompassed powerful people from business and politics as well – not Masonic though.
Okay, but what about Leo Zagami? He reckons he’s the kin of some mysterious Illuminati bloodline, and that the Pope is in fact a Freemason, and less surprisingly has a boyfriend…
MB: [Laughs] I think Leo has a fantastic imagination. He’s quite young to be the head of Masonry and the Illuminati. As with most things in life, if it sounds too fantastic to be true…
I guess… How does a member move up in the ranks, and what do the degrees represent?
SJ: A member moves up by first being initiated after passing a vote, which must be a unanimous acceptance. Then the candidate learns the degrees obligation, and in many cases the entire actual ritual by heart, and then recites it to the lodge at a meeting. These rituals continue until you are “raised” to Master Mason. There are then three total degrees, Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason; each with its own degree.
MB: The first three degrees are the most important and hardest to attain though. You have to recite a catechism that describes everything you went through.
When you say everything you went through, do you mean in life or in the ritual process?
MB: I was referring to the ritual, but life lessons are the key to understanding why you ended up in a lodge. It’s one of those things that really cannot be fully explained, it must be experienced.
Discussing the secrets doesn't reveal anything about our actions or plans. Some people would never step foot in a lodge if they knew what the ritual was.
What happens in the ritual?
MB: Initiates go through a ritual. They usually have no idea what is going on, but when he learns about it in the study later, he understands the reason for everything, and hopefully learns the lessons that were meant to be taught.
So to gain clout in the world of Freemasonry, you have to take part in a secret ritual where you have no idea what’s going to happen to you?
SJ: No Mason is higher than any other Mason regardless of what you've done. The only real power of any sense is the Most Worshipful Master of the Grand Lodge, who oversees states and countries… They’re sort of the government, and they’re elected by the officers of all lodges in an open election. Masonry is a direct democracy in most countries. Some countries, like England and Wales, are governed in a more traditional manor. Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, is the head of the United Grand Lodge of England and thus head of all Masonry in England and Wales since 1967.
I can't tell you what the degrees individually represent, but that they are allegorical and signify the basic tenants of Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite, where you go from four to 33 as an honorary, is done in a play like setting, where candidates watch the performance and discuss the lessons learned.
Going back to Leo Zagami again – he talks of degrees up to 37, is there any credence in this at all?
SJ: Not in the Scottish Rite… The Scottish Rite stops at 33.
What sort of benefits does a higher degree Freemason have from a lower?
MB: A full Master Mason can go to any meetings, where as a first or second degree Mason may only go to a meeting opened in his degree respectively. There are no differences though really, except more dues to pay.
But if there's no real difference for someone who has effectively worked harder than a lower level Mason, other than having to cough up more membership money, why are people so eager to raise their degrees? If there is no hierarchy or benefits to this I mean...
SJ: The difference between a Master Mason and a one or two degree Mason is that only a Master Mason may fully partake in Lodge affairs; that is, voting, committees, officer positions, ritual work. You are not a fully-fledged Mason until you are a third degree Mason. If you go on to be a 33rd degree or a Grand Commander of the York Rite, or Potentate of the Shrine – it doesn't matter. In a lodge or elsewhere, you hold absolutely, positively no special bearing over any other Mason. Even the Most Worshipful Master, head of all Blue Lodges cannot do anything rash. Everything is the result of a direct democracy in Freemasonry, except in England and Wales.
Sounds a bit like Socialism to me.
SJ: It's more like an extreme form of Republican Democracy. The closest political definition I could possibly place on Masonry is Libertarianism. Power is decentralised. Each state makes its own laws. Each Grand Lodge can only enforce the laws as outlined in the Charter. Each Lodge is self-determined and has its own constitution. All officers are voted for by the members, all Grand Lodge officers voted by the officers of all Lodges, and no collective oversight over all Worldly lodges. And the ritualistic teachings of Masonry place a very heavy emphasis on personal responsibility. Any form of collective "socialist" practices would take place on a collective personal level… personal choice, personal action. We never rely on another institution, not even our own Grand Lodge, to care for us in any form.
Think the original United States Government under the Articles of Confederation. Very decentralised, almost no "head" government to speak of, no outlining of government responsibility to individuals. It’s the polar opposite of Socialism.
Okay... Have you ever been privy to information that has perhaps led even you to believe that there's a more sinister side to the Freemasons like everyone else thinks?
SJ: On the contrary, everything I've learned about the Masonic political system has shown that it is very open, direct, and void of corruption. I'm certainly not saying it's impossible that there is corruption, abuse, and so on, but from my interactions with multiple Grand Lodges I have never seen anything that would make me doubt my membership.
It's an odd mix of guys: young and old, professional to unemployed, guys in $2,000 suits sitting next to a guy covered in tattoos with gauged earrings.
So what exactly do you do at Freemason meetings?
MB: A meeting is a business meeting. We have certain rituals that we do.
SJ: First we open the lodge, read some petitions if there are any, maybe vote on a new candidate, and discuss different committee reports.
MB: We vote to pay peoples bills.
SJ: Yes. We deliberate upcoming events, plan new ones, maybe prove up a member or perform a degree, then close the meeting. Usually there is a dinner before or after, and my personal lodge goes to a local bar for a few beers afterwards.
The Freemasons will actually financially support its members in times of need?
MB: Yep. That is one of the things we are famous for amongst ourselves. We don’t advertise what we do since that would be like tooting your own horn, but we do lots of things for people who need help. Most people just don’t hear about it.
Suddenly I feel the need to get involved. How does Joe Public become a Freemason, or is it only for a certain group of society?
SJ: No you don't have to be anything special. To be one, ask one.
MB: That's all you have to do. And be a good person with no criminal record.
SJ: You'll see if you ever join, it's an odd mix of guys: young and old, professional to unemployed, guys in $2,000 suits sitting next to a guy covered in tattoos with gauged earrings.
But why all the secrecy?
SJ: Secrecy today is more of a tradition, there are very few things we actually cannot talk about and the only reason we cannot is out of respect for the tradition, think of it a taboo if you will. Discussing the secrets doesn't reveal anything about our actions or plans. Ultimately it's a perfect recruiting tool, some people would never step foot in a lodge if they knew what the ritual was, and some who otherwise wouldn't join, would. This way we keep only those willing to entirely trust strangers in, without them knowing what will happen if they join.
MB: The secrets that we keep are simply a test of character. The passwords and handshakes are our only secrets and they can be found out by a junior detective.
Can you teach me the handshake?
MB: It's only for Masons.
Maybe I am one though...
MB: Are you?
What if you want to leave the Freemasons?
SJ: You stop paying your dues, and stop coming to meetings.
MB: Or you can demit, which requires you fill out a form. Nobody will come after you.
Thanks for speaking to me, it's been an education. For some reason though, I still find it all a bit ominous, but I think it's just a part of me wanting to if that makes sense? The idea of the cloak and dagger world control element is alluring…
SJ: Hmm… maybe I can help. There is a control element in this world but it doesn't happen in a Lodge room, no, it happens in the Board Room. Bankers control the world, money controls the world, the globalists control the world. Progressive elites control the world. These are the people desperately trying to integrate world governments, who are trying to use the Euro Crisis to turn it into a federalist system with the destruction of individual sovereignty. There are people in this world trying to consolidate power globally, who transcend nation, boundaries, culture and history. They do it for the power, the wealth, and the control.
Freemasonry has always been desperately opposed to such ideologies, our core beliefs of self-sufficient individual sovereignty and freewill have led to our being hunted by such people and organisations. There is a reason why the most powerful regimes in the world hate us, why history always shows the most powerful governments persecuting us. We are usurpers of consolidated power, because where power is consolidated there is corruption, abuse and neglect.
If you want to take aim at the New World Order -the globalist elites that are trying their hardest to tear down this world and build a new one without national identity - look at the Council of Foreign Relations, the IMF, Reserve Banking, ECB, politicians supporting the Euro, Club of 500, World Trade Organisation, and most importantly, the Bilderberg Group. Masons are easy to be a scapegoat for the powerful and corrupt, we have been for centuries, because we rarely ever defend ourselves from public ridicule. The biggest problem for Masons is not that we are attacked, but that those who attack us are the real culprits doing harm in our name, they go unseen and are not held accountable.