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Freemasons For Dummies, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-41208-4
384 pages
January 2013
Freemasons For Dummies, 2nd Edition (1118412087) cover image

Description

Take the mystery out of the Freemasons

Fascinated by Freemasons? Freemasons For Dummies is the internationally bestselling introduction to the Masons, the oldest and largest "secret society" in the world. This balanced, eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everything from its elaborate rituals and cryptic rites, to its curious symbols and their meanings.

With new and improved content, including updated examples and references throughout, this new edition of Freemasons For Dummies provides the most straightforward, non-intimidating guide to the subject on the market.

  • Updated expert coverage of the basic beliefs and philosophy behind Freemasonry
  • Revised information on the history of the society, including updates concerning its founding, famous historical members, and pivotal events
  • New coverage devoted to the recent influx of younger membership
  • The latest and ongoing controversies and myths surrounding Freemasonry
  • The role of women in a Masonic organization, including opportunities for women to participate in Freemasonry
  • The effects cultural and political changes and worldwide events are having on the organization

If you're intrigued by the mystery that surrounds the Masons, get ready to learn the facts about this ancient order in Freemasons For Dummies.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: What Is Freemasonry? 9

Chapter 1: Lodges, Aprons, and Funny Handshakes: Freemasonry 101 11

Chapter 2: From Cathedrals to Lodge Rooms: A History of the Freemasons 21

Chapter 3: The Philosophy of Freemasonry 55

Chapter 4: Politics, Religion, and Freemasons: They Don’t Mix 63

Part II: The Inner Workings of Freemasonry 89

Chapter 5: How the Freemasons Are Organized: Who Does What and Why 91

Chapter 6: The Ceremonies of Freemasons 115

Chapter 7: The Symbols of Freemasonry 129

Chapter 8: Myths and Misconceptions about Masons 151

Part III: When One Lodge Isn’t Enough: The Appendant Bodies 163

Chapter 9: Introducing the Appendant Bodies: Who’s Who, and Who Isn’t 165

Chapter 10: The York Rite 181

Chapter 11: The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite 203

Chapter 12: Shriners International 221

Chapter 13: The Extended Masonic Family 231

Part IV: Freemasonry Today and Tomorrow 249

Chapter 14: So Is It Still Relevant? 251

Chapter 15: Freemasons and the Future 259

Chapter 16: So You Want to Become a Freemason 267

Part V: The Part of Tens 279

Chapter 17: Ten Groups of Famous Masons 281

Chapter 18: Ten Amazing Conspiracies, Anti-Masons, and Hoaxes 289

Chapter 19: Ten Cool Masonic Places 301

Part VI: Appendixes 305

Appendix A: The Regius Manuscript 307

Appendix B: Anderson’s Constitutions 329

Appendix C: Finding a Lodge 335

Index 347

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Author Information

Christopher Hodapp has been an active Freemason and board member in his home state of Indiana for many years and holds memberships in several national Masonic organizations. He has written numerous articles and has contributed to several documentaries about Masonry. He is editor of the Journal of the Masonic Society and has authored and co-authored several books on the topic including The Templar Code For Dummies and Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies.

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Press Release

March 19, 2013
Freemasonry Debunked

Our culture is fascinated by Freemasonry. In everyday life, those of us who aren’t Freemasons (or Masons, for short) wonder what goes on in the fraternity’s closed meetings. We’re both curious about and suspicious of Freemasons’ rituals and symbols. Are they part of a secret religion? A cult? Thanks to certain books and movies in popular culture, we may even find ourselves wondering if Freemasons are carrying on the shocking legacy of the medieval Knights Templar or guarding a vast, hidden treasure.

Well, according to the popular For Dummies® series, Freemasons do keep some secrets, but none of them are as scandalous or conspiracy-laden as the rest of us might suspect.

“The greatest lure of Freemasonry is the mystique of a locked door—that’s why non-Masons are so fascinated by the organization,” says Christopher Hodapp, author of Freemasons For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (Wiley, January 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1184-1208-4, $19.99). “Everyone knows that the organization is characterized by rituals, symbols, and ceremonies known only to its members and Masters, and unwritten secrets that have been passed from mouth to ear for centuries.”

Hodapp, who is an active Freemason himself, sorts fact from fiction in his new book while revealing the truth about the organization he is a part of. Freemasonry, he explains, is a society of gentlemen concerned with moral and spiritual values and is one of the world’s oldest and most popular fraternal organizations. 

Read on for a (small!) sampling of famous figures who were (or are!) also Freemasons:

Politicians and Founding Fathers

George Washington. America’s most famous Freemason, Washington was initiated in 1752, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. After the Revolutionary War, there was a strong movement to unite the nation’s Freemasons under a national Grand Lodge of the United States, and Washington was offered the position of national Grand Master, which he refused. He was elected as Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge #22 in 1788. When the new Capitol City that would eventually bear his name was designed under his watchful eye, Freemasons laid the cornerstone of the new Capitol building in 1793, over which Washington presided in full Masonic regalia.

In addition to Washington, thirteen other U.S. presidents are definitely known to have been Freemasons: James Munroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford.

Benjamin Franklin: Inventor, publisher, author, and statesman, Franklin was also Grand Master of Pennsylvania, and member of the Lodge of Nine Sisters in Paris.

Explorers and Adventurers

Following are some Freemasons who blazed new trails:

  • Davey Crockett: American frontiersman from Tennessee
  • Sam Houston: The man who avenged the slaughter at the Alamo and defeated Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto, becoming the first president of the Republic of Texas
  • John Glenn, Gordon Cooper, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Wally Shirra, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin: American astronauts, among them the first American to orbit the earth and the second man to walk on the Moon

Pioneers of Science and Medicine

Many Freemasons have played an important role on the scientific and medical frontiers. Among them is Alexander Fleming, a Scottish bacteriologist who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of penicillin, opening the golden door of antibiotic therapy for infectious diseases.

Actors and Entertainers

  • All seven of the Ringling Brothers, of circus fame
  • The immortal American magician, escape artist, and showman Harry Houdini (real name Erich Weiss)
  • Actor Peter Sellers, best remember for Dr. Stangelove and Pink Panther movies
  • World-class guitarist and country music star Brad Paisley
  • Phil Collins, solo artist and lead singer of Genesis 

Incredible Athletes

  • “Sugar Ray” Robinson: Immortal boxer, five-time World Middleweight boxing champion
  • Scottie Pippin and Shaquille O’Neal: NBA superstars

Military Leaders

Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, great English war hero and brilliant tactical soldier, known as the “Iron Duke,” the man who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo was a Freemason. Eventually he became Prime Minister of England. Although it has often been speculated that his perennial enemy, Napoleon Bonaparte, may have been a Mason as well, there is no documented proof of it.

Significant Businessmen

  • Henry Ford, a titan of American industry, was a Freemason. He was the founder of Ford Motor Company, inventing the concept of the assembly line in order to feed America’s insatiable appetite for hid Model T Ford. Not always a poster boy for good Masonic conduct, he was a virulent and poisonous anti-Semite, as well as a union buster, who would use any and all tactics to control his workers. However, many of the best ideas of the founders of American industry, including the five-day work week, profit sharing, the shortened average workday, and wages twice the minimum wage were Henry Ford’s ideas first.
  • Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple

Players in the World of Statecraft

  • Sir Winston Churchill: Great Britain’s greatest Prime Minister
  • J. Edgar Hoover: Founder of the FBI

U.S. Civil Rights Leaders

  • Booker T. Washington: Educator and reformer; prime mover behind the Tuskegee Institute, the first normal and technical school for African Americans
  • W. E. B. DuBois: American sociologist; one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the editor of its magazine, Crisis
  • Thurgood Marshall: The first black member of the U.S. Supreme Court, who successfully argued against the doctrine of separate but equal Brown v. Board of Education, the decision that integrated American schools
  • Jesse Jackson: Perhaps the most famous civil-rights leader apart from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Men of Arts and Letters

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Famed classical composer and virtuoso pianist; gave an underlying Masonic theme to one of his operas, The Magic Flute
  • Oscar Wilde: Nineteenth-century Irish playwright and poet; author of The Importance of being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Mark Twain: Author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and many other books, all riddled with biting social commentary disguised as fiction
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Creator of Sherlock Holmes
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