Apophenia: Illusory correlation (behavioral sciences). "Spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena." Skeptics Dictionary, Robert Todd Carroll.
Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions
Section 5, version 2.9
1. What was the Bavarian Illuminati?
Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati of Bavaria on May 1, 1776. Originally called the Order of the Perfectibilists, "its professed object was, by the mutual assistance of its members, to attain the highest possible degree of morality and virtue, and to lay the foundation for the reformation of the world by the association of good men to oppose the progress of moral evil."1
Where Weishaupt and his associate Knigge promoted a freedom from church domination over philosophy and science, those in authority saw a call for the destruction of the church. Where Weishaupt and Knigge wanted a release from the excesses of state oppression, their enemies feared the destruction of the state. Where Weishaupt and Knigge wanted to educate women and treat them as intellectual equals, Robison and Barruel saw the destruction of the natural and proper order of society.
The Edicts for its suppression, issued on June 22, 1784 by the Elector of Bavaria, Karl Theodor, were repeated in March and August, 1785 and the Order began to decline, so that by the end of the eighteenth century it had ceased to exist.... "it exercised while in prosperity no favorable influence on the Masonic Institution, nor any unfavorable effect on it by its dissolution."2 Coil describes the Order as a "short lived, meteoric and controversial society"3 while Kenning refers to it as a "mischievous association".4 In his own defence, Weishaupt did say:
"Whoever does not close his ear to the lamentations of the miserable, nor his heart to gentle pity; whoever is the friend and brother of the unfortunate; whoever has a heart capable of love and friendship; whoever is steadfast in adversity, unwearied in the carrying out of whatever has been once engaged in, undaunted in the overcoming of difficulties; whoever does not mock and despise the weak; whose soul is susceptible of conceiving great designs, desirous of rising superior to all base motives, and of distinguishing itself by deeds of benevolence; whoever shuns idleness; whoever considers no knowledge as unessential which he may have the opportunity of acquiring, regarding the knowledge of mankind as his chief study; whoever, when truth and virtue are in question, despising the approbation of the multitude, is sufficiently courageous to follow the dictates of his own heart, - such a one is a proper candidate." 5
As regards any information derived from celebrated anti-mason, John Robison 6: "In the (London) "Monthly Magazine" for January 1798 there appeared a letter from Böttiger, Provost of the College of Weimar, in reply to Robisons work, charging that writer with making false statements, and declaring that since 1790 'every concern [sic] of the Illuminati has ceased.' Böttiger also offered to supply any person in Great Britain, alarmed at the erroneous statements contained in the book above mentioned, with correct information."7
Documented evidence would suggest that the Bavarian Illuminati was nothing more than a curious historical footnote.
Further information on the Illuminati of Bavaria and other societies similar in name can be found at <freemasonry.bcy.ca/texts/illuminati.html>. [RETURN TO INDEX]
1. Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert G. Mackey. Richmond, Virginia : Macoy Publishing. 1966, p. 474.
2. Ibid. p.1099.
3.Coils Masonic Encyclopedia, Henry Wilson Coil. New York: Macoy Publishing. 1961 p. 545.
4. Kennings Masonic Cyclopaedia and Handbook of Masonic Archeology, History and Biography, ed. Rev. A.F.A. Woodford. London: 1878. p. 326.
5. An Improved System of the Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt. Gotha: 1787.
6. Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe carried on in the Secret Meetings of the Freemasons, Illuminati. and Reading Societies, collected from Good Authorities, John Robison (1739 - 1805). Chapter II, pp. 100-271. printed by George Forman for Cornelious David, Edinburgh: 1797. (531 pages).
7.The Secret Societies of all ages and Countries [in two volumes], Charles William Heckethorn. London : George Redway. 1897. p. 314.
2. Weren't George Washington, every USA President, the first USA Congress and the entire Continental Army all freemasons?
The following is a well researched compilation of proven freemasons:
(a) 15 presidents of the United States of America:
George Washington (1732-1799) 1st.
initiated 11/4/1752 Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4, Virginia
James Monroe (1758-1831) 5th.
initiated 11/9/1775 Williamsburgh Lodge No. 6, Virginia
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) 7th.
member Harmony Lodge No. 1; Grand Master 1822-24, Tennessee
James Knox Polk (1795-1849) 11th.
raised 9/4/1820 Columbia Lodge No. 31, Tennessee
member: Platte Lodge No. 56, Mo.
James Buchanan (1791-1868) 15th.
raised 1/24/1817 Lodge No. 43, Pennsylvania
Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) 17th.
initiated 1851, Greenville Lodge No. 119, Tennessee
James Abram Garfield , 20th.
raised 11/22/1864, Magnolia Lodge No. 20, Ohio
William McKinley (1843-1901) 25th.
raised 4/3/1865, Hiram Lodge No. 21, Virginia
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th.
raised 4/24/1901, Matinecock Lodge No. 806, Oyster Bay
William Howard Taft (1857-1930) 27th.
made a mason at sight 2/18/1909.
affiliated Kilwinning Lodge 356, Ohio
Warren Gamaliel Harding (1865-1923) 29th.
raised 8/13/1920, Marion Lodge No. 70, Ohio
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) 32nd.
raised Nov. 28. 1911,
Harry S Truman (1884-1972) 33rd.
initiated 02/09/1909, Belton Lodge No. 450
raised 03/18/1909, Belton Lodge No. 450
Lyndon Baines Johnson (EA) (1908-1973) 36th.
initiated October 30, 1937
raised May 18, 1951, Columbia Lodge No.3
Grand Lodge of Washington, D.C. courtesy to
Malta Lodge No 465 Grand Lodge Michigan, Grand Rapids
(b) Signators to the USA Declaration of Independence (1776):
8 freemasons out of 56 total.
Deputy Grand Master, Pennsylvania
St. Andrews Lodge, Boston
visited Unanimity Lodge No. 7, Edenton, North Carolina: Dec. 27 1776
Hanover Lodge, Masonborough, North Carolina
Robert Treat Payne
attended Grand Lodge, Roxbury, Mass.: June 26, 1759
charter Master, St. Johns Lodge, Princeton, New Jersey: 1765
Solomons Lodge No. 1, Savannah, Georgia
St. Johns Lodge, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
(c) Signators to the USA Constitution (1789):
Out of the 55 delegates, 9 signers were confirmed freemasons; 5 non-signing delegates were freemasons; 6 later became freemasons; 13 delegates have been claimed as freemasons on apparently insufficient evidence; 22 were known not to be freemasons.
9 freemasons out of 40 total.
Later became freemasons:
raised: Fredericksburg Lodge, Virginia: 1753
Lodge at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia: 1731
St Johns Lodge, Newburyport, Massachusetts
First Grand Master, Virginia. Williamsburg Lodge No. 6
Gunning Bedford Jr.
First Grand Master, Delaware. Lodge 14, Christina Ferry, Delaware.
Lodge No. 18, Dover, Delaware: 1780
Lodge No. 14, Christina Ferry, Delaware, 1780
First Grand Master, New Jersey: 1787. Military Lodge No. 19
St. Johns Lodge No. 20, Maryland: 1781, Lodge No. 16, Baltimore
Temple No. 1, Elizabeth Town, New Jersey
Spiritual Lodge No. 23, Baltimore, Maryland: 1806
Trinity Lodge No. 5, New Jersey: 1788. Berkshire Lodge No. 5, Stockbridge, Ma
"Either he or his father of the same name was initiated in St. Johns Lodge No. 1 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, March 20, 1777."*
Roger Sherman (1721-1793)
Signed "Declaration of Independence," "Articles of Association." "Articles of Confederation," and Federal "Constitution." Although a masonic apron ascribed to him is in the archive collection of Yale University, there is no record of his masonic association.
(d) Signators of the USA Articles of Confederation (1781):
10 freemasons out of (?) total.
affiliated Hiram Lodge No. 1. New Haven, Connecticut: 1765/04/18
[AQC vol 80, pp. 120-2.]
(e) Generals in George Washingtons Continental Army:
31 freemasons out of 63 total.
Nicholas Herkimer (1715-1777), St. Patricks Lodge, Johnstown, New York
Morgan Lewis, Grand Master, New York
Jacob Morton, Grand Master, New York
Israel Putnam (1718-1790)
Rufus Putnam (1738-1824), Master, American Union Lodge
Baron von Steuben (1730-1794), Trinity Lodge No. 10, New York City
John Sullivan (1740-1796), Grand Master, New Hampshire
Joseph Warren (1741-1775), Massachusetts Provincial Grand Master
David Wooster (1710-177), Master, Hiram Lodge No. 1, Connecticut
(Note Goulds History of Freemasonry mistakenly repeated C. W. Moores claim that all but Benedict Arnold were freemasons. vol. iv p 24 1885)
(f) Presidents of the Continental Congresses (1774-89):
4 freemasons out of (?) total.
Peyton Randolph of Virginia (1st)
John Hancock of Massachusetts (3rd )
Henry Laurens of South Carolina
Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania.
(g) Governors of the thirteen colonies during the Continental
10 freemasons out of 30 total.
(h) Chief Justices of the United States:
Note: Neither Thomas Jefferson nor Patrick Henry were freemasons, although Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, Gilbert Lafayette and Benedict Arnold were.
* Coils Masonic Encyclopedia, Henry Wilson Coil. Richmond, Virginia : Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Inc., 1961, 1996. ISBN : 0-88053-054-5 pp. 621-22.
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John Marshall (also Grand Master of Virginia)
William Howard Taft
Frederick M. Vinson
Earl Warren (also Grand Master of California.)
3. Didn't Edward VI abolish Freemasonry?
A curious distortion of the historical record; in fact Edward the boy king, or his regent, was actually sensitive to the needs of stoneworkers and their guilds, as can be seen from a perusal of his statutes. [RETURN TO INDEX]
4. Isn't Freemasonry the same as Rosicrucianism?
The name Rosicrucian has become a generic term embracing every species of doubt, pretension, arcana, elixers, the philosophers stone, theurgic ritual, symbols or initiations. In its loosest definition it simply refers to a lover of wisdom and a searcher for knowledge. At the other extreme it can refer to a blindered follower of formalized ritual intent on creating gold out of base metal.
The earliest reference to Rosicrucianism is the publication in Kassel in 1614, of Fama fraternitatis Roseae Crucis oder Die Bruderschaft des Ordens der Rosenkreuzer. An English translation by Thomas Vaughan, Fame and Confession of Rosie-Cross, appeared in 1652.
This book and Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459 (1616), are presumed to be the work of John Valentine Andreä (1586/08/17-1654/06/27), although unproven claims to an earlier manuscript or folk tradition have been made.
Other scholars such as Roger Bacon (1214-1292), Raymond Lully (d. 1315) and Cornelius Henry Agrippa (d. 1535) have been claimed as Rosicrucians although there is no proof that they were even aware of the name.
Andreäs tale of an invisible Society of Rosicrucians describes the founding of a society of eight "lovers of wisdom" who studied medicine and occult sciences and dedicated their lives to practicing "physic" without payment. They met in a "House of the Holy Spirit" and each appointed one man to succeed him at his death. Although the existence of this society or brotherhood has never been proven, many subsequent groups have claimed lineage.
The first suggestion of a link to Freemasonry was made in a satirical letter that appeared in the English Daily Journal in 1730. Subsequent writers, such as J.G Buhle in 1804, have asserted, without logic or proof, that Freemasonry sprang from Rosicriucianism. But the symbolism of Rosicrucianism is derived from a Hermetic philosophy; that of Freemasonry from operative stonemasonry. The story of the death, burial and disinterment of Rosicrusianisms founder, Christian Rosenkreuz, is reminiscent of the Hiramic legend, but no more so than other funerial legends. Both the Hiramic legend and a Continental version involving Noah were known to freemasons prior to Elias Ashmoles masonic initiation, discrediting any theory that Ashmole introduced Rosicrucian themes into Freemasonry.
Although Andreäs Rosicrucians were Christian, contemporary groups embrace a wide range of traditions such as the Hermeticism of Hermes Trismegistus, the Pythagorean school of ancient Greece, the Qabala of the Hebrews and the alchemical tradition of mediaeval Europe.
The nineteenth century saw the rise of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, Societas Rosicruciana in America, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, Ordre Kabbalistique de la Rose Croix, Order of the Temple & the Graal and of the Catholic Order of the Rose-Croix, and the Rose-Croix de l'Orient, Les Freres Aînés de la Rose-Croix.
In the twentieth century: the Rosicrucian Fellowship, Lectorium Rosicrucianum, Order of the Temple of the Rosy Cross, Corona Fellowship of Rosicrucians, Fraternitas Rosæ Crucis, Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua, Collegium Pansophicum, Builders of the Adytum, the Servants of the Light, the Antiquus Arcanus Ordo Rosæ Rubæ Aureæ Crucis (AAORRAC), the Antiquus Arcanæ Ordinis Rosæ Rubæ Aureæ (AMORC), and the Ancient Rosæ Crucis have all made claim to a Rosicrucian tradition, if not lineage.
Some of these groups were founded by freemasons, some are still in existence. None have any relationship with regular Freemasonry. [RETURN TO INDEX]
5. What was the Rite of Strict Observance
Once Freemasonry was introduced into eighteenth century Continental Europe, it quickly evolved into a number of different and disparate bodies, all claiming authority to confer and determine degrees. Mesmers Order of Universal Harmony and Cagliostros Egyptian Rite, a new system of Clermont (1758) were just two of many such groups. Another, Martinism, was created by Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, author of a 1775 book, Des Erreurs et de la Vérité. and a disciple of the adventurer and seer, Martines de Pasqually who wrote the incomplete, Traité de Réintégration. "Swedenborgian in view, Christian in origin, theurgic or magical in its implications," Martinism first appeared in the south of France in the 1750s under the name of Juges Ecossais.
John M. Roberts tells us: "On top of the network of orthodox masonic lodges had been built first the higher grades of Scottish rite lodges and then, on them, the Strict Observance, which... fragmented into what were virtually a number of separate systems."
Karl Gotthelf Baron Hund introduced a new Scottish Rite to Germany, Rectified Masonry; after 1764 to be known as the "Strict Observance". He termed the English system of Freemasonry the 'Late Observance.' It appealed to German national pride, attracted the non-nobility, and was allegedly directed by Unknown Superiors.
"The Strict Observance was particularly devoted to the reform of Masonry, with special reference to the elimination of the occult sciences which at the time were widely practised in the lodges, and the establishment of cohesion and homogeneity in Masonry through the enforcement of strict discipline, the regulation of functions, etc."[Vernon L. Stauffer]
John Augustus Starck joined Hund, claiming alchemical knowledge and a lineal descent, not from the Knights Templars, but from the clerics of that order, the "true" custodians of its secrets. A union was formalized in 1772 at Kohlo, where Hunds dominance began to wane while Starcks occult and hermetic ideology grew. [Roberts pp. 107-09]
The Convent at Wilhelmsbad (July 16, 1782 - September 1, 1782), a meeting of the various bodies working the Strict Observance system of degrees in Europe, lead to the dissolution of the Strict Observance. It may be said to have continued to 1855 when the Danish lodges adopted the Swedish Rite although in practice, it ceased to exist after the death of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick in 1792. It had no effect on regular Freemasonry.
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6. Who were the "Unknown Superiors" who initiated Karl Gottlieb von Hund into Freemasonry?
Unknown to this day, masonic historians can only conclude that the "Unknown Superiors" were a fictional creation of Hunds imagination, influenced by rosicriucian stories of their "hidden masters".
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