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The Big Book of Conspiracies contains some dozen implications and accusations regarding Freemasonry, as well as a chapter of disjointed facts and suppositions regarding their history and goals. Author, Doug Moench, DC Comics and Time Warner Entertainment Company have avoided actionable libel by including a carefully worded "Publisher’s Note", that defines conspiracy theories as "opinions, which may or may not be true," infering "relationships between facts, which may in fact have no relationship", and drawing conclusions without any other proof. Yet at the end of each chapter they have inserted a small seal-like mark with the phrase "100% TRUE".
Of the many references to Freemasonry, the facts are occasionally accurate but absolutely no justification is given for the conclusions drawn from the facts. The following notes detail a few of the more obvious errors as well as observations on the many misrepresentation of opinions as facts.
REAL CONSPIRACY
MYTHOLOGY OF SECRET SOCIETIES
ANTI-MASONRY FAQ
[Conspiracies
[refuted]
compiled by Trevor W. McKeown
November 12 1997
PUBLISHED ERRORDOCUMENTED FACT
Two illustrations of an all-seeing eye and pyramid, as found on the USA seal are referred to as references to "such occult secret societies as the Illuminati..." (p.43)
"...let’s not forget the occult significance of the pyramid — nor its appearance on the dollar bill of the masonically created 'New World Order' of the U.S. of A." (p.57)
The eye and pyramid is unique to the USA seal and has no documented use in Freemasonry or the Bavarian Illuminati. No group or body of any note has ever titled themselves Illuminati with a documented use of an eye and pyramid symbol.
"And we'll see in 'Cabal of Looming Doom.' the trinity-rife assassinations of JFK can be seen as a secret masonic ritual known as 'The Killing of the King'." (p.63) No explanation, proof or documentation of any such styled ritual is given. There is no such masonic ritual.
"...even as masonic groups brought the chain full circle by sponsoring members to Washington’s Foreign Service School, thereby providing a steady stream of Freemason CIA spies..." (p.74) No body of Freemasons, recognized or otherwise, is identified in this accusation. The Premier Grand Lodges and many jurisdictions subscribe to a statement of "Aims and Relationships of the Craft", which specifically prohibits such conduct as "unmasonic".
"Like many others, Andrews sees a Nazi-occult link behind the near-apocalypse of World War II, but claims the Bavarian Illuminati, Teutonic Knights, The Watchers and the Prussian masonic Lodges are nothing more than red herrings...." (p.80) No explanation, proof or documentation of any is given.
"The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes." — Benjamin Disraeli. (p.112) Disraeli (1804 -1881) was a popular novelist before he was prime minister of England (1868, 1874-80). In Coningsby (1844), he created a secondary character named Sidonia who makes this remark in a conversation about the various undersecretaries, ministers and advisors to the European states. In context, there is no suggestion that these personages are in league, secretly or otherwise, nor that they are in any way masonic. (Coningsby. Penguin Classics, p. 273. [1989]. Disraeli was not a freemason. He did accept what was termed the "plot theory of history."
"Terror, death and ritualistic mutilation form a path to power (or preserving power) followed not just by Sabbah’s Hashishmin ...but by the Thug and Kali cults of India...and certain factions of Freemasonry (as perhaps exemplified by the Jack the Ripper atrocities)..." (p.161) There has been no proof or documentation of any link between the 1888 Whitechapel murders and any "factions" of freemasons.
"The Overcrowded ranks of secret societies include the Rosicrusions, the Knights Templar, the Illuminati, freemasons, Hashishin assassins, and Thugees, the Priority [sic] of Zion, the P2 Lodge and the CIA." (p.193) A garbled version of the "traditional history" of Freemasonry, a story not considered fact by freemasons, leads to this mélange of fictional and real societies. Freemasonry was as much the victim and dupe of P2 as anyone.
"It was here (King Solomon’s Temple) that the three overall ranks of masonry were established — Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craftsman, and Master Mason." (p.193) Although there is some debate on the actual date that the third degree was introduced, the first appearance of a distinct and separate third degree occurs with the publication of Samuel Prichard’s Masonry Dissected in 1730.
"An Egyptian statue shows a member of the 'Brotherhood of the Snake' wearing a remarkably similar apron (to that of the Freemason’s regalia). It is dated 3400 BC." (p.194) An unadorned apron, there is nothing that singles it out as masonic, or unique from the tradesman’s apron worn by many labourers.
(p.194) Lenin was not a recognized freemason. Although claims have been made that he was a member of the Grand Orient of Russian Peoples, there is no proof of this. The Grand Orient of Russian Peoples was an irregular and clandestine body, having no relations with regular Freemasonry. The Revue internationale des Sociétés Secrètes (Vol. VIII, 1919. p. 702) claimed, without citation, that Lenin was a member of a secret masonic lodge in Switzerland. Prince Dr. Otto zu Salm-Horstmar said in a speech in the upper house of the Prussian Diet, in August 1918, that Lenin was a Jew and belonged to a masonic lodge in Paris, but his sources are uncited. [Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide p. 144.]
"The masonic organization of today however, is generally regarded as little more than an adult version of a schoolboy club — as harmless as the Kiwanis, Shriners, Lions, Elks, or Raccoons." (p.194) Freemasons in North America contribute over two million dollars a day to charities such as children’s hospitals, and burn units, with the benificiaries often having no affiliation with Freemasonry. The tenets of Freemasonry stress social responsibility and community involvement. The Shriners are major contributors to many charities and require their members to be active Freemasons. The Kiwanis, Lions and Elks all contribute to community service projects. The Raccoons was a fictional fraternity created for a fifties television sit-com, "The Honeymooners". To disparagingly lump these together is belittling.
"In any case, very few masons below ultimate rank — the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite — even know or understand Freemasonry’s secrets, symbolism and ultimate goals." (p.195) Difficult for non-masons to understand is the administration of a group which considers all 3rd degree Master masons to be equal and does not attach any authority in the conferring of the other degrees. The 33rd degree is an honourary title and confers no authority over Craft Freemasonry. Each independent Grand Lodge elects its principal officers annually, as do the individual lodges under each Grand Lodge. Although having held certain offices is required for election to higher offices, no degree higher than the third is required in most jurisdictions.
"In persuit of their 'perfection of creation', Hoffman says, ' A global cabal of masonic conspirators has long sought to manipulate history and control the world. One means of achieving this control involves ritual killing of occult significance. And there was none better at it than the infamous Whitechapel nightstalker, Jack the Ripper. Ripper victims were mutilated in fashions perfectly matching statements made by the three murderers of Hiram Abiff, Master mason who built the Temple of Solomon. Their confession: 'would that my throught were cut across'... 'my body severed in the midst'...'my left breast torn open, my insides thrown over my left shoulder'." (p.196) This is a complete fabrication mixing several unrelated metaphorical lessons and applying them, with no documentation or proof. A reading of any of the many ritual expositions will clearly demonstrate this.
"Hoffman sees the ghastly murder 80 years later of a pregnant Sharon Tate (wife of Rosemary’s Baby director Roman Polanski) as a masonic ritual to appease the moon goddess." (p.196) No explanation is given as to why this should be considered masonic and what Freemasonry has to do with worshipping a moon goddess.
Many expositions of masonic ritual and ceremonies have been published since the Grand Lodge system of Freemasonry was initiated in 1717. Mackey’s "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry" lists 34 such texts published between 1723 and 1852. The most recent version is Richardson’s Monitor of Free-masonry" These texts are those most often referred to by conspiracy theorists and anti-masons, although none of the recognized Grand Lodges has authorized their use—regardless, none of them refer to or detail any rituals involving killing or worshipping any god or goddess. For that the reader is directed to the self-confessed fraud, Léo Taxil.
"Templar, Illuminati, Satanists, Occultists, Nazis, Intelligence cults... all of these secret brotherhoods somehow created and manipulated, with or without their conscious knowledge, by UFOs..." (p.210) There are some accusations which cannot be considered rationally. Although these claims are not worthy of a response, the inclusion of Freemasonry in a text of this nature must be addressed. While some of the accusations fall under the rubric of anti-masonry, many are cynical, tongue-in-cheek remarks neither made by, nor directed at believers. These are the most dangerous attacks.
While all strictly anti-masonic attacks can be refuted by the unprejudiced presentation of documented facts, conspiracy accusations do not so much tear down Freemasonry as belittle it’s legitimacy by reducing it to a fictional context. By denying Freemasonry the recognition it deserves for the work it and its members have accomplished over the years, conspiracy theorists who would lump the freemasons in with UFOs and the Raccoons would reduce them to the level of urban folklore. The freemasons who have banded together to try and make this a better world, by founding schools, promoting free thought, building hospitals and reaching out the hand of friendship, deserve better.

Bibliography
The Big Book of Conspiracies
Author: Doug Moench
Publisher: Paradox Press,
an imprint of DC Comics. A Division of Warner Bros.
A Times Warner Entertainment Company
New York, NY: 1995
224 pages
Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
Author: Albert G. Mackey
Publisher: Macoy Publishing and masonic Supply Co., Inc.
Richmond, Virginia: 1966
Illustration of Freemasonry
Author: William Morgan
Publisher: David C. Miller.
Batavia, New York: 1828
[mostly a copy of Pritchard’s "Masonry Dissected"].
Masonry Dissected
Author: Samual Pritchard
Publisher: Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076
London: 1730
[the source of most other expositions].
Monitor of Free-masonry
Author: Jabez Richardson
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
New York 1993
[first published 1860; mostly a reprint of Morgan’s "Illustrations of Freemasonry"] 192 pages.

These notes represent the compiler’s researches and not the opinion or claims of any Grand Lodge or masonic body. No one man speaks for Freemasonry.

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