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The idea that freemasons of the world should unite to rebuild the Temple, or that they intended to do so, appears to date from the early twentieth century. Here is one masonic response, laughing at the very concept.
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Rebuilding the Temple
It has yet to be confirmed that a naïve group of Boston freemasons seriously proposed a plan to rebuild King Solomon's Temple. But so it was reported in The Illustrated London News in 1909:
"There comes, need it be said, from America—in point of fact, from Boston—a suggestion that the Freemasons of the World shall subscribe that the Temple of Solomon may be rebuilt at Jerusalem. With the suggestion comes the remark that the undertaking would be an enormous one, and that it would cost a vast amount of money. This is obviously true, but we wonder whether those with whom the scheme originated have really counted the cost. That some idea of the magnitude of the proposed work may be gained, we print on this page and on the following pages the comparatively few figures that can be given reasonably, and many facts that further emphasise the gigantic sum which it would be nesessary to collect before the great building could be re-erected. The interest of the Freemasons in the Temple is explained by the fact that they believe that their order was founded by King Solomon, and that he was the first Grand Master of the Craft. There is not only the question of ways and means to be considerd. The site originally occupied by the Temple is now filled by the Harem-Esh -Shereef, "the Noble Sanctuary," which to the Moslems is only less sacred than Mecca and Medina, for it is believed to cover the rock that is regarded by them as the centre of the earth, the place from which Mahomet started when he visited Heaven. Therefore, it is obvious that any attempt to interfere with the present condition of things would in all probability bring about the greatest religious war the world has ever known. Meantime, it is stated that the Freemasons of Boston have begun operations by applying for the incorporation of a company to take the matter in hand."1
The announcement of the project came as something of a surprise to the editor of the Masonic Standard in New York, who responded with: "The London picture paper is evidently unfamiliar with American humor."2
A publication that should have been in the know was the New England Craftsman, a masonic magazine published in Boston. In the two years prior to the announcement in The Illustrated London News, there is not a hint that such a project was afoot, although there is a poetic description of the Temple, in verse, found on page 467 of the August 1908 issue. Dealing with issues of masonic interest in the Boston area and around the world, there are numerous mentions of the destruction, construction or dedication of various masonic halls in North America, the growth of "dry" lodges, the ongoing difficulty with irregular bodies and degree mongers, reports by travellers to several middle eastern countries, and notices regarding the organization of sundry masonic clubs and societies. But no mention of rebuilding Solomon's Temple.3
What can be found is a report on plans to establish a masonic lodge in Jerusalem:
"There is a movement on foot, said to have an enthusiastic backing, for establishing a Masonic Temple in Jerusalem, under American auspices. Attention is called to the fact that there is not at present a Masonic organization there, which is to be deplored, considering how intimately the ancient city enters into the history and ritual of the Order."4
Some years later, in 1923, masonic author Frank C. Higgins wrote, "there have been actually several associations formed in the United States" promoting such a project.5 Unfortunately he fails to give details, and may only have based his claim on the Illustrated London News report.
It would appear that common sense prevailed... but it would also appear that the roots of yet another anti-masonic attack can be traced—albeit distorted out of context—to freemasons.

1.Supplement to The Illustrated London News. Aug. 28, 1909.
2.Masonic Standard, C.C. Hunt, President, Treasurer, Editor and Manager. New York. October 9, 1909, p. 8.
3.New England Craftsman, A Monthly masonic magazine. Warren B. Ellis, editor. Boston, Mass., volume three, October 1907 to September 1908 (478 p.); volume four, October 1908 to September, 1909 (450 p.)
4.Ibid.
5.Higgins, Frank C., Ancient Freemasonry, An Introduction to Masonic Archeology, New York, 1923. "American Masons may Restore Solomon's Temple" [18 page chapter] p. 287 [(Francis Carlos), b. 1867.] Author of: The Cross of the Magi: An Unveiling of the Greatest of all the Ancient Mysteries, Hermetic Masonry, and The Apron: Its Traditions, History and Secret Significances.

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