What Do Freemasons Actually Believe?

The group that eventually came to be known as the Freemasons and take on the role of a fraternal society not unlike the Elks or the Oddfellows likely began as a trade guild, according to the question-and-answer column The Straight Dope. At the time, the secrecy that governed the society’s existence was likely at least partially due to the need to keep outsiders from learning valuable trade skills — masonry specifically. As The Vintage News explained, the group allowed members who professed a belief in God, regardless of their more specific religious affiliation. This was problematic for the Catholic Church, as that type of thing just wouldn’t do.

That was centuries ago, of course. These days, Masons are required to profess belief in a higher power — the Great Architect of the Universe, or for the individual Mason, the god of their own religion — in order to join the group or stay in it. However, The Straight Dope also notes that when a Mason achieves the highest rank, the tea is spilled about what the group actually believes, and that “god” is actually Jahbulon, an amalgam of a (the) Hebrew God, a Caananite god, and an Egyptian one.

Of course, few, if any, Masons actually believe all or any of that, according to The Straight Dope. “Few [Masons] take the rituals literally,” author Cecil Adams wrote.

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