You've all heard the theories that Masonry is an ancient secret society, whose members strive to achieve global domination through a New World Order. But how many of us really know anything substantial about the subject?
Masonry is one of the oldest and largest brotherhoods in the world. While its traditions date back to the beginning of history, Masonry in its current form was revealed to the world when its activities were noticed by the residents of London in 1717. Since then, tens of thousands of books have come out about this no-longer-so-secret organization.
Masonry is neither a forum, nor a place of pilgrimage. It is not a religion, as many believe, and does not teach a religious philosophy. And yet, many questions surrounding this organization remain. We hope to shed at least a little bit of light on this organization with several of the curious facts below.
Masonry exists in different forms around the entire world. Its members are estimated at being about 5 million.
Contrary to popular belief, Masonry is not a secret society. Every Mason is allowed to confess that he is such but he simply cannot reveal the nature of the ceremonies in the brotherhood.
Masonic symbols are well-known. They are generally thought to exist to keep the brotherhood secret. In reality they were created because at the very beginning the majority of Masons did not know how to read and the symbols helped promote the teachings of the brotherhood.
It's not possible to become a Mason if you're an atheist. The 1st requirement for potential new candidates is that they must believe in a higher power of their choice.
There are 2 main branches of Masonry - Traditionalists, led by the United Grand Lodge of England and Liberals, represented by the Grand Orient Lodge of France.
Masons traditionally identify each other using various secret signs, including wearing a ring with Masonic symbols, various badges, sometimes even by a specific kind of handshake.
Anders Breivik, who carried out the mass murders in Norway in 2011, is a practitioner of Masonry.
Masons are ordered not to give truthful testimony when a fellow member is up on trial. They openly admit that they will provide false testimony but for them this is a far lesser sin than betraying one of their own.
The Statue of Liberty does not carry a hidden Masonic message but is linked to Masonry. Its creator, Frédéric Bartholdi, was a Mason.
Worship of the Sun lies at the heart of Masonry and likely many other secret societies.
Hitler believed that the Masons, along with the Jews, wanted to take over the world and killed nearly 800 000 of them.
Among the most famous Masons were Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, J. Edgar Hoover, Benjamin Franklin and another one of the US Founding Fathers - George Washington.