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Inside the World's Oldest Secret Society
H. Paul Jeffers
In Freemasons, H. Paul Jeffers delves into Masonic History to reveal surprising and controversial truths behind this ancient secretive order.
". . . surprising and controversial truths behind this ancient and secretive order…"
". . . alluring account of Masonic history and rites and rituals that are used today…"
Known as the Freemasons, the order began so long ago that not a single historian can accurately date its beginnings. The organization’s march through the centuries captivates an audience in awe of its shrouded mysteries. Author Dan Brown’s novels and movies such as National Treasure have heightened interest in the social order.
H. Paul Jeffers openly divulges the history of Freemasonry, despite the long taboo against revealing the organization’s practices or beliefs. Though occasionally mentioning its legends, dating earlier than the story of Noah’s Ark, he begins the book with the legend of Solomon’s Temple and moves to recent periods. He reveals the initiation rites and rituals, poems, songs, and constitutions that underlie the Masonic traditions.
His alluring account of their rites and rituals, still used today, is uniquely crafted so that even an outsider can understand what goes on inside their mystifying world.
At times, the chronology was hard to understand, and this reader found the overuse of quotation marks to be a bit distracting. But Jeffers honors the Masons with careful research.
A particularly illuminating chapter was “Freemasonry in America,” where Jeffers reveals the involvement of George Washington, Ben Franklin and other honored leaders of the nation as members. The book clarifies Freemasonry’s role in the lives of our founding fathers, and describes how the Masons were responsible for the religious freedoms we hold dear today.
Freemasons take claim for the planning and production of the Boston Tea Party, though history shows that only about a dozen members participated, yet more of the party joined soon after the incident. Could it be that the Masons truly did start the riot that lead King George III to denounce Benjamin Franklin and perhaps even helped to spark the Revolutionary War? Mason influence could also be responsible for the freedom of religion in the constitution, as Masons had long ago learned to accept all men, not just ones from a particular religion.
In addition, many American heroes were deeply rooted into the Masonic Society. Paul Revere, the nightrider who alarmed the people of the Middlesex community of the British troops marching from Boston. Dr. Joseph Warren, a Grand Master for the society, was proclaimed a general and even though he was warned against it, he took up arms beside his fellow brethren at the skirmish at Bunker Hill. It seems that Freemasons took up a good part of those who signed the United States Constitution; fifteen of the fifty-six that signed were believed to be Masons. Truly as so many of our founding fathers were apart of this secret society, Freemasonry is judged some positive impact in the foundations of the United States.
In a chapter about Jack the Ripper, Jeffers explains the situation concerning the connection between the serial killer and Freemasons. He also debunks the story by simple facts of inconsistencies, including the word “Juwes” scrawled near the dead bodies. He mentions how it was once believed that the word was thought to refer to Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, and the legend of their conspiratorial murder against a Mason Grand Master, Hiram Abiff long ago. His explanation tells how the word was never used within the Mason order; hence the order’s connections with Jack the Ripper are demonstrated as unfounded. This and other myths and ideals are discussed within various chapters and helps to feed the curiosities of those who wonder what role Masons may have played throughout history.
Newcomers to the world of Masonry will get a leaping start at discovering the Freemason’s secret world, and those who want to gain a greater understanding of the organization will not be disappointed. It contains information on what the order looks for in a member; someone who is of age, with no criminal history and has a belief in a Supreme Being. The initiation rights are thoroughly explained and give anyone who has been curious about joining detailed information on how it to accomplish this.
Recommended? Yes. For any outsider trying to look in on this secret order, the book offers insights into the organization’s origins and the impact of its members on modern America.
Reviewer: Calissa Leigh