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The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry Paperback – September 8, 2009
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“This should be the first book anyone reads about Freemasonry. Even those who know a lot about it will benefit from the broad and generous perspective that the founder of “Gnosis Magazine” brings to it.” (Joscelyn Godwin, Colgate University. Author of The Theosophical Enlightenment and The Golden Thread)
Kinney’s book, “Masonic Myth,” delves into the mysterioushistory of the Freemasons and carefully dispels rumors and misconceptions about the brotherhood. (beliefnet)
“The Masonic Myth finally sets the record straight about the Freemasons,revealing that the truth is far more compelling than the stories.” (bookgasm)
“Kinney does a great job of sharing a whole lot of never-before-seen inside stuff in an easilyunderstood way.” (January Magazine)
“...highly-readable and down-to-earth. Backed up by much scholarly research, Kinney methodically examines, and then busts common myths about Masons.” (Boing Boing)
“For the history buff or even the student or teacher looking for a one-volume source, this book is probably all they’ll ever need to understand the world of the Freemasons. Recommended.” (Library Journal XPress)
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Top Customer Reviews
Like most people, I had very little idea of what the Masonry was about (before reading this). The relatively few things published about the Masons have generally been of such dubious integrity that a discerning reader must dismiss them as agenda-driven propaganda rather than serious non-fiction on the subject.
Some of the information in the public sphere is very positive. For example, we've all seen the Shriners at the parades and are aware of their good works with Children's Hospitals. Granted, the connection to Masons is weak enough that some of us don't make it but it's still there for the observant to see.
As there's no sensationalized agenda for this work, there's no sinister plot or alarmist message to hook the reader. That's one of the "problems" with true nonfiction in general. Of course, there are exceptions--for example, when the work is about a bizarre event, a tragedy, or a famous criminal.
Writing a factual book about the Masons is a challenge in itself, for several reasons. Making it interesting is a further challenge, also for several reasons. Kinney handled these challenges well, with a combination of dry wit, logic, and good writing. From his 30 or so pages of notes, we can conclude that his work is also heavily researched. That research is especially valuable, because it wasn't from the outside looking in. He is a practicing Mason, but not just an "ordinary" one. He's the librarian and director of research for the San Francisco Scottish Rite, plus he's heavily connected in other ways.Read more ›
I read that old issue of Gnosis magazine when I first wondered about the secrets of Freemasonry. Then, a decade + later, I discovered his current book "Masonic Myth," in which Jay briefly writes about the alternative histories and mythologies that he explored in 1997. Except the current book "Masonic Myth" is based on a look at Masonic Folklore from someone (Jay) who has now spent years inside the Brotherhood. Some of it is honestly funny - it is always good to have an alchemist at a funeral or the tiler's sword would be hard pressed (literally) to cut cheese cubes. It all really comes across as the reflections of one of the better reflective thinkers in Western Traditions. Jay has certainly methodically researched the archives for his writing. And he shares a lot of that research in this book..
If you are curious, this book can be a fun - and informative - read.
If you are a conspiracy theorist, best go eat a plate of cheese cubes far from here.
Jay cuts to the chase after laying a foundation about the nebulosity of Masonic Origins. It seems to me that what Jay is saying is: "To truly know the Masonic experience is to BE a Mason."
The first four chapters are an engagingly written, solidly researched account of the origins of the Craft. This makes the book the best place to start for anyone seeking a reliable and accessible guide to Freemasonry. The middle four chapters provide an informed account of Masonic rites, symbols, and hierarchies. As Kinney leads readers through a labyrinth of degrees and orders, his personal involvement with Masonry brings meaning to what is otherwise a bewildering landscape. Without proselytizing, Kinney conveys an appreciation for the value contemporary Masons find in the brotherhood and its not-so-secret-after-all practices.Read more ›
Kinney's book, The Masonic Myth, helps to solidify my skepticism concerning one group that finds itself thrust into the spotlight with the every release of a new Dan Brown book. Brown is but the latest to "expose" the supposed world-ruling intentions of the Masons (witness the History Channel is another outlet that periodically likes to trade in such ideas). Kinney takes the novel approach of explaining, with sources, the mysteries of Masonry and the problems it faces. Of course, true conspiracy theorists would probably find the fact that Kinney is himself a Mason disqualifying. That would be too bad.
What Kinney does is show that Masonry gathered certain cultural symbols and motifs that were common to other organizations. Further, they shrouded their organization in secrecy and confused their own origins, both of which played into theories of conspiracy. Further, Kinney shows that what most current Masons care most about is the senior citizen's special and their AARP membership. Like most other men's organizations--the Lions, Elks, Oddfellows--the Masons are literally dying off. Will the New World order survive?
Whether it does or not, Kinney has done a great service to those interested in a well-researched and factual account of the origin and current state of Freemasonry. Oh, and I'm not a Mason.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Freemasonry and their morals, 2010 FBI's largest organized underage philantrophic sex slavery ring, convicted of Mann Act, overc18,000 highest level masons identified as felony... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert A. Boeninger
I don't like the name of this book, it makes it sound kind of cheezy in my opinion. This book covers researched and verifiable facts concerning the fraternity, which as a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Brandon A. Daves
We chose this as our first book to read on /r/MasonicBookClub and I'm fairly hapy with our decision. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ryan C. Mercer
Kinney does a good job of providing insight in the history of Freemasonry both in the United States and Europe. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tenn. RA Mason
The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney provides a helpful overview into the world of speculative Freemasonry. Read morePublished 12 months ago by M. LaPlante
Brother Kinney has written a real jewel of a book. Explanations of many Masonic myths. Debunks many things attributed to the Masons that are just not true. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Glenn M. Mcclain
Jay Kinney has done an extremely through & insightful job of investigating & explaining freemasonry. Read morePublished on November 16, 2013 by alanda