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The Meaning of Masonry Hardcover – December 2, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy; New edition edition (December 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517331942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517331941
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Although the Freemasons number over six million members worldwide, they are a very secretive organization. the general public today thinks of them as a social fraternity like the Rotary Club, but that is hardly the whole truth. By mysterious coincidence, it seems, many Masons have been major figures in modern history. many of the Founding Fathers of the United States?including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere?were Freemasons. Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian freedom fighter, was also one, as were the composers Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and writers François Marie Arouet de Voltaire and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The Meaning of Masonry explores the beliefs behind the order, its cryptic rites and symbols, and uncovers its ultimate purpose.

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Customer Reviews

This book explores Freemasonry as an uplifting form of spiritual philosophy.
SmeeGee
I recommend taking this book down at least once a month to read a random chapter.
David Scheffer
This book is one of the best I've read about the deeper meaning of Freemasonry.
Clayton D. Robison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By C. Murphy on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Originally published nearly a hundred years ago, Wilmhurst's "The Meaning of Masonry" is a collection of essays intended to shed light on a subject often misunderstood -- or altogether unrecognized -- even by Freemasons. As the sharp polarization in Customer Reviews attests, you will either love or hate this slender volume. Where you fall on this spectrum will very much depend on your own preconceived notions regarding the natures of God and Man, and the relationship between the two. The religiously orthodox - of whatever persuasion - will have a tough, tough time with this book. Wilmhurst himself makes it abundantly clear that his target audience is probably quite small and makes no attempt to persuade the incredulous.

The main thrust of Wilmhurst's argument is that Freemasonry is, if not a direct linear descendant, at least a modern (i.e., post 16th century) revival of the ancient Orders of Initiation, also known as the Mystery Schools. Interpreted in this light, the Craft is neither a social club nor a philanthropic organization but, rather, a path to personal spiritual enlightenment. Though he doesn't specifically draw the parallel, Wilmhurst's understanding of Masonry is, in many respects, reminiscent of the ancient Chinese concept of Tao (the Way).

In Wilmhurst's view, the modern Masonic rituals that new members are routinely ushered through in the course of a few months (or, worse still, during the infamous "One Day Class") are but a dim recollection of the arduous, but necessary, trials undertaken by those determined to achieve a richer, fuller understanding of life, the universe, and everything. Think "Mysteries-Lite".
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
People are always saying that masons don't believe in God & Christ ... that it is a Pagan Group. This Book shows & tells how the masonic order & Christianty feed off each other. The search for "light" in masonry is nothing but the search for light in Christianty. He shows how the two are simular as in when Hiram Abiff died between two thieves as they beat him and afterwards the Temple he started was finished ... Christ died between two thieves & afterwards his Temple (or church) was finished. Also that the ritual of the 3rd degree is a reference to death & rebirth, just as christ died & was reborn. He makes many references like this. I always knew there had to be more to masonry than just a few stories/parables ... Mr. Wilmshurst being worried of what Masonry was turning into ( a social club), wrote this book for those of us who want to know the truth & not just to read another flashy opinion/interpation someone has. Most Masons can't tell you what Masonry really is! This is a book you will keep & read over and over and over. Did you know that the apron of an EA with it's 5 points represents the 5 wounds of Christ & the 5 points of fellowship? ... PLUS some other really interesting stuff. Again, best book I have read in years.
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86 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Graham D. Lincoln VINE VOICE on January 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
No more veiled allusions to a Deeper Meaning of Masonry. No more Hints and Insinuations. No more references to obscure books, that can only be found through unfamiliar publishers. No more "I know more than you, but I cannot tell you about it." No more pre-1717 cover-up. Here it is: everything you ever wanted to know about Masonry, but were afraid to ask.... Or, wanted to ask--but, couldn't get anyone to talk about it. This is the book you have been Searching for & the book that will revitalize The Craft. Wilmshurst tells it like it is, after giving many Lectures amongst Masons of the world. He offers us some Gold, instead-of a Treasure Map. If all the other Masonic books left you feeling unsatiated and thirsty for more Knowledge, this book will quench your thirst and provide ample revitalization in the future. Wilmshurst believes a man should enter The Craft with no blinders or misgivings about his Work. He believes in offering the Truths he has discovered to all those seeking The Light. Anyone contemplating the idea of petitioning The Lodge should read this book...and, everyone within The Lodge should give Wilmshurst's message a respectful perusal during a quiet afternoon.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Phil on October 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Written in the 1920's, the writer interprets Masonic ritual and mythology in a deeply mystical light, positing the Craft as a spiritual system. Its style can appear dated and overly tinged with the theosophical influences of its era, but it rewards in the end. For those masons who prefer not to see the Craft in such a way, this book can be startling, but for those who are truly "speculative" it provides a sane and informed perspective. If you view Masonry simply as an ethical dining club, this is not for you! Otherwise, an important classic of its type.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David R. Bess VINE VOICE on May 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a superb Christian theology of Freemasonry for Master Masons. The title can easily be misinterpreted by some to be a "tell-all" on the Masonic craft for anyone who reads its pages. If you're not a Master Mason, don't bother reading this volume -- it will make no sense. I read it before I became a Master Mason and just didn't "get it." Now I understand what Wilmshurst is saying, and am deeply moved by it.

If you are a Christian, a Master Mason, and have any theological background whatsoever, this title is a must-read. Any notion that Freemasonry is competitive with or contradictory to Christianity will be quickly put to rest.
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