Was Russell a freemason, Part one: By his own words
The debate which divided and which still divides the small world of the former Jehovah's Witnesses on the French Internet, is about to know if the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, namely Charles Taze Russell was a mason. Having been an actor of this debate, it seemed to me convenient of summary my ideas in writing to take advantage of it the readers of this site.
Russell took his ideas from the American second Adventism. One of the inspirers of Russell was called Henri Grew. The Watchtower society, always worried about criticisms which it undergoes, although it forbids her followers to listen them, recently dedicated an article on this person, as well as on Georges Storrs. Although as usual, it does not explain her sources, they siad in Page 24 of the french's Watchtower of October 15, 2000, that Henri Grew believe that " the Christians do not have to belong to a secret society, such as freemasonry ".After, the first's version of this Webpage, i found on a site the exact quotation, it was in fact a pamphlet explaining that a christian must noy be a freemason:
One can wonder so effectively Henri Grew did not influence Russell because from the first brochure, Russell classified the freemasonry in the organizations of the world which will not bring any help to the human beings at the time of the Big Distress preceding God's war.
In the page 58 of its booklets Object and Manner pf our Lordís Return, commenting On apocalypse 6 15, which said :
15 And the kings of the earth, and
the people of high rank, and the commanders, and the rich, and the strong, and
every slave, and every free man hid in caves and in cliffs of mountains. 16 And
ceaselessly they say to mountains and to cliffs: " Fall on us and hide us
from the face of The one that sits on the throne and of the anger of the Lamb Ö
He said :
They will seek hiding, also, in such great rocks of worldly society as Free Masonry, Odd Fellowship, etc., but none of these shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lordís anger.Ē
One sees that Russell, from 1877 , believe that freemasonry is a work of the "world" , that is the world remote from God and is not of use to anything in front of God.
he takes it especially for a society of protection, or of mutual aid.
As MickaŽl Tussier's site on the page reveals it, on June 15, 1895, Russell has said in the Watchtower about the freemasonry :
To a question of a reader who asks :
DEAR BROTHER:--I would like to have your opinion on the subject of life insurance. They are organizing lodges all around here--United Workmen, Knights of Pythias, Red Men, Masons, Odd Fellows, etc. They are working it just about like sectarianism in the churches. Would like to see an article in the TOWER on the subject. Yours in the love of the truth, W. E. KILLAM. OUR REPLY TO THE QUERY.
Russell answers :
" We notice as well as the
order of Freemasonry, if he is judged by his past history, has some secret
object or schema, other than brotherhood and grant in the times of diseases or
death. And as far as we can judge it, there is certain degree of profane worship
or of mumeries connected to the rites of this order and of some the others, as
far as members do not understand, but which, in a lot of case, serve for
satisfying the tendency of the natural spirit, for the worship, and
consequently prevents them from looking for God's worship in spirit and really
- through Christ, the only authorized Intermediary and Grand Master.
In this measure, such societies waste a precious time in madnesses, rites and ceremonies divested of sense, and by substituting the worship of their officers, and the use of words and symbols which have no sense for them, in the worship of God, of a way suited through Christ and according to the spiritual knowledge of the Spirit of a healthy spirit.
In this measure, these societies are cruelly bad, without taking into account earnings or financial losses in connection with the membership to one of them "
Russell criticizes austerely Freemasonry in this Watchtower. He didn't put it any more in the category of a simple brotherhood of mutual aid as he seemed to perceive it in 1877, and as his reader seemed to perceive it. But what was interesting in this message, is that Russell made a mistake in this statement about Freemasonry and that a former freemason pointed out him its errors in the Watchtower of the 1 er in August, 1895 :
ďA BROTHER, once very deep in Secretism, and who knows that the Editor has had no such experience, writes as follows:--
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Your
remarks under caption of Secret and Beneficial Societies in TOWER, of June 15,
'95, seem rather funny to me. You hit the nail very fairly considering that you
were hammering so much in the dark. I am glad that you defend the principle of
afforded by legitimate or old line companies, life, fire and accident. With you, however, I think their days are numbered. No human business was ever organized with broader and more philanthropic intentions than Insurance, and no business has been so abused and diverted from its real purposes. When Insurance fails (as it has failed) from the effect of selfishness, we can not hope that any human work will succeed. As to the secret societies, they use a ritual applicable to each different degree, which is fully as reasonable as that of many of the churches, and like those of the churches, it is usually of heathen origin. The worship of the Sun appears prominently in Masonry, and so it does in the service of the Catholic and Episcopal churches. The term "Worshipful," as used in masonry, is now practically obsolete, but was formerly and generally used as a term of respect. I
occupied the station of "Worshipful Master" for three years, but I never received the adoration of my fellow mortals, and I certainly never gave it to others. Your suggestion, that it is done ignorantly, is a good suggestion, but it does not apply in that case. Perhaps no man in my state, during the twenty odd years I was a member of the fraternity, gave more careful study to the symbolism of Masonry, its moral teaching, and its jurisprudence.
While masonry does not inculcate the worship of its officers, it does what is worse; for in its essence the symbolism used in the ceremonies are derived from devil worship. Although no longer unequally yoked with those unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-17), I do want to say for those who
are still in the bondage that they have much excuse. Masonry consists very largely in a series of moral instructions, taught agreeably to ancient usage, by types, symbols and allegorical figures. It is a system, and a very beautiful system--as is very much of Satan's work--when seen from
the worldly standpoint. Your fellow-worker in the best (not the worst) of bonds.Ē
Another brother writes: - -
the masonry is not the Christianity; and the one that is so deceived by thinking that it is , is led by this fact in a labyrinth of painful errors. I think that I know about what I speak about, I was during seven years 'a master' of a 'lodge', and I conferred on it one hundred degrees. The masonry does not clean sins, and does not save our soul of the death; and it is a grave question for a child of God to pass of time and of some money in an institution of the world. There is nothing pure which is ground, but purity comes down of at the top. "
One can so note of what follows, that Russell did not understand big matter of the rites of the Freemasonry and that there were former masons becamed Bible's Students who teached him a little more on, an gave him a negative opinion, which he already had, from a priori inherited from his Adventism's background.
In 1904, Russell speaked again
about Freemasonry, in connection with the mutual aid Society, he disadvised
another time his followers to be mason, by identifying the masonry to Babylon
the Great, a false religion's system :
Page 640,641 of the french's Volume VI of the Studies of Scriptures called " The New Creation "
" This puts in front of us
the quite complete problem of orders, societies, etc., and privileges which
possesses New Creation face of these organizations. Is it suitable that new
creatures take part in these societies?
We answer that if associations of churches are purely religious and trade union movements of mutual aid are laic, generally ,, there are the others else who have religious aspects and laic aspects. As we understand, for example the Freemasons, Odd-Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, etc., carry out certain rites and certain ceremonies of religious character. Naturally we do not pursue any hostile campaign against the members of these different orders, no more than we make it against different sectarian religious systems. We put on the same foot all the systems which understand ceremonies and educations with religious character, etc. And we all consider them as parts of Babylon, whose certain parts are more clean and the others less clean, but that nevertheless are all full of confusion, error, contrary to the divine intention such as reveals it the organization of the primitive Church, and in the instructions that gave to them, by the word and by the example, the inspired Founder and his twelve apostles.
We advise the New creation to have nothing to do with some of these societies, clubs, orders, churches with semi-religious character, but " go out from the middle of them, be separated and not touch what is impure " (2 Corn. 6:17) "
In 1913, in a fearless speech, Russell compared the Christian Church with a secret society of which the Grand Master is Jesus Christ and members of this society not knowed each others because only Jesus knows them. It is one of the main argument of the upholders of Russell's membership in freemasonry. Russell declared himself freemason of this masonry, the biblical masonry. Throughout the speech, he tried to make analogy between the Church and a secret society, certainly to seduce some masons in the room.
He made some faults in regard of the freemasonry in the text showing that he didn't know always enough about masonry as he had admitted it in the previous answer to a mail of an ex-mason reader.
For example :
" And so, if we speak to our Mason friends about the temple and about its meaning, and on the way to be a good Masons and about the Big Pyramid, which is the main emblems they use, "
Regrettably, the pyramid is not the main masonic emblem, it is a urban legend which has its origin in the presence of the eye in the pyramid on the US Dollar and Russell repeats only this gossip.
On the site very informed on the masonry, " masonicinfo ",
the author reveals that symbol of " the pyramid is sometimes used as well (particularly in relation to the Scottish Rite degrees)" (and not in the Royal Arch as asserted by the upholders of Russell's masonry). The masonic author Brent S . Morris, quoted in this site declares about the pyramid :
"A pyramid, whether incomplete or finished, however, has never been a Masonic symbol. It has no generally accepted symbolic meaning, except perhaps permanence or mystery. The combining of the eye of providence overlooking an unfinished pyramid is a uniquely American, not Masonic, icon, and must be interpreted as its designers intended. It has no Masonic context"
We are very far from the main emblem of the freemasonry as assertes by Russell.
At another place Russell declared :
" although I was never Mason, I heard that the Masonry has something which illustrates very well everything this. "
Russell asserted that he was not a freemasonry ( "terrestrial" we shall add), the upholders of the thesis of the membership of Russell's masonry explain that he belonged in fact to The Knight Templar which was in fact an paramasonic organization, and so not completely masonic which allowed him to say that it was not mason.
Regrettably, Knight Templar are masons, it is necessary to be freemason to become a Knight Templar as reveals the site of this movement in the United States at the URL: http://www.knightstemplar.org/freqaq.html
Under the intertitle " How to become a Knight Templar "
"To petition a Commandery of
Knights Templar or membership, you must first be a member of a Masonic Lodge
and other pre-requisite bodies such as the Royal Arch Chapter and possibly a
Council of Royal and Select Masters. (This depends on the state where you
reside) To petition a Commandery one must profess a belief in the Christian
One who does not know a Knight Templar or a Master Mason should contact the local Masonic Temple for information or The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America, 5097 N. Elston Avenue, Suite 101, Chicago, Illinois 60630-2460.Ē
Russell could not be a Knight Templar, nor a freemason because for being a Knight Templar, it was necessary to be already a freemason.
We have coveres the written's materiel of Russell about the freemasonry. Russell in his writings and speeches made regularly mistakes about freemasonry, even though on his last speech, he has demonstrated a better knowledge of the movement. He asserted not being mason and he has identified the masonry to a part of Babylon the Great of which it was necessary to deviate (Apocalypse 18 4) . One can not conclude that Russell was a freemason by his writings.
Opposing views: http://www.microtec.net/mleblank/
Explanations on the conspiracy's theory and Fritz Springmeier: http://www.multimania.com/xmd/