Inside The World's Oldest Secret Society
Freemasons have been accused of everything from conducting clandestine satanic rituals to masterminding a worldwide conspiracy for planetary domination. The order's members—which have included Sir Isaac Newton, John Wayne, Bill Gates, some of America’s most popular entertainers, and 25 U.S. presidents—insist they merely share a bond of brotherhood, service, and charity. It's the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world and even figures prominently in such modern bestsellers as The Da Vinci Code, yet Freemasonry is still terribly and consistently misunderstood.
In Freemasons, H. Paul Jeffers delves into Masonic history to reveal the surprising and controversial truths behind this ancient and secretive order, from its mystery-shrouded origins in medieval Europe through its rise in America, where Benjamin Franklin founded the first lodge. Today, some four to five million Freemasons worldwide pledge to live their lives in accordance with principles of morality, charity, and loyalty—both to fellow Masons and to the order itself. But what exactly does Freemasonry entail, and what happens behind the lodges’ closed doors? Discover the truth about:
- Masonic Symbols—architectural symbolism, rings, pins, and other subtle indicators of membership
- Rites and rituals—"Rite of Investiture" initiation ceremonies, the Apron Lecture, the Rite of Destitution and others
- Hierarchy and organizational structure—including rules for advancement
- Freemasonry's ancient and ongoing conflict with major religious institutions worldwide
- Women and Freemasonry—including such groups as Eastern Star, Job's Daughters, and Amaranth
- "Anti-Masons"—opposition groups, from the Catholic Church to conspiracy theorists
- African-American Masonry—the "Prince Hall" Masonry alumni, which included Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, author Alex Haley, and musician Nat "King" Cole
- Myths and conspiracies—Why is a Masonic symbol on American currency? Do Masons really control the world?
Now, in this fascinating guide that explores the myths and reality of Freemasonry, the veil of secrecy is finally lifted….
H. Paul Jeffers has published more than 50 works of fiction and nonfiction, including biographies of presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland, New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Diamond Jim Brady, and others. He has appeared on C-SPAN, Fox News, and The History Channel. Jeffers has taught writing and journalism at New York University, City College of New York, Syracuse University, and the California State University at Long Beach. He lives in Manhattan.