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skiendhu
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 12:05 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
John the Evangelist and John the Baptist.

Two religious men who were made into saints by the Roman Church.
Did any other church make people into saints?
Isn't it a bit unusual that a fraternity that claims to be not of any particular religion should celebrate two Christian religious saints?

How did that come about, do you think?

Practical experience is the best teacher
   
A.T.Smith
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 12:54 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Quote:
skiendhu wrote:
Did any other church make people into saints?


Mormons?
(now there's a whole other thread...)


Under the Shadow of Thy Wings
   
canuck
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 01:41 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Orthodox Church...
These two Saints are Saints in every Christian denomination that has saints...
The reason for them being present in Masonry is because they were the "protectors" of the stonemasons craft.
In the Orthodox and Catholic tradition - everything has it's own Saint protector. Every city, every craft, every country... in the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox tradition - even every family has a Saint protector.
I.e. - Macedonia's Saint protector is Saint Clement of Ohrid. Skopje's (the capital) Saint protector is St.Mary the Mother of God. My family's Saint protector is Archangel Michael.
Both Johns were protectors of masonry. Why? Well... we can go wild with speculations here...
Both are crucial for the Christian belief system. The Baptist, because with him Christs path begins. The evangelist, because he wrote one of the books (the one where the Divinity of Christ is the main aspect) and the revelations. So both of them - are the beginning and the end... The two pillars.
  
canuck
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 01:45 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
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Mormons?

They have a bit different concept for Saints then the Catholic or Orthodox churches...
  
Peter Taylor
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 06:42 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Of course it was Christians that started Freemasonry.

The Two Saints John



Brother Robert L. D. Cooper, FRSA, BA, FSA (Scot)


PM Lodge Edinburgh Castle No. 1764


Curator of the Grand lodge of Scotland Museum and Library


Delivered in Lodge Felix, No. 355 on Saturday 21st April 2008



The Scottish Reformation of 1559-60 swept away the Roman Catholic form of Christianity and ushered in was the new Protestant religion, which had a very different view of how God was to be worshipped. Gone were the Catholic forms of worship (the Mass), images of Saints, Catholic symbols and other church paraphernalia. That which replaced it was quite different; simpler, plainer and all this took place within a generation of the Schaw statutes (1598 and 1599), the man who many now acknowledge to be the father of modern Freemasonry for it was he who began the process which led to Freemasonry as we know it today .
Many Lodges are named after a particular saint ( St. John is by far the most common, but there are many others ranging from St. Abb to St. Vincent ) and we frequently hear general references to ‘the’ Saints John within Freemasonry. Some might be familiar with the symbol of the point within a circle, supported (to the right and left) by two parallel lines (see image below).

If, however, the country’s religion was so completely changed at the Reformation why do signs of the previous faith still linger within the modern craft by reference various saints?
Why these two saints, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, are regularly referred within Freemasonry is the purpose of this short paper. However, it is not the religious faith or the theological aspect that are for discussion here (that is for another time). It should always be remembered that the events of the Reformation created enormous and numerous changes within Scottish society. Bearing that in mind we will be better able to understand why saints remain part of Freemasonry today.
The Edinburgh Register House MS (1696) is the oldest known Masonic ritual in the world, and it is in an equivocally the Scottish – that is clear from the rhetoric, spelling and syntax etc. This ritual and others very similar to it (the Airlie MS (1705) and the Chetwode Crawley MS (C. 1710)) are also Scottish and these have been described and analysed elsewhere (see for example The Airlie MS in Vol. 117 of AQC – the annual journal of Lodge Quatour Coronati, No. 2076). The first mention of a Saint John , and I shall reveal which Saint in a moment, is contained within the obligation (which is in itself significant) of these earliest of rituals. Part of the obligation reads, “I swear by St. John , and the square and compasses.” This means that 140 years after the Reformation (1559), St. John was still being ‘sworn by’ during Stonemasons ceremonies and that the saint was on a par with the square and compasses.
Before discussing why St. John’s Freemasonry is described as such, I now want to turn to our pre-Reformation forbears to try and understand what they were doing and what part, if any, St. John played in their activities.
In the middle ages most trades, especially those with some economic power were able to form guilds (in Scotland they were usually known as Incorporations). Without going into detail, trades such as Baxters (bakers), Wobsters (weavers) etc. were allowed to participate to a limited extent in town council activities. Although they had little power they at least had a voice, no matter how small, in the town establishment. This was useful to them when matters relating to their craft, stonemasonry, were debated. For example, the incorporation would negotiate working hours and wages and other conditions of employment. In return for the small amount of political representation the incorporations had to agree to accept certain responsibilities. For example, they had to agree to control their apprentices, and even had to agree to accept responsibility for improving their morals! The pre-Reformation church played a much bigger part in people’s lives. The day was structured around the timing of church rituals, holy days etc. It was common for groups such as merchants to combine to pay for the upkeep of part (and occasionally all) of a particular church. Rich individuals occasionally took sole responsibility for a particular place in a church. These ‘particular parts’ of a church were usually side aisles dedicated to a saint where prayers would be offered to that particular saint. When the stonemasons attained the status of Incorporation, in Edinburgh , in 1475, they were given the responsibility for maintaining the aisle of Saint John the Evangelist within St. Giles Cathedral. This meant that they had to keep the aisle clean and tidy, in good order, and repair any damage and make an annual donation of candle wax (which, of course, was used every day and was therefore expensive over the course of a year). In other words, they met there regularly not only to hear prayers said for the souls of deceased stonemasons but also took the opportunity to discuss what was going on in the craft. It naturally followed that because the aisle was dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist whose feast day is the 27th December that was when most, if not all, the stonemasons would gather together It was sensible, therefore, to use the period after the religious ceremonies had been completed to conduct business – settle accounts, plan for the future, suggest changes in rules and practice, and most importantly, initiate apprentices and make Fellow Crafts. The 27th December remains the principal day in the calendar of Scottish Freemasonry (with the exception of St. Andrew’s Day, 30th November – see below). It is for this reason that today, most of Scottish lodges continue to celebrate the 27th December, and not the 24th of June – the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. After the Reformation, many of the religious elements relating to saints, including aisles dedicated to them were abolished and that meant that stonemasons were no longer required to maintain ‘their’ aisle within St. Giles Cathedral. However, they were still required to conduct their annual business and they continued to hold their ‘AGM’ on 27th December each year. This process can be seen from written records (including those of Edinburgh City Council for example), where this date is recorded as a meeting date of stonemasons before and after the Reformation. Once William Schaw (c. 1550 – 1602), the father of modern Freemasonry, reorganised Scottish Lodges, he lodge’s records show that the 27th December continued to be their main working or business day. We now call these meetings ‘installations’ (usually on or about 27th December) as this is when the new Master of a Lodge was placed in the chair as part of the centuries old ‘AGM’.
It is clear that St. John the Evangelist was the Patron Saint of Scottish stonemasons but the question remains as to why he was chosen. He possible religious and theological reasons must be the subject of a later discussion but the thought does occur to me that there may be a very simple reason. That when the stonemasons became an Incorporation, the next available, or even the only available, aisle was that of St. John the Evangelist! If this is true then it was the church which ‘allocated’ this Saint to them rather that they chose him as their Saint.
What then of St. John the Baptist and St. Andrew, both of whom figure albeit not so prominently within Scottish Freemasonry? When the Grand Lodge of England was established in the 1717 it was known that ‘ St. John ’ was ‘the’ Patron Saint. There was no doubt about this but there was doubt about which St. John – the Evangelist or the Baptist. When setting up a new organisation, such as the Grand Lodge of England and there is a choice between a day in the depths of winter, when the days are dark, short, cold and often wet, or a day in the middle of summer, which are warm with long hours of sunlight, which day would you choose? Our English Brethren may have simply automatically assumed that no one would be crazy enough to choose 27th December, or if they did know that Scotland used the feast day of St. John the Evangelist they ‘turned a nelson eye’ on that inconvenient fact and chose that of Saint John the Baptist whose feast day at the height of summer – 24th of June.
When Lodges in Edinburgh decided that Scotland should also have its own Grand Lodge they paid particular attention to the procedures used to establish the formation of the Grand lodge in London, and also adopted (one could believe almost without thinking because they were simply copying a previous example) St. John the Baptist Day as the main feast day. Unfortunately, those organising this new body, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, had not taken into account the traditions of Scottish stonemasons, including their Patron Saint, Saint John the Evangelist. The main effect of this was that the majority of stonemasons’ lodges in Scotland did not take part in the formation of the new Grand lodge as they believed it would be quite wrong to overturn centuries of tradition and adopt a new Patron Saint and one that appeared to have been chosen ‘for them’ by English Masons.
The new Grand Lodge of Scotland had got itself into a real pickle. If it persisted with St. John the Evangelist Day on which to hold its main annual meeting and installation of the Grand Master Mason it would offend all the speculative Lodges which had been so involved in organising and supported its creation from the beginning. But if it adopted Saint John the Baptist it would offend all the stonemasons’ lodges (the majority). Whichever St. John it chose it was going to upset one group or another. In a typical Scottish pragmatic move a compromise was reached – it adopted neither John the Evangelist, nor John the Baptist and opted instead for the Patron Saint of Scotland. This is why therefore that although Scottish Craft Freemasonry is known as Saint John’s Freemasonry the Grand Lodge of Scotland uses neither. It is also why St. Andrews Feast Day, 30th November, is Grand lodge of Scotland ’s Installation and Festival of St. Andrew.
Last but not least this is also why the symbol shown above (with or without the actual figures representing the Saints John) is not and cannot be used within Scottish Freemasonry.

   
Peter Taylor
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 07:11 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
In Scotland we also have Lodges dedicated to a lot of other Saints:

We also have St James, St Thomas, St David, St Peter, St Machar, St Nicholas, St Mark, St Bride & St Bryde, St Servanus, St Gilbert, St Ronan, St Kilda, St Donan, St Congan, St Leonard, St Modan, St Molios, St Cyre, St Luke, S Clair, St Paul, St Colm, St Margaret, St Aethan, St Mary, St Conval, St Ternan, St Kentigern, St Fergus, St Vincent, St Matthew, St Laurence & St Lawrence, St Anthony, St Vigean, St Magdalene, St Marnock, St Barchan, St Adrian, St George, St Clement, St Ayle, St Ninnian, St Serf, St Fothads, St Regulus, St Duthus, St Stephen, St Nathalan, St Baldred, St Cuthbert, St Ebbe etc etc .... we're into "saints" for sure!
   
A.T.Smith
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 01:10 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
There's also the whole duality thing - Summer Solstice / Winter Solstice.

Here's a good question, why specifically were those two dates chosen to be the festivals of the Sts John?

Under the Shadow of Thy Wings
   
skiendhu
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 01:46 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Quote:
A.T.Smith wrote:
There's also the whole duality thing - Summer Solstice / Winter Solstice.

Here's a good question, why specifically were those two dates chosen to be the festivals of the Sts John?




I don't know why these two specifically but all the pagan festivals were ascribed to saint days by the early Roman Church to try to bring the pagan religions in line with Christianity. Starting, I believe, with Christ's Mass Day which was set by Constantine at Micea to correspond with the festival of the winter solstice.

Practical experience is the best teacher
   
skiendhu
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 01:55 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
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A.T.Smith wrote:

Mormons?
(now there's a whole other thread...)



Now there's a thought.
How about these Mormons.
I don't really know much about them but from what I've read I'm a bit suspicious about their beginnings. I believe that they are into Freemasonry "though.

Practical experience is the best teacher
   
A.T.Smith
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 02:44 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Quote:
skiendhu wrote:
I believe that they are into Freemasonry "though.


You might say that....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sDDHwV4n20

Under the Shadow of Thy Wings
   
skiendhu
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 04:16 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Well, I don't suppose we are entirely unique, 'though we may like to think we are. Similar penalties and practices are used in other institutions and cultures throughout the world that are not Masonic. I mean, we don't carry a patent.
So, what is depicted in the film may or may not be derived from the Masonic rituals.
I prefer to think that what we see there, kinda like Mormonism itself, is pure invention for their own specific purposes.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Practical experience is the best teacher
   
canuck
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 04:25 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Mormon's church was founded by a freemason, as far as I know...
  
A.T.Smith
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 Posted February 7th, 2009 06:11 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
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canuck wrote:
Mormon's church was founded by a freemason, as far as I know...


Yeah, it was.

The establishment of the Mormon Church (particularly form a Masonic point of view) is really quite fascinating. I have a book on the subject "Freemasonry and Nauvoo", written by a Mason. They seem to have borrowed a great deal of our symbolism for their "Temple Ceremony".

Under the Shadow of Thy Wings
   
skiendhu
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 Posted February 8th, 2009 12:36 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Yes, I remember now, Joseph Smith was his name. Without the benefit of reading the same book, and going strictly from memory of the writings of others, what I have read about the man seems to suggest that his claims of direct communication with God and his secrecy while translating the strange writings that he apparently found somewhere are questionable at best.
Is there a known record of him being a Mason?

Practical experience is the best teacher
   
A.T.Smith
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 Posted February 8th, 2009 01:04 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
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skiendhu wrote:
Is there a known record of him being a Mason?


Yeah, 100%.

Here's the story from the Mormon perspective:

http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/...masonry_eom.htm

...and here's some more recent news, from the Masonic perspective:

http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspo...o-illinois.html

Under the Shadow of Thy Wings
   
skiendhu
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 Posted February 8th, 2009 04:05 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Well, that makes it fairly conclusive that Masonic symbolism is a part of the Mormon temple ceremony.


Practical experience is the best teacher
   
Dave Mavity
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 Posted February 9th, 2009 02:47 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Looks like I'm a little late to the party.
Yeah, Joe was a Mason, and did indeed borrow aspects of Masonic Ritual for LDS Temple Ritual. He also had some notion of gnostic belief, and some of that is incorporated, as well. And, was raised in a culture of "folk magic" in upstate NY, so threw some of that in.
It's an interesting religion. Not mine, but interesting, nonetheless. I spent a fair amount of time in UT travelling for business, and Mormons feel something of a kinship with us. A customer there once said that he believed we were "long lost cousins."

Dave Mavity
Academia Lodge #847 F&AM, Oakland, CA: Traditional Observance, baby.
Golden City Lodge #1 AF&AM, Golden, CO
Oakland, CA Valley A&ASR

Intra Nobis Regnum Iehova
   
pfeifco
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 Posted February 9th, 2009 04:05 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
As I understand it, in recent times, most of the masonic similarities have been removed form the Mormons "Temple Ceremony".

I can not remember where I read this. Can anyone confirm?
   
Dave Mavity
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 Posted February 9th, 2009 05:00 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
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pfeifco wrote:
As I understand it, in recent times, most of the masonic similarities have been removed form the Mormons "Temple Ceremony".

I can not remember where I read this. Can anyone confirm?


Yeah, they've dumbed it down significantly. I don't think that's a matter of trying to distance themselves from us, it's more a matter of making the ritual easier and more simple for the masses.

Sound familiar?

Dave Mavity
Academia Lodge #847 F&AM, Oakland, CA: Traditional Observance, baby.
Golden City Lodge #1 AF&AM, Golden, CO
Oakland, CA Valley A&ASR

Intra Nobis Regnum Iehova
   



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