Breivik might be lying about being a Templar, but he was a Freemason. What is the connection between the Templars and Freemasonry and do you consider Freemasonry to be a cult?'
That said, 'Freemasonry' is a self-perpetuating, non-rational, esoteric, ritual belief system, based on an essentially-fictional, closed-logic narrative, presented as fact using a constant repetition of reality-inverting key-words and images combined with pseudo-scientific mystification. Unfortunately, like all non-rational belief systems, in the wrong hands, 'Freemasonry' can be easily perverted for the purpose of human exploitation. Indeed, in certain countries (like Italy), a form of major organized-crime linked to so-called 'Black Masonic Lodges,' has been identified and (in theory) outlawed. It is also interesting to note that, although 'Freemasons' were high on the list of Adolf Hitler's imagined enemies, and were persecuted by the 'Nazi' regime, the 'Nazi Party' itself evolved out of the unification of various perverted secret societies.
Possibly the simplest way to describe 'Freemasonry' is to say that, internally, it exhibits the essential identifying characteristics of a traditional, dualistic religion, but externally the movement has been presented using non-religious terminology. Interestingly, the organization insists that it is not a religion, and 'Freemasons' now tend to make the nonsensical claim to be the members of 'society with secrets: rather than a secret society.'
(Whilst reading the following brief explanation, bear in mind that it contains only a tiny fraction of the intellectually, and emotionally, overwhelming comic-book story which Anders Breivik has retrieved from the Net. and stuffed his puerile mind with).
'wonderful things were to be seen. Numbers of the Saracens were beheaded ... others were shot with arrows, or forced to jump from the towers... others were tortured for several days and then burned in flames. In the streets were seen piles of heads and hands and feet. One rode about everywhere amid the corpses of men and horses. Yet these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon. . . in the temple and the porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. '
For obvious reasons, bands, or 'Orders,' of Christian soldier/monks were then needed to offer 'protection' to the many European pilgrims flocking to visit the ‘Holy Land.'
'L'Ordre des Chevaliers de la milice du Temple' a.k.a. 'Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon' a.k.a. the ‘Militia of Christ’ a.k.a. the ‘Order of Templars,’ was originally a band of 9 French knights led by Hugues de Payens. They acquired their name when, in 1118, the 'Christian King of
'Templar' rules were instituted in 1128 by (Saint) Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153). 'Templars' wore white hooded robes with a flared red cross. Externally, the Order was affiliated to the ‘Roman Catholic Church’ and answered to the authority of the 'Pope,' but it has been widely-accepted that, internally, the Order's real supreme commander, who called himself the ‘Grand Master of the Temple,' claimed to have found and decoded an ancient Egyptian, magical/geometric symbol inscribed on the fabric of Solomon's Temple by its architect, King Hiram of Tyre, which gave him exclusive access to a special knowledge derived from the ‘Supreme Architect of the Universe.' Indeed, various historians have examined the evidence and formed the opinion that the clandestine mission of the 9 'Templar' knights was to retrieve relics and manuscripts containing the secret traditions of Judaism and of ancient Egypt. Thus, the Order's founders, and their successors, were all brought up as 'Christians,' but their real beliefs were not strictly 'Christian.' They almost certainly adopted 'Black Magic' rituals, rites and sermons which were common at the time. There is a strong consensus among historians that these practises derived from the 'Cabala.'
The 'Templars' suicidal valour, and unquestioning obedience, in battle, soon became legendary. They apparently saw themselves as morally, physically and intellectually superior, not only to their enemies, but also to their allies. 'Templars' were inflexible fanatics, evidently conditioned to believe that they alone represented a force of purity and absolute righteousness derived from their Grand Master's access to a superhuman knowledge, and that progressive initiation into this knowledge, combined with unconditional deference to their 'Grand Master,' would defeat the impure forces of absolute evil and lead to exclusive, future redemption in Paradise.
In total, there were 23 'Grand Masters of the Temple.' A few retired, but many were killed in battle. Replacements were chosen by an 'electoral' system similar to that used to appoint the Doge of Venice. A group of the highest 'Templar' initiates chose a provisional 'Grand Master' whilst an 'electoral' college (drawn from the Order's international 'chapters') was formed. Eventually, after various rounds of secret voting, the next 'Grand Master' emerged.
'Templar' initiates occupied ranks in a hierarchy of command. They swore oaths of Secrecy, Celibacy and Poverty. The group was 'Sacred', non-initiates were 'Profane' (Latin pro, before or outside, fanum, the temple). Despite the façade of 'piety and poverty,' the Order began to attract the sons of wealthy families from Christendom and even converts from the Moslem world. 'Donations' poured in. The 'Grand Masters' collaborated with Venetian merchants and tax-free enterprises were developed in shipping, banking, etc.
Travel was extremely dangerous in the 12th century. Transporting money, as well as valuable commodities, was particularly risky. The 'Templars' made a fortune by means of an elementary system of banking. When a traveller wanted to go from one land to another, first he would go to the 'Templars' in his homeland with his money. In return, he was given a receipt with a coded message. On arrival at his destination, the traveller could redeem his receipt for the money he'd paid, minus a fee and interest.
1. During initiation ceremonies, new 'Templars' were required to deny Christ, God, the Virgin or the Saints on the command of those receiving them.
Under torture, almost all the 'Templars' confessed that:
The court records show that the majority of 'Templars' who confessed were imprisoned. However, 54 'Templar Masters' were burned alive. The Pope personally interrogated 72 of the guilty 'Templar' Knights. They were asked to swear an oath to tell the truth, before confirming that their previous confessions had been valid. They then knelt down before the Pope and asked him for forgiveness. Only after this extraordinary humiliation, was the Order dissolved in 1312, (apparently) on the command of Pope Clement V. Seized 'Templar' property was given to the ‘Knights Hospitaller.’ The last 'Grand Master of the
After dissolution, the 'Templars' were so rich, numerous and widespread that it was effectively impossible to eradicate the organization and seize all its assets. In fear of their lives, many 'Templars' went underground. Significant numbers fled continental Europe and found refuge in Scotland. This was the only kingdom in 14th century Europe that didn't recognize the authority of the Pope. Under the protection of Robert the Bruce, 'Templars' continued to operate in secret, camouflaged as trade guild's. Outside of government and the Church, these were the most-influential organizations of the time. The 'Templars' had been heavily-involved in the extraordinary project of the Roman Catholic Church, to design and construct cathedrals all over Europe, and, to this end, trade guilds had been instigated, controlled and protected by the Order. It is known that many 'Templars' escaped to Scotland disguised as tradesmen and by travelling with them. During the great period of Medieval cathedral construction, skilled masons and carpenters became an international fraternity who had the right of free-passage across borders.
(I would recommend anyone wanting to read more about the 'Templars,' to go to this Site: http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/religion/monastic/milindex.html ).
Officially (outside of France), 'Freemasonry' has been perpetuated by initiating 'free-born, sane, adult males of good moral standing, who already believe in the existence of one supreme being and in the immortality of the human soul.' Recruitment has worked solely by invitation (through personal relationships) into a wheel of (apparently autonomous) sub-groups. In reality, these are unified by the same narrative. The sub-groups operate in geographically-defined enclaves. 'Freemasonry' is a vast pyramid of humans, which itself comprises ever-smaller pyramids known as 'Orders', 'Lodges', etc. The movement can, therefore, also be described as a mind-numbing game of construction played to strict, geometric rules using human building-blocks. The alleged object of 'Freemasonry' is to climb through its hierarchical levels in a system of 'obedience', and through parallel levels of 'initiation' in a system of 'outer and inner hermetic circles of secret knowledge'. Adherents are graded by 'degrees' - 'Entered Apprentices, Fellows of the Craft, and Master Masons' - which themselves are also graded by 'degrees'. These can number as many as 1000 in certain 'Lodges', but 33 is the traditional number. At the top of the pyramid, is a tiny minority of elite initiates known as 'Grand Masters' whose beliefs and behaviour are to be duplicated. Their 'ultimate, secret knowledge', derived from the ‘Great/Supreme Architect of the Universe,’ must not be written down or passed to the uninitiated.
Thus, classically of an non-rational, esoteric, ritual belief system, the further an initiate progresses into the mental labyrinth of 'Freemasonry': the more absurd, mystifying and ultimately incomprehensible the closed-logic scenario overwhelming the critical and evaluative faculties of the core- adherents of the organization, becomes. Indeed, it is a very revealing exercise to ask a committed 'Freemason' to explain his activities using only accurate, deconstructed language.
The following, thought stopping, anonymous statement was recently sent to this Blog (presumeably, by a 'Freemason'):
'Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons customs and tools as allegorical guides. The fundamental ritual consists of a drama of building King Solomon's Temple and the fate of its master architect. Using this allegory, moral lessons are taught. Since the story concerns building of a temple, Masonic rituals are replete with tools of masons, like level, plumb rule, square, compasses and so on.'
The capital letter 'G,' which invariably appears in 'Masonic' symbology, stands for both 'Geometry' and the 'Great Architect of the Universe,' but it is no coincidence that 'G' also stands for 'God.' Like any traditional religion, 'Freemasonry' operates its own system of justice, and 'being cast out of the Temple' (excommunication) is the highest penalty for any initiate whom the leadership judge to have broken the rules of the group.
David Brear (copyright 2012)