Friday 15 March 2019

Brenton Tarrant 'Bitconnect MLM' enquiry.

Today the world was confronted by the horrific news about Brenton Tarrant - an undoubtedly-psychopathic Australian who (apparently influenced by an undoubtedly-psychopathic Norwegian, Anders Behring Breivik) has live-streamed himself murdering dozens of people at Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

This morning, I opened an e-mail in which I was asked:

  • 'What is the connection between Multi-Level Marketing and crypto-currencies?'
  • 'Is it possible to make money from crypto-currency MLMs or are they all ponzi schemes?'

My correspondent went on to explain the reason for his enquiry:

'it has been reported that Brenton Tarrant - previously employed as a fitness trainer - has claimed to have made money from Bitconnect - a crypto-currency MLM - and that this investment is what enabled him to give up his job and travel.'


I would caution Blog readers that, so far, the only source of the above information concerning his making money out of 'Bitconnect,' appears to be statements posted on the net by Brenton Tarrant himself.

In the past, I have stated why crypto-currencies should be generally-recognised as the 'South Sea Bubbles' of the 21st century. 

Whilst it is entirely possible for some persons to have made money from the 'Bitconnect' bubble (providing they bailed out before it burst), it has been effectively-impossible for adherents of 'MLM' cultic rackets to generate an overall net-profit. 

If Brenton Tarrant really did make a significant sum of money from the 'Bitconnect' bubble (which expanded from 17 cents per coin at its instigation in 2016, to $463 at its maximum price in 2017), then such a sudden easy windfall could have not only financed Tarrant's trips to Europe and subsequent murderous activities, but also fed his growing delusions of superiority. 


'Multi-Level Marketing' warning:

The following deconstructed analysis has been formulated to sharpen the critical and evaluative faculties of all unwary persons approaching so-called 'Multi-Level Marketing' from the dangerous (subjective) point of view that it must be a business/industry, rather than from the safe (purely-objective) point of view that they don't really know what it is.


More than half a century of quantifiable evidence, proves beyond all reasonable doubt that:

  • the widely-misunderstood phenomenon that has become popularly-known as 'Multi-Level Marketing' (a.k.a. 'Network Marketing') is nothing more than an absurd, non-rational,  cultic, economic pseudo-science maliciously-designed to lure unwary persons into de facto servitude, dissociate them from external reality and not only steal their money, but also deceive them into unconsciously acting the role of bait to lure other unwary persons (particularly their friends and family members) into the same trap. 
  • the impressive-sounding made-up jargon term, 'MLM,' is therefore, the misleading title for an enticing structured-scenario of control which has been developed, and constantly acted out as  reality, by the instigators, and associates, of various copy-cat, major and minor, ongoing organised crime groups (hiding behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures) to shut-down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of victims, and of casual observers, in order to perpetrate, and dissimulate, a series of blame-the-victim 'Long Cons*'  - comprising self-perpetuating rigged-market swindles**, a.k.a. pyramid scams (dressed up as 'legitimate direct selling income opportunites') and related advance-fee frauds (dressed up as 'legitimate: training and motivation, self-betterment, programs, recruitment leads, lead generation systems,' etc.).
  • Apart from an insignificant minority of shills (whose leading-role in the 'Long Con' has been to pretend that anyone can achieve financial freedom simply by following their unquestioning example and exactly-duplicating a step-by-step-plan of recruitment and self-consumption)the hidden overall net-loss/churn rate for participation in so-called 'MLM income opportunities,' has always been effectively 100%.

*A 'Long Con' is a form of fraud maliciously designed to exploit victims' existing beliefs and instinctual desires and make them falsely-believe that they are exercising a completely free-choice. 'Long Cons' comprise an enticing structured-scenario of control acted out as reality over an extended period. Like theatrical plays, 'Long Cons' are written, directed and produced. They involve leading players and supporting players as well as props, sets, extras, costumes, script, etc. The hidden objective of 'Long Cons' is to convince unwary persons that fiction is fact and fact is fiction, progressively cutting them off from external reality. In this way, victims begin unconsciously to play along with the controlling-scenario and (in the false-expectation of future reward) large sums of money or valuables can be stolen from them. Classically, the victims of 'Long Cons' can become deluded to such an extent that they will abandon their education, jobs, careers, etc., empty their bank accounts, and/or beg, steal, borrow from friends, family members, etc.


** The enticing structured-scenario of control fundamental to all 'rigged-market swindles' is that people can earn income by first contributing their own money to participate in a profitable commercial opportunity, but which is secretly an economically-unviable fake due to the fact that the (alleged) opportunity has been rigged so that it generates no significant, or sustainable, revenue other than that deriving from its own ill-informed participants. For more than 50 years, 'Multi-Level Marketing' racketeers have been allowed to dissimulate rigged-market swindles by offering endless-chains of victims various banal, but over-priced, products, and/or services, in exchange for unlawful losing-investment payments, on the pretext that 'MLM' products/services can then be regularly re-sold for a profit in significant quantities via expanding networks of distributors. However, since 'MLM' products/services cannot be regularly re-sold to the general public for a profit in significant quantities (based on value and demand), 'MLM' participants have, in fact, been peddled infinite shares of their own finite money (in the false expectation of future reward). 

Thus, in 'MLM' rackets, the innocent looking products/sevices' function has been to hide what is really occurring - i.e The operation of an unlawful, intrinsically fraudulent, rigged-market where effectively no non-salaried (transient) participant can generate an overall net-profit, because, unknown to the non-salaried (transient) participants, the market is in a permanent state of collapse and requires its non-salaried (transient) participants to keep finding further (temporary) de facto slaves to sustain the enticing illusion of stability and viability.

Meanwhile an insignificant (permanent) minority direct the 'Long Con' - raking in vast profits by selling into the rigged-market and by controlling/withholding all key-information concerning the rigged-market's actual catastrophic, ever-shifting results from its never-ending chain of (temporary) de facto slaves.

Although cure-all pills potions and vitamin/dietary supplements, household and beauty, products have been most-prevalent, it is possible to use any product, and/or service, to dissimulate a rigged-market swindle. There are even some 'MLM' rackets that have been hidden behind well-known traditional brands (albeit offered at fixed high prices). Some 'MLM' rackets have included 'cash-back/discount shopping cards, travel products, insurance, energy/communications services' and 'crypto-currencies' in their controlling scenarios.

No matter what bedazzling product/service has been dangled as bait, in 'MLM' rackets, there has been no significant or sustainable source of revenue other than never-ending chains of contractees of the 'MLM' front companies. These front-companies always pretend that their products/services are high quality and reasonably-priced and that for anyone prepared to put in some effort, the products/services can be sold on for a profit via expanding networks of distributors based on value and demand. In reality, the underlying reason why it has mainly only been (transient) 'MLM' contractees who have bought the various products /services (and not the general public) is because they have been tricked into unconsciously playing along with the controlling scenario which constantly says that via regular self-consumption and the recruitment of others to do the same, etc. ad infinitum, anyone can receive a future (unlimited) reward.

I've been examining the 'MLM' phenomenon for around 20 years. During this time, I've yet to find one so-called 'MLM' company that has voluntarily made key-information available to the public concerning the quantifiable results of its so-called 'income opportunity'.

Part of the key-information that all 'MLM' bosses seek to hide concerns the overall number of persons who have signed contracts since the front companies were instigated and the retention rates of these contractees. 

When rigorously investigated, the overall hidden net-loss churn rates for so-called 'MLM income opportunites' has turned out to have been effectively 100%. Thus, anyone claiming (or implying) that it is possible for anyone to make a penny of net-profit, let alone a living, in an 'MLM,' cannot be telling the truth and will not provide quantifiable evidence to back up his/her anecdotal claims.

Although a significant number of 'MLM' front-companies (like 'Vemma', 'Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing', 'Wake Up Now') have been shut-down by commercial regulators, some of the biggest 'MLM' rackets (like 'Amway' ,'Herbalife', Forever Living Products' ) have continued to hide in plain sight whilst secretly churning tens of millions of losing participants over decades.

The quantifiable results of the self-perpetuating global 'Long Con' known as 'Multi Level Marketing,' have been fiendishly hidden by convincing victims that they are 'Independent Business Owners' and that any losses they incurred, must have been entirely their own fault. 

Blog readers should observe how (in the above linked-videos) chronic victims of 'MLM' cults are incapable of describing what they were subjected to in accurate terms. Even though they are no longer physically playing along with the 'Long Con's' controlling-scenario, they unconsciously continue to think, and speak, using the jargon-laced 'MLM' script - illogically describing themselves as 'Distributors.' 

Chronic victims of blame-the-victim cultic rackets who have managed to escape and confront the ego-destroying reality that they’ve been systematically deceived and exploited, are invariably destitute and dissociated from all their previous social contacts. For years afterwards, recovering cult victims can suffer from psychological problems (which are also generally indicative of the victims of abuse):

depression; overwhelming feelings (guilt, grief, shame, fear, anger, embarrassment, etc.); dependency/ inability to make decisions; retarded psychological/ intellectual development; suicidal thoughts; panic/ anxiety attacks; extreme identity confusion; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; insomnia/ nightmares; eating disorders; psychosomatic illness, fear of forming intimate relationships; inability to trust; etc.  

David Brear (copyright 2019)

Thursday 7 March 2019

Donald Trump's 'Prosperity Gospel' guru, Norman Vincent Peale, - a 'Freemason.'

Image result for norman vincent peale freemason

Two days ago, I published an article in which I referred to Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993). I explained the link between Peale and the pernicious closed-logic fairy story which, over the decades, has been peddled to millions of ill-informed transient adherents of 'Multi-Level Marketing/ Prosperity Gospel' cults. I also explained the worrying influence that Peale, and his pseudo-psychological preachments, still have over Donald Trump.

Yesterday, I received an abusive comment from an anonymous reader who claims to have 'built a global (MLM direct sales) business and earned a ton of money guided by Dr. Peale's self-help philosophy contained in his wonderful books and videos of his lectures.'

The following is my response to this irate 'MLM' propagandist who insists that I'm 'a jealous loser' who doesn't know the first thing about 'one of the greatest Americans.'

Norman Vincent Peale was born in Bowersville, Ohio. He attended Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine, Ohio. After obtaining a degree in English at Ohio Wesleyan University, he briefly worked as a trainee journalist in Detroit. However he then decided to follow his father and become a Methodist minister. He  attended Boston University School of Theology and, in 1924, he was ordained pastor and given his first church in Brooklyn. At about this time, he was invited to join the 'Freemasons.'

Peale was initiated to the level of 'Master Mason' on March 3, 1926, in Midwood 'Freemasonic' Lodge No. 1062 (which eventually consolidated, in 1970, with Lexington Lodge No. 310 to become Midwood Lodge No. 310). 

Peale moved to another Methodist church and completed the degrees of the 'Scottish Freemasonic Rite' in the Valley of Syracuse in 1928 (affiliated with the Valley of New York City in 1934). 

Image result for the marble collegiate church

In 1932, Peale became pastor at the 'Marble Collegiate Church' in Manhattan. Although the building dated from the 19th century, this was a continuation of the first 'Reformed Protestant Dutch Church' to be founded in N. America in the 17th century.

In 1935, Peale started a radio show called The Art of Living. The show ran for 54 years. When television began, supported the 'National Council of Churches,' Peale moved his broadcasts to the new medium.  

Dr. Smiley Blanton.

In 1940, Peale produced the first in a short series of books in collaboration with a qualified medical practitioner/psychiatrist, Dr. Smiley Blanton (a former patient of Sigmund Freud), entitled 'Faith Is the Answer: A Psychiatrist and a Pastor Discuss Your Problems.'

In 1945, along with his wife, Ruth, Peale also created a non-sectarian, non-profit-making association and magazine (aimed at veterans returning from WWII) called 'Guideposts' which still exists today.

Peale was 'Grand Chaplain' of the 'Grand Freemasonic Lodge of New York,' 1948-51.

In 1951, again in collaboration with Dr. Smiley Blanton, Peale created the 'American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry (currently known as the 'Blanton-Peale Institute').'The pair opened the 'Religio-Psychiatric Clinic' at the 'Marble Collegiate Church,' where assistance was offered to persons suffering from emotional problems (like anxiety and depression). The 'clinic' offered training to clergymen of all denominations to assist members of their congregations in dealing with emotional problems. 

In 1952, Peale produced 'The Power of Positive Thinking.' He and Dr. Blanton apparently argued over the content of this book which was now widely-criticized by mental health professionals as being non-scientific. Dr. Blanton refused to endorse it, but it quickly featured on the NY Times best sellers list alongside L. Ron Hubbard's 'Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health' (published in 1950) with which it was widely-compared.

By the mid-1950s, Peale had become a wealthy minor celebrity in the USA. Just like L. Ron Hubbard, what he preached and peddled (a jargon-laced cocktail of 'religion' and step-by-step do-it-yourself 'self-betterment pyschology') was perfectly tailored to fit the spirit of the age. Unlike L. Ron Hubbard, who was generally perceived as an absurd charlatan, Peale enjoyed a friendly relationship with the mainstream media. 

In recognition of his 'outstanding service to humanity,' Peale received initiation to the 'Freemasonic 33rd degree' in 1959.

In 1960, Peale briefly started to attract bad publicity when (as spokesman for 150 protestant clergymen), he loudly-opposed the election of John F. Kennedy on the grounds that he was a Roman Catholic whose prime allegiance would be to the Vatican rather than to the American people. 

Peale was also a former Imperial Chaplain of the Shrine of North America and a Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, USA.

I don't think that it is possible to understand Norman Vincent Peale's activities, without understanding 'Freemasonry.'

The leaders of the traditional 'fraternal, secret society' known as the ‘Free and Accepted Masons,’ or 'Freemasons,' have promoted the concepts of religious tolerance, democracy and respect for the rule of law. In fact, the movement has played a significant role in history (particularly, during the American, and French, revolutions, when it was a secret forum for debate). The founding, democratic values of the (current) 5th French Republic are embodied in the originally-'Masonic' slogan 'Liberty, Fraternity, Egality,' and the American dollar bill carries the 'Masonic' symbols of a pyramid and an all-seeing eye. The original signatories of the American ‘Declaration of Independence' were all white male Protestants or 'Deists' (i.e. 'persons believing in the existence of a supreme being arising from reason rather than revelation'). The overwhelming majority were also 'Freemasons.' 

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.' 

In order to understand what is the connection between 'Freemasonry' and the 'Templars,' first of all you have to know who were the 'Templars.'

Image result for first crusade

In 1099 AD, after the so-called ‘First Crusade’ and the capture of Jerusalem by a combined European army, many of the city's inhabitants (possibly up to 70 000) were massacred. A bloodthirsty eyewitness, Raymond of Agiles, wrote:

'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 Jerusalem,' Baudouin II ('du Bourg'), gave them quarters on the site of the Temple of Solomon (in Arab legend, Solomon is the ‘Prince of Genies'). At this time, transporting, and/or guiding, and/or guarding rich and vulnerable Christian travellers in such a hostile land, must have been a very lucrative enterprise. However, there is no evidence that Hugues de Payens and his associates ever did this. The job was left to other Orders: the ‘Knights Hospitaller of St. John'(1113); the ‘Teutonic Knights' (1128); etc. The 'Templars' merely kept to a quarter of Jerusalem around the Temple mount and their activities were secret. Naturally, rumours about what these mysterious Knights were actually doing, were rife. Some people said that they had discovered a fabulous ancient treasure buried under the remains of 'Solomon's Temple,' whilst others believed that they had found the 'Holy Grail' and could work miracles. As a result of these rumours, the Order began to grow, and within 30 years, the 'Templars' numbered around 700 Knights and 2400 retainers in Jerusalem.

'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.'

'Cabala' literally means 'oral tradition.' It is an esoteric branch of 'mystical Judaism,' The 'Cabala' is also a school that allegedly researches the secret, hidden meanings of the Torah, or first five 'Books of Moses,' and other ancient Jewish texts. However, the 'Cabala' precedes the 'Torah.' In accurate, deconstructed terms, the 'Cabala' is merely the thought-stopping, pseudo-scientific label for a collection of thought-stopping, pseudo-scientific hocus-pocus. 

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 fa├žade 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.
The 'Templar' leaders had a monopoly on this style of banking. They became so wealthy that they began to finance European monarchs. Although lending money for interest was deemed usury, and was supposedly a forbidden activity for Christians, the 'Templars' were effectively above the law. Eventually, an infrastructure of thousands of bases, from Scandinavia to the Holy Land', was built and the organization ran its own parallel system of justice. By the mid-12th century, 'Templars' occupied immense 'Priories' close to Paris and London and their power was comparable to that of most European monarchs. In 1191, the 'Grand Master' had access to sufficient gold to buy the entire island of Cyprus from Richard I of England. However, when the Moslems retook the Holy Land' in 1192, all Christian militias were gradually forced to abandon their forward strongholds and withdraw back to their European bases, becoming elite troops defending 'Christendom' from the threat of Moslem invasion - another very lucrative enterprise. It is estimated that by the 13th century, the 'Templars' numbered 160,000, of whom 20,000 were knights
At the end of the 12th century, rumours about the ‘Templars’ being heretics and usurers, secretly in league with Moslems, Jews and the Devil, had already begun to appear, but the organization remained far too powerful to be challenged. During the 13th century, the curious 'Templar' badge (two knights on a single horse) came to be widely-seen as a coded sign of homosexuality. Finally, it became an open secret that the 'Templar's' were actually the complete opposite of what they claimed to be. From 1307, 'Templars' were persecuted by King Phillipe IV ('le Bel') of France, on the advice of Guillaume Nogaret (a professor of Law). The Order's tax-free status was withdrawn in France, and similar measures were taken in various other countries. However, in 1310, more than 600 'Templar'  Knights were suddenly arrested all over France and charged with the following 9 crimes:

1. During initiation ceremonies, new 'Templars' were required to deny Christ, God, the Virgin or the Saints on the command of those receiving them.
2. 'Templars' committed various sacrilegious acts either on the cross or on an image of Christ.
3. Higher 'Templar' initiates practised obscene kisses on new entrants, on the mouth, navel or buttocks.
4. Priests of the Order did not consecrate the host, and  'Templars' did not believe in the sacraments.
5. 'Templars' practised idol worship of a cat or a head.
6. 'Templars' encouraged and permitted the practise of sodomy.
7.  'Grand Master,' or other high initiates, absolved their brother 'Templars' from their sins.
8. 'Templars' held their initiation ceremonies and chapter meetings in secret and at night.
9. Templars' abused the duties of charity and hospitality and used unlawful means to acquire property and increase their wealth.

Under torture, almost all the 'Templars' confessed that:
 - they did not believe in Jesus, whom they held to be 'a false prophet'
- they had committed acts of homosexuality during the initiation and afterwards
- they worshipped idols and practised Satanism. 

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 Temple', Jaques de Molay, was sentenced to imprisonment, but then he retracted his confession, and he was burned alive as a ‘heretic’ in 1314. 

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. 

Quarters of Paris and London are still known as the ‘Temple.' Belief in the myth of ‘lost Templar treasure, including the Holy-Grail,' persists.

By process of deduction, it has been assumed that 'Freemasonry' evolved from medieval trade guilds of stonemasons and carpenters, responsible for the construction of Cathedrals in Britainbut the first evidence of  'Freemasonry' as a 'secret society,' appeared in Scotland in the early 17th century. The earliest known text which can be directly linked to the 'Masonic secret society' rather than to the actual craft of masonry, or to the mathematical science of geometry, is James Anderson's 'Masonic Rules.' This was published in 1723. Although the inspiration for the symbology of 'Freemasonry' probably came from mysterious, geometric inscriptions on churches built for 'Templars' in Scotland, the origins of the 'secret' at the heart of the organization are not that difficult to deduce. 

Core-adherents of 'Freemasonry' are the product of co-ordinated, devious techniques of social, psychological and physical persuasion designed to shut down their critical, and evaluative, faculties and convince them that their leadership has exclusive access to a super-human knowledge derived from the Great/Supreme Architect of the Universe, via ancient Egypt and Euclidean geometry. Initiates are arbitrarily categorized as the‘Sacred', and non-initiates as the ‘Profane'. 

Belief in the self-gratifying 'Masonic' myth spread throughout Europe, and then all over the globe with the British Empire. Although its adherents currently number several millions, 'Freemasonry' is generally in decline. It is still most popular in the USA where allied social groups (dedicated to charitable work and with no official standing) also developed. In practise, in Britain and the USA, the official membership has been drawn mainly from amongst white, male Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but 'Freemasonry' is fundamentally 'Deist' and, therefore, in theory, is open to anyone.

In Catholic France, 'Freemasonry' was influenced by a parallel belief-system, 'Rosicrucianism,' and since the 19th century, the requirements of francophone 'Freemasons'  have been slightly different to those of their anglophone counterparts.

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-groupsIn 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' - 'EnteredApprentices, 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 theUniverse,’ 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.

The following, thought stopping, anonymous statement was once sent to this Blog (presumably, 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.'

From its beginning, 'Freemasonry' has been frowned-on by the leaders of traditional religions and banned in many countries. It is not difficult to see why so many observers have ridiculed, and/or feared, the organization. Mystifying 'secret' rituals are performed in a 'Temple', within a 'Temple', within a'Temple' (i.e. a building, containing a locked-room, containing an arrangement of 3 columns set facing to the East on a 'mosaic' of black and white squares resembling a chess board). The innermost 'Temple' is lit by candles surveyed by a ritual image of an 'all-seeing eye' and bordered by a rope tied in a symbolic knot. During rituals, adherents wear ceremonial aprons, gloves and sashes, and they carry ceremonial swords or building tools. Adherents are obliged to visualise themselves not as individuals, but as rough-hewn stones being crafted into the regular building-blocks of one universal Temple. Outside the 'Temple', 'Freemasons' recognise one another by the use of 'secret' words and physical salutations; they also wear badges and rings (often decorated with the symbol of a pair of compasses and set-square) etc. 

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 2019)