Dispelling Myths About Masons

Jay Kinney discusses The Masonic Myth.

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I know the policy, for instance, of the United Grand Lodge of England, and their policy for years was just "ignore all accusations, we won't lower ourselves to respond to these stupid accusations." That was functionally a mistake. There should have been a stronger effort to get the truth out and not let the anti-Masonic conspiracy theorists carry the day. There is an effort now, in the last 20 years in particular, to become more open to the public. But I think that could have been engaged in centuries before they finally got around to it. Part of the reason why I wrote this book was because it seemed to me there wasn't enough of an effort to get a realistic overview of Masonry out.

Are there any notable politicians today who are Masons?

There have been, particularly, a number of conservative Republicans, like Trent Lott [former senator from Mississippi], who are Masons. But in general, it's less of an attractive thing for a politician to join now than it was, say, 50 or 100 years ago. Partly because the public's gotten very sensitive about organizations that politicians may join, whereas at one time, in mid-America, being a Mason had a certain cachet. Also, at its peak, there were 4 million Masons in the United States. That was a fairly large constituency. That's less of the case now. The number of Masons is down in the vicinity of around 1.5 million. The last president who was a Mason was Gerald Ford; the last before him was Harry Truman.

Since you're a Mason yourself, why should skeptical readers believe any of this?

If they can read the whole book and weigh the evidence and the obvious research that's gone into it—it's heavily footnoted—and just use a bit of common sense, they'll see that what I'm putting out there is quite reasonable. Believe me, I'm not trying to cover up anything. If I had happened upon secret circles of power in Masonry, one, I probably wouldn't have even bothered to write the book. Two, I would have been flabbergasted, and if I had still written the book, I would have brought that up.

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