Shining light on the Corruption and Deceit of the Freemasons
At the heart of almost all major rites and religions there will be a story of a martyred leader or a dying god, and Freemasonry is certainly no exception.
According to Masonic folklore, Hiram Abiff was the Chief Architect at the building of King Solomon's Temple. Supposedly, Hiram knew some sort of secret, which by its mere possession, would allow a person to pass himself off as a Master Mason - thus allowing him to travel and work in foreign countries - and to receive a higher rate of pay.
However, according to the Biblical Book of Kings; King Solomon had already built his temple in Jerusalem when he sent for a man called Hiram to come from the city of Tyre to complete the decorations. This Hiram, however, was neither a Mason nor an Architect, but is described as a Brass worker.
Further, neither the bible, nor any other contemporary source, mentions that Hiram, King Solomon or his temple were part of any sort of fraternal organization. So, how does Hiram Abiff the Architect turn up in Masonic rituals, when there is no mention of him in the Bible, and he had never previously been thought worthy of mentioning, even in the quasi-Biblical legends so beloved by Medieval Stonemasons?
The Cathedral builder's "Gothic Constitutions" had contained grandiose tales of the Creation, the Flood, Babylon, Nineveh, the Hebrews, Ancient Egypt and Greece. They spoke of England in the Dark Ages, of St. Alban and the Saxon King Athelstan. But, of course, the real purpose of all these stories was to inflate the importance of the role played by builders throughout the ages, so that it would appear that almost anyone of any importance must have been a Mason.
The Gothic Constitutions gave only brief accounts of the building of Solomon's Temple, and made no reference to Hiram the metalworker. Some reference is made to Hiram King of Tyre, a completely different man who is also revered in Freemasonry, for helping King Solomon build his temple by supplying Cedar wood from Lebanon.
[As an aside, this fact is especially interesting, because it raises other important issues: The Bible says the temple was built mostly of wood and was a smallish building, just thirty feet (20 cubits) wide by ninety feet (60 cubits) long - which is roughly the size of a modern-day church hall. So, if this wooden construction had needed an architect, he certainly wouldn't have been a Stonemason.]
Despite the fact that there is no Biblical or Historical evidence that Hiram was either an Architect or a Mason, and neither the Bible nor the "Gothic Constitutions" mention that the Architect was murdered. This fairytale seems to have been invented in order to give much-needed drama to the third degree ritual - otherwise it would be extremely boring - and was most likely dreamt up by Dr. James Anderson or some other brethren, when they were rewriting Freemasonry's Constitutions in the early 1700s.
Masonic Artist's impression of King Solomons's Temple
After the 18th century authors of Freemasonry's Constitutions got hold of this story, they hyped Solomon's Temple into a gigantic stone palace. They gave Hiram an equally imaginative makeover, first, inventing him a surname: "Abiff". Then they describe him as "the most accomplished Mason upon Earth", and even go so far as to claim that "this divinely inspired workman" erected the temple himself.
The Hiramic legend reaches its most grandiose form when the Fellow Craft is baptised into Freemasonry's third degree. Here, Hiram is described as the Temple's "principal architect", and the candidate who is seeking to become a Master Mason must personify Hiram and then, with remarkable similarity to the story of the Crucifixion, must be symbolically killed, buried and then raised from the grave.
The story involved with the third degree describes how three Fellow Craft Masons tried to force Hiram to betray his secret, and how using their stonemason tools, they warn him that "death would be the consequence of a refusal" to give up the secret, whereupon Hiram responds that he would rather die than tell them the secret. The ruffians then make good their promise and beat Hiram to death.
In the Masonic myth Hiram Abiff dies. But, in the ritual, the candidate acting the part of Hiram is resurrected; although only after the Lodge Master has applied the Master Mason's handshake. Next, he places his right foot and breast against the candidate, whom the other lodge officers slowly raise. Finally, the Lodge Master lays his left hand over the candidates back. He then explains these gestures as the "Five Points of Fellowship":
Hand to Hand I greet you as a brother; foot to foot I will support you in all your undertakings; knee to knee, the posture of my daily supplications shall remind me of your wants; breast to breast, your lawful secrets when entrusted to me as such I will keep as my own; and hand over back, I will support your character in your absence as in your presence.
The Lodge Master then "raises" the candidate to the third degree, and "invests" him with his Masonic apron. He then explains how Hiram's disappearance threw the workmen into confusion, and that King Solomon ordered a search. The body of Hiram was found "indecently interred" and subsequently reburied "with all respect and reverence". Meanwhile, another search party had caught the killers on the road to Joppa (an ancient port city in Israel, nowadays called Jaffa). Unable to escape, the criminals confessed their guilt and were taken back to Jerusalem where "King Solomon sentenced them to that death the heinousness of their crime so amply merited".
The Lodge Master continues that the murderers (Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum) were so overcome with remorse that each exclaimed how he wished to die. Jubela wanted his throat cut across and his tongue torn out; Jubelo wanted his left breast torn open and his heart fed to vultures; whilst Jubelum fancied having his body severed, his bowels burnt to ashes and scattered to the four winds of heaven. King Solomon, duly obliged, and "ordered them to be executed agreeably to the several imprecations of their own mouths"; and, ever since, these utterances have been recalled by Freemasons in the penalties prescribed for the breaking of their oaths.
Without Hiram Abiff's imagined murder, Freemasonry would have no ritual climax or martyred leader. So, this third degree ceremony helps create possibly the most emotive expression of mutual aid in Freemasonry, and comes straight after a solemn, even frightening enactment of murder, which according to some sources has bought the candidate to tears on occasion. So, after going through this emotional experience in front of the rest of his lodge, the new Master Mason very likely feels that he owes an overriding loyalty to his brethren.
Further, Masonic ritual teaches that imitation of Hiram Abiff is the way to reconciliation with the Great Architect of the Universe, and at the conclusion of the baptism into the Third Degree, the new Master Mason is told that he should imitate Hiram Abiff, so that he may gain entry into the "Celestial Lodge above", where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.
So, just like the other Freemasons oaths and penalties, this entire fairytale is an 18th century invention, and the fantasy of Hiram's murder is yet another slander against medieval stonemasons, who illiterate as they likely were, were much less prone to bogus history than the Georgian gentlemen who went on to hijacked their traditions.
With a freshly-minted myth of King Solomon's architect, the writers of the rituals had introduced the "Temple" to Freemasonry, and could now invoke the many religious and mystical properties associated with such a metaphysical concept.
Masonry ought forever to be abolished. It is wrong - essentially wrong - a seed of evil, which can never produce any good. ~~ former U.S. President John Quincy Adams