Freemasonry: Closeted Mental Illness?
Thousands belong to it. Hundreds of cities host it. But what is the secrecy surrounding the practice of Freemasonry, and is it safe for our communities?
Operating under the assertion of promoting "mutual assistance" between its members, the Society of Free and Accepted Masons is a fraternal organization, comprised primarily of men from various walks of life. Criteria for membership includes belief in a supreme being, as well as "birth in freedom," or that outside the bondage of slavery.
Many other fraternal organizations such as Moose, Elk, and Kiwanis have assembled a network of member-driven chapters throughout the world, however none have generated criticism as that of Freemasonry. Multiple, profound incidents involving members of the organization lead to a singular question: is Freemasonry a haven for the mentally ill?
In this article, we’ll explore the emotional payout behind participation in Freemasonry, and incidents that have led to the perception of Freemasonry as a terrorist organization meant to obstruct the legal system.
Freemasonry is a ritual-based organization, meaning each activity, from closed meetings to new member induction, is a performance of specific actions with value assigned by its membership.
From a psychological perspective, individuals who feel compelled to participate in elitist ritualistic activities do so to affirm self worth. It is for this reason that Freemasonry attracts individuals who lack a sense of unconditional acceptance within mainstream society, identifiable by the desire to be "free" and "accepted" individuals within a private "society."
A group of individuals seeking affirmation of self value is likely to share other related emotional disorders, therefore resulting in, even if unintentionally, patterns of unhealthy behavior or actions that are accepted by the group.
Interaction with peers outside of traditional work and family environments can be an enriching, rewarding way to improve quality of life while promoting unity and the fulfillment of worthwhile community causes. Though Freemasonry’s marketed organizational construct conveys this, the goals and objectives integrated into its following reflect an obscure secondary motive: to ensure the well-being of its members through mutual assistance. Providing a support network of mutual assistance to an emotionally deprived group of individuals seeking affirmation of value may be the aspect of a seemingly typical fraternal organization that has associated Freemasonry with a spectrum of malicious activities including organized crime, pedophilia, and murder.
Those who engage in criminal activity do so for a myriad of reasons. Psychological fulfillment of a crime is generally defined by the previous experiences or emotional status of the perpetrator. While not all criminals are considered mentally ill, many exhibit psychological traits or characteristics that may lend to a mindset more conducive to criminal behavior.
Relative to Freemasonry, traits such as self esteem issues and a desire to feel "understood" by similar individuals within a peer group may create and perpetuate an environment accepting of otherwise traditionally inappropriate behaviors. In seeking to "self medicate" through interaction with like-minded individuals, the organization may actually be increasing the participants’ desire to engage in inappropriate behaviors deemed acceptable by the group.
Controversy in Brotherhood
While Freemasonry has attracted many high-profile politicians, professionals and even law enforcement officials, the organization’s admittedly secretive practices have brought about considerable controversy dating as far back as 1826 with the murder of Captain William Morgan. Shortly after writing a book exposing the practices of Freemasonry, Morgan was informed by colleagues he was to be murdered by members of the organization. In the most common account of subsequent events, Morgan sought to escape by enter Canada, however he was stopped at the border by police, arrested for indebtedness, tried in absence, jailed, then released on bail and drowned by five members in the Niagara River.
More recently, William James, a 47-year-old father of five, was shot in the face during a Freemason initiation ceremony in March of 2004. According to police, James was participating in an initiation ritual designed to "create a state of anxiety" for the applicant when 76-year-old Albert Eid, another member participating in the ritual, shot James with a fully-loaded .32-caliber firearm drawn from his left pocket, instead of a .22-caliber firearm loaded with blanks in his right pocket.
Today, Freemasonry continues to play a controversial role under various conditions, as the result of indications suggesting the organization serves no greater purpose than to act as a safe haven for criminals. Because Freemasons are sworn to protect their fellow members – even to the point of committing perjury, under oath – exposing purported criminal activity committed by its participants is a difficult process.
This is not to say that all, or even most, members of the organization are inducted with a conscious understanding of their involvement in the organization’s less obvious activities. If Freemasonry exists to serve as haven for criminal or immoral behavior, it would benefit those most entrenched in the organization to reinforce their cover with the participation of innocent parties.
Freemasonry in Hindsight
One of the most damning aspects of Freemasonry’s involvement in criminal activity is the significant effort by members to defend its activities against those who regard the group as a terror organization. Similar fraternal organizations such as Kiwanis are rarely, if ever, are subject to the broad, widespread criticism Freemasonry attracts.
Based on the psychological foundation of Freemasonry, combined with purported and confirmed involvement in criminal activity and admitted efforts to conceal its membership and practices, Freemasonry could potentially exist to reaffirm the actions of a self-categorized group of individuals suffering from a wide spectrum of emotional and social disorders, ranging from low self esteem and co-dependency to distorted perceptions of acceptable social behavior, with some participants exhibiting psychotic tendencies.
In looking forward to ensuring the integrity and well-being of our country, we must consider the institutions of society that, intentionally or otherwise, sustain and allow inappropriate behavior by those who cannot rise above their own psychological disorders. It is not only the responsibility, but the obligation of those who identify such individuals to ensure the safety of our communities by eradicating accepted criminal behavior through its exposure.
J is a parapsychologist with a diverse background in multiple subject concentrations, including business, psychology and parapsychology, criminal justice, philosophy, education, internet technology, physics, and vocal performance arts.
> Thursday, June 23, 2005
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