The Independent, Malta
Charity begins at home
November 3, 2002
Daniela Xuereb speaks to MARTYN ATTARD, who was a Freemason for around six years and who renounced the fraternity for Catholicism.
“Freemasons are hoodwinked immediately with the very first oath they take as an Entered Apprentice - the first degree of Freemasonry. At that stage a person states he would rather kill himself than reveal the secrets of Freemasonry,” said Martyn Attard.
In the 1980s, a successful businessman in his late 20s, drowning in alcohol and leading a lifestyle based on sex, power and money, Mr Attard became a Freemason.
It was a good friend who introduced him to the world of Freemasonry - he calls a secret society. Freemasons say the criteria for becoming a Freemason is a belief in a Superior Being referred to as G.A.O.T.U. (the Great Architect Of The Universe), strict morals and a willingness to help others.
“Freemasons claim they do not belong to a secret society, but a society with secrets. However, the most important secret is that very few members know the secret of what they are involved in,” Mr Attard said. “Freemasonry is a society within a larger society, the former gradually eating away the latter.”
The ultimate goal of Freemasonry is to take charge of the world and eventually become A One World Government - the recent terminology being used is globalisation. The idea is also to replace all religions with the one true Masonic religion.
“Freemasons say they make ‘good men better’... and at the time when I had a problem with alcohol, how could they have made me a better man?” asked Mr Attard who formed part of the Marsamxett Lodge in Valletta.
“Once I was accepted in Freemasonry and in a Lodge that made ‘good men better’ I simply drank more! The bar at the Marsamxett Lodge was open every Saturday morning and beverage prices were very reasonable so I rarely missed the weekly informal gathering,” he remarked.
Attending monthly ceremonies and social activities organised by the Freemasons, Mr Attard explained, included the introduction of new members into the Lodge and the raising of degrees, among other things on the agenda. Mr Attard had passed the third degree and was in Chapter. He said most Masons never go beyond the first three degrees of rank - there are 33 in all.
Between 30 and 40 people attended each ceremony and all wore Masonic regalia which included aprons, badges and other items. Wearing regalia is historical and symbolic and, like a uniform, Freemasons say the regalia serves to indicate to members where they rank in the organisation.
“When I joined Freemasonry I was told I was living in darkness, and I could only see the light through Freemasonry. Having resigned from the organisation now I know with certainty that it is Freemasons who are in darkness. Jesus Christ is the only light,” Mr Attard said.
Freemasonry ‘controls’ around six million members worldwide, the majority being in the USA. Freemasonry is the UK's largest secular, fraternal and charitable organisation, and the United Grand Lodge of England has over 300,000 members working in nearly 8,000 Lodges throughout England and Wales and more than 30,000 members overseas.
“I take it for granted that the ‘good men being made better’ will now only refer to me as being ‘scurrilous’, for giving my views,” Mr Attard said.
“However few know for example that Freemasonry does not accept the blind, the lame and the crippled as members - the official reason being that they cannot participate properly in the ceremonies, and thus are deprived from seeing the ‘light’ - the Bible teaches us otherwise.”
While claiming that Freemasonry is not a secret society, they believe that Lodge meetings, are private and open to members only.
“Freemasons insist Freemasonry is not a religion. However, it is strange that the room they meet in is referred to as a ‘temple’, the seat the Worshipful Master (the chairman for that year) sits on is referred to as an ‘altar’ and the ceremonies end with the phrase ‘so mote it be’ - the same words used in major satanic rituals,” Mr Attard explained. “Even the Jehovah's Witness founder (Russel) was in fact a Freemason as well as a Knight Templar. All Knight Templars are Freemasons.”
Mr Attard explained that after becoming a Freemason a person suddenly finds himself with a ready-made circle of friends, who are hospitable and accommodating. “You feel as if you have stumbled upon something deep and promising and feel rather in awe of these businessmen and the international power they represent. When you are a Mason you become ‘pure’ while everybody else is ‘profane,’ said Mr Attard. Freemasonry includes rituals, ceremonies and secret handshakes.
“When you greet a Mason he presses a knuckle on the back of your hand - either the first, second or third to indicate which rank he is in. It is a secret recognition signal,” he added.
Describing the initiation ceremony, Mr Attard said a person is led blindfolded into the ‘temple’, with a noose round his neck with his ‘promoter’ standing beside him. The steward of the Lodge then asks: “Is this an act of your own free will and accord?” and he prompts the person to reply “It is.” At this point the person is told: “Take one step with your left foot, and bring the heel of your right foot...” and the position assumed is the Tau Cross, the ancient phallic symbol.
Mr Attard said: “Next you kneel at the altar and swear an oath - which is of course blasphemous - and it goes something like this: I ... of my own free will and accord, in the presence of the Almighty God and this worshipful Lodge, erected to him and dedicated to the Holy St John, do hereby and hereon most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear...”
Freemasons swear to abide by all the Masonic rules and obey all Masons of higher ranks, and to aid and assist all poor or distressed Masons.
Over the years Freemasonry has had a number of famous brethren, including such names as Mozart, Winston Churchill, Peter Sellers, Ronald Regan, George Bush Sr, Lord Mountbatten and most of Europe’s royal families.
Charity is a fundamental part of all Freemasonry but charity always begins at home.
Leaving the fraternity
The person who helped Mr Attard join Freemasonry was the one who eventually encouraged him to leave.
“My friend, a Roman Catholic, unfortunately had been hoodwinked into believing he could be a Roman Catholic and a Freemason at the same time,” explained Mr Attard.
It was in the 1990s when both friends resigned from Freemasonry. At the time the Roman Catholic Church had renewed its declaration that Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry were not compatible, meaning that one could either be a member of one or the other, but not of both.
“We had discussed the matter for long and my friend decided to resign from Freemasonry. He chose to remain a Roman Catholic and eventually I handed in my resignation and turned back to Catholicism too,” Mr Attard said. “I would like to publicly thank whoever was praying for me at the time, since I also decided to see the real ‘light’.”
Freemasonry is a subject which surfaces from time to time in Malta. It was Labour MP Leo Brincat who said in Parliament that certain members of the judiciary are Freemasons and that the government has a list of them.
Replying to Mr Brincat, Justice Minister Austin Gatt said if he ever had a shred of evidence that any person occupying an official position was a Freemason, he would insist he be removed from office.
Last Tuesday, on current affairs programme Bondi+, private investigator and journalist Joe Zahra publicly resigned from Freemasonry. Mr Zahra joined the fraternity three years ago but decided to resign from the organisation because as a journalist and private investigator he felt there would be a conflict of interest between his job and being a Freemason.
Bondi covered the history of Freemasonry and the reasons why it is stigmatised in Malta - unlike in many other counties where it is practised openly.
As the main guest on Bondi+ Mr Zahra spoke about his experience of being a Freemason. The programme stunned many who knew little or nothing at all about the practices of Freemasons.
Bondi took many, particularly active Freemasons, by surprise as exclusive footage filmed personally by Mr Zahra was shown throughout the programme.
The footage shown was of recent official Freemasonry ceremonies, held behind closed doors which were all secretly filmed by Mr Zahra.
Malta’s laws, unlike those in Italy, protect Freemasons, because belonging to a Lodge is not illegal.
Following Tuesday's programme, Mr Bondi said he received positive feedback.
“Both Freemasons and those who are against Freemasonry said the programme was a balanced one. It was satisfying to receive the positive feedback,” said Mr Bondi.