Danish Freemasons Try to Ban Book on Secret Rituals
December 20, 1994
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Danish Freemasons have demanded that a Norwegian book describing the societies' rituals be banned from sale in Denmark, news reports said Tuesday.
The Norwegian-language book, "Freemasonry - Mysteries, Community and Personality Development," by Norwegian author Sverre Dag Mogstad, has already been sold in Norway and Sweden without protest.
But their Danish brothers, counting some 10,000 members, asked a bailiffs court Monday to ban the book because it violates the group's privacy.
"(Secrecy) is the whole point of Freemasonry, which would disappear if everyone had a peak inside," its leader Erik F. Quist told the daily Politiken.
The Freemasons' strongest card is a 1980 Danish court ruling that prohibited a national television channel from describing and reenacting secret rituals in a studio because it would have violated privacy.
The society, which is dedicated to brotherliness, charity and mutual aid, has rituals that include blood mixing, questions on an applicants religious beliefs and the use of ceremonial clothes and artifacts, according to the Politiken, quoting the book.
Knud Aage Froeberg, a jurist with Denmark's School of Journalism, told the Jyllands-Posten daily that he didn't understand why the masons want a ban.
"The book has already been published in Norway and Sweden so its sale in Denmark cannot unveil something that is not already exposed," Froeberg said. "Even a ban in Denmark, the book can still be ordered in Norway."
On Monday, some 200 copies were sold in Denmark and 800 more have been ordered, according to the Jyllands-Posten.
In Norway, 7,000 books have been sold, more than half within four days of its release, the daily said.