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GUEST,josepp BS: A concise history of Freemasonry (18) RE: BS: A concise history of Freemasonry 04 Jul 12


Part of what riles people against Freemasonry is its secretive nature. What they seem incapable of understanding is that the secret initiations are what draw people in. That was the reason Freemasonry hit so big among the aristocracy of Europe, the idea that the initiate is receiving God's special revelation given only to Freemasons and that the initiate is special enough to have been made privy to these secrets and is charged with safeguarding them from the profane. The secretiveness and mysticism is the draw and it is what keeps those who have been so drawn from leaving.

But, as stated, Masonry can only go so far to instill moral rectitude in a member. Those who hold certain ingrained beliefs will continue to hold them regardless of what Masonry has to say about it. The following example will suffice.

Just after the Civil War had ended in 1865, six former Confederate officers returned home to Pulaski, Tennessee to find the town half in ruins and occupied by Union soldiers who kept a close eye on all the goings-on. While trying to rebuild the town, residents found themselves with little diversion. The six officers, all college-educated, decided to amuse themselves by forming a secret fraternity. Since college fraternities are always named in Greek, the men decided to call themselves the "Circle" in Greek, which is "Kuklos." They further decided to obscure the word to make it less decipherable and modified "Kuklos" to "Kuklux." Since they were all of Scottish-Irish descent, as with most of Pulaski's residents, someone suggested adding "Clan" only spelling it with a "K." All agreed that the addition of "Klan" added a spooky quality to the phrase—"Like old bones rattling together," one of them was later to say. They needed a distinctive form of dress and so put on sheets and masks and decorated them since no one was to recognize them in public. This newly formed Ku Klux Klan ("Ku" is pronounced "Cue") then went about crashing parties and speaking to people is whispery, mysterious tones and dancing with the ladies. It was all in fun and everyone knew who the Ku Klux Klan actually were and had fun with it. Soon other men wanted to join and were inducted in ceremonies designed purely out of fun and culminated in the initiate being crowned with donkey ears in order to show him what an ass he had made of himself.

Some of the young men went to nearby towns and regaled the people there with stories of their exploits in the Ku Klux Klan. Soon these nearby towns began to inquire about starting their own chapters and received permission to do so. When crashing parties and what not became stale, the men in the Ku Klux Klan began to look for other forms of entertainment. Someone got the idea of riding in the night in areas where the former-slaves lived and scaring them by making them think they were ghosts of the Confederate dead. At first, these were just harmless pranks. A skeleton arm would be procured, for example, and when the Klansmen found a black man walking along the road, would tell him they were ghosts. One would then approach him and offer to shake hands and then let the skeleton arm come off in the black man's grip. The black man would emit an exaggerated scream and flee while the Klansmen laughed themselves silly. Of course, the blacks were not fooled. They knew very well who was under those sheets but, by playing along, could avoid something worse happening. Some ex-slaves appeared to take advantage of the situation. In one case, a black sharecropper deeply in debt to a white man, met the Klan one night, shook hands, screamed, took off running, and was never seen again. A novel way to get out of debt.

Eventually, though, the pranks got meaner and meaner until they were acts of outright terror and murder. At this point, some Southern leaders began to realize the value of a secret Klan as a tool to fight Lincoln's plan of Reconstruction. They formed a new, special Klan for this purpose and contacted Nathan Bedford Forrest of Memphis to act as its leader. Forrest had been a general in the Confederate Army. A brave fighter, having had almost two dozen horses shot out from under him, he was also brutal and even those who outranked him feared him. Forrest was known to grab other generals by the head and bang it off a tree a few times to make his point. The treatment of captured black Union soldiers by troops under his command practically surpasses belief. Forrest liked the idea of a Ku Klux Klan to fight Reconstruction, drive out the Carpetbaggers and teach blacks their proper station in Southern society. He accepted the post.

Forrest knew that he could not structure the Klan properly and effectively without help. So he turned to a man he knew could do the job. This man lived in Arkansas which was governed by a Carpetbagger named Powell Clayton. Stanley F. Horn in his 1969 book, Invisible Empire, writes: "General Forrest came over into Arkansas from Memphis with the new Ku Klux Klan idea and enlisted the assistance of the influential Albert Pike in its establishment in the state….A better promoter of the idea than General Pike could not have been found…." Boston-born Brigadier General Pike had been an intelligence officer under Robert E. Lee as well as an avid magician and occultist. In addition, he was a lawyer and Indian administrator. He even got many Indians to enlist in the Civil War for the Confederate cause. He was also a high-ranking Freemason and had authored an impressive number of books on the subject of which he demonstrated himself extremely knowledgeable. In fact, a great deal of our knowledge regarding occultism and Freemasonry today comes from the works of Albert Pike. He is the single most important factor in the establishment of the 32-degree Masonic system called the Scottish Rite (explained later). By far the most practiced form of Freemasonry in America (the other form is called the York Rite).

True to his Masonic training, Pike resorted to their way of instituting a structure in an organization. In his book, Unholy Alliance, author Peter Levenda informs us that Pike wrote the Klansmen's constitution for them in Nashville in 1867. This is the same thing the author of the Old Charges did, what Anderson did for the Grand Lodge, what the Founding Fathers had done with the new American government and now what Pike did for the Klan—write a constitution. Klan dens were established complete with passwords and secret handshakes (called grips) just as we have with Masonic Lodges. Forrest was called the Grand Wizard, presumably a variation of Grand Master. Masonic emblems were borrowed and used in Klan communications and written threats. These included mainly the coffin and the skull-&-crossbones, both extremely important to Freemasonry.
In short, Freemasonry gave birth to the Ku Klux Klan. Without Freemasonry, the Klan has no structure. Like Freemasonry, the Klan relies on secret initiation to attract and keep members. When David Duke took over the Klan in the late 70s, he tried to do away with the robes, passwords, grips, and mystical titles—all the, what might be called, klaptrap. He called himself National Director rather than Grand Dragon or Grand Wizard. Immediately, Duke's Klan began to lose members. One of them was Bill Wilkinson who then formed his own Klan where he reinstated the mysticism full force.
Before long, Wilkinson's Klan was larger than Duke's and growing ever larger while Duke's was shrinking. In fact, most of the new members of Wilkinson's Klan were defectors from Duke's camp. Eventually, Duke was forced to toss in the towel and resign from his own Klan by which time he was virtually its only member.

So both the Klan and the Freemasons show us the power of initiation. Initiation is the glue that binds a secret or occult organization together. Pike knew it and that was why he borrowed Masonic emblems and provided the Klan with its own set of passwords, grips and titles. He was right. One doesn't simply join such organizations, one belongs to them.

Again, however, Freemasonry does not deserve to be attacked for giving birth to the Klan because this was the work of one man and not the Grand Lodges. The same cannot be said for Albert Pike, however. His forming of the Ku Klux Klan was unconscionable and his shamelessly borrowing from Freemasonry to accomplish the task makes it only more so. But this does demonstrate that Freemasonry or any such system can be misused and can go, in the blink of an eye, from proclaiming and protecting the basic human rights of an individual to abusing them.

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