A Brother Asks: What is one of the biggest challenges faced by Freemasonic researchers?
My Response: The biggest challenges? Obtaining and Understanding Unbiased and Untainted Society information and Using the same to Produce Materials that are Unbiased and Untainted.
Let me explain...
My experience continuously reveals to me that far too many Freemasonic researchers start out assuming that modern day Freemasonry is a continuation of the Stonecraft of yesteryear; it is clearly and unequivocally not.
When these researchers equate current day Freemasonic literature, activities and purposes with that of the Free-Masonry of the past and assume, and do so without question, that the two words are referring to the same world, they have assumed much in their use.
This is one of the biggest problems faced by those who wish to do serious Freemasonic research. They should not assume anything without a firm basis that is independent of society dogma, conjecture and conclusions.
It should be clear that Society Literature is packed full of inbred materials. It is also filled with far too much fanciful, wishful and cross-purpose materials to take seriously when doing research upon anything other than how its materials have morphed over the years.
Freemasonic materials should not be taken seriously when seeking historically accurate and supported information. This goes especially for those materials created by those deeply entrenched in Freemasonry's mythological culture and who produce them with an untethered zeal to support the inculcation and propagation of the same. Such materials are heavily biased toward maintaining the myth and fanciful lore; as they should! That is their job.
However, assuming such materials are historically accurate, without outside confirmation, will create many troubles for a serious researcher. The greatest trouble is that once what your claim is based upon is proven to be inaccurate, incorrect or a metaphor/allegory and not an actually historical occurrence, the very foundation of your work shall crumble.
When you wish to keep away from materials that shall mislead you or at least hold these materials under the light of unbiased reason while doing your research, here are some pointers:
Suspect anything claiming:
- Time Immemorial Status.
- Universal Practice.
- Unaltered Status.
- Ancient Origins, as in, Given by, Handed down from, or Established by any sort of "Ancient" Brethren.
- Establishment or being in effect prior to the beginning of the Grand Lodge era (circa 1717).
- Continuing something else other than theater.
- To be Rooted in or having connections with Stonecraft, Mystery Schools, Cabbala, Mysticism, Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Egyptian Mythology, a Specific Religion, and any other "esoteric" school, organization or philosophy in any other way other than using their resources to construct elaborate scripts that will entertain, inform, mesmerize, distract and train those participating in them.
- Connections and Conjectures that do not reflect sound, well-supported and interconnected information that creates a picture whose very existence requires the belief that a premise is true.
- Connections requiring leaps of faith, suspension disbelief or trust unearned.
- Conclusions backed solely by the claims of the Freemasonic materials studied.
- who base their opinions, thoughts and conclusions solely upon the Craft Dogma provided to them by their Jurisdiction;
- who parrot misguided and biased research and conjecture as unwavering, undeniable and accepted fact;
- who have not made any real earnest effort to dig down to the depths necessary to prove or disprove already long assumed fact and conclusions;
- who make every effort to discourage or downplay your continuing search or dismiss your findings when your well-documented research conflicts with their well-entrenched opinions.
Brother John S. Nagy