Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finally The Evidence Abraham Lincoln Was A Freemason? You've Got To Be Kidding Me . . .

"Are we sure Abraham  Lincoln wasn't a Freemason?  It should be pretty obvious from this old photo that he was." 

This was a post I read the other day from a self-proclaimed "Masonic researcher."  He didn't do any research on the question, but suggested that the way Lincoln was standing, and the way  the other men in the photo were holding their hands was somehow "Masonic."  He "believes" Honest Abe was actually a Freemason.

My friend, with all due respect, he wasn't.  If you want the facts you'll find them in the piece Abe Lincoln: Freemason Or Not.  I know the facts are accurate, because I not only wrote it, but I researched it first.  Wishing a thing into existence doesn't change the reality.  Masonic researchers use facts.  Some years ago, I actually visited the Masonic Lodge that Lincoln petitioned, and then withdrew his petition from.  The story is well documented, and there is no doubt remaining.  Abe Lincoln was many things, but he was not a Freemason.  Had he survived the Presidency, in all likelihood he would have joined our Fraternity--that was his intention.

This is the kind of garbage I read all the time that irritates me to no end.  If you're going to write, then know the subject, research the evidence, and write factually!  If you want to be a Masonic researcher, you've got to open a book. 

It's pretty much a weekly occurrence for somebody to contact me and ask me to look over a book, especially on Freemasonry, and write a review.  I just don't do that anymore, and I'll tell you why.  There is a great deal being published right now on the topic of Freemasonry that is absolute crap.  It's poorly researched, and badly written.  As I told somebody the other day, just because anybody can publish a book these days doesn't mean everyone should.

The last book I reviewed was nothing more than a two hundred page opinion paper on Freemasonry based solely on the authors impressions of Freemasonry.  There was no research done at all on anything the author wrote about in the book, in fact, the phrase "I heard" was used over and over again.  Hearing things is not research!

The author pestered me for two weeks about the review and I finally told him the truth.  I didn't like the book, and I wasn't willing to write a good review about it.  He was pretty angry with me, and said it was un-Masonic of me not to do that favor for a Brother.  Perhaps being dishonest is more Masonic?

I spent three years writing two books--not three weeks or three months-- three years!  I knew how to write, because I'd spent about twenty years at that point practicing the craft of writing.  I researched those books extensively.  After the chapters were written, my editor and I spent hours editing and re-editing the chapters, working on the order the chapters should be put in, and checking facts before they were published.  They were successful because I'd spent a lot of time thinking about the story I wanted to tell.  I spent lots of time researching the facts.  I spent the time necessary to edit and polish every sentence in those books.  Then I had a few experts review my manuscript before publication to see what they thought about it, and where it could be improved--based on those opinions I rewrote large sections of the books.  And in the beginning I invested all this time and effort on a book I expected to sell about a hundred copies of or less. 

If you want to call yourself a Masonic writer and researcher you have to do the work!  Join some Masonic research organizations--they are numerous.  Contact your Masonic Lodge of Research.  Read!  Remember that scholars spend most of their lives as students--in fact, good scholars are always students first.  They never stop learning.

But most importantly, be concise and be factual.  Why would you want to base your reputation as a writer on poorly written and researched material?  And when you write about Freemasonry, you're representing your Fraternity.  Have enough respect for this venerable institution to do your best work.

Writing and researching takes a little more time and effort than posting a selfie on Facebook. 

~TEC

7 comments:

  1. That's the very reason that most of my papers are opinion-based, not fact-based. There is still a ton of research that goes into each one, but if something is wrong I can always say "That's how I interpret it, but your interpretation can be different and equally valid." :D

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    1. There is without doubt value in opinion pieces--I'm a big fan of those as the founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog. As you said, even opinion pieces should be researched. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Mr. Creason,
    My name is Wendell Walch, WPM and secretary of Tyrian Masonic Lodge No. 333 in Springfield, Ill. IF Lincoln petitioned any Lodge, it was ours. Newspaper articles indicate he did. But, there is no documentation. The Lodge and Grand Lodge were in the same building in 1872 when it burned. All the paper work of both the Lodge and Grand Lodge burned in that fire. The day after Lincoln was killed, Tyrian Lodge sent a letter to every Lodge in the state concerning his death. When his body was returned to Springfield, members of Tyrian Lodge led the funeral procession. But there is no documentation he ever turned a petition in.

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  3. That's interesting. Thanks. At we agree he wasn't a Mason. :-)

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  4. From the Southern California research Lodge; on April 17, 1865, Tyrian Lodge No. 333 of Springfield, Illinois,adopted the following resolution:" the first thought of a Mason should be,as his duty is, to trust God.....Resolved that the decision of President Lincoln to postpone his application for the honors of Masonry, lest his motives be misconstrued,is in the highest degree honorable to his memory"
    Seems as though he was going to apply for the degrees of Freemasonry after he had completed his term as President.

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    1. I'm going to stick with what I wrote about Lincoln and Tyrian Lodge. I had three sources for that story, including the Illinois Lodge of Research and a book written by Everett R. Turnbull. In fact, an excerpt from that Turnbull book is on the Tyrian No. 333 website and recites exactly the same facts as my original piece Abraham Lincoln: Freemason Or Not? And as you pointed out, that story seems to be backed up by the use of the phrase "postpone his application" in the 4/17/1865, which I also checked. I'm very careful about these things, and I believe the story is correct as I wrote it. But I will also agree with Bro. Walsh that if the Lodge burned down in 1872, which it did, there is no original documentation at this point to prove or disprove the story. But everyone does agree that Abe Lincoln was not a Freemason, and that was the main point of both pieces. Thanks you all for the conversation! And I would certainly enjoy visiting Tyrian Lodge again some time.

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