The first early lodges in the various European nations of Scotland, England, German states, and France built upon a number of existing organizations. Various secret societies were built upon. Although it is beyond the scope of this chapter to explain Masonry's early history, it will be found in the Knight's Templar groups, in the secret societies of Europe and the Middle East (including the Order called Roshaniya, the Assassins, & Sufism), the Rosicrucians, the Prieure de Sion, the Mystery Religions (including the evolution of the Mazdains to Mithraism to Manicheanism to Freemasonry), witchcraft, and Platonic humanists and philosophers.
Not only were the Masonic Rites formed from the early secret societies, but the secrecy of the Lodges encouraged and provided a forum for men of all types of anti-Christian persuasions, including - but not limited - to the Jews. John Robison, a Mason and a leading intellect of his day, exposed the conspiracy of Illuminized Masonry to take over the world and destroy Christianity in 1789.
After decades of working closely with these men and listening to them in the Lodges he writes about the activities of these men, "...although in direct opposition to a standing rule, and a declaration made to every newly received Brother, 'that nothing touching the religion or government shall ever be spoken of in the Lodge.' But the Lodges in other countries quickly followed the example of France, and have frequently become the rendezvous of innovators in religion and politics, and other disturbers of the public peace. In short, I have found that the covert of a Mason Lodge had been employed in every country for venting and propagating sentiments in religion and politics, that could not have been circulated in public without exposing the author to great danger. I found, that this impunity [freedom due to Masonry's secrecy] had gradually encouraged men of licentious principles to become more bold, and to teach doctrines subversive of all our notions of morality..."31 "...under the protection of Masonic secrecy, they planned schemes... they formed associations in opposition to the... superstitions of the church The church dreaded the consequences, and endeavored to suppress the Lodges. But in vain the rigours of the church only seved to knit the Brethren [Masonic Brethren] more firmly together... The Lodges became schools of skepticism and infidelity, and the spirit of conversion or proselytism [to spread Masonic Dogma] grew every day stronger. "32
Robison found in his attendence of Masonic meetings that even some of the Church officials like the Prince Bishop of Liege at the
Loge de la Parfaite Intelligence mocked and attacked the church in his talks given at the Masonic Lodge and this while many of the other Lodge members were dignitaries in the church.33 This type of thing is still continueing. Today some of the most important "Christian" ministers who are Masons have only contempt for Christianity once they have the Lodge's secrecy to talk.
The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia states, "Early European Jewish settlers in the U.S. were amongst the most enthusiastic masons and the...first lodge in Newport, R.I [was established by them]".34 Indeed, the St. John's Lodge of Newport was one of the first lodges in the colonies.35
Charlestown, S.C. became a "capital" or a nerve center of Freemasonry for a number of reasons. The city of Charlestown, S.C. had the largest Jewish population of any U.S. city in 1800.36 It was also an early strong point for the Unitarian church whose congregation originated in Charlestown in 1772 .37 Further, Charlestown was a cosmopolitan commercial center with strong French ties. (The Rite of Perfection came from France to Charlestown via
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