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skeptic

Anyone else seen the on-line Anti OA items Re: similarity to Masonic Order?

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Willhi hits the nail on the head all these groups have some sort of secret rituals and handshakes. The KofC was created, in spite of what some may say as an fraternal organization for Catholic men who according to cannon law can not be members of the Masons, who refused them membership anyway until fairly recently. Masons are making inroads with Catholic members of the armed services promising them more rapid advancement etc., the bishop in our area published a decree to all the parish priests to read at Mass stating that any man in their congregation who acknowledges he is a Mason is to be refused communion and counseled into resigning from the Masons.

 

The OA is in no way related to either of these organizations in their operations, however I have heard of a few lodges who do not exactly follow BSA rules and when something happens thats when these news articles come out.

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One comment vis a vis the laundry list of programs:

 

It helped that Goodman was National Program Director from 1931 to 1951, including the point where the program was incorporated into the BSA main program and the National Lodge was dissolved.

 

Just a thought for those of us who are from places where other honor organizations still function :)

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Overall, I found it to be interesting reading, and thought provoking. I also come from a Lutheran background and would consider myself rather conservative in matters of faith. But I have been a Brother in our Order for 37 years. I'll welcome my son as a Brother in another month!

 

But I can see how those even more conservative than me might see a problem with OA. That is their decision to make. We can argue about matters of faith until the cows come home, but in the end it all comes down to our personal relationship (or lack of) with God. We can beleive as Christians that God gave us free will which results in non-stop bad decisions. Or we can be atheists and beleive that there is no afterlife and what we do in life has no meaning once we die. Or we can beleive any number of things in between! Make your choice and live with the result. It's all up to you.

 

So, Mr. Salza is welcome to believe whatever he likes, and to do his best to convince me and all of you that we are "bad parents" for allowing our sons to join OA.

 

He does have some valid points to consider. We most certainly do have a "blood covenant" in our rituals. It is symbolic. But some people might equate that symbolism to Christian Sacraments. It's all a matter of perspective. But when the OA as a whole is considered, we each must decide where it fits in relation to our Faith life.

 

As conservative as I am, I'm OK with the the OA.

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Many Christian Denominations have issues with the Masons not just because they are secret.

 

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod:

 

Bylaw 3.925 of the Synod's Handbook summarizes the rationale for the Synod's longstanding position on the lodges: "Pastors and laypeople must avoid membership or participation in any organization that in its objectives, ceremonies, or practices is inimical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the faith and life of the Christian church." It is because tenets and practices of Freemasonry conflict with the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ that our church from its very beginning has held that membership in this organization conflicts with a faithful confession of this Gospel.

Many examples from the official rites and ceremonies of Freemasonry could be cited to illustrate the reasons for the Synod's position, but the following is one example. The second section of the Entered Apprentice degree reviews what has taken place in the initiation rite and closes with this definition of the Lambskin of White Leathern Apron given to the candidate: "The Lamb has, in all ages, been deemed an emblem of innocence. He, therefore, who wears the Lambskin as the badge of a Freemason, is constantly reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides." This statement holds out the promise that "purity of life and conduct" is "essentially necessary" for entry into life hereafter with the divine being called the "Supreme Architect." Such an assertion stands in direct conflict with the apostolic Gospel, and therefore endangers faith. St. Paul affirms in his epistle to the Galatians that "by works of the law shall no one be justified...for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose" (Gal. 2:16,21).

The Wisconsin Evangelic Lutheran Synod says this about Masons :

The Masonic Lodge and its affiliates are essentially deistic religious organizations. They strongly maintain that there is a Creator God who rewards good and punishes evil but do not formally acknowledge God as a gracious giver of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. Nor do they acknowledge the Triune God as the only true God, but allow that most any "Supreme Being" embraced by any Mason may be seen as a legitimate deity. To them salvation is not by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, but based on good works. They also maintain that the supreme deity ("Architect of the Universe") may be and is worshiped in many forms and under many names by many religions aside from Christianity. Additionally, the oaths and rituals of the lodge have many features that consistent and conservative Bible students have long found incompatible with Christianity. There are many books and pamphlets available that give this kind of information in much greater detail. This negative appraisal of the Masonic Lodge is shared by a number of church bodies, and is not the conclusion of only a few like the WELS. You are invited to speak with any WELS pastor about this and to request more detailed information as desired.

 

So although the Masons somewhat promote civic righteousness and undertake certain praiseworthy projects in society, we maintain that a Christian would compromise clear Bible teachings by becoming a member of that lodge. We are aware that people have joined such groups for the sake of business connections as well as a sense of social responsibility and say they really don't care for or think of the religious aspects of the organization. But we maintain that to do so is still a compromise of truth, easily or inevitably causes others to stumble spiritually, and links the person to a false religious group. The Bible often testifies against such an attitude and action.

Bottom line: to be a WELS member with the public confession involved with that membership and to be a Mason with that public confession are incompatible. We owe members of masonry a loving and courteous reply that will not compromise truth. Refraining from membership in that network of organizations and providing patient but consistent testimony to the falsehood the Masons embrace or tolerate would be right and fitting

And then about Scouts:

 

We do warn against civil religion which treats all religions as one or interchangeable. If the Pledge (of Allegiance) is used to give that implication, we could not join in it. I do not know what percentage of WELS schools use the pledge. None of the ones I attended used it. Many people, religious or non-religious, have objections to the wording of the Pledge.

The reason we say more about scouting is that the topic involves voluntarily joining an organization with false religious priniciples. You hit the nail on the head with your statement "Scouts promotes religion to God as the most important thing. No matter what religion it is." That is exactly why we can't participate.

People in this world work for rewards at their jobs, at school, in athletics, and many other endeavors, but these rewards are earthly not spiritual. We have no objection to organizations that give earthly rewards for earthly achievements. Scouting is talking about doing your duty to God by your achievements. That is a very different matter. Believing in God or a god is not the same as believing in the one true God.

We can associate with people from outside our faith in every way except joiining them in evil or false worship. We can't win people by joining them in false worship.

 

And

Someone told me that the Wisconsin Synod does not allow its members to be Boy Scouts. Is that true and if so, what is the basis for it?

________________________________________

There is a question that must precede the one you asked. Does God want Christians to belong to organizations that requires its members to accept religious principles that are contrary to the First Commandment? Or putting it another way, can a Lutheran who on his confirmation day promised that he would suffer everything rather than deny the teachings of the Bible subsequently take another promise that is based on the premise that anyone of any religion can do his duty to God? The obvious answer to both questions is "no."

Then the next question is, what organizations fit this description. The Scouts require all members to take the Scout promise, even atheists. A few years ago a Scout who was an atheist was allowed to become an Eagle Scout, but had to take the Scout promise to do his duty to God, although he could qualify that by saying that he did not believe God was a personal being. The promise cannot be omitted. Such a promise a Christian cannot make in good conscience.

Getting to your question. WELS does not have a list of organizations that its members cannot join. Many congregations have a statement in their constitution which says that members cannot belong to organizations that require religious principles that contradict the Bible. The Boy Scouts fall into that category. The question really is not what does WELS allow or not allow. It is what does the First Commandment allow or not allow.

 

 

Roman Catholics about Masons:

 

Why is Freemasonry incompatible with Christianity?

Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity because it promotes indifferentism. Indifferentism is the heretical belief that all religions are equally legitimate attempts to explain the truth about God which, but for the truth of His existence, are unexplainable. Such a view makes all truths relative and holds that God can be equally pleased with truth and error. Because Christians believe that God has definitively revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and desires that all men come to the knowledge of this truth, indifferentism is incompatible with Christian faith. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).

Freemasonry's teachings and practices also result in syncretism which is the blending of different religious beliefs into a unified whole. This is evidenced most especially by Masonry's religious rituals which gather men of all faiths around a common altar, and place all religious writings along side the Bible on the Masonic altar. This is also demonstrated by the Lodge's prayers and its unique names and symbols for God and heaven. Syncretism is the logical consequence of indifferentism.

The Lodge's practice of requiring its members to swear immoral oaths is also incompatible with Christianity. These oaths require a Christian to swear on the Holy Bible that he will uphold a code of moral conduct that prefers Masons over non-Masons, and to preserve secret passwords and handshakes. Such oaths are gravely immoral because their subject matter is trivial or does not give rise to the necessity of an oath. These oaths are also sworn under symbolic, blood-curdling penalties of physical torture and death called self-curses (e.g., having my throat cut across, and my tongue torn out by its roots). These penalties show a lack of respect for God and amount to blasphemy which is a serious sin.

 

And

 

What is the Catholic Church's position on Freemasonry?

The Church, through its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has formally declared that Catholics who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. This declaration, which is the most recent teaching of the Church, has affirmed nearly 300 years of papal pronouncements against Freemasonry on the grounds that the teachings of the Lodge are contrary to Catholic faith and morals.

The Churchs declaration on Freemasonry exposes Catholic Masons to a number of penalties under canon law. For example, a Catholic who is aware that the Church authoritatively judges membership in Freemasonry to be gravely sinful must not approach Holy Communion (c. 916). The Church imposes the duty upon all grave sinners not to make a sacrilegious communion. Such a Catholic Mason who is aware of the grave sin must receive absolution in a sacramental confession before being able to receive communion again, unless there is a grave reason and no opportunity to confess (c. 916). This confession, in order to be valid, also requires the Catholic Mason to renounce his Masonic membership.

Further, because membership in Freemasonry is an external or public condition, the Catholic Mason can be refused Holy Communion by the pastors of the Church for obstinately persevering in his Masonic membership (c. 915). Such a Catholic Mason would also be forbidden from receiving the Anointing of the Sick (c. 1007) as well as ecclesiastical funeral rites if public scandal were to result (c. 1184, 1, 3).

Canon 1364 also imposes an automatic excommunication upon apostates, heretics, or schismatics. This canon could also apply to Catholic Masons. If, for example, a Catholic Mason embraced the theological teachings of Freemasonry that the Church has condemned (indifferentism, syncretism), he would be in heresy by virtue of his belief in these teachings. Further, if a Catholic Mason knew the Church opposes membership in Freemasonry, and yet adamantly and persistently refused to submit to the popes authority in precluding his membership in the Lodge, he may also find himself in schism. Catholic Masons could also be subject to canon 1374 which imposes an interdict or just penalty upon those who join associations that plot against the Church.

For the canonical penalties to apply, the Catholic Mason would have to act in a gravely imputable way (that is, the Catholic would have to be aware of the Churchs teaching on Freemasonry and, after being warned about it, choose to disregard it). In my personal experience, a fair number of Catholic Masons do act in a gravely imputable way in regard to their Masonic membership. In these cases, the canonical penalties, including excommunication, apply. The Church's penalties are not meant to alienate the person on whom the penalty is levied. Instead, the penalties are meant to communicate to the person the gravity of his conduct, encourage his repentance and reconciliation with the Church, and bring him back into the one fold of Christ. After all, the mission of the Church is the salvation of souls.

 

 

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I am also Lutheran...of the ELCA variety. Interesting reading, NW. I would be interested in the source. I also find it interesting that other Christian denominations not only have no objections to Scouting, but embrace it as their youth program, e.g., United Methodists and LDS. Equally interesting to me are the attitudes of the Catholic churches in the area...the one down the street from me will NOT associate with the BSA in ANY way, including allowing us to use rooms for training events. THis is not priest-specific, because the policy doesn't change although the priests do. Meanwhile the one a mile away has an Eagle Scout priest and charters a Pack, Troop and Crew, and all of our District meetings are there. Go figure.

 

No offense to my brothers and sisters here, but in the ELCA, we've always considered the LCMS and WELS as somewhat "weird". At one time, they wouldn't even allow each other the Sacraments.

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Im ELCA also, and hold the Lamb Award plus the Vigil Honor. If we were to go to a Missouri Synod more than likely we would be refused communion, at WELS we would. MS pastors have been disciplined for co-officiating in everything from weddings rites when their child married a child of an ELCA pastor to the most famous one of a District President participating in a multi-faith prayer service in New York after 9-11.

 

This traces back to the founding of MS back in the 1840s by German Lutherans who fled the kingdom of Prussia when the king combined the Lutheran and Reformed Churches because he wanted only one Protestant Church. After numerous jailing of pastors they and their flocks picked up an moved to the American West (now Mid-West). They are very concerned that their faith be not compromised or muddied

 

The quotes come from the official website of MS And WELS just put Mason and Scouts in the search. The Catholic quote comes from a Google search on Roman Catholic and Mason.

 

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Narraticong and I are both members of Missouri parishes.

 

Rest assured, I'd see Matthew 18 so fast it would make my head swim if I told Pastor I'd joined a Masonic Lodge.

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in reference to Catholic Churches and BSA, if a parish is having priests come and go, ther e may have a parish council or deacon who is anti-BSA. that happend to my old troop: when the priest left, the head of the parish council didn't want us.

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THe local Lutheran WELS church just built a new bldg and relocated about a half mile down the road from me. I was thinking of either organizing new units there or moving my unit from the Methodist church that doesn't care if we exist or not. Guess I'll forget that idea.

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From NW's post I think you can see why the Catholic Church and scouting had such a rocky start and still has a somewhat strained relationship. Unless the priest has a scouting background I can guarantee through experience they will not be open to scouts in their parish. The sad point is that many catholic parishes youth groups are floundering in both numbers and interest and a well done scouting program could help that, I know because I did just that in my former parish.

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John is spot on. I am aware of the Missouri Synod feeling on Masons. I did not grow up in the Lutheran Church. My father and both brothers are / were Masons. I am the only member of my family who is not a Mason. But that was a choice I made for myself before I was a Lutheran. Just good luck, I suppose!

 

Coming from the outside, I really don't think MS Lutherans are "weird". Conservative, yes, with a strict belief in what Scripture says. I'm OK with that. I don't always like it, and I have to reconcile myself and my beliefs. But that's all part of my spiritual growth.

 

My troop is chartered by my congregation. They are now incorporating Religious Emblem program as part of our Sunday School program.

 

 

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So my dad always said he could not join a church that was "too organized", that too many churches had the wrong idea about belief. And he was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, Shrine member. Masonic ceremony at his funeral memorial service in a Methodist Church (chartered my Scout Troop). I attended Demolay (Junior Masons, see Knights Templar) at his request, but ultimately saw no real reason behind it. Scouting was all the "brotherhood" and service to others I needed. The secrecy and oaths, even in Demolay, were too weird and ultimately unnecesary to me. Even at that tender age, I realized the futility of swearing something if the underlaying belief was faulty. The "blood oaths" were really not appropriate to my Christian teaching but when I mentioned my doubts, I was told they (the Oaths) were only symbolic anyway and don't worry about them. Then why declare them? Tradition and history, iwas told. Seemed rather hypocritical to me, even back then.

When the "Worshipful Master" at my dads funeral asked me if I had ever considered joining the Scottish Rite, I told him of my history in Demolay and my misgivings about the oaths being unBibical, that the secrecy was counter to my newly found Quaker faith. He tried to argue that there were many different religions represented among Freemasonry, that FMs did much good work (burn hospitals, etc.). I said no thank you just the same.

 

Perhaps in the past there was a rational for the Knights Templar and the Masons (even they have internecine conflict about dogma and ritual), but today?

 

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SSScout,

 

Sorry for introducing a bit of levity into the conversation, but perhaps you may want to clarify / reword your last statement of: "FMs did much good work (burn hospitals, etc.)".

 

I just can't get the image out of my head of rogue(sp?) mobs of Masons with torches and pitchforks running around town searching for medical buildings to destroy. :-)

 

Gags

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mmmmmmmmmm....

Yep, caught on that one... shorthand will trip ya up..."(funding hospitals that treat burn victims, etc.)"

 

English as a language is word order sensitive. Just ask Yoda!

 

 

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I stumbled across this person yesterday while reading through a forum thread on another Catholic site relating to Catholics and Masons. The link that was in the forum I was reading was a link to the actual rituals with handwritten notes from a 'priest'. As a Master Mason and Brotherhood member, I actually laughed out loud at some of the notations that were made. I don't see how anyone, even someone totally unfamiliar with scouting and the OA, could reach the conclusions that this priest came to.

As a non-Catholic, I take issue with Mr. Salza's religious perspective, but that is neither here nor there. I believe that everyone is entitled to believe what they wish. As someone once said, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. After watching his interview on youtube, there are many inconsistencies in what he relays as the truth and everything that I know about Masonry. I'm not sure what happened during Mr. Salza's experience with Freemasonry, but whatever it was, it definitely left him with a hatred of anything Masonic. Anything, that is, except his book. It is sad that parents might read his article and forbid their sons from joining the Order of the Arrow, based solely the misinformation he is spreading.

FYI, nrp1488, the ritual document that is referred to is indeed still accessible. I downloaded it yesterday and just now clicked on the link in the pdf file and it opened.

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