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CBS’ “Inside the secret world of the Freemasons” discredits Prof. Margaret Jacob

On December 8, 2013 AD, CBS aired a segment titled, “Inside the secret world of the Freemasons” on the Sunday Morning show which was hosted by Mo Rocca. As it turns out UCLA history professor Margaret Jacob, who is said to be “one of the world's leading experts on Freemasonry” took it on the chin.

Hey kids, by the time you grow up the pyramid will be capped!
Hey kids, by the time you grow up the pyramid will be capped!Fair use, to illustrate article's context.

Consider this, key, exchange:

True or false? The Masons are a secret society.

"No. That's false," said UCLA history professor Margaret Jacob, one of the world's leading experts on Freemasonry.

Thus, the “world's leading experts” has spoken!

However, for whatever reason CBS—and the Masons themselves—go on to disprove her statement.

CBS posted the transcript under the show’s title which is, after all, “Inside the secret world of Freemasons” (emphasis added).

The transcript begins, “It's the world's most well-known secret society.”

Here are other choice quotes:

So what about those secrets?...

"What would happen if I found out the secret handshake and I weren't a Mason?" Rocca asked. "You wouldn't have to kill me?"

"We might take you out and buy you a beer," said Morris. "The secrets of a Mason represent my integrity as a man. I took a promise that I would not tell you what the secrets of the Mason are. I didn't take a promise that I would care if you know what they are."…

Also a big secret : the meetings. No non-Masons, or cameras, are allowed. But St. John's Lodge No. 1 of New York agreed to give us a glimpse of one…

As for what happens after that . . . well, that's a secret.

An accompanying CBS article by David Morgan, titled, “9 things you didn't know about Freemasonry” also references secrets:

"Sunday Morning" looks at the rumors, fears and conspiracy theories sparked by the Freemasons' fraternal order, its secrets and rituals…

The secret Masonic password originated as a job tool…

"Are there secret handshakes?" asked Rocca.

"Oh, secret handshakes, of course," replied Morris. "I mean, what's the point of having a password if you don't have a handshake?"

There are also other references to secret with the employment of other words such as “mystery”:

"Who here was sort of drawn by the mystery?" Rocca asked a group of young Masons.

"I think all of us," they replied.

"I think it's a combination of history [and] tradition," said one.

Another said it was the allure of ritual: "I mean, that's the reason people join Freemasonry and not the Rotarians."

The fact is that these sorts of shows interview very, very low level guys who know nothing or high level guys who know the spin. Such was the case in our article Freemason deceives Collectors Weekly; very low level Masons simply repeated one liners (Blue Lodge members; the kindergarten of Masonry).

Take Brent Morris as an example; CBS notes that he is a 33rd degree Mason and a historian at the House of the Temple for the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction. This means that he works for the Masonic temple in Washington, D.C. He states:

"I have met a group of men that I enjoy being with," said Morris. "These are people that I go out to dinner with, we socialize together. They're guys I like to hang with. They're my friends."

Wow, so there are Masonic temples, lodges, etc. all over the world just to hang out, play cards and stuff???

Albert Pike, 33 degree Mason, wrote the following in Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry:

Every Masonic lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion...

Masonry, like all religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls light, and draw them away from it…

The truth must be kept secret, and the masses need a teaching proportioned to their imperfect reason…every man's conception of God must be proportioned to his mental cultivation, and intellectual powers, and moral excellence. God is, as man conceives him, the reflected image of man himself…

The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry...

It is well enough for the mass of those called Masons, to imagine that all is contained in the Blue Degrees; and whoso attempts to undeceive them will labor in vain.

Moreover, Manly P. Hall, whom the 1990 AD Scottish Lodge magazine referred to as “the most significant philosopher of the Masonry,” wrote:

Freemasonry is a fraternity within a fraternity -- an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect...it is necessary to establish the existence of these two separate and yet interdependent orders, the one visible and the other invisible.

The visible society is a splendid camaraderie of “free and accepted” men enjoined to devote themselves to ethical, educational, fraternal, patriotic, and humanitarian concerns. The invisible society is a secret and most majestic fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of a mysterious arcannum arcandrum [secretive secrets, mysterious mysteries, etc.]

—Lectures on Ancient Philosophy, p. 433

In the next segment we will see what UCLA history professor Margaret Jacob “one of the world's leading experts on Freemasonry” has to say about whether Freemasonry is a religion.

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