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Jehovah Witness

1.      What were the Jehovah’s Witnesses originally known as?

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society founded in 1896 (founded1881 according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle). 1 It is the legal entity used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. 4

2.      Who was the founder of what is now known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult?

a.       Charles Taze Russell at the aged of eighteen, he organized a Bible class in 1870.

b.      He was made elected Pastor over the Bible class group in 1876.

c.       He founded the Journal Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence in 1879 (which developed into today’s The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom).

d.      He incorporated “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society” in 1884. 2 Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society had been formed on February 16, 1881, with W. H. Conley as president and Charles Taze Russell as secretary and treasurer. Three years later, in 1884, Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was legally incorporated, with C. T. Russell as president.

e.       He wrote a series of seven books (six books by himself), now entitled “Studies in the Scriptures”3 were originally published as The Millennial Dawn.

f.       Russell died in 1916, and the seventh book “The Finished Mystery” was edited from his writing and published in 1917.

3.      What caused a split in The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society organization? Russell’s seventh book  “The Finished Mystery” caused a split in the organization.

4.      When The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society organization split up in 1931 how was it divided to differentiate? 

a)                The smaller group (Russell’s follows after his death) became known as the Dawn Bible Students Association.

b)                The larger group  (Rutherford’s follows) became known by

1.      Its common name: Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1931.

2.      Its Corporate name: The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1881.

5.      Who was Charles Taze Russell?

a.       A haberdasher from Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

b.      He attended Presbyterian and Congregational churches as a child.

c.       He was unable to accept the Presbyterian and Congregational churches teachings about hell.

d.      He was influence by the Seventh-Day Adventist: Embraced their teaching

·          That “hell” stood for the grave.

·         The wicked would ultimately be annihilated, and not tortured consciously for eternity.

·         The idea that Christ’s second coming was an invisible, spiritual “presence” that had already begun, rather than a literal, bodily return to take place in the future.

·         He denied the doctrines of the Trinity and Christ’s Deity.

e.       He died in 1916, believing that World War 1 was Armageddon.

6.      Who was Joseph Franklin Rutherford? 5

a.       He was the society’s legal counselor who succeeded Russell as head of the movement.

b.      In 1906, he was baptized and a year later he became the Watch Tower Society's legal counsel.

c.       It was under his tenure that they adopted the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses, in 1931”

7.      Describe the Jehovah’s Witnesses in terms of social and ethical practices?

a.      They do not observe Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day or any such holidays rejecting them as pagan.

b.      They refuse blood transfusions (based on a misunderstanding of Leviticus 17).

c.       They will not participate in politics, the military, and will not salute the flag. They maintain strict neutrality in War.

8.      Approximately how many Jehovah’s Witnesses are there worldwide? There are presently at least 5 million active JWs worldwide.

9.      Describe JWs dedication?

  1. They’re known for their massive proselytizing efforts.
  2. They dedicate about one billion hours per year to witnessing (that’s over 200 hours per member per year).
  3. They distributed enormous amounts of printed literature, more so than any other cult.

10.  Who is the current Watchtower president? Jehovah’s Witnesses

11.  What do the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe about God? They believe that there is one almighty God by nature, who is only one person.

12.  What do the Jehovah’s Witnesses allege that wicked scribes did to the Bible? They wrongfully allege that wicked scribes removed God’s proper name, Jehovah, from the Bible. They claim that this divine name has been restored to its rightful place in their New World Translation of the Bible.

13.  What do the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe as related to the Trinity? JWs condemn the doctrine of the Trinity as unscriptural and believes it’s the results of pagan influence.

14.  Who do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was before  his incarnation as a man? JWs believes Jesus was Michael the Archangel before his incarnation as a man.

15.  After Jesus death and resurrection,  what do Jehovah’s Witnesses  believe Jesus became?

    1. JWs believe Jesus became an angel again.
    2. JWs believe Jesus was raised an invisible spirit creature forfeiting his right to bodily, earthly life (in 1914).
    3. JWs reject the notion that Christ will return bodily (physical) to earth.

See Acts 2:24-27, John 2: 19-21

16. Do the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is God by nature? No. 

1.      JWs believe that Jesus was God’s agent in creating all things AFTER HE HIMSELF WAS CREATED by Jehovah.

2.      JWs believes Jesus was not God by nature, but he is a “mighty one” and can be called “a god” in a loose sense of the word.

See John 1:1, John 8:58, John 20:28, Is 44:24, John 1:3

17.  What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe concerning after life?

1.      JWs do not believe in an entity called the soul that survives the death of the body.

2.      JWs teach that people cease to exist after death and that at the resurrection Jehovah will recreate them from His memory.

3.      JWs believes that there are different classes of Christian in the eternal state with different destines. See 1 Cor. 12:13 Rev. 5: 9-10

a.       The 144,000 are those who, along with Christ Jesus, are “born again” to exists as sprits; They will reign with Christ in heaven.

b.      The rest will live in a paradise earth with resurrected bodies.

4.      JWs believes there is no HELL in the traditional understanding of the doctrine; the finally impenitent will be annihilated, not tortured for all eternality.

See Hebrews 12:23, Rev 6: 9-10, Luke 16, James 2:26, Rev 14: 9-11, Rev 20:10

18.  What do  Jehovah’s Witnesses believe concerning salvation? Jehovah’s Witnesses believes salvation is accomplished by faith in Christ Jesus plus works, such as taking in spiritual knowledge and doing God’s kingdom work (such as door to door witnessing).

19.  What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe about the Holy Spirit?  JWs believes the Holy Spirit is not a person, nor a member of the Godhead. JWs believes the Holy Spirit is Jehovah’s active force, which emanates from him to accomplish his will.

See John 16:13, Acts 13: 1-2, John 14 and 15

 

Religious Leaders:


- Charles Taze Russell - founder and first president of Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower Society; died in 1916


- Joseph Franklin Rutherford - second president of Jehovah's Witnesses, from 1916 until his death in 1942


- Nathan H. Knorr - third leading figure in the history of the Jehovah's Witnesses, president of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society from 1942 until he died in 1977


- Frederick W. Franz - president of Watchtower Society from 1977 until his death in 1992


- Milton G. Henschel - president of Watchtower Society from 1992 to 2000


- Don A. Adams - current president of the Watchtower Society, since late 2000 


 

In San Diego, California in the 1920s, the Watch Tower Society built a house in California called Beth Sarim. The Hebrew words Beth Sarim mean 'House of the Princes'. It was funded by specific donations for the stated purpose of "housing the prophets and godly men of old", who were expected to be physically resurrected in 1925

 before Armageddon to help with Christ's Millennial reign over the earth. Rutherford resided at the villa in his last years of ill health until his death in 1942. In 1948 the villa was sold. Soon after, the The Watchtower, November 1, 1950, pages 414-17 published a changed understanding of the aforementioned teaching to one where the "earthly forefathers of Jesus Christ would be resurrected after Armageddon."

http://www.adherents.com/largecom/fam_jw.html

 

 

http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLrF/b.2950559/k.CE50/Mormons.htm

 


 

1 The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin, chapter 4.

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Franklin_Rutherford

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Taze_Russell

3 http://www.biblestudents.com/HTDB.cfm

5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Franklin_Rutherford

 

Mormon LDS

The Mormon church claims to be the only true church. In God's supposed revelation to Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ told him to join no other church for "they were all wrong . . . their creeds were an abomination . . . those professors [members] were all corrupt" (The Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith-History 1:19). Mormons teach that after the New Testament, all churches became heretical and no true saints existed until the "Church of the Latter-day Saints" was organized, hence their name. Non-Mormons are thus called "Gentiles." The new revelations given to Smith, the institution of the prophet and apostles in the church, the restoration of the divine priesthoods, and the temple ceremonies make the church authentic. True and full salvation or exaltation is found only in the LDS Church.

The Bible is missing "plain and precious parts" according to the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:26) which the other three volumes complete. The Book of Mormon has "the fullness of the gospel" and tells the story of a supposed migration of Israelites in 600 B.C. to the American continent. These Israelites subsequently lapsed into apostasy although their story was preserved on golden plates written in Reformed Egyptian. Joseph Smith, it is said, translated the plates by the "gift and power of God" (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3). Reformed Egyptian does not exist as a language. The golden plates were returned to the angel Moroni after they were transcribed and Moroni returned them to heaven. The Book of Mormon does not contain explicit Mormon doctrine. Doctrines and Covenants contains the revelations of the Mormon prophets-138 in number along with two "declarations." Here, most of Mormon doctrine can be found including the priesthood, baptism for the dead, godhood, and polygamy. The Pearl of Great Price contains Smith's religious history, the Articles of Faith, the Book of Abraham, and the Book of Moses.

God Is an Exalted Man

Elohim, the god of this universe, was previously a man in a prior existence. As a result of having kept the requirements of Mormonism, he was exalted to godhood and inherited his own universe. God is confined to a "body of flesh and bones" (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22) and yet is thought to be omniscient and omnipotent. He obviously cannot be omnipresent. There are an infinite number of gods with their own worlds-these too were previously men. The Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ, and "Heavenly Father" comprise three separate and distinct gods. Heavenly Father sires spiritual children in heaven destined for human life on earth. All humans, as well as Jesus Christ and Lucifer, are god's heavenly children. (See Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22; God, Jesus, and the Spirit thus had beginnings.)

Jesus Is God's "Son"

Jesus was Heavenly Father's firstborn spirit child in heaven. He was begotten by God through Mary as in a "literal, full and complete sense" in the same "sense in which he is the son of Mary" (Bruce McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], p. 67). These two elements of Jesus being literally God's son form his uniqueness in Mormon theology. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as on the cross, Jesus atoned for Adam's sin and guaranteed all humankind resurrection and immortality. Jesus visited the Israelites or Indians of North America after his resurrection and established the true church among them. We are the spiritual, but literal, younger brothers and sisters of Christ. Some Mormon documents claim that Jesus was married at Cana in Galilee (see John 2) and had children himself.

Humans Are Gods in Embryo

Every human being has the potential of becoming a god by keeping the requirements of Mormonism. A wellknown statement within Mormonism is, "As man is god once was, as god is man may become." From a prior spirit existence in heaven, humans may be born on earth in order to exercise freedom to choose good or evil and to have a body for the resurrection. Basically, humans are good, but they will be punished for their sin. But by keeping Mormon teaching and obeying the Church and the Prophet, after the resurrection, worthy Mormon males may pass the celestial guards, bring their wives with them, and achieve a status similar to Elohim-the god of this world. The consequences of their sin are erased by their allegiance to the tenets of Mormonism. In resurrection, faithful Mormons receive exaltation to godhood and will exercise dominion over their world.

Mormon Plan of Salvation

The Mormon plan of salvation is built on the idea that all people have eternal life, but only the most faithful Mormons have godhood or enter the celestial kingdom. In order to obtain this ultimate step, Mormons must exercise faith in the God of Mormonism, its Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; exercise repentance; and be baptized in the LDS Church. Additionally, Mormons must keep the "Word of Wisdom" by abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine; tithe to the church; attend weekly sacrament meetings; support the Mormon prophet; do temple works; and be active in their support of the church.

Other Common LDS Terms

Aaronic Priesthood: The lesser of the two divisions of the LDS priesthood.


Bishop: Presiding high priest of a local LDS ward.


Endowment: Ceremony in LDS temples in which worthy members learn sacred (secret) details of the LDS plan of salvation.


First Presidency: Highest leadership and authority group in the LDS church. Normally consists of the president of the church and his two counselors.


Gentiles: All people who are either not Jewish or not members of the LDS church.


Godhead: According to LDS, is three separate divine entities (gods)-the Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They are united in one purpose.


Gospel: The full system of LDS belief and practice.


Holy Ghost: Divine entity in LDS godhead who is a personage of spirit.


Melchizedek Priesthood: The higher of the two divisions of the LDS priesthood.


Mission: The specific time and place in which a Mormon serves as an LDS missionary.


Restoration: Refers to Heavenly Father's restoring true Christianity and the true church to the earth through Joseph Smith Jr. in the 1820s and 30s.


Sacrament: Ordinance in which elements of bread and water are partaken by LDS members in weekly ward services.


Sealing: Temple services uniting LDS husbands, wives, and children as a family unit for eternity.


Testimony: A subjective experience that validates the LDS church and doctrine to the Mormon. It is sometimes described as a "burning in the bosom."


Tithe: Payment of one-tenth of their annual income made by LDS members to the church.

 

 

 

  1. Who was the Founder of “The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints” (LDS)? Joseph Smith Jr. was the founder of “The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints” (LDS) more commonly known as the Mormon Church, (April 1930 in upstate New York).

2.      What did Joseph Smith claim in 1820?  Joseph Smith Jr. claimed that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in 1820, informing him that all the churches were wrong, their creeds an abomination, their professors corrupt.

3.      What did Joseph Smith claim in 1823? Joseph Smith Jr. claimed that an angel named Moroni appeared to him in 1823, telling him of golden plates that were buried in a nearby hillside.  These Plates allegedly contained a record of ancient peoples who had migrated from the Middle East to America.

4.      What did Joseph Smith claim in 1827? Joseph Smith Jr. claimed that the angel Moroni directed him to unearth the plates and begin, with supernatural help,” translating”  the “Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphic” characters allegedly inscribed on them.

5.      When did Joseph Smith publish the “Book of Mormons”?  In March , 1830, Joseph Smith published the resulting “Book of Mormons”, purported to contain the “fullness of the gospel”  and found his church one month later.

6.      When did Joseph Smith Jr. die? In 1944, Joseph Smith Jr. died at the hands of an angry mob.

7.      Approximately, how many members do the Mormons boast today?  The Mormon Church boasts a worldwide membership of ten million. Financially, they are second only to the Roman Catholic Church in terms of total wealth.

8.      Mormons are known for their emphasis on what values?  Mormons are known for their emphasis on “family values” and a clean-cut lifestyle.

9.      After the demises of Joseph Smith Jr. in 1944, who took over the leadership of the Mormons? Brigham Young became the second leader and relocated the Mormons to Utah.

10.  What is the fundamental difference Mormonism and orthodox Christianity? 

a.       Mormonism is polytheistic.

1.      Mormons believe in an eternal progression of gods betting other gods.

2.      God the Father is one such god. He is god over the planet “with whom they have to do.”

3.      God the Father is a man, who obtained exaltation to godhood by obedience to the same gospel principles that Mormons strive to obey.

4.      God the Father has body of flesh and bones as tangible as ours.

5.      They believe that the Father, The Son, and HolyGhost are three separate gods.

6.      They believe that man is a god “in embryo” and that he may attain exaltation to godhood as his heavenly father has done.

7.      They believe that God and man are of the same “species,” the former being an exalted and gloried of the latter.

b.      Christianity is strictly Monotheistic.

1.      One God

2.      Trinity: One God who exists as three eternal persons sharing the same essence, deity, and substance; yet different in office and person.

11.  What do Mormons believe regarding all human beings before their birth into this present world?

a.       They believe that all human beings preexisted in heaven as spiritual progeny of a father and mother god/goddess.

b.      They believe that when we’re born into this world humans have no memory of their previous existence in the spirit realm.

c.       They believe that if you are obedience to the Mormon teachings and certain practices, they will achieve exaltation. Those exalted will inhabit a planet and procreate spirit children, continuing the aforementioned cycle.

12.  What do Mormon believe about Lucifer and Jesus Christ?

a.       Mormons teach that Lucifer is the spirit brother of Jesus Christ.

b.      They believe that Lucifer and Jesus Christ were born procreated by the same parents (that is, in Jesus preexistent state, before his incarnation).

c.       They deny the virgin birth.

d.      They teach that the human body of Jesus was the produce of actual sexual intercourse between God the Father and Mary.

13.  What Do Mormons believe regarding Salvation?

a.       Mormons deny the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace.

b.      Mormons teach that they can attain salvation through “repentance”, “baptism”, “faith”, and “good works”.

c.       They teach that Christ’s atoning work brings about the resurrection of all mankind; but it cannot pay for all  a person’s sins or guarantee exaltation.

d.      The Mormons believe that Christ work is the beginning of salvation, but human works are needed to complete the process.

e.       Mormons teach that depending on their works , people will achieve one of three levels of heaven.

1.      Telestial.

2.      Terrestrial.

3.      Celestial.  Temple marriage is required for one to attain the celestial kingdom, the highest level.

14.  What do the Mormons believe concerning Continued Revelation?

a.       They don’t believe the canon is full (Gospel Doctrine,30) See Romans 15:19.

b.      They believe he continues to speak modern revelation. See Jude 3

15.  What do the Mormons believe concerning Creation/Creator?  They believe that the Gods organized and formed the heaven and earth. They say In the beginning the head of the Gods called a council concocted a plan to create and populate the world and people it (Journal of Discourses, 65; Pearl of great Price, Book of Abraham, 4:1-5) The don’t believe in creation.  See Genesis 1:1, Nehemiah 9:6.

16.  What do the Mormons believe about the Uniqueness of God? From they’re document, “I will peach on the plurality of Gods…” (Documentary History of the Church, 6:674) See Deuteronomy 6:4.  “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil so you can see” (Documentary History of the Church, 6:304) See Isaiah 44:6.

17.  What do the Mormons teach on the Trinity? Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity. They believe in polytheism and tri-theism  (The father is a god, the Son is a god, and the holy spirit is a god). “This revealed doctrine of the composition and nature of the Godhead teaches that there are at least three Gods” (Evidences and Reconciliation, 65) See Matthews 28:19 and 1 Corinthian 12:4-6.

18.  What do the Mormons believe as it relates to the Nature of God The Father? They say God who sits in Heaven is a man like us (Times and Seasons, 5:613) See Hosea 11:9.  They say the Father has a body of flesh and bones (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22) See John 4:24, Luke 24:39.

19.  What do the Mormons teach on the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ? They believe and teach that God is a man (of flesh and bone). The Mormons teach “he was not begotten by the Holy Ghost … Now remember from this time forth, and forever, That Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost” (Journal of Discourses, 1:50-51) (Teachings of the Prophet Ezra Taft Benson,7) See Matthews 1:18, Luke 1:34, 35.

20.  What do the Mormons teach on The Atonement of Jesus Christ? “The Blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it” (Journal of Discourses, 3,247). “Joseph smith taught there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ” (Doctrines of Salvations, 1:138) See 1 John 1:7; Revelations 1:5; Hebrews 9:28.

21.  What do the Mormons teach on The Holy Spirit? “… He can be in only one place at a time and he cannot transform himself into any other form or image than that of the man whom he is” (Mormon Doctrine, 385). Psalms 139: 7-8; Acts 5:3-4.

 

 

Islam
The History of Islam

570 Birth of Muhammad

622 The Hijrah

632 The death of Muhammad

636 The conquest of Jerusalem and Damascus

690 The construction of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

713 The Conquest of Cordova, Spain, and the expansion into Indus Valley

732 The Battle of Tours, France

1453 the Battle

Christian Science

What does Christian Science Teach?

The following doctrines are referenced out of the primary Christian Science work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (S&H), by Mary Baker Eddy.  It is supposed to be a companion to the Bible.  Science and Health together with the Bible are called the Pastor of Christian Science.

  1. God is infinite...and there is no other power or source, S&H 471:18.
  2. God is Universal Principle, S&H 331:18-19
  3. God cannot indwell a person, S&H 336:19-20
  4. God is the only intelligence in the universe, including man S&H 330:11-12
  5. God is Mind, S&H 330:20-21; 469:13
  6. God is the Father-Mother, S&H 331:30; 332:4
  7. The Trinity is Life, Truth, and Love, S&H 331:26
  8. Belief in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity is polytheism, S&H 256:9-11
  9. Christ is the spiritual idea of sonship S&H 331:30-31
  10. Jesus was not the Christ, S&H 333:3-15; 334:3
  11. "Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared..." S&H 361:12-13
  12. Jesus did not reflect the fullness of God, S&H 336:20-21
  13. Jesus did not die, S&H 45:32-46:3
  14. The Holy Spirit is divine science, S&H 331:31
  15. There is no devil, S&H 469:13-17
  16. There is no sin, S&H 447:24
  17. Evil and good are not real, S&H 330:25-27; 470:9-14
  18. Matter, sin, and sickness are not real, but only illusions,"  S&H 335:7-15; 447:27-28.
  19. Life is not material or organic, " S&H 83:21
  20. The sacrifice of Jesus was not sufficient to cleanse from sin," S&H 25:6.
  21. True healings are the result of true belief, " S&H 194:6"
  • Additionally, Christian Scientists prefer not to use doctors, medicine, or immunizations.  Christian Science Practitioners are used to help people through the false reality of illness.
  • Proper prayer and training are employed to battle the "non-reality" of illness.
  • They have no ordinances like the Lord's Supper or baptism.
  • Church services are interspersed with Bible reading and readings from Science and Health.
  • Mary Baker Eddy is highly regarded as a revelator of God's word.

 

Terms and Definitions of Christian Science

  1. Angels are God’s thoughts passing to man, an inspiration of goodness, purity that counters evil and material reality.
  2. Atonement is not the shedding of Christ’s blood, but "At-one-ment." "Lifting the whole man into Christ Consciousness." The Biblical account is metaphorical, not real.
  3. Baptism means the daily, ongoing purification of thought and deed. Eucharist is spiritual communion with God, celebrated with silent prayer and Christian living. It is a "submergence in Spirit."
  4. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the belief that God created disharmony in the world.
  5. Body is "the form of expression of both spirit and soul" (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, p. 628). It is the apparent materialization of the limits of soul as influenced by a person’s conscious development in Christian Science Principles.
  6. Christ is the divine idea man. Jesus was not the Christ but a perfect representation of the Christ consciousness that is the true and higher self of every person. Christ is the manifestation of all that is good and true, the realization of divine principle. A Christian Scientist can say, "I am Christ."
  7. Creation is the product of Divine Mind. There is only one reality which emanates and is part of the Divine Mind. Anything that is not in harmony with the Divine Mind is not a reality, but a lack of understanding of the principles of divine mind brought about by people.
  8. Death - "An illusion, the lie of life in matter."
  9. Devil - "Evil, a lie, error." He is not an entity, not a person, has no existence. "A belief in sin, sickness, and death."
  10. Evil spirits are false beliefs
  11. Flesh - "An error of physical belief; a supposition that life, substance, and intelligence are in matter; an illusion."
  12. Gods - "A belief that life, substance, and intelligence are both mental and material; a supposition of sentient physicality.
  13. God is Spirit who is a ever-present, all-knowing, all-powerful, and good. God is the Father/Mother God. Other names for God are Divine Mind, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. To the Christian Scientist God is the governing Principle of the universe to which a person must harmonize his belief system.
  14. Healing is accomplished by correct thinking according to Christian Science principles.  A change in belief that effects physical symptoms.  (S&H 194:6)
  15. Heaven is not a literal place of eternal bliss, but a harmonious condition of understanding where a person’s consciousness are in harmony with Divine Mind. "Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government of divine Principle."
  16. Hell is a state of mind which can include the effects of their improper understanding of Divine Mind and Christian Science Principles. Hell is not a literal place of damnation and eternal torment. Hell exists when a person’s thoughts are out of harmony with the reality of Divine Mind. "Mortal belief, error; lust; hatred, sin; sickness; effects of sin."
  17. Holy Spirit, the, is Divine Science. is the spirit of God and is only discernable and knowable by a person through his spiritual awareness. It is an emanation, a presence, "a law of God in action."
  18. Jesus’ stripes is simply his rejection of error, not the beating he received in the flesh (S&H 20:15).
  19. Knowledge - "Evidence obtained from the five corporeal senses; mortality; beliefs and opinions. The opposite of spiritual Truth and understanding." (S&H 590).
  20. Material reality is really non-existent. It is only an interpretation of Divine Mind. Even though someone might feel pain or sickness, in reality it does not exist.
  21. Mortal Mind - "Nothing claiming to be something, for Mind is immortal; error creating other errors."
  22. Pastor really means the combined books of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
  23. Personhood is an aspect and reflection of Divine Mind.
  24. Prayer is contemplation and internalization of divine truths. "The taking hold of God’s willingness." It is an affirmation of God’s being in relation to man.
  25. Resurrection is "Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding."
  26. Salvation is "Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed."
  27. Sickness is the false understanding given the appearance of reality by the unfaithful and ignorant of Divine Principle and Mind.
  28. Sin is not understanding and behaving according to Divine Law of God and the law of our being.
  29. Soul is "man’s consciousness -- that which he has apprehended or developed out of Spirit. . . Soul is both conscious and subconscious" (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, p. 628).
  30. Spirit is another name for God. Divine substance; Mind; divine Principle; all that is good." Christ
  31. Wrath is really the working out of the law of God’s being upon a person. It is not God’s judgment upon a sinner.
http://www.carm.org/religious-movements/christian-science/terms-and-definitions-christian-science

 

New Age

What is the New Age Movement?

  1. woman meditatingWhat is the New Age Movement?
    1. The New Age (NAM) movement has many sub-divisions, but it is generally a collection of Eastern-influenced metaphysical thought systems, a conglomeration of theologies, hopes, and expectations held together with an eclectic teaching of salvation, of "correct thinking," and "correct knowledge." It is a theology of "feel-goodism," "universal tolerance," and "moral relativism."
    2. In the NAM Man is central. He is viewed as divine, as co-creator, as the hope for future peace and harmony. A representative quote might be: "I am affected only by my thoughts. It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear." (A course in Miracles, The Foundation for Inner Peace, Huntington Station, N.Y. Lesson 228, p. 461.)
    3. Unfortunately for the NAM, the fear from which they want to be released might very well be the fear of damnation, of conviction of sin, and it is even, sometimes, fear of Christianity and Christians. Though the NAM is tolerant of almost any theological position, it is opposed to the "narrow-mindedness" of Christianity that teaches Jesus is the only way and that there are moral absolutes.
    4. The NAM is difficult to define because "there is no hierarchy, dogma, doctrine, collection plate, or membership." It is a collection, an assortment of different theologies with the common threads of toleration and divergence weaving through its tapestry of "universal truth."
    5. The term "New Age" refers to the "Aquarian Age" which, according to New Age followers, is dawning. It is supposed to bring in peace and enlightenment and reunite man with God. Man is presently considered separated from God not because of sin (Isaiah 59:2), but because of lack of understanding and knowledge concerning the true nature of God and reality.
  2. The New Age Movement is a religious system with two basic beliefs: Evolutionary Godhood and Global Unity.
    1. What is Evolutionary Godhood?
      1. It is the next step in evolution. It will not be physical, but spiritual:
        1. For the most part, the NAM espouses evolution, both of body and spirit. Man is developing and will soon leap forward into new spiritual horizons. Many New Age practices are designed to push one ahead into that horizon. Some of them are astral projection which is training your soul to leave your body and travel around; contacting spirits so they may speak through you or guide you; using crystals to purify your body's and mind's energy systems; visualization where you use mental imagery to imagine yourself as an animal, in the presence of a divine being, or being healed of sickness, etc.
      2. Evolutionary Godhood also means that mankind will soon see itself as god, as the "Christ principle."
        1. The NAM teaches that Man's basic nature is good and divine. This opposes God's Word which says...
          1. that we are sinners: "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12, NIV).
          2. and that our nature is corrupt: "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath" (Eph. 2:3, NIV).
        2. It teaches that since man is divine by nature, he then has divine qualities.
          1. This is an important part of NAM thinking. Because the average New Ager believes himself to be divine, he can then create his own reality. If, for example, a person believes that reincarnation is true, that's fine because that is his reality. If someone he knows doesn't believe in it, that is alright too because that is someone else's reality. They can each have a reality for themselves that "follows a different path."
        3. In contrast to this, the Bible says that God alone is the creator: "This is what the LORD says -- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself" (Isa. 44:24, NIV).
        4. The New Ager who believes in his own divinity and ability to create, usurps the authority and position of God. He also is still listening to the lie of the devil who spoke to Eve and said she would be like God (Gen. 3:5).
      3. Reincarnation
        1. Though not all New Agers adhere to reincarnation, most believe in some form or another. And, many believe the Bible was changed to remove any verses that might have taught reincarnation. But this accusation only shows the limitation of their knowledge. The Bible never had any references to reincarnation.
        2. Reincarnation opposes the Word of God which says that it is appointed for man to die once, and after this comes judgment (Heb. 9:27).
    2. The second major element of the New Age Movement is Global Unity which consists of three major divisions: Man with Man; Man with Nature; and Man with God.
      1. Man with man.
        1. The NAM teaches that we will all learn our proper divine relationship with one another and achieve harmony and mutual love and acceptance through the realization and acceptance of this divine proper knowledge.
          1. Within this hoped-for harmony is economic unity. The average New Ager is looking for a single world leader who, with New Age principles, will guide the world into a single harmonious economic whole.
          2. It is also hoped that this leader will unite the world into a spiritual unity; that is, a one-world religion.
        2. The New Age hope is reminiscent of the Scriptures that speak of the coming Antichrist:
          1. 2 Thess. 2:3-4, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." See also Rev. 13:17,14:9,11; 16:2; 19:20.
      2. Man with nature
        1. Since the NAM says that God is all, and all is God, then nature is also part of God. Man must then get in tune with nature and learn to nurture it and be nurtured by it. In this, all people can unite.
        2. American Indian philosophies are popular among New Agers because they focus on the earth, on nature, and man's relationship to them.
        3. New Age philosophy generally seeks to merge with those philosophies that put man and nature on an equal level. We are no more or less important or different than our cousin the animal, bird, or fish. We must live in harmony with them, understand them, and learn from them, is the general philosophy of the New Age.
          1. This is opposed to the Scriptural teaching of man's superiority over animals (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:19). This does not mean that Man must abuse that which he is over, but Man is given the responsibility of caring for and being stewards of God's creation (Gen. 2:15). God will hold Christians responsible for the stewardship that has been entrusted to them.
        4. The New Agers have a name for the earth. It is Gaia. Gaia is to be revered and respected. Some New Agers even worship the earth and nature.
          1. This opposes the Scripture that says we are not to have any other Gods before God (Ex. 20:3).
      3. Man with God
        1. Since the NAM teaches that man is divine by nature, all people, once they see themselves as such, will be helped in their unity of purpose, love, and development. The goal is to fully realize our own goodness. It is obvious that this contradicts Scriptures, c.f., Rom. 3:10-12: "As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
    3. Additional beliefs of the NAM view of God are:
      1. He (it) is impersonal, omnipresent, and benevolent -- therefore he (it) won't condemn anyone.
        1. The New Age god is impersonal. An impersonal God will not reveal himself nor will he have specific requirements as to morality, belief, and behavior. This is why reincarnation appeals so much to them. With it, there is no judgment, there is a second chance, a third chance, and fourth, etc.
        2. It should be noted that because the New Ager seeks to elevate himself to godhood, he must lower the majesty and personhood of the true God. In other words, the universe isn't big enough for one true God, but it is big enough for a bunch of little ones.
      2. There are no moral absolutes in the New Age. Therefore, they claim to have a spiritual tolerance for all "truth systems." They call this "harmonization."
        1. There is an obvious problem here. To say that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute in itself which is self contradictory. Also, if morality is relative, then stealing may be right sometimes, along with lying, adultery, cheating, etc. Living in a world of moral relativism would not bring a promising future.
        2. It would follow that if reality is relative and truth is too, then driving a car would be difficult. After all, if one New Ager thinks the light is red and another thinks its green, when they collide, their different realities will come crashing down on them. That is something most interesting about New Agers, they don't live what they believe. That is because in reality, New Age thinking doesn't work.
        3. The New Age movement does espouse honesty, integrity, love, peace, etc. It just wants to do it without the true God. It wants to do it not on His terms, but on its own.
 

ONENESS Jesus Only

Jesus' Name doctrine is the belief held by some Christians that baptism must be performed "in the name of Jesus", rather than the more common Trinitarian formula "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".

The Jesus' Name doctrine is usually accompanied by the doctrine called the "Oneness" of God. This doctrine rejects the mainstream Trinitarian belief of Three Persons in One God, and holds that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three modes of a singular God. Those in Oneness churches believe that "Jesus" is the correct and entire name of God.

'Oneness says that Jesus is the father, Jesus is the Spirit, the Spirit is the Father, etc. This teaching is also known as "modalism" because the one God (who is also one person) manifests himself successively in three different "modes." Modalism was an ancient heresy.  According to oneness, the term "Son" refers strictly Christ's human nature. Thus they deny Christ's eternal, preexistent Sonship.  God could be designated as the "word"  - who is also the Father - but not as Son. At the incarnation, according to oneness, God assumed the role of the Son for the purpose of redemption, but this role will have a definite end (that is at the end of the age).

Oneness theology denies as illogical and unscriptural the personal distinctions in the Godhead.  Jesus, the father, the holy spirit are all one and the same person.   Contrary to biblical teaching of justification by  faith alone, Oneness theology asserts that the new birth takes place through faith, repentance, water baptism, and baptism in the holy spirit. Water Baptism which is indispensable to salvation, must be by immersion  and administrated in the name of Jesus only. Likewise, baptism in the holy Spirit is essential to salvation and never occurs without the initial evidence" of speaking in tongues.

Oneness say on Jesus Christ:

  1. "...the [title] Son always refers to the Incarnation and we can not use it in the absence of the  of the human element"  (Bernard, Oneness of God, 103).
  2. "...we can only use the term Son of God correctly when it includes the humanity of Jesus" (Bernard, Oneness of God,99).
  3. "The Sonship began at Bethlehem. The Incarnation was the time when the Sonship began... Here in [Luke 1:35] it is clearly revealed that the humanity of the Lord Jesus is the Son." (Magee, Is Jesus, 32).
  4. "We cannot say that God died, so we cannot say God the Son died.  On the other hand , "we can say that the Son of God died because Son refers to humanity"  (Bernard, Oneness and trinity, 100).

Oneness say on the Trinity:

  1. " ...Jesus himself taught that He was the Father" (Bernard, Oneness of God, 67).
  2. " If there is only one God and that God is the Father (Malachi  2:10), if Jesus is God, then it logically follows that Jesus is the Father" (Bernard, Oneness of God, 66).
  3. "The Holy Spirit is the Spirit that was incarnated in Jesus and is Jesus in Spirit form..."(Bernard, Oneness of God, 10).
  4. "The Oneness of God is not a mystery ....The Triune nature of God is an incomprehensible mystery" (Bernard, Oneness of God, 14).

David

Oneness say on Salvation:

  1. "Water baptism is a part of that process by which a man is born into, or made a part of, the Kingdom of God" (Clanton et al., Bible Doctrine, 79).
  2. "There are several things that man must do in order to be saved. He must hear the gospel preached, he must repent, he must believe,  he must obey God's word, and he must be baptized in Jesus  Name  (Clanton et al., Bible Doctrine, 119).
  3. "Anyone who has never spoken in tongues has never been baptize with the Holy Ghost" (Reynolds, Truth, 53-54).  (And if baptism with the Holy Spirit is part of New Testament salvation" [Bernard, Essentials, 19] , then whoever has not spoken in tongues is not saved.)

 For the biblical parallel comparison, See "Truth and Error" by Alan W. Gomes for the Christian Bible view verses the Oneness view.

Jesus' Name baptism

While some Christians hold that "in the name of Jesus" is a valid formula for baptism, holders of the Jesus' Name doctrine assert that it is the only valid form of baptism, and that baptisms in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit are invalid[1]. The latter form of baptism is the one performed on most Christians, according to the command of Jesus recorded in Matthew 28:19.

Jesus' Name believers claim the development of baptism "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is a post-Apostolic interpolation and corruption. Some claim that the "Trinitarian" clause in Matthew 28:19 was added to Matthew's text in the 2nd/3rd century.[2] They cite as evidence that no record exists in the New Testament of someone being baptized with the Trinitarian formula. Other adherents of the Jesus Name doctrine believe the authenticity of Matthew 28:19, but believe that the command is correctly fulfilled by baptizing in the name of Jesus. Such adherents are generally Oneness Pentecostals who believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not to be regarded as distinct persons in the Godhead, and that the name "Jesus" is the supreme revelatory name of the one God.[3].

 "Jesus Only"

Adherents of the doctrine are sometimes referred to as Jesus-Only, but Oneness Pentecostals prefer the phrase Jesus' Name. Pentecostal historian Bernie L. Wade considers that the reference "Jesus-Only" was a slur.[15]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus'_Name_doctrine

http://www.biblefacts.org/cult/oneness.html

 

Unification Church

Summary of Belief

'Concerning divine revelation, the Unification Church teaches that God has revealed his truth to Moon, God's source of spiritual truth for this present age. Moon's truth is especially  found in the Devine Principle , which is the third testament of the Bible; it is as - indeed more - authoritative than the Bible.  Concerning Sin, Moon teaches that God's original plan for Adam and Eve to mature spiritually and then to procreate a sinless human race.  However Satan thwarted this plan by seducing Eve to have illicit intercourse with him; this led to the spiritual corruption of mankind.  Then Adam in turn had sex with Eve (before reaching spiritual maturity), this led to mankind's physical corruption.  Salvation therefore requires both spiritual and physical redemption. Jesus Christ came to earth to accomplish both elements: He was marry and produced a sinless race, which would be redeemed both spiritually and physically.

However, because he ran afoul of his Jewish contemporaries, Jesus could not accomplish man's total salvation.  Most Unification Church members identify Moon as the Lord of the Second Advent.  Moon's mission is to produce a perfect family (indeed, his twelve children are consider sinless) and to extend this perfection to his followers through their obedience to him (such as having marriages arrange and blessed by Moon.)

Concerning Jesus Christ, Moon denies that Jesus is truly God or equal to the Father, though he did attain perfection and is in the that sense divine.

The biblical doctrine of the trinity is denied. Christ's resurrection was not physical nor does it accomplish our physical redemption  Christ was raised as a spirit, and his resurrection accomplishes the redemption of spirit.  Regarding the afterlife, Moon teaches that hell is ruled by Satan and is the place where the spirits of the dead who have rejected God dwell. the Lord of the Second Advent. Since the Lord of the Second Advent will eventually redeem all mankind, hell will be abolished. Ultimately all human beings will become divine spirits and dwell in heaven with God.'

For the biblical parallel comparison, See "Truth and Error" by Alan W. Gomes for the Christian Bible view verses the Oneness view.

The Unification Church is a new religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1954, the Unification Church was formally and legally established in Seoul, South Korea as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC). In 1994, Moon changed the official name of the church to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.[1]

Members are found throughout the world, with the largest number living in South Korea or Japan.[2][3] Church membership is estimated to be several hundred thousand to a few million.[4][5] The church and its members own, operate, and subsidize organizations and projects involved in political, cultural, commercial, media, educational, and other activities. The church, its members and supporters as well as other related organizations are sometimes referred to as the "Unification Movement." In the English speaking world church members are sometimes referred to as "Moonies,"[6][7] (which is sometimes considered offensive)[8][9] church members prefer to be called "Unificationists".[10]

Unification Church beliefs are summarized in the textbook Divine Principle and include belief in a universal God; in striving toward the creation of a literal Kingdom of Heaven on earth; in the universal salvation of all people, good and evil, living and dead; and that a man born in Korea in the early 20th century received from Jesus the mission to be realized as the second coming of Christ.[11] Members of the Unification Church believe this Messiah is Sun Myung Moon.[12]

Unification Church members believe that Jesus appeared to Mun Yong-myong (his birth name) when Moon was 16, and asked him to accomplish the work left unfinished after his crucifixion. After a period of prayer and consideration, Moon accepted the mission, later changing his name to Mun Son-myong (Sun Myung Moon).[13]

The beginnings of the church's official teachings, the Divine Principle, first saw written form as Wolli Wonbon in 1946. (The second, expanded version, Wolli Hesol, or Explanation of the Divine Principle, was not published until 1957; for a more complete account, see Divine Principle.) Sun Myung Moon preached in northern Korea after the end of World War II and was imprisoned by the communist regime in North Korea in 1946. He was released from prison, along with many other North Koreans, with the advance of American and United Nations forces during the Korean War and built his first church from mud and cardboard boxes as a refugee in Pusan.[14]

Moon formally founded his organization in Seoul on May 1, 1954, calling it "The Holy Spirit(ual) Association for the Unification of World Christianity." The name alludes to Moon's stated intention for his organization to be a unifying force for all Christian denominations. The phrase "Holy Spirit Association" has the sense in the original Korean of "Heavenly Spirits" and not the "Holy Spirit" of Christianity. "Unification" has political as well as religious connotations, in keeping with the church's teaching that restoration must be complete, both spiritual and physical. The church expanded rapidly in South Korea and by the end of 1955 had 30 church centers throughout the nation.[14]

In 1958, Moon sent missionaries to Japan, and in 1959, to America. Moon himself moved to the United States in 1971, (although he remained a citizen of the Republic of Korea). Missionary work took place in Washington D.C., New York, and California. UC missionaries found success in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the church expanded in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco as the Creative Community Project. By 1971 the Unification Church of the United States had about 500 members. By 1973 the church had some presence in all 50 states and a few thousand members.[14] In other countries church growth was slower. In 1997 the Unification Church of the United Kingdom had 350 members.[15]

Irving Louis Horowitz compared the attraction of Unification teachings to American young people at this time to the hippie and radical movements of the 1960s and 1970s, saying:

"[Moon] has a belief system that admits of no boundaries or limits, an all-embracing truth. His writings exhibit a holistic concern for the person, society, nature, and all things embraced by the human vision. In this sense the concept underwriting the Unification church is apt, for its primary drive and appeal is unity, urging a paradigm of essence in an overly complicated world of existence. It is a ready-made doctrine for impatient young people and all those for whom the pursuit of the complex has become a tiresome and fruitless venture."[16]
In 1974, Moon took full-page ads in major newspapers defending President Richard M. Nixon at the height of the Watergate controversy.[17]

In 1975, Moon sent out missionaries to 120 countries to spread the Unification Church around the world and also in part, he said, to act as "lightning rods" to receive "persecution."

In the 1970s Moon gave a series of public speeches in the United states including one in Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1974 and two in 1976: In Yankee Stadium in New York City, and on the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C., where Moon spoke on "God's Hope for America."

Starting in the 1960s the Unification Church was the subject of a number of books published in the United States and the United Kingdom, both scholarly and popular. Among the better-known are: The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? (1984) by British sociologist Eileen Barker, Inquisition : The Persecution and Prosecution of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (1991) by American journalist Carlton Sherwood, and In the Shadow of the Moons: My Life in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Family (1998) by Nansook Hong, Moon's former daughter-in-law.

In 1978, the Fraser Committee a subcommittee of the United States Congress which was investigating the political influence of the South Korean government in the United States issued a report that included the results of its investigation into the Unification Church and other organizations associated with Moon and their relationship with the South Korean government. Among its other conclusions, the subcommittee's report stated that "Among the goals of the Moon Organization is the establishment of a worldwide government in which the separation of church and state would be abolished and which would be governed by Moon and his followers."[18]

In 1982 Moon was convicted of tax fraud and conspiracy in United States federal court and was sentenced 18 months in federal prison.

In 1991 Moon announced that church members should return to their hometowns in order to undertake apostolic work there. Massimo Introvigne, who has studied the Unification Church and other new religious movements, has said that this confirms that full-time membership is no longer considered crucial to church members.[19] In 1995 the church had about 700 members in the United Kingdom.[20]

Starting in the 1990s the Unification Church expanded its operations into Russia and other formerly communist nations. Moon's wife, Hak Ja Han, made a radio broadcast to the nation from the Kremlin Palace of Congresses.[21] In 1994 the church had about 5,000 members in Russia and came under criticism from the Russian Orthodox Church.[22] In 1997, the Russian government passed a law requiring the Unification Church and other non-Russian religions to register their congregations and submit to tight controls.[23] Starting in 1992 the church established business ties with still communist North Korea and owns a automobile factory, a hotel, and other properties there. In 2007 it founded a "World Peace Center" in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital city.[24]

In 2000, the Unification Church was one of the co-sponsors of the Million Family March in Washington, D.C., along with Louis Farrakhan the leader of The Nation of Islam.[25] Starting in 2007 the church sponsored a series of public events in various nations under the title Global Peace Festival.[26][27][28][29]

In April 2008, Sun Myung Moon, then 88 years old, appointed his youngest son, Hyung Jin Moon, to be the new leader of the Unification Church and the worldwide Unification Movement, saying, "I hope everyone helps him so that he may fulfil his duty as the successor of the True Parents." [30]

In January 2009, Unification Church missionary Elizaveta Drenicheva was sentenced to two years in jail in Kazakhstan for "propagating harmful religious teachings." She was freed and allowed to leave the country after international human rights organizations expressed their concern over her case.[31][32]

In April 2009 the British school system was criticized for including study of the Unification Church in proposed religious studies guidelines for British students.[33

Beliefs

The beliefs of the Unification Church are outlined in its textbook, Divine Principle.

God is viewed as the creator,[34] whose nature combines both masculinity and femininity,[34] and is the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness. Human beings and the universe reflect God's personality, nature, and purpose.[34]

"Give-and-take action" (reciprocal interaction) and "subject and object position" (initiator and responder) are "key interpretive concepts",[35] and the self is designed to be God's object.[35] The purpose of human existence is to return joy to God.[36] The "four-position foundation" is "another important and interpretive concept",[36] and explains in part the emphasis on the family.[36]

The Principle of Indemnity

Indemnity, as explained in the Divine Principle, is a part of the process by which human beings and the world are restored back to God's ideal.[37][38][39][40][41]

Spiritualism

The Unification Church upholds a belief in spiritualism, that is communication with the spirits of deceased persons. Moon and early church members associated with spiritualists, including the famous Arthur Ford.[42][43] The Divine Principle says about Moon:

"For several decades he wandered through the spirit world so vast as to be beyond imagining. He trod a bloody path of suffering in search of the truth, passing through tribulations that God alone remembers. Since he understood that no one can find the ultimate truth to save humanity without first passing through the bitterest of trials, he fought alone against millions of devils, both in the spiritual and physical worlds, and triumphed over them all. Through intimate spiritual communion with God and by meeting with Jesus and many saints in Paradise, he brought to light all the secrets of Heaven."[44]

The ancestor liberation ceremony is a ceremony of the Unification Church intended to allow the spirits of deceased ancestors of participants to improve their situations in the spirit world through liberation, education, and blessing. The ceremonies are conducted by Hyo Nam Kim, a woman who church members believe is channeling the spirit of Soon Ae Hong, the mother of Hak Ja Han (church founder Sun Myung Moon's wife). They have taken place mainly in Cheongpyeong, South Korea, but also in various places around the world.[45][46][47]

In the 1990s and 2000s the Unification Church has made public statements claiming communications with the spirits of religious leaders such as Confucius, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and Augustine, as well as political leaders such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Mao Zedong, and many more. This has distanced the church further from mainstream Christianity as well as from Islam.[42]

Sex and marriage

The Unification Church is well-known for its marriage or marriage rededication ceremony, which is sometimes referred to by the news media and others as a "mass wedding." The Blessing ceremony was first held 1961 for 36 couples in Seoul, South Korea by Reverend and Mrs. Moon shortly after their own marriage in 1960. All the couples were members of the Unification Church. Rev. Moon matched all of the couples except 12 who were already married to each other from before joining the church.[48]

Later Blessing ceremonies were larger in scale but followed the same pattern with all participants Unification Church members and Rev. Moon matching most of the couples. In 1982 the first large scale Blessing held outside of Korea took place in Madison Square Garden in New York City. In 1988, Moon matched 2,500 Korean members with Japanese members for a Blessing ceremony held in Korea, partly in order to promote unity between the two nations.[49]

The Blessing ceremonies have attracted a lot of attention in the press and in the public imagination, often being labeled "mass weddings".[50] However, in most cases the Blessing ceremony is not a legal wedding ceremony. Some couples are already married and those that are engaged are later legally married according to the laws of their own countries.[51]

Several church-related groups are working to promote sexual abstinence until marriage and fidelity in marriage, both among church members and the general public.[52]

The church does not give its marriage blessing to same-sex couples.[53] Moon has spoken vehemently against "free sex" and homosexual activity. In talks to church members, he has compared people involved in free sex, including gay people, to "dirty dung-eating dogs"[54] and prophesied that "gays will be eliminated" in a "purge on God's orders." These statements were criticized by gay rights groups.[55

Notes

  1. ^ Introvigne, Massimo, 2000, The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7, excerpt
  2. ^ Unification Church International Directory lists contact information for 56 countries.
  3. ^ Sun Myung Moon "They now have a presence in over 150 countries, with concentrations in Korea, Japan and the United States."
  4. ^ Membership estimates from the Unification Church (i.e., UC fact sheet) have been variously 1-3 million followers worldwide, but some sociologists of religion who have studied the church believe this number is greatly inflated. The Adherents.com site specializes in religious demographics; it gives direct and indirect reports of estimates of members in the 1-3 million range as well as one source estimating 250,000, and another estimating "hundreds of thousands."
  5. ^ excerpt The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7 This book mentions 250,000 as the best guess of scholars.
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  7. ^ WordNet 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University
  8. ^ Von Dehsen, Christian D. (1999). Philosophers and Religious Leaders. Greenwood. p. 136. ISBN 1573561525. 
  9. ^ Jenkins, Philip (2000). Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History. Oxford University Press. pp. 28, 200. ISBN 0195127447. 
  10. ^ a b Lasseter, Don (2006). If I Can't Have You, No One Can. Pinnacle. p. 111. ISBN 0786018208. 
  11. ^ Exposition of the Divine Principle, HSA-UWC, 1996 (ISBN 0-910621-80-2).
  12. ^ Moon has said he is the Second Coming of Christ, the "Savior", "returning Lord", and "True Parent". He teaches that all people should become perfected like Jesus and like himself, and that as such he "appears in the world as the substantial body of God Himself."
  13. ^ excerpt The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7
  14. ^ a b c Introvigne, 2000
  15. ^ McGrandle, Piers (June 8, 1997), "Cult explosion threatens to bury Christianity", The Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/cult-explosion-threatens-to-bury-christianity-1254757.html 
  16. ^ Irving Louis Horowitz, Science, Sin, and Society: The Politics or Reverend Moon and the Unification Church, 1980, MIT Press
  17. ^ The Eclipse of Sun Myung Moon New York Magazine By Chris Welles Sep 27, 1976
  18. ^ Investigation of Korean-American Relations; Report of the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives
  19. ^ [Introvigne, 2000
  20. ^ Beyond the dark side of the Moonies, The Independent, November 2, 1995
  21. ^ The Moonies in Moscow: a second coming?, Green Left Weekly, May 28, 1997. "With the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moon's anticommunism lost much of its camouflage value. There was, however, the compensating possibility of being able to expand his operations into Russia -- both with the bible, and with business. One of Moon's schemes in Russia during the early 1990s was reportedly to rent Red Square for a mass wedding ceremony of the type practised by his sect in many cities around the world, in which scores and perhaps hundreds of couples -- selected for one another by church leaders, and introduced only a few days previously --are married simultaneously. This plan came to nothing. The most that was achieved was that Moon's wife was allowed to broadcast from the stage of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses."
  22. ^ A Less Secular Approach, The Saint Petersburg Times, June 7, 2002
  23. ^ Russian unorthodox The Globe and Mail February 8, 2008.
  24. ^ Dubai Tycoon Scouts Pyongyang Forbes, September 9, 2006
  25. ^ Million Family March reaches out to all
  26. ^ "Moonies" stage festival in Mongolia Mongolia Web August 23, 2008
  27. ^ Kenya asked to back world peace forum Daily Nation, August 31, 2008
  28. ^ Moonie peace group to hold biggest UK event The Guardian November 21, 2008
  29. ^ Global Peace Festival This Saturday Solomon Times, November 25, 2008
  30. ^ a b Son of Moonies founder takes over as church leader The Guardian, 2008-04-28
  31. ^ http://www.rferl.org/content/Right_Defenders_Demand_Release_Of_Missionary_In_Kazakhstan/1370910.html Right Defenders Demand Release Of Missionary In Kazakhstan], Radio Free Europe, January 16, 2009
  32. ^ Liza Drenicheva Freed
  33. ^ Pupils to learn about Druids, Moonies and Rastafarians for new religious studies GCSE, The Daily Mail, April 3, 2009
  34. ^ a b c Sontag, Fredrick (1977). Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Abingdon. p. 102. ISBN 0687406226. 
  35. ^ a b Sontag, Fredrick (1977). Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Abingdon. p. 107. ISBN 0687406226. 
  36. ^ a b c Sontag, Fredrick (1977). Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Abingdon. p. 108. ISBN 0687406226. 
  37. ^ Daske, D. and Ashcraft, W. 2005, New Religious Movements, New York: New York University Press, ISBN 0814707025 "To restart the process toward perfection, God has sent messiahs to earth who could restore the true state of humanity's relationship with God. Before that can happen, however, humans must perform good deeds that cancel the bad effects of sin. Unificationists call this "indemnity". Showing love and devotion to one's fellow humans, especially within families, helps pay this indemnity." p142
  38. ^ Yamamoto, J. 1995, Unification Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Press, ISBN 0310703816 "The doctrine of indemnity. Indemnity is that which people do to restore themselves to God's kingdom. Young Oon Kim describes it this way: 'We atone for our sins through specific acts of penance.' Kwang-Yol Yoo, a Unification teacher, even goes so far as to say that by following the Divine Principle, 'man's perfection must be accomplished by his own effort without God's help.' God does most of the work, but people must still do their part in order to achieve God's plan of salvation: 'Five percent is only to say that man's responsibility is extremely small compared to God's.' "p35 "The doctrine of indemnity is not biblical. 'In simple language.' states Ruth Tucker, 'indemnity is salvation by works.' Bob Larson makes a distinction between Moon's doctrine and biblical theology, saying, 'Moon's doctrine of sinless perfection by "indemnity [forgiveness of sin by works on Moon's behalf], which can apply even to deceased ancestors, is a denial of the salvation by grace offering through Jesus Christ.' 'Farewell,' said John Calvin. 'to the dream of those who think up a righteousness flowing together out of faith and works.'" p40
  39. ^ Tingle, D. and Fordyce, R. 1979, The Phases and Faces of the Moon: A Critical Examination of the Unification Church and Its Principles, Hicksville, New York: Exposition Press p53-55 "In short, indemnity is anything you want to make it, since you establish the conditions. The zeal and enthusiasm of the Unification Church members is not so much based on love for God as it is compulsion to indemnify one's own sins."
  40. ^ The Power of the Principle: Whence it Came; Where it Went, Richard Quebedeaux
  41. ^ Exposition of the Divine Principle, The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1996 Translation, p. 176. ISBN 0-910621-80-2
  42. ^ a b Unifying or Dividing? Sun Myung Moon and the Origins of the Unification Church George D. Chryssides, University of Wolverhampton, U.K. 2003
  43. ^ Unification Church of America History by Lloyd Pumphrey
  44. ^ Introduction Exposition of the Divine Principle, 1996 Translation
  45. ^ The Unification Church (Studies in Contemporary Religion), Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7 p29-30
  46. ^ lengthy description of UC ancestor liberation ceremony
  47. ^ still photos of ancestor liberation ceremony - low quality JPGS, mostly
  48. ^ Duddy, Neil Interview: Dr. Mose Durst
  49. ^ MARRIAGE BY THE NUMBERS; MOON PRESIDES AS 6,500 COUPLES WED IN S. KOREA Peter Maass Washington Post October 31, 1988
  50. ^ Despite controversy, Moon and his church moving into mainstream Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2006. 'The church's most spectacular rite remains mass weddings, which the church calls the way "fallen men and women can be engrafted into the true lineage of God."'
  51. ^ At RFK, Moon Presides Over Mass Wedding, Washington Post, November 3, 1997, "Church and stadium officials estimated that more than 40,000 people, mostly couples, attended the event, including the Moon-matched couples who took their marriage vows on the football field and exchanged gold rings displaying the church symbol. Those couples, however, must still fulfill whatever requirements exist where they live to be considered legally married."
  52. ^ Rosenthal, Elisabeth (2000-09-12). "Group Founded by Sun Myung Moon Preaches Sexual Abstinence in China". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E5DA1638F931A2575AC0A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  53. ^ Unification Church pres sees smaller mass weddings, The Monitor (Uganda), 2008-12-30, "Moon said the church does not give its wedding blessing to same sex couples.”
  54. ^ The Family Federation for Cosmic Peace and Unification and the Cosmic Era of Blessed Family. Retrieved on 04-11-2007.
  55. ^ [http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_uni.htm THE UNIFICATION CHURCH AND HOMOSEXUALITY] B.A. Robinson, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance 2005

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unification_Church

 

 

 

 
Masonic Lodge
Summary:
 

 

Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around 5 million, including just under two million in the United States and around 480,000 in England, Scotland and Ireland.[1][2] The various forms all share moral and metaphysical ideals, which include, in most cases, a constitutional declaration of belief in a Supreme Being.[3]

The fraternity is administratively organised into Grand Lodges or sometimes Orients, each of which governs its own jurisdiction, which consists of subordinate (or constituent) Lodges. Grand Lodges recognise each other through a process of landmarks and regularity. There are also appendant bodies, which are organisations related to the main branch of Freemasonry, but with their own independent administration.

Freemasonry uses the metaphors of operative stonemasons' tools and implements, against the allegorical backdrop of the building of King Solomon's Temple, to convey what has been described by both Masons and critics as "a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols."[4][5]

A Lodge (often termed a Private Lodge or Constituent Lodge in Masonic constitutions) is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. Every new Lodge must have a Warrant or Charter issued by a Grand Lodge, authorising it to meet and work. Except for the very few "time immemorial" Lodges pre-dating the formation of a Grand Lodge, masons who meet as a Lodge without displaying this document (for example, in prisoner-of-war camps) are deemed "Clandestine" and irregular.

Masonic Lodge

A Lodge must hold regular meetings at a fixed place and published dates. It will elect, initiate and promote its members and officers; it will build up and manage its property and assets, including its minutes and records; and it may own, occupy or share its premises. Like any organisation, it will have formal business to manage its meetings and proceedings, annual general meetings and committees, charity funds, correspondence and reports, membership and subscriptions, accounts and tax returns, special events and catering, and so forth. The balance of activities is individual to each Lodge, and under their common constitutions and forms of procedure, Lodges evolve very distinctive traditions.

A man can only be initiated, or made a Mason, in a Lodge, of which he may often remain a subscribing member for life. A Master Mason can generally visit any Lodge meeting under any jurisdiction in amity with his own, and as well as the formal meeting, a Lodge may well offer hospitality. A visitor should first check the regularity of that Lodge, and must be able to satisfy that Lodge of his own regularity; and he may be refused admission if adjudged likely to disrupt the harmony of the Lodge. If he wishes to visit the same Lodge repeatedly, he may be expected to join it and pay a subscription.

Freemasons correctly meet as a Lodge, not in a Lodge, the word "Lodge" referring more to the people assembled than the place of assembly. However, in common usage, Masonic premises are often referred to as "Lodges". Masonic buildings are also sometimes called "Temples" ("of Philosophy and the Arts"). In many countries, Masonic Centre or Hall has replaced Temple to avoid arousing prejudice and suspicion. Several different Lodges, as well as other Masonic or non-Masonic organisations, often use the same premises at different times.

According to Masonic tradition, medieval European stonemasons would meet, eat, and shelter outside working hours in a Lodge on the southern side of a building site, where the sun warms the stones during the day. The social Festive Board (or Social Board)[16] part of the meeting is thus sometimes called the South.[17] Early Lodges often met in a tavern or any other convenient fixed place with a private room.

 

Prince Hall Freemasonry

Prince Hall Freemasonry derives from historical events in the early United States that led to a tradition of separate, predominantly African-American Freemasonry in North America.

In 1775, an African-American named Prince Hall[19] was initiated into an Irish Constitution military Lodge then in Boston, Massachusetts, along with fourteen other African-Americans, all of whom were free-born. When the military Lodge left North America, those fifteen men were given the authority to meet as a Lodge, form Processions on the days of the Saints John, and conduct Masonic funerals, but not to confer degrees, nor to do other Masonic work. In 1784, these individuals applied for, and obtained, a Lodge Warrant from the Premier Grand Lodge of England (GLE) and formed African Lodge, Number 459. When the UGLE was formed in 1813, all U.S.-based Lodges were stricken from their rolls – due largely to the War of 1812. Thus, separated from both UGLE and any concordantly recognised U.S. Grand Lodge, African Lodge re-titled itself as the African Lodge, Number 1 – and became a de facto "Grand Lodge" (this Lodge is not to be confused with the various Grand Lodges on the Continent of Africa). As with the rest of U.S. Freemasonry, Prince Hall Freemasonry soon grew and organised on a Grand Lodge system for each state.

Widespread segregation in 19th- and early 20th-century North America made it difficult for African-Americans to join Lodges outside of Prince Hall jurisdictions – and impossible for inter-jurisdiction recognition between the parallel U.S. Masonic authorities.

Prince Hall Masonry has always been regular in all respects except constitutional separation, and this separation has diminished in recent years. At present, Prince Hall Grand Lodges are recognised by some UGLE Concordant Grand Lodges and not by others, but they appear to be working toward full recognition, with UGLE granting at least some degree of recognition.[20] There are a growing number of both Prince Hall Lodges and non-Prince Hall Lodges that have ethnically diverse membership.

Other degrees, orders and bodies

There is no degree in Freemasonry higher than that of Master Mason, the Third Degree.[21] There are, however, a number of organisations that require being a Master Mason as a prerequisite for membership.[22] These bodies have no authority over the Craft.[21] These orders or degrees may be described as additional or appendant, and often provide a further perspective on some of the allegorical, moral and philosophical content of Freemasonry.

Appendant bodies are administered separately from Craft Grand Lodges but are styled Masonic since every member must be a Mason. However, Craft Masonic jurisdictions vary in their relationships with such bodies, if a relationship exists at all. The Articles of Union of the "Modern" and "Antient" craft Grand Lodges (into UGLE in 1813) limited recognition to certain degrees, such as the Royal Arch and the "chivalric degrees", but there were and are many other degrees that have been worked since before the Union. Some bodies are not universally considered to be appendant bodies, but rather separate organisations that happen to require prior Masonic affiliation for membership. Some of these organisations have additional requirements, such as religious adherence (e.g., requiring members to profess Trinitarian Christian beliefs) or membership of other bodies.

Quite apart from these, there are organisations that are often thought of as being related to Freemasonry, but which have no formal or informal connections with Freemasonry. These include such organisations as the Orange Order, which originated in Ireland, the Knights of Pythias, or the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.[23]

Principles and activities

While Freemasonry has often been called a "secret society", Freemasons themselves argue that it is more correct to say that it is an esoteric society, in that certain aspects are private.[21] The most common phrasing being that Freemasonry has, in the 21st century, become less a secret society and more of a "society with secrets".[24] The private aspects of modern Freemasonry are the modes of recognition amongst members and particular elements within the ritual.[25] Despite the organisation's great diversity, Freemasonry's central preoccupations remain charitable work within a local or wider community, moral uprightness (in most cases requiring a belief in a Supreme Being) as well as the development and maintenance of fraternal friendship – as James Anderson's Constitutions originally urged – amongst brethren.

Ritual, symbolism, and morality

Masons conduct their meetings using a ritualised format. There is no single Masonic ritual, and each Jurisdiction is free to set (or not set) its own ritual. However, there are similarities that exist among Jurisdictions. For example, all Masonic ritual makes use of the architectural symbolism of the tools of the medieval operative stonemason. Freemasons, as speculative masons (meaning philosophical building rather than actual building), use this symbolism to teach moral and ethical lessons of the principles of "Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth" – or as related in France: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".

Two of the principal symbolic tools always found in a Lodge are the square and compasses. Some Lodges and rituals explain these tools as lessons in conduct: for example, that Masons should "square their actions by the square of virtue" and to learn to "circumscribe their desires and keep their passions within due bounds toward all mankind". However, as Freemasonry is non-dogmatic, there is no general interpretation for these tools (or any Masonic emblem) that is used by Freemasonry as a whole.[26]

These moral lessons are communicated in performance of allegorical ritual. A candidate progresses through degrees[21] gaining knowledge and understanding of himself, his relationship with others and his relationship with the Supreme Being (as per his own interpretation). While the philosophical aspects of Freemasonry tend to be discussed in Lodges of Instruction or Research, and sometimes informal groups, Freemasons, and others, frequently publish – to varying degrees of competence – studies that are available to the public. Any mason may speculate on the symbols and purpose of Freemasonry, and indeed all masons are required to some extent to speculate on masonic meaning as a condition of advancing through the degrees. There is no one accepted meaning and no one person "speaks" for the whole of Freemasonry.[27]

Some lodges make use of Tracing boards. These are painted or printed illustrations depicting the various symbolic emblems of Freemasonry. They can be used as teaching aids during the lectures that follow each of the three Degrees, when an experienced member explains the various concepts of Freemasonry to new members. They can also be used by experienced members as self-reminders of the concepts they learned as they went through their initiations.

The Supreme Being and the Volume of Sacred Law

Candidates for regular Freemasonry are required to declare a belief in a Supreme Being.[28] However, the candidate is not asked to expand on, or explain, his interpretation of Supreme Being. The discussion of politics and religion is forbidden within a Masonic Lodge, in part so a Mason will not be placed in the situation of having to justify his personal interpretation.[29] Thus, reference to the Supreme Being will mean the Christian Trinity to a Christian Mason, Allah to a Muslim Mason, Para Brahman to a Hindu Mason, etc. And while most Freemasons would take the view that the term Supreme Being equates to God, others may hold a more complex or philosophical interpretation of the term.

In the ritual, the Supreme Being is referred to as the Great Architect of the Universe, which alludes to the use of architectural symbolism within Freemasonry.[30][31]

A Volume of the Sacred Law is always displayed in an open Lodge in those jurisdictions which require a belief in the Supreme Being. In English-speaking countries, this is frequently the King James Version of the Bible or another standard translation; there is no such thing as an exclusive "Masonic Bible".[32] In many French Lodges, the Masonic Constitutions are used instead. Furthermore, a candidate is given his choice of religious text for his Obligation, according to his beliefs. UGLE alludes to similarities to legal practice in the UK, and to a common source with other oath taking processes.[33][34][35][36] In Lodges with a membership of mixed religions it is common to find more than one sacred text displayed.

General requirements

Generally, to be a regular Freemason, a candidate must:[21]

  • Be a man who comes of his own free will.
  • Believe in a Supreme Being (the form of which is left to open interpretation by the candidate).
  • Be at least the minimum age (from 18–25 years old depending on the jurisdiction).
  • Be of good morals, and of good reputation.
  • Be of sound mind and body (Lodges had in the past denied membership to a man because of a physical disability; however, now, if a potential candidate says a disability will not cause problems, it will not be held against him).
  • Be free-born (or "born free", i.e., not born a slave or bondsman).[57] As with the previous, this is entirely an historical holdover, and can be interpreted in the same manner as it is in the context of being entitled to write a will. Some jurisdictions have removed this requirement.
  • Be capable of furnishing character references, as well as one or two references from current Masons, depending on jurisdiction.

Deviation from one or more of these requirements is generally the barometer of Masonic regularity or irregularity. However, an accepted deviation in some regular jurisdictions is to allow a Lewis (the son of a Mason)[58] to be initiated earlier than the normal minimum age for that jurisdiction, although no earlier than the age of 18.

Some Grand Lodges in the United States have an additional residence requirement, candidates being expected to have lived within the jurisdiction for a certain period of time, typically six months.[59]

Membership and religion

Freemasonry explicitly and openly states that it is neither a religion nor a substitute for one. "There is no separate Masonic God", nor a separate proper name for a deity in any branch of Freemasonry.[28][60]

Regular Freemasonry requires that its candidates believe in a Supreme Being, but the interpretation of the term is subject to the conscience of the candidate. This means that men from a wide range of faiths, including, but not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, etc. can and have become Masons.

Since the early 19th century, in the irregular Continental European tradition (meaning irregular to those Grand Lodges in amity with the United Grand Lodge of England), a very broad interpretation has been given to a non-dogmatic Supreme Being; in the tradition of Baruch Spinoza and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – or views of The Ultimate Cosmic Oneness – along with Western atheistic idealism and agnosticism.

Freemasonry in Scandinavia, known as the Swedish Rite, on the other hand, accepts only Christians. In addition, some appendant bodies, or portions thereof, have religious requirements. These have no bearing, however, on what occurs at the lodge level.

Opposition to and criticism of Freemasonry

Anti-Masonry (alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry) has been defined as "opposition to Freemasonry".[63][64] However, there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement. Anti-Masonry consists of radically differing criticisms from sometimes incompatible groups who are hostile to Freemasonry in some form. They include religious groups, political groups, and conspiracy theorists.

There have been many disclosures and exposés dating as far back as the eighteenth century. These often lack context,[65] may be outdated for various reasons,[38] or could be outright hoaxes on the part of the author, as in the case of the Taxil hoax.[66]

These hoaxes and exposés have often become the basis for criticism of Masonry, often religious or political in nature (usually by totalitarian dictatorial regimes,[67] but also arising in the historical Anti-Masonic Party in the United States), or are based on suspicion of corrupt conspiracy of some form. The political opposition that arose after the "Morgan Affair" in 1826 gave rise to the term "Anti-Masonry", which is still in use today, both by Masons in referring to their critics and as a self-descriptor by the critics themselves.[68]

Religious opposition

Freemasonry has attracted criticism from theocratic states and organised religions for supposed competition with religion, or supposed heterodoxy within the Fraternity itself, and has long been the target of conspiracy theories, which see it as an occult and evil power.

Christianity and Freemasonry

Although members of various faiths cite objections, certain Christian denominations have had high profile negative attitudes to Masonry, banning or discouraging their members from being Freemasons.

The denomination with the longest history of objection to Freemasonry is the Roman Catholic Church. The objections raised by the Roman Catholic Church are based on the allegation that Masonry teaches a naturalistic deistic religion which is in conflict with Church doctrine.[69] A number of Papal pronouncements have been issued against Freemasonry. The first was Pope Clement XII's In Eminenti, 28 April 1738; the most recent was Pope Leo XIII's Ab Apostolici, 15 October 1890. The 1917 Code of Canon Law explicitly declared that joining Freemasonry entailed automatic excommunication.[70] The 1917 Code of Canon Law also forbade books friendly to Freemasonry.

In 1983, the Church issued a new Code of Canon Law. Unlike its predecessor, it did not explicitly name Masonic orders among the secret societies it condemns. It states in part: "A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict." This omission caused both Catholics and Freemasons to believe that the ban on Catholics becoming Freemasons may have been lifted, especially after the perceived liberalisation of Vatican II.[71] However, the matter was clarified when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued Quaesitum est, which states: "... the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion." Thus, from a Catholic perspective, there is still a ban on Catholics joining Masonic Lodges. For its part, Freemasonry has never objected to Catholics joining their fraternity. Those Grand Lodges in amity with UGLE deny the Church's claims and state that they explicitly adhere to the principle that "Freemasonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion."[28]

In contrast to Catholic allegations of rationalism and naturalism, Protestant objections are more likely to be based on allegations of mysticism, occultism, and even Satanism.[72] Masonic scholar Albert Pike is often quoted (in some cases misquoted) by Protestant anti-Masons as an authority for the position of Masonry on these issues. However, Pike, although undoubtedly learned, was not a spokesman for Freemasonry and was controversial among Freemasons in general, representing his personal opinion only, and furthermore an opinion grounded in the attitudes and understandings of late 19th century Southern Freemasonry of the USA alone. Indeed his book carries in the preface a form of disclaimer from his own Grand Lodge. No one voice has ever spoken for the whole of Freemasonry.[73]

Free Methodist Church founder B.T. Roberts was a vocal opponent of Freemasonry in the mid 18th century. Roberts opposed the society on moral grounds and stated, "The god of the lodge is not the God of the Bible." Roberts believed Freemasonry was a "mystery" or "alternate" religion and encouraged his church not to support ministers who were Freemasons. Freedom from secret societies is one of the "frees" the Free Methodist Church was founded upon.[74]

Since the founding of Freemasonry, many Bishops of the Church of England have been Freemasons, such as Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher.[75] In the past, few members of the Church of England would have seen any incongruity in concurrently adhering to Anglican Christianity and practicing Freemasonry. In recent decades, however, reservations about Freemasonry have increased within Anglicanism, perhaps due to the increasing prominence of the evangelical wing of the church. The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, appears to harbour some reservations about Masonic ritual, whilst being anxious to avoid causing offence to Freemasons inside and outside the Church of England. In 2003 he felt it necessary to apologise to British Freemasons after he said that their beliefs were incompatible with Christianity and that he had barred the appointment of Freemasons to senior posts in his diocese when he was Bishop of Monmouth.[76]

Regular Freemasonry has traditionally not responded to these claims, beyond the often repeated statement that those Grand Lodges in amity with UGLE explicitly adhere to the principle that "Freemasonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion. There is no separate 'Masonic deity', and there is no separate proper name for a deity in Freemasonry".[28] In recent years, however, this has begun to change. Many Masonic websites and publications address these criticisms specifically.

  1. ^ Hodapp, Christopher. Freemasons for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2005. p. 52.
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". United Grand Lodge of England. http://www.ugle.org.uk/what-is-masonry/frequently-asked-questions/. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  3. ^ Griffin, Mark (2002). "Freemasonry and Religion". United Grand Lodge of England. http://www.ugle.org.uk/masonry/freemasonry-and-religion.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  4. ^ Gruber, Hermann (1910-10-01). "Masonry (Freemasonry)". in Remy Lafort, Censor. The Catholic encyclopedia: an international work of reference on the constitution, doctrine, discipline, and history of the Catholic Church. IX. New York: Robert Appleton Company. OCLC 1017058. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09771a.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  5. ^ Masonic Service Association - Short Talk Bulletin as reprinted on the website of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana.
  6. ^ "The Regius Manuscript". Masonicsites.org. http://www.masonicsites.org/blue/regius1.htm. 
  7. ^ Stevenson, David (November 1988). The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland's Century 1590-1710. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521353267. OCLC 17546610. 
  8. ^ Second Schaw Statutes, 1599.
  9. ^ Coil, Henry Wilson (1961). William M. Brown, William L. Cummings, Harold Van Buren Voorhes. ed. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia (Revised and Updated by Allen E. Roberts, 1995 ed.). Richmond, Va: Macoy Pub. & Masonic Supply Co.. ISBN 9780880530545. 
  10. ^ Bullock, Steven C.; Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.) (1996). Revolutionary brotherhood: Freemasonry and the transformation of the American social order, 1730-1840. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807847503. OCLC 33334015. 
  11. ^ "GLNF: Grande Loge Nationale Francaise" (in French). Grande Loge Nationale Francaise (GLNF). http://www.glnf.asso.fr/. Retrieved 2006-02-06. 
  12. ^ "Constitution". Grand Lodge of North Carolina. 2007. http://www.grandlodge-nc.org/education/code/000.html. Retrieved 2007-04-09.  See Preamble.
  13. ^ "Form letter to request mutual recognition". Grand Lodge FAAM (Free And Accepted Masons) of Washington, D.C. (the District of Columbia), Committee on Masonic Recognition. http://bessel.org/dcrecreq.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-09.  Example letter to request recognition.
  14. ^ Campbell, Donald G.; Committee on Ritual. "The Master Mason; Irregular and Clandestine Lodges" (excerpt). Handbook for Candidate's Coaches. Grand Lodge F.&A.M. of California. http://mastersjewel.com/masons/mm/MM07.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-08. "The solution of the problem [of irregular Masonry] lies in the publication furnished every California lodge. Entitled "List of Regular Lodges Masonic", it is issued by the Grand Lodge of California to its constituent lodges, with the admonition that this book is to be kept in each lodge for reference in receiving visitors and on applications for affiliation. There may well be an old copy which you can use, for it is re-issued every year." 
  15. ^ "Report From The United Grand Lodge of England: Prince Hall Masonry and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts" (Annex A: Regularity). Joseph A. Walkes Jr. Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices, Phylaxis Society. 2006-10-03. http://www.phylaxis.org/bogusmasonry/regularitypha.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  16. ^ Bourne, W.J. (1997). "The Festive Board" (abridged portion). Godolphin Lodge No. 7790. http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/godolphin.lodge/html/festive_board.html. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  17. ^ Mackey, Albert Gallatin (2004). "South". Lexicon of Freemasonry. New York: Barnes & Noble. pp. 445. ISBN 0760760039. OCLC 58654158. "...but when [the sun] reaches the south, the hour is high twelve, and we are summoned to refreshment." 
  18. ^ Hodapp, Christopher. Freemasons for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2005. pp. 97-104.
  19. ^ Johnson, Lawrence (1996). "Who is Prince Hall? And other well known Prince Hall Masons". http://www.mindspring.com/~johnsonx/whoisph.htm. Retrieved 2005-11-14. 
  20. ^ Bessel, Paul M.. "Prince Hall Masonry Recognition details: Historical Maps". http://bessel.org/masrec/phamapshistorical.htm. Retrieved 2005-11-14. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f United Grand Lodge of England (2005) [1815]. "Aims and Relationships of the Craft" (pdf). Constitutions of the Antient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons. London: Freemason's Hall. pp. x–xii. OCLC 18976592. http://www.grandlodge-england.org/pdf/cr-rule-update2-141205.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  22. ^ a b Jackson, Keith B. (1980). Beyond the Craft. London: Lewis Masonic. ISBN 9780853181187. OCLC 16542250. 
  23. ^ Q&A: Other organisations on the UGLE webpage.
  24. ^ "Freemasonry Revealed: The Secrets of Freemasonry". Grand Lodge of North Carolina. 1997. http://www.grandlodge-nc.org/freemasonryrevealed/secrets.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-12. 
  25. ^ a b c d e Freemasons. Emulation Lodge of Improvement (London, England) (1991). Emulation Ritual. London: Lewis Masonic. ISBN 9780853181873. OCLC 40357899. 
  26. ^ a b Gilkes, Peter (July 2004). "Masonic ritual: Spoilt for choice". Masonic Quarterly Magazine (10). http://www.mqmagazine.co.uk/issue-10/p-61.php. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  27. ^ Hodapp, Christopher; Freemasons for Dummies p. 15.
  28. ^ a b c d "Is Freemasonry a religion?". United Grand Lodge of England. http://www.grandlodge-england.org/masonry/A2L-religion.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  29. ^ Becoming a Mason - To become one, ask one: What is Freemasonry? accessed 10 June 2007.
  30. ^ William K. Bissey (Spring 1997). "G.A.O.T.U.". The Indiana Freemason. http://srjarchives.tripod.com/1997-08/Bissey.htm. 
  31. ^ S. Brent Morris (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry. Alpha/Penguin Books. p. 212. ISBN 1-59257-490-4. 
  32. ^ a b c d "The United Grand Lodge of England — Home Page". United Grand Lodge of England. 2002. http://www.grandlodge-england.org/index.htm. Retrieved 2006-02-23. 
  33. ^ "UK Government information on Courts system". Criminal Justice System for England and Wales. http://www.cjsonline.gov.uk/defendant/walkthrough/the_trial/faqs/index.html#2642. Retrieved 2006-03-08. 
  34. ^ "What promises do Freemasons take?". United Grand Lodge of England. 2002. http://www.grandlodge-england.org/masonry/A2L-promises.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  35. ^ Jacob, Margaret C. (2005). The origins of freemasonry: facts & fictions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812239010. OCLC 61478025. 
  36. ^ Trueman, Chris. "Feudalism". Archived from the original on 2006-04-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20060421024923/http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/feudal.htm. Retrieved 2006-03-08. "They had to swear an oath of loyalty to William... a sworn oath on the Bible was a very important thing and one which few men would dare to break as it would condemn them to Hell." 
  37. ^ "Scottish Rite Freemasonry — Ritual and Degrees.". Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Northern Jurisdiction – United States of America. http://www.supremecouncil.org/index.tpl?&ng_view=18. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  38. ^ a b John J. Robinson, A Pilgrim's Path, M. Evans and Co., Inc. New York, p.129
  39. ^ Bessel, Paul M. (2006-11-29). "Printed Rituals". http://bessel.org/writrits.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-15. 
  40. ^ "One is made to swear secrecy to the point that bloody penalties of death are involved." Testimony of Duane Washum, Past Worshipful Master, ephesians5-11
  41. ^ Freemasons. Emulation Lodge of Improvement. Emulation Ritual (8th ed.). London, England: Lewis Masonic. Preface. http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/Misc/emu-pref.html. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  42. ^ Firestone, Roger (2001-12-01). "Difficult Questions About Freemasonry". http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/www/Masonry/Questions/difficult.html. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  43. ^ Cohoughlyn-Burroughs, Charles E. (2004) [1996]. Bristol Masonic Ritual: The Oldest and Most Unique Craft Ritual Used in England. Kila, Mont.: Kessinger. ISBN 9781417915668. OCLC 78368255. 
  44. ^ Craft Ritual. Privately published. 1990. 
  45. ^ Mackey, Albert G. (October 1858). "Landmarks of Freemasonry". American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry and its kindred sciences ii: 230. OCLC 1480641. ISSN 0741-790X. http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/grandlodge/landmarks.html. Retrieved 2007-04-09.  (Transcribed by Eugene Goldman, 10 September 1998.)
  46. ^ Botelho, Michael A. (February 2002). "Masonic Landmarks". The Scottish Rite Journal. OCLC 21360724. ISSN 1076-8572. http://www.srmason-sj.org/web/journal-files/Issues/Feb02/botelho.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  47. ^ UGL
  48. ^ Masonic Charity
  49. ^ "Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute". http://www.rmbi.org.uk/. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  50. ^ "Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys". http://www.rmtgb.org/. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  51. ^ "Royal Masonic School for Girls". http://www.royalmasonic.herts.sch.uk/pages/default.asp. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  52. ^ "New Masonic Samaritan Fund". http://www.nmsf.org. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  53. ^ Masonic Service Association.
  54. ^ Welcome to the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory.
  55. ^ Shriners - Welcome.
  56. ^ "Ill. Ernest Borgnine, 33°, G.C., Receives 50-Year Pin". The Scottish Rite Journal. January 2001. OCLC 21360724. ISSN 1076-8572. http://www.srmason-sj.org/council/journal/jan01/cijan.html. Retrieved 2006-07-12. "Illustrious Borgnine also told of the difficulties he had in becoming a Mason. He did not know that, at the time, it was necessary to ask three times.". 
  57. ^ Robinson, John J. (1989). Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry. New York: Evans. p. 56. ISBN 9780871316028. OCLC 20419501. "... by the late fifteenth century virtually every man in England was free."  Robinson also states that the presence of the requirement meant that Freemasonry was organisationally much older than the 1717 founding of the Premier Grand Lodge of England.
  58. ^ Falconer, Dan (2003-04-16). "Freemasonry: The Lewis". Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry. http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/falclewis.html. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
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  61. ^ The Hon. Miss St. Leger and Freemasonry, by Edward Conder, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum vol viii (1895) pp. 16-23, 53-6. vol. xviii (1905) p. 46, and reprinted on the website of the Grand Lodge of BC&Y.
  62. ^ co-masonry.org Official site.
  63. ^ Anti-Masonry - Oxford English Dictionary (Compact Edition), Oxford University Press, 1979, p.369
  64. ^ Webster's dictionary
  65. ^ Morris, S. Brent (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry. New York: Alpha Books. pp. 85 (also discussed in chapters 13 and 16). ISBN 9781592574902. OCLC 68042376. 
  66. ^ de Hoyos, Arturo; S. Brent Morris (2002-08-18). "Leo Taxil Hoax — Bibliography". Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/taxilhoax.html. Retrieved 2007-07-07.  Lists many books which perpetuate Masonic ritual hoaxes.
  67. ^ a b " The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) Soviet Russia outlawed Masonry in 1922. Freemasonry does not exist today in the Soviet Union, China, or other Communist states. Postwar revivals of Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia and Hungary were suppressed in 1950.
  68. ^ infoplease.com definition of "anti-mason".
  69. ^ Cardinal Law, Bernard (1985-04-19). "Letter of 19 April 1985 to U.S. Bishops Concerning Masonry". CatholicCulture.org. http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=5285. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  70. ^ Canon 2335, 1917 Code of Canon Law from "Canon Law regarding Freemasonry, 1917-1983". Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/canon.html. 
  71. ^ McInvale, Reid (1991). "Roman Catholic Church Law Regarding Freemasonry". Transactions of Texas Lodge of Research 27: 86–97. OCLC 47204246. http://www.io.com/~janebm/churchlaw.html. 
  72. ^ Jack Chick. "The Curse of Baphomet". http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0093/0093_01.asp. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  73. ^ Pike, Albert; T. W. Hugo; Scottish Rite (Masonic order). Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction (1950) [1871]. Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Washington, DC: House of the Temple. OCLC 12870276. "In preparing this work [Pike] has been about equally Author and Compiler. (p. iii.) ... The teachings of these Readings are not sacramental, so far as they go beyond the realm of Morality into those of other domains of Thought and Truth. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite uses the word "Dogma" in its true sense of doctrine, or teaching; and is not dogmatic in the odious sense of that term. Everyone is entirely free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound (p. iv)" 
  74. ^ Snyder, Howard (2006). Populist Saints. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 
  75. ^ Beresiner, Yasha (July 2006). "Archbishop Fisher – A Godly man and a Brother". Masonic Quarterly Magazine (18). http://www.mqmagazine.co.uk/issue-18/p-07.php?PHPSESSID=c59cd231db419873a6a6. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  76. ^ Hastings, Chris; Elizabeth Day (2003-04-20). "Rowan Williams apologises to Freemasons". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/20/nmason20.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/04/20/ixhome.html. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  77. ^ Prescott, Andrew. The Study of Freemasonry as a New Academic Discipline. pp. 13–14. http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/prescott03.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  78. ^ "Can a Muslim be a freemason?" (asp). Islamonline.com. http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1119503547288&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaEAskTheScholar. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 

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