Highly skilled men formed a lodge that is now known as Freemasonry. The mission was to improve each man and skills of them, in turn strengthening and supporting their community. Historians believe Freemasonry started in the mid 1400’s; however, their history is difficult to follow due to their high level of secrecy.
Entering the lodge is a process of proving self worth and ceremonies. As masons move up through the lodge, they must continuously prove their advancement of skills. With each advancement, they gain a degree, which goes as high as the 32nd degrees, however, and the highest Mason, the 33rd Degree Mason, cannot be gained through study for it is a degree that is awarded for exemplary service. And today, let's take a look at the top level of this secret organization, the 33rd degree masons.
Part 1: What Is the 33rd Degree Mason?
Degrees of Freemasonry
Within each lodge, there are 33 degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. To grow in the lodge, one must learn catechisms to help in remembering and perfecting their skill. The catechisms are a reiteration of the knowledge they have obtained and the skills they have enhanced through the beliefs of the lodge.
The 33rd Degree Mason
When one completes all drama—proves his skill, self worth and knowledge, with proficiency he may move on the next degree. To qualify as a Master Mason, one must prove they are a master of their craft and take vows for life. Through a full education of the lodge, proving their skill to piers and self purification, one may accomplish the 33rd degree. Masonic beliefs are based on number, order, symmetry and proportion with Nature as the true deity. When one encompasses all of these and has inner-balance of all parts of his being, he may become a Master.
The lodge’s rituals and ceremonies are set so that if one reaches Master, they have proven they are fully committed and have faith in the Three Great lights, they are now in a state of equilibrium; with this, one is prepared to walk on sacred ground. When entering the lodge, a freemason is considered in the dark as they surpass degrees they become enlightened with knowledge and skill, a Master Mason has left all darkness and is considered to have passed into the light, enlightenment.
As a 33rd degree Mason, one must first and foremost have brotherly love and show this through the lodge and community. He now has the rights to all tools and authority in the lodge, where mason must prove himself worth of each tool and has a long list of hierarchy.
Part 2: 8 Famous 33rd Degree Masons
Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, was initiated in 1731. Franklin was not only a member but a Master Mason. He freely wrote of Freemasons and was at the forefront of bringing the lodge into America. Throughout his work, he was able to bring Freemasonry into the US government by using many of its beliefs in his work.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Another great American leader, Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd President, was an Honorary Grand Master, and his ceremony took place at the white house. It is believed that with the help of other powerful Freemasons, Roosevelt gave Japan the okay to bomb Pearl Harbor. This was intent on getting the United States into the World War 2.
The 36th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson was a strict and powerful politician as well as a first 33rd degree mason. Although he did not move through degrees, Johnson believed in the principles of Freemasonry and did not believe John Kennedy was an appropriate American leader. Even today many believe he was behind the assassination of Kennedy.
J. Edgar Hoover
By the young age of 25, J. Edgar Hoover became a Master Mason. Since one is not allowed to even apply until the age of 21, his becoming a Master Mason really shows his faith and devotion to the Freemasonry. This carried through his whole life, while his main focus was US intelligence. Through his intense interactions with many countries, he has believed to side with those that are not the United States’ allies.
Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren was not only a free mason, but served as Grand Master of his lodge. Also believed to be a part of the Kennedy assignation, Earl Warren was connected to many powerful Freemasons. Also, he was at the forefront of improving U.S. politics and used the basis of the lodge to modernize the role of governors.
Although it has been perceived that John D. Rockefeller and his family were not a part of Freemasonry, he personally donated the property to be used in the building of the Masonic Lodge in Ohio. Obviously a supporter of the lodge, the Rockefeller family was a large contributor to the McKinley Presidential campaign (a long time freemason who was not afraid to show his affiliation).
Retired four star general in the U.S. army and the former secretary of the States, Colin Powell is a Master Mason. As right hand man to Dick Chaney, Colin Powell’s influence over the government is larger than it seems. When decisions are made in politics, it is not just a single mind but a group that governs the people.
Reverend Jesse Jackson is a Master Mason of Prince Hall Freemason. Since 1987, he has used the power of the lodge to face civil rights discrimination, which is the opposite of the Master Mason mission of brotherhood. The Reverend’s conspiracy with the freemasons is the death of Martin Luther King. King was a man who wanted equal rights for the people, but they were unfortunately not the same rights the Freemasons believe in.