Entertainment » Television

Mysteries Of The Freemasons

by Phil Hall
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Sep 16, 2009
Mysteries Of The Freemasons

This documentary, which was originally broadcast on The History Channel, traces the history of Freemasonry from its hazy origins in the construction of King Solomon's Temple through today's benign fraternal gatherings. Throughout the centuries, the masonic movement has been attacked by the Roman Catholic Church and numerous political factors with allegations that the secret society engages in satanic rituals, stirs up political revolutions, and conspires to take over the world.

In the end, however, the documentary seems to suggest that the only mystery is the fact that people view the masonic movement as being mysterious. Part of the misconception, it seems, comes from having a disproportionate number of Freemasons as leaders of various social, educational and political movements that challenged the rigid status quo - on this side of the Atlantic, there was a surplus of Freemasons among the Founding Fathers, including George Washington.

Using dramatic re-enactments of historic sequences and offering approximations of still-current and supposedly secret initiation rituals, the documentary goes to great lengths to explain the depth and scope of Freemasonry. As a result, the documentary gives the impression that Freemasonry is a somewhat goofy but ultimately harmless fringe movement that only coincidentally played host to a number of prominent political, economic and cultural personalities. Without openly stating as much, the documentary suggests that the historical fury directed at Freemasonry ultimately comes across as hysterical, if not downright lunatic.

Critics of the Freemasons may view this production as a whitewash, and it is possible that the Freemason themselves will be displeased at having their importance downplayed (not to mention having their secret ceremonies revealed on camera). Anyone looking for a meaty mystery, it seems, will need to look elsewhere.

Phil Hall is the author of "The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time

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