OUR FOUNDER - W.L. WILMSHURST (1867-1939)Wilmshurst believed passionately that the masonic ritual had a deep basis in mysticism. He was sure that its fellowship, its charitable works and even its promotion of a basic morality were entirely incidental to its primary purpose. He was convinced that behind all this: 'there exists the framework of a scheme of initiation into that higher path of life where alone the secrets and mysteries of our being are to be learned.'
He thought that this deeper and more vital arcana of the Craft had been 'deliberately veiled' in a mass of superficial moral teaching. 'Brethren,' he wrote, 'it is just this elusiveness, these intentional enigmas, this purposed puzzle language, that are intended to put us on the scent of something deeper than the words themselves convey.' He felt that: 'part of the purpose of all initiation was, and still is, to educate the mind in penetrating the outward shell of all phenomena.'
He was convinced that the majority of Masons have no idea of the true purpose of the masonic ritual and are degrading it by performing it in a perfunctory manner as some form of entertainment before a convivial meal, rather than using it as a vital tool for spiritual regeneration. He lamented that: 'The modern mason, however high in titular rank is as little qualified to understand the subject as the man who has never entered a lodge.' He felt that most of us, although we have been through the ceremonies of Initiation, Passing and Raising remain, to all intents and purposes "uninitiated Initiates" since most of us do not have a deep understanding of what we have gone through at all and it has made no lasting change to us.
He ridiculed the belief that Masonry is just a simple system of basic morality. He wrote:
'It is absurd to think that a vast organisation like Masonry was ordained merely to teach to grown up men of the world the symbolic meaning of a few simple builders tools or to impress upon us such elementary virtues as temperance and justice the children of every village school are taught such things; or to enforce such simple principles of morals as brotherly love which every church and every religion teaches.' He compared the three Degrees of Craft Masonry to the three stages of philosophical mysticism:
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