Freemasonry & the Deity

(Following are excerpts from the book, Masonic Rites and Wrongs, Steven Tsoukalas, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, 1995)

As we begin our critique of Masonic theology, there is a fundamental principle that needs to be understood. Common among Grand Lodges throughout the world is the practice that initiates state a trusting belief in a Supreme Being. He may believe in Allah, Jehovah, God [generically], Jesus, Krishna, Brahman, or another Deity.

Blue Lodge rituals throughout the world feature a prayer in the Entered Apprentice [first] degree: “Vouchsafe Thine aid, Almighty Father and Supreme Governor of the Universe, to this our present convention, and grant that this Candidate for Freemasonry may so dedicate and devote his life to Thy service as to become a true and faithful Brother among us. Endue him with a competency of Thy divine wisdom, that assisted by the secrets of our Masonic art, he may the better be enabled to unfold the beauties of true godliness, to the honour and glory of Thy Holy Name” (Emulation Ritual [London: Lewis Masonic, 1986], 67).

The Masonic name for God is T.G.A.O.T.U., “the Great Architect of the Universe.” The Masonic designation for God is a canopy designation, since, as will be shown, T.G.A.O.T.U. is able to contain in Himself all the various deities of different Masons. If Freemasonry requires of its initiates belief in a Supreme Being, then it is possible for men who believe in either Krishna or Jesus, Brahman or Vishnu, Allah or Jehovah to be Masons.

Now what happens when a Muslim, a Hindu, a Unitarian, and a Christian attend the same Lodge meeting and bow their heads to the preceding prayer?

The answer is that during ritual [again, see the preceding prayer], prayers are offered, addressing T.G.A.O.T.U., and the person praying uses the pronouns “we” and/or “our,” meaning that T.G.A.O.T.U. is addressed by someone in behalf of all the Masons assembled…. [This] strengthens my observation that T.G.A.O.T.U. is a canopy designation for the Masonic God.

[Noted Masonic scholar Allen E. Roberts writes:] “You have learned that Freemasonry calls God ‘The Great Architect of the Universe.’ This is the Freemason’s special name for God, because He is universal. He belongs to all men regardless of their religious persuasion. All wise men acknowledge His authority. In his private devotions a Mason will pray to Jehovah, Mohammed, Allah, Jesus, or the Deity of His choice. In a Masonic Lodge, however, the Mason will find the name of his Deity within the Great Architect of the Universe” (The Craft and Its Symbols [Richmond: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., 1974], 6).
This strongly implies that ritual seeks, at the very least, to take up all the various possible deities of Masons in any one particular Lodge room and bring them under the canopy designation T.G.A.O.T.U. Thus, Blue Lodge [foundational Masonry, the first three degrees] Freemasonry does define God! It does so in a most subtle way by not initially obligating the candidate to define which God he believes in, but then in practice placing all candidates’ gods under its canopy designation. By doing this the Craft [a synonym for Masonry] defines who God is.

End of excerpts

The canopy Deity of Freemasonry is clearly not the God of the Bible. Rather than defining God as He reveals Himself in the Bible–as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–Freemasonry in offers an all-inclusive Deity.

As Christians we are sure to come into contact, either directly or indirectly, with Freemasonry. And we may need to communicate to a Mason who claims to be a Christian that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity.

I recommend asking them these questions: (1) Who is the God of the Bible? [answer should be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] (2) Does Freemasonry call God “The Great Architect of the Universe”? [answer should be “yes”] (3) Can Masons be Hindus, Unitarians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.? [answer should be “yes”] (4) I s this prayer given in your Lodge (read to them the “Vouchsafe Thine aid…” prayer)? [answer should be “yes”] (5) Is it possible for Hindus, Buddhists, Unitarians, Muslims, and Christians to pray together in a Lodge room? [answer should be “yes”] (6) Is ONE Deity being addressed in this prayer and in other prayers in your Lodge? [answer should be “yes”] (7) Does Freemasonry define this God as the biblical triune God? [answer should be “no”] (8) Then just who is being prayed to?