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Monday, July 2, 2007

Freemasons For Dummies

Freemasons For Dummies Cover

Book: Freemasons For Dummies by Christopher Hodapp

Freemasons for Dummies is an excellent introduction to the mysteries of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. If you know nothing about Masonry and are perhaps curious about this ancient fraternity, Freemasons for Dummies will answer most of your questions. Even if you were made a Mason long ago and have many years of experience in the Craft, you will still likely find a thing or two of interest in the pages of this book.

Freemasons For Dummies is the internationally best-selling introduction to the Masons, the oldest and largest "secret society" in the world. This balanced, eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everything from its elaborate rituals and cryptic rites, to its curious symbols and their meanings. Find out what goes on in a Masonic meeting. You'll understand the true purposes of Masonic "secrecy" and philosophy, meet famous Masons throughout history, and discover related organizations like the Knights Templar, the Scottish Rite, Order of the Eastern Star, and the Shriners. Explore the controversies and conspiracy theories that swirl around this organization at the center of Dan Brown's novel The Lost Symbol, and discover the changes coming to the Craft.

Freemasons for Dummies is written by Chris Hodapp, a Past Master of Masonic Lodges in Indiana, and a member of the Royal Arch Masons, Cryptic Masons, and the Knights Templar, along with many other accomplishments in Masonry. Chris Hodapp is certainly well qualified and knowledgeable about Masonry, and shares this knowledge in an enjoyable, easy to read writing style, that makes Freemasons for Dummies both informative and fun to read.

The book is divided into six major sections:

1. What Is Freemasonry ~ a history of Masonry, along with its philosophy and a discussion of some of ceremonies.
2. The Mechanics Of Freemasonry ~ explaining how Freemasons are organized, more about ceremonies, and the symbols of Freemasonry, along with a discussion of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the Masons.
3. Knights, Swords, Fezzes, And Dresses ~ discussing the appendant bodies of Freemasonry, such as the York and Scottish Rites, the Mystic Shrine, and the extended Masonic family.
4. Freemasons Today And Tomorrow ~ Is Masonry still relevant today? What is the future of the Masons? And... how to become a Mason yourself - 2B1Ask1.
5. The Part Of Ten ~ This section discusses 10 groups of famous Masons, 10 anti-Mason hoaxes and conspiracies, and 10 places of Masonic excellence: including the Freemason's Hall in Philadelphia, the Templar Church in London, and Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.
6. Appendixes ~ Here we find the "Regius Manuscript", Anderson's Constitutions, and a list of the Grand Lodges throughout the United States and Canada.

While there are certainly much grander tomes written about the Craft of Freemasonry and its mysteries, Freemasons for Dummies should not be discounted as a serious reference. Freemasons for Dummies is well-written, informative, and highly recommended for anyone interested in the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

I wouldn't have thought the subject matter would fit the "For Dummies" format very well, but it does. Although the book is encyclopedic in its coverage, it's always clear and lively, and it never takes itself too seriously. It's a fun and informative read, as well as a reference to return to. I recommend it as the best introduction to Freemasonry I've found.

Buy Christopher Hodapp's book: Freemasons For Dummies

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