After all the years of hype, cant and hypocrisy, here at last is the truth about Freemasonry, namely that it is a benign, charitable organisation dedicated to doing good works amongst its fellow men, regardless of whether or not those fellow men happen to be 'on the square'.
Gittins explodes myth after myth about the craft, starting firstly with the one about how Masons are trying to create a 'new world order'.
Well, given that the founding principles of Masonry are brotherly love, relief and truth and that Masons believe that you should look at the man (or woman) for who they are rather than what colour they are or how they worship their god, then as far as I am concerned, that is a new world order I would be quite happy to live under.
In describing Freemasonry's aims and ideals so clearly, Gittins (inwittingly I feel) exposes its really big secret, the one that is hidden behind the fact the those wishing to join the order are required to believe in a 'supreme being'. The 'supreme being' is actually humanity itself!
This becomes clear when Gittins explains that every Mason is urged time and again to do good towards his fellow human beings - whether they be Masons or not - and be good citizens of whatever domain they occupy and most importantly of all, to look beyond the dogma of religious beliefs and see the good in humanity itself. No wonder religions feel so threatened by it.
Ian Gittins has done exactly the opposite to what I assume he intended to do. His book presents the Freemasons as humanitarian patrons of benevolent courses, whose only agenda is to promote the innate goodness of mankind and create a world of compassion and charitable acts. Sentiments that would compliment the C. V. of, "J. C." himself. However when one gives Mr Gittins literal commentary more thought one might question as to why such high ranking individuals, (The emiritus George Washington being one of a multitude), avidly seek membership and higher office within the lodge, I find it incredulous to say the least that such men should only be interested in the betterment of others. It is far more plausable to me that Masonic Lodges are seen as fertile breeding grounds by like minded people to secretly cultivate religeous, political and commercial policies,(god or bad), that are favourably biased toward the higher brotherhood members, and membership provides certain individuals a valued network designed to enhance business and social standing. Rather than debunk the 'hysterical' paranoia surrounding secret societies such as the Masons, Gittins has merely compounded the fear and suspicion that the conspiracy therorists, such as Dan Brown, masterfully exploit.
Providing a freemasons list of highly influential social leaders stretching all the way back to solomon has done nothing but give credence to such fanciful fiction, as the first half of Ian Gittins book obsessivly tries to discredit Dan Brown's novels, missing the point that they are after all very entertaining works of fiction, with the sole aim of making Mr Brown and his ilk lots of money.
The latter part of the book was nothing more than a Freemasons manual, explaining the different ceromonies and handshakes and could have been misconstrude as a recruitment drive.
An interesting read, however I do find it hard to believe that members of the Masons are in it for anything other than there own ends.