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A Freemason's 33rd Degree Initiation
01-10-2008, 04:07 AM,
A Freemason's 33rd Degree Initiation
I know its long, just read it, I did...

The hurricane came and went without any harm to us. But the one within me continued to gather force. It seemed strange, from my point of view, for all the people around me seemed calm. Even the doctor was no longer speaking much to me about the Lord, for I wasn't seeing him regularly. Bonnie was quietly supportive, but we really didn't say much about it. Mike and my other friends went on with life. It was "business as usual" around me, but definitely not that way inside of me.

Easter was approaching and one quiet morning I was at home recuperating from the second operation when the doorbell rang. It was a special delivery letter from the Supreme Council in Washington, notifying me that I had been selected for the 33rd Degree.

I could hardly believe it was true! This honor is one most Masons never even think of receiving. It was too much, too far out of reach, beyond limits of reality. It was unreal to think I had actually been selected. It was an honor just to be considered for this ultimate degree and I had actually been selected, chosen by that small and powerful group, the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree.

I called Bonnie to share the good news with her. In talking with her, I surprised myself by asking her if she thought I should accept it "What a strange thing to ask her," I thought. But before I could contemplate it she said, "Why, sure you should accept it. You have worked so hard for so long to get there - by all means you should accept it."

So I returned my acceptance immediately and began making plans for the trip.

With plenty of time to reflect, I thought about my long climb up the mountain of Masonry in search of light. I thought about the odds against anyone's ever making it to the 33rd Degree. I realized that in my case the odds have been even greater. I had made it by hard work and dedication alone. Some men have an edge on selection because of their wealth, political power or prominence. I had none of these.

Like the day I had carried the man all the way to the top of "Shaw Hill" between Camp Butner and Raleigh, I had made it to the top of the Masonic mountain because I was willing to make the effort required and refused to quit. Thinking of this, I felt particularly good about it and wished my mother could know.

I had come a long way since leaving the front gate that terrible day so many years ago. I had come the distance with no help from Uncle Irvin. Who would have thought that the lonely walk, begun so many years ago by that frightened 13-year-old boy, would have led to this point? I had reached the pinnacle - made it all the way to the top.

Some of the most prominent and influential men in the world would undoubtedly be there to participate when I was given this ultimate degree - for me - little Jimmy Shaw, who had gone to work at age five and made it alone since age 13. They would be there to give the 33rd Degree to me. It was really a bit difficult to take it all in.

In order to receive the 33rd Degree it was necessary to go to Washington. D.C. The initiation and related functions were to last three days.

Since Bonnie could participate in practically none of the things I would be doing each day, she decided not to go along. We were both excited as I made preparations to leave. But I was not as excited as I expected to be. The edge was taken off the excitement because, in me, it was mixed with a considerable amount of conviction. Way down deep there was a growing restlessness, an increasing conflict, produced by the things the doctor had been sharing and by all the Scripture I had been reading. Preparing to receive this "ultimate honor" was not as thrilling as it might otherwise have been.

I flew into Washington National Airport and took a taxi to the House of the Temple on Northwest 16th Street. Upon arriving at the Temple I was met by a receptionist who asked if I were there to receive the 33rd Degree. I was surprised to find a women in those sacred Masonic precincts, but said that I was and showed her my letter from the Supreme Council. She then told me that in order to receive the degree, I would be expected to make a "minimum donation" of a very large amount of money (at least it was a "very large" amount for me). This took me completely by surprise for there had not been a word about any such "minimum donation" in the letter sent me by the Supreme Council. I didn't carry that much money with me and had left my checkbook at home but was able to borrow the money from one of the other men and gave it to her. We candidates were all unhappy about this unpleasant surprise and grumbled to one another about it, but were not unhappy enough to forsake the degree over it. We were too close to the "top of the mountain" to turn back at that point.

The House of the Temple is quite impressive - a bit awesome, really. Standing large, grey and silent on the east side of Northwest 16th Street, between "R" and "S" Streets, it looms very wide and tall from the curb. There is a huge expanse of granite pavement in front of it, including three levels of narrowing steps as the entrance is approached. Flanking the entrance are two Sphinx-like granite lions with women's heads, the neck of one entwined by a cobra and decorated with the "ankh" (the Egyptian symbol of life and deity).

Adorning the neck and breast of the other is an image of a women, symbolic of fertility and procreation. In the pavement, just in front of the tall bronze doors, are two Egyptian swords with curved, serpentine blades and, between the two swords, brass letters, set into stone, saying, "The Temple of the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third and Last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite."

Over the tall, bronze doors, cut into the stone, is the statement, "Freemasonry Builds Its Temples in the Hearts of Men and Among Nations." (1)

High above the entrance, partially concealed by stone columns, is an elaborate image of the Egyptian sun god, backed with radiating sun and flanked by six large, golden snakes.

Inside is elegance: polished marble, exotic wood, gold and statuary. There are offices, a library, dining room, kitchen, Council Room, "Temple Room" and a large meeting room. This room is like a luxurious theater, rather elegantly furnished and decorated.

The ceiling is dark blue, with lights set into it to give the appearance of stars. These lights can even be made to "twinkle" like stars in the sky. There is a stage, well-equipped, and it is all very nicely done. But the thing that is most noticeable is the way the walls are decorated with serpents. There are all kinds; some very long and large. Many of the Scottish Rite degrees include the representation of serpents and I recognized them among those decorating the walls.

It was all most impressive and gave me a strange mixture of the sensations of being in a temple and in a tomb - something sacred but threatening. I saw busts of outstanding men of the Rite including two of Albert Pike, who is buried there in the wall.

The first day was devoted to registration, briefings and interviews. We were called into one of the offices, one at a time, and interviewed by three members of the Supreme Council.

When my turn came I was ushered into the office and seated. The very first question I was asked was, "Of what religion are you?" Not long before this I would have answered with something like, "I believe the Ancient Mysteries, the 'Old Religion,' and I believe in reincarnation." However, without thinking at all about how to answer, I found myself saying, "I am a Christian."

Then, to my sup rise and theirs, I asked them, "Are you men born again?" The man in charge quickly stopped me by saying, "We're not here to talk about that - we are here to ask you questions."

After they sent me back out I sat down and thought about it. When the next man came out, I asked him, "Did they ask you if you are a Christian?" He said, "Yes, they did."

"What did you tell them?" I asked, and he replied, "I told them 'Hell no, and I never intend to be!'"

Then he said a strange thing to me, "They said I'm going higher," and he left through a different door, looking pleased.

The second day was the day of the actual initiation, held in the theater-like meeting room. Those of us who were receiving the degree were seated and the ceremony was "exemplified" (acted out in full costume) before us, in the same way that we had performed the lesser degrees of the Scottish Rite all those years. The parts in the exemplification were played by men of the 33rd Degree.

The representative candidate was dressed in black trousers, barefooted, bareheaded and draped in a long, black robe that reminded me of a very long, black raincoat. He had a black cable tow around his neck but was not hoodwinked. During the initiation he was led around the stage, conducted by two men with swords, as the degree was performed for us.

Instructions and signs were given. Upon the altar were four "holy books" (the Bible, the Koran, the Book of the Law and the Hindu Scriptures). At one point the "candidate" was told to kiss the book "of your religion" and, representing us all, he leaned forward and did so. I remembered the First Degree initiation, when I was told to kiss the Bible, and at that moment something came full cycle. It was the final such kiss to be a part of my life.

When it was time for the final obligation we all stood and repeated the oath with the representative candidate, administered by the Sovereign Grand Inspector General. We then swore true allegiance to the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, above all other allegiances, and swore never to recognize any other brother as being a member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry unless he also recognizes the Supreme authority of "this Supreme Council".

One of the Conductors then handed the "candidate" a human skull, upside down, with wine in it. "May this wine I now drink become a deadly poison to me, as the Hemlock juice drunk by Socrates, should I ever knowingly or willfully violate the same" (the oath).

He then drank the wine. A skeleton (one of the brothers dressed like one - he looked very convincing) then stepped out of the shadows and threw his arms around the "candidate." Then he (and we) continued the sealing of the obligation by saying, "And may these cold arms forever encircle me should I ever knowingly or willfully violate the same."

The Sovereign Grand Commander closed the meeting of the Supreme Council "with the Mystic Number," striking with his sword five, three, one and then two times. After the closing prayer, we all said "amen, amen, amen," and it was over.

There were some extremely prominent men there that day, including a Scandinavian King, two former presidents of the United States, an internationally prominent evangelist, two other internationally prominent clergymen, and a very high official of the federal government, the one who actually presented me with the certificate of the 33rd Degree. Some made only brief appearances; others stayed much longer. However, they didn't do much mixing or socializing with us, except for those whom they already knew. Even though these celebrities weren't extremely "brotherly," it was still quite an experience for me just to be associated with them. It was easily the largest gathering of such prominent and influential men of which I have ever been a part.

The third day there was a banquet to celebrate our becoming "Grand Inspectors General. 33rd Degree." The banquet was a little anticlimactic, at least for me, and I was anxious to get it over with so I could return home. It was good to be a 33rd at last. But it wasn't as exciting or fulfilling as I had thought it would be during all those years in the Craft. I guess this was because of the profound changes going on down deep within me.

I returned home as soon as the 33rd Degree award and related social functions were finished, for it was time for my next appointment with the doctor. After he had examined my eyes he said they were healing fine, that he felt good about the way they were looking, and as usual he spoke with me about the Lord. I told him that I planned to come to his church the next Sunday and that I had been reading the Bible.

Obviously pleased, he said, "Good. Keep studying, and your sight will soon be much better." By this time I knew what he meant - he was speaking of my spiritual sight.

In the Scottish Rite the Thursday before Easter, "Maundy Thursday," is an important day. On this day we always performed a special service of Communion in the local Scottish Rite Temple. At this time I was Wise Master in the Chapter of Rose Croix and it was my job to preside over the exemplification (dramatization) of the ceremony. I had done this many times and was known for my knowledge of the service and for "doing a good job" of putting it on.

On Thursday evening we gathered at our home Temple and dressed for the ceremony. It was always a most solemn occasion and seemed a little awesome, even to those of us who had done it many times.

Dressed in long, black, hooded robes, we marched in, single file, with only our faces partly showing, and took our seats.

There was something very tomb-like about the setting. The silence was broken only by the organ, playing mournfully in the background, and there was no light except for the little that came through the windows. After the opening prayer (from which the name of Jesus Christ was conspicuously excluded), I stood and opened the service.

As I had done so many times before, I said, "We meet this day to commemorate the death of our 'Most Wise and Perfect Master,' not as inspired or divine, for this is not for us to decide, but as at least the greatest of the apostles of mankind."

As I spoke these words that I had spoken so many times before, I had a strange and powerful experience. It was as if I were standing apart, listening to myself as I spoke, and the words echoed deep within me, shouting their significance. They were the same words I had spoken so many times before, but had meaning for me now. They made me sick, literally ill, and I stopped.

The realization of what I had just said grew within me like the rising of a crescendo. I had just called Jesus an "apostle of mankind" who was neither inspired nor divine! There was a silent pause that seemed to last a very long time as I struggled with a sick smothering within.

When I was finally able, I continued with the service and we gathered around a large table across the room in marching order. The table was long, shaped like a cross, and covered with a red cloth which was decorated down the center with roses.

Once we were assembled at the table, I elevated (lifted high) the plate of bread, took a piece, put my hand on the shoulder of the man in front of me, gave him the plate and said, "Take, eat, and give to the hungry."

This continued until all had partaken of the bread. Then I lifted up the goblet of wine, took a sip, and said, "Take, drink, and give to the thirsty."

Again, this continued until all had partaken of the wine.

Then I took the bread, walked over to the first row of spectators and served it to the man previously chosen for the honor of representing the rest of the Lodge

As I handed it to him I again said, "Take, eat, and give to the hungry."

In like manner I served the wine to him saying, "Take, drink, and give to the thirsty," and he sat down.

After this we took our places at the table shaped like a cross and sat down. The setting was dark, our long, sweeping robes were solid black, our faces nearly concealed in the hoods, and the mood was one of heavy gloom. The Christ-less prayers and the hymns we sang fit right in. The one word that would describe the entire event would be "black." It was, indeed, a Black Communion - a strange Black Mass.

There was a large Menorah (candlestick with seven candle holders) in the center of the room, with seven candles now burning.

Standing again, I said, "This is indeed a sad day, for we have lost our Master. We may never see him again. He is dead! Mourn, weep and cry, for he is gone."

Then I asked the officers to extinguish the candles in the large Menorah. One by one they rose, walked to the center of the room, extinguished a selected candle and left the room.

Finally, with only the center candle still burning, I arose, walked sadly to the Menorah and extinguished the last candle - the candle representing the life of Jesus, our "Most Wise and Perfect Master." We had dramatized and commemorated the snuffing out of the life of Jesus, without once mentioning his name, and the scene ended with the room in deep silent darkness. I walked out of the room, leaving only the darkness and the stillness of death.

Once again, the single word best to describe it would be "black."

All through the service I was shaking and sick. I have never felt so sad. I had stumbled over the words but, somehow, I made it to the completion of the ceremony and went back to the dressing room. I still didn't know much about praying but felt that I had been sustained by the Lord through it all.

Back in the dressing room we hung up our black, hooded robes, put our street clothes back on and prepared to leave. Less than two hours had passed since I arrived. But what had happened in that period of time had changed my life forever.

Still sick in my heart, I changed clothes without a word to anyone. The others asked me what was wrong. But I couldn't reply.

They reminded me that I had acted as Wise Master so many times before, that I was known for my smooth performance of it, and they asked what had gone wrong.

I was choking on the awful reality of what we had said and done, the way we had blasphemed the Lord, and the evil, black mockery we had made of His pure and selfless death. With weeping welling up within me. I could only shake my head in silence and walk out.

Mike was waiting for me at the door, expecting to get a ride home, and he asked, "What's the matter, Jim? Are you sick?"

Finally able to speak, I quietly replied, "No, Mike, I'm just sick of all this."

I started down the wide steps in front of the large Scottish Rite Temple, realization and conviction growing within me, reached the bottom step and stopped. Turning around, I looked back at the huge, granite building and slowly studied the words, carved in the stone across the top of the entrance: "ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY."

Something came clearly into focus in my understanding and I made a decision. This crisis point in my life, one which had required so many years for me to reach, passed in seconds. The truth was revealed and the choice was made - a choice that would be the difference between darkness and light, death and life, one that would last for eternity. Looking up at those words I had walked under so many times, words of which I had been so proud, I spoke to myself out loud. It was as if I were the only man in the world as I heard myself say, slowly and deliberately, "It isn't ancient, it isn't Scottish, it isn't free, and it isn't right!"

I turned away and walked into the parking lot, knowing that I would never return. As I walked into the deepening darkness of that springtime night, I was walking into the growing light of the living God. As the natural darkness closed around me, the supernatural light welled up within me. With every step I took, as the Temple receded behind me, I was more free.

"I will never return," I thought with each step. "I will never return, I will never return...."

The decision was made, the die was cast. From that night onward I would serve the true and living God, not the Great Architect of the Universe. I would exalt and learn of Him, not Osiris, Krishna or Demeter. I would seek and follow Jesus, not the will--the-wisp of "hidden wisdom."

I was walking, after such a long time, out of the darkness and into the light.

1 This statement is an interesting contradiction with the Temple it adorns, as well as with the thousands of other such Masonic temples built around the World at a total cost of many billions of dollars.

As this true story is closed, I would be greatly remiss if I did not make it clear that in my pre-Christian life I truly loved Freemasonry. I loved the men with whom I was associated in the Lodge and the men with whom I worked so hard in the degrees and bodies of the Scottish Rite. Most of all, I was so very sure that I was doing what was right and pleasing in the sight of the Great Architect of the Universe.

Never in all my years of dedicated service to Masonry did anyone in the Lodge witness to me about the love and saving grace of Jesus. The Lodge attended a church once each year as a group. Each time the pastor (who was himself a Mason) would introduce us to the congregation and then exalt the Craft, telling them about all our wonderful works. We usually left the church thinking of how wonderful we were and feeling sorry for all those in the church who were not Masons, participating in all our good deeds.

After having been witnessed to by my ophthalmologist for some time I read those simple, wonderful words of Jesus, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life." These words, so short and so sweet, went right through my heart. I looked in the Bible for more and I found blessed assurance everywhere I looked. Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, really loved me as a real Brother! He will do the same for you.

- Jim Shaw
[Image: Palestinian_Dawn_by_Palestinian_Pride.jpg]
02-02-2008, 08:49 AM,
A Freemason's 33rd Degree Initiation
He has long since been exposed -


If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their
tongues but deceive their heart, their religion is worthless.

--James 1:26

Who should be better able to "reveal the secrets of the lodge" than a former Mason, especially one who achieved significant recognition within Masonry? This is the promise that The Deadly Deception holds out for its readers.

The Reverend James D. Shaw and Mr. Tom McKenney coauthored this engaging book. It tells the story of Rev. Shaw, from becoming a Mason to joining the Scottish Rite to leaving the Fraternity. Rev. Shaw became a Christian and decided that it was his duty to "expose" Freemasonry to save other men from being victims of its deadly deception. The reader should expect a higher standard of accuracy from Rev. Shaw's story because of the years he spent in Masonry.

The Cover of the Book
We begin our analysis of Rev. Shaw's accuracy without going any farther than the cover of his book. Six claims are made there, four of which are deliberate, verifiable lies. It does not bode well for the accuracy of the contents, if the cover achieves no more than 33% of the truth. We examine the claims individually and through them Rev. Shaw's devotion to truth.

SHAW'S FIRST CLAIM. The full title of the book is The Deadly Deception: Freemasonry Exposed by One of Its Top Leaders. It is laughable to suggest that Rev. Shaw was ever a "top leader" of Freemasonry. He served the Craft decently during his membership and received recognition for his work, but he never attained any position of prominence. Rev. Shaw's co-author, Tom C. McKenney, however, was apparently embarrassed at this claim.

I would like to explain to you that disputed "one of Masonry's top leaders" statement in the subtitle. That was insisted upon by the publisher; I argued against the word "top" for at least an hour on the phone, but he had his way. At any rate, it is a completely imprecise term; it could mean he was one of the top two, or one of the top two million ... but I'd like for you to know how it arrived in the subtitle, which I though was much too lurid (I also argued against "exposed," but lost that one too).(82)

The claim, however, is harmless puffery, well within acceptable limits for advertising. THE TRUTH

SHAW'S SECOND CLAIM. The cover claims Rev. Shaw was "Past Worshipful Master, blue lodge." To be elected and to serve as Master of a lodge is a great privilege and honor for any Mason. By identifying himself as a Past Master, Rev. Shaw seeks to establish himself as one who has achieved Masonic recognition through hard work. As with so many of his statements about Masonry, the factual record establishes something quite different.

Rev. Shaw received the First Degree in Masonry on September 11, 1945, in Evergreen Lodge No. 713 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Second and Third Degrees were conferred by courtesy in Biscayne Bay Lodge No. 124, Miami, Florida on May 21 and July 23, 1946. He transferred his membership to Allapattah Lodge No. 271 in Florida on July 1, 1952, and remained a member until his resignation on October 25, 1966. He never held office in any Masonic lodge or affiliated body in Indiana.(83)

In 1964 he was appointed Junior Steward of Allapattah Lodge, in 1965 he was appointed Junior Deacon, and on October 25, 1966, he resigned from Masonry. The names of the principal elected officers of every Florida lodge, the Master and Senior and Junior Wardens, are published annually in the Proceedings of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge F.&A.M. of Florida. These Proceedings can be inspected in any of the 300+ Florida lodges. The name of James Dayton Shaw never appeared in the list of elected lodge officers. He was never elected an officer in Allapattah Lodge, much less Master of the lodge. A LIE


Officers of Allapatah Lodge No. 271, F.&A.M.
Miami, Florida

Extracted from the 1952-1967
Proceedings of the MW Grand Lodge F.&A.M. of Florida


1967 -- Edwin A. Horborouny
1966 -- George B. Tate
1965 -- David K. Hellings
1964 -- Arthur W. Scott, Jr.
1963 -- Garnet R. McGlocklin
1962 -- Marshall R. Dyer
1961 -- Daniel L. Beebe
1960 -- Robert K. Overstreet
1959 -- Melvin C. Foster
1958 -- John R. Gillette
1957 -- Charles L. McCord
1956 -- Jack M. Harris
1955 -- Donald K. Curry
1954 -- Harold E. Harris
1953 -- Justus P. Bailey
1952 -- Alto V. Harrison

Senior Warden

1967 -- Raymond D. Slattery
1966 - Edwin A. Horborouny
1965 -- George B. Tate
1964 -- David K. Hellings
1963 -- Arthur W. Scott, Jr.
1962 -- Garnet R. McGlocklin
1961 -- Marshall R. Dyer
1960 -- Daniel L. Beebe
1959 -- Robert K. Overstreet
1958 -- Melvin C. Foster
1957 -- John R. Gillette
1956 -- Charles L. McCord
1955 -- Jack M. Harris
1954 -- Donald K. Curry
1953 -- Harold E. Harris
1952 -- Justus P. Bailey

Junior Warden

1967 -- Lester R. Grant, Jr.
1966 -- Raymond D. Slattery
1965 -- Edwin A. Horborouny
1964 -- George B. Tate
1963 -- David K. Hellings
1962 -- Arthur W. Scott, Jr.
1961 -- Garnet R. McGlocklin
1960 -- Marshall R. Dyer
1959 -- Daniel L. Beebe
1958 -- Robert K. Overstreet
1957 -- Melvin C. Foster
1956 -- John R. Gillette
1955 -- Charles L. McCord
1954 -- Jack M. Harris
1953 -- Donald K. Curry
1952 -- Harold E. Harris


1955-65 -- Justus P. Bailey
1952-54 -- Joseph G. Roberts


1955-67 -- Harold E. Harris
1952-54 -- Robert K. Overstreet

Above: A listing of all Masters, Wardens, Secretaries and Treasurers of Allapattah Lodge No. 271, from 1952-1967, of which Rev. Shaw falsely claimed to be a Past Master (cf. The Deadly Deception, p. 79).


SHAW'S FOURTH CLAIM. Rev. Shaw was indeed invested with the rank and decoration of a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour on December 18, 1965. The award was honorably earned and is properly claimed on the cover of his book. THE TRUTH

Figure 8. An excerpt of the listing of the 1965 Florida recipients of the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, showing the name of James D. Shaw. From Transactions of the Supreme Council, 33� S.J., pp.224-25.


SHAW'S FIFTH CLAIM. The 33º is an important honor in the Scottish Rite, limited to about 1% of all Scottish Rite Masons. It cannot be applied for, and must be denied if requested. It can be falsely claimed, however, by anyone brazen enough to steal the title. This is what Rev. Shaw has done.

Although he never provided the exact date, Rev. Shaw gave some hint as to the date of his alleged reception of the Thirty-third Degree.

...I had been a K.C.C.H. for only four years. A man cannot even be considered for the 33rd Degree until he has been a K.C.C.H. four years. I was being considered for the 33rd in the minimum time!(84)

He resigned from Masonry on October 25, 1966, ten months after receiving his K.C.C.H. and thirty-seven months before reaching the four year mark. In special circumstances The Supreme Council, 33º, S.J., may wave the traditional four year period between the K.C.C.H. and its bestowal of the Thirty-third Degree. In such cases the recipient has performed an extraordinary labor benefitting and/or honoring the Fraternity. The Supreme Council, 33º, N.M.J. may also wave its traditional period for similar reasons. An example of the latter was the bestowal of the Honorary Thirty-third Degree on John J. Robinson just before his death. Mr. Robinson was a popular author and lecturer who publically defended Freemasonry though not a Mason himself. Shortly after joining the fraternity in 1993, when it became known that Robinson was terminally ill, The Supreme Council, 33º, N.M.J. exercised its right to confer the Honorary Thirty-third Degree on him, in recognition of his extraordinary labors.

Figure 9. The special conferral of the 33d Degree on John J. Robinson as published in the Abstract of the Proceedings of the Supreme Council (Lexington, Mass., 1993), p.74.


Although Rev. Shaw served decently in the few positions he held while an active Mason, he was relatively unknown outside of his local circle, and did nothing which would have warranted his reception of an Honorary Thirty-third Degree.
All Masons elected to the 33º have their names published in the Transactions of the Supreme Council. These volumes are easily available for inspection in any Scottish Rite body in the Southern Jurisdiction. The name of James Dayton Shaw was never listed as the recipient of the 33º, despite his claims to the contrary. YET ANOTHER LIE

Figure 10. The listing of the 1969 Florida recipients of the Thirty-third Degree conferred in Washington, D.C. Although Rev. Shaw claimed he received the Thirty-third Degree four years after receiving the K.C.C.H. in 1965 (cf. The Deadly Deception, pp. 89-90, 99-105), his name is not found. From Transactions of the Supreme Council, 33�, S.J., pp. 42-43.


SHAW'S SIXTH CLAIM. The upper right-hand corner of the book's cover has a bright red, eye-catching band with this come-on, "The 33rd Degree initiation ceremony revealed for the first time in history!" Rev. Shaw takes almost seven pages in the book to describe the events leading up to his so-called receipt of the 33º. The ceremony he describes is not based on his personal experience, but was rather been plagiarized from another source. The source Rev. Shaw selected was an exposé of the Cerneau 33º ritual in Jonathan Blanchard's Scotch Rite Masonry Illustrated, which has been in print since 1888. It helped Rev. Shaw in his deception that such sources are easy to come by. A casual search shows that authors have "revealed" versions of the Thirty-Third Degree initiation ceremony repeatedly since at least 1813. A partial listing is given below.


1813--"Souverain-Grand-Inspecteur-Général," in [François H. Stanislaus Delaunay], Thuileur des Trente-trois Degrés de L'Ecossisme di Rit Ancien, dit Accepté, Paris: Delaunay, Libraire, Palais-Royal, 1813, 1821.

1829--"Sovereign Grand Inspector General," in David Bernard, Light on Masonry, Utica, N.Y.: William Williams, 1829.

1830--"Souverain Grand Inspecteur Général," in Vuillaume, Manuel Maçonnique ou Tuileur des Divers Rites de Trente-trois Degrés de L'Ecossisme di Rit Ancien, Maçonnerie Practiqués en France, 1830 (reprint ed.; Paris: Dervy-Livres, 1975)

1843--"Réception au 33ème degré," in F. T. B. Clavel, Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc-Maçonnerie, Paris: N.p., 1843.

1857--"Sovereign Grand Inspector General," in Charles Laffon de Ladebat, Thirty-Third Degree and Last of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite: Sovereign Grand Inspector General, New Orleans: N.p., 1857.

1860--"Sovereign Grand Inspector General," in Jabez Richardson, Richardson's Monitor of Free-Masonry, New York: Fitzgerald, 1860.

1860--"Sobrano Gran Inspector General," in Andres Cassard, Manual de la Masoneria, New York: Macoy, 1860.

1861--"Souverain Grand Inspecteur Général," in Jean-Baptiste Marie Ragon, Tuileur Général de la Franc-Maçonnerie, ou Manuel de l'Initié, Paris: Collignon, 1861.

1872--"Old Cahier of the 33rd Degree," in Albert Pike, Grand Constitutions of Freemasonry, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, New York: Masonic Publishing Co., 1872.

1888--"Sovereign Grand Inspector General," in Jonathan Blanchard, Scotch Rite Masonry Illustrated, 2 vols., Chicago: Ezra A. Cook, 1887-1888.

1890--"Sovereign Grand Inspector General," in Secret Societies Illustrated, Chicago: Ezra A. Cook, ca. 1890.

1923--"Sovereign Grand Inspector-General," in Arthur Edward Waite, A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 2 vols., rev. ed., London: Rider & Co., 1923.

1933--"Official Ritual of the 33rd and Last Degree of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite," in Paul Rosen, Satan et Cie, Paris: 1888, excerpted in Edith Starr Miller, Occult Theocrasy, 2 vols., 1933, reprint, Hawthorn, Calif.: Christian Book Club, 1968, 1976, 1980.

1933--"33d Degree--Knight Grand Inspector General," in W. J. Coombes, trans., E. J. Marconis de Negre, The Sanctuary of Memphis or Hermes, [N.C.]: Nocalore, 1933.

1946--S. Farina, "Sovrano Grande Ispettore Generale" in Il Libro Completo dei Rituali Massonici Rito Scozzese Antico ed Accettato. Rome: n.p. 1946.

1984--"Soverain Grand Inspecteur Général," in Paul Naudon, Histoire, Rituels et Tuileur des Haut Grades Maçonniques, Paris, Dervy-Livres, 1984.

A naïve anti-Mason might be forgiven for not knowing that the Thirty-Third Degree has been "exposed" for the better part of two centuries. Rev. Shaw, however, obviously knew about at least one such "exposure" because he lied about receiving the degree. Not only did Rev. Shaw lie about receiving the Thirty-Third Degree himself, he did not have the intellectual integrity to cite the source he pilfered for his so-called description. THE FOURTH LIE ON THE COVER

These lies could not have resulted from simple misunderstandings; they were carefully calculated to deceive the trusting. Since at least 1976, Rev. Shaw has been making similar claims, one assumes to increase his importance in the eyes of his readers.

I was not willing to be just a "card carrier." I was too eager for that. So I served in all the chairs and ultimately became Worshipful Master of the lodge. I pursued the degrees of the Scottish Rite and joined the Shrine in my quest for preeminence in the eyes of men. In time I became Past Master to all Scottish Rite Bodies. And finally was selected for the coveted 33rd Degree, and was made a 33rd Degree Mason in House of The Temple in Washington, D.C.(85)

Before getting to even the first page of The Deadly Deception, the reader is deliberately deceived with four verifiable lies. They seem intended to boost the reputation of Rev. Shaw as an important former Mason, to reinforce the believability of his story, and to increase the sales of his book. They obviously are not intended to promote the truth.

The Cost of the Thirty-Second Degree
On page 59 Rev. Shaw describes joining the Scottish Rite. On page 63 endnote 1 to this description amplifies the cost of "going all the way to the 32nd Degree."

The Secretary greeted me and explained the nature and structure of the Scottish Rite. . . . He said that some men could not afford to take all of the degrees at one Reunion because of the cost.1

1There is a price to be paid, in dollars, for all "earned" Masonic degrees, from Entered Apprentice to the 32nd Degree. Dollar values change with time and fees vary some from place to place, but the total cost of going all the way to the 32nd Degree can be very substantial, well into the thousands of dollars today.

It's not clear what the authors intended by this aside, unless it was to suggest an extravagant waste of money by Masons for initiation fees. A copy of Rev. Shaw's Scottish Rite petition, dated August 14, 1952, shows the true state of affairs (see Figure 11).

Figure 11. Portion of the Reverend James D. Shaw's 1952 Scottish Rite Petition showing cost of fees and dues.


The cost in 1952 for the Fourth through Thirty-Second Degrees, "including Patent [membership certificate], [gold 14�] Ring, and Copy of Morals and Dogma" was $160. Rev. Shaw chose to purchase a 32� cap for $7.50. So his complete cost for joining the Miami Scottish Rite was $167.50. During his 15 years of membership, he paid a total of $107.50 in annual dues: $7.50 dues annually for 1953 to 1966 plus $2.50 pro rated dues for 1952 (see Figure 12).

Figure 12. "Members Record Card" of the Reverend James Dayton Shaw, from Miami, Florida Scottish Rite.


The cost of joining the Scottish Rite in Miami has not kept pace with inflation. The fees in 1993 for the 4­32, including patent, 14 ring in a lucite pyramid, and a 32 cap is $200. Rex Hutchens's A Bridge to Light is now given to new members rather than Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma. Members wanting a 14 ring to wear must make a separate purchase.

When joining Evergreen Lodge No. 713 in 1945, Rev. Shaw paid $50.00 in initiation fees for the 1­3, Entered Apprentice to Master Mason; his annual dues then were $7.00. By 1993 the initiation fees of Evergreen Lodge had risen to $125.00 and the annual dues had risen to $56.00.

Rev. Shaw's entire cost for the 1­32 was $217.50 and his total annual dues then were $14.50. The cost now for the 1­32 is $325.00 and annual dues are $96.00. This is far from being "well into the thousands of dollars today."

Scottish Rite Obligations
As he continues his summary of joining the Scottish Rite, Rev. Shaw describes receiving the Fourth Degree on pages 60-61. Endnote 2 on page 63 amplifies the obligations of the degrees.

The Fourth Degree was put on just like a play, with one candidate chosen from the class to represent us all as he participated. The presentation went on until time to take the oath at the end. At this time we were told to stand, put our hands over our hearts and repeat the oath2 of obligation. . . .

2There was a blood-oath of obligation for each degree, as in the Blue lodge.

This description of the twenty-nine Scottish Rite obligations certainly sounds ominous, but it overlooks a few niceties of fact. To start with, there have been no symbolic physical penalties in the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, since about 1860, and there have never been any actual physical penalties. Here is what Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia says about the matter.

Albert Pike, in revising the rituals of the Southern Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite about 1855­1860, completely eradicated all such penalties from the degrees and substituted mental, moral, and symbolic condemnation, and that example was followed in the Northern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite about the middle of the 20th century.(86)

Rev. Shaw received the Scottish Rite degrees and conferred them for years. He knows as well as any Mason that there are no "blood oaths" in the Scottish Rite.

Why Must We Always Do So Much Drinking?
Rev. Shaw describes traveling to a "conclave" in a distant city to receive the Knight Commander of the Court of Honour (K.C.C.H.). In his story he makes an aside about drinking, much like his comment about the cost of the Scottish Rite degrees. There is a subtle attempt by the authors to vilify Masons without the courage of making direct charges.

There was a great deal of drinking at the Conclave and it bothered me. "Why must we always do so much drinking?" I asked myself, but had no answer. I enjoyed a little drinking and did it regularly. But it bothered me that there was always so much of it and that it played such a major role in the Masonic life.(87)

The Grand Lodge of Florida, like most other American grand lodges, firmly forbids the sale or consumption of alcohol at any lodge function. Here is the 1954 regulation on alcoholic beverages that governed Florida lodges when Rev. Shaw joined.

28.06 (398) No particular Lodge shall allow its properties or any part thereof to be used for the purpose of conducting or carrying on a liquor business or for the dispensing of alcoholic beverages in any form.(88)

In 1975 the regulation was unchanged, though the following decision had been added to clarify the law. "The serving of any intoxicating beverage in Masonic Temples or Lodge Rooms or at Masonic banquets is forbidden by Masonic Law. (1969 Proc. 58, 212)"(89) Bro. William Wolf, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Florida, summarized the 1993 rules governing alcohol in Florida lodges.

. . . the Grand Lodge of Florida itself does not allow any alcoholic beverages in its ceremonies or the sale or dispensing of any alcoholic beverages on any property that it owns. Nor do we allow a function that is held in a particular lodge or in the Grand Lodge to have any alcoholic beverages for dispensing, such as Grand Master Homecomings, Grand Lodge Dinners, etc.(90)

Equally explicit are the 1953 Statutes of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, to which the Scottish Rite Bodies of Miami hold allegiance. "Art. XV §24. The use of any spirituous, vinous, or malt liquors by any Body is hereby prohibited..." (91)

Neither the Grand Lodge of Florida nor the Supreme Council, S.J., permits alcoholic beverages to be used by any of their subordinate bodies. Florida Masons are bewildered when asked how alcohol "played such a major role in the Masonic life," because there it has no role. What sort of meetings did Rev. Shaw attend where they "always do so much drinking?" It could not have been meetings of the blue lodges or the Scottish Rite bodies in Florida. His statement is cleverly designed to leave the reader with the impression that regular, heavy drinking is the norm at Masonic gatherings.

The Resurrection of Hiram Abif
One of the most subtle frauds of The Deadly Deception is Rev. Shaw's distortion of the legend of Hiram Abif. Rev. Shaw tries to convince his readers that he is a reliable expert on Masonry: "33rd Degree [sic], Knight Commander of the Court of Honour, Past Worshipful Master [sic], blue lodge, Past Master of all Scottish Rite bodies [sic]."(92) How could someone with these credentials not expose the plain truth about Masonic ritual?

The legend of Hiram Abif is a simple story, apparently based upon Hiram the metalworker, mentioned in 1 Kings 7:13. In the Masonic tale, Hiram is the master architect of King Solomon's Temple and one of only three Master Masons, the others being King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre. One day Hiram Abif is accosted by three Fellowcrafts who demand the secrets of a Master Mason. Hiram refuses to betray his trust and is murdered. The murderers are captured and executed. After a search, Hiram's body is removed from its temporary grave and reinterred in the Sanctum Sanctorum. (Such a burial never would have been allowed under Jewish law, but that didn't stop the authors of Masonic legend, who were familiar with the European practice of burying dignitaries beneath the floors of a cathedral.)

The legend is a simple vehicle for teaching fidelity to a trust; it has no basis in historical truth. It seems to have been introduced into Masonic ceremonies shortly before 1730. The legend was first published in 1730 in Masonry Dissected by Samuel Prichard, an exposure of Masonic rituals.

In the Masonic legend the body of Hiram is taken from its temporary grave so it can be given a more suitable burial. Rev. Shaw's description, again, does not agree with the record: "Hiram was not only brought up out of the grave but restored to life."(93) The purpose of this subtle distortion isn't entirely clear, but it seems to be to support Rev. Shaw's charge that Masonry teaches a doctrine of reincarnation to its members.(94) This teaching is offensive to Christians and, if true, would be ample reason for a Christian to leave the lodge.

With the degree work and other Masonic writings as our source, we finally decided that the truth lay in reincarnation and that if we would try to live a good life now, be good to our brother Masons, help the sick and attend to good deeds in general, when we died we would enter the next life on a higher plane--just like going through a door.(95)

This lie is best discredited by Rev. Shaw's fellow anti-Masons who, in this case, have agreed with Masonic writers. Since at least 1723, Masonic ritual has been "exposed" in print, usually with the motives of embarrassing Masons, closing lodges, and making money for the author. For over 250 years these books have sought the same ends as Rev. Shaw, but they have told a story that stands in contrast to his. We quote several representative books to illustrate the consistent version of the Hiramic legend. Rev. Shaw's motives here are unknown but, like his version of the Hiramic legend, are not to be trusted.

Masonry Dissected, Samuel Prichard (London: 1730; reprint, Bloomington, Ill.: The Masonic Book Club, 1977), pp. 28, 29.

Ex. What did King Solomon say to all this?
R. He order'd him to be taken up and decently buried.
Ex. Where was Hiram inter'd?
R. In the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Light on Masonry, David Bernard (Utica, N.Y.: William Williams, 1829), p. 81.

Q. What did they do with the body?
A. Raised it in a masonic form, and carried it up to the temple for more decent interment.

Three Distinct Knocks, anonymous (London: 1760; reprint, Bloomington, Ill.: The Masonic Book Club, 1981), p. 61.

After this King Solomon sent those 12 Crafts to raise their Master Hiram, in order that he might be interred in Sanctum Sanctorum.

Jachin and Boaz, anonymous (London: 1762; reprint, Bloomington, Ill.: The Masonic Book Club, 1981), p. 45.

When the Execution was over, King Solomon sent for the Twelve Crafts, and desired them to take the Body of Hiram up, in order that it might be interred in a solemn Manner in the Sanctum Sanctorum....
"What did they do with the body?"
Ans. "Raised it in a Masonic form and carried it up to the temple for more decent interment."

Morgan's Freemasonry Exposed and Explained, William Morgan (Batavia, [New York]: Printed for the Author, 1826), pp. 88-89.

Q. What did they do with the body?
A. Raised it in a Masonic form and carried it up to the Temple for more decent interment.
Q. Where was it buried?
A. Under the sanctum sanctorum, or holy of holies of King Solomon's Temple....

Secret Societies, Norman MacKenzie (New York: Crescent Books, 1967), pp. 318, 319.

[King Solomon], when the first emotions of his grief had subsided, ordered them to return and raise our Master to such a sepulture, as became his rank and exalted talents. . . . Our Master was ordered to be reinterred as near to the Sanctum Sanctorum as the Israelitish law would permit. . . .

The evidence is clear and consistent. Anti-Masonic authors, all with the intent of harming Masonry, have told the same story for over 250 years, which in this instance happens to agree with what Masons have said. Hiram Abif was murdered and buried in a hastily dug, temporary grave. His body was taken from the grave to be reinterred in, or near (workings vary) the Sanctum Sanctorum. There is no resurrection nor doctrine of reincarnation. The legend of Hiram Abif is not the only thing Rev. Shaw misunderstood while he was a Mason--Freemasonry teaches a reverence for truth to its members.


[ For photographs of Rev. Shaw's letter of resignation, his KCCH dues card,
and other documents showing his Masonic standing, follow this link.]

Link to Chapter Six: T.N. ("Skip") Sampson and "Cornerstone Ministries"

Return to Masonic Anti-Defamation Page


82. Tom C. McKenney, Ocean Springs, Miss., 31 Oct. 1996, to S. Brent Morris, Columbia, Md.

83. Rollin O. Simpson, Grand Secretary, F.&A.M., Indianapolis, Indiana, to S. Brent Morris, Columbia, Md., June 10, 1993, Typescript, In the possession of the author.

84. Shaw and McKenney, p. 90.

85. James D. Shaw, introduction to The Masonic Report by C. F. McQuaig (Norcross, Ga.: Answer Books and Tapes, 1976), n.p.

86. Henry W. Coil, et al., Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia (New York: Macoy Masonic Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., Inc., 1961, 1996), s.v. "Penalties, Masonic."

87. Jim Shaw and Tom McKenney, The Deadly Deception (Lafayette, La.: Huntington House, 1988), p. 83.

88. Grand Lodge of Florida, F.&A.M., Digest of the Masonic Law of Florida F.&A.M. (Tallahassee: Rose Printing Co., 1954), p. 157.

89. Grand Lodge of Florida, F.&A.M., Digest of the Masonic Law of Florida F.&A.M. (Jacksonville, Fla.: Grand Lodge F.&A.M., 1976), p. 245.

90. William G. Wolf, Gr. Secretary, Jacksonville, Fla. to S. Brent Morris, Columbia, Md., Nov. 18, 1992, in the possession of the author.

91. Statutes of the Supreme Council, ([Washington]: [Supreme Council, S.J.], October 1953), p. 60. The prohibition remains in the 1991 Statutes, though renumbered as Art. XV, §25.

92. Shaw and McKenney, cover.

93. Shaw and McKenney, p. 151.

94. Shaw and McKenney, pp. 84­85.

95. Shaw and McKenney, p. 85.

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