SHORT TALK BULLETIN

Vol. LXXV No. 10 — October 1997

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THE MEDIA MOGUL

Bro. John J. Robinson's last book was A Pilgrim's Path. In this book Bro. Robinson responds to numerous religious criticisms of Freemasonry as well as writing about the "Evangelist Mentality." We are printing several STB's as a series to help our readers have a response to some of the misleading, inaccurate, and oftentimes untrue statements made by the religious extremists against Freemasonry! (The title The Media Mogul is from a chapter title in the book.)

A Pilgrims Path, by John J. Robinson, was published in 1993 by M. Evans & Co., Inc. in New York City. The book is available in many bookstores or can be ordered through your local bookstore using ISBN 0-87]31-732-X.

A conspiracy revealing book titled Secret Societies and Subversive Movements is listed in the bibliography for Pat Robertson's The New World Order. Written by the British historian Nesta Webster and published in 1924, Secret Societies has been more recently published in a book club edition by the Christian Book Club of America. Robertson asserts that Nesta Webster's writings support his theory of a world takeover conspiracy. What he fails to mention is that Nesta Webster was the most bitter and aggressive anti-Semitic writer of her time. Her conspiracy to take over the world was blamed on the Jews, in cooperation with German bankers, not on the Masons, in cooperation with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank.

Equally forthright about political systems that she admired, Mrs. Webster expressed her attitude toward the Fascist government that Mussolini had established in Italy in 1922. She stated her opinion very clearly: "Fascismo (Fascism) triumphed in Italy, because it was not, as it has been absurdly represented, a reactionary movement, but it was essentially democratic and progressive, because by appealing to the noblest instincts in human nature, to patriotism and self-sacrifice, it rallied all elements in a disorganized and disunited nation around the standard of a common cause."

That declaration, coupled with Mrs. Webster's conclusion that the great conspiracy to rule the world was initiated by a partnership of Jewish and German leaders, causes one to wonder if the English climate in which she worked fogged up her crystal ball from time to time. And how in the world did a work containing so much bigotry and racism become a selection of a Christian book club and serve as a reference work to a man who declares himself to be a great worldwide Christian evangelist?

The one appeal that Secret Societies would have held for Pat Robertson was that Mrs. Webster included in her world conspiracy theory what she termed "Continental Masonry," alternately referenced as the "Grand Orient of France," and an organization known as the "Bavarian Illuminati." Robertson eagerly pounced on those names to link American Freemasonry to his own theories.

The term "Illuminati" (enlightened ones) has been claimed by numerous intellectuals and religious sects from time to time, but the Bavarian Illuminati cited by Nesta Webster referred to the Order of the Illuminati, a secret society born in the mind of a man named Adam Weishaupt and launched on May 1, 1776, in Bavaria. Weishaupt hated the Catholic Church and especially the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. His aims, shared in correspondence with his cohorts, were the abolition of organized religion, the downfall of established rules, and the destruction of national boundaries, so that each man would rule himself. A father would not be only the ruler of his own family, subject to no external laws, but would also be its priest. Weishaupt recognized no deity as such, but appeared to hold that nature is God, so there is no need for an organized church. Weishaupt embraced a communistic view of common ownership, and therefore opposed the concepts of capitalism and private property.

Shortly after forming the Illuminati, Weishaupt joined a Masonic lodge in Munich, with the avowed intention of discovering the "secrets" of Freemasonry. He did not advance very far in the fraternity, but he did formulate a plan to spread his philosophies inside Freemasonry. He urged his followers to become Masons, but he advised them to conceal their antireligious feelings and act like devout Christians. They were to spread their views gradually and to try to persuade their lodge brothers to realize that governments were tyrannical and to join them in lamenting the corruption within the Catholic Church.

Weishaupt's plan worked best in France, where anti-Catholic feeling ran deep, and resentment toward the tyrannical Bourbon monarchy simmered and bubbled, soon to boil over into the French Revolution. The Grand Lodge of France, called the "Grand Orient," was in the forefront of what writers would subsequently refer to as Continental Masonry, and sometimes as Illuminated Freemasonry, to indicate the Illuminati influence.

The essence of that history of the Illuminati and the Grand Orient of France appear in Pat Robertson's book, but nothing of the vital events which took place later. In 1785 an Illuminati emissary on a mission from Bavaria to Silesia was struck dead by lightning. When the body was searched for effects that would yield the name of the dead man, dispatches were found indicating beyond doubt the treasonous nature of the order. A government investigation followed and the Order of the Illuminati was outlawed. Membership in it became a serious criminal offense.

The twisted aims of the Illuminati lived on inside the Grand Orient of France, and it is said that these Illuminated Freemasons played leading roles in the French Revolution of 1789. At that time the Grand Orient had about two thousand lodges and one hundred thousand members.

Since each Grand Lodge is completely autonomous and not subject to control by any other Masonic body, other Masons were unaware of what was going on within the leadership circles of the Grand Orient. In 1887, almost a century after the storming of the Bastille, the Grand Orient had been so thoroughly infused with antireligious zealots that it felt emboldened to make a public declaration. The announcement declared that from that day forward the Grand Orient would set aside some of the most basic principles of Freemasonry. Atheists would be welcome in its lodges: No man had to assert his belief in God or immortality. God would no longer be the object of prayers in the lodge. Its new requirement would be "absolute liberty of conscience, including the acceptability of any man's assertion that there is no God."

British Masonry reacted by severing all ties with the Grand Orient of France; the American Grand Lodges followed soon after. Today, no legitimate Masonic body recognizes the Grand Orient, and no visitations are permitted either way. Even the Catholic Church recognized the schism. It condemned Continental Masons and their political and antireligious goals, while specifically excluding other Masonic Grand Lodges around the world from that condemnation. Nesta Webster, too, acknowledged the need to clarify the issue, referring to "...England, Germany and America...where Freemasonry is not subversive..." However, Pat Robertson, who apparently gleaned his facts on the Illuminati and Illuminated Freemasonry from Secret Societies, fails to mention the true facts about the fate of the Illuminati and the Grand Orient and deliberately encourages his readers to believe that the Illuminated Freemasonry to which he refers is, in fact, American Freemasonry.

The tragedy arising from these distortions and omissions is that, in many quarters, Pat Robertson will be believed. His publishers told me that they have already printed fifty thousand hard-bound copies of The New World Order. That means that tens of thousands of men and women will be misled by a man whom they believe is dedicated to speaking the truth and obeying the will of God.

When a writer depends upon a research staff, it is impossible to tell whether or not he has actually read for himself all the books in his bibliography. If he did read Nesta Webster's Secret Societies for himself, Pat Robertson would certainly have been struck by one line, a quotation from the German historian von Hammer, who said, "It is nothing to the ambitious man what people believe, but it is everything to know how he may turn them for the execution of his projects."

In the middle of his vicious attacks on Masonry, Mr. Robertson cannot keep from preaching his own conscience-free self-righteousness:

"To my mind," he writes, "there is no more monstrous evil than to bring public-spirited, often churchgoing, men into an organization that looks like a fraternal lodge, then deliberately mislead them until they are solid members. Then move them up thirty degrees to the place where they are ready to learn that Satan is the good god waiting to liberate mankind..."

I can think of an evil more monstrous than that: To besmirch the character and reputations of "public-spirited, often churchgoing, men" for no other purpose than to achieve the usual Robertson goals of profits and power.

One special aspect of Robertson's The New World Order seems to have gone unnoticed. A couple of years before Robertson's book, a book was published by an Arizona author named A. Ralph Epperson. It was based on the same central thesis: a Masonic conspiracy to rule the world. As its "evidence," it cited some of the same writings that Robertson used later. It even discussed the same alleged Masonic symbolism in the design of the Great Seal on the U.S. dollar bill, although Robertson appears to present it as his own original thinking. I'm quite certain that Mr. Robertson, if questioned on these points, would claim that they are simply innocent coincidences, although he might take a deep breath before asserting that stand on Epperson's title, which was The New World Order — precisely the same title Robertson used.

If Pat Robertson knows that what he writes is flagrant fabrication, he is a decidedly dangerous man. If, on the other hand, he actually believes what he writes, then this poor man is in dire need of therapy.

The Masonic Service Association of the United States of America