This booklet helps students to learn about Ben Franklin who used his position as a publisher to become a member of the freemasons, also discusses society, spiritual life, and the undisputed facts of Mason.
1. Ben Franklin MASONIC FOUNDING FATHER 1706-1790
2. Early Life Born in 1706 in Boston 15th of 17 children Raised as a Christian Worked for his older brothers printing press Deceived his brother by writing with an alias Fled to Pennsylvania Spent three years in London working as a printer Returned and began work for the Pennsylvania Gazette.
3. Founding Father / Politics / Diplomat Only person to sign the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and the Treaty of Paris, along with other important founding documents and added significant sections to each. •One of oldest Members of the Continental Congress •Wrote Albany Plan of Union •America’s Diplomat to France •Essential in the outcome of the Revolutionary War
4. Science Countless useful inventions including : Lightning Rod Flexible Catheter Bifocals Franklin Stove Glass Armonica http://youtube.com/watch?v=eQemvyyJ--g&feature=related
5. Spiritual Life "I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did." [Benjamin Franklin, letter to his father, 1738] Born and baptized a Presbyterian Not raised orthodox like his parents wished because they couldn’t afford religious education for him At 25, created his list of virtues: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility Married, he and his wife changed allegiance to Anglican Church. Temporarily became an atheist. Became a Deist, and by old age, believed plainly in the virtues of being a good person and helping others
6. Societies Created the Society called “The Junto,” a club for “mutual improvement” with Franklin’s “most ingenious acquaintances.” They were dedicated to learning and societal improvement and were the first society illustrating Franklin’s intellectual curiosity. In 1743, created the American Philosophical Society which still exists today a group dedicated to science where scientists discuss experiments and discoveries. The Freemasons
7. A Mason: Undisputed Facts Franklin was a member of the fraternal organization of the Freemasons, and in 1731, he was inducted into the Masonic lodge of St. John in Philadelphia, the first recognized Masonic Lodge in America The following year, Franklin helped to create the bylaws of his lodge By 1734, he had risen to the highest rank of a Grand Master. Grew to be the highest ranked Mason in Pennsylvania Became Grand Master of the Lodge of Nine Sisters in 1778 in Paris, where he initiated Voltaire.
8. Lesser Known Details of Franklin’s Masonic Involvement Franklin used his position as a publisher to become a member of the Freemasons, in order to gain prestige within his community. At first he wrote good things about them in his newspaper, but they denied him as a candidate. He wrote this in his newspaper just weeks before he was initiated Their Great Secret is THAT THEY HAVE NO SECRET AT ALL; and when once a man is entered he is himself obliged, se defendendo, to carry on the Jest with as solemn a Face as the rest. We shall not use many Words to persuade the Publick that the following Piece is genuine; it carries all the Marks of Truth in itself Franklin, with his publishing power, made the Masons realize that he could use The Gazette either to help them or to destroy them.
9. Loyal Mason Nonetheless Though he used deceit to become a member of the fraternal organization there are many ways to look at what he did. Maybe it was simply to gain prestige But He became as loyal a Mason as any and valued what they stood for Was a member for 60 years from his initiation to his death in 1790 He was very concerned with the betterment of society Was he an opportunist or a man of integrity? Did he work for himself or for society? A patriot or conspirator? A believing practicing Mason or an impostor?
10. Conclusion…Solomon Key? In a sense, Franklin might be argued to embody the definition of an influential figure. Franklin was a complex man, but with simple goals. He wanted success, but more importantly, it seems he wanted success because he knew that with success, he could accomplish more. And there was so much that he wanted to accomplish. He had faith in science and faith in a supreme being. He believed in the future of humanity and in progress. As a result, he became an important member of society and an influential founding father and scientist. His extraordinary qualities as a person, his boundless intellectual curiosity, his desire to create a better society, and his genuine morals of doing good and helping others, are what have and will continue to inspire thinkers and authors of nonfiction and fiction alike around the world. It is for this reason that it would not be a surprise to see Franklin’s name appear in the lines of The Solomon Key, whether he is presented at the heart of a Masonic conspiracy or not.