Ben Franklin: Masonic Founding Father

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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
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
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
 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
 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
 Franklin used his position as a publisher to become a member
of the Freemasons, in order to gain prestige within his
 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
 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
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
 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.