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Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland

The origins of Freemasonry are also believed to have important roots in Scotland, where certain experts believe that the founding principles as currently espoused by the Freemasons originated and developed.

Some experts believe that Scotland was one of the countries in which former members of the Knights Templar combined principles and rituals of the Christian military order with the practices of the stonemason guilds of Scotland.

The former Knights fled to Scotland after the termination of the Knights Templar as a result of the disbanding of the Knights Templar and their excommunication by King Robert I of Scotland, which occurred during the fourteenth century.

According to experts, these former knights brought with them the principles, rituals and religious relics that they had fostered during the Crusades in the Holy Land. Some theorists believe that the former members of the Knights incorporated these beliefs and practices with those of the Scottish stonemason guilds of the period, thereby giving rise to symbolic or speculative Freemasonry.

The earliest record of a Masonic institution in the country of Scotland is that founded by John Boswell, Laird of Auchenlaich. Boswell founded the Masonic Lodge of Edinburgh. Documents have been found that testify to the establishment of this early Masonic organization. In fact, minutes from the Masonic Lodgeís minutes have been uncovered, and date to the year 1600. These minutes support the Transition Theory of Freemasonry, which states that men not active in the stonemasonís trade were admitted to the operative masonís lodge as the trade of stonemasonry dwindled. During the latter stages of this decline, these individuals, previously considered outsiders, held increasing authority and control within the Lodge.

In addition, Freemasonry in Scotland continued to flourish in the eighteenth century and the Grand Lodge of Scotland was established in 1736. Currently, the Grand Lodge of Scotland regulates approximately 1100 lodges.

The Freemasons of Scotland adhere to the three main principles of the Freemason tradition. The first of these is brotherly love, which requires members of the organization to demonstrated kindness towards others. The second principle is relief, which requires the individual to have compassion toward others namely through charity works and volunteering. In addition, the principle of truth requires that the individual act on a daily basis according to high moral values. The Scottish Freemasons believe above all in serving God (whatever manifestation of deity they personally believe in) and their neighbor.

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