Russell's Talks Reveal his Connections
In the early decades, meetings and public lectures of the "Bible Students" were often held in Masonic temples, and literature distribution also took place from there. Were these just practical decisions, just as even today people rent halls from others when necessary and use offices for subletting? Or did the connections go deeper?
In a 1913 convention address, Russell confessed, "Some of my best friends are Masons ... And I, too, am a accepted Mason." He called Masons not only friends, but even "his brethren." When asked where he got all that secret knowledge, he replied, "From the Greatest Builder ("Grand Master," a typical Masonic expression).
Russell said, "[Jesus Christ] did the great work of founding this great order to which we belong, the Order of Free and Accepted Freemasonry." What a strange statement. Was it just a metaphor, a charming play on words to flatter the hosts of this convention? Or is there more to it?
In the same speech, Russell uses the phrase "Riding the goat," which was a common phrase among early 20th century Masons for the initiation rite into Freemasonry. The goat symbolizes Baphomet.
Interestingly, in the same lecture just a few minutes later, Russell said, "Although I have never been a Freemason ...", in other words, just the opposite.
This resembles a psychological technique called "gaslighting": making contradictory statements intended to confuse the listener and render him incapable of judgment.