Reviews of Turning The Hiram Key
Following are reviews, comment and acclaim for Turning The Hiram Key.
Article reproduced by permission of The Square.
Turning the Hiram Key reviewed by
The Custodian of the Wilmshurst Collection
W. Bro. Douglas Inglesent. P.P.J.G.W.
The late Reverend Professor Carsten Thiede was adamant that faith and scholarship should remain separate. "Turning the Hiram Key" by top-selling Masonic writer Dr Robert Lomas follows this dictum, and should be viewed as an invitation to think, rather than a prescriptive statement. Not since W. L. Wilmshurst's books and lodge papers of the 1920s and 30s has there been such a positive and serious study of Freemasonry as a system of spiritual philosophy.
This work extends well beyond the narrow confines of Masonic ceremony covering a wide-ranging, and timely, scientific account of what is known about the effects of spirituality and sexual arousal on the mind and body. (Oxford University is currently in the process of setting up a Centre for The Science of the Mind.) In spite of the breadth of topic the subject matter is concise, surprisingly deep, and able to hold the interest of the non-scientist reader. It gives an extensive list of learned references for those wishing to pursue matters further. This book meets a great need to explain modern brain research and its implications for spirituality. Lomas is a scientist with the skill to communicate with the general public, rather than just with fellow scientists.
The book is written in three parts.
Part 1 covers the emotional aspects of Masonry. It traces the author's entry, starting with his attendance at a female Mason's social event, through joining the order himself, experiencing a near lightning strike, and progressing through the Masonic stages, along with his own reactions to events.
Part 2 is science based and presents much evidence for the interaction in the mind between sexual and spiritual matters. It was said by Gurdjieff that a strong sense of natural spirituality could suppress the sexual impulse, but there was danger inherent in making a conscious decision to do this. (Church leaders note carefully.) Critics of this area really need to produce their own scientific evidence, as Lomas supports his with much current research work.
Part 3 begins with Wilmshurst's deep thoughts on Masonry, "not religious but super sectarian" continuing with his original drawing (never before published), of the masonic journey from the circumference to the centre. Here, the interested reader will be able to cross- reference with the ceremonies in the first part. The path continues with empirical accounts of the sexual, spiritual link via St Theresa and the Renaissance Art commissioned by the Vatican, and includes a conceptual model of this link.
The object of the book is to consider Freemasonry as a spiritual path, yet the author, although an English Mason, finds it necessary to abandon the politics and badges of rank (all chiefs, no Indians) of his mother system and move north to the older and purer realms of Scotland for inspiration. No Past Grand and Provincial Grand Officers strut their peacock aprons there, every member is a brother, even if an elected acting officer. His conclusion considers the future of Freemasonry, and it may be noted that Dr Lomas's daily work brings him into constant touch with thinking young people. Some of the grandees of Great Queen Street would do well to reflect on what he writes in this book.