Saturday, June 25, 2011


This is a smooth and uplifting memoir with lots of gems of poetry and scripture to enjoy. My Rating:  4.25 of 5.0
Product Description
An adventurous, captivating and poetic memoir of the author's courageous and spiritual journey from Scotland to Canada to Australia in his quest to "find the Truth and know the living God." Neither an apologetic nor a polemic, he corrects much misinterpretation and misunderstanding of Freemasonry. We learn how inspiration from Masonic teachings about Solomon's Temple, the arch, and keystone led him to a deep study of the revelation from the Bible of "the stone the builders rejected"; which is Christ. Readers will be uplifted, inspired, and delighted as they follow along with him in the discovery of his calling to become a minister.

I don’t read lots of memoirs but this ‘life-story’ caught my interest.  Masonry is shrouded in secrecy and not looked upon favorably by fundamental Christian organizations. I thought that reading this book might give me insight to the nature of the Masons. The book goes beyond the nature of Masonry and the real story is the author’s spiritual journey through the Mason's shortcomings.

The book starts with personal background as the author relates how he initially sought  fellowship in the Masons. As I understand from the book, the purpose of the Masons is to encourage men to be good workers and workers of good and this goal was originally founded on Biblical teachings and centered on the building of Solomon's temple. However in the 1800s a directive was made which diluted or stifled the Christian aspects in order to encompass a broader membership of men from all faiths. Although the teachings encourage a relationship with God, it would seem that members are not to push religion nor to even discuss Christ in their lives.

This dichotomy presented a puzzle that gave Mr. McKinlay the impetus to study deeper into scripture. Mr. McKinlay studied first to understand how the scriptures related to the teachings of  Masonry and later how they related to the ‘practices’ or living walk of the Masons. Each level or degree he achieved brought more disenchantment with the practices of the organizations and a more in depth study of God.

As McKinlay studied the Bible he began to see the creator God everywhere in the world around him.  For a time he felt lost, as a spaceman floating without a tether, until he recognized Christ as the only way to God the Father and thereby he found the missing “cornerstone” - the stone that was rejected - Jesus Christ.

I really enjoyed the easy flow and phrasing McKinlay uses. The early chapters at first seemed disjointed but  then I realized that there was a meandering path that moved the journey along, with some side trips in memory. The 'Ministry' section is more direct, perhaps because it is the most recent in time and the author no longer has to tread the fine line of discussing his Masonry experiences. The author does not seem to disclose any real secrets but rather presents revelations of basic tenets and their impact on him with some philosophical insights as well.  He also gives a cogent discussion of the trilogy which is a very difficult concept for many to grasp.  I view the book as a grouping of revelations,  recollections, and reflections on the spiritual awakening in the author’s life.

I admit that sometimes I fold the corners on a page (I know an awful habit) to mark a particularly poignant phrase or point. The problem I found with this book is I was apt to fold every couple of pages as comments repeatedly struck my own spirit. This is an easy read and an enjoyable, as well as informative book.

Three word description: Personal, lyrical, uplifting.

Next Review by: adayriddle "Abbie"
 Dispell the Darkness and secrecy, May 13, 2011
This review is from: From Mason to Minister: Through the Lattice (Hardcover)
Written by a once high level mason this book chronicles his journey to discover the Living God. The hot and often debated topic of whether the Masonic Lodges are a cult or not is openly discussed in light of the scriptures. I was very interested in this book as I have a Great Grandfather that was a high level Mason and Shriner. On his death bed he accepted Christ and renounced the Lodges. 

I found this book to be excellent as a resource for Pastors and others to show those wondering about the workings and truth of the Lodges. In these pages the reader follows the journey of Neil Cullan McKinlay as he wades the vague fog of the Lodges into the true and redeeming light of true Christianity. 

McKinlay does a sound job at showing in an unbiased way the difference between what the Lodge proclaims and what it actually practice and how these very things contradict the teaching of the bible. 

An intriguing journey into the shadowy secrets of the Lodges this book guides readers through the secret rites and teachings of a closed cult. I found it rather ironic that the bible presented to McKinlay upon his entrance into the Lodges was the very book that led to his acceptence of Christ. 

A great easy read. Very informative and very biblically sound. If you are interested in understanding just how far off this lodge is from true christianity this book will clearly answer your questions. 

Next Review by 
 Secret cults are for fools and the dead~!!, June 10, 2011
This review is from: From Mason to Minister: Through the Lattice (Hardcover)
From Mason To Minister: Through The Lattice is a poetic memoir of author, Neil Cullan McKinlay's quest to find the truth while knowing God. 

Neil Cullan McKinlay was born in Canada, raised in Scotland and now lives in Australia. As a child, his family never mentioned anything about Jesus Christ, his childhood home was such that they didn't worship or live by the laws of God. He was disappointed to learn that his father was not a Freemason and Neil wondered and worked towards becoming one himself. 

After moving back to Canada in his young adulthood, Neil finds his way to the Mason meetings and the tenets that are required to climb through the degrees of masonry! With great detail given to the performance one is required to climb the ranks, such as, writing essays, performing plays and taking oaths of secrecy etc. Neil was sure he was at the top of his game, belonging to a prestigious club for men, he could reach his dreams and goals, however, he was left disheartened. 

With all the pageantry and analogies that make up Freemasonry, Neil feels like there is something missing from his life. The Masons explained religion in a textbook style with much hypocrisy, very few of the men who took the vows, actually lived by them. It was all pomp and circumstance and Neil's time with the Masons was short-lived when he came to truly know Jesus Christ and the Living God. 

Turning back on the dogma of the Masons, Neil becomes an ordained minister and preaches to the people the real truth. The decision to reveal all he knows about the Masons, came with much consternation and thought, and putting his faith in God, he choose to share all the secrets that the Free Masons hold so dear. 

I find the subject material fascinating, however, the prose itself is dry, with a lot of rehashing of thoughts from the author. I enjoyed watching the migration of Neil's religious patterns, his questions are solid and the answers he finds hold true to his self. I loved how he listened to the messages from God that he was receiving that his life could be better fulfilled, preaching, instead of being a lackey to a mega organization whose secrets run deeper than time itself. 

I really enjoyed all the historical references shared, as well as, the courage it took to write this book. After reading Neil's account of Free Mason initiations to the next degree or level, I have to wonder how grown men could behave in such a childish manner, then I shuddered thinking these same men hold many powerful positions in our society. 

Frankly, many of the situations the Free Masons practice are dangerously close to homosexual acts, in my honest opinion. Men getting together to dress up and act out plays is a very strange custom to have read about and lets not forget, it appears very "cultish" . I have never read some of the rites that Neil has shared with the reader and was most appalled to learn what I did. REALLY?? Men behave in such a manner, well, its no wonder our world is in such a desolate situation. I commend Neil Cullan McKinlay for stepping away from such barbaric and childish behaviour and walking the true path to enlightment! 

The book clearly emphasizes the differences between the God of the Freemasons and the True Living God. It explains the lip service of Freemasons with great depth and detail and supports the truth with passages from the bible and other historical references. If your looking to break from the lies and walk into the truth, this is a great read, or if your looking for help to turn someone off the wrong path (Freemasonry) and onto the goodly path of God, then this book will give you some ideas to help keep you focused and proof to back your claims. 

In all honesty, my dude was recently invited to become a Freemason, my moral tenets screamed..."NOOOO!!"...He was intrigued with how everyone is successful, while he struggles to put food on our table, the "golden" charm snaked around him and we fought. He believed me to be jealous because I was a woman and excluded, already the evil of the "cult" was changing who he was. I have since put this book in his hands and told him to read it. I don't think he is as willing to walk that path as he once was, thank you Neil for your gift, without this book our lives may have taken a path I would not have wished to travel!

Next review by: Wordjourney magazine:

Book Review: From Mason to Minister

One man’s journey to faith in Jesus Christ
Neil Cullan McKinlay is a lot like most any Christian you’ve ever met, perhaps he is much like you. McKinlay has a three-part life story that begins where he describes his life as an unchurched youth in Scotland, followed by his conversion to Christ while living in Canada as a married man and father of three daughters. Today, McKinlay is walking with the Lord, is living in Australia and is seeking to “finish the race” to the glory of God.
What’s different about McKinlay is what each one of us can say about ourselves: he has a very specific testimony, one peculiar to him and something no one can deny.
McKinlay began his pursuit of God by taking an unlikely path — by studying Freemasonry, a much misunderstood and often derided fraternal organization with its roots dating as far back as the late medieval times in Scotland.

Exploring Freemasonry

Yes, Freemasonry has been criticized for its supposed relationship with occultism, mysticism and as some would say, satanism. In reality, this fraternal organization is based upon following a moral code, using biblically-derived symbols and allegories to frame its beliefs. Godly values are taught, but God is missing from the equation.
For McKinlay, his brief stint as a Mason revealed to him that there was something more than a moral code to live by and that what was obscured could only be revealed by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Later, McKinlay abandons freemasonry for what he and the Bible calls, “…a still more excellent way.”
“From Mason to Minister” is McKinlay’s book (Nordskog Publishing | 2011), a story which carries the subtitle “Through the Lattice.” The subtitle is from Song of Solomon 2:9 which reads, “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he is standing behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, He is peering through the lattice.” That’s how McKinlay understood his journey to faith in Christ — God has always been watching him.

Scottish Narrative

McKinlay’s narrative is one-part personal testimony and another part Scottish anecdote. We learn so much about his personal likes and desires including his love of nature, his poetic gifting as well as his desire to follow Christ, and eventually his ordination as a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
What is most important about McKinlay’s chronology is that he shows that God is so very much interested in the person and that our “life story” is the means by which God draws us to Him no matter where we’re at. The seeking heart will always find God and there isn’t a place we can go or be where He won’t come searching for us.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)
This should encourage each of us — God knows those who are His and will provide a way for us to find Him. McKinlay, a Calvanist, may also believe that he could not resist the call of salvation.  In his book, he made no mention of TULIP, the five points of Calvinism, particularly the fourth point — Irresistible Grace. What is apparent is that McKinlay was being prepared for many years to have an encounter with Jesus Christ and when God fully revealed Himself to him, he surrendered all.

Golden Age

One area of personal belief espoused by McKinlay may surprise the reader, and that is a belief held by some in the body of Christ: that before Jesus returns, there will be worldwide peace. In his “Reconciliation” section (pp. 170-173), Mc Kinlay says, “I believe in a future Golden Age before the Lord’s return — an age of peace and harmony among the nations.”
McKinlay doesn’t believe that this Golden Age will mean that everyone on earth will be a follower of Jesus Christ, but he does believe that the earth will one day be fully Christianized and that this period will take place before Jesus sets up His kingdom.
I have two problems with this thinking and they are:
1. Such a belief dismisses the possibility that Jesus can and will return at any time. With this thinking, the supposed “Golden Age” would have to take place first, and then the Lord will appear. Personally, I believe that the Lord will come at any time, although I believe that any delay is for the benefit of those who still don’t know Him. The age of peace will come, but only during a one thousand year reign of Christ following His return.
2. The Bible clearly says that in the last days that some will depart from the faith and “…follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1 Timothy 4:11) This verse seems to indicate a general falling away, not some age of peace.
No, I’m NOT suggesting that McKinlay is deceived and I won’t insist that he is wrong, especially when it pertains to his relationship with Jesus Christ. Every one of us sees through the mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12) and beyond the essentials of our faith (doctrine), some of our beliefs may diverge. I can accept that and believe that McKinlay’s narrative is interesting and can be of benefit to the reader regardless of my personal thinking or understanding.

Next review by:

I enjoyed reading this Autobiography of how Neil Cullan McKinlay travelled through the religious world and finally came to the conclusion that religion is religion and a true relationship with Christ is the only thing that will completely satisfy an aching soul.

The book is broken different parts focusing on his life growing up, his life as a Free Mason and then his life as a Minister. Each part has a specific focus on him struggling with the desire to find God. As Free Mason he believes he has found all the answers until he hears a preacher in a Presbyterian church in Australia who preaches the word of God as the Word of God. He was so impressed with this man that he had to find out more about how he could do this. God got a hold of his life and changed his life forever!

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