In a 1979 Grace To You Interview, John MacArthur boasted that his ancestors belonged to the great MacArthur Clan of Scotland and that he is a fifth cousin of General Douglas MacArthur:

“RICH: Some of the listening audience have asked about your name. Some think that maybe you’re related to General MacArthur, can you tell us a little about who you’re related to and what about the name?

“JOHN: Well, of course, MacArthur is a great Scottish name. We have our own clan and our own plaid and all those things. A recent visit to Scotland on my part reaffirmed where my roots come from. But my family came originally from Scotland. I’m a fifth generation preacher. Men in my family go back to ministries in Scotland and Canada, even in Australia. I am distantly related to General Douglas MacArthur. I understand that I am a fifth cousin. So it’s quite a distance, but nonetheless we are related.”

On January 17, 1936, General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1954) became a Master Mason of the Scottish Rite. Gen. MacArthur was made a “Mason at sight” in an impressive ceremony at the American Embassy in Japan. 

“On December 8, 1947, at the American Embassy in Japan, the Thirty-third Degree was conferred on Brother MacArthur by Illþ Frederick H. Stevens, 33º, Deputy of The Mother Supreme Council, 33º, in the Philippines. Brother Stevens had conferred the First Degree on Brother MacArthur in 1936. (Ararat Shrine Temple)

“Douglas MacArthur became a Freemason while serving as field marshal in the capacity of military advisor to the commonwealth government of the Philippines. He did not join the Craft in the conventional way by petitioning a Lodge for the degrees of Masonry. For that matter, either by design or by fate MacArthur did very few things during his lifetime in the conventional manner. 

“For the second time in the history of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, Most Worshipful Samuel Hawthorne exercised his prerogative to make a ‘Mason at sight’ on January 17, 1936, in the presence of over six hundred Master Masons who watched in breathless silence in a crowded hall, Samuel Hawthorne, Grand Master of Masons in the Philippines made General Douglas MacArthur a Mason at sight. MacArthur was visibly moved throughout the ceremony. The Entered Apprentice Degree was given with P.G.M. Frederick H. Stevens presiding. Immediately following, P.G.M. Francisco A. Delagado conferred the Fellowcraft Degree on MacArthur. When it was concluded, M.W. Samuel Hawthorne raised General MacArthur to the sublime degree of Master Mason.

“It was an impressive ceremony and it included an address by P.G.M. Eugene Stafford who recalled his very close association with MacArthur’s father, General Arthur MacArthur when he commanded the Philippine division and later served as Military Governor of the Philippines in 1900-1901. Concluding the ceremony, some twenty grizzled veterans still possessing the military bearing of a bygone era, and almost all Past Masters, who had served with General Arthur MacArthur, 36 years before, lined up in the East. It was an extraordinary ceremony, the Freemasons of the Philippines welcomed a prominent American General into the Craft as a brother, and also paid homage to his father a Freemason who some of the brethren had fought along side of, and others had undoubtedly fought against a generation before. It was a golden moment for Freemasonry in the Philippines and for Douglas MacArthur who had always wanted to be a Freemason like his father. The ceremony lasted for two hours.

“After being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, Douglas MacArthur affiliated with Manila Lodge No.1 and on March 13th joined the Scottish Rite. On October 19, 1937, he was elected Knight Commander Court of Honor, and on December 8, 1947, he was coroneted Honorary 33rd Degree at the American Embassy in Tokyo. He became a life member of the Nile Shrine Temple in Seattle, Washington.” (Herbert G. Gardiner, PGS, “Douglas MacArthur, A Freemason for All Seasons”)

General MacArthur’s initiation into Freemasonry was a major event, attended by “over six hundred Master Masons who watched in breathless silence in a crowded hall” in the American Embassy. The date, January 17, is the sacred day on which Grandmasters of the Prieuré de Sion are elected. Curiously, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s biography appears in the Jewish Virtual Library.


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