Ben Franklin, the Hellfire Club and His View of Jesus Christ

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"Original sin was as ridiculous as imputed righteousness." – Benjamin Franklin
One of the most influential founding fathers, and the only one of them to have signed all of the original founding documents (Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Paris, and the U.S. Constitution) was Benjamin Franklin.  Franklin was responsible for three important phases of America's development: 1) Unifying the colonists in their rebellion against England; 2) Philosophy concerning the rights of mankind; 3) Facilitating the American Revolution by publishing the writings of Thomas Paine.  To Sir Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin was "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become." (Source: Benjamin Franklin Reader, edited by Sir Walter Isaacson)
While Franklin is often quoted for certain eloquence concerning words that sound "faithful," most are unaware that he was a shameless and apparently unrepentant adulterer.  He wrote many letters to a married, young French woman named Madame Brillon.  His words are laced with Biblical allusions that are often less than reverent, and even perverse toward Biblical issues.  A letter dated March 10, 1778 (when Franklin was 72 years old) was in response to one Mrs. Brillon had written to him.  In it, she mentions that he is guilty of "the sin of lust" toward her, saying, "What is so damnable about that?"  Then she says that she herself absolves him of all his sins.  He responded by writing:
"I lay hold of your promise to absolve me of all sins past, present,
and future, on the easy pleasing condition of loving God, America
and my Guide above all things … People commonly speak of Ten
Commandments.  I have been taught that there are twelve.  The
first was, Increase and multiply and replenish the Earth.  The twelfth
is a new Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another …
I never made any difficulty about that, but was always willing to
obey them both … Pray tell me, my dear … whether my keeping
religiously these two commandments … may not be accepted in
compensation for my breaking so often one of the ten, I mean that
which forbids coveting my neighbor's wife, and which I confess
I break constantly, God forgive me, as often as I see or think of my
lovely Confessor: And I am afraid I should never be able to repent
of the Sin, even if I had the full possession of her." (Source: A Benjamin
Franklin Reader, by Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson, p. 275)
The wry confession from Franklin, that seems to make a sport of his sinful behavior, saying that he "should never be able to repent" of his sin -- calls to mind the warnings of false teachers in the New Testament.  The apostle Peter says of them that:
"… they count it pleasure to riot in the daytime.   Spots they
are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings
while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery; and that
cannot cease from sin …" (2 Peter 2:13-14)
Franklin & the Hellfire Club
Ben Franklin was, without question, deeply involved in Freemasonry and in other secret societies.  Franklin belonged to secret groups in the three countries involved in the War of Independence: America, France and England.  He was master of the Masonic Lodge of Philadelphia, while over in France he was master of the Nine Sisters Lodge, from which sprang the French Revolution.  In England, he joined a rakish political group founded by Sir Francis Dashwood (member of Parliament, advisor to King George III) called the Monks of Medmenham Abbey, otherwise known as the Hellfire Club.  This 18th century group is described as follows:
"The Hellfire Club was an exclusive, English club that met sporadically during the mid 18th century. Its purpose, at best, was to mock traditional religion and conduct orgies. At worst, it involved the indulgence of satanic rites and sacrifices. The club to which Franklin belonged was established by Francis Dashwood, a member of Parliament and friend of Franklin. The club, which consisted of 'The Superior Order,' of 12 members, allegedly took part in basic forms of satanic worship. In addition to taking part in the occult, orgies and parties with prostitutes were also said to be the norm." (Source: Ben Franklin and His Membership in the Hellfire Club: Founding Father or Satanic Killer? as published by the Associated Content Society)
Dead Bodies in London
On February 11, 1998 the Sunday Times reported that ten bodies were dug up from beneath Benjamin Franklin's home at 36 Craven Street in London.  The bodies were of four adults and six children.  They were discovered during a costly renovation of Franklin's former home.  The Times reported that:
"Initial estimates are that the bones are about 200 years old and were buried at the time Franklin was living in the house, which was his home from 1757 to 1762 and from 1764 to 1775. Most of the bones show signs of having been dissected, sawn or cut. One skull has been drilled with several holes."
The article goes on to suggest that the bodies may have been the result of the experiments of Dr. William Hewson, who worked alongside the founders of British surgery and who was a friend of Benjamin Franklin.  Hewson apparently ran his medical school from Franklin's home from 1772 to 1774.  The suggestion put forth is that the bodies were probably "anatomical specimens that Dr. Hewson disposed of," but investigators admitted they were still "uncertain."  For the record, the Benjamin Franklin House currently presents the bones as "the remains of William Hewson's anatomy school" and even has them on display for the public. 
The original Times article reported that the bones were "deeply buried, probably to hide them because grave robbing was illegal."  They said, "There could be more buried, and there probably are."  But the story doesn't end there.
Science & Satan: Together Again?
Later reports from the Benjamin Franklin House reveal that, not only were human remains found, but animal remains as well.  This is where things get very interesting.  From the published photographs, some of the bones appear to be blackened, or charred as if by fire.  Needless to say, a number of researchers are doubtful about the "medical" explanation and have suggested that Franklin's involvement with the Hellfire Club may be the real answer.  It is well documented that Satanists perform ritual killings of both humans and animals alike.  Could Franklin and his Hellfire friends have been working with Hewson to provide the doctor with fresh bodies? 
The uncomfortable questions are these: If the humans were medical cadavers, why were they disposed of like so much trash beneath the house?  Why not give them some kind of proper burial?  If grave robbers could sneak into a graveyard to steal a body, they could also sneak in to put one back.  Furthermore, why were the human remains mingled with those of animals?  It is worth noting that Dr. Hewson developed an infection from working on one of his cadavers and died from it. 
Franklin & the Gospel
But what was Franklin's view of Christianity and of the Lord Jesus Christ?  He answered that question directly, shortly before he died.  He wrote the following to Ezra Stiles, who was then president of Yale University.  Stiles had inquired about Franklin's views on religion and of the Lord Jesus Christ:
"As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly
desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left
them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but
I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have,
with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts
as to his divinity …"
From the first part of his response, Franklin's views about Jesus seem very similar to those of Paine and Jefferson, making reference to "corrupt changes" in the Gospel record.  Like many others, he compliments the "morality" of Christ, while rejecting His authority.  This was typical of the founding fathers.  But this is also what Paul warned the church of when he wrote of "perilous times to come" in the last days, when men will have a "form of godliness" but are "denying the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5). The power of godliness comes from faith in Christ Himself.  Without Him, the form of godliness that men create through morality is a deception. This is why Paul tells believers "from such turn away."  In the rest of his reply, Ben Franklin goes on about the divinity of Jesus Christ, saying:
"… it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never
studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now,
when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with
less Trouble...." (Carl Van Doren. Benjamin Franklin. New
York: The Viking Press, 1938, p. 777, as cited by
Franklin's final words were looking forward to his own death, which would occur about a month later in April, 1790.  It is unfortunate that, while at death's door, he felt it "needless" to seek out the truth of Christ.  The bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and that faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  As John the Baptist testified:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and
he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the
wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)
Many Americans, and even Christians admire Benjamin Franklin because he walked as a mighty man during his time upon the earth.  But the Bible warns us:
"The great day of the LORD is near, it is near … the mighty
man shall cry there bitterly." (Zephaniah 1:14)

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