Hoagland & Bara’s Dark Nonsense

By Cris D. Putnam
In researching various paranormal and UFO lore, I recently came across Dark Mission by Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara. In the book the authors make a case for an occult agenda behind NASA. According to the authors, Dr. Farouk El-Baz, an Egyptian geologist working at NASA helped high ranking freemasons land on the moon on July 20th, the date of the Egyptian New Year, to perform an arcane Egyptian rite to invoke Osiris. While the evidence of high ranking NASA officials and astronauts having masonic ties is strong, the so called ritual they expose is nothing dark at all. I personally saw the masonic flag which was taken to the moon during my recent tour of the Hall of the Temple. Sure it is possible there was a masonic agenda afoot but the incoherence of a crucial element of their thesis makes the entire account seem fanciful. Their argument centers on Buzz Aldrin’s taking of communion in the lunar module, described by Aldrin in his book Men From Earth:

During the first idle moment in the LM before eating our snack, I reached into my personal preference kit and pulled out two small packages which had been specially prepared at my request. One contained a small amount of wine, the other a small wafer. With them and a small chalice from the kit, I took communion on the Moon, reading to myself from a small card I carried on which I had written the portion of the Book of John used in the traditional communion ceremony.[1]

Sounds awfully scary doesn’t it? Dark Mission makes the dubious leap of asserting that Aldrin’s intent was not to worship Jesus Christ but to preform some sort of nefarious Masonic ritual based on Egyptian magic.

Hoagland next discovered that Aldrin’s ceremony (which was taken from Webster Presbyterian Church rituals, in Houston, which, in turn, “borrowed” it from the much older Catholic communion ceremony), in fact, had its real roots in ancient Egypt— as an offering to Osiris (naturally). [2]

This is a radical assertion! Egypt is juxtaposed against Israel in the biblical narrative. From Moses’ showdown with Pharaoh’s magicians forward, the Egyptian deities are represented as antagonists to Yahweh. Yet, the authors brazenly assert that a major sacrament of a two thousand year old religion is really an offering to a hostile god while providing no scholarly documentation and expect the reader to simply accept it? Most astonishing, the allegation that the communion ceremony has “its real roots in Egypt as an offering to Osiris” is merely footnoted with a wikipedia article on Osiris. The footnoted article makes no such connection. Looking at the wiki article on 5/20/2012, the word “communion” is not even mentioned. What a joke! This radical assertion at least requires a coherent argument and historical documentation. But neither is forthcoming. The closest thing to evidence comes later:

Once again, it was Ken Johnston who provided a key insight. After discussing with Johnston the now infamous “communion ceremony that Aldrin had conducted, Ken pointed out that Aldrin—like Johnston himself—had at the time been a 32o Scottish Rite Freemason. He also noted that a recent book by two Masonic scholars (Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas) had concluded that virtually all of the Masonic rituals were derived from the story of Isis and Osiris. [3]

It’s hard to fathom why anyone would find this compelling. This argument is what logicians call a non-sequitur meaning it “does not follow.”  Hoagland and Bara’s reasoning is that 1) Aldrin took communion; 2) Aldrin was a freemason 3) Most Freemasonic rituals are derived from Osiris lore; therefore communion is an Egyptian Osiris ritual. I suppose if a freemason puts his hand on his heart while singing the National Anthem then that too is a form of Osiris worship? It does not follow.

The fact that Aldrin was a mason says nothing about Christian communion. Freemasonry advocates a form of pluralism that accepts members of any religion. Does that make the practices of Islam and Hinduism also derivative of Egyptian Osiris worship? Of course not, this sort of incoherent reasoning is ubiquitous in Dark Mission. It seems they pulled most of their alleged Egyptian connections from one single poorly supported piece of pseudo-historical research called the The Hiram Key.

Their book The Hiram Key showed that, contrary to Masonry’s own lore, the Craft was not founded in London in 1717, but in fact traced its roots all the way back to ancient Egypt. They followed a trail back through time, to the Templars, to Jesus and the Temple of Jerusalem, then on to the builder of the first Temple of Solomon, Hiram Abiff. They concluded that the ritual of the third-degree of Freemasonry was a re-enactment of Abiff’s murder for refusing to reveal the high secret of the Craft, and that this same ritual was in fact derived from the ancient Pharaohaic rituals that paid direct homage to Isis and Osiris. They also asserted that Jesus himself was an initiate of this quasi-Masonic order, and that his real teachings had been usurped and distorted by the Catholic Church millennia before. They viewed Jesus as a martyred prophet, but not a divine being as the Church came to ultimately insist. None of this made them very popular with either the Christians or their own fellow Masons. [4]

Nor are they popular with scholars of ancient literature because the conclusions of The Hiram Key are not supported by historical evidence. The argument fails because we have copies of the New Testament which predate Roman Catholicism and there are no “suppressed teachings” of Jesus rather gnostic writings which appeared centuries after the canonical Gospels. The scholarship in The Hiram Key ( and collaterally Dark Mission) is, frankly, sloppy as there is a sophomoric lack of critical assessment of sources and they naively accept the use of masonic symbolism for evidence of historic facts. For instance, the connection of modern masonry to Hiram Abiff from the Old Testament is widely agreed to be concocted mythology designed to give masonry an ancient veneer. I challenge Hoagland and Bara to produce a single credentialed Ancient Near Eastern scholar who believes it. Even the Freemasons have issued rebuttals here and masonic libraries catalog The Hiram Key as a work of fiction.

As far as communion being some sort of dark ritual to Osiris, the authors never make that case. The practice predates the origin of masonry by over 1600 years and has nothing to do with Osiris. According to Erickson, “It may be defined, in preliminary fashion, as a rite Christ himself established for the church to practice as a commemoration of his death.”[5] Indeed, communion was instituted by Jesus (Matt. 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; Luke 22:19–20). The earliest extant written account of a Christian eucharistia  which is simply Greek for “thanksgiving” is that in the First Epistle to the Corinthians (dated around AD 55), in which the Apostle Paul relates the celebration to the Last Supper of Jesus some 25 years earlier (1 Co 11:23–29).

Paul argues that in celebrating the commemoratory rite they were fulfilling a mandate by Jesus to do so. The book of Acts (dated prior to AD 70) also presents the early Christians as meeting for “the breaking of bread” as some sort of ceremony (Acts 2:46). Also other very early writings like the Didache,1 Clement and Ignatius of Antioch provide examples of the thanksgiving sacrament. In the second century, Justin Martyr gives the oldest explicit description of the ceremony. In fact, Justin specifically refutes any connection to paganism when he refutes the Mithra cult who were copying the Christians!

Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn. [6]

In the tradition of Justin, I argue that if freemasons have adopted communion as a masonic ritual then the same charge applies. Hence the burden of proof is on Hoagland and Bara to show evidence predating the first century which connects Jesus and the communion rite to Osiris. Of course, there is no such evidence. Hoagland and Bara admit their entire case is based on the dubious work The Hiram Key:

If Knight and Lomas were right, then Aldrin’s communion ceremony had no conventional Christian significance at all; it was, in fact, a direct offering by a Freemason to “the ancient Egyptian gods” that his Craft most revered. (underline added)[7]

But if Knight and Lomas are wrong, then Hoagland and Bara’s Dark Mission is a work of dark nonsense.


[1] Buzz Aldrin and Malcolm McConnell, Men from Earth (New York: Bantam, 1989), 248.

[2] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission: the Secret History of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Port Townsend, Wash.: Feral House, 2007), 207-208.

[3] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission, 222.

[4] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission, 223.

[5] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 1116.

[6] Justin Martyr, First Apology ; chapter 66 Of the Eucharist. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-firstapology.html

[7] Richard C. Hoagland and Michael Bara, Dark Mission, 223.


Criticizing Pastors, Conspiracy Theorists and Serving the Body

by Cris D. Putnam

This post comes from several responses I have made recently on facebook and in emails concerning topics like prophecy, the NWO, transhumanism and various other conspiracy theories. I have always been interested in weird stuff and trade in ideas outside the box of most folks. I have found that there is a considerable body of Christ followers that share my off beat interests and I have made it my ministry to serve them. Because I know that I lean toward “conspiracy thinking” I found this podcast The Umbrella Man and Conspiracy Thinking  by Christian philosopher Kenneth Samples very interesting and a little convicting. If you are a conspiriologist, I suggest giving it a listen and examining yourself.

Even so, I think the Bible supports a conspiratorial worldview in the sense that we are engaged in spiritual warfare with powers and principalities (Eph 6:12) and that things are seldom as they seem on the surface e.g. “And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light” (2 Co 11:14). We are called on to be “shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.” (Mt 10:16) Yet we need to be very cautions about potentially making false accusations and doing the devil’s handy work as an “accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12:10). It is important to make a distinction between what is speculation and what is known with certainty. In conspiracy forums, too many times, I see theories become absolutes.

I also bring this up because several well meaning folks have lamented to me that pastors are avoiding a certain topic or asking why they are afraid to preach about “insert favorite conspiracy theory here.” I think we need to be more charitable with our pastors and remind ourselves of their role. Pastors have to deal with families, marriages, divorces, adultery, problems with kids, people with cancer and other diseases, deaths, horrible sins of all sorts, so remember the very painful and difficult realities of daily existence are always in front of them. Those items alone can be overwhelming for a pastor. When you spend your day consoling a parent whose baby just died, driving to a nursing home to comfort a stroke victim and then perhaps conducting  a funeral or maybe a wedding, an issue like “Prince Charles could be the antichrist” seems fanciful and unimportant. We must acknowledge that a lot of this sort of information is speculative. Topics like the NWO, the nephilim, or even the prophecy of the popes are on the fringe and frankly there is a lot of nonsense mixed in with the material which is valid. Because it is important for pastors to maintain a level of credibility in dealing with the hard issues of regular life, I cannot fault them for being hesitant to  jump on the bandwagon. However, that is where there is room for Christians with those interests to make a contribution. If this is your area of interest, then it is your ministry and you are called to do it with excellence (1 Cor 10:31). That means you should do your best to think critically and parse the information you present for accuracy. There is certainly a role for “out of the box thinking” but always remember, no matter what you do, you are serving the Lord and you are a minister, so take your ministry seriously.

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. So the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But now God has placed the parts, each one of them, in the body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body. So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” nor again the head to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, all the more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. But our presentable parts have no need ⌊of clothing⌋. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.(1 Co 12:12-26)