Stepping Stones to Freedom: A Brief History Though its origins are lost to the mists of time and antiquity, Stepping Stones to Freedom is a very real organization. Yet, like many ancient mystery schools, its legacy has oft propelled its story to the stature of legend and fable. Along with other similar secret organizations, such as the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion, Stepping Stones has emerged in recent years as the object of rumor and gossip, more than researched fact.
Painted by Sandro Botticelli in1493, this work is actually a depiction of a secret Stepping Stones enclave from Medieval England
Knights of the Round Table by Sandro Botiicelli
What is known of the founding of Stepping Stones is actually quite cursory. Stoners themselves believe that its heritage predates modern history and is a direct descendent of the earliest human gatherings. Thus its adherents believe Stepping Stones is one of the earliest and purest spiritual traditions. The actual evidence though, archeological or otherwise, that has been discovered to either support or disclaim this position is quite scant.
Several contemporary scholars now attribute the fabled cave paintings found in the lowest chambers of the LeGateaux caverns is Southern France as directly attributable to the earliest Stoner spiritual rituals. The entrance to these caves is found a mere few hundred meters away from the better known Lascaux caverns. Carbon dating clearly demonstrates though that the work found in LeGateaux predates Lascaux by thousands of years.
Actual samples of drawings found in
the caverns at Le Gateaux
Upon entering these lesser known caverns, early explorers were awed by the hundreds of drawings sketched into the stone walls and ceilings of the cave walls. The variety of representation, the fluidity of line and clear intent at symbolism, is a testimony to the creativity and artistry of the troglodytes who etched the images into the stone and rock.
Other markings found in the cave were recognized as one of the earliest forms of cuneiform writing. These writings are believed to be the foundation for much of the Stoners' spiritual practices and philosophy. Whether the Stoner philosophy is directly based on purported translation of these original etchings or emerged independent of it is not known.
Considered holy ground by Stoners throughout the world, the location of the entrance to the caves had always remained secret. The flooding of the Loral River Valley and resultant landslides that covered the cave entrance a mere six months after its discovery by mainstream archeologists is often cited as ‘proof’ by the tabloid conspiracy crowd that Stepping Stones is intent on world domination.
Whatever its origins, the influence of the Stepping Stones philosophy spread naturally as humans migrated throughout the world. Many scholars now accept its influence on the teachings of Buddha and Confucius. And a few modern comparative religious scholars see no practical difference between the Tao of Lao-tse and The Principles of Freedom. Then there are, of course, the never ending rumors about the suppressed Stoner Gospels. Though many experts now surmise that the Gnostic Gospels and the Stoners Gospels may be one and the same.
The impact on other great religious thinkers is even more explicit. For example, a recent paper in the Journal of Religion acknowledges that Martin Luther read The Principles of Freedom just before nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg in 1517. And letters found in the Academia in Geneva suggest that John Calvin’s religious zealotry for an ascetic lifestyle may have been a result of his rejection of the Stepping Stone’s philosophy of Free Love.
Likewise, the parallel philosophical underpinnings of the great Jewish philosophers, from Maimonides to Spinoza and the great Hasidic mystic Rabbi Bar Shel Tov to The Stones’ “Guide for the Confused” is obvious. Though recently penned treatises out of Oxford and Cambridge that point to the Stones influences on cultures as far flung as the Inuit peoples of Siberia and the Yaqui tribes of the Amazon basin is still tenuous and considered a matter of speculation at best.
Possible member of a Stepping Stones enclave from the
Amazon rain forest
Stepping Stones to Freedom's influence on American religious life is equally unquestionable. For example, stories that Joseph Smith spent many weeks in a Stepping Stones conclave before revealing the Book of Mormon have been confirmed, and that both Mary Baker Eddy and Billy Graham attended Stepping Stones meetings in their youth.
Assessing Stepping Stones impact on secular society though has been always controversial. As the influence of the Stepping Stone philosophy spread, the ruling elite, whether they were kings, presidents or bishops, often felt threatened. After the Spanish Inquisition Stepping Stones had no choice but to become a less public institution. As a result of this self-enforced secrecy, Stepping Stones to Freedom's role in the Crusades, the discovery of America, the writing of the U.S. Constitution, the defeat of Nazism, the formulation of the Atomic Bomb and its role in the Moon landing are of course still a matter of debate.
The number of historical figures who were alleged secret members, or at least allied with Stepping Stones, is legion. Official records, if they exist, are so guarded and private that it is impossible to say for sure who was and who was not a Stoner. Even though recently some of these names have been associated with other secret organizations, the sheer impact of Stepping Stones on world culture leads credence to the position that most of these great historical figures were Stoners. A short list would include: William Shakespeare, Leonardo Da Vinci, Lao-Tse, Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Teddy Kennedy, Cher and Pope Benedict XVI.
Stepping Stone Members
Now Stepping Stones for Freedom is emerging from the shadows of history. With conclaves in almost every major city, it has become one of the fastest growing spiritual movements. Each organization is self-governing. The association as a whole is held together only by its supporters adherence to its Universal Principles of Freedom. It is the power of these Principles that were originally recognized by cave dwellers at the dawn of history and kept alive by the love and sacrifice of its adherents that allows us the privilege to offer it to the world today.