Freemasonry is rich in symbols, and many are ubiquitious—think of the pentagram, or five-pointed star, or the "all-seeing eye" in the Great Seal of the United States.
But most Masonic symbols aren't unique to Freemasonry, Kinney said.
"I view the Masonic use of symbols as a grab bag taken from here, there, and everywhere," he said. "Masonry employs them in its own fashion."
The pentagram, for example, is much older than Freemasonry and acquired its occult overtones only in the 19th and 20th centuries, hundreds of years after the Masons had adopted the symbol.