"Freemasonary is the teaching of Christianity freed from the bonds of State and Church"
 The idea that the principles of Christianity were important but that they had been obscured or corrupted by the institutions of the churches was to become fundamental to Tolstoy's later thought, after his conversion in 1878. Its presence here shows Tolstoy was wrestling with these ideas for a long time before his conversion. This goes against the commonly-held idea of two Tolstoys: a young, carefree, family-orientated gambling addict and an old, whitebearded religious sage. The same questions preoccupied the writer throughout his life.

For more on Tolstoy's conversion, read his own account of it in A Confession and Other Religious Writings.