True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Saturday, February 9, 2008

It's Time for Freemasons to Stop Apologizing for Being Masons!

Masonry has had its critics since the first Grand Lodge was formed in 1717 (and probably before that), and in the United States, there was even a short lived Anti Freemason Party. For the most part, we have, rightfully, ignored them as ignorant pinheads, unworthy of response.

For centuries, that was the appropriate response. After all, dignifying their complaints and accusations gave weight to their weightless and thoughtless words. Today, however, with the advent of the internet and the drive by media, it has become necessary to address the konspiracy kooks, with factual and substantive statements.


When I was first raised a Master Mason on November 3, 2001 in Riverside Lodge #259, my first encounter with the mindless hordes of hatemongering antimasonry was Freemasonrywatch. At the time, that was THE web site you found when searching for Freemasonry on the internet. Since then, it has become… irrelevant, and its founder, Kevin McNeil-Smith of British Columbia who styled himself as “Watchy”, have been pulled from the shadows.


Yet, in all this rush to address the hatemongers and the ignorant haters, we have, in a small degree, begun to act as if their arguments might, maybe, somehow, have a tiny degree of merit. We don’t grant that they have any merit of course, but our actions, to eliminate their arguments, are not helping us.
For example, the United Grand Lodge of England removed the penalties from the obligation, because one of the main complaints offered against freemasonry is the “bloody” penalties. As Freemasons, WE all know the penalties are symbolic, and that they have never been imposed by one brother upon another, yet the small minded, looking for any complaint, have latched on to them.

In the nature of addressing the complaints, then, the United Grand Lodge of England removed the penalties, and included, instead, an explanation of the penalties as symbols. The reasoning was that the penalties were offensive to some religious leaders, and the thought was that removing them would remove the objection:
Now to get back to our ANCIENT SYMBOLIC PENALTIES. Why on earth should we even consider relocating or removing then in the first place? "Oh because they are offensive to some religious leaders". That begs the question as to which religious leaders? Some of the greatest clergymen I have ever met, both the pragmatic and the scholarly, have been members of the Masonic Order. Not a single one of those extremely worldly wise reverend brothers ever dreamed of any part of the ceremony being offensive in any manner whatever, INCLUDING the penalties. Obviously no clergy outside of the craft should cause us any concern because they really don't understand the context of the ceremony or the part the penalties play in it. Now what does that leave us to contemplate? I believe it points out in the clearest possible terms that the Masonic Order is a true microcosm of the real world in which we live.1
Instead, the religious leaders who the UGLE was attempting to pander to, simply turned and said:
See, we TOLD you the penalties were wrong, even the MASONS recognize it. What else are we right about that if we persist, we might be able to get them to stop?
Wonderful.

That is but one example. In 2005, the Grand Lodge of California decided that henceforth, the word TEMPLE would be removed from all building association names. Even the Grand Lodge changed the name of its building association.

The net result? Our detractors now claim we are trying to HIDE that we have temples of worship because of their criticism. It would have been better if we had simply answered their objection with facts instead of cutting and running, and making the situation worse.
That written, I have to include that the Grand Master and executive committee were acting with the best of intentions, as I am sure the UGLE Grand Officers were... its just that they don't seem to realize they are not dealing with rational people.

We are Freemasons. WE know that the no objection the detractors can whip up have any value, and we know that our ancient and honorable fraternity is dedicated to morality, honor, integrity and the betterment of mankind, one man at a time. Why then, do we allow these ridiculous hate mongers put us into a position where we change what we know is right?

Because we are who we are, great changes have been made to the world. Freemasons were integral to the formation of the United States, and the state of Texas, Freemasons were on the front lines in implementing public education in the United States, and many of the great luminaries of our age were Freemasons... Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Buzz Aldrin, George Washington and Amadeus Mozart, to name just FIVE.

These men LIVED their masonic principles, without apology, and so should we.
Its time that we stood up and said we are Freemasons, this is what our mission statement is, this is what we do… if you don’t like it, tough. We have our values, our morality, or tenets and teachings, and we cannot allow the vagaries of political correctness to drive us away from our core values.
May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.
References:

1.
... Ancient Symbolic Penalties ... by K. W. Aldridge

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wor. Dunn,
Well said! Of course, you are also pointing out the ills of our society in general in that we must cater to the lowest common denominator to ensure that no one feels left out or ostricized. A whole classroom of children must be taught at the level of the mentally handicapped child in the class, least he or she might feel slighted or suffer from a lack of self esteem. The television programming must appeal to adults at an 8th grade level. A single, mentally unstable and emotionally retarded person can bring this country to a halt because we should not make them feel bad by being, acting or appearing smarter, more well-balanced or emotionally stable.

It reminds me of a science fiction episode on TV that portrayed a young boy, eager to learn, inquisitive and very bright, much to his parents dismay. They tried to dissuade him from learning, encouraged him to watch cartoons, go out and play, anything but learn. When he went to a government testing center and they discovered his higher than normal IQ, they routinely, and within their protocols, terminated his life because he was a threat to the standards of society. You see, no one was allowed to be smart, bright or intelligent because it would make the rest of society feel bad about themselves.

The G.L. of California tried to make it easier for men to advance through the degrees by requiring less and less of what they had to learn and memorize, and found that it had no impact.

We, as a society, must stop this nonsense and teach people that life is not always fair, there are winners and losers, there are smart people and some not as smart and so on and so on.

My masonic brothers in my Lodge are all reasonable men. We have brothers of every educational and occupational level, from unskilled laborers to highly skilled engineers that have worked on the space program. Yet, we are all able to utilize each others' strengths and talents and work together. Our micro-society works exceptionally well and should be emulated by society in general.

We must stand proud, not apologize nor give value to our detractors.

Fraternally,
Galen Dean
Master, Fellowship Lodge #668
Yucaipa, Ca

Ken said...

Excellent post Brother. On my webblog I get the occasional comment calling me evil or whatever the magic 8 ball told them I was that day. But generally I don't dispute any comments, just delete them and be done with it. I have met very few people in real life who found out I was a mason and decided to tell me about how evil my association with them are but it too happens from time to time. My usual response is simply "I think many of your views are mistaken, but you're entitled to them. Have a nice day" and be done with it.

Bro Ken
MasonicTravels.com

mrvlb2 said...

Your views reflect must of our society worldwide, however the principles and tenants of our fraternity has withstood the test of time and should be relish with the utmost pride and esteem by all Masons. We have endured the attempts of cowens and eavesdroppers to undermine and even destroy the order and yet we survive and even thrive. For hundreds of years Masons have been leaders of society as a whole therefore we should in a sense “load and proud”, out front, examples to emulate as Masons.

As always insightful and informative thanks for another well put together issue. Keep up the good work.

Vincent L. Barnes, PM PHA
Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Jason Johnston, PM said...

Thank you for the mention of the significant involvement of members of the Fraternity in the formation of the Republic of Texas. I had to check and see if you are a member of a Texas lodge. We have always been proud of the fact that the Lone Star State is the result of men of integrity and character who could no longer stand the tyranny of a dictator, but instead, took up arms to fight for their freedoms.

 
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