Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Secrets?!

In the Warwick Beacon, I found an article entitled, It's no secret: Masons recruiting new members. I am sure you can imagine my first reaction. What, what, what, what?! In Masonry, we are taught that recruitment of new members is wrong, that each man must come of his own free will and accord. However, I righted myself when I remembered that recruitment means many different things, anything from blatant asking of men (not cool), TV ads (maybe cool), or Lodge Open Houses (cool). As I read further down the article, I noticed one sentence that I think causes more ire among young brothers than anything else, “There ain’t no secret.”

When I first joined Masonry, I knew nothing of our legends, plays and stories. I purposely kept myself in the dark so that when the time came, I would be ready to experience something new and fresh. I think younger brothers are joining because of this desire for truth or the study of esoteric ideas. Yet, we continue to have brothers describing the Fraternity as having no secrets. Why would we downplay our greatest asset?! I mean, c’mon!!!

Although I had access to the different books that purport to reveal the secrets of Masonry and the internet is just rife with ritual exposes, I chose not to read them as I wanted to experience the ritual for myself. I really believe by waiting to complete the degree work without knowing what was happening next, I gained a better and deeper appreciation and understanding of the lessons that were being taught to me. Freemasonry has, for many new brothers, skipped at least one generation which makes our legends fresh in the minds of this new generation. We should use the freshness of the ritual to get new brothers excited about joining a society built upon secrets and mystery.

The lessons that are inculcated in our ritual are truly ancient and delve deep into the soul of men so we need to treat these lessons as such. Interested men come to this Fraternity after seeing endless History Channel (or is it History, whatever) specials on our Fraternity. We are being handed free advertising for our Craft yet we continue to tell these prospective brothers that our secrets aren’t that important to us. I swore not to reveal anything and I hold that oath close to my chest because it brings me closer to Freemasonry.

So this is my plea to brothers out there: when someone asks you about Freemasonry, describe the Fraternity anyway you want, whether you discuss our charity work, our desire to make good men better, or our historical existence in this country, but please, please, please, do not say that we have no secrets. We have secrets that we as Freemasons are sworn to keep. If the question of secrets comes up, just tell the person that we do indeed have secrets, and that we have sworn not to reveal those secrets to anyone except a fellow brother. This statement is 1) true and 2) keeps the mystique the Fraternity deserves. This message has been brought to you by Young Brothers for a Better Freemasonry.