Entered Apprentice- Question

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Jeff Simpkins, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Jeff Simpkins

    Jeff Simpkins Registered User

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    Hello Brothers,

    What are your thoughts on how well we’ve been able to guard our secrets throughout the years? Especially in regards to the internet.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    The internet may have made it a little easier for things to spread, but ever since the early 1700s there has been Masonic exposures telling the rituals, signs, secrets etc. So if that is the standard, then we haven't been very good.
    More or less any rite we have can be found out there, even the Swedish Rite, which is know for being pretty buttoned up.

    I do however also think it's one of the things we at times worry a little to much about. Truth be told I don't think the profane world to a large extend cares about what we do in our rituals most of the time. Of course doesn't mean that there shouldn't be the proper confidentiality, but it is as much a signal to how we treat the Craft and interact with each other, as it's a hope to not let the "secrets" out.
     
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  3. Roy_

    Roy_ Registered User

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    It depends on what you call "the secrets". If you're talking about rituals, then I follow Chrmc. They've been available to the regular public since the beginning. That's not entirely true though. Sure, rituals have been available in print and on the web, but there are so many rituals that the chance that somebody would be able to find the current version of the rituals of a certain lodge is very small. Most available rituals are outdated and (like I said) only a small part actually are available.

    So perhaps "our secrets" is about saying who is Freemason. I think Masons are fairly good in not saying about living members who don't 'out' themselves are members.

    Or are "our secrets" our experiences of the rituals? I doubt that these could be exposed. Would you be able to tell a non-Mason what you experienced during your initiation?
     
  4. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Terrible actually. We can wordplay around all day about "what's a secret?", "what's not a secret?"..."Are there any secrets?" etc...at the end of the day, the cat's out of the bag and the info is accessible to anyone. It's one reason why there is less interest in Masonry. It has lost the intrigue and mystery it used to have. If someone wanted to know anything about it, they could find out in a bout 2 minutes.

    I don't know if it was information released by ego-driven Masons seeking attention so they could have THE website that had all of this mysterious information by creating sites devoted to putting full rituals out there. It could also have been former Masons disgruntled or 'found religion and saw the evil in Masonry'. The information getting out on the net was inevitable but Masons could use maybe better caution and some damage control.

    I understand that books have been around for centuries on the subject but there is a big difference between finding an obscure book on ritual or 'secrets' of Masonry 100-200 years ago vs. going to Google.com now and having endless access to this data. Over the last 50 or so years, more and more books have been written on it and they are pretty accessible but the internet reaches a much larger audience. The 'Satanic Panic' of the 80s along with 100s of books over the last couple of decades have fed the lack of interest in the Craft I think. The internet just amplified it by about a million.
     
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  5. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    I've seen a few of those videos. Some are fairly accurate. Many are wildly inaccurate. The uninitiated won't know which is which. So, to an extent, our secrets remain such.
     
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  6. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    What Secrets?
     
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  7. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    We have secrets?
     
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  8. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Some of the secrets are concealed in the ritual and in the furnishings. For example the peculiar knocks and the arrangement of the pavement.
     
  9. SørenSweR(I)

    SørenSweR(I) Registered User

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    ^THIS

    The conspiracy nuts have done us a service and themselves a disservice by flooding the web with all sorts of information, so you'd have to be a mason in order to know if the information you're examining is actually correct.

    I can't say for other rites than the Swedish, but here nothing seems to be arbitrary or random. Even down to placement of trapdoors and brothers' coats-of-arms
     
  10. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    And not to mention the proper placement, coloring and size of the goat(s) of each degree.
     
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  11. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    Considering all the diffrent ritual revisions that happend before 1800s its no wonder.
    The CoA is a diffrent story, thankfully we have gotten stricter now , some older shields are awful
     
  12. jgil1970

    jgil1970 Registered User

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    The secrets of Freemasonry are highly guarded pancake recipes.
     
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  13. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Slight of hand.

    We discuss the ritual as if it were secret even though it's been revealed to the public long ago. Now it's a matter of integrity to limit discussion of the ritual more than is allowed by most jurisdictions, less than is unsaid in the obligations. We rarely even teach what parts are supposed to be secret and what parts aren't because the ritual isn't the real secret.

    Some of our secrets are the type that can be shouted from the rooftops but still remain secret because they are experiential.

    The word occult means hidden. I repeat the term slight of hand.
     
  14. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Sleight of hand?
     
  15. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Thanks for the improved spelling. Yes exactly.

    Parlor magic is a modern science that finds and exploits flaws in human perception or human reason. It's best advertised use is the parlor magic I use for its name but there are plenty of other uses.

    The best known recent example of exploiting flaws in human perception is "the dress" that appears white and gold to some, black and blue to others.

    One common strategy is distracting the attention so some act goes unnoticed. This is standard in card tricks and in modern politics but it also applies in lodge. We use our ritual to distract men from noticing the experiential nature of our other lessons. Let's go practice ritual. Let's not mention that while we do that we practice fellowship, learn teamwork, hone the mind through repetition.
     
  16. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    It's funny you mentioned the dress example. Our neighbors were over and we showed a pic of it and the neighbors saw it gold and white (or whatever it was) and my wife and I saw it differently. They didn't believe us and thought we were playing a joke. So, we got my 3 year old to look at it and asked "What color is that dress?" and he said "it's bwue and bwack."
     
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  17. Overworked724

    Overworked724 Registered User

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    Well...to chime in with my meager 2 cents as a Fellowcraft (planning on returning my catechism in the next couple of weeks).

    My question: Does it matter whether the 'secrets' of masonic ritual are on the I-net or published in a book?

    Regardless of whether the information available to the general public is accurate or not...the key issue at stake is the integrity of the individual brother mason and strength of his oath. His word is his bond to himself, his brethren, and his deity. The fact that a true brother will not forswear his oath brings with it an air of mystery (and frustration to conspiracy theorists and freemason haters) that the information you can scrounge up will never be openly confirmed or denied by any freemason.

    So, I think the answer to the question is - the West Gate is well and truly guarded by true brethren of the fraternity, and always will be...since I believe the West Gate resides not in a lodge room, but in the heart of every brother.

    (Hope that doesn't sound too poetic - but for me it rings true)
     
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  18. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Well, in my opinion that is how it SHOULD be.

    However, since the information IS "out there" and has been since the mid 18th Century in some form or another, the West Gate was and is somewhat porous in SOME lodges, or the information would never have been shared. It is a caution for us to more closely guard, but to state that it is and always will be closely guarded is obviously false.
     
  19. Overworked724

    Overworked724 Registered User

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    I do agree with the above statement, Brother. But to clarify, I did reference the West Gate being guarded by 'true brethren'. Sadly, when a brother acts upon some inner decision to openly share specific secrets of the fraternity, I believe he is no longer a true a lawful brother. In that sense, the best way to become more diligent is to continually reassess the process and care by which candidates are selected to receive the degrees of freemasonry. No process (or person) is ever perfect. Apologies for speaking above my head...but I am a true believer in taking a man at his word...unfortunately, there is no instrument to gauge the strength of a man's oath. But I like to have faith!

    On a lighter note...Go Cubs!
     
  20. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    I think we have a difference of opinion of the meaning of "Guarding the West Gate."

    For me, the "West Gate" is the portal to Freemasonry thorough which one passes to be made a Mason. Guarding said gate is the responsibility of each individual lodge. Guarding the Gate means to not admit anyone who is not a "Good Man" who will keep and perform that which is laid out in the obligations of the various degrees. If someone is made a Mason by a lodge and then does not abide by their oath and obligation, then the Lodge did a poor job in discerning this individual's character and fitness to be made a Mason.

    Again, for me, "Guarding the West Gate" is not an internal mental or emotional inclination to keep and maintain a solemn oath one has sworn. That is simply good character and a man keeping his word. "Guarding the West Gate" is not something a man does for himself, but rather something a lodge must do to keep out those who should not be made masons.
     

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