Masonic Secrets: Some Thoughts

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by QPZIL, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. QPZIL

    QPZIL Premium Member

    Hello all, I just started a Masonic blog at where I can put my thoughts and writings. I just published the first post, and here it is for your consideration. Enjoy :)

    For this first post, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Ian. 3 years ago I knocked humbly at the west gate, and was initiated, then passed, then raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. I’m a member of Gate City Lodge #694 AF&AM in Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as a member of Chorazin Chapter #13 RAM, Greensboro Council #3 R&SM, and Ivanhoe Commandery #8 KT. For me, my Masonic journey is still just beginning. Though I’ve received light, there’s plenty more to receive – and plenty more to find within. Through this blog, through my thoughts and writings, I hope to come to more light and a better understanding of myself, my brethren, the Fraternity, and the spirituality therein.

    I wanted to ruminate a bit on something that a brother companion told me this past week.

    “The real secret of Freemasonry isn’t the grips, the words, or anything like that. The real secret of Freemasonry is in going through the degrees. Sure, you could tell someone how to do a grip or what a word may be, and no doubt people have, but tell me this… how are you going to tell your wife or your friend exactly how you felt that night you were initiated? How can you explain your emotions when you were raised? There’s simply no way to do it.”

    This struck a chord with me as being something I’ve been trying to put into words for a long time. The very essence of Masonry isn’t in its secrets. In fact, it’s been said time and time again: we’re not a secret society, we’re a society with secrets. The real beauty and essence of Masonry is at a higher level than that.
    Why do we have secrets? I’ve been asked this question more times than I ever imagined I would be when I petitioned to join my lodge. For the longest time, I had no idea what to say. My standard answer was something to the effect of, “well, that’s just how it’s been for hundreds of years.” And, I’ll admit, those ‘secrets’ that have been around for hundreds of years led me to join in the first place – I’ll wager that I’m not alone in that. I had seen the History Channel specials and the TOP SECRET exposés of Freemasonry. I thought I knew everything I was going to be encountering, but wanted to verify and see it for myself. As a disclaimer I’ll say please don’t get me wrong: I also joined for the brotherhood and the promise of becoming a better man. I received both of these in bounty.

    But back to the secrets. Sure, I learned them, but it’s more complicated than that. I could walk up to any Joe Schmoe on the street and teach him the passwords and the grips and the signs, and he would be no different than before I told him. So, why even have them? Well, the secrecy itself is what’s important. We as Masons swear a solemn obligation to assist our brothers and, if need be, their widows and orphans. Being able to keep a secret is a sign of fidelity, it shows that you are trustworthy. The secrets themselves aren’t the important thing; being able to keep them is the important thing. That exact fact is the reason we have such symbolically harsh penalties for divulging the secrets of the degrees.

    Keep in mind, I’m speaking of the philosophy of modern 20th/21st century Masonry. In past days, of course there was a benefit to keeping the secrets – an actual, honest-to-goodness, life-or-death benefit. Our fraternity has undergone a number of dark days. For example, in 1799, England enacted the Unlawful Societies Act, banning all societies which required taking an oath not authorized by law. In these days, it was certainly beneficial to keep the secrets of Masonry. If someone knew you were a Mason, you could be arrested – moreover, if someone were to learn the secrets of Masonry, they could infiltrate any given lodge.
    Obviously, nowadays there is no danger of persecution or death associated with Masonry, though our fraternity is still misunderstood by many. But still, the fidelity and secrecy remains as a symbol of that tightly-knit brotherhood – and we take that very seriously.

    So, keeping all that in mind, the “secrets” of Freemasonry are overblown and not at all what makes it a rewarding and enlightening organization to be a member of. The beautiful rituals, the brotherhood of fellow men, the historical lessons, the moral teachings – and most importantly – the emotions and experience… these are what make Masonry a truly rewarding and enlightening fraternity.
  2. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

    Very nice. Thank you for sharing!
  3. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

  4. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    Good stuff! You've traveled far in such a short time my brother.
  5. Star Mztyk

    Star Mztyk Registered User

    WELL .....DAMN...THE Secret is out! Guess what?... at one time it was more dangerous to be an astrologer than a Mason......and Benjamin Franklin was both. I expect my Grand Lodge to except the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas before my expertise. I vote for a True Chartered Lodge.
  6. appzdude

    appzdude Registered User

    Very nice brother. Not sure what the"true chartered lodge"comment means. Remember how we meet and part so that we can temper or comments with brotherly love.

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  7. tmcguire

    tmcguire Premium Member

    Consider the following :

    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
    JVan357 likes this.

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