Working tools discussion with non masons

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Lowcarbjc, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Lowcarbjc

    Lowcarbjc Registered User

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    Do you ever discuss the working tools symbolism with non mason friends who ask about what it means? In our oath we also promise not to talk about anything that takes place in the lodge including symbolism etc. I do think however using a few examples might be the perfect way to explain what FM is about, but I'm not so sure how much one can really talk about. - What does your (Grand) Lodges dictate on this?


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  2. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    I am happy to discuss all aspects of Freemasonry, except the signs, tokens and words with non-Masons. That is because the Obligation I took at my Initiation (under the UGLE) was to not share the "secrets" with those who are not entitled to know them.
     
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  3. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

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    Most people outside of masonry only know of the Square, compass and level as it has bled over into everyday usage and/or visible symbols that hang on our lodge or in the form of jewelery.

    "He's a square guy."

    "He is on the level."

    Etc.

    I like to go that route and point out how the fraternity has influenced common phrases used today.

    I'm sure Joe Blow is not going to be asking about the common gavel and 24" gauge unless they read websites about masonry.
     
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  4. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Items that are written out in the Monitor are not secret and can thus be shared/quoted with the public. That should be standard for every jurisdiction.

    What is secret and what is not does vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The most common but not the only stance is the UGLE one described by W Bro Mike Martin elsewhere in this thread.

    Generally, the working tools and their meanings are not among the secrets. If you have any doubt check with your Gr Sec. As many brothers are inclined to include more than is necessary among the secrets asking around doesn't work well. You'll get conflicting answers from brothers not in authority on the topic.
     
  5. Lowcarbjc

    Lowcarbjc Registered User

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    Thank you all for the answers.


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  6. SeattleMason0613

    SeattleMason0613 Registered User

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    Yep was always told what's in the monitor is not secret because it's in plain English obviously there are parts in it that replace stars with words or blanks that representing secret words included in a ritual


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  7. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Same here. The obligation of each degree is quite specific about what secrets we are promising to keep. That's actually a pretty short list, and (in my experience, at least) did not include the working tools. Still, I am reluctant to discuss much of the degree work, lectures, etc. with anyone who does not already have such knowledge and who might some day have a desire to have the experience of gaining it as an initiate.
     
  8. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    This sounds right to me.
     
  9. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    My "rule of thumb" is, if it is written in plain text it is not secret. If something is encoded I treat it as secret.
    Since 99.9% of the working tools are written in plain text, in my jurisdiction, I will answer questions about them.
     
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  10. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Makes sense. I will remember this.
     
  11. wwinger

    wwinger Registered User

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    I agree.
     
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  12. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    In my view the working tools are veiled in allegory. Sharing veiled allegories is not a betrayal of secrets.

    In fact it is hard to find any part of Freemasonry that is unveiled.
     
  13. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

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    check your jurisdiction's constitution. I recently read mine concerning ritual and what is 'secret' concerning the books provided by my GL.

    I'd hate to see a Brother err with common sense because the jurisprudence of law in their jurisdiction does not adhere to common sense.

    Remember, it doesn't have to make sense for something to be a law.
     
  14. GKA

    GKA Premium Member

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    We had an incident at lodge where a brother was giving a presentation on Masonic symbolism, the lodge was open on the EA level. When he got to the symbols associated with the MM degree and began to explain them, all hell broke loose
    I agree that it is not proper to discuss those symbols with an EA or FC, but they are brothers and not part of the profane collective.
    An act of overzealous enthusiasm, but not necessarily a violation of obligation, again, these were not modes of recognition.
     
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  15. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    For sure!
     

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