The prevailing impression of a secretive society is difficult to dispel. Freemasonry is not a Secret Society. No Secret Society would publish as much about itself in books and on the web as Freemasonry does. Nowadays Freemasons have stands at many local and county shows and our members are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
We can do no better than quote The Home Affairs Select Committee, which in May 1998 reported to Parliament. “We do not believe that there is anything sinister about Freemasonry, properly observed… it is obvious that there is a great deal of unjustified paranoia about Freemasonry.
One reason for claiming Freemasonry is a secret society is because of the mistaken assumption that Freemasons take an oath. They do not they take an obligation. An oath is defined as ‘a solemn appeal to a deity. An obligation is defined as ‘something by which a person is bound or obliged to do as a sense of duty. Basically loyalty to Freemasonry and upholding and observing the laws of the nation. How can a Freemason be criticised for that?
The term secret society has a sinister connotation. Freemasonry has demanded that brethren keep certain ‘secrets’, which are no more than historic words in regard to recognition of another brother, but it is not in the general connotation of the word secret.
Freemasonry is a well-known male organisation for good and charitable works over the centuries. While initially it may have been the ‘well heeled’ of society today, it encompasses men from all walks in life.
But lets look at what has created the secrecy myth and we are certain that you will agree that it is not secrets but really password which had to be kept secret. So before you dismiss that statement just read on to understand how this myth was created.
It all began with the need to establish a nationally recognised system of competency. The only thing this site will not disclose is what is referred to as ‘the secrets’ of Freemasonry. Why you ask. Well because once you have read this through then you may understand why; and realise that it is not a secret but simply a password around which time and necessity has misunderstood its meaning. Let us explain.
Take yourself back to the middle ages when there were no paper qualifications, no ’O’ levels, NVQ’s or similar for the working man. Now consider, how did a stone mason prove the competence of his level of work if he moved to another site or job many miles away where he was not known? The master was loathe to provide him with a set of tools and an expensive block of stone just to find out that, at the end of the day, he might have absconded with the tools and ruined a valuable piece of stone.
So a simple, easy operated, system was required which the highly skilled, but possibly illiterate craftsman, could understand. Therefore at certain stages, when he was a youth, just beginning his seven year apprenticeship, after proving competence, he would have gone through various memorable ceremonies. During each of which he would have been given a different password. He was also threatened with dire consequences if he told anyone. This turned the password into a secret.
Now these young apprentices lived in a time of fear; ghosts, apparitions, witches, wizards and ducking stools. Just think of the witches of Salem in the 1600’s. Young and impressionable these apprentices were often afraid to walk across a grave yard at night. So the young apprentice would have been threatened with many forms of ‘torture’. In time, as he grew older, he came to appreciate the need for the pass word and keeping it secret as it gave him security of work. So when he arrived at his new job he would be able to communicate the password so that the Master mason knew what level of competence he had reached and what he was capable of. The pass word was regarded as personal and closely ‘guarded’. If it became general knowledge the whole of the national ‘competence’ structure would have been void and useless.
All the working guilds of the time had a similar structure but it has really only survived through Freemasonry.
Freemasonry is criticised for using extreme punishments but examine the ‘Prayer of Humble Access’ which says ‘to eat his flesh and drink his blood’. That is truly cannibalistic and it is from the church which criticises Freemasonry!
Freemasons respect the meaning of the traditions of an ancient craft and protect what is no more than a password. It is no more than the company code to enter a building known to a select few.
But if one is really interested in finding out than there are many web pages and the local library to choose from.
Freemasonry is also attacked as being a secret society by the ultra religious and Roman Catholic Church who state that is another religion. If that is the case why do they not attack other groups such as Opus Dei which according to its critics, is a Vatican backed, secretive and conservative religious order of well-placed people who form a shadowy influence based on a political and financial elite.
Critics of Freemasonry cannot understand that it is an organisation in which all faiths and creeds can meet in equal harmony. All Freemasonry requires is that any brother believes in a supreme god. It does not require him to be a regular attender at his place of worship.
It is also said that Freemasonry, because it is a secret society, then it is incompatible with religion. This is because, according to the Church,Freemasonry teaches a ‘naturalistic religion’ or an approach to spirituality that is devoid of supernaturalism. So here the church must mean that it believes in the supernatural and one ask just what does that embrace? Mediums and fortune tellers?
Also it is accused of ‘espouting indifferentism’. Namely the belief that there is no evidence that one religion or philosophy is superior to another. Therefore if Church criticises Freemasonry for indifferentism the Church is inferring that it is superior to all other religions! Now that’s not very Christian! They therefore disagree that a person can be equally pleasing to God while remaining in any religion. It would be interesting to find out where this is stated in the Bible. Rather this espouses religious fundamentalism. Something which the terrorist espouses to further his hatred of other religions and people.
If Freemasonry is wrong, and the Church is superior to other religions, then why are the religious leaders talking together on inter faith dialogue. – Hoping to convert all other faiths to Christianity?
If its secrecy one accused Freemasonry of then Dr Rowan Williams, present Archbishop of Canterbury, should consider his position as a Druid Priest. One asks is that a religion? Is it pagan? Does that espouse indifferentism and supernaturalism? Also all its major ceremonies are secret!
In the past many kings, ‘defender of the faith’, of this country, have been Freemasons. Many church bishops and archbishops have been, and are Freemasons. So there is a strong historic link with Freemasonry.
Freemasonry which rejects the discussion of business, politics and religion in its meetings! Unlike certain Church leaders who make political statements.