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General Question Concerning Freemasonry
Posted: 05 April 2012 08:42 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I am trying to understand more about Freemasonry and there is something I hope someone could help clarify for me. I have heard that Freemasons are ‘not a secret society, but a society with secrets’. I am under the assumption that there is some body of knowledge within The Craft (please correct me if this is an improper use of this title)that must lead towards ‘something’. I understand if you can’t be specific about what this ‘something’ is, but I do have a question that may be somewhat broad: Is there an ultimate goal/purpose in being a Freemason?

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Posted: 05 April 2012 08:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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To make good men better. It’s like the motto of Freemasonry :)

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Posted: 05 April 2012 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[Mod Note: We kindly ask that all Masons participating in the forum include their lodge name in their profile. ]

Mike, have you tried reading our frequently asked questions page at the top of the screen?  Start there to get a general idea and let us know how we can clarify.

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Dan

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Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 05 April 2012 10:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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———-

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Posted: 06 April 2012 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Also Mike, it is perfectly fine to refer to Freemasonry as “the Craft”.  This word is used in the sense that Masonry is a craft just like other trades like electrician, plumber, operative Masons practice their craft.

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 06 April 2012 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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MikeO - 05 April 2012 08:42 PM

I am trying to understand more about Freemasonry and there is something I hope someone could help clarify for me. I have heard that Freemasons are ‘not a secret society, but a society with secrets’. I am under the assumption that there is some body of knowledge within The Craft (please correct me if this is an improper use of this title)that must lead towards ‘something’. I understand if you can’t be specific about what this ‘something’ is, but I do have a question that may be somewhat broad: Is there an ultimate goal/purpose in being a Freemason?

To paraphrase Brother Benjamin Franklin, the secret of Freemasonry is that there are no secrets. The only things we keep private are our means of recognition and the details of our rituals. The means of recognition are kept private because we use them to identify ourselves as Masons to one another. The details of ritual are kept private for the benefit of the men going through them. The rituals are time-tested teaching tools and are much more effective if the ceremony is a surprise to the candidate. That’s it. We can talk about just about anything else you would like to know.

The lessons of the Craft are available through any number of sources of moral education, Sunday School, Scouting, and Philosophy. The real benefit of the Craft is being in the company of good men who are on the same path of morality that you are. Some are ahead of you and help you catch up. Some are behind so you can reach to them with a helping hand. When you understand that there are literally millions of men around the world who are on that path with you, you know that wherever you might find yourself you will have a friend and brother who will always extend his hand to you and your family.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Past Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 06 April 2012 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Freemasonry is not a secret society. And it’s not a “society with secrets,” either. It’s not a society, period. Freemasonry is only a fraternity. It provides an opportunity for its members to get together and enjoy each others’ company. That is its primary purpose.

As explained by others already, the only “secrets” in Freemasonry are the signs, grips, and tokens…and frankly, if you really want to know them, people have been exposing the “secrets” of Freemasonry for almost as long as the secrets have existed. You can look them up in any number of books any time you want. Just don’t think it’s going to help you bluff your way into any meetings. You could memorize every sign, every grip, and every token, but without experiencing the ritual firsthand, the symbols will have no meaning to you and it would only take a couple questions to reveal that you’re lying and not really a Freemason. And if you’re considering ever becoming a Freemason yourself, I would strongly urge you not to read any of those exposes, because they will reveal the ritual to you, which I guarantee will ruin the experience for you. Knowing the ritual before you experience it is like watching a movie for the first time when you already know the ending. All you need to know before you experience it is that no harm will ever come to you inside the Lodge, you will not be asked to do anything that should offend your sensibilities or morals, and if you feel uncomfortable and don’t wish to proceed you can quit at any time.

Beyond those signs, grips, and tokens, the only thing Freemasonry teaches you is how to be a better man and make the world a better place. And there’s nothing secret about those lessons.

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Dave

Worshipful Master, Garden City Lodge A.F. & A.M., Newtonville, MA—Entered: 4/12/01; Passed: 5/10/01; Raised: 6/14/01
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Mount Lebanon Lodge A.F. & A.M., Boston, MA
Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, Scottish Rite Valley of Boston
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Posted: 06 April 2012 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I would respectfully disagree with the statement that there are no secrets beyond the modes of recognition.  They are not tangible secrets that you can relay to a Brother either visually, orally or manually though.  It is something much more than that and it really cannot be explained.  Not that we don’t want to, it simply can’t be done.

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V:.W:.Paul Hulseapple
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Feliciana Lodge #31
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Posted: 06 April 2012 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Thank you Paul, well said.  I was having a hard time finding a way to phrase that.

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 06 April 2012 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Thank you all for your responses; I am getting a better idea of what Freemasonry is and isn’t.

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Posted: 07 April 2012 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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MikeO - What are some conclusions you have come to?

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V:.W:.Paul Hulseapple
Past Master St. Georges Lodge #6
Schenectady, NY
Asst. Grand Lecturer Old 17th District
Feliciana Lodge #31
St. Francisville, LA

32°AASR
St Georges Chapter #157 RAM
High Priest

St. George’s Council #74 Cryptic Masons
Giles Fonda Yates Council #22 AMD
Sr. Warden

St. George’s Commandery #37
Oriental Shrine A.A.O.N.M.S

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Posted: 07 April 2012 11:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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One conclusion that I have been able to gather just from searching this website and forum is that there seems to be a lot of misinformation and disinformation circulating about Freemasonry. I don’t know if there is an agenda behind doing this, but it seems to be rampant (at least on the internet) nonetheless. I hope this becomes more clear in time since I would like to know more about the organization without the attached negative connotations I come across in my research. I am grateful that the members on this board lend a hand in doing that.

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