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My Masonic Hangups
Posted: 09 July 2012 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I have taken the initiative and approached my nearest masonic lodge, in which I asked for an application to join.  I am of legal age in my jurisdiction and I meet all of the necessary qualifications.  However, when I expressed my desire to become a mason to my family, I was soundly attacked on all sides with what I at least perceive to be legitimate concerns and claims.  In summation their(my family’s) points are as follows:

1. Masonic involvement with the KKK (meaning, why would I want to associate myself with an organization that at one time was supportive of and/or supported by such an abominable organization?).

2. Masonic secrets (Here are some examples of questions which my family gave me: “What is the benefit of keeping something secret?  If masonic lessons are supposed to make a good man better, wouldn’t it benefit society to reveal what is taught in masonic rituals?  What is the purpose of keeping handshakes, symbols, etc. secret this day and age outside of tradition?”)

Ultimately, I feel a bit at a loss.  I still would like to join this fraternity, however, until I can convince my family otherwise, I cannot see myself becoming a freemason.

Any ideas?

Thank you.

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Oasis Masonic Lodge No. 854 F&AM;
Al Malaikah Temple AAONMS

“Death was but the good King’s jest, it was hid so carefully..” -G.K. Chesterton

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Posted: 09 July 2012 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Your confusion is not uncommon.  We’ve actually answered these same questions before on this site, and I think if you try the search function, it might turn up some applicable answers.

Also, definitely check out the site http://www.masonicinfo.com.  Use the search function on there as well.  It’s a treasure trove of information that answer questions just like yours.

Here, I’ll get you started:

For KKK:
http://www.masonicinfo.com/kkk.htm

For Masonic “secrets”:
http://www.masonicinfo.com/secrets.htm

That’s get you started, but I guarantee you if you read even a small portion of that site, you’ll be vastly more knowledgeable about Freemasonry.

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Dan

Worshipful Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Aleppo Temple

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Posted: 09 July 2012 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thank you for the link regarding the KKK, however, it primarily deals with Albert Pike.  I have already read plenty on Albert Pike and his “alleged” connections with the Klu Klux Klan.  My family’s concern lies more with the perceived passiveness and possible connection of masonry to the KKK as a whole.

One example:

http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/kkk.html

- See “KKK had openly advertised in newspapers for new recruits specifying that masons were preferred”

Although it subsequently states, “That at least one Kleagle directed one advertisement at freemasons doesn’t demonstrate that Freemasonry was associated with the Klan.”  It does concern me that the article later continues to say, “Kleagles also hung around other fraternal lodges and were especially successful at wooing the Masons.”  I by no means believe that this statement can be applied to all of Freemasonry (nor should it be applied to any organization in which some members were affiliated with the KKK), however connections like these are substantial and I find indefensible in that it does show a masonic-KKK link. 

In regards the masonic “secrets,” I guess I am asking more for advice on how to couch to non-masons why secrets are used and justified in the fraternity’s rituals.  I am as “knowledgable” as any non-mason can be on the basics of masonic ritual and frankly I find it difficult to explain how the rituals which are done in secret are nothing more than extended allegories for what I perceive to be truly thoughtful and insightful lessons on morality.

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Oasis Masonic Lodge No. 854 F&AM;
Al Malaikah Temple AAONMS

“Death was but the good King’s jest, it was hid so carefully..” -G.K. Chesterton

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Posted: 09 July 2012 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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With the KKK…there’s no connection….period.  We can’t control what another Mason does outside of lodge, and if a few misguided members (and it could only be a very few very misguided members, as most Masons would find the idea of joining the KKK downright disgusting) we can’t really stop him.

The two organizations are ideologically so far apart that the very notion that they could possibly be related is amusing to me.

I’ve met thousands of Masons, and I’ve never met a member of the KKK, nor would I want to.  I don’t associate with those kinds of people.  If Masonry was associated with the Klan, I wouldn’t be a Mason.

As for the secrecy….there’s nothing about Masonry that you can’t look up in a library nowadays, even the “secrets”.  Still, there are things that we keep private.  How is this a crime?  For those people you know who think the secrecy is so bad, ask them if they conduct their family affairs out in public or if they prefer to keep them private.  Ask them if they like to discuss their most recent job review or salary increase in public.  Ask them if they want to talk about their mortgage payment or what they do at night with their spouse when the lights are out.  Certainly they will agree that there are some things that should be private.  Masonic meetings have portions that are private, because they are things that only pertain to us.

As for our ritual, you can look it up and read it in any number of places.  The reason WE vow not to share it is to stress the importance of a man’s word (you say you won’t do something so you don’t) and to help us tell Masons from non-Masons (with certain signs, tokens, words, etc.)  That’s really it on the secrecy thing.  Freemasonry passes on a tradition of members identifying one another by secretive means, and although it really isn’t a secret anymore, we still like to carry on the tradition to maintain some Masonic heritage and tradition.

One important note that the actual “secrets” are not as important as keeping the secret (and therefore your word) is.  If you have a secret password, like maybe your ATM PIN code, and someone finds out what it is, you change it, right?  That’s because you want to keep it a secret.  Freemasonry knows that its “secrets” are published in every library in the country, and that you can pretty much google our secret words, grips, etc.  and yet, after the hundreds of years that our “secrets” have been known to non-Masons, we still haven’t changed them!  Why?  Because they don’t reveal anything.  They don’t entitle you to anything.  They are simply a way of passing on Masonic tradition.

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Dan

Worshipful Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Aleppo Temple

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Posted: 10 July 2012 04:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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eoin.silent - 09 July 2012 06:29 PM

Thank you for the link regarding the KKK, however, it primarily deals with Albert Pike.  I have already read plenty on Albert Pike and his “alleged” connections with the Klu Klux Klan.  My family’s concern lies more with the perceived passiveness and possible connection of masonry to the KKK as a whole.

The real problem you have is that it is not actually possible to prove a negative. This is why in the world of normal and sane individuals the burden of proof is with the “accuser”, ie they must prove that their accusation is true.

All we can tell you is that there is no link between the KKK and Freemasonry, except that there is a possiblity that some people may have been members of both. Freemasonry as an organisation has no interest in the KKK and as an ideal the KKK (as Dan points out) is anathema to what Freemasonry promotes amongst its members, for clarity, that being the equality of its members regardless of their race, religion or social background.

If your family want to believe conspiracy theories that is their business and to be frank as a non-Mason you should not be trying to convince them otherwise as you have no authority in their eyes to do so because you know no better than they do. Another thing that Freemasonry makes clear to every Initiate is that membership should not come between a Freemason and his family commitments. So my advice would be to forget about Freemasonry until such time that either your family realises its mistake or you can join without requiring any input from them.

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Mike Martin
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Posted: 10 July 2012 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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First, let me reiterate What has already been said. Although there may have been a few Masons who were seduced into joining the KKK, there is nothing in common between the two organizations and, especially today, the two organizations’ principals are diametrically opposed. We welcome all races and creeds to our Fraternity, they don’t. A KKK member sitting in my lodge room would probably run away screaming because all his prejudices would be shattered by seeing us all together in harmony.

The reasons we keep those secrets, beside keeping our word, are simple. The means of identification, usually called “secret handshakes” by the uninitiated, are kept secret so it isn’t easy for non-members to get into our meetings. The real way we keep out non-members is a bit more complicated, but I’m not going to publish that. The reason we keep the details of our Ritual a secret is they are teaching tools that work best when you don’t know what’s coming. Your mind is open if the Ritual is a surprise and the lessons sink in. If you thought you knew what was coming, you would constantly be anticipating the next part of the ceremony and not be paying attention to what is going on now.

It’s all pretty simple. The lessons we teach are available through several other means, for example Sunday School. What make being a Mason special to me is the chance to associate with good men and be welcomed as a friend and brother in every lodge everywhere.

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John Ruggiero
Senior Warden, 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: 10 July 2012 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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You all have given me plenty to think about.  Even if joining the craft is not in the cards for me at this point in my life, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions/concerns.

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Oasis Masonic Lodge No. 854 F&AM;
Al Malaikah Temple AAONMS

“Death was but the good King’s jest, it was hid so carefully..” -G.K. Chesterton

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Posted: 10 July 2012 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Certainly.  In the end, what you believe is most important.  Is an organization that donates almost 3 million dollars a day to charity, more blood than any organization, and strives to make ourselves better men, encourages our members to be active members in their churches, and most importantly - inspires so many of us to be passionate about a fraternity that we love - really an evil, KKK endorsing and secretive and manipulating group, or really just a benevolent society of like minded individuals who for too long have endured slander from misled people who need to have a boogie-man to pin accusations on?

I’m a good person.  I’m here doing this because I believe in the good that is in the hearts of men.  If I stood for the values of such organizations as the KKK, I wouldn’t be here trying to show you otherwise.

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Dan

Worshipful Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Aleppo Temple

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