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.