The Obligation of a Freemason

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posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 12:54 PM
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Freemasons make promises when they are initiated, and also when progressed up to Fellowcraft and Master Mason. I believe that these promises (vows / oaths / whatever you want to call them) are one of the main reasons why non-masons are suspicious of masonic motives. I would like to put forward my view of the masonic oath, and perhaps we can get a discussion out of it - who knows.

There seem to be three reasons why masonic oaths are disliked:

1. Freemasons promise to favor each other above non-masons.
I have to tell you this is a myth. The promise that a freemason makes, on the holy book of his choice, is to keep secret the 'modes of recognition' of a freemason, e.g. the traditional method by which one mason could know another. This is all that an Entered Apprentice freemason promises to do.

In my constitution in the second degree a freemason further promises to try and live by the moral lessons he has already learned, and to answer invitations to lodge meetings. In the third degree he additionally promises to:

(a) assist other freemasons fairly as long as it doesn't cause any problems to himself
(b) to be a confidante to a brother, as long as it doesn't involve breaking the law, or the moral law
(c) defend and maintain the honour of freemasons and their families.

2. The act of making an oath is in itself wrong.
Some religious and other grouping believe that taking an oath is, in itself, wrong. IMO this is a misunderstanding of parts of the bible, but they are entitled to their belief and are recommended not to join.

3. The penalties of breaking the oath.
It is believed that terrible things will happen to a freemason if he breaks his oath. The reality is that there are plenty of ex-masons around today happily violating their oath with no come-back. In my constitution the penalty for breaking your promise is to be branded a...


willfully perjured individual, void of all moral worth, and totally unfit to be received into ... any ... society of men who prize honour and virtue above the external advantages of rank and fortune.


... which for an honorable man is the worst punishment possible.

Much of freemasonry, as you might know, is symbolic. The oath is a test of merit - can this man be trusted? These days with the modes of recognition splattered all over the internet this test is as important today as it ever was.

Promises to assist freemasons are symbolic of our wider obligation to the world at large. We are reminded that every man is our brother and that we have an obligation to practice the morality we have learned at lodge out into society. Hence the charity, the hospitals, etc.

Some, perhaps more traditional freemasons, have misunderstood the need for secrecy and not known how much they can talk about. So they haven't talked about anything. These days things are far more open - indeed in my constitution we have open days and selected sections of the ceremony have been released on video and can be downloaded!

www.wrprovince.co.uk...

If anyone has any questions about the masonic obligation I will be pleased to try and answer, with the caveat that I can only really speak for what happens in England. However most of the masonic world is fairly similar.




posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:25 PM
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To add my petitioned Lodges two cents, even the petition has a required signature that you are not joining the Lodge for "Mercenary Motives," or simply that you realize you will receive no preferential treatment from other Masons beyond that which a rational person would expect.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:31 PM
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So why do masons have secret ways to acknowledge each other and to tell each other they are masons?

There is clearly something to be gained by doing this or Masons wouldn't do it. And the benefit is clearly NOT just acknowledgement because then there would be no need for the signs to be secret.

edit for spelling



[edit on 16-8-2005 by DonkeyPlopPlop]


Cug

posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by DonkeyPlopPlop
So why do masons have secret ways to acknowledge each other and to tell each other they are masons?


It's tradition. way way back in the old days is was kinda like a union card for stone masons (The job not the fraternity) Masons please correct me if I'm wrong



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by DonkeyPlopPlop
So why do masons have secret ways to acknowledge each other and to tell each other they are masons?


This dates back to the medieval traditions. The secret modes of recognition were used to ensure that one's fellow workers were members of the Guild, and that the trade secrets of stonemasonry would not be divulged to non-members. This allowed the Guild to establish a monopoly, and the same techniques were used by the other crafts (carpentry, blacksmithing, etc.).

These traditional signs and words are preserved in modern Freemasonry, but it is important to note that they are rarely, if ever, used outside the Lodge.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 02:05 PM
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As a freemason who has travel about this world of ours, I have always found it a benifit to be able to find a new freind and bother thourgh a simple token. As stone masons of the past, travelers still need to know who they trust and ask for aid



lost in the midwest

[edit on 16-8-2005 by lost in the midwest]



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 02:13 PM
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WTF are you going on about? There is no secret freaking handshake. Yes some do get tatoos or something but you can't have them on your arm or other place easily viewed, normally on the back or chest. But it isn't like you go to a grocery store, flash your mark and get all your groceries for free, that is Anti-Mason BS. I try to stay away from here but when I saw the title I couldn't resist.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 02:18 PM
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James, who is your post directed at?



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 02:36 PM
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Originally posted by James the Lesser
WTF are you going on about? There is no secret freaking handshake.


Wrong. There are several.


Yes some do get tatoos or something but you can't have them on your arm or other place easily viewed, normally on the back or chest.


Wrong. If you feel so inclined, you can get them anywhere you want.

mastersjewel.com...


But it isn't like you go to a grocery store, flash your mark and get all your groceries for free, that is Anti-Mason BS.


True. But there are those that will cut a brother a break.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 03:09 PM
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Hi DonkeyPlopPlop (good name)

The modes of recognition have their origins way back when most people couldn't write and skilled artisans needed a definitive mechanism to tell how qualified a worker was. This they achieved through various means, and, yes James the Lesser, a handshake was one of them.

Sadly, Ye Olde Tattoo Shoppe didn't see much trade from masons. "er... yeah... I'll have a Square and Compass on me back, trowel on me buttocks and, oh yeah, a soddin' huge plumb rule right above me [DELETED TEXT]"



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 03:21 PM
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Thanks Trinityman (chose my handle as a constant reminder not to take myself too seriously when getting into long discussions)

Yeah I understand the background of the secrecy, but why the need for it now. Why not just let anyone who asks know and ask openly of others?

And please, do not think I am in the 'Masons will eat my children' club. I'm just wondering.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 03:33 PM
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I have never heard of any handshake except from people who aren't Masons. No Mason I have ever known has had a freaking handshake. And the tatoo thing around here anyways is in no easily seen place. So no Sightless Eye on the forehead. And I admit if you belong to the same lodge you might be able to get things at discount like a doctors visit if you go to one that is a fellow lodge member but it isn't treating a Lodge Member better then a non-Mason it is giving a friend a discount.

So no damn handshake that I have ever heard/seen/done. It is just anti Mason BS, most members know each other because they are of the same lodge, they don't need a damn handshake to know who is who. It would be like needing a secret handshake so your dad or best friend know you are you, it doesn't make sense.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 03:53 PM
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First of all, GREAT avatar.
Seriosly. Love it.



Originally posted by James the Lesser
I have never heard of any handshake except from people who aren't Masons. No Mason I have ever known has had a freaking handshake.


You must not frequent this forum much then, because I've seen Sebatwerk alone say that "the only secrets of Freemasonry are the passwords and handshakes" about a thousand times.


And the tatoo thing around here anyways is in no easily seen place. So no Sightless Eye on the forehead.


Who gets a tattoo on their forehead?!
Seriosly man, nothing wrong with getting one, say, on your forearm or something. Personal preference.


And I admit if you belong to the same lodge you might be able to get things at discount like a doctors visit if you go to one that is a fellow lodge member but it isn't treating a Lodge Member better then a non-Mason it is giving a friend a discount.


It pretty much is the friend discount. But I've seen someone post on another site that they work at a movie theater... one time a guy came up, saw his ring, flashed a sign, and *bam* half-price movie tickets. Not saying it's right, but it happens.


So no damn handshake that I have ever heard/seen/done. It is just anti Mason BS, most members know each other because they are of the same lodge, they don't need a damn handshake to know who is who. It would be like needing a secret handshake so your dad or best friend know you are you, it doesn't make sense.


Actually they have dues cards that are usually used to prove you are a Mason, but say your car broke down in a strange town, and you didn't know anyone. You could find a Mason (look for an emblem on a car, a ring, etc), show yourself to be a Mason and get a meal, perhaps a place to crash for the evening. Nothing nefarious, but you would know you could trust them, and they would know they could trust you. Part of the obligations is to help a worthy distressed brother, if you are able. That's not anti-Mason BS, that's the truth.


[edit on 8/16/05 by The Axeman]



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 04:07 PM
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Originally posted by James the Lesser
So no damn handshake that I have ever heard/seen/done. It is just anti Mason BS, most members know each other because they are of the same lodge, they don't need a damn handshake to know who is who. It would be like needing a secret handshake so your dad or best friend know you are you, it doesn't make sense.


We have several hadnshakes, signs and passwords which we DO indeed keep secret. These modes of recognition are part of tradition, and they are also in place to identify masons from impostors for various reasons.

When a mason needs help, he is encouraged to go to the fraternity for help. In order for the fraternity to know he is a mason, he must identify himself by a handshake, password or sign. This is also done to gain admittance into a lodge that one is visiting.

Our modes of recognition are the only things that are kept secret throughout all jurisdictions of the fraternity. There are different requirements for keeping other things secret in different places, but modes of recognition should ALWAYS be kept private by a mason.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by DonkeyPlopPlop
Yeah I understand the background of the secrecy, but why the need for it now. Why not just let anyone who asks know and ask openly of others?

From where I'm sitting there's very little secret about freemasonry. It's all out there for those who wish to look, and of course there's always your friendly neighborhood freemason to ask


I think the fact the freemasonry is regarded in some quarters as secret is out of date now. Certainly in the UK there has been excessive secrecy since WWII for well documented reasons, but I'm pleased to say that the latest generation of freemasons have a different approach, and what with Open Days and more freemasons making their membership known and talking about it I hope that before too only the hard core privacy-invading nosey-parkers will be complaining about us.


And please, do not think I am in the 'Masons will eat my children' club. I'm just wondering.

That's fine. No problem. I prefer rib-eye anyway.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 04:14 PM
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sebatwerk
Not ALWAYS though, right?

I mean, you haven't kept them completely secret, right?

The fact that they're widely available on the internet makes secrecy a sham, doesn't it?

Just questions, no attack intended or implied.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 04:20 PM
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The fact that they're widely available on the internet makes secrecy a sham, doesn't it?

I think I can speak for the majority of freemasons who would rather that they weren't widely available. But that's life with the Internet and lots of spoilsports.

As freemasonry evolved from operative to speculative, many of the traditional elements of freemasonry became symbolic and developed new or additional meanings. The Obligation of a Freemason has become a initiatory rite of passage - a two-way trust between the candidate and the lodge. The Obligation symbolises that a man's word is his bond. A promise given will not be broken. A freemason will never reveal that which he has promised not to. Which means he can be trusted in all sorts of other ways too, and if a freemason gives you his word, its as good as done.

Which is why no-one is more disappointed that freemasons themselves when someone lets the side down. Which happens occasionally. And which is why, in the final analysis, it doesn't really matter if the secrets are revealed because knowing them won't make you a freemason.

[edit on 16-8-2005 by Trinityman]



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 04:30 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
Not ALWAYS though, right?

I mean, you haven't kept them completely secret, right?

The fact that they're widely available on the internet makes secrecy a sham, doesn't it?


Just because they're available doesn't mean that I will reveal them. I made a promise to keep them secret and therefore I will, and the same goes (hopefully) for every other mason in the world. Additionally, the fact that they are available on the internet and in books doesn't make them correct. Masons are very adept at identifying their brothers, and a cowan would have a very hard time trying to pass himself off as a mason based on exposes alone.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 04:39 PM
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that's one rad brother


are they racist masons in lodges (ie: down south)? honest question, browses that page and just going off looks alone some of these men appear to have been around when racism was(is) prominent.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 04:58 PM
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Originally posted by Conspicuouz
that's one rad brother


His tattoo is awesome. And the hat too (For a WM... I wouldn't wear it to the mall or anything.
).


are they racist masons in lodges (ie: down south)? honest question, browses that page and just going off looks alone some of these men appear to have been around when racism was(is) prominent.


I would imagine there are racist brothers (one would hope not, but such is life), but IMHO such a man wouldn't be a good Mason. Masons teach equality of man. All men. That means something different now than it used to, and some of those abhorrent views of supremacy or whatever are sure to remain.

Freemasonry in NO way advocates racism, if that's what you mean.

[edit on 8/16/05 by The Axeman]





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