Back to the “”secrets””-
I don't expect any “”secrets”“ to be divulged but I would like some clarification and and a little expounding. (note to new people- I have been
On the oaths- the ones involving keeping the secrets of fellow masons.
I understand the historical validity of such oaths what with the rumored tie to the Templars and all, what I don't understand is why such oaths are
Isn't this a weak point?
It seems to me that any organization that requires protecting their own wrong-doers from the laws of society is akin to the corporate wrong-doers that
lie and protect their compatriots from prosecution. In a free society, isn't a pledge to “”lie”” contrary to society? How can a “”good man”” become
better when he is REQUIRED to lie for others?
And so here in what was posed as a question, we have the old "Do you still beat your wife?" question, which is really an attack. This one is
particularly clever because it is an attack on three levels at once.
1. Questions rational for masonic ritual.
2. Asserts that masons will lie/are required to lie for brother masons
3. Asserts slyly that masons would NEED someone to lie for them.
This was posted as a throw away comment on another thread, and when the poster was asked to provide any factual basis for these assertions, none were
forthcoming. Why was there no proof forthcoming? Because there is none.
Another poster went on to suggest that a brother would give the grand hailing sign of distress
in a courtroom, as a means of calling on a
purported brother to aid them by lying.
So lets deal with the issues one at a time, and see where that takes us.
1. Criticisizing the historical necessity for the masonic obligations and thence for the penalities, though the latter was not mentioned directly. I
always find it amusing when a non masons takes the time to criticize the way masons operate, seeing as they have SO MUCH personal experience from
which to draw and form an opinion. The ritual is what it is because it teaches great moral lessons. Tradition is important to masons, and while some
in society today are intent on tossing away what was ok yesterday in favor of some unknown tomorrow, masons tend to stick with what WORKS.
Historical facts show that masonry has produced some of the best and brightest... the list of famous masons reads like a who's who of the Military,
Political, Financial, scientific, entertainment and literary communities, which begs the question: Were all those men good before they joined the
fraternity, or were they better because they joined the fraternity?
Masons point to the great ones among us for a reason, not to say WE are those luminaries, but because our detractors claim that masonry is somehow
less than what we claim... and by pointing to the great masons in history, we absolutely and unequivocably show them to be wrong. Evil cannot produce
good, and masonry has contributed much good to society.
So, we maintain the obligations and traditions because they work. It is irrelevant to masonry that some nattering naybobs of negativitiy criticize the
obligations, how we may administer them, what they contain, and so forth.
So now lets deal with the second issue. NOTHING in my obligation requires or asks me to lie for a brother. In fact, the very concept of a) being asked
to lie or b) lying is antithetical to everything masonry teaches and holds out as right, fit, mete and proper. Oh, I have an obligation to aid and
assist and distressed brother, but not to the extent of besmirching my own honor or integrity.
I have an obligation to keep the secrets of a brother as my own, murder, treason and felony excluded. This again, does not refer to lying. Not in
word, deed, or spirit. This is a prohibition against carrying tales, and is a matter of trust and integrity and honor. Now, I know those words are out
of fashion these days, and may be strange concepts for some, but to masons, honor, integrity, truth, faith, hope, charity, prudence, temperance,
fortitude, justice are more than just words, they are the living, breathing lifeblood of the fraternity.
If a brother comes to me with a problem or in need of help, my obligation means that I will NOT share what he tells me with anyone, without his direct
permission, which I am honor bound NOT to ask for... it means that I can trust a brother. It does not mean that I will lie for him.
Now, to the third layer of this accusation. That a brother mason would even ask a brother to lie for him. Since we are honor bound to the fraternity
and to each other, the very idea of asking someone to lie is anathema to the teachings of the fraternity. I will not cheat, wrong or defraud is a
significant portion of the teachings of the fraternity, and a part of the obligation itself. And the concept that a brother would "signal" another
brother in court implies that a mason would be in a position that would require a lie to save him.
Since masons strive to act and live in an honorable, upright manner before god and man, the idea that a) a brother would be in court; b) that a
brother would ask another brother to lie, and; c) that a brother would NEED a brother to lie is so ridiculous as to be on a par with someone asking
what yellow smells like...
And, just for clarity, if a brother were to give the grand hailing sign in a court, it would be pretty clear to EVERYONE what was going on. It is not
exactly... subtle, that sign, for obvious reasons.
So, am I trying to imply that all masons upright, honorable men, without blemish and perfect? NO. We are human men, striving to be better men, living
in a society that prizes the grey areas and obfuscation. We FIGHT each day to reach the lofty goals we set for ourselves, and for some its harder than
for others, but we ARE trying to reach the goals and to be the men that masonry teaches us to be...
Are Masons a cut above the average in society? ABSOLUTELY!
I would trust a man on sight, simply because he is a brother. Not because I am foolish, but because I know that good men apply, good men stay, and
masonry makes good men better.
So one more lie about masonry bites the dust.
[edit on 11/11/04 by theron dunn]