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How much knowledge before Masonic initiation?

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posted on May, 8 2004 @ 04:01 PM
How much disclosure takes place before a potential Mason takes their vows? How much do they have to take on faith? Do potential candidates have to take vows of secrecy before anything at all is disclosed to them?

Not asking for particulars, of course.

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 04:15 PM
The idea is to be in total darkness (lack of Masonic knowledge) but the reality is someone from a Masonic family will have an understanding of some the mechanics and will be at ease with the proceedings. With the advent of the internet there is little of the Masonic ritual that cannot be found, I have seen people initiated who had done this kind of research; it only leads to disappointment. This condition is not a new thing though; many of the books you see referenced in various threads on the subject of Masonry were written in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Curiosity and the divulging of secrets is not a Gen X invention.

[Edited on 8-5-2004 by Mirthful Me]

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 04:22 PM
Thank you, Mirthful Me.

I can understand how knowing about the ceremonies might lessen the effect. Do you think that the conspiracy theories arise out of the fact that Masons are expected to swear themselves to secrecy before they know what they are swearing to keep secret?

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 04:52 PM
Certainly Glee,

Conspiracy theories and overblown agendas of secret societies are nothing new. By nature humans expect nefarious goals because we know ourselves so well. A being incapable of subterfuge would be incapable of suspicion. There would be no ATS on a planet so inhabited!
As to the swearing to the unknown, the oath is to the Order, it’s members and oneself; based upon the “Divine Governance” of the individuals religion, the “Rule of Law” as related to the individuals locality and “Masonic Law” as is recognized by respective Grand Lodges (there is some variance of course).We should enjoy the fun of such discussions and I would point out the ardent, and knowledgeable defenders of the Craft, speaking in a common voice the virtues of Freemasonry and what it stands for. Masonry’s detractors seem only capable of innuendo and embellishments of their own fears, not truth or experience, a sad ragtag group with to much idle time, but I digress…

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 05:18 PM
Now, this is very interesting. It sounds like you are saying it is morally and ethically safe to take the oath, even if you don't know anything, because the oath is structured to protect you from swearing to something morally or ethically wrong.

So, from what you say, a Mason's oath would allow them to testify against, or report, a fellow Mason who broke a religious, civil, or Masonic law. Or even divulge Masonic secrets, if that was necessary to comply with religious or civil law.

For instance, if the Mason who was accidentally shot was killed during a Lodge Meeting, the Lodge would have to leave everything the way it was and call in the police. Then the members would have to answer police questions to the best of their ability. Even if it required disclosing Lodge/Masonic secrets.

Is that correct?

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 05:32 PM
Absolutely Glee,

That is the point and would explain the exasperation of Mason's regarding "secrets". Yes, there is an obligation to uphold the civil laws and religious tenets even regardless of whether it involves two Masons or a Mason and a "civilian". There is an exception to this, (An off the record type deal) but it is so awkward and couldn't be applied to a chain of events (like a shooting) or in groups.

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 06:12 PM

You know that everyone is going to seize upon the "exception", don't you? Honest and brave of you to admit it was there. You might help the Masonic cause by being a little more forthcoming concerning that, if possible.

In any case, I'll muse here on it a bit.

One exception I can think of that might be generally acceptable would be to, um, ignore laws making Masonry illegal.

I'm trying to think of another. Sounds like this exception is only an individual-Mason-to-individual-Mason sort of thing.

Maybe we can clear this up by defining it by negatives. I'm hoping this exception would never cause a Mason to:

1. Withhold information concerning a crime other than crimes related to simply being a Mason.

2. Violate the business ethics of the locality in which they live.

3. Show unfair preferment for a Mason when acting in an official capacity, say in college admissions, over a non-Mason with equal or better qualifications.

4. Perjure themselves in a civil or criminal court of law.

5. Vote against their true political beliefs.

Are we safe on all those counts? I hope??

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 06:47 PM
I'm taking the 5th on this one, let it suffice that I was honest enough to admit it. An industrious person could find the wording I suppose but I'll give no guidance on the effort.

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 07:24 PM
Honesty is the best policy. I didn't think you could speak directly, anyway. But I was hoping.

On to a different sub-topic, then. Do initiates have an opportunity to review the content of the oath before they take it?

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 07:29 PM
No, but you are given a multitude of oppurtunities to withdraw, without prejudice.

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 07:37 PM
Thanks, Mirthful Me.

You have been very patient and straightforward, as always. I have one more question: Can a Mason resign?

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 09:55 PM

Originally posted by glee
Thanks, Mirthful Me.

You have been very patient and straightforward, as always. I have one more question: Can a Mason resign?

Hey there, yes, a mason can quite the craft anytime they feel that is is not for them, not in their heart, it goes against any of their beliefs. basically for any reason.

Also, about your topic on the shooting thing. I guess you are talking about the NY incident that happened a week or so ago. Am I right?

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 10:30 PM
I was just thinking about the post about not making the secrets known. Well, when you join you swear to God (disclaimer... I am using God as a general term applied to any religion) that you will not tell the secrets to those not of the craft. Now, in Masonry, you are never asked to do anything against your internal beliefs, religion, moral, political, or socal rights/obligations. But, I have known a few people that have joined and they have gotten out of the craft. Actually, they were hoping that is was more on the conspiracy side, but found out that it is quite different. But, they would not make the secrets known. Firstly, because they made an oath to God. secondly, they never had to do anything against any of the beliefs stated. Now, if we think about it, if it was an evil society, then many would have joined... gotten out.. then blown the whistle. Even if they swore to God, they in their religous beliefs would not be bound to such an oath due to the evil. I mean you would have undercover agents, detectives, and others getting into the organization and exposing it completely. now, yes there are people out there have had these conspiracies, basically for publicity or money making reasons, that are trying to spread rumors, it helps them out for personal reasons and gain (once again, definately not masonic). But, the craft has been investigated by governments before and has been deemed a secret, yet safe society.

I belong to the Grand Lodge of Scotland.. this site is very well made and explains masonry very well to the public. There are articles also the Govt investigations into the craft and many many other things explaining the mason ideals. if inclined, have a read and I hope that it helps.

posted on May, 8 2004 @ 10:51 PM
Hi Jon,

Thanks for the replies. I hope you don't misunderstand my intentions. I am not saying Masons are a conspiracy at all. I just find them interesting; and the reaction of others to Masonic secrecy interesting, too.

One of the reasons I find Freemasonry so interesting is that I was a medievalist in graduate school, and it reminds me a lot of the great medieval guilds.

In fact, my questions and the answers I received clearly show that there is only a single facet of Masonic secrecy that could in any way concern a non-Mason. It is unfortunate that this one secret exists, because it will, no doubt, feed the conspiracy fires.

On the other hand, many people will find the contents of this thread reassuring, for the most part.

No matter what, some people *need* Masonry to be a conspiracy, so, for them, that is what it will be.

I think you have all been straightforward and pleasant.

posted on May, 9 2004 @ 12:14 AM
Let me also add my $0.02 worth here:

I cannot imagine anyone of upright character finding anything in the several Masonic obligations which they would find distasteful; nevertheless, as the Brother above has mentioned, if one actually does find something there that he cannot conform to, he is perfectly free to state his dilemna, and refrain from proceeding further.
The Masonic obligations are intended to impress upon the Mason’s mind the importance of duty. Certainly, there have been seceding Masons who have perjured themselves. Such men, although few in number, cannot be punished by the Fraternity, since they have voluntarily withdrawn from it. I suppose the entire thing really rests on a point of honor, and if a man has no honor, he will not hesitate to violate his solemn pledges, and take the Almighty’s Name in vain by perjuring himself.
Much nonsense has been written concerning Masonic obligations. It is completely false that, as is sometimes claimed, that Masons are obligated to conceal the crimes of their Brethren, and other such absurdities. I have been through practically every regular degree of Masonry that exists in the United States, and have never encountered anything in any degree that I found questionable in the least, and would gladly do it all over again. There are indeed secrets that one promises on their honor to keep, but these secrets are far from ominous; actually, non-Masons would probably consider them boring anyway, as they concern our modes of recognition and traditional legends, which are of little or no interest to the regular guy on the street. But Masonry’s exalted philosophy and system of ethics have never been secret: they have always been shouted from the rooftops, in hope that men would hear, and take up the Great Work of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

Fiat Lvx.

posted on May, 9 2004 @ 12:20 AM
Thanks for the post. I may not be a Mason, but I sure subscribe to those last three sentiments.

Don't let conspiracy theorists bother you. As far as you know, and it seems you know a lot, Masonry is on the up and up. That is the best you can do. If others choose not to believe you, that's their problem.

posted on May, 9 2004 @ 06:40 AM
I am glad to see that in my absence you have (I'm trans-continental right now) been given good counsel on the issue at hand; the only thing I would add is that a "Resignation" is generally called a "demit". There are several ways that this can be applied:

A member permanently moves from one area to another, and wants to join a local lodge. You can be a member of more than one lodge, but you will pay dues for each. You affiliate with the new lodge (by petitioning for membership), make it your lodge of record and then petition your original lodge for a demit. being clear on the record (don't owe any dues, etc), this would be granted and the process (minus the usual administrative stuff) is complete.

A member no longer wants to belong to an appendant/concordant body (for whatever reason) the member petitions that body, and being clear on record is granted the demit.

A member no longer wants to be a Mason, same process but you now have no rights or benefits of any lodge or body, if you change your mind you would have to go through everything again(provided you could find a lodge that would take you).

In the first case, this is common and doesn't have a negative connotation.

The second case, occurs when there is financial difficulty, inability to be active, disagreement with body policy (Imperial Shrine decision in August 2000 to drop Scottish/York Rite requirement) or some other personal reason. This is generally not looked down upon.

The third case, leaves you Masonically "dead" which is tough to recover from without a really, really good reason (I can't think of one).

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