What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘Freemasonry?’ It’s long been a term that has harbored secretive connotations, with many in society alluding to Freemasonry’s alleged role in many somewhat questionable rituals and practices.
But is this way of thinking a misnomer? Are Freemasons truly ‘secretive’ in the defined sense of the word? To answer these questions, we must look at the innermost values of Masons and what the fraternity seeks to represent.
A fraternity with secrets
Freemasonry is not as secretive as the conspiracy theorists might have you believe. Should you wish to find out more information about the centuries-old fraternity, you can choose from a selection of published books, peruse a vast swathe of information online, and even watch a number of documentaries to learn about what Freemasonry actually is.
But at the same time, there’s little point denying that some of Freemasonry’s deepest secrets and rituals are closely guarded by the custodians of the Craft. Therefore, we consider it much more appropriate to say that Freemasonry is ‘a fraternity with secrets’ rather than a ‘secret fraternity or society.’
The preservation of the secrecy of elements of the Craft is nothing untoward, it is merely one of the things that makes Freemasonry appealing to the men who join and seek to progress on their Masonic journey through life.
Masons aren’t secretive in nature
It’s also misleading to think of Masons as secretive men who keep their membership of the fraternity from their friends and relative. In fact, Masons are proud to be part of the Craft and are often willing to recount the many benefits of Freemasonry to those that show an interest in finding out more about the fraternity.
Does that mean they’re willing to share the secrets bestowed upon them by the Masonic rituals? No. Masons swear an oath to preserve the secrets of the Craft for future generations of Masons that come after them. But it’s important to realize that there’s a significant difference between being secretive and keeping certain secrets.
If you look at the values of Masons, they are men who are sociable, communicative, and philanthropic. They work with like-minded people within their communities to promote charitable projects and learn how to live better lives. The fact that they keep secrets about Masonic rituals is neither here nor there.
Freemasonry is adapting.
Looking forward, it’s clear that Freemasonry must continue to adapt and evolve in order to flourish in the future. In this age of mass information and communication, it’s much harder than ever to keep secrets, even those that have been preserved for hundreds of years.
Let’s hope that Masons continue to maintain the secrets of the fraternity that make the Craft so meaningful and special; yet at the same time evolve to encourage more men from different backgrounds to see the benefits of Freemasonry.