As an individual who has been deeply involved in the world of Freemasonry, I’ve often been asked the question: “Can you always tell if someone else is a Freemasonry outside of the lodge?”
The answer, quite simply, is no. There are several reasons why this is the case, and I’d like to take the time to delve into them.
The Journey of Self-Improvement
Firstly, it’s important to understand that Freemasonry is a journey of self-improvement. We, as Freemasons, are constantly striving to better ourselves, to meet the high standards we set for ourselves.
However, we are also human, and as such, we are prone to mistakes and missteps. Just because someone behaves in a way that might not align with the ideals of Freemasonry, it doesn’t mean they are not a Freemason. It simply means they are human, and like all of us, are on a journey of constant self-improvement.
The Absence of Insignia
Secondly, a man could be a Freemason and have no insignia on him whatsoever to signify it. He could walk around all day long, embodying the principles of Freemasonry, and you would never know.
He could be the best Freemason you could ever meet, but without any visible symbols or signs, you would be none the wiser.
The Presence of Masonic Ring
On the flip side, you could see someone adorned with Masonic rings, emblems on their shirt, and stickers on their car, and they might not be a Freemason at all.
Anyone can buy these items off the internet and pose as a Freemason. So, the presence of insignia is not a reliable indicator of someone’s affiliation with Freemasonry.
The Good Person
Lastly, it’s important to remember that people can strive for self-improvement and hold themselves to high moral standards without being a Freemason.
Just because someone is morally upright and seems to have their life in order, it doesn’t mean they are a Freemason. They could just be a good person, all on their own.
The Modes of Recognition
While it’s impossible to know for sure if someone is a Freemason just by looking at them, there are ways to identify a fellow Freemason.
For instance, we have what are called the modes of recognition. These are certain signs and signals that Freemasons use to identify each other.
I remember a time when I was at a hotel and saw a man with a Masonic ring. I had no real reason to doubt that he was a Freemason, but I also had no way of knowing for sure. So, I approached him, shook his hand, and acknowledged his ring. We could have gone into a private place and used the modes of recognition to confirm our affiliations. We could have shown each other our dues cards from our lodges, or even called each other’s Grand Lodge to verify our memberships.
The Importance of Being Tried
One of the things we emphasize to new Master Masons in our lodge is the importance of learning how to be tried.
This is the process of verifying someone’s status as a Freemason. It’s an essential skill for any Freemason, especially for those who plan to travel outside their jurisdiction.
It’s also important for those unexpected moments when you might encounter a fellow Freemason who needs help.
While it’s impossible to know for sure if someone is a Freemason just by looking at them, there are ways to confirm someone’s affiliation with Freemasonry.
However, it’s important to remember that Freemasonry is more than just a set of symbols and signs. It’s a journey of self-improvement, a commitment to high moral standards, and a brotherhood that spans across borders and cultures.
by Bro. Andre M. Noble