If your wives are like most wives, they want to know what you do in Lodge. They ask questions. And you make up answers, or put off the question, or take her to the movies.
But why? When she asks you what you do in Lodge, tell her!
You meet and open. The opening is a ritualistic ceremony in which brethren are reminded of that which is high and holy in Freemasonry. The chaplain invokes the blessing of God. Minutes are read, visitors welcomed, matters of business and charity are discussed, action is taken. The ill are heard from, through the Committee on the Sick; letters from absent brethren are read. Is there anything here, except the words and the form of ritualistic ceremony, the world may not know?
A degree is conferred. Here, indeed, is secrecy! But the degree is but a manner of teaching, and if Freemasons desire to keep it to themselves, it is because those not Masons cannot understand. The instructor of mathematics would gladly teach the binomial theorem to a kindergarten child - but the child would not know even the meaning of the words. So it is with a degree - it can only be understood by those who have been taught - and it is itself that teaching.
The degree over, there follows a social hour, a fraternizing and a fellowship. Then the Lodge is closed with a ceremony which is uplifting. Again the blessing of the Most High is asked.
If there be anywhere a member of the Order who is not a loving husband and father; who does not give loyalty to his friends and his government; who is not honored of men and reverent before God; who is not charitable and compassionate in act as well as thought; who is not honorable before all men; such a one has not abided by that which Masonry teaches, nor lived up to the obligations he has most solemnly assumed. And of this there is no secrecy - Masonry proclaims these teachings as her own, and any Freemason may tell them to whom he will.
Finally, Oh troubled brother who knows not what to answer wife of thy heart or friend of thy bosom who is not yet a Mason, when these question you as to what is Masonry, read to her and to him the great and beautiful prayer at opening of Lodge offered by Brother Joseph Fort Newton, gentle Minister of God and beloved brother of the Ancient Craft .... for here, in words not of the ritual but of the Holy Spirit, is the heart of Freemasonry for all to see .....
ETERNAL FATHER, as the sons of men and Thy children we gather in a House of Light, erected to Thee and dedicated to Thy Holy Name, humbly invoking Thy Blessing. Hallow the Lodge with Thy holiness; overcome our evil with Thy goodness; help us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before Thee. Unite our minds to know Thee, our hearts to love Thee, and our hands to serve Thy Holy Will, that we may be worthy workmen on Thy Temple.
Lord, by Thy faithfulness keep us faithful to the vows of chastity and charity we have taken upon the Holy Law at the Altar of Obligation - let us not fail or forget. Make us men of Brotherly Love in an unbrotherly world; give us gentle and skillful hands in the practice of Relief; lead our minds in the quest of Truth - even the truth of Eternal Life in the midst of our fleeting days. Here may youth find Thy consecration, and age Thy consolation.
Merciful God, to all weakness which our Brothers bear as a burden from the past, make us merciful; to their faults make us forgiving, as we would be forgiven. Teach us to be gentle in our thoughts, just in our dealings, and generous in our judgment. May the Spirit of Masonry dwell in us, casting out all envy, all uncleanness, all unkindness. At the end of the day when our labor is done, admit us into the Great White Lodge, in the House Not Made With Hands. Amen.