Freemasonry is one of the
world's oldest fraternal organizations. The lessons Freemasonry teaches in
its ceremonies, are to do with moral values. Freemasonry's
acknowledgement, without crossing the boundaries of religion, is that
everything depends on the providence of God. Freemasons feel that these
lessons apply as much today as they did when it took its modern form at
the turn of the 17th century.
Despite what many people claim, Freemasonry is not in any way a secret
society. Freemasonry's so-called secrets are solely used as a ceremonial
way of demonstrating that one is a Freemason. In any case, Freemasonry
have been exposed by the media for almost as long as they have existed.
The real point of a Freemason promising not to reveal their secrets, is
basically a dramatic way of promising to keep one's word in general.
Other reasons why Freemasonry cannot be called a secret society, are that
Freemasons do not promise to keep their membership a secret. Where and
when Freemasons meet are matters of public record.
It is ironic that Freemasons used to be quiet about their membership. They
were and still are taught never to use it to advance their own interests.
Critics have taken this the wrong way and think that there is something
secretive and nasty because of the silence. Nothing could be further from
Masonic ceremonies are secular morality plays, which are learned by heart,
by members of the lodge for the benefit of the person who is becoming a
Freemason. Each ceremony has a message for the candidate. A further reason
why Freemasons do not go around broadcasting their contents is simply
because it would spoil it for the candidate. The same way you would not
tell someone the ending of a good book or a film, you would not tell
someone about the ceremony.
Freemasons are required to profess and continue in a belief in a Supreme
Being. Their ceremonies include prayers, which are not in any way a
substitute for religion. It has no theological doctrines, it offers no
sacraments, and it does not claim to lead to salvation. By having prayers
at its meetings Freemasonry is no more in competition with religion than,
say, having a meal where grace is said.
Freemasons are not allowed to discuss religion or politics at meetings.
Freemasonry's aim is to encourage its members to discover what people from
all different backgrounds have in common. As is all too well known, debate
about religion and politics can lead to heated discussion rather than
A Freemason is thus basically encouraged to do his duty first to his God,
and then to his family and those who dependent on him. He is to help his
neighbors through charity and service.
None of these ideas is exclusive to Freemasonry, but all should be
universally acceptable and Freemasons are expected to follow them.