A Conversation for Freemasonry - a Question and Answer Session
HappyDude Posted Dec 17, 2002
I take it you are refering to the
"Even a mildly secret society is still a secret society" comment?
In which case I quote U197590 from F93196?thread=192911&post=2178067#p2184401
"Masons do not actually "swear Alegiance" to anyone or anything. All that is in the "oath" is to do with Masonic secrecy pertaining to our methods of recognition.
I believe that anyone can obtain a copy of the Ritual, it has an ISBN number and should therefore be readily available."
I should add that as I understand it details of handshake were first published back in the 18th C
Recumbentman Posted Dec 17, 2002
Well I've gone back and read "Freemasonry: The United Grand Lodge of England" and some of the chat arising out of that, and freemasonry looks more and more squeaky clean by the minute. I take it all back. Feeling mellow after a good dinner, that's the trouble. No fight left.
Rt. Rev. Lesley Gentle Posted Dec 31, 2002
Freemasons are charitable criminals. Discuss.
HappyDude Posted Jan 2, 2003
That would be hard to do here without breaking the laws on defamation and libel.
Anonymous Posted Mar 2, 2003
Let me try to deal with your problem of exclusivity, as you see it. Before we start, I should explain my own position with respect to Freemasonry. This position does not necessarily agree with that of the United Grand Lodge of England, before anyone starts quoting me as being a spokesperson for that august institution .
From my perspective, Freemasonry fulfils a function in western society that is as deeply unfashionable as it is misunderstood. In this scheme of things it represents a means of conveying a body of esoteric wisdom that evolved from the humanistic metaphysical schools of thought of Renaissance Europe. This tradition (which embraced the various hermetic/kabbalistic schools of the era - rosicrucianism, alchemy, kabbalah etc) encouraged the evolution, or "perfection" of the human soul, so that it might apprehend its divine source, in a word, mysticism. If we look more deeply at modern Freemasonry we can see that its highly allegorical ritual, its emphasis on individual personal growth, orientation/aspiration towards the divine and compassionate behaviour towards others, does support such a "spiritual" interpretation. The lessons that are learned, according to this perspective, are those of emotional, intellectual and spiritual maturation - the degree ceremonies. Such a process shouldn't be undertaken (in an ideal world) by those not yet ready to take on what can and ought to be an intensely psychological process, a process, moreover, which can yield the sort of holistic inner growth that results from Jungian psychotherapy. For more on this perspective, read the book "Freemasonry: a Journey through Ritual and Symbol" by W. Kirk MacNulty.
That's why, IMHHO, Freemasonry is (or ought to be) choosy about who it allows to join: we want to be sure that the potential candidate is serious about taking on a journey of interior growth and isn't motivated by more trivial supposed benefits. We therefore ensure that candidates are mature enough (over 21) and believers in a transcendent supreme being before joining. That necessarily excludes people who aren't going to take such a process seriously. As for the exclusion of women, that's another can of worms discussed elsewhere.
The picture I have given here is of Freemasonry as it could be (I am an idealist!) and some lodges do actually pursue it from that more philosophical perspective. Most freemasons, in my experience, don't interpret it in that way and see it as more as a sort of dining club with a sort of ethical flavour and amateur dramatics thrown in, but that - for me - is to miss the point....
sharp_arris Posted Dec 22, 2003
I belong to a Lodge which has, in addition to the usual majority of wasps, a few jews, muslims and hindus. Getting the kitchen to prepare a meal that fails to offend any of that lot makes the after proceedings rather more dependent on good conversation than is usually the case! We also have the odd copper but they don't seem to be any higher than sargeant.
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