WHO ARE THE MASONS
MASONIC INFORMATION CENTER
A COMMUNICATION OF THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF N.A.
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 JUN. 1999
WHO ARE THE MASONS?
The Masonic Information Center now has available a new full-color,
eight-panel brochure titled "Who Are the Masons?" Meant as a "generic"
brochure for use by Blue Lodges and all other Masonic Bodies, the new
publication provides an attractive, introduction to Freemasonry. It
is a perfect handout to give to prospective-members,- and it- offers a
clear description Masonry for the general public. Space is provided on
the end panel so that a Lodge, Grand Lodge, or other Masonic Body can
insert its own name as a point of contact.
Reaction to this new brochure has been extremely positive. More than
120,000 have been shipped to Masons, literally, all over the world. If
you would like a sample copy, MIC will send you one.
Prices for the new brochure (sold in lots of 50) are:
50 @ 271~ ea. = $13.50 500 @ 234~ ea. = $115.00
100 @ 25 0 ea.= $25.00 1000 @ 20(~ ea. = $200.00
Orders may be sent to: Masonic Information Center, 8120 Fenton Street,
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785
MIC has received several angry complaints about an article that
appeared in the April 1999 issue of Maxim Magazine. The article was in
the column Circus Maximus and was titled, " Fake Masonry." MIC would
like our readers to be aware of the letter sent to Maxim which
The Masonic Information Center has been made aware of the apparently
"tongue in cheek" article titled "Fake Masonry" that appeared in your
April 1999 issue. The image of Freemasonry, portrayed in this article
is not only inaccurate and misleading but also, quite frankly,
We are sending some information about the Fraternity with the request
that, should you do future articles about Freemasonry, you do so with
more accuracy than what was shown in "Circus Maximus. "
Unfortunately, in today's world, there are people who believe this
kind of nonsense, and since Freemasonry has oftentimes (quite
unfairly) been linked with the New World Order and with alleged plots
to rule the world, what was in your article is simply "grist for the
mill" of the conspiracy theorists.
Every organization is subject to scrutiny and judgment about its
purposes. However, the least that can be expected is a more accurate
portrayal than what was shown in "Circus Maximus."
We realize magazines are most reluctant to retract stories they have
printed, but quite frankly, your readers deserve no less, since the
statements made in this article are, as we noted earlier, misleading,
inaccurate, and untrue.
In the March 1999 issue of FOCUS, the MIC called attention to
several Fact Sheets that have been prepared concerning various aspects
of Freemasonry. In this issue we are highlighting the Fact Sheet
Freemasonry and Secrecy.
The Fact Sheets cover such topics as The Organization of Freemasonry;
Freemasonry and Brotherhood; The History of Freemasonry; Freemasonry
and Secrecy; and Freemasonry and Religion. Copies may be obtained by
writing to the Masonic Information Center, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver
Spring, MD 20910 or faxing your request to 301-608-3457.
FREEMASONRY AND SECRECY
People sometimes refer to Freemasonry as being a "Secret Society." In
one sense the statement is true. Any social group or private business
is "secret" in the sense that its business meetings may be open only
to its members. In Freemasonry, the process of joining is also a
private matter, and its members are pledged not to discuss with
non-members certain parts of the ceremonies associated with the
Freemasonry does have certain handshakes and passwords, customs
incorporated into later fraternities, which are kept private. They are
means of recognizing each other--necessary in an organization which
spans the entire world and which encompasses many languages.
The tradition of using handshakes and passwords was very common in the
Middle Ages, when the ability to identify oneself as belonging to a
building or trade guild often made the difference in getting a job or
in obtaining help for yourself and family. Today, Freemasons make the
same pledge to every member that he will be offered assistance if he,
or his family, ever requests it.
Freemasonry can't be called a "secret society" in a literal sense. A
truly secret society forbids its members to disclose that they belong
to the organization or that it even exists. Much of the Masonic ritual
is in books called "Monitors" that are widely available, even in
public libraries. Most Freemasons wear rings and lapel pins which
clearly identify them as members of the fraternity. Masonic lodges are
listed in public phone books, Masonic buildings are clearly marked,
and in many areas of the country Masonic lodges place signs on the
roads leading into town, along with civic organizations, showing the
time and place of meetings.
In terms of what it does, what it teaches, who belongs, where it
meets, there are no secrets in Freemasonry! It is a private fraternal
association of men who contribute much toward the public good while
enjoying the benefits of the brotherhood of a fraternity.