It’s an age old Freemason question. When to wear the ring. I recently purchased one for the first time. I didn’t know what to think at first. I am what you call a “Crypto” Mason in that I am secretive about my affiliation with Freemasonry. In America, being a Freemason is up there with being Gay or Republican, depending on where you live in America of course. Except Freemasonry is mistrusted by all sides in some way or another. Masonry has ebbed and flowed throughout history in America and unfortunately it’s in a mistrust phase.
So when you wear the ring, you know a couple of things will happen when someone recognizes it.
A. They will see it and mention it. They will immediately have their opinion of you change based on what they have learned through their friends, family, internet sets, fears, misconceptions, etc. The majority of the time people find out I’m a Mason, and it’s a very small amount, they react with a bit of repulsion. At best, because a lot of people know so little it seems weird that you are attaching these strange symbols to yourself. At the worst people are afraid to touch you as what happened to a Brother of mine. No beatings or violence like in other times thankfully but you do get a feeling of isolation from it that is very vivid.
B. They will recognize it and won’t say anything. This is the worst as you can’t clear up any negative misconceptions they have of you. Conversely they may not every know what it is and they may think you’re a guy who likes jewelry. Which is a fairly uncommon thing for men to have in today’s age which adds it’s own perception change of you. So wearing a ring runs a risk of someone knowing an element about you and not giving you the chance to change perception of it. With that said, your character, integrity and values may be more then enough to change perception. By just being who you are, that may be more then enough to change minds.
C. They will be genuinely curious. A lot of people don’t know what Masonry is. Most people don’t really join things anymore so any organization they have questions about. The ring is a conversation starter and trust me, it’s a great one. People have heard it all about each other which is why we consider general conversation to be small talk. It’s all small talk these days, as people are afraid to offend another or cause disharmony among the crowd. But when someone finds out you are a Mason and you explain it, it can set off a sense of wonder, depth, intrigue and fascination that will make you someone who stands out. Just by being a Mason, you have a wide variety of elements that make you interesting. The secrecy, the enormous success of brothers throughout history, it’s origins, the philosophy, the morality, the history of suffering, the lifestyle. Masonry is choke full of elements that make people think and see the world in a different and profound way. There are many reasons to join Masonry, but seeing the world in a new and vivid way is one of them. It’s a conversation showstopper.
D. They will actually improve their opinion of you. People respect those who live their lives and succeed even when others try and beat them down. Masons are people who have been slaughter by Franco’s armies, gassed and burned in the Holocaust, driven into hiding in America, and threaten with extermination the Muslim world. Being a Mason all over the world is one that is fraught with danger and people sympathize and respect people who are dedicated to who they are in the face of adversity. Also they may be impressed by the Masonic values, or think that you are going places like many other Masons. There are people out there that have great respect for Masons and we appreciate them.
E. They don’t even notice. In today’s environment where people are so concerned with how people view them and their own self-perception, they may not even notice. Rings are hard to see, but they surprisingly have many opportunities to stand out and be seen. However taking it out won’t guarantee anyone sees what it is the first time around. Maybe they will after a while take notice but you would be surprised what people don’t pick up.
So when to wear the ring really depends on what you want in each station in life. In the next part, I will cover what it could mean in each place and how you may consider that experience.