Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.
So I vanished last week. Yes, a Freemason descending into the depths of darkness and secrecy is something that probably seems predictable. You must think I went off on some clandestine adventure. To implement some sort of plot to cause a major shift in a major world policy measure.
What? Obama went from being all gung-ho and ready to bomb Syria to now seeking congressional approval and even, gasp, calling the whole thing off? The same week I vanished off to parts unknown?
Probably just a coincidence. Nothing to see here. Move along.
So in my week away I was handling many things and one of those things was thinking about Masonry. For the profane (non-masons), there must be some curiosity to how much Freemasons think about Masonry. My answer? Too much. But when you have a system that forces the mind to be in a constant state of learning and processing because of it’s complex and interpretive nature, it tends to occupy your conscious a lot.
I will be frank with you. I am not a booster of Masonry. Not at all. Masonry attracts the type of men who are free thinkers and don’t always wish to be a part of the crowd. That makes sense, right? Considering the loaded history of Freemasonry being ostracized and pushed away from not just the mainstream but every stream, it only makes sense it would attract men who had a little bit of the outsider mentality. So when you have a society of Men who are used to thinking for themselves, you’ll find that many of those brothers are just as critical of Masonry. Sure, Masonry is great. It’s mind opening, reflective, challenges your long held views, gives you brotherhood, sense of purpose, etc etc. I could go on for a while with the pros but Masonry has its cons.
There are legitimate criticisms of Freemasonry. The system is very well designed to shield itself from most of those critics, but they do happen. Now when I say the system is very well designed, no one really knows who designed it. So Mote it Be on that. But Masonry seems to have figured out how the system works and has positioned itself to stay out of the hot light of humankind’s judgement.
In a society that heralds transparency, Freemasonry seems like this uncomfortable and bizarre relic from long ago. If you have a secret, then you have something to hide. And something to hide is something that doesn’t mesh with the popular way of thinking or system. That upsets people. Secrecy means that your carefully laid plans in this current system could be threatened by an unknown force that could topple it. Secrecy means you will have to confront something not by your plans. People hate secrecy for those reasons. I guess you can’t blame them. If you saw a group of people traveling around and shielding what it is from your view, you would have some natural mistrust. People are pretty smart in today’s day and age. They have seen just about everything. WHy hide anything from anyone? We get that. Transparency is good…but not always. But we understand those critics.
Freemasonry came to world understanding during The Age of Enlightenment. A time for a large part of the world it wasn’t hard work and smarts that got you up into the world, but connections and family status. So you can understand when people become repulsed by this system. A system that seems to have people constantly rise to the top of their respective vocations and become leaders in their field. It feels menacing. As if everything you have been told about hard work and smarts is a lie. That it’s really all about connections. And even worse. It’s all about conforming to a system to be able to get those connections. Sacrificing who you are for whatever goal you want. That goes against everything you have been taught. How you are born perfectly fine and the world needs to accept you for who you are. And I say there is some value in that. I can see the fear of changing who you are. Of changing your core belief systems to be able to attain your dream. It’s the stuff of horror movies. I understand how you feel.
Also the Masonic Obligation. To join, you have to follow through with a ceremony that binds you in almost a spiritual manner to something. It’s very oath-like. Jesus even speaks about it in Matthew.
Kind of a bone chilling thing to see. We get that criticism. But poke around on the internet a bit regarding oaths or swearing in God’s presence. You’ll find it’s certainly not as obvious as it seems. But I get the criticism.
We also understand how frustrating that Masonry doesn’t allow women or atheists. We have always been brought up to accept and embrace everyone. But Masonry isn’t some force sent down by God that everyone should belong to. It was build by people. By guys who wanted a place where Men could work in secret on themselves and their thinking. I can understand how women would be put off about this. It almost feels like it’s from a time when women were viewed as lesser then men and we’re allowed into the male power sphere. I get those concerns. Atheists think Masonry is just some super-religious playhouse designed to make atheists feel bad by not allowing them in. I get that. It must feel lonely to not be accepted into something for your belief system.
What is the point of all of this? Of this entry? On my return back, you would think I would dive into something nice and comfortable for you to read on your iPad while you sit in the bathtub or lie in bed? Not on my blog. There won’t be any relaxing moments here.
As a Mason, I seek brotherly love, relief and truth. To shield Masonry from the search for truth, to leave Masonry blameless as I help people, and to mindlessly defend it while I search for love would make the whole system collapse. Nothing is off limits. Not even Masonry.
Yet of every viewpoint I posted above, there is a clear counterpoint. This was by design. But in the search for truth, we measure every point equally.
I am glad to be back and I am glad to be writing to you readers. Over the next month, expect the blog to undergo some serious construction. There is a lot of work to be done in the pursuit of truth. And I hope we can do it together.