MASONIC INFORMATION CENTER
A COMMUNICATION OF THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF N.A.
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 JUN. 1999
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. = $13.50500 @ 234~ ea. = $115.00 100 @ 25 0 ea.= $25.001000 @ 20(~ ea. = $200.00 (Plus shipping) 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 follows:
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, untrue.
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.
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 organization.
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.