The Brat Prince (the_brat_prince) wrote in masons,
The Brat Prince


Hi all

I have an odd question. Has anyone out there had their partner ask them for implict detail of masonic ritual? If so how did you deal with it? On one hand you you have the SOb, on the other you have the implicit trust shared between one and one's partner. Please feel free to message me privately if you don't want to talk in a public forum.


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Do you mean "explicit detail"? Otherwise, this question doesn't make sense. Explicit means clearly expressed or readily observable. Implicit means implied or expressed indirectly. It appears you're asking if anyone has ever had a partner ask them for indirect or implied (non-specific, non-direct) details. Is that what you mean? And is the trust between the you and the partner, implicit, or explicit? In my relationship, it's *explicit* -- clearly expressed in terms of expectations.

sorry yeah I was in a tizz when I wrote this. explicit for the ritual, implicit, of given for the trust.
Well, implicit means implied. Do you mean specific details?

This isn't an odd question at all. It's a very good one!

There is very little about Masonic Ritual that qualifies as secret. There are certain words and descriptions; and the signs, grips, and tokens.

I would say that the Ritual is interesting when you are going through it, but that there isn't really anything to interest people outside of Masonry. I would say that one of the things that makes Masonry fun is that there are secrets. The secrets aren't about things that mean anything to non-Masons, they are just the ways that we recognize each other, and certain aspects of the stories we use as allegories. I would say that the real secret of Freemasonry is that through it, we can learn to become better men: better partners, better parents, better workers... and that this is not really a secret at all!

There is no problem with describing the Ritual in generalities. You can say there was nothing embarrassing or demeaning, but that instead, the Ritual is uplifting and encouraging. You can say that there were prayers, and you took an oath to become a good man and a good Freemason. You can say that you were shown the secret ways of recognizing other Masons. You can say that you started the Ritual in darkness as a way of symbolizing ignorance, and that in the course of the ceremony, you were brought into the light of knowledge. You can say that this light is symbolic of the learning process that we all need to stay involved in, through the rest of our lives. You can say that you made a vow to come to the aid of a Brother when it is in your power to do so without causing any harm to yourself, those that you love, or your work; and more importantly, that many, many others made a similar vow to you.

A lot of times, when others want to know details of our Ritual, they are looking for something that isn't really a part of it. You can assure your partner that these things--political influence, vast wealth, hidden religions, unheard-of technology--are not a part of Freemasonry or its Rituals. You can tell them that we use the word "Ritual," but really it is more of a ceremony.

You can also bring your partner to open Masonic events. Installations, for instance, have elements of the Ritual that you can show them, and say, "here, a lot of it is like this." My partner enjoys coming to many Masonic, Scottish Rite, and Shriners events, and does quite a lot of volunteer work for them, without yet deciding to become a Mason himself. He rubs elbows and enjoys friendships with Past Grand Masters, Potentates, and Illustrious Brothers of the 33rd Degree. Through these, he is coming to understand Masonry in a way that I perhaps did not before I made the choice to petition. I was raised as the son, grandson, great-grandson, and so-on, of Masons, so it all had an air of usual life for me. I envy my partner the new experience of it.

Good luck! I think the real solution here is to keep the secrets, but don't be secretive.
I am going with you are asking about specific details requested by an SO.

Yes. That happened to me.

The lass I was going out with when I first joined specifically asked for the Master's Word after I took my Third Degree. Her step-father was an officer in the Lodge I was raised in. The lass told me (I did not verify this) that her Mother had told her that, "all the guys tells their wives." I mumbled a reply that could have been anything. Yes, I wanted to keep my obligation and still keep her happy. No, it was not a proud moment.

This was awhile back. Now a days I am sure she could have just done a quick internet search to get the same information. A later girlfriend did when researching a gift for me. Still it was disconcerting to know that she already knew that I had taken an obligation not to talk about certain things and that she wanted me to violate it for her. This did not bode well for our relationship. The relationship ended a few months later. Yes, trust issues were involved.
My then girlfriend, now wife, has asked me in the past. I explained to her that it is part of Masonic tradition to not disclose details of rituals. I further explained that Masonry has a lore of its own with words, and phrases that are often repeated, as well as signs, gestures and symbols used to promote social values Masons uphold. I clarified that there was nothing there that was any weirder than in any other specialized sub-culture. Examples I gave was the Boy Scout handshake, or specific language one might find when a few professionals or academics in the same field get together. Doctors have a specialized language they use when talking about medicine. Cops have their own gestures and vocabulary when talking about police work. Same with Masons, and we also have a tradition of not talking about it.

Because I put it in context of other topics she was already familiar with and took the time to explain why and how it's "a secret", she was satisfied with my answer even though it wasn't complete or direct.

And to Eric's point, if you violate an oath to appease her, will she trust you to keep her secrets? Maybe you should pose that question as prelude to any response.
My wife values that I would keep my word and doesn't feel threatened by me having a secret. She'd like to know out of curiosity, but she doesn't want me to tell her. It's part of the manly cool of the whole thing.

I have had discussions with people who are fixated on the "no secrets between spouses" thing, which is just weird to me. I kind of wonder if it's a man/woman difference. Guys can compartmentalize their lives a lot better, and would think it would make them a far worse husband if they were the kind of guy who'd betray someone else. But then it might just be an insecurity thing.

If I did have this problem I'd tell her that if she was really interested, she could find out everything about the rituals online, and I might even suggest some reasonably accurate sources so she doesn't stumble on to crazy sites. Because these aren't secrets. The secrets got out a long time ago. But they're private, and other people's business. My wife could learn them if she wanted to, but she's not going to hear it from me. That's the point, I think.

If she wanted to learn about private conversations or votes, etc, then we'd have a problem.
On one hand you you have the SOb, on the other you have the implicit trust shared between one and one's partner.

Put a couple of different faces on this:

You have a TS-SCI clearance, but what about the implicit trust shared between one and one's partner?

You are a criminal defense attorney, but what about the implicit trust shared between one and one's partner?

You are clergy, and conduct spiritual counseling under a seal of confidentiality, but what about the implicit trust shared between one and one's partner?

If, and only if, one's marriage vows state/mean you cannot have any secrets from your spouse, then follow your marriage vows; but don't hold a job, or join a group, which requires secrecy about portions of its activities.
Implicit trust is one thing, "no secrets" is another. We all have things that we don't want others to know about (insert list of things/reasons). It's a matter of trust and respect between partners that I/we can refuse to answer a question and they won't push it. When they do push, it shows a lack of trust on their part, and my revealing a secret may erode the trust they would have in me ("if he can't keep that from me, what else can't he keep?"). There's also another which matter of importance- which comes first, your deity (obligation) or your partner?

At least in some circumstances, our partners can also join the Craft. And as mentioned, there's a lot of info out there on the web and in books. I've got one from the 19th century that details more than a couple of secrets with reasonable accuracy. (I'm not going to mention which book or what's correct.)

Besides, I don't know the actual master's word, anyway :).
If someone who is not a mason regardless of who it is, your masonic obligation prevents you from disclosing any part of the ritual.

"Implicit trust" is not the issue. Keeping your word is the issue. If your partner is pressing the issue, you have a hard choice to make. But be aware that breaking your obligation can result in your being either suspended or expelled.
When asked about this over the years of our marriage, I have explained that there are certain things that I cannot tell a non-mason. My Bride and Joy actually understands that "What is of the Temple, Remains in the Temple."

The one incident that was most humorous, was while on a tour of the Grand Lodge of Pa. The guide related the tale of Tucumseh recognizing and responding to the Masonic Sign of Distress. When another person on the tour asked if I could show him the sign, She said "No" before I even began to speak.