I am a Freemason Global Community. I reside in the United States so I’m not associated with the Wilmette Lodge address: 1450 N. Lehigh Glenview, IL 60026-2027. I am also a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Royal Arch Mason, and a Knights Templar. That’s quite a bit of Masonry.
I have read a couple of articles telling others about secret handshakes and masonic ideals. Oh sure, we do have secrets. After all, we are a Fraternity. Most of those secrets are right out on the web to see. Take a look at any Lodge website. The problem you may have is that since you are not a Mason you don’t really know what is public and what is private information. Most, if not all, Masonic organizations are involve in community and charitable work. Within these organizations are Masons that are involve in philosophical work as well. I believe the latter is the cause of much of the angst about Masonic secrets. What is this philosophical work? It’s nothing more than Masons trying to better themselves.
We look at what makes us who we are and how we can improve ourselves. We consider all religious philosophy, without excluding our personal religious beliefs. The latter frightens some and they work vigorously to deride Freemasonry as a religion unto itself with evil beliefs. But consider this. Many of our founding fathers in the USA were Freemasons. It was the philosophy they discuss of creating a government by and for the people that endures today.
Still others believe that because there are secrets – yes there are secrets – there must be something going on. Well, there is. As I said before we are a Fraternity. All Fraternities have secrets. We have grips so that we can know one Mason from another and expressions which can say aloud and are only known to a Mason. As I write this I think about all those corporate boardrooms with plenty of secrets which can be more damaging to society than anything a Masonic Fraternity can think of. Masons are simply a Fraternity that seeks to better the individual.