Wombaticus Rex wrote:Professor, you don't have to defend your secrecy to me. I was only saying, "keeping secrets looks suspicious." Let me know if there's anything you can argue with in that setence.
Although Masonry has a rich history of non-harmless secrets, as Pan observed, that's the upper echelon lodges at work, taking advantage of the cover being offered by countless thousands of earnest lodges like his own. P2 would have happened with or without Freemasonry.
Agreed that secrets create suspicion. But they also fuel interest—that's human nature—and that has always been attractive to seekers of various sorts. It can be good or bad—the ancient mystery cults were considered to be unparalleled paths to spiritual enlightenment, and were based on secrets that have never been revealed.
You may be right about certain upper echelon lodges doing stuff that the average Mason doesn't know about. I don't know. But the idea of "upper echelon" lodges is largely a myth, as is the idea that someone with a 33ª appended to his name is "higher" than a Mason with a lower number or no such degree. Masonic lodges in the US answer to their state grand lodges, but there is no national coordinating lodge—each state is sovereign and follows its own rules. Nor is there any form of international coordination. And any degrees taken after the first 3 "blue" lodge degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason), such as those of the York Rite or the Scottish Rite, do not confer any sort of power or standing. They're just additional titles indicating that the work of the degree was accomplished. I know you probably already know that, Wombaticus, but the misconception is very common.