Ignorance … Is It Truly Bliss?

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Wayne DJ Greenley E.A.

I don‘t want to tread on too many toes here, however in my very short time as an Entered Apprentice I have observed a common theme from non-masons when I tell them I am a Freemason. Some of you may think a newly appointed Entered Apprentice may not have the right to make a judgment about a certain practice some Masons have partaken in. Maybe I am being a little bit presumptuous however this is something, I believe, should be addressed. 
I live in Brisbane, Australia and was initiated at a lodge on the 26th February 2015. On my first degree I received a square and compass lapel pin and was told to wear it whilst walking down the streets of the city (As is the way here in Queensland), and I also do so at work and university with pride. Most people don’t register in their minds that I’m even wearing a lapel pin, but for those few who do, say I must be a really big fan of Star Trek. This is funny in one way but sad in another, people confusing the Square and Compass (a symbol which is centuries old and can be seen in public in many major cities) with a symbol of a science fiction program which has only been around for 50 years. 
Now, this is the concerning theme I have come across. When I tell a person I am a Freemason, the response I get from that person is that they have known another Freemason in the past who told them “I can’t tell you anything about Freemasonry, it’s a secret”. Now I’m not going to make a dispute about a Brother who is keeping that of which is to remain secret, secret. Of not, that’s the charge of every Mason to do so. However saying such comment, to me, sounds like a phrase a member of a secret society would make, which we are not. I have to wonder about the motive behind a Mason who says we can’t discuss the Brotherhood in anyway. That’s wrong. It is perfectly acceptable to say something on the lines of “We are a fraternity of men, who derive from different religions, economic and social background, and come together as perfect equals and raise money for charity”. So why don’t those men say something like that? 
Maybe they’re uncomfortable talking about the topic, fearing judgment and persecution from a conspiracy nut-crazed Cowan. Perhaps they don’t know the best way to describe Freemasonry, they don’t want to let the team down by saying something wrong. Or maybe they wish to enforce this ideal that we are a mysterious society that is only meant for a few select individuals (I hope though that is not the case). 
Regardless of motive the result is still the same, non-masons being ill-informed about Freemasonry, which begs the questions, is ignorance of our society by Non-Masons what we want? Is ignorance truly bliss? 
NO! It’s not. It has and will have a continuing negative effect on our fraternity.
If history has taught us anything it’s that we humans fear anything that we don’t understand and to quote a very wise and beloved character from the Star Wars franchise, “Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate leads to Suffering”. Ignorance of Freemasonry leading towards Fear, Anger, Hate and Suffering may be a little bit of a stretch, but I hope you get the point I’m trying to convey. Allowing someone, who has asked you what Freemason is, to continue in a state of ignorance in not a good thing. 
That person may start having misconceptions that we are a select secret society or worse, they may do their own “research” and after clicking on a few website may come to the belief that we are either:
  • Associated with devil worship (an ideal created by Léo Taxil) 
  • A bunch of murders who will cold-bloodedly kill anyone who threatens the secrecy of this society (an ideal created by the William Morgan affair) 
  • Actually Lizard like Aliens who have come to earth for world domination (an ideal created by idiots who have never read a book)
In my opinion a short response, such as the one I gave earlier, would be adequate to answer peoples questions. A Brother though, may feel more inclined to give their own interpretation of what Freemasonry means to them, which is fine, as long as you give an answer. If they persist for more information advise them to read a book such as Freemasonry for Dummies or if they prefer a different medium of learning I would suggest Brother Robert Johnson's greatly informative podcast Whence Came You?. Better yet, tell them the best way to find out the answers to their queries is to simply join. Let that man know, should you believe him to be a good candidate to Freemasonry, that the option to join is there should he wish to take it. Maybe then we will have a new Brother. This is a more fitting result than the former. Don’t you agree? 

Bro. Wayne DJ Greenley is an Entered Apprentice (Soon to be Fellowcraft) hailing from Queensland Australia. He is a student at University and loves classical music as well as the theatrical arts. He is anxiously awaiting his next steps in the fraternity.


  1. Actually, we prefer the term "reptilian" over "lizard-like." :-)

  2. Well Freemasonry is a society with secrets, aside from telling people we are a fraternal organization that makes men better and does various things in our communities to better them, there honestly isn't much else tosay becuase well that's basically it. The secrets we have in Freemasonry aren't at all secret unfortunately and aren't terribly profound until you reflect on them and apply them to your life so I can see how it's easy for brothers to say "I can't tell you anything!", I however can also see how the public hears "Freemasonry is a society with secrets" and then a full public explanation to which people only remember "ermagerd they are secret!"

  3. Thank you Bro. Greenley for your article I really enjoyed reading it and I appeciate you sharing your experiences in Australia. I have often had similar experiences and responses here in Chicago where people either say how good the Fraternity is and how much we help people or the other extreme that we are devil worshipers.I agree that the more we educate the public about our organization that better off we will be, and as previously stated we may attract new worthy members. Also by the simple act of practicing Masonic charity we help to dispell these myths and misonceptions. I wish you the best as you continue to advance in Masonry.

    Bro. David Pugh
    Plumbline lodge #116
    MWPHGL of Illinois