Freemasonry ceased to be a “Secret Society” on 24 June 1717 when it publically proclaimed its existence.
The fraternity does not conceal its existence, purpose, aims or principles. Masonic Halls (also by tradition called Masonic Temples) bearing the Lodge name and emblem are familiar sights in towns and cities throughout the region, as are the blue highway signs at the entrance to Town and Cities having Lodges, stating their Lodge name, address and meetings nights. Many members proudly wear Masonic insignia on rings, pins and emblems on their vehicles. To be one, ask one. If you have any questions or wish additional information please feel free to contact us.
Any social group or private business is “private” 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, 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 and cultures.
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 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 Ontario Freemasonry has its own magazine which is also available to the public on the internet at Ontario Mason Magazine.
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.