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Mr. Box

Freemasonry and its shadow

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back to earth
8 minutes ago, jaylemurph said:

...just to make this plain:

JM, BtE, Kenemet and I -- that's four separate people -- have *all* asked specific questions which you have consistently dodged, either by flat-out ignoring the questions (specifically, I ended a recent post with nearly a half-dozen), making us go through this transparent, sophomoric routine where you smile dumbly and ask us when you ever said such things, or asking your own questions (which were answered in the posts you chose to ignore).

--Jaylemurph 

he's on a phone .... it isnt efficient enough for the job at hand       ;)        

 

 

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back to earth
10 minutes ago, No Solid Ground said:

I'll ask my question again ...

In post 132 you asked:

"Where and how do you expect to be able to verify this ancient oral tradition"

In post 136 Kenemet asked:

"how do you determine that this really IS an ancient oral tradition"

I'm asking you both to identify which permutation of ancient oral tradition you are referring to from this list of three that have been discussed throughout this thread and recently:

- the 18k oral tradition I referred to in one of my posts? 

- the pre-Christian ascendency nature based oral tradition I referred to?

- A possible secret oral transmission tradition that may or may not be a component of Freemasonry? 

Without knowing this context, your (and Kenemet's) question can't be answered. Thanks.

 

You need not be demanding such specifics  .... the question can be rephrased so it encompasses those and any or all traditions ;

 Not so much ; "Where and how do you expect to be able to verify this ancient oral tradition"

But   ;   "  "Where and how do you expect to be able to verify ANY ancient oral tradition that has a secret inner hidden component that only an inner group would know about, when you are not part of any inner group, and it is a secret and has never been written down? "

 

I would LOVE to hear your answer on that one     :)      But you seem to be refusing to answer 'tricky ' questions now  ?   Hmmmm ? 

 

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Dhurfjooydig
5 minutes ago, jaylemurph said:

...just to make this plain:

JM, BtE, Kenemet and I -- that's four separate people -- have *all* asked specific questions which you have consistently dodged, either by flat-out ignoring the questions (specifically, I ended a recent post with nearly a half-dozen), making us go through this transparent, sophomoric routine where you smile dumbly and ask us when you ever said such things, or asking your own questions (which were answered in the posts you chose to ignore).

--Jaylemurph 

Your questions:

- who is the group 18,000 years with no presence in any historical record?

- How can you confirm whatever knowledge exists today has any relationship to what was saud 18 kya?

- What about it necessitates secret transmission?

- How and why are you alone in the human race cognizant of this society, its records, its seeming disappearance and its esoteric continuance? 

... are all diversionary, ladened with obvious yet undisclosed bias, and are guaranteed (likely intended) to derail the central focus of the thread. Some of them are interesting, but they would blow open the scope of the thread to the point of unmanageability if addressed.

There's an interesting thread going on about trolling methods here in UM. You might find it interesting. 

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Kenemet
3 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

Let's regroup a bit before moving forward. It's not clear that you and jmccr8, are referring to the same thing when you both use the phrase ancient oral tradition here:



"how do you determine that this really IS an ancient oral tradition (Kenemet)  

"Where and how do you expect to be able to verify this ancient oral tradition without being able to definitively identify the people involved first"" ( jmccr8)

... and it's not clear what each of you are referring to when you use the phrase in response to my posts. 

I'd appreciate it if you would both take a moment to clarify specifically what you referred to when you referred to "this / ancient oral tradition" in your comments I posted above ... the 18k oral tradition I referred to in one of my posts? the pre-Christian ascendency nature based oral tradition I referred to? A possible secret oral transmission tradition that may or may not be a component of Freemasonry? 

Once this is clarified, I'll respond to your recent post, Kenemet.

Well, I'll answer.  For MY part, all three.

* what evidence do you have that the 18k oral tradition is not simply made up?  In terms of oral traditions, this would involve symbols and ritual objects that are clearly 18k years old and have been kept by the same people and have a written linkage with them after the area becomes literate.

* what evidence do you have of a pre-Christian ascendancy nature based oral tradition (again, symbols and related objects that have been dated. For example, Plutarch's writings are some of the evidence for the traditions associated with Osiris festivals and Bastet's festivals -paired with paintings and other objects by the ancient Egyptians, these would be considered proof of such a thing.

* no speculation here on the third one.  The Masons are well documented. and no such "secret oral tradition" exists as any well-read Mason can tell you.

 

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Dhurfjooydig
2 hours ago, Kenemet said:

1. what evidence do you have that the 18k oral tradition is not simply made up?  

In terms of oral traditions, 2. this would involve symbols and ritual objects that are clearly 18k years old and have been kept by the same people and have a written linkage with them after the area becomes literate.

I appreciate your thoughtful reply ...

1. None.  And I made no claim to the authenticity or accuracy of the oral tradition or the date. I only reported the date stated by the existing culture that carries the tradition. Not that there isn't relevant 'material of interest' ... but 'material of interest' only offers clues in the search for evidence, it isn't evidence itself. 

Given that I stressed "possibility" and "may be" through this entire thread, and made absolutely no claim to the accuracy / authenticity of Bon culture's dating of the Authenticity of Open Awareness ( or the Plutarch reference )  ... how is this question germane to this discussion ... and more importantly, how is it relevant to my reply to jmccr8 in post 134, which is what you replied to (saying "No, it doesn't") ... which is why I asked for clarification of terms?  Never mind ... I can see that tangle isn't going to get sorted.

if I was presenting a dissertation that included casual reporting of Bon culture's stated date for the oral tradition, then the question would be fair game and I would expect the dissertation committee to rip into it.  Here, in an open forum on 'Unexplained Mysteries', it just seems like a focus on minutiae and a diversion from the central theme of the thread that has the potential to blow open the scope..  

2. Not necessarily. Recitation containers (poems, songs, narratives, riddles) don't necessarily contain references to symbols and ritual objects. 

2 hours ago, Kenemet said:

what evidence do you have of a pre-Christian ascendancy nature based oral tradition (again, symbols and related objects that have been dated.

Again, oral recitation doesn't necessarily contain reference to symbols and objects ... and obviously, even if it does, they aren't material symbols and objects so can't be dated.

IMO, there is quite a lot of evidence accumulating in the field of Cultural Astronomy (also known by an early name of the field: Archaeoastronomy) and a preponderance of 'material of interest' ... but a preparatory explanation of the field and discussion of this evidence would blow open the scope of the thread irreparably. However, it would make a good subject for a new thread when this one comes to a close ... if it ever does. :blink:

A recommended reading recommendation to the room:

https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Sky-Astronomical-Cosmological-Archaeoastronomy/dp/0954086724

 

2 hours ago, Kenemet said:

no speculation here on the third one.  The Masons are well documented. and no such "secret oral tradition" exists as any well-read Mason can tell you.

The history of Christianity and the existence of 'Jesus' is "well documented" also, as any Christian indoctrinated scholar and well-read Christian believer can tell you.  But it's all hermeneutics, isn't it ... it depends on what conscious or unconscious lens is functioning as a filter.

Also, any mason, well read or not, isn't likely to spill the beans if a secret oral tradition does exist ... and furthermore, just because it may not exist now doesn't mean that it never did. And the average "well-read mason" would not likely even be aware of it if it did exist. 

'No evidence' doesn't mean 'case closed'. 

 

 

Edited by No Solid Ground

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jmccr8
2 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

I'll ask my question again ...

In post 132 you asked:

"Where and how do you expect to be able to verify this ancient oral tradition"

In post 136 Kenemet asked:

"how do you determine that this really IS an ancient oral tradition"

I'm asking you both to identify which permutation of ancient oral tradition you are referring to from this list of three that have been discussed throughout this thread and recently:

- the 18k oral tradition I referred to in one of my posts? 

- the pre-Christian ascendency nature based oral tradition I referred to?

- A possible secret oral transmission tradition that may or may not be a component of Freemasonry? 

Without knowing this context, your (and Kenemet's) question can't be answered. Thanks.

Well before I can answer that you should at least reveal the type of ancient oral history that you are proposing, which at this time seems to be beyond your capabilities maybe it is because you don't know yourself and want some help in that area of your proposal. If this is the case then sorry I will have to wait until you have discovered what the need would be for the Secret Ancient Oral Tradition which would appear to be the starting point for Your search as you have firmly stated that the horse is in front of the cart for this endeavor.

I on the other hand would likely start my search from a different point, so you tell me cuz I have no clue what you hope to achieve so I asked the questions.

jmccr8

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Dhurfjooydig
3 minutes ago, jmccr8 said:

... what the need would be for the Secret Ancient Oral Tradition

I think this should probably be a new thread ... it's probably time to let this one die. I might set it up this weekend after I give thought how to present it.

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jmccr8
7 minutes ago, No Solid Ground said:

I think this should probably be a new thread ... it's probably time to let this one die. I might set it up this weekend after I give thought how to present it.

That might be best and hopefully you come to the table with something that is better constructed.

jmccr8

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Dhurfjooydig
2 minutes ago, jmccr8 said:

That might be best and hopefully you come to the table with something that is better constructed.

jmccr8

And hopefully you come to the table with more tightly focused and clearly articulated questions. 

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jmccr8
16 minutes ago, No Solid Ground said:

And hopefully you come to the table with more tightly focused and clearly articulated questions. 

You have been all over the place and vague, my questions were direct and about your comments so that is a reflection of how you have presented yourself here.

jmccr8

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Dhurfjooydig
22 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

Obviously the farther from the point of origin a story is, the more it changes. And it's also clear that a story that is shared by a single cultural group can change from region to region within that group's sphere of influence.

Agree. And it's not just the story itself that can change over time and from region to region. A society's perception of existence and sense of place... it's worldview ... it's values ... can change / distort how the story is interpreted / understood ... a culturally conditioned, conscious or unconscious, perceptual / psychological recontextualization of the story.  

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Kenemet
14 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

Agree. And it's not just the story itself that can change over time and from region to region. A society's perception of existence and sense of place... it's worldview ... it's values ... can change / distort how the story is interpreted / understood ... a culturally conditioned, conscious or unconscious, perceptual / psychological recontextualization of the story.  

If it's that far out of bounds, then it's not the same.  Walkili telling that the gods spoke about offering them goat milk is not the same thing as Walkili's great-great grandson telling you that the wind spirits want to levitate cheese.  You can make a point that there's a history, but the outcomes (offering cups of goat milk and playing frisbee with wheels of cheese) represent two very different things.

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DanL

OK, I didn't wade though all the posts. Mostly things like this are people that know nothing about the subject repeating rumors that they have heard from others quoting rumors or lies. So here we go.

I am a Freemason. I have been one for longer than most of you have probably been alive. My Dad was a Freemason as was his and onward back for a lot of generations. I will answer question. I will tell you now that you won't like all of the answers but I will never lie to you.

First a little factual history about Masonry in America. Indeed in the beginnings here Masonry was a very powerful and influential group. The founding of this country had many of its roots in Masonic beliefs and some of the symbology of Freemasonry is still to be seen is many of the American symbols. Understand though, most of those symbols had a life before they were adopted in Masonry. In the beginning as near as I can tell the majority of the membership was of the upper crust of the early American society. This wasn't because it was so much exclusionary as it was a slow growth from place to place via personal relationships.

A mason is unlikely to discuss Freemasonry with a stranger unless that stranger brings the subject up first. What that means is that new members come from people that know and are known by Masons. Where I came from this was very obvious. The Fire departments were filled with Masons because they spent a lot of time together and got to know each other very well. The same was true in most of the refineries and even now where I live in the Prisons staffs.

Freemasonry looks for pretty good people that want to become better people. It isn't something that will make you more successful in your chosen profession but then it won't hurt you either. The primary thing that is sort of pounded into you as a Mason is how important honor is. The biggest thing in honor is that you keep your word and that you try to do what is RIGHT with EVERYONE but especially other Masons.

This became important as the American Masonic movement began to change somewhat and grow. Back in the years before say the last 50 to 75 , there was no such thing as life insurance for the common man. All honorable men worry about their families. Over time this became a huge part of what American Masonry was about. There was and still is a close tie between the Masonic lodge and things that relate to children. Not JUST the children of Masons but all kids. It was comon in the early days for the Masonic lodges to build 2 story lodges and the bottom was a school house with the lodge upstairs. There were Masonic Orphanages all over the country and hospitals that are specifically for children were and are STILL a major part of Freemasonry in America. A Shriner IS first and foremost always a Mason. All of the Shriner Crippled Children's hospitals are masonic endeavors and are there for ALL children.

I keep accentuating the fact that the Masonic things are for all people because this has a lot to do with what is truly Freemasonry. Right and Wrong is without borders. If something is right then you should offer that to everyone and if it is wrong then you should offer it to no one. The Masonic concept of Honor is not just for use in the good ole boys club. It is a way of life. At times it can be very inconvenient and not the most profitable way to be.

There are no SECRETS in Freemasonry. There are parts of it that are none of your business if you are not a Mason. I had a B aptest preacher get ugly with me over the evil secrets of Masonry. So I asked him if his wife did oral sex. He flipped out. It was none of my business and I was evil to even ask. So I asked him if I could then assume that they were worshiping satin and doing all manner of nasty things since it was secret.

My point is that just because something is none of your business that does not make it a Secret or evil. As a Secret Organization The Masonic Lodge fails miserably. Where I come from at the city limits of almost every town there is a sign welcoming you from that Lodge. We put up big signs in front of or on our buildings. Most of us wear some sort of Masonic jewelry and many also have it on their cars and truck... Yeppers we are keeping a low and secret profile for sure.

Sorry I digressed. As Americans became a better educated people, the American Masonic lodges moved into a more middle class membership and their biggest concerns had to do with family things. Even today one of the first things that happens in a lodge after it is opened is a report on our widows and orphans. All good Masons see the wives and children of their Brother masons as Sisters and Nieces and Nephews and WILL look out for them especially if something happens to their Brother. This was a very important thing that held Masons close in the past.

There were actually a lot of somewhat similar groups back in the past. The Woodsmen or the World and The Odd fellows too name just a couple and then there was the Knights of Columbus which is a Catholic fraternal organization that had similar int rests.

The rites of Freemasonry are NOT in any way Satanic. Every Lodge before it opens has a Bible in the center of the Lodge that is opened to an appropriate page depending on the work to be done that night. Now, understand. It is open to any and all as long as they have a faith in one universal God. You can call him as you wish. This is why so many fundamentalist Christians have a THING about the Masonic Lodge. To them if you don't worshiping Christ then you MUST be worshiping the devil. In General we refer to God as the Supreme Architect of the Universe. The Creator in other words.

The Catholics have issues because of the Christ thing AND because we don't by policy accept the pope as basically God incarnate and their priests as his servants. If you promise to keep a secret that INCLUDES from Priests or even the POPE. It isn't their business. Then you toss in that after they murdered most of the Knight Templars the rest ended up with a sort of nebulous connection to the Freemasons and there is a degree of Knights Templar in the upper Degrees of the lodge.

I tell you this so that those of you with open minds can understand why and whence comes some of the bad things that you hear about Masons. We don't run around naked, we don't do ANYthing that is evil, we don't in general dress up in any sort of really strange way except on special occasions where the pageantry of the degrees is done in costume that is period based. The Degrees are to help someone new to the Brother hood understand where some of the beliefs and rites come from. It in the end gives us a common vocabulary that lets us sort of sense when another person is Masonicly connected.

Each person that holds office in the Lodge wears a “Jewel” on a necklace that indicates his job. Most of these “jewels” are miniature versions of the tools that a stone mason would use. Most of the lessons in Freemasonry are offered in Allegory as stories about stone work and building.

It is funny how many of the parts of these stories end up in common vocabulary... A Square Deal is RIGHT because it meets a measured standard. This comes from the use of the Square in a Masonic Square and Compass. Our language is filled with this sort of thing and this language is how we most often know each other. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I've actually used any special handshake or other recognition sign outside of the Lodge.

The Freemasons have often been involved in various uprisings. This isn't because the Masonic Lodge is involved. In general we are strongly discouraged from discussing politics and religion in the Lodge or at Lodge functions. What DOES happen though is when you are plotting a revolution you want to be VERRRRY careful who you discuss this with. A brother will keep your secrets even if he chooses not to participate. At the very least he won't turn you in. In EVERY war there have been Masons on both sides and this had created some rather odd happenings. If I wanted to go down a revolutionary road I would start FIRST with people that I trusted the most. George Washington went this way and so there is a lot of Masonry in our Government symbols, wording and in the bill of rights.

If you have questions ASK. I'm not an expert on every tidbit of Freemasonry but the general parts are really pretty simple, straight forward and openly shared. If it is something that I won't share I'll just tell you that. There actually aren't many questions that you would know how to ask that I can't answer in a general way.

 

 

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back to earth

Thanks DanL.

Problem is .... may reasonable people here know this stuff and the unreasonable have 'difficulties with education ' .

Anyway, I have 2 questions  .

1.  Is there a secret oral tradition  ( which means it would not be ever appearing in the Lodges working ritual degree scripts ) within Freemasonry ?     (  I have claimed this is rubbish, the reasons why are back in the posts. )  Its an idea that someone tried to push here . 

2. Regarding your statement  ;  "  The Degrees are to help someone new to the Brother hood understand where some of the beliefs and rites come from. "     I find rather curious .  Perhaps its the way you worded it ?     I thought  the degrees  were for instruction and development of the Candidate, not an explanation of the origin of their beliefs .   Surely any 'instruction'  or teaching is done via enacting the degree ? 

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jaylemurph

I want to repeat B2E's thanks to DanL. It's nice to get some sane, rational, first-hand information.

I guess the OP just grew tired of having to, you know, discuss things on this discussion board, especially after not one single person lauding his genius in the way he felt appropriate.

--Jaylemurph

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ShadowSot

The way I've always heard it described is there's a difference between secret and personal. 

 The rituals used to be secret, because back in the day you needed some way to prove you were a member. However they have now been replaced by dues cards. 

 And the rituals and writings have been public domain for some time now, not to mention that there are so many splinters off of the mainstream Blue Lodge. 

 Meanwhile what goes on in meetings is personal and private. Mostly it's boring and business like, but it's a private thing. 

 

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kmt_sesh
13 minutes ago, jaylemurph said:

...
I guess the OP just grew tired of having to, you know, discuss things on this discussion board, especially after not one single person lauding his genius in the way he felt appropriate.

--Jaylemurph

I have to wonder that, and it's probably the case. I don't think the OP has posted since May 7, on the first page. It irritates me when a poster starts a discussion and does really nothing to take part in it. I know it's usually because they don't like the answers they're getting, but that's how it goes.

If it weren't for BTE and No Solid Ground tearing out each other's hair, this thread would've died already,

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ShadowSot

That's been the case a lot lately. 

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DanL
19 hours ago, back to earth said:

Thanks DanL.

Problem is .... may reasonable people here know this stuff and the unreasonable have 'difficulties with education ' .

Anyway, I have 2 questions  .

1.  Is there a secret oral tradition  ( which means it would not be ever appearing in the Lodges working ritual degree scripts ) within Freemasonry ?     (  I have claimed this is rubbish, the reasons why are back in the posts. )  Its an idea that someone tried to push here . 

2. Regarding your statement  ;  "  The Degrees are to help someone new to the Brother hood understand where some of the beliefs and rites come from. "     I find rather curious .  Perhaps its the way you worded it ?     I thought  the degrees  were for instruction and development of the Candidate, not an explanation of the origin of their beliefs .   Surely any 'instruction'  or teaching is done via enacting the degree ? 

1.Yes there is an oral tradition that every Mason will learn. This gives us a common frame of reference sort of like the Mythologies of the roman gods were taught to children when I was young. This allows me to compare something to Pandora's box and people from a with range of backgrounds with little in common can understand. It also changes our speech patters slightly so that we will more easily know each other. All that said, I think its most important rerason is that each new mason will need to spend time, generally with older members of the lodge, to help them learn the "work". This weaves us together oldest to youngest and gives each what they need most. The new Apr-entice needs attention and instruction and help while the older master many times a retired man as my instructor is kept active and well drawn into the heart of the lodge. These people are our elders and valued. 

2. Each Degree in the Blue Lodge, the first three degrees, Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master, are presented as a sort of play where the initiate is led from place to place where he is shown, told and taught things. After he has received that degree he will hook up with an instructor that with though teaching him the oral tradition that explains what he has experienced and what it means. I hope that expresses it better.

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DanL
14 hours ago, ShadowSot said:

The way I've always heard it described is there's a difference between secret and personal. 

 The rituals used to be secret, because back in the day you needed some way to prove you were a member. However they have now been replaced by dues cards. 

 And the rituals and writings have been public domain for some time now, not to mention that there are so many splinters off of the mainstream Blue Lodge. 

 Meanwhile what goes on in meetings is personal and private. Mostly it's boring and business like, but it's a private thing. 

 

The rituals and such have always be available. There will always be some who were not worthy and did not keep their word. The odd thing is that reading or even seeing the ritual is mostly meaningless. If there is a secret in Freemasonry it is one that just CAN'T be told. Brotherhood is like a hug from your MAMA. There is a warmth and comfort that can't be seen or felt unless you are a part of it. Some time watch a really close family as they interact and share their little insider jokes and affection. THEY have a very similar secret and you can't have that one either. The Masonic Lodge is not a secret Society. It is a FRATERNAL organization. That basically means that we are a family of Brothers from many other mothers. Our brothers wives are our sisters and their kids are out nieces and nephews..their loved ones are OUR loved ones. The evil people want to see is love and their realization that they don't have enough of it in THEIR life. 

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ShadowSot

Freemasonry was my first brush with critical. Used to be a bit of any conspiracy theorist. 

 Now that I understand it a bit better, I did want to join it. 

 Unfortunately I don't meet the qualifications. Still think it's not a bad group. 

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DanL

I was worried when I petitioned the lodge. I was 22 and far from an angle. The lodge was made of of mostly men that were older than me and the ones in office were mostly my Dad's age. What I had going for me was that I went to church with most of them. Even my pastor was a mason. I was active in my church and at the time, I was on the board of Directors and also the youth councilor. LOL, I was a long haired motorcycle riding hippie as far as most people could see. I had had some troubles in my late teens but had grown up a lot. I had people that knew me and had known me since I was 5 and with their vouching for me a slipped in without anyone dropping a black ball on me. I would not have held it against them if they had and would have waited a year and applied again. ALL men that join the lodge are votes on and you are either accepted 100% or not. One person that think you are not what they need is all it takes. 

For me it was the greatest honor that I had ever received and to this day still feel that way. I was not worthy but they gave me a chance, most likely because so many of them knew me well, and I've worked real hard to never betray their trust.  By associating with men that were more mature and better men than me I became a better and more honorable man. 

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back to earth
18 hours ago, kmt_sesh said:

I have to wonder that, and it's probably the case. I don't think the OP has posted since May 7, on the first page. It irritates me when a poster starts a discussion and does really nothing to take part in it. I know it's usually because they don't like the answers they're getting, but that's how it goes.

If it weren't for BTE and No Solid Ground tearing out each other's hair, this thread would've died already,

Ummmmm   excuse me ......     I do believe the other chap is quite bald   and several posters here, including me , have handfuls of hair ....  

Apparently , I shall never go bald, the lack of body hair seems to have percolated up to the top to make for the difference ..... problem is, when I am overdue for a haircut , it takes the shape ( all by itself )    of an old ladies  'perm'    .    Bouffant .  ... and they look at me admiringly and wonder where I  'got it '       :(  

 

news-graphics-2008-_663730a1.jpg

 

 

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ShadowSot

I've been encouraged to join a few times, but the central issue is that I do not hold to any higher power and so am not welcome by the rules. 

 Amusingly, something that is expressly counter to anti Masonic claims. 

 

12 minutes ago, DanL said:

I was worried when I petitioned the lodge. I was 22 and far from an angle. The lodge was made of of mostly men that were older than me and the ones in office were mostly my Dad's age. What I had going for me was that I went to church with most of them. Even my pastor was a mason. I was active in my church and at the time, I was on the board of Directors and also the youth councilor. LOL, I was a long haired motorcycle riding hippie as far as most people could see. I had had some troubles in my late teens but had grown up a lot. I had people that knew me and had known me since I was 5 and with their vouching for me a slipped in without anyone dropping a black ball on me. I would not have held it against them if they had and would have waited a year and applied again. ALL men that join the lodge are votes on and you are either accepted 100% or not. One person that think you are not what they need is all it takes. 

For me it was the greatest honor that I had ever received and to this day still feel that way. I was not worthy but they gave me a chance, most likely because so many of them knew me well, and I've worked real hard to never betray their trust.  By associating with men that were more mature and better men than me I became a better and more honorable man. 

 

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DanL

AH, now I understand. You need to express a belief in something greater to yourself or you can't  be shall we say "sworn in".  I have sat with people of all faiths including Native American. and the Eastern Faiths but you are right. If you don't recognize a higher power of any sort you, no matter how fine a man you are fall through the cracks. I have had VERY close friends that I never discussed the Lodge with for this very reason. They were excellent men who I would have gladly called Brother but without that one thing they just didn't fit the slightly odd shaped hole that we all passed through. Just as I could never join the Knights Templar because I am not Catholic it is no reflection on your honor or quality. 

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