The Symbol, and Odd Fellow’s magazine. v.3 (1844) page 554.
Some people speak out against Odd Fellows because they assume there are secrets the Order will never reveal except to members. We admit that secrecy is imposed upon our lodges and we believe secrecy is necessary and no sin.
If we consider secrecy as an abstract idea and something humanity uses in its general interaction with society, we see that it allows them to perform the duties of society with credit to themselves and to the advantage of humanity. The apprentice should keep his master’s secrets, the agent the secrets of his employer, the husband and wife keep the secrets of the family, the juror the discussions of the twelve, the statesman the secrets of his cabinet, the sentry the password of his guarded post.
Much as secrecy is spoken against, and so is our Order for maintaining it, secrecy is not new and arguments against it can’t be maintained. If custom gives examples of any practice, it is clear that secrecy is an important part of our lives. Egyptians hid their religion and politics under its mask, and their Goddess Isis had this inscribed over her altar: “I am all that is, has been, and shall be and no mortal can remove the veil (secrecy—editor) that covers me.”
Lycurgus in his laws, required everyone to keep secret whatever was done or said. For this reason, when Spartans met at any feast the oldest among them would greet them at the door with “take heed that not so much as one word pass out from thence of whatsoever shall here be acted or spoken.” (What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—editor)
The Persians had laws to punish anyone who revealed a secret. King Solomon forbade drunkenness in a king because it was an enemy to secrecy, and said “He who discovers (reveals—editor) secrets is a traitor, and he who conceals them is a faithful brother.”
The benefits of Odd Fellowship are preserved and transmitted by secrecy. Deprive it of this great lever and it wouldn’t continue to moralize and bless. It’s important that we listen to the warning: “be secret.” It has been said that “Secrecy is the key of prudence and the sanctuary of wisdom.” Let it be observed and Odd Fellowship will not lose its interests or beneficial power.
Some elements of this video will make sense. We’re sworn to secrecy.
Scott Moye is author of the book “Think Like An Odd Fellow! Wisdom and Self-Improvement in 21st Century Odd Fellowship.”