[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: September 2003

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2003 13:14:30 PDT
To: David Geffen <dgeffen@juno.com>
Subject: Masonry Question

I recently saw the fictional film 'Murder by Decree', in which it was posited that that Masons covered up the 'Jack-the-Ripper' murders.

Granted he this film is fictional, I was under the impression that in the USA at the present time Masons do not cover up murder committed by fellow Masons. Is it possible that in England at the time of the Jack-the-Ripper murders, Masons were indeed obligated to protect fellow Masons known to have committed murder?

Message-Id: <200309292041.h8TKfPo2024452@thelonious.mit.edu>
From: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
To: David Geffen <dgeffen@juno.com>
Subject: Re: Masonry Question
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Mon, 29 Sep 2003 13:14:30 PDT."
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2003 16:41:25 -0400

Masons do not cover up murders in the US or elsewhere any more or less than you or anyone you know would.

The reason people think otherwise is because Masons have a special obligation to respect the privacy of anything another Mason shares with them and asks them to keep secret. This usually involves the kind of things you would discuss with a dear friend or trusted advisor: finances, marital issues, family disputes, etc. A Mason will be a faithful ear to his brother Mason and not gossip his secrets around.

However, the obligation specifically excludes high crimes, murder and treason, from that requirement. It leaves the brother Mason in the same position you would be in if your friend or relative told you such a thing: it would be up to your own conscience what to do. That is the policy of Masonry everywhere; there is not now and never was any requirement or encouragement to hide or cover up murder.

As you say, the film is fictional, and free to play loose with facts to make a more interesting dramatic presentation.

| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA (PM)
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