Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Brother Asks: Keeping Secrets

A Brother Asks: "On the square", is something repeated throughout our fraternity, but what does that really mean?
My Response: The common understanding of this term is that "what is shared will be keep within the chest receiving it as it would be kept within the chest of the one imparting it".  I have also heard the term "on the level" used to convey the same interest/sentiment.
He Continues: Are we truly obligated to keep the secrets of another Brother when entrusted to us?
My Response: Yes. 
However, FULL Upfront Disclosure is required for this to apply. 
He Continues: What does that mean?
My Response: You had better communicate upfront that ...
1) ...the information which is going to be conveyed is indeed considered confidential to all involved. 
  • You cannot legally invoke an obligation requirement after the fact. Full upfront disclosure is a must.
2) ...the information to be conveyed shall harm someone if conveyed any further and in any manner or form. 
  • You cannot morally share a secret without letting the other party know what the ramifications of knowing it entails.
3) ...it is information that shall harm someone if NOT shared.
  • You cannot ethically conceal information that can harm if not revealed.  This includes relationships that would be harmed by having possession of the information whereby others who should know too would consider you disloyal or legally negligent by not disclosing it to them.
...otherwise what you share is done so wrongfully.
He Continues: How realistic is that promise in today's Masonic world?
My Response: Even more so now then ever before, Masonic or not!


Bro. John S. Nagy

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