Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Advice to Young Men

Every young man ought to belong to some first-class fraternal organization. In no way can he gain so many substantial advantages, mentally, morally and financially, at so small a cost of time or money as by forming such a connection. The teachings he will receive in the lodge room are of a high and ennobling character. It is line upon line, precept upon precept; and not only this, but he will see numberless instances of the practical application of the lessons taught. Men naturally love to see a noble act well performed, and love to feel, in its performance, they have had something to do. Human nature is not altogether bad. It is safe that 999 out of 1,000 would prefer to do a good act rather than a bad one, all other things being equal. But all men abhor hypocrisy, and moral lessons supplemented by immoral practices bear the sure fruits of iniquity. If there is any class of organizations under the sun that practice what they preach, it is fraternal societies. It is almost impossible for a young man to grow up surrounded by fraternal influences without becoming a better man because of the fact.
The lodge room is a good school. It teaches how to conduct debates, the value of discipline, the strength of combined numbers, social customs, mutual dependence, and the necessity of promptitude and fidelity in the discharge of every duty. Moreover, it accustoms one to public addresses and ceremonials, and if a person is so inclined, it affords the best possible means to acquire the art of oratory. Thousands of our best speakers today got their first and most valuable lessons in the lodge room.
The benefit one gets, financially, by lodge membership, is usually of an indirect character, rather than otherwise. It does not come in the way of wages, or contributions for his individual benefit, unless perchance, to guard him or his against actual want; but it comes in the way of a wide and valuable acquaintance that afford him an opportunity to help himself, when otherwise he might be a stranger in a strange land. It gives him the advantage of confidence when else there would be distrust. A good name is better than gold or precious stone, but a good name is only valuable where its possessor is known.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


An old Greek philosopher, when asked what he regarded as the most valuable quality to win and the most difficult to keep, he replied: "To be Secret and Silent." If secrecy was difficult in the olden times, it is doubly difficult today, in the loud and noisy world in which we live, where privacy is almost unknown.
Secrecy is, indeed, a priceless but rare virtue, so little effort is made to teach and practice it. The world of today is a whispering gallery where everything is heard, a hall of mirrors where nothing is hid. If the ancient worshipped a God of silence, we seem about to set up an Altar to the God of Gossip.
Some one has said that if Masonry did no more than train its men to preserve sacredly the secrets of others confided to them as such - except where a higher duty demands disclosure - it would be doing a great work, and one which not only justifies its existence, but entitles it to the respect of mankind.
Anyway, no Mason needs to be told the value of secrecy.
Without it, Masonry would cease to exist, or else become something so different from what it is as to be unrecognizable. For that reason, if no other, the very first lesson taught a candidate, and impressed upon him at every turn in unforgettable ways, is the duty of secrecy. Yet, strictly speaking, Masonry is not a secret society, if by that we mean a society whose very existence is hidden. Everybody knows that the Masonic Fraternity exists, and no effort is made to hide that fact. Its organization is known; its Temples stand in our cities; its members are proud to be know as Masons. Anyone may obtain from the records of a Grand Lodge, if not from the printed reports of Lodges, the names of the members of the Craft. Nor can it be said that Masonry has any secret truth to teach, unknown to the best wisdom of the race. Most of the talk about esoteric Masonry misses the mark. When the story is told the only secret turns out to be some odd theory, some fanciful philosophy, of no real importance. The wisdom of Masonry is hidden, not because it is subtle, but because it is simple. Its secret is profound, not obscure.
As in mathematics, there are primary figures, and in music fundamental notes, upon which everything rests, so Masonry is built upon the broad, deep, lofty truths upon which life itself stands. It lives, moves, and has its being in those truths. They are mysteries, indeed, as life and duty and death are mysteries; to know them is to be truly wise; and to teach them in their full import is the ideal at which Masonry aims.
Masonry, then, is not a secret society; it is a private order. In the quiet of the tiled lodge, shut away from the noise and clatter of the world, in an air of reverence and friendship, it teaches us the truths that make us men, upon which faith and character must rest if they are to endure the wind and weather of life. So rare is its utter simplicity that to many it is as much a secret as though it were hid behind a seven-fold veil, or buried in the depths of the earth.
What is the secret in Masonry? The "Method" of its teaching, the atmosphere it creates, the spirit it breaths into our hearts, and the tie it spins and weaves between men; in other words, the lodge and its ceremonies and obligations, its signs. tokens and words - its power to evoke what is most secret and hidden in the hearts of men. No one can explain how this is done. We only know that it is done, and guard as a priceless treasure the method by which it is wrought. It is the fashion of some to say that our ceremonies, signs and tokens are of little value; but it is not true. They are of profound importance, and we cannot be too careful in protecting them from profanation and abuse. The famous eulogy of the signs and tokens of Masonry by Benjamin Franklin was not idle eloquence. It is justified by the facts, and ought to be known and remembered:
"These signs and tokens are of no small value; they speak a universal language, and act as a password to the attention and support of the initiated in all parts of the world. They cannot be lost so long as memory retains its power. Let the possessor of them be expatriated, ship-wrecked or imprisoned; let him be stripped of everything he has in the world; still these credentials remain and are available for use as circumstances require.
"The great effects which they have produced are established by the most incontestable facts of history. They have stayed the uplifted hand of the Destroyer; they have softened the aspirates of the tyrant; they have mitigated the horrors of captivity; they have subdued the rancor of malevolence; and broken down the barriers of political animosity and sectarian alienation.
"On the field of battle, in the solitude of the uncultivated forests, or in the busy haunts of the crowded city, they have made men of the most hostile feelings, and most distant religions, and the most diversified conditions, rush to the aid of each other, and feel a social joy and satisfaction that they have been able to afford relief to a brother Mason."
What is equally true, and no less valuable, is that in the ordinary walks of everyday life they unite men and hold them together in a manner unique and holy. They open a door out of the loneliness in which every man lives. They form a tie uniting us to help one another, and others, in ways too many to name or count. They form a net-work of fellowship, friendship, and fraternity around the world. They add something lovely and fine to the life of each of us, without which we should be poorer indeed.
Still let us never forget that it is the spirit that gives life; the letter alone is empty. An old home means a thousand beautiful things to those who were brought up in it. Its very scenery and setting are sacred. The ground on which it stands is holy. But if a stranger buys it, these sacred things mean nothing to him. The spirit is gone, the glory has faded. Just so with the lodge. If it were opened to the curious gaze of the world, its beauty would be blighted, its power gone.
The secret of Masonry, like the secret of life, can be known only by those who seek it, serve it and live it. It cannot be uttered; it can only be felt and acted. It is, in fact, an open secret, and each man knows it according to his quest and capacity. Like all the things most worth knowing, no one can know it for another and no one can know it alone. It is known only in fellowship, by the touch of life upon life, spirit upon spirit, knee to knee, breast to breast and hand to hand.
For that reason, no one need be alarmed about any book written to expose Masonry. It is utterly harmless. The real secret of Masonry cannot be learned by prying eyes or curious inquiry. We do well to protect the privacy of the lodge; but the secret of Masonry can be known only by those who are ready and worthy to receive it. Only a pure heart and an honest mind can know it, though they be adepts in all signs and tokens of every rite of the Craft.
Indeed, so far from trying to hide its secret, Masonry is all the time trying to give it to the world, in the only way in which it can be given, through a certain quality of soul and character which it labors to create and build up. To the making of men, helping self- discovery and self development, all the offices of Masonry are dedicated. It is a quarry in which the rough stones of manhood are polished for use and beauty.
If Masonry uses the illusion of secrecy, it is because it knows that it is the nature of man to seek what is hidden and to desire what is forbidden. Even God hides from us, that in seeking Him amid the shadows of life we may find both Him and ourselves. The man who does not care enough for God to seek Him will never find Him, though He is not far away from any one of us.
One who looks at Masonry in this way will find that his Masonic life is a great adventure. It is a perpetual discovery. There is something new at every turn, something new in himself as life deepens with the years; something new in Masonry as its meaning unfolds. The man who finds its degrees tedious and its Ritual a rigmarole only betrays the measure of his own mind.
If a man knows God and man to the uttermost, even Masonry has nothing to teach him. As a fact the wisest man knows very little. The way is dim and no one can see very far. We are seekers after truth, and God has so made us that we cannot find the truths alone, but only in the love and service of our fellow men. Here is the real secret, and to learn it is to have the key to the meaning and joy of life.
Truth is not a gift; it is a trophy. To know it we must be true, to find it we must seek, to learn it we must be humble; and to keep it we must have a clear mind, a courageous heart, and the brotherly love to use it in the service of man.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


One of the most persistent accusations against Freemasonry is that it does not believe in God and over the past ages it has not defended itself in forums, whether in public or in private.

But belief in an Omnipotent God is a mandatory requirement not only at Freemason's Lodge, but to all other Grand jurisdictions in the entire world, to which every applicant must declare in his petition form. Beyond answering the question in the affirmative however, Masonry has nothing to do as to what religion he professes.

It is obvious to assert that atheists are barred admission into its doors because of the very simple reason that to them God do not exist. Of course, women, young men in their non-age, and old men in their dotage are likewise barred but they are not allowed for entirely different reasons, none of which pertain to the question on the existence of God Almighty.

A specific case in point for belief in God as a mandatory requirement concerns the Grand Orient of France, one of the more popular Grand Lodges in Europe that in 1778 shocked the entire Masonic world when it removed in its membership requirement the belief in a Supreme Being and ceased presenting the Volume of the Sacred Law in its lodge meetings. The vast majority of the mainstream Grand Lodges around the world declared the Grand Orient of France irregular and stopped recognizing its members as regular Masons. It has remained popular to this day in France but is outside the realms of regular Freemasonry that pervades in all the other parts of the globe.

But even in their case, it may be necessary to set the record straight. What the Grand Orient of France did was the removal of the basic principle of God as a prerequisite for the admission of a petitioner, but simply deleted it as a mandatory requirement to allow all men including atheists, of whom there were many in the eighteenth century, that they may also be admitted. As readers can well rationalize, declaring that God does not exist and simply ignoring the issue are two entirely different things. Nonetheless, the Grand Orient of France has remained an irregular organization that is not recognized by the mainstream fraternal organizations of the world to this day.


Before the topic on the belief in God is shelved to the sidelines, it may be necessary to summarize a few points:

1. Masonry, though religious in nature, is not a religion as it offers no religious dogma for salvation. All its members are encouraged to practice their respective faiths in the particular religion where they belong.

2. The phrase “Great Architect of the Universe” with GAOTU for its acronym, is not the name for a Masonic God. It simply is a phrase that denotes a common name for the Deity which is deemed acceptable to all its members with diverging religious beliefs.

3. It has no Masonic Bible that it calls its own. The beautifully crafted Holy Bibles that are commonly found in its altars especially in the Philippine and American jurisdictions, are largely that of the King James Version that were printed in the United States by brethren who are in the printing business.

4. The phrase “Holy Bible” as mentioned in the three Great Lights is a misnomer. The correct phrase is “Volume of the Sacred Law” to include the holy books of the other religious faiths like The Holy Quran, the Zend Avesta and the Bhagavad Gita of the Muslims, the Pharsees and the Hindus respectively.

5. While opening and closing prayers are conducted during every Masonic meetings, those cannot be construed as religious ceremonies in like manner the President of a republic and Congress offer beginning and ending prayers when conducting business meetings.

Monday, August 23, 2010


The Master of a Lodge - who, when addressed, is given the honorific title of "Worshipful" - presides over the meeting of Masons. His duties in the functioning of a lodge is quite similar to that of the President of the local chapter/branch of any other state or provincial organization except as explained below.

Anti-Masons argue:"No man can serve two masters...."

Religious Intolerants try to make much out of the title "Worshipful" arguing in turn that Masons:
bulletare required to do the Master's bidding in all things;
bulletare worshipping a man rather than GOD;
bulletor/and are part of some sort of cult where a 'worshipful master' presides.
The further argument is taken out of context from the Biblical translation found in Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two Masters; for he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Of course, the "master" referred to in the Bible was one who had total control over the life of the servant/slave. Such is FAR from the situation in Freemasonry!
At the outset, let's be very clear: the term is one of respect and has nothing whatsoever to do with 'worshipping' of an individual OR with 'serving' him in any way. Used in Freemasonry, it's reference is to an ancient word usage with a meaning similar to the honorific "Your Honor".  Use of the word 'worshipful' continues today in titles such as "The Worshipful Lord Mayor of Dublin" - who is not worshipped in the traditional sense nor is he necessarily a secular Lord - and is certainly not a Lord in a religious sense by anyone's stretch of imagination.
One must wonder why the religious intolerants, most of whom fall back on that Biblical phrase aren't out in force to have the titles of various government officials changed after these several centuries.
We'd also suggest that anyone who holds two jobs would have the same conundrum - if this foolish interpretation were applied to more than just Freemasonry. It would probably be uncharitable to suggest that many of those who spend their hours on the internet most likely don't have two jobs (and perhaps not even ONE!) so they simply don't 'get it'.

Obey your Master!

Masons are required to obey the Master of a Lodge about as much as but no more than any member of any voluntary association or organization is required to obey the President of that organization. There is nothing more and nothing less involved. Can the President of the local softball club order you to commit murder? Of course not - and neither can the Master of a Lodge! Can the Chairman of your Community Club direct how you should live your daily life?  Of course not. Would he or she compel you to do anything against your religious beliefs or patriotic intentions? Hardly....
What about that claim that Masons are 'worshipping' a man rather than GOD - as some of the dogmatic 'religious intolerants' would assert? Just as you wouldn't worship the president of the local condominium group, neither would any Mason 'worship' the person who is essentially the 'president' of their lodge - and then only for a year or two at the most. (Just think about all the hurt feelings of those who were 'worshipped' for a few seasons but aren't now. Don't you think they'd be awfully hurt? It should make you giggle when you actually contemplate the foolishness of it.) Considered rationally, it's a total non-issue. It is, however, one of the hooks religious intolerants will try in order to damage Freemasonry's reputation.
The charges are - simply - foolish. As anyone who has served as Master of a Lodge can assert: you have only as much power as your own individual personality can bring to bear.
After a year (or perhaps two) the Master leaves office and a replacement is elected, generally by secret ballot, from amongst the membership. From then on, the former Master is - in effect - a 'has-been', albeit an appreciated one!*  Didn't get 'worshipped' when he was in office and won't a year later.... Keep smilin'

A Masonic Master's Duties

Below is a somewhat lengthy description of the Master's duties from a Masonic perspective.  As you can see, the duties are such that no person of good-repute would object to them in any way. The incumbent of the Oriental Chair {a Masonic colloquialism for the chair which the Master occupies in the East of the Lodge} has powers peculiar to his station; powers far greater than those of the President of a society or the Chairman of a meeting of any kind. 
President and Chairman are elected by the body over which they preside, and may be removed by that body. A Master is elected by his lodge, but cannot be removed by it; only by the Grand Master or Grand Lodge. 
The presiding officer is bound by the rules of order adopted by the body and by its by-laws. A lodge cannot pass by-laws to alter, amend or curtail the powers of a Master. Its by-laws are subject to approval by the proper Grand Lodge Committee or by the Grand Master; seldom are any approved which infringe upon his ancient prerogatives and powers; in those few instances in which improper by-laws have been approved, subsequent rulings have often declared the Master right in disregarding them.
Grand Lodges differ in their interpretation of some of the "ancient usages and customs" of the Fraternity; what applies in one jurisdiction does not necessarily apply in another. But certain powers of a Master are so well recognized that they may be considered universal. The occasional exceptions, if any, but prove the rule.
The Master may congregate his lodge when he pleases, and for what purpose he wishes, provided it does not interfere with the laws of the Grand Lodge:
For instance, he may assemble his lodge at a Special Communication to confer degrees, at his pleasure; but he must not, in so doing, contravene that requirement of the Grand Lodge which calls for proper notice to the brethren, nor may a Master confer a degree in less than the statutory time following a preceding degree without a dispensation from the Grand Master. 
The Master has the right of presiding over and controlling his lodge, and only the Grand Master or his Deputy may suspend him. He may put any brother in the East to preside or to confer a degree; he may then resume the gavel at his pleasure - even in the middle of a sentence if he wants to! But even when he has delegated authority temporarily the Master is not relieved from responsibility for what occurs in his lodge. It is the Master's right to control lodge business and work. 
It is in a very real sense his lodge. He decides all points of order and no appeal from his decision may be taken to the lodge. He can initiate and terminate debate at his pleasure, he can second any motion, propose any motion, vote twice in case of a tie (not universal), open and close at his pleasure, with the usual exception that he may not open a Special Communication at an hour earlier than that given in the notice, or a Stated Communication earlier than the hour stated in the by-laws, without dispensation from the Grand Master.
He is responsible only to the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge, the obligations he assumed when he was installed, his conscience and his God.
The Master has the undoubted right to say who shall enter, and who must leave, the lodge room. He may deny any visitor entrance; indeed, he may deny a member the right to enter his own lodge, but he must have a good and sufficient reason therefore, otherwise his Grand Lodge will unquestionably rule such a drastic step arbitrary and punish accordingly. Per contra, if he permits the entry of a visitor to whom some member has objected, he may also subject himself to Grand Lodge discipline. In other words, his power to admit or exclude is absolute; his right to admit or exclude is hedged about by the pledges he takes at his installation and the rules of his Grand Lodge.
A very important power of a Master is that of appointing committees. No lodge may appoint a committee. The lodge may pass a resolution that a committee be appointed, but the selection of that committee is an inherent right of the Master. He is, ex officio, a member of all committees he appoints. The reason is obvious; he is responsible for the conduct of his lodge to the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge. If the lodge could appoint committees and act upon their recommendations, the Master would be in the anomalous position of having great responsibilities, and no power to carry out their performance.
The Master, and only the Master, may order a committee to examine a visiting brother. It is his responsibility to see that no non Mason or eavesdropper comes within the tiled door. Therefore, it is for him to pick a committee in which he has confidence. 
So, also, with the committees which report upon petitioners. He is responsible for the accuracy, the fair-mindedness, the speed and the intelligence of such investigations. It is, therefore, for him to say to whom shall be delegated this necessary and important work.
It is generally, not exclusively, held that only the Master can issue a summons. The dispute, where it exists, is over the right of members present at a stated communication to summons the whole membership.
It may now be interesting to look for a moment at some matters in which the Worshipful Master is not supreme, and catalog a few things he may not do.
The Master, and only the Master, appoints the appointive officers in his lodge. In most jurisdictions, he may remove such appointed officers at his pleasure. But he cannot suspend, or deprive of his station or place, any officer elected by the lodge. The Grand Master or his Deputy may do this; the Worshipful Master may not.
A Master may not spend lodge money without the consent of the lodge. As a matter of convenience, a Master frequently does pay out money in sudden emergencies, looking to the lodge to reimburse him. But he cannot spend any lodge funds without the permission of the lodge. 
A Master cannot accept a petition or confer a degree without the consent of the lodge. It is for the lodge, not the Master, to say from what men it will receive an application, upon what candidates degrees shall be conferred. The Master has the same power to reject with the black ball that is possessed by any member, but no power whatever to accept any candidate against the will of the lodge.
The lodge, not the Master, must approve or disapprove the minutes of the preceding meeting. The Master cannot approve them; had he that power he might, with the connivance of the Secretary, "run wild" in his lodge and still his minutes would show no trace of his improper conduct. But the Master may refuse to put a motion to confirm or approve minutes which he believes to be inaccurate or incomplete; in this way he can prevent a careless, headstrong Secretary from doing what he wants with his minutes! Should a Master refuse to permit minutes to be confirmed, the matter would naturally be brought before Grand Lodge or the Grand Master for settlement.
A Master cannot suspend the by-laws. He must not permit the lodge to suspend the by-laws. If the lodge wishes to change them, the means are available, not in suspension but in amendment. A Worshipful Master has no more right to invade the privacy which shrouds the use of the black ball, or which conceals the reason for an objection to an elected candidate receiving the degrees, than the humblest member of the lodge. He cannot demand disclosure of action or motive from any brother, and should he do so, he would be subject to the severest discipline from Grand Lodge. 
Grand Lodges usually argue that a dereliction of duty by a brother who possesses the ability and character to attain the East, is worse than that of some less well-informed brother. The Worshipful Master receives great honor, has great privileges, enjoys great prerogatives and powers. Therefore, he must measure up to great responsibilities.
A Worshipful Master cannot resign. Vacancies occur in the East through death, suspension by a Grand Master, or expulsion from the Fraternity. No power can make a Master attend to his duties if he desires to neglect them. If he will not, or does not, attend to them, the Senior Warden presides. He is, however, still Senior Warden; he does not become Master until elected and installed.In broad outline, these are the important and principal powers and responsibilities of a Worshipful Master, considered entirely from the standpoint of the "ancient usages and customs of the Craft." Nothing is here said of the moral and spiritual duties which devolve upon a Master. 
Volumes might be and some have been written upon how a Worshipful Master should preside, in what ways he can "give the brethren good and wholesome instruction," and upon his undoubted moral responsibility to do his best to leave his lodge better than he found it.  Here we are concerned only with the legal aspect of his powers and duties. Briefly, then, if he keeps within the laws, resolutions and edicts of his Grand Lodge on the one hand, and the Landmarks, Old Charges, Constitutions and "ancient usages and customs" on the other, the power of the Worshipful Master is that of an absolute monarch. His responsibilities and his, duties are those of an apostle of Light!
He is a gifted brother who can fully measure up to the use of his power and the power of his leadership.

While this has been explained over and over, some folks simply don't 'get it' because it upsets their conspiracy kookery. As shown above, "Masonic authority" pertains to lodge matters alone, such as when a lodge meets, who is eligible for membership, what size and color apron members can wear, etc. (And then, such decisions are not made by the Master but are, rather, governed by written by-laws and prior decisions, copies of which are available for ANYONE to purchase at nominal prices. In my jurisdiction, all of the books are available for free online! "Masonic authority" can not tell you how to run your personal life, such as what to eat, where to shop, when to sleep, who to invite over to watch football, whether to pay your light bill, and so on.
It really is quite that simple - and if you look closely at those making the claim, they simply cannot provide a single example to support their misreading of rituals or their flights of fancy. None of this has ANYTHING to do with controlling another's life. What it has a LOT to do with, however, is selling books and videos to the unsuspecting or the gullible.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Painful Process of Becoming a Past Master by Carl Claudy

The newly elected and installed Master had finished his speech. In it he had promised many things to the lodge, and outlined a beautiful program for the coming year. In conclusion he said: "Thus I hope to make my year a good year. I propose to increase the attendance, better the degree work, have more entertainment, see that instruction is more carefully carried on, do more charity, have better turnouts at such funerals as we may have to hold; in other words, with your assistance, I propose to make this the most attractive lodge in the world."

"Pretty nice speech," said the New Brother, sitting down beside the Old Tiler. "You know, I think I'd like to go in line."

"Indeed, it was a very good speech. The boy has the makings of a real Past Master," smiled the Old Tiler. "But about going in line -- don't forget the process hurts."

"Hurts? I don't believe I get you exactly."

"Probably not. When you have been longer in the lodge, you will recognize a certain similarity about all speeches from newly elected and installed Masters. They all think the same way. As soon as they get near the east they begin to think what they can do for the lodge and how they can make it better. They make high plans and do a lot of brain work, and then they tell the lodge about it. I wonder it never occurs to any of them how conceited they are when they are first elected."

"Conceited? Why, young Jamison isn't conceited; he's a nice, modest chap."

"Sure he is! But he tells you all the things he is going to do, quite forgetting that a long line of predessors have not succeeded in doing them. They talk that way with the world and the lodge at their feet, and both to be conquered."

"But neither ever is conquered. Every Past Master has done all he knew to make this the best lodge in the world. It's a pretty good lodge at that, but it isn't what it might be—if we were all perfect. As any Master's year slips along and he finds that the attendance isn't much better than it was, and the degree work just as lacking in beauty as it had ever been because this, that, and the other officer, with the best intentions but no equipment, is making a spectacle of himself, he finds that the process of becoming a Past Master hurts, and hurts badly."

"Most Past Masters are worth a lot more to the lodge as Past Masters than as Masters because of the lessons they learn while Master which they didn't know before. And Jamison has the makings of a fine Past Master; one who will think and work, and be a genuine asset to the lodge."

"But Jamison will improve the degree work -— he has a lot of plans——"

"He'll try. But, my brother, you can't make men over. All our officers are pretty fixed in their ways. They do the best that is in them to do. They are earnest, lovable, conscientious men. They struggle to learn the work, letter perfect. But God makes some men orators, and to some he gives a sing-song voice which would ruin the most beautiful words in the language; and we have our share of them. Jamison won't be able to change them, hard as he may try."

"Do you think he shouldn't try, then?"

"Heaven forbid! Of course he should try. We should all try. The officers should try, and do try. But if we all succeeded in our straining after perfection, there wouldn't be any fun left in the world at all, or any glory in Masonry. In a perfect world Masonry would have no place. Since Masonry is in existence to make men better, if all men were best it wouldn't be needed.

"No, Brother, it's a good thing for the lodge that Jamison can't make this a perfect lodge of perfect Masons. If he could, we wouldn't have any excuse for being. But if he didn't try, he wouldn't be the good man that he is."

"Well, I am amazed," said the New Brother. "You have such peculiar ideas——"

"I am an old, old tiler," grinned the Old Tiler. "I have watched them go up to the east with high hopes and great plans for years and years. And I have seen them step down at the end of their year, happy to be out of the chair, deeply sorry they couldn't do what they tried to do, disillusioned as to the capacity of one man to change a thousand men, worried that they haven't carried the old lodge farther on the road."

"But years have taught me that it is given to very few of us to set many stones in the structure of Masonry. We are lucky if we set one brick right—if, indeed, we can bring one stone which is good work, true work, square work; to the structure, and receive therefor a Mason's wages, we have done well."

"And that is what Jamison will do. He won't succeed in making fifty more men come to the lodge this year than came last. He won't stage a degree any better than a dozen Masters before him have staged. He won't have any more calls for charity than many have had. He won't have any better candidates or any better taught entered apprentices or fellowcrafts than others have had. He will just go along with the lodge, and guide it and direct it and do the best he can, but, unless he is the one man in a hundred, he won't do any more than all of them who trod that road before him could do."

"Then you think he'll be a failure?"

"Decidedly not! I think he'll be a success. For he will try: try earnestly, try hard, think, labor and struggle with his job. And at the end of a year he will have set one stone in this lodge, at much cost to himself. He will make himself into a good Past Master, a man who knows his lodge, who understands its membership, who is able to think fast and work hard, a man who loves his order and his jewel. The one thing he can do best for this lodge is to make himself into a good Past Master—and if he does that, he will find, in after years, that it paid, even if it did hurt."

"I—I don't know that I want to go in line," said the New Brother, thoughtfully, as he walked away.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Test of a Mason

Several years ago, the story is told of a Mason who always wore his Masonic ring and lapel pin when in public.

On some occasions, he rode the bus from his home to the downtown area.

On one such trip and when he sat down, he discovered the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.

As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, "You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it."

Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter; who would worry about this little amount."

Anyway, the transit company gets too much fare; they will never miss it.

Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet.

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change."

The driver with a smile replied, " I noticed your Masonic ring and lapel pin.

I have been thinking lately about asking a Mason how to join. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.

You passed the test.

Can you tell me how to become a Mason?"

When the Mason stepped off the bus, he said a silent prayer, "Oh God, Grand Architect of the Universe, I almost sold you and my beloved Masons out for a mere quarter."

Our actions are the only Masonic creed some will ever see.

This is a really almost scary example of how people watch us as Masons and may put us to the test even without us realizing it!

Always be diligent, whether it be at the theater, restaurant, grocery, service station or just driving in traffic.

Remember, whether it be a lapel pin, a ring, or an emblem on the car, you carry the name of our great fraternity on your shoulders whenever you call yourself a Mason.

You never can tell who might be watching!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Becoming a Freemason

Joining the Freemasons

Would you like to become a Free Mason? 
Read the following to learn more about joining Freemasons to become a member of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world.

If you become a Free Mason, you will:

  • Join both the oldest and the largest fraternity in the world. 
  • Join a brotherhood of over 6,000,000 men from all races, religions and countries from all walks of life.
Why are so many men joining Freemasons?
Freemasonry is a voluntary, fraternal organization, composed of men of good will, good character and good reputation, who believes in an Almighty Creator and practices the spirit of universal brotherhood to man.
They are loyal to their country and devote their time to the principles of friendship and fellowship.  Their focus is to be of service to all mankind.
For many men, Freemasonry fulfills a part of themselves that they intrinsically felt was missing.  Whether it be the social, the philosophical, the spiritual, the historical or simply a sense of community with others; you will find within Freemasonry that part of you which you seek.

If I become a Free Mason, what is their Mission?
Free Masons help to build a better world through a unique and worthy process of building better men to live in it.  
The Free Mason Motto is:  "Better men make a better world."

What principles will I learn?
You will learn to practice brotherly love for all, charitable relief for those who may be in need, morality and good citizenship in every community.

What type of fraternal society is Free Masonry?
Freemasonry acts as a charitable, fraternal, educational, social and character-building society.
Masonic Fraternity:
Masonry's active ideal is the brotherhood of man under theFatherhood of God.
Masonic Education:
Freemasonry supports public education and teaches its own members morality and brotherhood by means of ceremonies and symbols.
The Masonic Fraternity furnishes opportunity and inducement for men to gather for group enjoyment and personal development.
Character Building: 
All Masonic activities stress the values of personal integrity and personal responsibility. 
Each member is encouraged tomake efforts to improve his community in the interest of human welfare, inspire the members with feelings of charity and good will for all mankind as well as move them to translate these learned principles and convictions into individual action.

If I contact someone to become a Free Mason, will I receive a continuous barrage of spam and junk mail?

Why not?
In some jurisdictions (states), a man wishing to become a Free Mason must of his own free will, ask to become a Free Mason.  In other jurisdictions, (a few U.S. states and in England), a man wishing to become a Free Mason may be invited to join by a current member who feels that he would be an asset to the Fraternity. 
In either case, each and every man comes to Freemasonry of his own free will and accord. Every man who wishes to become a Free Mason (whether he requests to be admitted as a member or whether he has been invited to be admitted to the fraternity) must be balloted upon by his prospective Lodge's Brethren.

If I join Freemasons, will I learn Freemasons secrets and Masonic Lodge Secrets?
Yes.  But, if Freemasons secrets and Masonic Lodge secrets are your main reason for joining, your enthusiasm will soon diminish.

I hear and read about  Freemasons being satanic, taking part in pagan rites, attempting to create a New World Order (NWO), such as the New World Order (You Tube), and their plans to take over the world.  Is any of this true?

No.  In fact, let's consider this at greater length.  Entire countries and civilizations have come, gone and changed in the several hundred year period during which Freemasonry has existed.  

If Freemasons were, in fact, attempting to take over the world, (having approximately 300+ years in which to accomplish such a feat), one could only come to the logical conclusion that these Masonic secrets are either tremendously well-kept (from both Freemasons and non-Freemasons) or... that after all this time, Freemasons aren't very effective planners.   

Is Free Masonry a secret Masonic society?
Free Masonry's "secret" inheritance from the past is largely ceremonial.  The Masonic Freemason fraternity meets in Masonic halls and temples, whose addresses are in the telephone book. 

(However, it is difficult to call a specific lodge because most only meet a couple times a month, therefore, if you stop by, there probably won't be anyone there.)  Most Freemasons proudly wear their Masonic rings and Masonic lapel pins. Many of their vehicles sport Masonic emblems such as the Square and Compass. or the famous 2B1Ask1, ... To-Be-One-Ask-One bumper sticker. 

Newspapers and magazines record many of their activities and list their officers....and their charity work and events are not only very public, but very well attended. 

I read and hear a lot about the belief in Masonic pentagrams in the streets of Washington, D.C., secret Masonic conspiracies, Anti-Christian and anti-Bible beliefs, etc.   If I become a Freemason, will I learn more about these?


Why not?
There aren't any....which is why none can be "uncovered".  If your sole reason to join Freemasons is to learn more about these types of Masonic myths, media hype and supposed Masonic secrets, you will be deeply disappointed.  The only secrets in Freemasonry, as I noted previously, are the grips, passwords, penal signs and ritual.

Is Free Masonry Anti-Religion?

Is Freemasonry a religion?
No. Freemasonry encompasses and welcomes members from all religions.

If I become a Free Mason, will I be expected to change my religion?
No.  The foundation of Freemasonry is the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God.  Only those who are truly religious can fully understand the meaning of "universal brotherhood". 
Except in a few jurisdictions around the world, only those who believe in a Supreme Being can be members of the Masonic Fraternity.  There are no specific religions mentioned in Masonic ceremonies nor in Masonic prayers.
Freemasonry is not a church, a tabernacle, a mosque nor a synagogue, nor is it a substitute for any of them or for any religious observance. 
Freemasonry is non-sectarian, which means it is not affiliated with nor restricted to any particular religious denomination.  The form of a man's belief is his own business.  In fact, many active Masons are active religious laymen. 

Al over the world, most lodges use the Holy Books and you may request that your sacred book (Torah, Veda, Koran, etc.) be placed beside the books used during lodge meetings.  Some lodges have several sacred books to accommodate the different religions of its members. 

Lodges whose members are wholly of a specific religion may choose to use their sacred books only.

Is Free Masonry a political group?No.  In fact, politics are discouraged from being mentioned in lodge because to do so may negate its collective peace and harmony.

What do Freemasons do?
Freemasons are a fraternity of brothers who attempt to follow our Creator's plan for us and to help each man be the best man that he can be.  In different languages, the Creator is known by different names.  He may be called God, Allah, Jehovah, YHWH, I Am That I Am and others. 

Can I quit being a Freemason if I want to?
Any Mason in good standing (whose annual dues are paid) may withdraw from membership at any time.

Freemason Membership Requirements

What are the requirements to become a Free Mason?

The requirements to join Freemasons, are:
  • You must be a man of good repute.
  • You must be over the age of 21.
  • You must believe in a Supreme Being.  (This is a requirement in the majority of jurisdictions around the world.)
  • You must be able to support yourself and your family. 
  • You must live a moral and ethical life.
  • You must have a strong desire to want to make a difference in the world.  By your actions, you want to make yourself a better man, and make your community and the world a better place to live. 
Are Lodge dues expensive if I become a Free Mason?
    Typically, lodge dues are a nominal sum, however each Lodge varies, somewhat.  Lodge dues in different countries vary.  Some are nominal sums and some can be more expensive.  Inquiries as to the annual dues in your area should be made to your individual lodge.
What will I gain if I become a Free Mason?
  • 1.  You will never again be truly alone, because you are a part of a brotherhood of men who want to see you prosper in all ways possible and if it is within their ability, they will help you to do so.
  • 2.  You will learn to focus your energies upon an upright and truthful life, and remove the more negative excesses which all of mankind must continually resist.
  • 3.  You will become a better man, if you truly wish to study and learn.
How do I begin the process to become a Free Mason?
  • 1.  You may search the Internet for contact numbers of a Masonic lodge near you, however, it is highly probable no one will be there to answer your call because lodges usually only meet twice a month, during a week day, in the evening. 
  • 2.  If you find a man who has a bumper sticker that says:  2B1Ask1, you may ask him to provide you a petition.  He probably won't have a petition for Masonic admission with him, but if you give him your name and phone number, he will contact a member of his lodge, who will contact you. 
  • 3.  However, the easiest way to begin the process is to contact your state or country's Grand Lodge. You may call them or fill out their website form and request that they have someone contact you. 
Then what happens? 
  1. Arrangements will be made to meet you, personally, to discuss Freemasonry. 
  2. A committee of members from the Lodge, which are called the Investigative Committee, will contact you to arrange a meeting.
    They will answer any questions you may have.  If the meeting is mutually satisfactory; you will be asked if you wish to fill out a petition form. 
  3. The Investigative Committee performs inquiries of others as to your character.
  4. Your request for membership will be balloted upon by the lodge's members. 
  5. You will be advised of the date of your admission.
How to find a Lodge: 
Check out your country's Grand Lodge from the list given below and contact them

Wikipedia:  General List of Masonic Grand Lodges:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Masonic Etiquette

Masonic Etiquette, for the most part, is merely good manners and respect for your lodge, its members, its Worshipful Master and the convention of Freemasonry, in general.

masonic apron

Masonic Etiquette  is largely unpublished as well as unspoken, therefore, up until now, it has been more difficult to learn its rules and nuances. You may study ritual work, degree work, floor work and know all Masonry’s glorious history, Masonic symbols, jewels, etc. but there is very little written about how to comport yourself so you do not look foolish or be regarded as disrespectful. Some are small things, and some are not, but your Lodge conduct is continually on display. Few Masonic mentors include a list of proper Lodge behavior, as they have learned it, themselves, incident-by-incident, and usually learned by them after their having made an error and being kindly informed by another member as to the correct Masonic etiquette of the situation.


Over time, and by watching others, members conform themselves to exhibit proper Masonic etiquette behavior to learn lodge customs.As a newly Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft or Master Mason, it is expected that you will exhibit the proper decorum and propriety in observance of the formal requirements which govern behavior in polite societies... BEFORE someone takes you aside to explain your errors...or you wouldn’t be reading this.


During his term in office, the brother who has been elected as Master is the most powerful member of the Lodge. He also shoulders all of its many responsibilities.
The Worshipful Master has the authority to:

1. Rule any brother out of order on any subject at any time.
2. Decide what can and cannot be discussed. Should a brother believe that the Master is arbitrary, unjust or unfair or is acting in an illegal manner, he can appeal to the District Deputy Grand Master.If that officer agrees that the appeal is a valid one, he will forward the complaint to the Grand Master. If, however, that brother insists on speaking after the Master has ruled that he is out of order, he may be committing a Masonic offense. Courteous brethren accept the requests made by the Master to serve on various committees such as the examination committee, the investigation committee and other duties, as determined by the Lodge’s needs.The following items are not Masonic offenses, They are simply a lack of Masonic Etiquette…or in other words, considered to be “bad form” or bad manners.

So… Let’s begin:


Brethren do not pass between the Altar and the East when the lodge is open.

As a courtesy to the Master, it is necessary that the three Great Lights which shine their eternal light and wisdom upon the Master to help him govern the lodge should never be in shadow, not even for a millisecond, during the processes of an initiation or degree work.

Brethren do not take a seat in the East without an invitation... even if all other seats are full.

Why? While all Brethren within a tiled room are equal to one another, and the officers are servants of the brethren, all lodge officers have worked and studied long and hard for their lodge.

It is, therefore, the Master’s prerogative to recognize this devotion and their loyalty by inviting distinguished visitors or a special member whom the Master wishes to honor to sit with him in the East. In other words, if you were in church, synagogue or mosque and the pews were full, would you go up and sit beside the Pastor, Rabbi or Imam (Muslim Priest)?

Brethren do not enter their Lodge room either without their apron nor while putting on that apron…not even the tying of its strings.

Why? In respect to the formalities of their Lodge, officers expect that the Brethren will have the courtesy to enter it fully dressed and ready for the labor.They should not have to wait for a member to be fully "dressed", even just tying or adjusting their apron, to salute that member. It is expected that you will be properly and entirely dressed when you pass by the Tiler and enter your lodge room.

No man sits while speaking in the lodge room, no matter if he addresses an officer or another brother.
All lodge activity is based on each man in the lodge as being a servant of the Brethren. This includes the Worshipful Master and his officers.While the man, himself, who has been elected Worshipful Master does not gain any special honor, personally, as the Worshipful Master, it is to the Worshipful Master as the Master of the Lodge that a member stands to address.It is simply a form of respect and no different than attending a shareholder’s meeting or a City Council meeting.

It is expected that if you wish to address the audience, you will stand so all may see who is speaking.


"Side" talk while a degree is being conferred is considered bad manners.
Why? Talking without asking to do so shows irreverence for the proceedings. God’s house is not for social conversation within the lodge room. It is for worship and learning the lesson of the day which is being taught.Unless you have requested of the Master to speak, silence is the rule. This also means no whispering.
HOW? If you have something of interest to say, raise your hand. When the Master recognizes you, you must stand up, and be recognized by the Master to speak. To address the brethren, you should say: “Worshipful Master, Right Worshipfuls, Worshipfuls, Wardens and Brethren”.

If the Most Worshipful Master is in attendance, you should say: “Worshipful Master, Most Worshipful, Right Worshipfuls, Worshipfuls, Wardens and Brethren".


If you wish to offer a predetermined motion or matter for discussion, advise the Master beforehand.

Why? Advising the Master before the meeting that you intend to bring up a specific motion or a matter for discussion is an important courtesy.You may, indeed, do it without advising him in advance, but the Master may have plans of his own for that meeting, for which your proposed motion or discussion may not easily fit into the allotted time frame.As a courtesy to him, his work, and his dedication to the members, it is best to ask him privately, beforehand, if he will be able to recognize you to speak your purpose. This saves "face" for both of you.You will not publicly be refused and he will not have to seem disagreeable or arrogant in his refusal of your motion. If you wish to speak, (see number 6.), above.

You must immediately obey the gavel.

Why? Failure to immediately obey the gavel is a GRAVE DISCOURTESY and VERY poor Masonic Etiquette.The Master is all powerful in the lodge and his word is final.

He can put or refuse to put any motion.He can rule any brother out of order on any subject at any time.He can say what he will, and what he will not, permit to be discussed.Brethren who think him unfair, arbitrary, unjust, or acting illegally have redress.The Grand Lodge can be appealed to on any such matter. However, in the lodge, the Master’s gavel denotes his emblem of authority, is supreme.When a brother is rapped down, he should obey at once, without any further discussion. It is VERY bad manners to do otherwise. In fact, it is perilously close to the line between bad manners and a Masonic offense.Masonic etiquette decries anyone who does not obey the gavel.

Never turn one’s back on the Master to address the lodge without first receiving permission from the Master to speak.

Why? Any debates that are in motion must be conducted using proper Masonic etiquette. One always stands to order when addressing the chair.

Customs differ in various jurisdictions as to the method of salute, however some salute should always be given when addressing the Master.
Two brethren, both on their feet, simultaneously arguing a motion, who are facing each other and ignoring the Master is unacceptable.

Some lodges (not all) offer salutes to the Master. Each of the brethren will salute the Master when they enter and when they leave their Masonic Mother lodge room or any other Masonic lodge room.Some lodges offer salutes to the Senior Warden.

Why? The Masonic etiquette of saluting the Master is your renewed pledge of fealty and service. It is your public display of decorum before all other brothers of your obligation.It shows your courteous respect for all that the Master stands for and shows that you acknowledge his authority. Salutes should reflect your heart-felt respect for all that for which he stands.The salute to the Master is your pledge of honor and service, your publicly shown obligation. A lazy, sloppy or improper salute is to be Masonically impolite and, thus, to exhibit poor Masonic etiquette.


Do not enter or leave the lodge room during a ballot.

Why? It is discourteous to leave the lodge room during a speech, during a degree, etc. There are several natural periods, such as at the end of one section and before the next begins, or when the Master puts the lodge at ease until the sound of the gavel. Then, and only then, you may leave the lodge without being considered rude.It is Masonic Etiquette that all brethren are expected to vote when requested to do so.Failure to cast your ballot not only results in your failure to share in your duties, but is in direct disobedience of the Master’s request.

When an issue is put to a vote, all brethren should vote.

Why? A brother who does not vote is discourteous because he skews the ballot. He becomes the weak link in a strong chain.No matter what the reason of his non-vote, he injures the lodge’s ballot, its value and its secrecy. Failure to vote can injure a lodge’s feeling of brotherhood, and by that injury, can injure the Masonic fraternity.No matter what reason you may privately hold about voting, it is poor Masonic Etiquette to fail to vote when requested to do so by the Master.


No smoking in the lodge room.

Why? While there are lodges who allow smoking during the business meeting (and you must be guided by the customs of your Mother Lodge), the ceremonies you take part in and watch are solemn occasions.In most lodge rooms, it is considered VERY disrespectful to smoke while the ceremonies are taking place. Smoking may take place in other parts of your building or outside and during refreshment.


It is good Masonic Etiquette to accept a request made in the name of the lodge if it is within your abilities.

Why? A lodge is a working "beehive of industry". A request made of you from your lodge acknowledges that the lodge trusts you to competently fulfill such a request based upon your knowledge.


Lodge customs state that no one except for the Worshipful Master or his prearranged designee, may correct any mistake that may occur during the course of a Ceremony, and even he does so only when the error is a serious one.

Why? It is discourteous to point out others mistakes in front of the lodge brethren. If you are in possession of a mind which allows you to be able to perform each and every degree and ceremony, perfectly, please advise the Worshipful Master of such that he may take advantage of your services to mentor others.

Why? Good posture is necessary while within the Lodge room. Lounging, leaning and slovenly attitudes should be avoided.

Poor posture is considered poor Masonic etiquette.

Why? The great lessons of Masonry, which are taught by our ritual, should never be demeaned by levity or pranks.The lodge room is not a proper location for the telling of practical jokes, pranks, horseplay nor off-color stories.

Why? It is common courtesy to be accurate in speaking a brother’s name, so it is proper Masonic etiquette to address officers, members, and visitors by their correct Masonic titles and addresses.

If a brother should enter the Lodge after the opening ceremony is under way, he should go to the Altar to salute the Master.If he must leave before the meeting is over, the correct Masonic etiquette of his departure is that he should salute the Presiding Master at the Altar before he departs.The salute should always be given properly and not in a careless or perfunctory manner.


Freemasonry is worldwide and holds no sectarian views. Non-sectarian means not sectioned into one, specific religion. Freemasonry embraces all religions.A Mason may choose the religion of his choice in his private life but should be aware and open to the fact that others among the brethren do not necessarily share nor were they brought up with the religious dogmas and beliefs that you, personally, embrace.

Prayers at lodge functions should be scrupulously in keeping with Masonic teachings. The Masonic Etiquette of offered prayers is that they should never be an expression of specific sectarian views or dogmatic creeds.It is a matter of courtesy that all prayers, speeches and discussions at Masonic affairs avoid sectarian, controversial or political tones.Prayers are best directed to the Creator, the Master Architect of the Universe and not toward specific religious teachings such as Jesus Christ, Mother Mary, Muhammad, Jehovah, Allah etc.To do so omits the religions of others within the brethren, which can cause conflict and therefore not be harmonious to the whole.In the spirit of non-sectarianism, we must remember that since the day that our Creator found that Man created the Tower of Babel to glorify themselves; it is HE who changed man's language into the many diverse languages now spoken on Earth.In so doing, our Creator has many names across the world. 

All cell phones should be turned off before entering the lodge room so as not to disrupt the proceedings.