Topic started on 8-11-2010 @ 06:23 AM by TheLoneArcher
Not my words, but I think this sums up the Craft quite nicely.
FREEMASONRY - SECRET OR NOT SECRET
Many people are of the opinion that Masonry is a secret society, but I
hope to dispel this misconception. There is much that may be told to
wife or mother, father or friend - told to the glory and the help of the
Ancient Craft with no violation of the solemn pledge sacredly to keep
secret that which is secret.
It is no secret that he who becomes a Freemason joins an order which
reverences womanhood, which upholds law and constitutional
government, which cares for the widow and the fatherless, which
inculcates the highest moral and religious principles, which fosters
patriotism, which instructs in toleration and obliges conscientiousness
in human relations.
The most careful brother may tell. his wife that in his Lodge the Holy
Bible lies open upon an Altar. The fact is written in a thousand
volumes, and is proclaimed in Masonic books of the law.
The manuals and monitors of many Grand Lodges set forth the prayers
which are uttered in the degrees -- what is printed by a Grand Lodge
cannot in its very nature be a secret from any one. That all Lodges are
opened and closed with prayer -- that every Lodge has a Chaplain -- is
a secret from no one.
It has been well said that Freemasonry is not a secret society, but a
society with secrets. A secret society is one of which only its members
know; a society with secrets may be one of which the world knows
Grand Lodges publish "Proceedings" in which the actions of the Grand
Lodge at annual and special communications are set forth. Many of
these contain the names of every man who is a Freemason. To be
found in Libraries the world over -- these are no more secret
documents than is a telephone or city directory.
There is nothing secret about a man being a Freemason -- he is proud
of the fact and the Fraternity is proud of him.
Freemasonry appears at times in public -- usually to lay a cornerstone,
or to conduct a Masonic funeral. Such ceremonies are performed by
Masons who have met and opened a Lodge; the members wear
Masonic aprons. Yet some men are so over-cautious they do not dare
tell such simple facts as these.
Freemasonry is a charitable, benevolent, educational and religious
society. Its principles are proclaimed as widely as men will hear. Its
only secrets are in methods of recognition and of symbolic instruction.
"But my wife wants to know what we do in Lodge" - someone states.
Tell her what you do in Lodge! You meet and open. The opening is a
ritualistic ceremony in which brethren are reminded of that which is
high and holy in Freemasonry. The chaplain invokes the blessing of
God. Minutes are read, visitors welcomed, matters of business and
charity are discussed, action is taken. The ill are heard from, through
the Committee on the Sick; letters. from absent brethren are read. Is
there anything here, except the words and form of ritualistic
ceremony, that the world may not know?
A degree is conferred. Here, indeed, is secrecy! But the degree is but a
manner of teaching, and if Freemasons desire to keep it to
themselves, it is because those who are not Masons cannot
understand. The instructor of mathematics would gladly teach the
binomial theorem to a kindergarten child, but the child would not know
even the meaning of the words. He must have knowledge before he
can comprehend. So it is with the degree -- it can only be understood
by those who have been taught -- and it is itself that teaching.
The degree over, there follows a social hour, a fraternizing and
fellowship. Then the Lodge is closed, again with a ceremony which is
uplifting and inspiring. Again the blessing of the Most High is asked
and the brethren return to their homes. He is poor of spirit indeed who
takes not with him something of inspiration from this that he has
heard as simple as it is profound.
If there be anywhere a member of the Order who is not a loving
husband and father; who does not give loyalty to his friends and
government; who is not honored of men and reverent before God; who
is not charitable and compassionate in act as well as thought; who is
not honorable before all men; such a one has not abided by that which
Masonry teaches, nor lived up to the obligations he has most solemnly
assumed. And of this there is no secrecy -- Masonry proclaims these
teachings as her own, and any Freemason may tell them to whom he
Freemasonry is meaningless unless we shape those ideals into actual
life and work. Only then will it and our work become real and effective.
The heart of the message of Freemasonry must be in our hearts and
its ideals of brotherhood must be in the living practise of our work and
lives in whatever form it takes.
A true Mason in his work inspires others, understands others, reasons
with others, helps others, appreciates others and yet may even
disagree without being disagreeable.
A true Mason in his work also recognizes others and knows that a
thank you now and then strengthens the bond of goodwill among men.
If a person at his job is to be a moving force he must bring to it a
sincere understanding heart and see each man's need as a challenge
to service and to get the best out of our work or life we must put the
very best into it. The art of true living includes the power of seeing
good in others, in all our fellow men.
To be successful in our work we must remember those basic
fundamentals - tolerance and love.
Masonry may be pushed aside at times for our job, TV, sports, service
clubs, etc., but to be successful in whatever work we do we cannot
push its principles aside, they must be a part of us.
A man is as great as the truth he speaks,
As great as the help he gives,
As great as the destiny he seeks,
As great as the life he lives.
Let's get down to positive facts and positive life, as we can make it.
Rather than waste our energy crying the blues, pointing at problems
and practices which are often cited as sure evidence that the world
and its people are headed for Hell, non-stop -- we would be better off
and more people would listen if we would only Eliminate the Negative
and Accentuate the Positive. If we can keep an open mind and have no
prejudices toward our fellowman, have more tolerance toward his
shortcomings and problems, our outlook on life will improve and
strengthen through sharing and being a part of the community in
which we live. For, as a rule, people are ready and willing to accept us;
the only requirement is that they be given half a chance.
One of our main poor contributors to breakdown in our relations with
others is poor communication. Whenever people fail to express their
feelings meaningfully, the distance between freezes over. It happens
between nations too, unfortunately. When a person neither speaks his
mind or listens carefully to what is said by others, then he is on very
thin ice. The result is usually a horrible death for personality or a
There are times to forget Self and think of others. For instance, the
Bumble Bee is built in a rather interesting fashion. Scientists say that
physically speaking he should not be able to fly. The size and weight of
his body do not provide a positive ratio when compared to the span
and action of his wings. Aerodynamically the Bumble Bee is a Bungle.
Sheer objectivity contends that he should never make it off the ground
- but the Bumble Bee doesn't know that, so he flies anyway.
Many people are so conscious of themselves, so inhibited by their fears
and so dominated by their own shortcomings or the opinion of others,
that they never get off the ground either, not in their personal lives or
in the field of productive living. They may know the facts of life and be
completely familiar with the habits of the birds and bees, but life only
begins there. Hopefully it will not end before what appears to be
impossible has been achieved by transcending personal and physical
failings. Let's not forget that funny old Bumble Bee in our approach to
love and marriage and life in the community.
Every day is a present. How do you open it? Are you excited about
how you will use it? There is nothing much sadder than to hear
someone say, as we often have, "You know I have wasted my life, if
only I could live it over again". Comments like this come from people
over 40, who have taken life pretty much for granted. They have
managed to fill in the time with the usual rounds; eating sleeping and
earning a living. Then suddenly they realize that better than half their
life span has slipped away and they haven't been living at all - just
existing. There is a great deal more to life than this. We have minds
which transcend the body and talents which., when developed, nurture
the soul. Most, I am sure, would agree and say, "Yes, life is more than
existing". Perhaps even those who do little more than exist would
agree. This leads me to believe that there must be still another key to
life. Indeed, there is the conviction that each new day is not just time
to be spent but a treasure to be wisely invested.
TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF OUR LIVES ----
a brand new day for us to enjoy. More days will be coming, but no one
of them will be more important than today. There will never be
another just like it. It is waiting to be filled creatively and joyously with