Posted 09 January 2001 - 01:39 AM
Posted 09 January 2001 - 05:07 AM
Originally posted by Sulamita:
... is it a religious organization?
No. It is more business than religion oriented. But they do talk about a "Heavenly lodge." They do belive in God,through whichever religion it may be manifested.
Posted 10 January 2001 - 02:38 AM
Originally posted by MJ:
No. It is more business than religion oriented. But they do talk about a "Heavenly lodge." They do belive in God,through whichever religion it may be manifested.
But how strong is the religious aspect? Do you know? I have come across conflicting information. Some anti-Masonic web-sites claim that they serve Satan.
Posted 10 January 2001 - 05:17 AM
Originally posted by Sulamita:
But how strong is the religious aspect? Do you know? I have come across conflicting information. Some anti-Masonic web-sites claim that they serve Satan.
They are encouraged to be people of faith, or better to say they select from the faithful - Christian, Muslim, Judaic, whatever. The info in the Web page you mention is nonsense. I have a Mason friend, and he is "good ol'" Armenian Christian.
Masons are people of high moral value, by in large.
Posted 15 February 2001 - 09:26 PM
What's a Mason?
"I think my grandfather was one, but I'm not sure what it means. "
"Yeah, my dad and uncle both used to go to Masonic meetings. I remember Uncle Fred coming by to pick him up. But I don't know where they went or what they did. "
"I think they wear those funny hats. "
"I remember when I went away to college, my father showed me his ring and told me, if I ever needed help, Ishould look for a man with a ring like that and tell him .I was the daughter of a Mason, but he never told me much about it. "
What's a Mason?
That's not a surprising question. Even though Masons (Freemasons) are members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world, and even though almost everyone has a father or grandfather or uncle who was a Mason, many people aren't quite certain just who Masons are.
The answer is simple. A Mason (or Freemason) is a member of a fraternity known as Masonry (or Freemasonry) . A fraternity is a group of men (just as a sorority is a group of women) who join together because:
There are things they want to do in the world.
There are things they want to do "inside their own minds."
They enjoy being together with men they like and respect.
(We'll look at some of these things later.)
What's Masonry ?
Masonry (or Freemasonry) is the oldest fraternity in the world. No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably, it arose from the guilds of stonernasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly, they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
In 1717, Masonry created a forrnal organization in England when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical area. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state. In Canada, there is a Grand Lodge in each province. Local organizations of Masons are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United States.
If Masonry started in Great Britain, how did it get to America?
In a time when travel was by horseback and sailing ship, Masonry spread with amazing speed. By 1731, when Benjamin Franklin joined the fraternity, there were already several lodges in the Colonies, and Masonry spread rapidly as America expanded west. In addition to Franklin, many of the Founding Fathers-men such as George Washington, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, and John Han**** -were Masons. Masons and Masonry played an important part in the Revolutionary War and an even more important part in the Constitutional Convention and the debates surrounding the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Many of those debates were held in Masonic lodges.
What's a lodge?
The word "lodge" means both a group of Masons meeting in some place and the room or building in which they meet. Masonic buildings are also some times called "temples" because much of the symbolism Masonry uses to teach its lessons comes from the bui.lding of King Solomon's Temple in the Holy Land. The term "lodge" itself comes from the structures which the stonemasons built against the sides of the cathedrals during construction. In winter, when building had to stop, they lived in these lodges and worked at carving stone.
While there is some variation in detail from state to state and country to country, lodge rooms today are set up similar to the diagram on the following page.
If you've ever watched C-SPAN's coverage of the House of Commons in London, you'll notice that the layout is about the same. Since Masonry came to America from England, we still use the English floorplan and English titles for the officers. The Worshipful Master of the Lodge sits in the East ("Worshipful" is an English term of respect which means the same thing as "Honorable.") He is called the Master of the lodge for the same reason that the leader of an orchestra is called the "Concert Master." It's simply an older term for "Leader." In other organizations, he would be called "President." The Senior and Junior Wardens are the First and Second Vice-Presidents. The Deacons are messengers and the Stewards have charge of refreshments.
Every lodge has an altar holding a "Volume of the Sacred Law." In the United States and Canada that is almost always a Bible.
What goes on in a lodge?
This is a good place to repeat what we said earlier about why men become Masons:
There are things they want to do in the world.
There are things they want to do "inside their own minds."
They enjoy being together with men they like and respect.
The Lodge is the center of those activities.
Masonry Does Things in the World.
Masonry teaches that each person has a responsibility to make things better in the world. Most individuals won't be the ones to find a cure for cancer, or eliminate poverty, or help create world peace, but every man and woman and child can do something to help others and to make things a little better. Masonry is deeply involved with helping people-it spends more than $ 1 .4 million dollars every day in the United States, just to make life a littie easier. And the great majority of that help goes to people who are not Masons. Some ofthese charities are vast projects, like the Crippled Children's Hospitals and Burns Institutes built by the Shriners. Also, Scottish Rite Masons maintain a nation-wide network of over 100 Childhood Language Disorders Clinics, Centers, and Programs. Each helps children afflicted by such conditions as aphasia, dyslexia, stuttering, and related learning or speech disorders. Some services are less noticeable, like helping a widow pay her electric bill or buying coats and shoes for disadvantaged children. And there's just about anything you can think of in-between. But with projects large or small, the Masons of a lodge try to help make the world a better place. The lodge gives them a way to combine with others to do even more good.
Masonry does things "inside" the individual Mason.
"Grow or die" is a great law of all nature. Most people feel a need for continued growth and development as individuals. They feel they are not as honest or as charitable or as compassionate or as loving or as trusting as they ought to be. Masonry reminds its members over and over again of the importance of these qualities. It lets men associate with other men of honor and integrity who believe that things like honesty and compassion and love and trust are important. In some ways, Masonry is a support gr oup for men who are trying to make the right decisions. It's easier to practice these virtues when you know that those around you think they are important, too, and won't laugh at you. That's a major reason that Masons enjoy being together.
Masons enjoy each other's company.
It's good to spend time with People you can trust completely, and most Masons find that in their lodge. While much of lodge 'activity is spent in works of charity or in lessons in self development, much is also spent in fellowship. Lodges have picnics, camping trips, and many events for the whole family. Sirnply put, a lodge is a place to spend time with friends.
For members only, two basic kinds of meetings take place in a lodge. The most common is a sirnple business meeting. To open and close the meeting, there is a ceremony whose purpose is to remind us of the virtues by which we are supposed to live. Then there is a reading of the minutes; voting on petitions (applications of men who want to join the fraternity); planning for charitable functions, family events, and other lodge activities; and sharing information about members (called "Brothers," as in most f raternities) who are ill or have some sort or need. The other kind of meeting is one in which people join the fraternity one at which the "degrees" are performed.
But every lodge serves more than its own members. Frequently, there are meetings open to the public. Examp1es are Ladies' Nights, "Brother Bring a Friend Nights," public instalations of officers, Cornerstone Laying ceremonies, and other special meetings supporting community events and dealing with topics of local interest.
What's a degree?
A degree is a stage or level of membership. It's also the ceremony by which a man attains that level of membership. There are three, called Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. As you can see, the names are taken from the craft guilds. In the Middle Ages, when a person wanted to join a craft, such as the gold smiths or the carpenters or the stone- masons, he was first apprenticed. As an apprentice, he learned the tools and skills of the trade. When he had proved his skills , he became a "F e11ow of the Craft" (today we would say "Journeyman") , and when he had exceptional ability, he was known as a Master of the Craft.
The degrees are plays in which the candidate participates. Each degree uses symbols to teach, just as plays did in the Middle Ages and as many theatrical productions do today. (We'll talk about symbols a little later.)
The Masonic degrees teach the great lessons of life-the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing that you have a Spiritual nature as well as a physical or animal nature, of the importance of self control, of knowing how to love and be loved, of knowing how to keep confidential what others tell you so that they can "open up" without fear.
Why is Masonry so "secretive"?
It really isn't "secretive," although it sometimes has that reputation. Masons certainly don't make a secret of the fact that they are members of the fraternity. We wear rings, lapel pins and tie tacks with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compasses, the best known of Masonic signs which, logically, recalls the fraternity's roots in stonemasonry. Masonic buildings are clearly marked, and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secret-picnics and other events are even listed in the newspapers, especially in smaller towns. Many lodges have answering machines which give the upcoming lodge activities. But there are some Masonic secrets, and they fall into two categories.
The first are the ways in which a man can identify himself as a Mason-grips and passwords. We keep those private for obvious reasons. It is not at all unknown for unscrupulous people to try to pass themselves off as Masons in order to get assistance under false pretenses.
The second group is harder to describe, but they are the ones Masons usually mean if we talk about "Masonic secrets." They are secrets because they literally can't be talked about, can't be put into words. They are the changes that happen to a man when he really accepts responsibility for his own life and, at the same time, truly decides that his real happiness is in helping others.
It's a wonderful feeling, but it's something you simply can't explain to another person. That's why we sometimes say that Masonic secrets cannot (rather than "may not") be told. Try telling someone exactly what you feel when you see a beautiful sunset, or when you hear music, like the national anthem, which suddenly stirs old memories, and you'll understand what we mean.
"Secret societies" became very popular in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There were literally hundreds of them, and most people belonged to two or three. Many of them were modeled on Masonry and made a great point of having many "secrets." And Masonry got ranked with them. But if Masonry is a secret society, it's the worst-kept secret in town.
Is Masonry a religion?
The answer to that question is simple. No.
We do use ritual in the meetings, and because there is always an altar or table with the Volume of the Sacred Law open if a lodge is meeting, some people have confused Masonry with a religion, but it is not. That does not mean that religion plays no part in Masonry- it plays a very important part. A person who wants to become a Mason must have a belief in God. No atheist can ever become a Mason.
Meetings open with prayer, and a Mason is taught, as one of the frst lessons of Masonry, that one should pray for divine counsel and guidance before starting an important undertaking. But that does not make Masonry a "religion."
Sometimes people confuse Masonry with a religion because we call some Masonic buildings "temples." But we use the word in the same sense that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called the Supreme Court a "Temple of Justice" and because a Masonic lodge is a symbol of the Temple of Solomon. Neither Masonry nor the Supreme Court is a religion just because its members meet in a "temple."
In some ways, the relationship between Masonry and religion is like the relationship between the Parent Teacher Association (the P.T.A.) and education. Members of the P.T.A. believe in the importance of education. They support it. They assert that no man or woman can be a complete and whole individual or live up to his or her full potential without education. They encourage students to stay in school and parents to be involved with the education of their children. They may give scholarships. They encourage their members to get involved with and support their individual schools.
But there are sorne things P.T.A.s do not do. They don't teach. They don't tell people which school to attend. They don't try to tell people what they should study or what their major should be.
In much the same way, Masons believe in the importance of religion. Masonry encourages every Mason to be active in the religion and church of his own choice. Masonry teaches that, without religion, a man is alone and lost, and that without religion, he can never reach his full potential.
But Freemasonry does not tell a person which religion he should practice or how he should practice it. That is between the individual and God. That is the function of his house of worship, not his fraternity. And Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion.
What is a Masonic Bible?
Bibles are popular gifts among Masons, frequently given to a man when he joins the lodge or at other special events. A Masonic Bible is the same book anyone thinks of as a Bible (it's usually the King James translation) with a special page in the front on which to write the name ofthe person who is receiving it and the occasion on which it is given. Sometimes there is a special index or information section which shows the person where in the Bible to find the passages which are quoted in the Masonic ritual.
If Masonry isn't a religion, why does it use ritual?
Many of us may think of religion when we think of ritual, but ritual is used in every aspect of life. It's so much a part of us that we just don't notice it. Ritual simply means that some things are done more or less the same way each time.
Almost all school assemblies, for example, start with the principal or some other of official calling for the attention of the group. Then the group is led in the Pledge of Allegiance. A school choir or the entire group may sing the school song. That's a ritual.
Almost all business meetings of every sort call the group to order, have a reading of the minutes of the last meeting, deal with old business, then with new business. That's a ritual. Most groups use Robert's Rules of Order to conduct a meeting. That's probably the best-known book of ritual in the world. There are social rituals which tell us how to meet people (we shake hands), how to join a conversation (we wait for a pause, and then speak) , how to buy tickets to a concert (we wait in line and don't push in ahead of those who were there first) . There are literally hundreds of examples, and they are all rituals.
Masonry uses a ritual because it's an effective way to teach important ideas-the values we've talked about earlier. And it reminds us where we are, just as the ritual ofa business meeting reminds people where they are and what they are supposed to be doing.
Masonry's ritual is very rich because it is so old. It has developed over centuries to contain some beautiful language and ideas expressed in symbols. But there's nothing unusual in using ritual. All of us do it every day.
Why does Masonry use symbols?
Everyone uses symbols every day, just as we do ritual. We use them because they communicate quickly. When you see a stop sign, you know what it means, even if you can't read the word "stop." The circle and line mean "don't" or "not allowed." In fact, using symbols is probably the oldest way of communication and the oldest way of teaching.
Masonry uses symbols for the same reason. Some form of the "Square and Compasses" is the most widely used and known symbol of Masonry. In one way, this symbol is a kind of trademark for the fraternity, as the "golden arches" are for McDonald's. When you see the Square and Compasses on a building, you know that Masons meet there.
And like all symbols, they have a meaning.
The Square symbolizes things of the earth, and it also symbolizes honor, integrity, truthfulness, and the other ways we should relate to this world and the people in it. The Compasses symbolize things of the spirit, and the importance of a good and well-developed spiritual life, and also the importance of self control-of keeping ourselves within bounds. The G stands for Geometry, the science which the ancients believed most revealed the glory of God and His works in the heavens, and it also stands for God, Who must be at the center ofall our thoughts and of all our efforts.
The meanings of most of the other Masonic symbols are obvious. The gavel teaches the importance of self control and self discip1ine.The hourglass teaches us that time is always passing, and we should not put off important decisions.
So, is Masonry education?
Yes. In a very real sense, education is at the center of Masonry. We have stressed its importance for a very long time. Back in the Middle Ages, schools were held in the lodges of stonemasons. You have to know a lot to build a cathedral-geometry, and structural engineering, and mathematics, just for a start. And that education was not very widely available. All the formal schools and colleges trained people for careers in the church, or in law or medicine. And you had to be a member of the social upper classes to go to those schools. Stonemasons did not come from the aristocracy. And so the lodges had to teach the necessary skills and information. Freemasonry's dedication to education started there.
It has continued. Masons started some of the first public schools in both Europe and America. We supported legislation to make education universal. In the 1800s Masons as a group lobbied for the establishment of state supported education and federal land grant colleges. Today we give millions of dollars in scholarships each year. We encourage our members to give volunteer time to their local schools, buy classroom supplies for teachers, help with literacy programs, and do everything they can to help assure that each person, adult or child, has the best educational opportunities possible.
And Masonry supports continuing education and intellectual growth for its members, insisting that learning more about many things is important for anyone who wants to keep mentally alert and young.
What does Masonry teach?
Masonry teaches some important principles.There's nothing very surprising in the list. Masonry teaches that: Since God is the Creator, all men and women are the children of God. Because of that, all men and women are brothers and sisters, entitled to dignity, respect for their opinions, and consideration of their feelings.
Each person must take responsibility for his/her own life and actions. Neither wealth nor poverty, education nor ignorance, health nor sickness excuses any person from doing the best he or she can do or being the best person possible under the circumstances.
No one has the right to tell another person what he or she must think or believe. Each man and woman has an absolute right to intellectual, spiritual, economic, and political freedom. This is a right given by God, not by man. All tyranny, in every form, is illegitimate.
Each persorn must learn and practice self-control. Each person must make sure his spiritual nature triumphs over his animal nature. Another way to say the same thing is that even when we are tempted to anger, we must not be violent. Even when we are tempted to selfishness, we must be charitable. Even when we want to "write someone off," we must remember that he or she is a human and entitled to our respect. Even when we want to give up, we must go on. Even when we are hated, we must return love, or, at a minimum, we must not hate back. It isn't easy!
Faith must be in the center of our lives. We find that faith in our houses of worship, not in Freemasonry, but Masonry constantly teaches that a person's faith, whatever it may be, is central to a good life.
Each person has a responsibly to be a good Citizen, obeying the law. That doesn't mean we can't try to change things, but change must take place in legal ways.
It is important to work to make this world better for all who live in it. Masonry teaches the importance of doing good, not because it assures a person's entrance into heaven-that's a question for a religion, not a fraternity-but because we have a duty to all other men and women to make their lives as fulfilling as they can be.
Honor and integrity are essential to life. Life, without honor and integrity, is without meaning.
What are the requirements for membership?
The person who wants to join Masonry must be a man (it's a fraternity), sound in body and mind, who believes in God, is at least the minimum age required by Masonry in his state and has a good reputation. (Incidentally, the "sound in body" requirement -which comes from the stonemasons of the Middle ages-doesn't mean that a physically challenged man cannot be a Mason; many are).
Those are the only "formal" requirements. But there are others, not so formal. He should believe in helping others. He should believe there is more to life than pleasure and money. He should be willing to respect the opinions ofothers. And he should want to grow and develop as a human being.
How does a man become a Mason?
Some men are surprised that no one has ever asked them to become a Mason. They may even feel that the Masons in their town don't think they are good enough" to join. But it doesn't work that way.
For hundreds of years, Masons have been forbidden to ask others to join the fraternity. We can talk to friends about Masonry, we can tell them about what Masonry does. We can tell them why we enjoy it. But we can't ask, much less pressure anyone to join.
There's a good reason for that. It isn't that we're trying to be exclusive. But becoming a Mason is a very serious thing. Joining Masonry is making a permanent life commitment to live in certain ways. We've listed most ofthem above-to live with honor and integrity, to be willing to share and care about others, to trust each other, and to place ultunate trust in God. No one should be "talked into" makŁg such a decision.
So, when a man decides he wants to be a Mason, he asks a Mason for a petition or applicatiŁn. He fills it out and gives it to the Mason, and that Mason takes it to the local lodge. The Master of the lodge will appoint a committee to visit with the man and his family, find out a little about him and why he wants to be a Mason, tell him and his family about Masonry and answer their questions. The cornmittee reports to the lodge, and the lodge votes on the petition. if the vote is affrmative-and it usually is-the lodge will contact the man to set the date for the Entered Apprentice Degree. When the person has comp leted all three degrees, he is a Master Mason and a fu11 member of the fraternity.
So, what's a Mason?
A Mason is a man who has decided that he likes to feel good about himself and others. He cares about the future as well as the past, and does what he can, both alone and with others, to make the future good for everyone.
Many men over many generations have answered the question, "What is a Mason?" One of the most eloquent was written by the Reverend Joseph Fort Newton, an internationally honored minister of the first half of the 20th Century.
When is a man a Mason?
When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and courage-which is the root of every virtue.
When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellow man.
When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins-knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds.
When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself
When he loves flowers, can hunt birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child.
When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life.
When star-crowned trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters, subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead.
When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no handseeks his aidwithout response.
When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be.
When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin.
When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope.
When he has kept faith with himself with his fellow man, and with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song glad to live, but not afraid to die!
Such a man hasfound the oniy real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world.
This booklet is produced by The Masonic Information Center (M1C) whose logo is pictured above. The partially completed C, containingthe Masonic Square and Compasses, stands for "Center." The C is incomplete because communication, the Center's mission, is ongoing so long as humankind needs Freemasonry's universal message of Brotherhood, Relief, and Truth.
Those who helped prepare this booklet deserve special thanks. They are: Jim Tresner, Director of Work, Guthrie, Oklahoma; Richard E. Fletcher, Executive Secretary, Masonic information Center/Masonic Service Association; John W. Boettjer, Managing Editor, and Jason A. Naughton, desktop publisher, Scottish Rite Journal.
To obtain additional copies @ $0.25 each (PPD) ; 40% discount in lots of 50 or more copies, plus shipping! handling, contact:
Masonic Information Center
8120 Fenton Street
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785
Tel (301) 588-4010; Fax (301) 608-3457
The Masonic Information Center is a division of 'The Masonic Service Association. The Center was founded in 1993 by a grant from John J. Robinson, well-known author, speaker, and Mason. Its Purpose is to provide information on Freemasonry to Masons and non-Masons alike and to respond to critics of Freemasonry. The Center is directed by a Steering Committee of distinguished Masons geographically representative of the Craft throughout the United States and Canada.
[This message has been edited by MJ (edited February 16, 2001).]
Posted 15 February 2001 - 09:28 PM
By: Bro Charles H. Tupper MPS
This question is often asked by those who are not yet members and by those who have been in lodge for some time. This question is often a difficult one to answer. We know that we enjoy being Masons but do not know how to explain this. I will try to give an overview of why we are masons and what masonry is.
First we need to understand that the number one thing that people want to know about any organization. This is: Whats in it for me? This is one of the things that is always the same in life. No one wants to become involved in something unless they benefit from it. This question must be answered for if we do not know what we want from it, it matters not what it is.
If each of us thinks back to when we petitioned the lodge we will find that there are striking similarities in the reasons that we did so. Some of these are: Many of our male relatives were masons and it was the family thing to do; Many of the men we worked with and associated with were masons. We wanted to fit in with the crowd. People that we admired and respected were masons. We wanted to emulate them and we wanted to belong to the most respected fraternity in the world.
Freemasonry affords men the opportunity to be with others who have the same interests. These men support one another. This applies not only to the activities of the Lodge but also to the activities of daily life. The first degree teaches us that we should promote each others welfare and rejoice in each others prosperity. When brothers meet away from the lodge at an impromptu gathering we see much of this type of activity. The friendliness and genuine feeling we have for one another is evident at these affairs.
Freemasonry is one of the few places that we can gather in confidence that we will leave with all that we arrived with. We do not take advantage if one of our ladies leaves her purse unattended or one of us loses his wallet. They are never bothered. How many places can this occur in todays world? Not very many. We are selective and do not, knowingly, accept any man who would take advantage of others. The teachings of Freemasonry afford the member a better chance to live a happy life with his chosen mate without joining the ranks of the throw away spouse society. We learn how to work through our tough times and make our lives better and more productive.
If disaster should befall us we can turn to our fraternity in confidence that help will be given. If financial aid is needed there are avenues open to the membership that are not available elsewhere. The lodge will help to the best of its ability. If this is not enough there is the King County Masonic Service Bureau. A mason does not have to belong to a lodge that is a member of the Bureau to receive aid from it. If more still is needed, there is the Grand Lodge Charity Fund.
Occasionally one of our widows will need assistance. All she needs to do is call the Secretary of the Lodge and the brothers will do all that they are able to do for her. This affords security for the mates of our departed brothers.
These are some of the things about masons that make them different than members of many other fraternal organizations. These things are good to know but most of these are peripheral to what and who we are.
Freemasonry is a story of life. It carries joy, heartache, failure and triumph. In books one can read its teachings, symbols and ambitions. We do not practice our craft in the dark but rather in the full light of day. We are required to practice the teachings and love we are taught by the lights of our fraternity. No greater thing can be said of the fraternity than that it is an ideal way of life.
No other fraternity offers the lessons contained within our ritual. Every word and act in our ceremonies carries a lesson to each of us. If we will just open our eyes, hearts and ears as we are taught to do by the second degree of Masonry.
We can study Freemasonry for years and each time we think about the things we see and hear we will find new meaning and inspiration. Each time this happens we see more of what Freemasonry is and for what it is intended. Great men have devoted many years to the cause of Freemasonry and when their work is finished they have realized that they have only begun to see the light and that they have only started to uncover the truths contained within our ritual. I do not believe that any man has fully understood all of the lessons that it teaches.
The meaning of being a Mason rests in education and character forming. While it may be accepted as an innermost desire, followed by obligations that makes us members, yet in a larger sense, a man is never a Freemason until he truthfully and loyally lives up to his obligations. He cannot do that until he understands them and begins to learn their scope and meaning.
There is something inherently good about being a mason. Freemasonry has stood through the years with the shining light of its membership as a beacon to the world. The greatness of the fraternity is not due to secret teachings, mysteries or deeds. It is due to the lessons taught to its members by its ritual and the comfort, inspiration and enlightenment brought to all who will study it.
Through this study men learn more about how to live up to the obligations that they have taken when they became members of the Fraternity. They learn to better control their passions, prejudices, angers and tongues. The Freemason is different than most of the people around him for he has the lessons of the Fraternity within him as he walks through life. He truly learns who he is and what he is on this earth for.
Freemasonry offers comfort to those who sorrow, hope for those who despair, counsel for those who err, and joy and contentment to all who genuinely practice it. The philosophies of the fraternity provide a simple but profound solution to the problems of human relationships. It is accepted that it is a way of life to the MM who is interested enough to appraise and value what is his, and his alone because he is a MM. Freemasonry has a solid foundation in unchanging principles. It is an excellent training ground for ethical living and moral behavior. The true masons word is his bond. What he says, he means. He practices fairness and honesty in all his dealings.
There are three kinds of honesty practiced in this world. Cash register honesty, business honesty and personal honesty. The MM makes no distinctions. He only knows one honesty. That is the lesson taught by all religions. Do unto others as you would that they do unto you. This makes the mason different from most people in this world. He is respected and revered by those around him. It matters not whether he is a maintenance worker or the president of the company. The actions are the same.
This is important to the Mason as the world around him has no clear sense of purpose or firm spiritual foundation. To many people, the Masons vision of life is ludicrous. These modern times seem to be seeking the lowest common denominator where the only question people want answered is: What can we get away with? This society is fast going toward self regulation. Self-seeking is becoming increasingly prominent. Allegiance is becoming secondary to the selfish pursuits of the individual. In other words, society is falling apart.
We see around us high unemployment, people who are worried about holding on to their jobs, shrinking buying power, continual warfare in the streets, commercialized sex, drugs being sold in every neighborhood, crimes of every kind are on the rise, rampant consumerism that works on people to buy things they do not need and homeless people are in every major downtown area. We are living in a throw away society where values count for less and less.
We see people more and more who do not think of the dignity and feelings of others. They have forgotten the virtues of temperance and prudence. These virtues can not be legislated but must be practiced for the good order of society. Good men practice them here. Justice seems to take a back seat to rights in our society. Without justice our way of life is doomed also. We must get our society back to the basics that have made this the greatest Country in the history of the planet.
My brothers, if you listen closely you will hear the good men in our society calling out. Masonry, where are you? Freemasonry can help good men to withstand the pressures of our run away society. Freemasonry can help good men to renew the values that are needed to rebuild our society. Freemasonry can help good men to gain the knowledge to make our cities safe again. Freemasonry can help good men to become better men.
Freemasonry teaches that the road to happiness is found in the journey towards perfection of spirit, intellect and soul. Freemasonry teaches men to reach their fullest potential. The Freemason works toward these goals each day of his life. To aid in his journey he studies the book of religion, the history of man, and the philosophy of life. He cares for his family and his church. He puts forth his best efforts for the payment he receives in the workplace. He helps his neighbor and his community and he attends his Lodge so that he may fellowship with others with the same aims and goals.
From the time the Entered Apprentice Mason stands in the northeast corner of the Lodge and is told that he "now stands as a just and upright Mason" he becomes a worker on the building of Freemasonry and a guardian of the foundation stones. As society digs the earth from under the stones of civilization he stands, ever watchful, guarding the foundation of Freemasonry so that the fraternity will always stand tall for what is right and good in the world.
The Freemason is a builder. The building he works on is never finished. With every stone he lays there is another to be shaped and set. We work together as a fraternity to build a strong building. The more men work and learn together, the better the building. We must impress upon the young men of today that this building is in danger of crumbling from age and may collapse without the labor of their hearts and hands. We offer them brotherhood, understanding, help, encouragement and moral support. Unless men are properly influenced and guided by principles there is no hope for a brighter tomorrow. Not for society, not for freedom, not for Democracy and not for Freemasonry
Our fraternity is a bastion of morality. Perhaps the last one outside of the secular churches. We have an advantage over them because we cross all religious boundaries and bring together men of every country, sect and opinion in peace and harmony. We enjoy each other and the families of one another. We have family get togethers to promote the togetherness of our fraternity.
When we were young and going to school, most of us had a circle of friends with whom we did and shared everything. As we grew older and the concerns of the world began to hem us in we became distant from this sharing. Freemasonry affords the opportunity to regain this important part of life. To have friends with whom we can share our innermost secrets without fear of ridicule or reprisal is something that we can not get in most places. We can get it from our brothers for Freemasonry truly regards the whole human race as one family. As we progress through life with our brothers we find that our lives are richer, better and more fulfilling.
When we put all of these things together we arrive at the bottom line. This is the simple explanation that a Mason is a good man who, by the teachings of the Fraternity is working to become a better man and the Fraternity is all the Masons working, one with the other, toward the same goal.
Posted 17 February 2001 - 12:42 AM
Abbott, Robert Sengstacke - Founder/publisher Chicago Defender
Abbott, Sir John J.C. - Prime Minister of Canada 1891-92
Aldrin, Edwin E. - Astronaut
Allen, Richard - Founder/first bishop AME Church
Armstrong, Louis - Jazz Musician
Arnold, General Henry "Hap" - Commander of the Army Air Force
Austin, Stephen F. - Father of Texas
Autry, Gene - Actor
Bach, Jahann Christian - Composer
Baldwin, Henry - Supreme Court Justice
Balfour, Lloyd - Jewelry
Bartholdi, Frederic A. - Designed the Statue of Liberty
Bassie, William "Count" - Orchestra leader/composer
Baylor, Robert E. B. - Founder Baylor University
Beard, Daniel Carter - Founder Boy Scouts
Bell, Lawrence - Bell Aircraft Corp.
Bennett, Viscount R.B. - Prime Minister of Canada 1930-35
Berlin, Irving - Entertainer
Black, Hugo L. - Supreme Court Justice
Blair, Jr., John - Supreme Court Justice
Blatchford, Samuel - Supreme Court Justice
Bolivar, Simon - Warrior-Statesmen in South America. Nation of Bolivia named after him.
Borden, Sir Robert L. - Prime Minister of Canada 1911-1920
Borglum, Gutzon & Lincoln - Father and Son who carved Mt. Rushmore
Borgnine, Ernest - Actor
Bowell, Sir Mackenzie - Prime Minister of Canada 1894-96
Bowie, James - Alamo
Bradley, Omar N. - Military leader
Bradley, Thomas - Mayor of Las Angeles, CA
Brant, Joseph - Chief of the Mohawks 1742 - 1807
BuBois, W.E.B. - Educator/scholar
Buchanan, James - President of the U.S.
Burnett, David G. - 1st President of the Republic of Texas
Burns, Robert - The National Poet of Scotland
Burton, Harold H. - Supreme Court Justice
Byrd, Admiral Richard E. - Flew over North Pole
Byrnes, James F. - Supreme Court Justice
Calvo, Father Francisco - Catholic Priest who started Freemasonry in Costa Rica 1865
Carson, Christopher "Kit" - Frontiersman, scout and explorer
Casanova - Italian Adventurer, writer and entertainer
Catton, John - Supreme Court Justice
Chagrin, Jean Francious - Designer of The Arc De Triomphe in Paris, France
Chrysler, Walter P. - Automotive fame
Churchill, Winston - British Leader
Citroen, Andre - French Engineer and motor car manufacturer
Clark, Roy - Country Western Star
Clark, Thomas C. - Supreme Court Justice
Clark, William - Explorer
Clarke, John H. - Supreme Court Justice
Clemens, Samuel L. - Mark Twain - writer
Cobb, Ty - Baseball Player
Cody, "Buffalo Bill" William - Indian fighter, Wild West Show
Cohan, George M. - Broadway star
Cole, Nat 'King' - Great ballad singer
Collodi, Carlo - Writer of Pinocchio
Colt, Samuel - Firearms inventor
Combs, Earle Bryan - Baseball Hall of Fame
Crockett, David - American Frontiersman and Alamo fame
Cushing, William - Supreme Court Justice
DeMille, Cecil - Actor
Dempsey, Jack - Sports
Desaguliers, John Theophilus - Inventor of the planetarium
Devanter, Willis Van - Supreme Court Justice
Dewey, Thomas - Presidential Candidate
Diefenbaker, John G. - Prime Minister of Canada 1957-63
Dole, Robert - Former Senator from Kansas
Doolittle, General James - Famous Air Force Pilot
Douglas, William O. - Supreme Court Justice
Dow, William H. - Dow Chemical Co.
Doyle, Sir Author Conan - Writer - Sherlock Holmes
Drake, Edwin L - American Pioneer of the Oil industry
Dubois, W.E.B. - Educator/author/historian
Dunant, Jean Henri - Founder of the Red Cross
Edward VII - King of England
Edward VIII - King of England who abdicated the throne in less than 1 year
Ellington, Duke - Composer, Arranger and Stylist
Ellington, Edward K. "Duke" - Orchestra Leader/composer
Ellsworth, Oliver - Supreme Court Justice
Ervin Jr, Samual J. - Headed "Watergate" committee
Evers, Medger Wiley - Civil Rights Leader
Faber, Eberhard - Head of the famous Eberhard Fabor Pencil Company
Fairbanks, Douglas - Silent film actor
Field, Stephen J. - Supreme Court Justice
Fields, W.C. - Actor
Fisher, Geoffrey - Archbishop of Canterbury 1945 - 1961
Fitch, John - Inventor of the Steamboat
Fleming, Sir Alexander - Invented Penicillin
Ford, Gerald R. - President of the U.S.
Ford, Henry - Pioneer Automobile Manufacturer
Forten, James - Abolitionist/manufacturer
Fortune, Timpothy Thomas - Journalist
Franklin, Benjamin - 1 of 13 Masonic signers of Constitution of the U.S.
Fulton, Robert - Inventor of 1st Submarine and Steam powered warship
Gable, Clark - Actor
Garfield, James A. - President of the U.S.
Gatling, Richard J. - Built the "Gatling Gun"
George VI - King of England during W.W. II
Gibbon, Edward - Writer - Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Gilbert, Sir William S. - Was the librettis for "Pirates of Penzance"
Gillett, King C. - Gillett Razor Co.
Glenn, John H. - First American to orbit the earth in a space craft
Godfrey, Arthur - Actor
Goldwater, Barry - Former Senator from Arizona, Presidential Candidate
Grant, Ulysees S. - US Military Leader, President of US
Gray, Harold Lincoln - Creator of "Little Orphan Annie"
Grissom, Virgil - Astronaut
Grock - Swiss Circus Clown
Guillotin, Joseph Ignace - Inventor of the "Guillotin"
Haley, Alex - Author
Hall, Prince - Negro made a Mason in a Military Lodge in Boston (1775), namesake of Prince Hall Freemasonry.
Han****, John - 1of9 Masonic signers of Declaration of Independance
Harding, Warren G. - President of the U.S.
Hardy, Oliver - Actor - Comedian
Harlan, John M. - Supreme Court Justice
Hawkins, Augustus F. - US Congressman from California
Hayden, Josef - Composer
Hedges, Cornelius - "Father" of Yellowstone National Park
Henry, Patrick - Patriot
Henson, Josiah - Inspired the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Herbert, James - "Eubie" Blake, composer/pianist
Hilton, Charles C. - American Hotelier
Hoban, James - Architect for the U.S. Captial
Hoe, Richard M. - Invented the rotory press, revolutinizing newspaper printing
Hoover, J. Edgar - Director of FBI
Hope, Bob - Comedian
Hornsby, Rogers - An original member of the Baseball Hall of Fame
Houdini, Harry - Magician
Houston, Sam - 2nd&4th President of the Republic of Texas
Jackson, Andrew - President of the U.S.
Jackson, Reverend Jesse - Minister
Jackson, Robert H. - Supreme Court Justice
Jenner, Edward - Inventor - Vaccination
Johnson, Andrew - President of the U.S.
Jolson, Al - Fame as the first 'talkinf picture' the Jazz Singer
Jones, Anson - 5th President of the Republic of Texas
Jones, John Paul - Naval Commander
Jones, Melvin - One of the founders of the Lions International
Kemp, Jack - Former Congressman, Quarterback for Buffallo Bills
Key, Francis Scott - Wrote U.S. National Anthem
Khan III, Aga - Statesman
Kipling, Rudyard - Writer
La Guardia, Fiorella H. - La Guardia Airport, Mayor of New York 1930's & 40's
Lafayette, Marquis de - Supporter of Amerian Freedom
Lake, Simon - Built first submarine successfull in open sea.
Lamar, Joseph E. - Supreme Court Justice
Lamar, Mirabeau B. - 3rd President of the Republic of Texas
Land, Frank S. - Founder Order of DeMolay
Leazer, Gary - Investigated Freemasonry for Southern Baptist Convention and later joined Freemasonry
Lewis, Meriwether - Explorer
Lincoln, Elmo - First actor to play Tarzan of the Apes (1918)
Lindbergh, Charles - Aviator
Lipton, Sir Thomas - Founder Lipton Tea Company
Livingston, Robert - Co-Negotiator for purchase of Louisiana Territory
Lloyd, Harold C. - Entertainer
Macadam, John - Invented "blacktop pavement"
MacArthur, General Douglas - Commander of Armed Forces in Philillines
MacDonald, Sir John A. - Prime Minister of Canada 1867-73 & 1878-91
Marshall, George C. - US Military Leader
Marshall, James W. - Discovered Gold at Sutter's Mill California 1848
Marshall, John - Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Court 1801 - 1835
Marshall, Thurgood - Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
Mathews, Stanley - Supreme Court Justice
Mayer, Louis B. - Film producer who merged to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Mayo, Dr. William and Charles - Founded the Mayo Clinic
Maytag, Fredrick - Maytag
McKinley, William - President of the U.S.
Mecherle, George Jacob - Founder, State Farm Insurance
Menninger, Karl A. - Psychiatrist famous for treating mental illness
Mesmer, Franz Anton - practiced Mesmerism which led to Hypnotism
Metcalfe, Ralph H. - Olympic Champion
Michelson, Albert Abraham - Successfully measured the speed of light in 1882
Minton, Sherman - Supreme Court Justice
Mix, Tom - U.S. Marshal turned actor. Stared in over 400 western films
Monroe, James - President of the U.S.
Montgolfier, Jacques Etienne - Co-developer of the first practical hot-air balloon
Moody, William H. - Supreme Court Justice
Morris, Dr. Robert - Poet and Founder of the Order of Eastern Star
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus - Composer
Murphy, Audie - Most decorated American Soldier of WWII.
Naismith, James - Inventor of Basketball
Nelson, Samuel - Supreme Court Justice
New, Harry S. - Postmaster General who established Airmail
Newton, Joseph Fort - Christian Minister
Nunn, Sam - U.S. Senator
Olds, Ransom E. - American automobile pioneer
Otis, James - Famous for "Taxations without Representation is Tyranny"
Palmer, Arnold - Golf Pro
Papst, Charles F. - Coined the term "Athletes Foot"
Paterson, William - Supreme Court Justice
Peale, Norman Vincent - Founder of "Guidepost" and Minister
Peary, Robert E. - First man to reach the North Pole (1909)
Penny, James C. - Retailer
Pershing, John Joseph - Decorated American Soldier
Pike, Zebulon - Pike's Peak named after him
Pitney, Mahlon - Supreme Court Justice
Poinsett, Joel R. - U.S. Minister to Mexico who developed the flower: Poinsettia
Polk, James Knox - President of the U.S.
Pullman, George - Built first sleeping car on train.
Pushkin, Aleksander - Russian Poet
Rangal, Charles B. - U.S. Congressman from New York
Reed, Stanley F. - Supreme Court Justice
Revere, Paul - Famous American
Richards, Michael A. - Actor (Kramer on Seinfeld)
Rickenbacker, Eddie - Great American Air Force Ace
Ridgeway, Matthew - US Military Leader
Ringling Brothers - All 7 brothers and their father were Masons.
Robinson, Sugar Ray - American Boxer
Rogers, Roy - American cowboy and screen star
Rogers, Will - Actor
Roosevelt, Franklin D. - President of the U.S.
Roosevelt, Theodore - President of the U.S.
Rutledge, Wiley B. - Supreme Court Justice
Salten, Felix - Creator of Bambi
Sanders, Bishop Carl J. - United Methodist Church
Sarnoff, David - Father of T.V.
Sax, Antoine Joseph - Invented the Saxophone (1846)
Schoonover, George - Founder of "The Builder"
Scott, Sir Walter - Writer
Sellers, Peter - Actor
Sexson, Mark - Minister & Founder: Intl. Order of Rainbow for Girls
Shakespeare, William - Writer
Sibelius, Jean - Composer (Finland)
Skelton, Red - Entertainer
Smith, John Stafford - Wrote the music that became the US National Anthem.
Sousa, John Philip - Led the U.S. Marine Band from 1880 - 1892
Stanford, Leland - Drove the gold spike linking the intercontinetal railroad & Founded Stanford University
Stewart, Potter - Supreme Court Justice
Still, Andrew T. - American Physician who devised treatment of Osteopathy
Stokes, Carl B. - First Black elected Mayor, Cleveland, Ohio
Stokes, Louis - U.S. Congressman from Ohio
Stratton, Charles "Tom Thumb" - Entertainer
Swayne, Noah H. - Supreme Court Justice
Swift, Johathan - Wrote Gulliver's Travels
Taft, William Howard - President of the U.S.
Teets, John W. - Chairman and Presiden of Dial Corporation
Thomas, Danny - Actor, Entertainer
Thomas, Dave - Founder of Wendys Restaurant
Thomas, Lowell - Brought Lawrence of Arabia to public notice
Thurston, Howard - Last of the great vauderville magicians.
Tillis, Mel - Country Singer
Tirpitz, Alfred Von - German Naval officer responsible for submarine warfare
Todd, Thomas - Supreme Court Justice
Travis, Colonel William B. - Alamo
Trimble, Robert - Supreme Court Justice
Truman, Harry S. - President of the U.S.
Vinson, Frederick M. - Supreme Court Justice
Voltaire - French writer and philosopher
Wadlow, Robert Pershing - Tallest human on record being almost 9 feet tall
Wallace, Governor George C. - Presidential Candidate who was nearly assasinated
Wallace, Lewis - Wrote "Ben Hur"
Warner, Jack - Warner Brothers Fame
Warren, Earl - Supreme Court Justice
Washington, Booker T. - Educator/Founder Tuskagee Institute
Washington, George - President of US, 1st
Wayne, John - Actor
Webb, Matthew - First man to swim the English Channel (1875)
Wesberry, Dr. James P. - Former Exec. Dir./Editor Souther Baptist Publication Sunday
Whiteman, Paul - "King of Jazz"
Wilde, Oscar - Writer
Woodbury, Levi - Supreme Court Justice
Woods, William B. - Supreme Court Justice
Wootton MD, Percy - President American Medical Association (1997- )
Wright, Orville & Wilber - Inventors of flight
Wyler, William - Director of "Ben Hur"
Young, Andrew - Former Mayor of Atlanta
Young, Cy - Cy Young Award
Zanuck, Darryl F. - Co-founder of 20th Century Productions in 1933
Ziegfeld, Florenz - His Ziegfeld's Follies began in 1907
Posted 12 June 2001 - 11:16 AM
Posted 12 June 2001 - 04:05 AM
Have you seen the Simpson's episode where Homer joins a Mason-esque group? Awesome.
There's another thread on the Masons around here somewhere. Check that one out, too.
Posted 12 June 2001 - 06:10 AM
Posted 12 June 2001 - 09:04 PM
NO. IT IS WORSE THAN THAT!
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938) the Father of the “modern” Turkish Republic. Member of “Macedonia resorta et veritas” loge.
Edward Benesh (1884-19480) President of Chekhoslovakia. “Ian Amos Komenski” N1 loge – Prague.
Simon Bolivar, (1783-1830), member and Magister of the loge “Protectora de las vertudes”.
George Washington, (1732-1799) “Fridrihsburg” loge. Member and founding Father of “Alexandria” loge in Virginia. Later renamed “Alexandria-Washington” N22.
Posted 13 June 2001 - 04:18 AM
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Tashnaktsutiun)
Armenian Liberal Democratic Party (Ramgavar)
Armenian Social Democratic Party (Hnchagian).
All of them still carry the symbol of Masonry on their Party Flags.
Also were Masons the absolute Majority of Armenian Intelligentsia of pre-Genocide Istanbul.
The Yahoo Search Engine also indicates that, recently, an Armenian Masonic Lodge has been established in Moscow.
Posted 13 June 2001 - 05:27 PM
i don't know what mason is and don't understand what you are talking about.
please help me here.
Posted 13 June 2001 - 06:27 PM
Originally posted by Harut:
you're kidding, aren't you?
Yes, you can say so. That's who have been at the foundations of the organization.
Posted 13 June 2001 - 06:33 PM
Posted 13 June 2001 - 06:34 PM
Posted 13 June 2001 - 06:46 PM
so you're saying many Armenians are/were mason?
Posted 13 June 2001 - 07:47 PM
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