Thursday, May 31, 2007

Readers respond: What is Freemasonry?

A couple of days ago I asked "What is Freemasonry?"

I've gotten some interesting responses. My thanks to all who participated in this survey. I hope I didn't leave any one out....

Masonry is maintaining honor by holding to a promise and an obligation.

Masonry is setting particulars aside and accepting all men as brothers who hold to the same promises and obligations. Masonry is offering aid and assistance to people in need, especially to brothers and the families of brothers. Masonry is a set of rituals that encourage the social bonds of brothers and maintain the authenticity of the brotherhood from one generation to the next.

Masonry does not require agreement on a given form or kind of masonry, or a given religion, or politics or race or creed.

— Bro. Geo

A system of instructions and symbols used to imprint ethical principles on an open mind.

A Northern Virginia Fellowcraft

Freemasonry began as a labor union, but turned into a fraternal order when its leaders sought to expand their political clout by admitting members of royalty, government officials, and other men of influence.

In the 1700s and 1800s, leading Masons purchased all sorts of "degrees" and "rites" from con artists who simply made them up as they went along. Eventually, those "rites" evolved into the modern day Scottish and York Rites, Mystic Shrine, Royal Order of Scotland, Allied Masonic Degrees, etc., all of which are really just refined BS.

Modern Masonry is populated primarily by 3 different personality types: (1) its "leaders," who are often little more than schoolyard bullies with few skills and abilities; (2) its "workers," who thanklessly devote their lives to learning and teaching rituals, conferring degrees, and perpetuating the organization; and (3) its "silent majority," who seldom (if ever) attend lodge because they're ashamed that the "secrets" allegedly revealed to them, have entirely escaped their grasp.

Today, Masonry is a cult-like subculture that serves no practical purpose. Those interested in charity, religion, philosophy, or architecture, are best advised to devote their efforts to those subjects specifically. Those who devote their lives to Masonry, gain nothing of real value in return, thereby explaining the institution's present decline. If Masonry actually offered anything of value in today's world, it'd be thriving just like colleges and universities are, but it's really just a grand waste of time.

Good Morning Brother,

Below is my personal definition. I have attached a presentation from some research that I have done.

I am a PM of a Scottish Lodge in South Korea (Han Yang 1048), my Mother Lodge is Nipissing 420 in North Bay, Ontario Canada and I currently reside in Toronto where I am looking for a Lodge worth joining.

Please feel free to post the information or presentation.

S & F, Bro. Kristopher Stevens

Freemasonry is a system for creating Champions

Freemasonry is a system owned by Masons and operated by Masons which attracts and transforms individuals through lifelong reflection, learning and improvement into Champions of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth ensuring a holistic, progressive, cosmopolitan way of life.

The Essence of Freemasonry

Brotherly Love – It is a “Mythical” initiatic tradition to unite all those of honour, virtue, truth and honesty in a fraternal union of diversity for the betterment of humanity.

Relief – It is an organization where Masons and Lodges apply the best humanity and the fraternity has identified and developed, solving problems, righting wrongs and
alleviating burdens of distress while ensuring a holistic, progressive, cosmopolitan way of life.

Truth – It is a life long process of reflection, learning and improvement to identify, acknowledge and address contradictions internally (spiritually, psychologically and physically), in our various communities (ie. Families, fraternities, professions, etc.) and in our relationship with the larger eco-system of which we are all a part.

Christopher Garlington, Kelvyn-Park Willing Lodge 1075

Like a lot of men my age, I knew my grandfather and older uncles were Masons. They wore the rings and occasionally addressed each other as "Brother." In my late teens, I asked my uncle about Masonry and he gave me a brief explanation that left me intrigued. However, as I moved out of the state and into my post high-school years, I let Masonry slide way back into the recesses of my pursuits and forgot about it.

As I grew into manhood, got married, and had kids, my life filled up with a long list of demands on my time and my attention. At the same time, my friends and family began to disappear to the far flung edges of the country -- New York, Nevada, California, and Washington. They couldn't get further away from me. I found myself without that posse I'd grown up with, Then I moved to a new city and found myself as isolated as ever.

Then I remembered Masonry. I contacted a lodge and soon found myself welcomed into a group of men who, like me and like the friends I'd missed for so long, were interested in being better people, in living by a stated code of conduct, in holding themselves and each other to that higher code, and in developing a life of learning and discovery.

These guys all seemed to live vibrant and interesting lives; they told jokes and laughed yet they were equally sober and ardent. Most of all, they were clearly engaged with their lives body, mind, and spirit. I joined because so many men in my family had this same bright engagement with life and I wanted to find out where it came from.

This vibrancy, I believe, comes from the core values of Freemasonry as delivered in the ceremonies via the charges: in each degree we are charged to live by a strict code. It is delivered (one hopes) with vigor and passion at the height of a dramatic ceremony that engages your mind and spirit so that you are open, vulnerable, so that it engraves itself (psychologists would say that it entrains you) on your mind. You find yourself returning to this charge in your life, in your profession, and in your home. That is Freemasonry, the charge, the expectation from a diverse group of sober, highly intelligent, engaged men of your community, to behave according to the strict precepts of this fraternity -- and finding yourself happily doing so.

Masonry is a repository of symbolism and lore from the Western Esoteric Tradition, to which it can function as a gateway. Masonry is also a social club for ignorant old men. Masonry is different things to different men, each receiving as much Light as he is capable of receiving.

I am a regular Mason in Birmingham, Alabama.

Freemasonry is a mens fraternity that operates as a charitable organization and as an amatuer theatre group. The comaraderie which is felt while performing these dramatic plays creates a powerful bond that is often quite satisfying. The lessons in Freemasonry are tolerance, brotherly love, charity and encourages its members to industry, scientific inquiry, and reverence for deity. It is almost entirely harmless to the world at large and almost always improves the individual man who participates.


Bro. Myles Makortoff
Langley Lodge #184
Grand Lodge of BC & Y - Canada

australia, 3rd degree.

freemasonry is the poetry we use to celebrate and help expand upon the lessons we can learn in life until The Great Leveler Of Us All decides our time is up for us.

crow zampano . . .

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