Bro. Isaiah Coffey, publisher of the blog Kingdom of Conscience, is a 29-year-old Prince Hall Affiliated Mason in Atlanta.
Recently he sent out the email reprinted below to his local lodge brethren. He has asked me to post it here on the Taper, in hopes of getting a large response from Masonic readers here, so that he can "take these results back to my lodge and show the Brethren what a 'world-view-generalized-opinion' others may hold in regards to our fraternity."
Masons who read the Taper are asked here to take some time to read and ponder the questions, and then post your replies in the comment section, or send by private email to me at WidowsSon@BurningTaper.com.
Good day Brethren,
At the end of one of my previous meetings, I had the privilege to speak with our Assistant District Deputy and a Past Master of our lodge about the "subtle" or "drastic" changes that have occurred within our Order over the Level of Time.
As I had stated within the conversation between the two gentlemen, "...as generations and time has passed, the Secretary's desk has went from quill pens and parchment paper to laptops and Word documents."
"Our Tapers have gone from real burning flames to electric orange flames, that have a strange back-alley-late-night-neon-sign flicker."
Times have changed, people have changed, methods have changed, but the message should always remain the same.
Granted, Freemasonry is a personal travel and a means for personal growth, but whatever happened to the collective growth as a whole? Or, did it ever exist at one point in time?
A student of History must go through many lessons and lectures before he becomes rightfully degreed as a Historian. In reward of his countless hours of personal study, he may thus begin his work as an archaeologist. As an archaeologist, he can not excavate a site by himself. In addition to the knowledge gained by his personal studies, he still needs to have a team of experts (nice synonym would be Masters) that will assist him with the dig. Now due to the fact that they are working together, more ground can be covered and more treasures can potentially be found.
A student of the Craft must go through many lessons and lectures before he becomes rightfully degreed as a Mason. In reward of his countless hours of personal study, he may thus begin his work as a Master. As Gnostic archaeologists, we cannot excavate a site by ourselves; we need a team of Masters (nice synonym would be Brothers) that will assist each of us with our prospective digs. As we begin to dig or search together, more texts can be covered and more esoteric knowledge (a Freemason's treasure) that is buried beneath spiritual truths can potentially be found.
I asked the question "Is Freemasonry Recognizable?" because I wonder... how many older Brothers of our Craft may or may not show up to Lodge meetings because Freemasonry of today is not recognizable to them? There are no fraternal excavations at the current moment. What keeps an archaeologist and his team excited and ready to work is simply the hunt for the possibility of treasure. Have all the treasures of Freemasonry been found that only social celebrations of the findings from the past take place?
I'm almost certain that everyone is aware that it is quite evident that a temple needs the Cap-stone just as much as it needs the Corner-stone. The Temple needs the older Brothers just as much as the newer Brothers. The Craft needs Brethren, who are well traveled, to guide and point in the direction the younger Brethren (like myself). Now, whether one takes the path that is less traveled or well traveled will be up to those that were given the direction. The Truth is, both paths have been traveled; those Brethren who are familiar with those paths (whether unpopular or popular) can serve as a trust-worthy guide. These path or paths could equate with Fraternal Knowledge.
I have a few questions that I would like to pose; some questions may pertain to you, while some may not, while there's a chance that you may be able to answer each of the questions respectively. So for the "Older Brothers," "Younger Brothers," or rather all Brethren that have sought the Light of Freemasonry:
1. What has changed (good or bad) in your eyes over the course of time?
2. What do you miss the most about the Craft that doesn't take place anymore?
3. What is your opinion of the Brothers of today as in contrast to those when you were Initiated, Passed and Raised?
4. What did it mean to be a Freemason "back in your day?"
5. What is your perspective on the Fraternity as a whole?
6. Is your perception of the Craft the same as it was when you first were made a Mason?
7. Is Freemasonry what you thought it would be?
A) If it is, what does Freemasonry mean to you?
B) If not, what did you expect Freemasonry to be?
"...for the man who thinks that because he hath been made a Mason, and is called so, and at the same time will willfully neglect to attend his Lodge, he may be assured he will never make a good Mason, nor ought he to be looked upon as a good member of the craft. For if his example was followed, where would be the Lodge...." — Prince Hall, A Charge Delivered To the Brethren of African Lodge, 1792
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