A Brotherhood without Boundaries by Bro. Jeff Peace
I had the distinct honor and pleasure of sitting with the brothers of Lafayette Lodge No. 89 [in Bethesda, Maryland] of the Grand Orient of France this past weekend, and meeting with many brothers and sisters from around globe. There were a number of different obediences in attendance, all wearing the respective regalia of their orders. I couldn’t help but think about Free-Masonry in much broader terms than I had in the past. In this lodge Free-Masonry existed without any boundaries; all were accepted and equal. The warm spirit of fraternal camaraderie was everywhere apparent.
The Grand Orient of France’s perspective of Free-Masonry is very different from that of the American Grand Lodges to which I was accustomed. They try to be a unifying force within the fraternity by bringing diverse groups of Masons together for the benefit of all Free-Masonry.
In the past I had always felt there was something wrong with labeling other people as “irregular” or “clandestine”, but at the time this concept was purely philosophical and theoretical to me. When you say that someone is “irregular” it is akin to claiming that they are illegitimate or a bastard. “Clandestine” implies that they are working to accomplish something nefarious in secret. There is simply no way to morally justify the use of these egregious and alienating terms when it comes to brothers and sisters of the greater Craft throughout the world. Anyone using these terms to define or describe good and honorable Masons is not themselves worthy of being called a Mason.
It is now clear to me that there is no such thing as the “mainstream” Craft. The idea that the Craft is divided is an illusion created by those who wish to separate and divide Masonry into opposing factions. These are not the actions of people who understand the meaning of tolerance or fraternity, but of those who wish to replace brotherly love with fear and misunderstanding.
There are many groups of Free-Masons throughout the world who share the same goals but have spent years struggling over the nature of the “Landmarks” of the Craft. My brothers and sisters THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS ANCIENT LANDMARKS. Bro. Anderson mentions the existence of “Ancient Landmarks” in his Constitutions of 1723, but he never said what they were. Fighting among ourselves over what some believe to be Ancient Landmarks is a waste of both time and energy. We need to get past this kind of thinking and begin working together for the common good of the Craft and humanity.
I am appealing to all Masons (brothers and sisters alike), and to their respective Grand Lodges, to begin the process of thinking outside the box that we have created around ourselves, and to seek amelioration among all Masons. We must find a way for all Masons to work together while allowing them the freedom to continue with their unique obediences. There is a real need for male lodges, female lodges and mixed gender lodges. People need to have the freedom to work in the ways in which they are most comfortable and confident. One size or shape does not fit all, nor will it ever.
The present path of mutually assured destruction is not in the best interest of Free-Masonry or Free-Masons. It doesn’t have to be this way because we can choose a more positive path of mutual cooperation and assistance that will lead to a new era of Masonic leadership in our communities and the world. We need to have a vision of a brother/sisterhood without boundaries; one where all Masons work together in peace and harmony.
— Bro. Jeff Peace
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