The Ultimate Masonic Lesson

Recently I had the joy of instructing a class of our newly raised Master Masons.

Going over “what’s in the book” is vitally important and we did that. But equally important is to teach what is not in the book, what is not part of the curriculum per se.

peace-dove-and-globe (1)For me that means teaching the new recruits that Freemasonry is a non judgmental, non confrontational, tolerant, peace loving fraternity. That doesn’t mean that we will accept evil, immorality or injustice. What it does mean is that as Masons we need to refrain from criticizing another lifestyle, another culture that is legitimate and acceptable in the eyes of God.

Every Lodge room is a haven of peace where harmony prevails and where no harm should come to any Brother. Nor should any be subjected to racism, slander, cussing, berating or other vulgarities.

As Masons we check our guns at the door. We also check our argumentative attitudes, the chip we may have on our shoulder, the cause du jour we may be promoting and the path of immortality we may believe is the one and only true way.

That does not make us a bland, superficial society, however. We stand firmly by the religion common to all faiths. Freemasonry is not a religion but it does promote and instill in its members those tenets of morality common to all religions without prescribing a particular path. It also stands foursquare for justice. Just looking at the Four Cardinal Virtues – Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice should give anybody an insight into the character of Freemasonry. For this reason we talk about the Universality of Freemasonry.

This is the ideal of Freemasonry. Ideals sometimes get sidetracked. Such has been my criticism of some Southern Mainstream Freemasonry that blackballs African Americans, non Christians and foreign speaking people. Freemasonry was never organized to be an all White, Christian only, Protestant only, English speaking only, born in America society. It is inclusive of all peoples of good character who profess a Faith.

Practiced as it should be, Freemasonry brings together Brothers of different races, religions, creeds, cultures, economic circumstances and political persuasions all under one roof. It brings them together in the pursuit of truth, peace, justice and brotherly love and affection. It’s not what divides us that is important, it’s what we have in common as children of God, a God, however interpreted, who wants us to recognize the fact that we are all one and that in His eyes we are all His children, that is of the utmost importance.

The lessons of the Craft are not complete until we have instilled in each and every Brother that the Lodge is an oasis of peace, that harmony and accord are its modes of operation resulting in a universal society where we are all one.

 

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About Fred Milliken

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and former Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

Comments

  1. I enjoyed this article. I firmly believe that the ideals you refer to are drawing more men to the Craft today. I am observing a new era of open-minded seekers of truth. Keep up the labor of this Great Work. Brothers like you inspire others to grow.

  2. Brother Fred, I do respect and mostly agree with your point of view. However I take issue about your reference to the southern masons. Yes there are those who believe that the craft should be composed of all races. And there are prejudices, There always will be. The key lies in each lodge, not a universal lodge. What should prevail in each lodge is peace and harmony and one of the purposes of the ballot is to keep that peace and harmony in tact I know and you know that each of us has prejudices in many forms not just those base on race or creed or religion. I know masons that would never admit a black in to the lodge room but would defend the same person to their own death or raise funds for them. The real key is to promote peace and harmony and as you so aptly stated Tolerance of each other, I would add one more word to that statement and that would be respect of others. So that is should read our goal is to teach peace, harmony, tolerance and respect of each other.
    There is a real difference between being a racist and having a prejudice. Racism promote hate and anger. Prejudice allow for choice. My father taught me from age one to respect all men who treated me with respect and he taught me color blindness, (which in truth I really am). Yet, there are those among all races to whom I am prejudiced, not because of skin color, but because the their language and actions. There are differences between the races other than skin color as there are differences between men and women. The thinking process are different. That does not mean that those process are bad, or inept, it just means they are different. We should respect those differences and allow that there are many avenues of thought.
    As a young man, I thought my father wrong in much of his thinking but as many young men find as they grow older, my father has wisdom and philosophy. It is my feeling that all forms of real masonry should be recognized by each other. I do not see the inter-mingling of the different types. Each has the freedom to act within their own jurisdiction according to the laws and edicts issued by each body. Those same rules may not apply to all types. Again we should practice toleration.
    Just my thoughts, I speak only from my heart and not as a spokesman for any group or body.
    Regards
    ole Blake.
    PM. Georgia

  3. Brother Blake,

    Your view matches that of a Grand Lodge official a few years back who when I complained to the Grand Lodge that my friend and Brother was appalled at racist jokes being told in a tyled meeting said, …”We are a tolerant society. Racism is just another view and we need to be tolerant of it.”

    Wrong. We are tolerant of everything acceptable to God. We do, however, strongly profess the morality common to all religions. That means we speak out against and will not tolerate wife beating, stealing, murder and racism to name a few.

    There is no justification that can be made to tolerate evil and immorality. Our tolerance as Masons stops at your attempts to legitimize the illegitimate. Justice is one of the four Cardinal virtues.

    Harmony in the Lodge paid for at the price of exclusion of those we either do not agree with or are biased against is not true harmony. Harmony for a Mason comes when he or she can peacefully gather and break bread inside the Lodge with those of diverse opinions, races, wealth and religions – that is those that are legitimate and acceptable in the eyes of God.

    Excluding African Americans in the name of harmony is not acceptable in the eyes of God nor does it conform to the teachings of the Volume of Sacred Law on our Altar. When we talk about harmony we talk about it in the sense of inclusion not exclusion. Eliminating all from the Lodge room who are people whose lifestyle we disagree with or whose culture we do not practice is not the way harmony was supposed to be practiced in Freemasonry. The idea that Freemasonry should just be one sect, one religion, one race for the sake of harmony is a corruption of the teachings of the Craft and is the reason that we have so much divisiveness in US Freemasonry compared to the practice of the Craft elsewhere in the world.

    Your view Brother Blake is what is killing Freemasonry.

  4. Ray Romanowicz says:

    You make an excellent point Brother Fred. Does the same hold true for women? To dig a little deeper into what “is not acceptable in the eyes of God” Where do we find what is and is not acceptable to God? In the VSL? There are many biblical laws which if practiced in todays society would land an individual in jail. Where is the line between an allegoric text and a literal tome to be adhered to? How does one decide which biblical tenets to follow and which to toss aside for convenience?

    Ray Romanowicz
    LDH

  5. Bryan Maloney says:

    If “racism is just another view” that we must be “tolerant” of, then SO IS PEDOPHILIA! If we must tolerate racism, we must tolerate pedophilia to exactly the same extent. If we must tolerate whites-only, English-only, Christian-only, non-Arab-only, etc. lodges, then we must also tolerate pedophile lodges. They are all morally identical.

    In case I have been unclear: Someone who advocates racial, linguistic, or cultural exclusion from Masonry is morally identical to an active pedophile.

  6. Brother Romanowicz,

    Women are a special case. I think women in Freemasonry is the wave of the future just as I think women Priests in the Catholic church are likewise.

    Where do we find out what is acceptable to God? I would say that Freemasonry does that by looking at the tenets and the moral positions of all religions and signing on to those that are common to most all. If 90% of the different religions of the world agree on a moral position then I would say that it is a source and one from which Freemasonry makes a decision.

    There will always be individual decisions that might vary slightly but would not be so different as not to allow a meeting of the minds or at least acception of a slight variation.

    Brother Maloney – GREAT COMMENT!

  7. ronald chasteen says:

    it is not just blacks being blackballed—–whites that are christians—and try doing the right thing—-they are allso—-seams we are destroying our selfs at a fast pace

  8. I believe that exclusions are proper in Masonry when the criteria is based on internal qualities such as behavior or beliefs. Freemasonry is a fraternal order, which by definition is exclusive to men. I wrote more on this topic here: http://nehpetsmai-kaed.blogspot.com/2012/04/exclusions-in-freemasonry.html

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