Fred Milliken,Freemason Information,The Beehive

Is Change A Dirty Masonic Word?

I was coming home from work the other day and listening to the radio when the announcer said that the production of CDs was slowly being stopped. The era of the CD is over. Oh my, I wondered, what am I going to do now? And then I realized that I hadn’t even gotten rid of all of my 8 track tapes yet.

Now I know how my grandfather felt. He was born in 1881 and died in 1980. He once told me that he had seen the advent of what was then every modern invention, from the mass use of the auto, to the radio, to TV, the airplane, the refrigerator, air conditioning and on and on. When he started out his career in his 20’s he was a salesman operating out of a horse and buggy. Before he died he saw a man land on the moon. Now that kind of change can frizzle your brain.

Change is so prevalent today. Our President ran his first campaign on the slogans of HOPE and CHANGE. But it seems, at least to me, that the change that technology is bringing us is moving at a more rapid rate every decade or is that just my imagination? One can purchase the latest in technology and it is outmoded in what seems a flash. My first computer lasted me 10 years, my second only 5 years and my third will be replaced after 3 years.

Here is an idea of what the near future could see.


From the mundane to the extraordinary, it seems every day a new piece of technology is released that promises to revolutionize the way people live. The Mind Lamp from Psyleron uses electron tunneling, a process that measures quantum-scale probabilistic events, to determine what color your mind is thinking about in order to shift the lamp to that color. For people who have trouble texting, the Android application “ThickButtons” anticipates which letters are most likely next when typing a text on a touch screen smart phone, and the program expands those letters to make texting easier. From the co-inventor of Twitter comes Square, an accessory that plugs into your smart phone that allows a mobile merchant to swipe a credit card anywhere they receive cell service.


Thanks to advancements in the field of medicine, the quality and length of human lives continues to improve. Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles have engineered mesoporous silica nanoparticles that successfully increase the percentage of cancer fighting drugs delivered to tumors during chemotherapy. A vaccine developed by Pfizer called CDX-110 causes white blood cells in the body to target and destroy cancer producing cells in the brain. Two studies released in “The New England Journal of Medicine” have proved that the asthma pills Singulair and Accolate work as successfully in preventing asthma symptoms as steroid inhalers. Each of these inventions offer a chance to ease the suffering of individuals afflicted with these conditions.


Recent developments in scientific equipment have allowed scientists to continue uncovering the mysteries of the universe. A half-mile underground in Geneva, Switzerland, is the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator designed to allow physicists to study the smallest known particles. Physicists hope to use the collider to recreate the conditions that existed immediately following the Big Bang. NASA’s Gravity Probe B has confirmed two key predictions related to Einstein’s theory of relativity by measuring the warping of space and time around a gravitational body, and how much a spinning object pulls space and time when rotating.


Researchers from Google have developed a car that drives itself automatically using artificial intelligence software. The car’s on board computer uses video cameras, radar sensors and laser guidance software, along with detailed maps, to navigate roads and traffic. The firefighting vehicle Amatoya has an insulated cabin that can withstand temperatures of more than 600 degrees, and is armed with dual high-powered water cannons that allow the vehicle’s crew to fight fires from within.

Read more: Recent Innovations in Technology at



All this has me wondering of course about Freemasonry. While the world spins on a high speed hi tech mode of constant change, what is Freemasonry doing? Of course I don’t mean the message but the messenger. The tenets and virtues of Freemasonry are timeless as is its ritual. So the question is, are we really keeping up with the times in the deliverance of that message?


Could Freemasonry using technology actually hold a meeting online?

Could it do away with altogether its Lodge building?

Could it streamline itself into having all degrees performed at Grand Lodge, as part of a Grand Lodge session, three times a year for every Lodge in the jurisdiction?

Could its record keeping become 100% digital?

Could all the messages a Lodge or Grand Lodge needs to deliver to its members be done electronically?

Does Freemasonry make efficient use of websites, You Tube and E Readers now?

Does Freemasonry in your jurisdiction use Facebook and Twitter now?

Does your Grand Master, Grand Lodge officers and local Lodge Master text?


What I see now is also the death of the home PC and even the laptop. The younger generation is communicating by texting, reading from E-readers, and connecting to the World Wide Web and everything and anything via smart phones. If Freemasonry desires to connect with the present generation will they be willing to use the tools that this generation uses? And will they be able to communicate the timeless message of Freemasonry in a manner that today’s hi tech youngsters can receive? Or is change really a dirty Masonic word?

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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 Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.


  1. Change aversion is a function of old age. The philosophy of Freemasonry, on the other hand, teaches us that change is actually good and necessary. The transition from rough to perfect ashlar cannot occur in immobility and stagnation.

    Also, we’re so wrapped up in the positive laws that we’ve created to govern this bloated bureaucracy that we’re completely ignoring the natural laws that constitute the sole purpose of this organization. Natural law is the light we’re supposed to seek, but we waste our energy creating trivial rules like how to introduce grand lodge aristocracy.

  2. I think that the proper question is not whether all those innovations you mention COULD be done, but whether they all SHOULD be done.

    I am all for communicating summonses electronically, with hard copies provided at the meeting. There are no Tweets or Facebook pages for Grand Lodge. They do have a website, as does Metropolitan Grand Lodge, and many Lodges (including my own) also have websites.

    I would find meeting online a bit tedious, as I would not be able to sit down with my Brethren for our Festive Board. And performing a degree online would be quite difficult: how could I raise a new MM on the FP of F online? That doesn’t work. And as for performing all degrees at Grand Lodge three times a year, in England and Wales this would be most difficult; even doing them at Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Lodges would be a serious undertaking, with huge logistical difficulties. The personal touch of having your own Lodge Brethren performing the ceremony would be lost.

    As with all tools, online and Internet tools are just that: means to an end. When contemplating their use, we must carefully weigh what these tools do well, and what methods might be better used for other tasks.

  3. If Freemasonry desires to connect with the present generation will they be willing to use the tools that this generation uses?

    Who is this “Freemasonry” guy that you’re talking about? He doesn’t sound like the Freemasonry guy up in my area. Our GL has a Facebook page, plus a very informative website, with links to all of the lodges in the state, plus a state-wide calendar. We have used Skype and other web resources to have meetings, and most of the committees already have a handle on online collaboration. Most lodges offer the choice of paper or emailed trestle boards, and our state publication is available in PDF.

    Still doing degrees the old-fashioned way, though.

  4. My Grand Lodge uses the internet & has a website. My masonic district is online. My Blue Lodge has a website, yahoo group, & Facebook account. Our 3 York Rite Bodies do as well. I can’t speak for all Lodges but I feel we are pretty up to date with our smart phones and other forms of communication. Some guys are tech smart, others are not. My current Master asked to do the chairs one last time a few years ago. He’s doing it again in his 80’s & he is tech smart too. Age seems nothing to do with it. Ritual is the same, as it should be !


  6. We did not “change” when the auto was invented… We did not “change” when the Post Office took over from the Pony express… We did not “Change” when the man stepped onto the moon either… Our ritual of Freemasonry should remain as it is and has been for the last several hundred years… If you want some change, go join the Rotary…!!!

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