Is 2b1ask1 Working?

2b1ask1, joining freemasonry

The mechanism behind the aphorism simply implying that if someone wants to be a mason, they need to ask one. Short, simple, and to the point.

The phrase encompasses the admonition that no Mason will (or can) ask someone to join or become one, because then the decision to join is solemn one—a turning point if you will. From existing in the profane world and a desire to enter into the company of like-minded individuals in pursuit of moral excellence, a theme I explore in the book The Apprentice. 

2b1ask1 is a mantra familiar to every mason today. But does it work?

So, to join those in pursuit of that moral excellence, you have to ask for admission.

This website, itself, saying of 2b1ask1, that: 

This process is as old as the fraternity itself and ensures that the individual seeking the degrees is doing so of his desire and will.

But is that the right interpretation of the 2 be one—ask one mantra? Should it be used in a way to necessitate those interested in the fraternity too, literally, have to ask to be one?

Or, should 2b1ask1 (alternatively written 2be1ask1 or tobeoneaskone) be interpreted as a slogan illuminating the process of how to become a mason, but NOT a barrier of admission necessitating the potential member to know beforehand.

In writing this, I went looking through a grand lodge constitution, but couldn’t find anything that implicitly said that the only way to become a member was to ask someone who already was one. In a more roundabout way, it implied the prospective member need fill out an application and then undergo the requisite investigation. It was in this process that it seemed to me that 2b1ask1 idea found resonance by ensuring the investigation went smoothly and avoided any hiccups causing the applicant apprentice from failing out of the process or receiving a cube in the vote.


So then, is the probation of having to ASK a Freemason to become a Freemason really a tradition from time immemorial?

Or is it a process to ensure the vetting process of admission be a near guarantee of entry—for a variety of reasons, all of which were mostly positive but to a degree (pardon the pun) the most beneficial to all involved on every level.

With that in mind, is the 2b1ask1 mantra working?

To assume someone would know to ask is a leap. The fact of necessitating it requires the asker knows in the first place their task. This would seem to be a barrier to entry without a large marketing campaign behind it telling prospective members “…Hey, you have to ask to join.” Maybe looked at in another way, it should be said: “Call us, we won’t call you.”

What would be the cumulative net value of flipping the script on this? Rather than necessitating a public who might not know anything about the fraternity to have to ask about it, approach it from the other way and work on a referral basis. Almost like an affiliate or feeder pipeline. You refer a friend, and they refer one, and so on… Yes, this would fly in the face of tradition to an extent, but wouldn’t solve the pipeline issue facing American Masonry today?

Morality Question

If people don’t know about something, they can’t join in. Think about this same concept in other terms.

Would you NOT invite people to come to your church? What about joining another social group you may belong to A club outing, a fantasy football league, a seminar on some social or political issue. Certainly, these are not necessarily on par with joining a Masonic lodge, but they still involve group participation with individuals you trust and hold in esteem. 

What is it that Freemasonry demands to morally obligate people to have to ask to be part of?

Imagine how different things would be if the onus of asking was on the other foot.

Imagine how different things would be if instead of relying on others to ask to join, the fraternity instead turned outward and asked those it believed in amity with the ideals to join its ranks. 

Maybe the idea of requiring outsides to ask has been the root cause all along for the decline in membership. 

What do you think?

Freemason Tim Bryce.

The Perils of Negativity

Learn to avoid the whiners.

over coming negativity, finding optimism, anger, old days

Like many of you, I belong to several civic and industrial nonprofit organizations. I always find it amusing to see the elders of such organizations criticize the current slate of officers. Inevitably, you hear, “That’s not how we did things in my day.” They then go on to berate the officers on their performance. Well, sometimes they’re right, but most of the time they are wrong. Dead wrong. If left unchecked, their negativity can consume an organization like a plague of locusts, to the point where the officers get frustrated and ultimately do nothing.

I can’t remember ever attending a nonprofit group where everybody was happy with everything and everybody. In fact, I think its a myth. If such an organization exists, I sure would like to see it. These nonprofit organizations are typically run by well meaning people with some time on their hands; and let us not forget it is a VOLUNTEER type of organization. Rarely, if ever, are the officers paid for their services. True, people will make mistakes and need guidance, but not at the price of having their name besmirched. As Winston Churchill wisely observed, “Any idiot can see what is wrong with something, but can you see what’s right?”

At a recent meeting of a nonprofit group I belong to, I heard one of the elder’s grouse, “Well, this is a rotten year and next year will be worse.” I looked at him and said, “No, it has been a good year and next year will be better.” I reminded him that the group had plenty of money in the bank and membership was on the rise. This caught him off guard and he recognized that I had the right attitude; that the glass was half-full, not half-empty.

No, the officers of such groups will not always be perfect, but then again, Who is? Its up to the group overall to pull things together, not just one or two officers.

The problem with negativity is that it can become infectious, and in the process, quite damaging. Fortunately, so can optimism, and people tend to gravitate to the positive as opposed to the negative.

For those who insist on whining about everything, I say, “Get over it.” I learned a long time ago in business not to complain unless I was prepared to suggest an alternative. However, to bitch simply for the sake of bitching is counterproductive and disrupts the harmony of such groups. If I have any suggestion in this regard, I would ask the members of such groups to turn something negative into something positive.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Freemason Tim Bryce.

What is Fair?

Is fairness in the eye of the beholder?

Good question. This is something we all demand but I don’t think we really know what fair is; to illustrate:

  • In this country we have established an extensive system of jurisprudence involving lawyers, judges, juries, appeals, etc. Yet, when a decision is finally reached, we claim it wasn’t fair. Case in point, the Casey Anthony jury decision. America felt she literally got away with murder.
  • In sports, we trust the officials will be fair in regulating the game, but we become unglued when we find an official tampering with the rules. When I coached Little League baseball, I would resent umpires who called balls and strikes one way for a team and different for the other. I didn’t realize the strike zone could change so significantly between innings.
  • The news media outlets tout themselves as fair and impartial, but I don’t know anyone who honestly believes it.
  • In the work place, we hope our bosses and coworkers will treat us fairly in our working relationships, and feel dejected when we find ourselves on the losing end of a political maneuver. All we want is a fair and even playing field to compete on. Rarely do we get it.
  • On the highway, we believe everyone should observe the same rules of the road and are aghast when someone flagrantly violates them, while others get stopped for petty moving violations.
  • We want people to pay their fair share of taxes, but argue about how this should be accomplished. Some suggest a flat tax, others want regressive taxation whereby the rich must pay for the poor.
  • We believe countries should treat each other equitably and are outraged when we find a violation of agreements thereby threatening peace or disrupting economics.

Being “fair” is an obsession with a lot of people, but only if it is in their favor. As much as we harangue about fairness, deep down we really don’t want it. Fairness is a human interpretation. It is in the eye of the beholder. What one person considers fair, another will consider just the opposite, even if the law, rule or regulation is documented in writing. It takes an impartial and informed person to determine what is equitable for all of the parties concerned. Unfortunately, it seems people today are easily prejudiced and rely more on gossip and spin as opposed to facts.

Fairness is based on who interprets the rules, usually by the person(s) in power, not by plurality of vote. As the power shifts, our interpretation of fairness shifts. This means our sense of fairness changes over time as perspectives and priorities change. For example, what would be considered “fair” by our nation’s founding fathers is certainly not the same as those in government today. In the early days, it was considered “fair” for land owners to be the only people allowed to vote in elections because they were considered responsible citizens, not shiftless rabble. Naturally, this changed over the years so any Tom, Dick, or Mary can vote regardless how “responsible” they were as citizens. Today, elections are won more by media spin than by the true issues of the day. Yet, we believe this is fair.

Read: Three Types of Masons

Our perception of fairness is based on our moralistic makeup which, obviously, varies based on cultural and religious differences. To illustrate, the morals of a Salvation Army Colonel will be substantially different than an atheist gang-banger from the ‘hood. I cannot imagine any commonality between the two. This is what happens when you live in a heterogeneous society. Japan, on the other hand is more homogenous in nature and as such, shares moral values which leads to consistent interpretations of what is right and wrong. The point is, as morality declines or becomes splintered through incompatible interpretations, it compounds the problem of realizing consistent fairness. The greater the uniformity in morality, the more likely fairness will be consistently applied.

Fairness is often defined by a plurality of vote, be it polls, legislatures, or a jury. It is their perception only, not necessarily what is fair. We have all seen too many votes that led to erroneous results primarily because those in judgment are not properly informed or lack the ability to offer an unbiased verdict.

As the populace becomes more disjointed, we write legislation based on poll numbers or elections, but this does not necessarily mean it is fair, only that it is the perception of the plurality, which may be right, but also could be wrong.

So, whether you are on a ball field, in a classroom, in the workplace, or wherever, you must recognize that absolute fairness is a myth. It is based on the interpretation and whims of the people who interpret the rules. Even if we were to automate decisions by computer, we must remember such rules are programmed by humans with all of their frailties. In other words, the computer will only render a decision as programmed by the human-being.

If you are upset that something is unfair, get over it. King Solomon died thousands of years ago. You win some, you lose some. Put your best foot forward and hope you’ll be treated fairly.

“Forget fair. Our world was not designed to be fair.”
– Tom Hopkins, How to Master the Art of Selling Anything

Also published in The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Managing a Nonprofit Organization

It’s not exactly “rocket science” but some people still don’t know how to do it.

Recently I was adding up the number of Board of Directors I have served on over the years for nonprofit organizations. This includes computer societies, fraternal organizations, homeowner associations, even Little League. The number was over 50 where I have served in some capacity or other, everything from president, to vice president, secretary, division director, finance chairman, publicity and public relations, newsletter editor, webmaster, even historian. In other words, I think I’ve learned a thing or two about nonprofit organizations over the years. One of the first things I learned early on is that unless you manage the nonprofit group, it will manage you.

Running a nonprofit group is not exactly rocket science and is actually pretty simple, but surprisingly few people grasp the basics and end up bungling the organization thereby creating upheaval for its constituents. If you are truly interested in properly managing a nonprofit group, consider these ten principles that have served me well over the years:

Know the rules

Get a copy of the governing docs, read them, and keep them with you. Do not try to hide them. In fact, make them available to your constituents either in paper form or as a download on the computer (such as a PDF file). Got a briefcase dedicated to your group? Keep a copy of the docs in it and, if an electronic version is available, place an icon on your desktop to quickly access it.

Get to know your constituents

How can you expect to adequately serve them if you do not know what their interests are or the group’s priorities as they perceive them? They won’t always be correct, but understand their perceptions and deal with them accordingly. You might want to circulate a survey to get their view on certain subjects, and to solicit their support.


Not only with the other members of the board, but with your constituency as well. Failure to do so only raises suspicions about what you are doing. Newsletters, e-mail blasts, and web pages are invaluable in this regard, particularly the latter where you can post news, governing docs, contact information, meeting minutes, audit reports, correspondence, etc. Simple communications will clear up a lot of the problems you will face as an officer on the board.


Keep good records, regardless if government regulations require it or not. Whether you are maintaining records with pencil and paper or by computer, it is important that accurate records be maintained, particularly about the group’s membership, logs of activities, attendance, finances, minutes, etc. It is not really that complicated to perform; you just need someone who pays attention to detail. Don’t have the manpower to do it yourself? Then hire someone, such as a management company, who can competently keep track of things.

Lead – people like to know where they are headed

If you are in charge of the group, articulate your objectives and prepare a plan to get you there. Also, do not try to micromanage everything. Nonprofit groups are primarily volunteer organizations and the last thing they want is Attila the Hun breathing down their necks. Instead, manage from the bottom-up. Delegate responsibility, empower people, and follow-up. Make sure your people know their responsibilities and are properly trained. Other than that, get out of their way and let them get on with their work.

Add value to your service

People like to think they are getting their money’s worth for paying their dues. In planning your organization’s activities, be creative and imaginative, not stale and repetitive. In other words, beware of falling into a rut. Your biggest obstacle will typically be apathy. If your group’s mission is to do nothing more than meet periodically, make it fun and interesting, make it so people want to come and participate. Try new subjects, new venues, new menus, etc. Even if you are on a tight budget, try to make things professional and first class. Change with the times and never be afraid of failure. You won’t always bat 1.000 but you will certainly hit a few out of the park and score a lot of runs.

Keep an eye on finances

As officers of the Board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to maintain the group’s finances and report on their status. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a well thought-out and itemized budget. Operating without one is simply irresponsible. And when you have a budget, manage according to it; if you don’t have the money allocated, don’t spend it. Obviously, you should also have routine finance reports produced (at least on a monthly basis) showing an opening balance, income, expenses, and a closing balance. Most PC based financial packages can easily do this for you. At the end of the year, perform a review of your finances by an independent party, either a compilation as performed by a CPA or a review by an internal committee. Post the results so the constituency can be assured their money has been properly handled.

Run an effective meeting

Nobody wants to attend an inconsequential meeting. Whether it is a weekly/monthly board meeting or an annual meeting, run it professionally. Print up an agenda in advance and stick to it. Start and end on time and maintain order. Got a gavel? Do not hesitate to use it judiciously. Maintain civility and decorum. Allow people to have their say but know when issues are getting out of hand or sidetracked. And do yourself a favor, get a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order and study it.

Beware of politics

Like it or not, man is a political animal. Politics in a nonprofit group can get uglier than in the corporate world. Some people go on a power trip even in the most trivial of organizations. Try not to lose sight of the fact that this is a volunteer organization and what the mission of the group is. Keep an eye on rumors and confront backstabbers, there is no room for such shenanigans in a nonprofit group. If you are the president, try to maintain an “open door” policy to communicate with your constituents. It is when you close the door that trouble starts to brew. Also, ask yourself the following, “Who serves who?” Does the board serve its constituents, or do the constituents serve the board? If your answer is the latter, then dissent will naturally follow.

Maintain control over your vendors

Try to keep a good relationship with those companies and people who either work for or come in contact with your group, particularly lawyers. Always remember who works for whom. I have seen instances where attorneys have taken over nonprofit groups (at a substantial cost I might add). The role of the lawyer is to only offer advice; he or she doesn’t make the decision, you do (the client). One last note on vendors, make sure you maintain a file of all contracts and correspondence with them. Believe me, you’re going to need it when it comes time to sever relations with them. Keep a paper trail.


un your nonprofit group like a business. Come to think of it, it is a business, at least in the eyes of the State who recognizes you as a legal entity (one that can be penalized and sued). There are those who will naively resist this notion, but like it or not, a nonprofit group is a business. Consider this, what happens when the money runs out?

I mentioned earlier that you might want to hire a management company to perform the administrative detail of your group. To me, this is an admission that the Board is either too lazy or incompetent to perform their duties (or they have more money than they know what to do with). Just remember, it’s not rocket science.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and management consultant in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  He is a member of Dunedin Lodge No. 192 F.& A.M.

For Tim’s columns, see:

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Managing the Future of Freemasonry – An Interview with Dr David West

I spent some time talking with the author of Managing the Future of Freemasonry: The Book of Optimism, Dr. David West, about his work, the past and future of Freemasonry and what is at stake in moving into 21st-century fraternalism. Some of his ideas may surprise you, but when you consider what he says I think you may find some resonance in his ideas in addressing what’s at stake as we move into the new millennium.

Greg Stewart (GS) – Let’s start with who is Dr David West BA PhD

Managing the Future of Freemasonry A Book of Optimism
Managing the Future of Freemasonry A Book of Optimism

David West (DW) – I gained my first degree in Philosophy from the University of Exeter and my Doctorate of and in Philosophy from the University of Leicester. I taught university in England and Canada for several years, publishing in the academic press. My later business career included Ford and Xerox (President’s Award for exceptional service.) I served on several quasi-governmental committees on the future of work, was the special adviser to a Cabinet Minister (a bit like an Under-Secretary of State) and later founded The Working Manager Ltd, creating the core content of its web-based management education process. My books include:

My mother lodge is St Laurence No. 5511, a fast growing lodge which grows by 12% each year and is the subject of two of my books. I am a member of two other Craft lodges and three RA chapters under the English Constitution and am in the process of joining the Mark and the Royal & Select to trace Neville Barker Cryer’s footsteps in The Royal Arch Journey. I served as Grand Registrar of the Masonic Province of Essex and am now Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.

I lecture on such Masonic topics as The cowboy, the devil and the Masonic hoax, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, The King and Raquel Welch, Never be short of candidates again, The law of paradoxical intent and King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. I write for The Square magazine.

I have been married to Jenny, a retired Consultant Clinical Psychologist, for forty-eight years and we have two children, one a lawyer on the side of the angels and the other a professional musician. We live in London, England.

GS – Tell us what’s behind your book, Managing the Future of Freemasonry: The Book of Optimism.

This book is based on the view that the golden years of Freemasonry have passed with the departure of a world never likely to return. We cannot pretend that our membership problem will simply go away. If we are to rescue our order, we must take an objective look at ourselves and understand the society we now face. Our challenge will be to renew our ideals and bring them to the attention of a new audience, one that we as yet know little about. This will require hard work, open-mindedness, creativity and above all leadership. The optimism that runs through this book depends upon our ability to change, knowing that holding on to the past will be the last thing our order does.

I compare our current situation with the years following 1800, a period in which 42% of English lodges were lost. In the earlier 18th century, the ideals of Freemasonry were in keeping with those of our craftsmen and tradesmen brethren. Those ideals were lost during the first part of the industrial revolution and Freemasonry almost died in massive social and economic changes during which the majority of these crafts and trades disappeared. There was no leadership during this vital time for our order and our survival was almost entirely accidental as, eventually, Freemasonry found a new source of membership in the growth of the middle class.

Odd as it may seem, given that the period saw two world wars, little changed in the social and moral life from 1850 to 1950, and the middle class sustained Freemasonry for a hundred years. We assumed that this would go on forever but, during the 1950s, a quite sudden change occurred, one which began the end of the middle class — and which despite promptings, our leadership currently seems content to ignore. Unless we recognize these changes, we will be unable to recognize the opportunities open to us.

This is a book of optimism. I believe that we can achieve a resurgence. More than this, I believe that we can become more relevant to and more important in society than ever before. I examine the absence of common ethical principles in today’s society and argue that this absence makes the moral life near to impossible. I argue that Freemasonry is a moral order, one in which the moral life can be sustained in the face of this new dark age. This is our purpose, our function in society. It is what we are here for. I argue that making the choice to become a Freemason provides a meaning to life, something that many men are looking for and that, in providing this meaning, we shall save ourselves.

There are many implications of this, one of these is that we must cease to listen to the siren voice of [public relations], and make a positive statement of what we are and what we offer. It is clear that the false gods of PR are seeking to change the excellences of our order, and they must be resisted. I describe the form of leadership we require, one that makes the three grand principles the basis of all we do. These principles also turn out to be the principles of effective management. I will not say that it will be easy and I recognize that resistance will be strong. There are many brethren who would see their lodge go dark rather than accept change. Many lodges will go under, but then many always have.

We must take action now, just as we did not take action back in 1830. We cannot rely on luck again.

GS – What, in a nutshell, did Masonry do in the 1830s to make that change? Or was it more of a social change (like the industrial revolution) that preceded the change mid-century?

DW – In the 1830s, there was no leadership in freemasonry capable of recognizing the need for change, let alone make it. Our survival in Europe at least was solely a matter of the serendipitous rise of the middle class.

GS – What inspired this work? What made you put pen to paper?

DW – I have been working up to this book in all my earlier works. I care deeply about Freemasonry but I am equally deeply worried about the emperor’s new clothes. There seems to be very little written in the UK which is anything other than hagiography, even if there is a lot more virility in American writers such as John Bizzack, Richard A. Graeter, Andrew Hammer and Kirk C. White. Reading Rudyard Kipling again, I became convinced that he loved the ideals and ritual of Freemasonry but not its management, which is why he attended lodge so remarkably rarely after he left India. I think we must talk about the management of Freemasonry before it is too late.

GS – Given its subject matter, without giving away all of your ideas, what do you think is behind the drop in numbers?

DW – The social democracy of the 1960s and 1970s seemed to be leading towards a more egalitarian and caring state, but from 1980 such decency was replaced by greed on the one hand and fear of poverty on the other. The establishment showed that it could not be trusted, with the absence of a relationship between pay and performance at the top, continued crime and dishonesty within the finance industry, expenses fiddles and cash-for-access in government, sex crimes among media personalities, racial gang rape, organized pedophilia, hucksterism, ‘clever’ tax schemes, fiddled automotive performance reports, unreliable drug studies, and too many other sins to mention. Life has become harder-edged and uncaring with fewer spiritual values.

Respect for senior management has declined to an all-time low and there is a meanness about life. The focus on money, an outcome of Thatcherism and Reaganomics, is not an environment in which Freemasonry can flourish. Brotherly love, relief and truth do not fit with greed and self-interest. Austerity has meant that the men that we seek to recruit and retain have less time, less money, less energy and less security. Brethren can not commit to regular attendance at lodge because they simply do not know what demands their employers will put on them. These changes go along with other uncertainties in religious belief and the role of the sexes.

GS – Is there any one “silver bullet” that lodges or even individual masons can do, starting today, to change that tide?

DW – As I say in my book, Things to do when you have nothing to do, when faced with a problem, we try to solve it on the basis of our experience. When we fail, we rarely question our experience and thus repeat the same failed attempts. The law of paradoxical intent holds that by doing something different, even the opposite of what we usually do, we will be more likely to succeed; in terms of Masonic recruitment that: Being busy not seeking candidates will actually cause them to appear.

Candidates will come to those energetic lodges that are involved, active and ready for something new — and thus feel good about themselves. People will rarely talk about dull, gray lodges that are doing nothing interesting but they will talk about lodges that are busy, exciting and vibrant. Members who feel good about their lodge will talk to friends, relations and neighbors about it; not overtly to recruit but simply because they are excited about the lodge — and excitement is infectious.

GS – “Being busy not seeking candidates,” what, in your opinion, are some of the things lodges could (or should) be busy doing?
DW – I use the ‘law’ of paradoxical intent. I wrote a whole book on what lodges can do. It is on Amazon. Things to Do When You Have Nothing to Do …: Or How to Find Those Candidates Who Have Been Looking for You All This Time. Just a few of the chapter descriptions include:
  • An entertainment using 18th century exposures of the ritual, featuring Prichard’s‘Masonry Dissected’ and exposing a dreadful cover up. ?- The truth about the words
  • Shock! Horror!The established theory is wrong.? – A White Table?
  • The complete ‘how-to’ with a full script and a discussion of openness.? – Success??
  • The design and use of websites, a caution, being interesting, contacts and how to manage them, getting to know candidates, mentoring recruits.? – Triple!
  • How to initiate three candidates at one meeting in a dramatic but personal way.? – Music for Exposure!

GS – From your perspective, what was the hardest thing about writing this book?

DW – As with all books, deciding what NOT to include.

GS – Any glimpse of what you chose NOT to include?

DW – I very nearly wrote a program for change but realized that it was too detailed. I would have liked to have gone into more detail on middle class values and their development and on change of employment 1799 to 1899. [I] could have gone on forever!

GS – Any plans for future books?

DW – I am currently working on an update of my leadership book, Employee Engagement and the failure of leadership and collecting material for a series of essays for a book to be called Masonic legends and puzzles. The latter keeps interrupting work on the former. I find that books being researched are almost alive; like pets demanding constant attention.

GS – Where can people find you? Any social or traditional websites?

DW – I avoid social media but the website of my mother lodge contains a lot that I agree with and also includes information on our busy lodge.

In doing this interview, Dr. West included the following statement on the craft. He listed it as his Statement for Freemasonry, which reads:

  • Freemasonry is a moral practice. We enable good men to live respected and die regretted.
  • There are periodic intervals in human experience when the moral life comes under attack. Now is such a time, and we must respond.
  • We will become a reservoir of social capital, enabling society to preserve the virtue of trust.
  • We will provide a bastion for the virtues in an amoral world, maintaining a community within which the moral life is lived.
  • In choosing to become a Freemason, a man accepts an obligation to live according to the virtues of the order. Such a choice cannot be made lightly.
  • There is no sense in which a man can say, ‘I want to be a Freemason but not a good one.’
  • To be a good Freemason is to exhibit specific virtues. The most important of these are the three grand principles — brotherly love, relief and truth — and the four cardinal virtues — prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice.

My thanks to Dr. David West for taking the time (and having the patience) for getting this interview out there.

You can read the press release on his books publication here, and you can find Managing the Future of Freemasonry: The Book of Optimism on Amazon.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Bryce’s Masonic Planning Seminar

I first wrote this article for back on March 11th, 2007. We tried it in my own Lodge shortly thereafter with remarkable results. The Craft was able to voice their opinions in a controlled environment, thereby stimulating participation and attendance, and helped officers adjust their plans for the Lodge. I hope you find this as beneficial as we did. This article is also included in my book, The Freethinking Freemason – Collected Masonic Works of Tim Bryce.

Shapeth Up and Geteth thy Act Together.

From time to time I get asked to speak on a variety of subjects pertaining to Freemasonry (my personal favorite is to talk on subjects related to “True Masonry”). I also hear from a lot of frustrated Brothers who want their Lodges to finally address the true problems they are faced with as opposed to passing the buck another year (and to another corps of officers). To this end, I offer the following planning seminar you can implement yourself (after all, I can’t be everywhere). I have used a similar format for business meetings and seminars over the years.

For this type of session, the moderator is more of a facilitator as opposed to preaching his own personal points of view. The intent is to stimulate thought in terms of ways of solving Masonic problems as a collective whole, engage the group and overcome apathy. As such, it is primarily intended for a single Lodge, but could easily be applied to larger groups, such as districts, zones, etc. Chapters of allied and appendant Masonic bodies might also find this applicable as well.

Critical to success is the right venue: this is something that cannot be performed in a couple of minutes, but rather as a special meeting, either at a called communications, or perhaps a special after-breakfast, lunch, or dinner session. Whatever venue you select, the session should be properly promoted in order to get the group dynamics you want. For example, you may want to bill this as a brainstorming workshop, a Lodge conference, a think tank, or whatever to attract both the workers and the casual sideliners of the Lodge. Again, this session is geared to force the participants to think and hopefully act.


Ideally, this should be conducted as a roundtable discussion so the participants can see one and other, but a classroom or Lodge room setting will also work. The moderator (facilitator) will be summarizing the results for all to see and, as such, use either a blackboard or flip chart, or perhaps an overhead projector and screen. In addition to the moderator, he will need an assistant to help tabulate the paperwork.

A sign-in sheet is also required, for people to PRINT their names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses. This will become important later on when asking for volunteers. Five small slips of paper (index card size) and pencils should be provided to each participant.

Read: Three Types of Masons

Selecting the moderator is important. Although an elder from the Lodge can perform this duty, perhaps an outside Brother who is unbiased may be more suitable (which is where I come in). I do not recommend a sitting Lodge officer to lead the session as he may influence the outcome; nor do I recommend a sitting Grand Lodge officer, such as a District Deputy/Inspector, as they represent the interests of the Grand Lodge and not the Craft Lodge. Ultimately, the person selected as moderator must be someone the Lodge respects, trusts, and cannot be intimidated or browbeaten.

Now for the actual seminar itself:


As with all great and important undertakings, begin the meeting with a blessing to deity and a pledge to the flag. Such formality sets the tone for the meeting.

The moderator should be introduced by the Worshipful Master, along with an explanation of his Masonic background. The moderator then explains his role as facilitator, not teacher. Basically, the moderator is there to lead the discussion, govern the meeting, and summarize results; nothing more.

Next, the moderator describes the purpose of the seminar which is to collectively brainstorm to find new and imaginative ways to improve the Lodge (with the keyword being “collectively”). Stress the need for participants to express their opinions candidly and openly; all suggestions are welcome and no idea should be considered irrelevant. But it should be made clear to the attendees that this will be the time to express their concerns over the direction of the lodge (time to speak up or shut up). Discourse should be conducted Masonically (respectfully and professionally). It is strongly suggested the moderator govern by gavel. Please keep sidebar discussions to a minimal and, ask attendees to stand up when addressing the group, not to ramble and get to the point.

The seminar is structured in a particular way. Without structure, the meeting could easily get out of control quickly and be counterproductive. Basically, attendees will be given small slips of paper where they will be asked to answer specific questions. Their answers should be brief. Attendees will then share their answers with the group and the moderator will draft a summary answer for each question which the group will vote to accept (majority rule).


Attendees should prepare brief answers to the following questions. Please note, these questions should be asked one at a time (not all at once).

What Does Freemasonry Mean to you on a Personal Level?

This first question is a good icebreaker and the answers may be somewhat startling to attendees.

Typical answers include:

  • Brotherhood
  • Camaraderie
  • Networking
  • Community Service
  • Support Network
  • Education
  • Morality
  • etc.

More than anything, this question is designed to get the attendees to open up a bit and start thinking. It also gives them a framework for answering the remaining questions candidly and honestly.

Have each Brother read his answer aloud and afford him an opportunity to briefly explain himself.

Devise a summary answer the group can agree to on a consensus basis (vote to accept it).

Provide a Brief Definition of What Freemasonry Is

Have each Brother read his answer aloud and afford him an opportunity to briefly explain himself.

Here you will start to see how the Lodge perceives Freemasonry, right or wrong.

You’ll hear answers like:

  • Club
  • Nonprofit group
  • Fraternity
  • Society of friends and Brothers,
  • etc.

As moderator, you are trying to define the Lodge’s focus. Ask attendees to clarify their responses if necessary.

As moderator, allow some dialog here for attendees to articulate their answers. It is important to arrive at a precise definition. This is also useful to clear up some misconceptions about what Freemasonry is (and isn’t). You can also utilize the free ebook What is Freemasonry? to stimulate the discussion.

Devise a summary answer the group can agree to on a consensus basis (vote to accept it).

Provide a Brief Definition of the Purpose of a Masonic Lodge

This is a good follow-up question to the last. Many people take their Lodge for granted and do not think about its purpose. There will be those who feel a Lodge is nothing more than a social venue, others will see it as a meeting place (if so, “What kind of meetings?”), and yet others believe it is intended to propagate the philosophy of the fraternity. In reality, there is no “right” answer. Again, it comes down to the perception of the Lodge.

One clever question the moderator can pose here is, “Suppose you didn’t have this Lodge building; would you still be a Masonic Lodge and, if so, what would your activities include?” This, of course, is intended to get the attendees to think beyond the physical implementation of the Lodge and focus on its purpose.

Devise a summary answer the group can agree to on a consensus basis (vote to accept it).

What are the Three Highest Priorities Facing your lodge Today?

Now that we have defined what Freemasonry and a Masonic Lodge is, we can now concentrate on establishing the top priorities of the Lodge. Inevitably, this will lead to an interesting dialog of the problems of the day, but as moderator, encourage them to think beyond problems but to also consider opportunities. Also, try to differentiate between problems and symptoms. In many cases, people confuse the two. Your intent is to properly define true problems.

Inevitably, you will hear things such as: membership, harmony, politics, finances, maintenance of the Lodge building, Masonic education, administrative concerns, relations with Grand Lodge, etc. In fact, you may develop a long laundry list of problems/opportunities to be addressed. The hard part will be to force the group to agree on the top three priorities.

Devise a summary answer the group can agree to on a consensus basis (vote to accept it).

What Should be Done to Address these Priorities?

After the top three priorities have been established, you are now asking the attendees to devise a strategy to address them. At this point, do not try to solve the problem definitively; by doing so, you may end up wasting a lot of time. Instead, your intention is to simply set the wheels in motion (such as establishing a committee to address the priority). Also, do not put the full burden on the Lodge officers to implement the strategy but, rather, encourage group participation as well.

Devise a summary answer the group can agree to on a consensus basis (vote to accept it).

Who is Willing to Stand Up and Make this Happen?

This final question sounds rather simple but such histrionics are useful for applying peer pressure on the attendees to literally get off of their duffs. Inevitably, all of the attendees will stand in support of the conclusions (after all, they wrote it). But now and then you will find a couple of stick-in-the-muds who refuse to stand. This is rare but in this event, the Lodge officers should meet with the individual separately to determine what problem, if any, the person may have.


Distribute a critique sheet to all attendees at the end of the meeting to evaluate the seminar. Keep it simple and to the point; for example:

  1. What was the MOST VALUABLE part of the seminar?
  2. What was the LEAST VALUABLE part of the seminar?
  3. Grade the Moderator’s performance (1-high to 5-low).
  4. Would you recommend this seminar to other Lodges? (Yes/No)
  5. Other comments and observations.
  6. Provide room for their Name.

The critique sheets should be reviewed by the Moderator and pertinent Lodge officers, particularly the Worshipful Master.

The Moderator’s final task is to write a follow-up report for the Lodge Officers which summarizes the five questions, and allows the Moderator to add any pertinent concluding comments and observations. The answers produced by this seminar may very well be an eye-opener to the Lodge officers who may be operating and leading the Lodge along a different path. This seminar will either reaffirm the Lodge is going in their direction or that a new course should be charted. The officers would be wise to heed the report as it represents the perceptions of the Lodge overall and not just a couple of people. Nonetheless, the Worshipful Master will steer the Lodge as he sees fit. However, should he decide to move the Lodge in a totally different direction, he should recognize he may not have the support and cooperation of the Craft. Following the seminar, the Lodge officers would be well advised to do some soul-searching; should they continue on their current path without the support of the Craft or go in a new direction?

Bottom Line

This seminar is useful for establishing common ground on the problems and opportunities facing the Lodge and how to best address them. As humans, we tend to have different perceptions and interpretations of a problem. Seminars such as this are intended to clearly define the problems in terms all can understand and accept, thereby providing the means for getting everyone to row in the same direction. Further, it sends a message to the Craft that their voice is not irrelevant and that everyone has a role to play. If people believe their voice is heard, they will be more inclined to cooperate and work. As such, apathy is thwarted and teamwork promoted. In other words, we can finally get people “who can best work and best agree.”

Keep the Faith.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company(M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2007, 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

The Need for Checks and Balances in Nonprofits

Particularly in financial management.

In God We TrustIn 2014, a Vancouver Masonic Temple suffered through the embarrassment of an embezzlement of nearly $800,000 by its Treasurer.

The Treasurer belonged to a Building Fund which housed various Masonic Lodges and youth groups. The misappropriation was detected accidentally only when the Temple failed to pay its real estate taxes. Charges were pressed against the Treasurer who was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison, plus ordered to return the stolen money. Unfortunately, the loss of the cash caused the Masons to put the Temple up for sale, and it crippled their charitable activities. The Treasurer got away with it simply by producing falsified Treasurer reports which nobody challenged.

For an institution that is supposed to exemplify morality, such an incident is extremely humiliating.

Unfortunately, Vancouver is not alone as other Masonic institutions in other parts of the world have also suffered such embarrassments over the years. Sadly, the Masons are not alone as other nonprofit groups have also lost funds due to corrupt financial practices. Cases of embezzlement can found in churches, sports clubs (such as youth baseball and football), homeowner associations, and many others. Because such indiscretions are humiliating, and makes for bad public relations, many such incidents are not reported and quietly swept under the rug. Silencing bad publicity is one thing, going without adequate financial resources is quite another.

To overcome such problems, some simple financial controls can be implemented, but few people in nonprofit organizations have the necessary experience, thereby leaving their organizations prone to disaster. Regardless, the officers of any organization have a fiduciary responsibility to their constituents to safeguard the financial resources. Naivete is no excuse for such recklessness. Standard practices should be implemented for discipline and consistency.

First, leaving expenditures and deposits in the hands of one person is dangerous. It is placing total faith in the integrity of one person. Instead, a separate person should initiate the transaction and must bear the person’s signature, thereby formally acknowledging the action. Let’s suppose you use an outside bookkeeping firm to manage your company’s finances; you would want to have such a system in place whereby you, the owner, trigger the payment of expenses and depositing income, not the bookkeeper. So, why not within a nonprofit organization? Even if you direct the bookkeeper to autopay routine expenditures, such as power and water, you should be cognizant of the expense before authorizing payment.

The two person system would ultimately require two separate procedures; the initiator should write and sign some form of voucher ordering the payment of an expense, or the amount of money to be deposited. Each transaction, whether it is a credit or a debit, should be recorded in some form of ledger, be it on paper or in the computer. The second person, presumably the Treasurer, receives the orders from the initiator and acts upon them accordingly using pertinent bank forms or software. The one common denominator between the two people is the Chart of Accounts specifying the different types of income and expense accounts. By using the same Chart of Accounts, the initiator’s books should match those of the Treasurer. The Chart of Accounts can also be tied to the budget, another important report that should be routinely monitored by a third party.

Needless to say, the two sets of books should be managed separately, not by one person. Periodically, the two people should compare the finances and make sure they are synchronized, such as monthly or quarterly. At minimum, the two must be reconciled by the end of the year. This is very much akin to double-entry bookkeeping which was developed by the merchants of Venice in 1200 A.D. and involves separate journal entries. Regardless of its age, it is still a viable technique for managing finances.

This may all sound slightly bureaucratic, but what is the alternative? Vancouver?

Today, there is a push to automate financial management as much as possible. However, do not overlook the power of paper, for two reasons: first, it provides a handy audit trail if something goes awry, and; second, it provides the means to recreate either set of books should some form of disaster occur. I also cannot over emphasize the need for signatures. This one simple act could have helped thwart Vancouver’s humiliation.

If you use computer financial software, and I recommend you do, you should back up the files any time a transaction is recorded. Why so often? Ask yourself, can you afford to forget one transaction?

In summary, Vancouver and other nonprofit embezzlements could have been prevented by:

  1. Establishing a two party system; one to initiate transactions, and one to execute accordingly.
  2. Preparing paper copies of financial transactions and reports to be used as an audit trail and provide a means to recreate reports in case of catastrophe.
  3. Financial reports should be periodically reconciled, preferably monthly.
  4. Backup computer software routinely.

Last but certainly not least, a review of financial resources should be performed at least once a year by a third party, preferably a committee. Such a review examines the procedures people follow when handling money, and checks the financial data using ledgers, bank statements, etc.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ask Vancouver; they learned it the hard way.

Keep the Faith!


“The Necessity of Lodge Audits” – Nov 6, 2009

“Establishing a Chart of Accounts” – Dec 1, 2006

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

The Age Old Question: Is Freemasonry A Religion?

Is Freemasonry a Religion?

Yes, Freemasonry Is Religion, And Is Incompatible With Some Christian Beliefs. Here’s Why.

I’ve been a Freemason for only about four years, but I’ve already done a lot of changing in my views. One view I used to have, which I think most first years have is that Freemasonry and Christianity are totally compatible.

Oh the many internet arguments we enter, arguing “no, we don’t have a problem with Catholics, but the Catholic Church has a problem with us,” and “Evangelical Christianity is perfectly compatible with Freemasonry.” These kind of skirmishes happen all the time. And then there’s the biggest trope in all of Masondom: Freemasonry is not a religion.

This is all, of course, entirely from our point of view. We are an open, welcoming, tolerant fraternity, and we search for the connections that bind each other together, and not the dividers that keep us apart. Tolerance is a cornerstone of freemasonry, so it’s naturally abhorrent to us to be dragged into any argument that certain sects should be excluded. And I think this is entirely true, but that is from my point of view; the point of view of a guy who thinks he’s totally right.

In all fairness, though, whether freemasonry is compatible with certain religions isn’t only up to us. Many practitioners of those religions make great points. I’ve even got some favorites.

Freemasonry distracts you from God, taking time away from your family, and your worship, and that is Satan’s work.

There are certainly men who have utterly lost themselves in Freemasonry, and it hurts their families. One only knows what it does to the man’s personal relationship with his creator. But then the same thing is easily said about any activity. People lose themselves in hobbies when they seek distractions. I’ve even seen people lose themselves in their church; so focused on the inner workings, the politics, jazzing up the service, being on the lighting committee, etc, and they eventually wonder where God went in all is this. This is not a problem with freemasonry. It’s a problem with people, and one freemasonry actually attempts to remedy in its earliest instruction to new brethren. We come right out and say: divide your time correctly, keeping time for God, family, work, etc. And that freemasonry never comes first. Ever.

Read: Freemasonry, The Religion of Not Being a Religion

The things you do in lodge are things you should be doing in church.

Well, woulda, coulda, shoulda. And feel free to, if you like. Nothing says you can’t flip hotcakes for your lodge on Saturday and waffles for your church on Sunday. And nothing says you can’t focus on being a better man in lodge and in church. A little double coverage never hurt anyone.

The teachings don’t contradict, and should you find a contradiction, masonry insists you side with the obligations to God, family, and to yourself before you ever consider your lodge.

Masons seek light, but the Bible tells us that Jesus is the light and the way.

Right, but in freemasonry, spoiler alert, the light is the Volume of Sacred Law, which, if you’re a Christian, is the Bible. It will be sitting there, open, on the altar. And I’m personally not a Christian, but I’m pretty sure Jesus is in there. Somewhere in the back, I believe.

Now, that’s all well and good, but these are not things I can dictate. If you, as a Christian, or are of some other faith, and you don’t find these explanations convincing, that just fine. I would say that you are in the minority of your faith, but that you have a point of view, and you have legitimate practical concerns about freemasonry. Compatibility is, I suppose, a matter of educated opinion. I would not say your faith is incompatible with freemasonry.


There are some views that are completely incompatible with freemasonry. I will let the Christians argue among themselves whether these views are legitimately Christian, but there is some grist we just won’t grind.

If you have a problem with the tolerance off freemasonry, then there’s a legitimate problem here. I got into a discussion recently with a Christian whose argument against freemasonry was that his religion taught him he was not to pray with those who practice idolatry, but run from them. In a nutshell, because masons come from all different faiths, but will pray together in lodge, a good Christian can’t be a part of that.

This never happens.

Now I’ve heard probably the most common Christian argument against Freemasonry, mainly given by Catholics; there is one true way to Heaven and that is by accepting Jesus; Masonry essentially teaches that your goodness can get you to Heaven; ergo Masonry is incompatible with Christianity. I could answer that by saying that Masonry doesn’t propose any particular way to get anywhere, and that even if that were the case, one needn’t accept such a premise to join or participate in a lodge. But this prayer thing is something that I’ve never, ever run into before.

I asked this gentleman if he would apply the same standard to a non-denominational public prayer, like at a graduation commencement or some kind of national moment of prayer after a disaster. He would. And…my brain just broke a bit. I realized, not for the first time in my life, that some people–perfectly nice people–are just completely different. And not just in a “same goals but different paths” way. Just. Completely. Different.

Read: The Christianization of Freemasonry

Obviously there are only a relative minority of Christians with this notion. But I do, basically, get the idea. I see how the thought can be derived from scripture. It’s a Christian belief, though not a widely held one. And it’s not a belief I’d assign only to Christians. Many faiths have an extremely orthodox element that is utterly intolerant of certain ideas. For instance, the idea that regardless of what gets you into Heaven, and your religion may have very specific requirements, God still wants you to be a good, peaceful, generous person. That’s the kind of wild idea that some religious practitioners reject out of hand.

I really don’t think you can be a freemason and not think that.

If you believe you should run from people practicing different faiths, rather than stand with them as you each pray to Deity for peace and harmony, then no, I really don’t think that is compatible with freemasonry.

Worse yet, I don’t think that’s compatible with the American Way, because much like the masons, America is founded on the idea of tolerance, and from many–one. If this is a closely-held belief you espouse, then you have to admit to yourself that America, in its very founding principles, is doing it wrong.

Religion is a lot of things to a lot of people, and I’m not going to define it for you, but it’s certainly easy to see why so many non-freemasons see it as a religion. There is an awful lot of crossover, here. Masonry doesn’t tell you what god to pray to, it doesn’t teach you how to get to Heaven, but it does teach you that being a good, honest, just person is morally and spiritually valuable, and it does teach you how to be that. And that altar in the middle of the lodge room floor is the Altar of God. And I’m hardly the only mason who has said this. There’s a beautiful passage in a Masonic play, A Rose Upon the Altar.

Freemasonry, my brother, is, truly, not religion. But it is religion–religion in its truest, purest sense. We don’t worship a God here–we worship the Great Architect. We have His word for it–inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it to me. At this Altar…good men and true worship their Creator. At this Altar the sore distressed find comfort. Around this Altar glows the Shekinah, the heavenly light from Him to whom it is erected, for those who have eyes to see. The Divine Presence is here! This Altar is as much a holy of holies as a church. If you want comfort, kneel here and ask for it. If you want aid, here you shall find it. Here is the Book in which the promise is made…come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…This Altar is God’s.

Multi Faith Prayer Room

And there it is. I mean, argue if you want. You don’t have to agree. You may even be right. I’m sure I’ll get flack from masons and Christians alike. A Masonic lodge is no substitute for your church or house of worship, and I’d never claim it is. But neither is in, nor any of these, an adequate substitute for the world God has made, or the people he put in it, and religion exists everywhere among us. And it can be practiced everywhere.

And yes, some religious practices just don’t mix.



I wish more young Masons would put their thoughts on paper. It is vital to us all, especially Freemasons, to know the thoughts and contemplations of those who will follow us.

In today’s article Brother Gallagher seems a bit torn between Masonry as a religion and Masonry as not a religion. That is totally understandable given the history of the Craft and the practice of Freemasonry since the formation of this great nation.

Freemasonry’s biggest problem is that it is so tolerant that it will allow Brothers to remake and transform the Fraternity into the mores and customs of their particular region. That’s how you end up with the Grand Master of Florida expelling two Brothers for not being Christians.

Dr. Fels in the video is equally confused as he tries to walk a tightrope whereby everybody is right and nobody is wrong.

So let us start by looking back at the formation of modern speculative Freemasonry.

Anderson wrote in his Book of Constitutions in 1723:

A Mason is obliged by his Tenure, to obey the Moral Law, and if he rightly understand the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves, that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatsoever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished.

The key phrase here is “that religion in which all men agree.” What Anderson is saying here is that Freemasonry agrees with and accepts the tenets that all religions have in common. So it is the tenets that all religions have in common that Freemasonry adopts but not the specific paths of practicing them. This is what Dr. Fels misses.

Freemasonry has:

  • No specific Holy Book
  • No sacraments
  • No ordained clergy
  • No definition of Deity
  • No dogma, no creed – that is no ideological doctrine
  • No means to salvation

The problem enters as to the question of Freemasonry as a religion because there are many religious people in Freemasonry. The Lodge offers prayers but so does my book club, my household at mealtime and Congress before it convenes. Prayer does not make a group a church. Neither does scriptural lessons.

And because Freemasonry accepts the basic tenets of all religions that does not make us some sort of new super amalgamated religion.

If we look at the most widely accepted definition of Freemasonry we can see where we are going wrong.

Masonry is said to be,

a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.

The key words here are, SYSTEM OF MORALITY. Freemasonry is a system of morality and when it says that it borrows the religion in which all men agree it is saying that it accepts the same morality that is found over and over again in most religions.

Your religion deals with your relationship with God. Freemasonry deals with your relationship with your fellow human beings.

It is more than coincidental that those who declare that Freemasonry is a religion are those who are not Freemasons. They say they know more about the Craft than those of us who practice Freemasonry.

Once you remove the argument that Freemasonry is a religion and convince those that are criticizing it from a religious viewpoint that it is merely a society then you remove all possibility of a religious objection to it. If Freemasonry is not a religion than it cannot be criticized as one. And that stops the bitter resentment and ridiculous attacks on the Craft. Well not quite. You still have to prove that Freemasonry does not want to take over the world.

Truth be known, Freemasonry makes no ruling about religion. FREEMASONRY MAKES NO RULING ABOUT RELIGION. It’s not for any sectarian religions and it is not against any sectarian religions. FREEMASONRY IS NEUTRAL. It makes no religious rulings nor declares any means to salvation. FREEMASONRY IS NEUTRAL. It is a society of friends devoted to the Brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God.

As one site put it:

Freemasonry is kindness in the home; honesty in business; courtesy toward others; dependability in one’s work; compassion for the unfortunate; resistance to evil; help for the weak; concern for good government; support for public education; and above all, a life-practicing reverence for God and love of fellow man.

Does that sound like a religion?

From: Matt Gallagher, July 21, 2014

Who Serves Who?

Probably the best way to differentiate between a commercial enterprise and a nonprofit organization is by asking, “Who serves who?” Whether it is a small business or a major corporation, the commercial enterprise is primarily concerned with serving its customers. In general, such companies will go to great lengths to keep their customers happy in order to promote repeat business and improve cash flow. They are also fully aware their customers have choices, if they are not satisfied with their product or service there is always someone else waiting to take the business away from them. It’s called the “free enterprise system.”

A nonprofit organization is another beast altogether.

In theory, a nonprofit is supposed to provide a service or product for its constituents. Such people are pooled together primarily due to a common interest of some kind, be it a professional trade group, a homeowners association, a sports club, a fraternal/civic organization, a union, etc. Such organizations are usually legal entities operating under the sanctions of a state government and perhaps a parent organization. Normally, nonprofits are administered by a board of directors which include officers serving for a specific term of duty involving various responsibilities, such as a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Committee Chairman, etc. It is not uncommon for people to covet such titles as it looks impressive on a resume and is often used to climb a social ladder. Whereas the intent for the administration of the nonprofit is to serve its constituents, quite often the reverse is implemented whereby the membership is coerced into serving its officers thereby creating a monarchy where one should not exist. As trivial or petty such organizations may appear, there are certain types of people who become drunk with power, probably because they never accomplished anything of substance in their professional lives.

Ideally, in a nonprofit, the officers should be ego-less and ever reminded that such groups are typically volunteer organizations and, as such, are under no obligation to follow orders. True, such groups will undoubtedly have governing documents defining specific duties and responsibilities; regardless, it is a volunteer organization where people participate as it suits them. The last thing a nonprofit needs is a bully or someone exerting his/her will to disrupt the harmony of the group.

Then we come to governmental bodies and agencies, be it at the municipal, county, state, or federal level. Like nonprofits, officers are elected from the constituency and, in theory, they are intended to represent the interests of the citizenry. As government bodies become too massive and complex we tend to become somewhat attached to our officials and less inclined to change them fearing it may hurt the system and services. This, of course, lends itself to the monarchy phenomenon and creates career politicians. If officials are left unchecked, a dictatorship begins to take root representing a genuine threat to freedom and democracy regardless of the institution.

So, what should we do when we find the constituents are serving the officials?

Voting is obviously the first alternative that comes to mind, but people can be rather apathetic and behave like sheep, which officials count on to manage the flock. Brainwashing and information management (aka “spin”) are devices commonly used for such control. Term limits is another alternative, unless it is discovered a one party system has been implemented whereby cronies take turns running an operation for someone else behind the scenes.

Perhaps the best approach though is to privatize government or nonprofit organizations thereby causing administrators to truly work for the people. Such institutions are certainly not new. To illustrate, commercial management companies are proliferating throughout the country to serve homeowner associations (since the officials are too lazy to assume responsibility themselves). Although you have to pay for such service, you can change companies at a moment’s notice. Privatizing government and nonprofit organizations offers one important advantage; since they are run by commercial enterprises, who understand the need for properly serving their customers, we would at least know “who serves who.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


One in an ongoing series I’ve planned to look at. The ideas expressed could probably apply to all walks fo life, from your work place, to the Lodge Room. Each one of us are leaders in one way or another, and these are lessons to help us be better.

In this video Four star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he’s learned about leadership over his decades in the military. Listening, learning, and the shared purpose. He also addresses the possibility of failure.