Along with my Short Talk Bulletin I recently rescued from my mailbox came with it MIC’s (Masonic Information Center – a part of MSANA) FOCUS, a short communication on whatever is HOT right now in Freemasonry. And what is hot right now, as we all know, is Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.
MIC published a letter Dan Brown sent to the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, on his apology for not been able to speak before them. In that letter was a really important gem.
“In the past few weeks, as you might imagine, I have been repeatedly asked what attracted me to the Masons so strongly as to make it a central point of my new book. My reply is always the same. ‘In a world where men do battle over whose definition of God is most accurate, I cannot adequately express the deep respect and admiration I feel toward an organization in which men of differing faiths are able to break bread together in a bond of brotherhood, friendship and camaraderie.”
While this is something all members of the Craft realize, yet its implication for application on a much wider scale is overlooked. Come imagine with me, play fairy tale – what if all or at least an overwhelming number of people in the world were Freemasons? What effect do you think that would have on world peace?
Dictatorships and totalitarian regimes who do not respect the worth of the individual do not like Freemasonry. Radical Muslims and radical Christians and other radical religionists who portray themselves as the only people on earth “to be saved” and who seek to eradicate other faiths and what they see as corruptions of their own faith, do not like Freemasonry either. Closed minds with agendas cannot accept free associations of differing views. The ability to “live and let live” is lost on those who have the one and only true way which becomes their mission to impose on everybody else for the good of the whole.
Learning how to live in peace and harmony – two very coupled Masonic words – has been something I have been writing on for many years as a Mason because it was Freemasonry that taught me the concept and it was Freemasonry that made me realize how it can be done and it was Freemasonry that showed me how important this is for the world.
In 2005 I wrote a long paper which I delivered in Alberta, Canada titled World Peace Through Brotherhood. In that paper I quoted Brother Joseph E.A. Salem of the Israeli Scottish Rite and his words are worth repeating.
“Too many people believe that peace is a diplomatic maneuvering, a series of talks and shuttle trips between countries, or a pile of documents signed in Paris or on the lawn of the White House, in Washington. Real Peace can only come from the hearts of men.”
“The greatest ideal in the world today is fraternity, not as a mere sentiment, but as a science, a practical philosophy and a way of life. If ever there was a generation eager and willing to try out the philosophy of brotherhood with wisdom and patience, it must be this generation. We have been shown in letters of blood and fire, what hate, envy and greed can do.”
“I believe Freemasonry can do a lot towards building a better world, fit to live in, unstained by blood, undefiled by hatred. This is the challenge to our craft.”
“’Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.’ This is the Commandment to which Freemasonry dedicated itself, to establish brotherhood among men so they can live in peace with each other in this world.”
“The struggle of Freemasonry is the struggle of the human race against tyranny and oppression. From the beginning, Freemasonry has realized that religion, tradition, and habits of life can divide the peoples of the world into hostile camps. Freemasonry takes no part in these quarrels, rather it provides a common meeting ground where all men can meet on the level.”
“Every Masonic lodge is a temple of peace. In it, men of different religions and stations in life meet together, and on its altars, the Sacred Volumes of all faiths are placed. The spirit of harmony and cooperation prevails. The Masonic teachings of equality and fraternity are the only tie that can bind the human family together, and create a world order based on brotherly love and peace.”
After I delivered World Peace Through Brotherhood at one Albertan Lodge, the Worshipful Master came up to me and he said. “Do you know what stood out for me out of that hour long lecture you gave?” And he immediately answered his own question with, “Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of peace.” EVERY MASONIC LODGE IS A TEMPLE OF PEACE. And that is so true. Just as one might check his weapon at the door, every Mason checks his agenda at the door.
And what Salem imparts to us is that peace starts with the heart not with actions of civil servants. And that is where Freemasonry starts right from the very start. Where is a man first made a Mason? In his heart – and he is raised, reborn into a new way of life, one of respect for others, for love for all humankind, for tolerance of different beliefs, styles and cultures and non judgmentalism leading to peace, harmony and accord. This works very well as long as what is given is also received back. And here is where our dream, our fantasy of what would the world be like if every person was a Mason comes into play.
Lest anyone think that I am just substituting one, one and only true way with Freemasonry as the new one and only true way let me say this. Freemasonry is not the one and only true way. It’s not even the only way. But it is the best way I know of right now at this moment. Religious organizations, houses of worship and secular organizations have a role to play also. But the difference is this. While they seek to impart peace through adherence to a certain dogma, creed or agenda Freemasonry does not. Freemasonry’s dogma, creed and agenda is no dogma, no creed, no agenda except generalities of righteousness and nobleness that have been recognized by every religion, every culture, every free government since time immemorial.
Now talk as I may, and talk as the great writers around me may, none of us will have so many ears listening as will those who listen to Dan Brown. His words that he tells us he repeats over and over again, will have a tremendous effect on those who seek to implement worldwide peace and harmony in our time.
Thank you Dan Brown. We are overjoyed that you understand!