“Boy, am I perplexed!” said the young Brother as he sat down on the bench outside of the lodge building. Ferris Thompson, a Past Master who spent most of his time mentoring his younger Brethren was sitting on the bench contently puffing his bent bulldog pipe.
“What has you confused? Not that I’m promising that I can help, but I sure can listen.”
“Well, I just get so frustrated with some of the folks from my church, they really believe all of that stuff about how Freemasonry is evil. It just frustrates me so much because I’m certain that our fraternity has made me a better man.”
“So why are you so upset? If you are happy with Masonry, then damn those who mock it,” Ferris gave a little grin as he took a draw from his pipe. Something about swearing while he gave Masonic advice seemed humorous to him.
“Its just that I know it isn’t evil and I can’t stand them mocking the organization that I love. I tried to show them that we weren’t anything to be worried about, heck I even showed them what idiots those anti-Masonry folks on the Internet are. They just told me that I needed to repent or I’d be condemned.”
“Is that really such a bad option?” Ferris chuckled.
“How can you find this so humorous! This is serious stuff we’re talking about!” The Brother said incredulously. He was quite unnerved and beginning to perspire in the sultry summer evening.
“I apologize for upsetting you, my Brother,” Ferris turned toward his protege and removed his pipe from his mouth in order to initiate a more serious conversation. “Let’s get to the heart of the matter then. Just what did they specifically say to you that makes you so upset?”
“Well, they said that we are not a Christian organization.”
“And we’re not.”
“But, they said we commune with non-believers!”
“Which we do.”
“But…well…they said that we allowed men of other faiths to have their book open upon the altar!”
“And we do.”
“Well…geeze Ferris…are you trying to make me feel better or not?!” The young Brother proceed to mop his forehead with his handkerchief and paced back in forth of Ferris who resumed smoking his pipe.
“Perhaps the real question is whether you believe that Freemasonry is compatible with Christianity or not. I believe it is. I have been a Freemason a long time and a Christian longer. I have never found any reason to believe that Masonry is in conflict with my religion and I enjoy the company of my Brethren from other faiths. When some Christians make statements like those which you have just specified, I think of the story of the four chaplains in World War II. To me, Freemasonry is an organization built upon the very spirit of that story. But it isn’t about what I think, the question is do you believe that your Masonic involvement is compatible with your religion or are you just trying to prove to yourself that it is by arguing with the other members of your congregation?”
The young Brother was silent and sat down on the bench with his hands in his pockets. He stared at the cracks in the concrete. “I guess I don’t know.”
“Well, only you can answer the question which I have just proposed. I might suggest that you forgo attending this evening’s meeting and do a little personal reflection. Perhaps you should meet with your preacher as well. It’s unfortunate that you must deal with this after becoming a Mason, it is best to deal with this problem during the petitioning process, but your personal faith needs to come before the fraternity.”
The young Brother nodded his head. “Goodnight, Ferris. I think that I do need to go home and think a bit.”
Ferris smiled. No matter what decision the young man came to, the fraternity would benefit.
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