From the Edge,Tim Bryce,Freemasonry,essay

Tim’s “Stand Up for MORALITY” Talk (Video)

Back in 2013, I wrote a book titled, “Stand Up for MORALITY” which discusses the virtues of morality, and how to promote it. This became the basis for a talk on the same subject which I presented on July 17, 2013 at the Dayton Masonic Center in Ohio. The speech was an abbreviated version of my normal talk. Interestingly, the presentation was videotaped and recently brought to my attention.

The session is one hour and twelve minutes in length (1:12) and you can watch it for free by clicking HERE. Although Masons made up the audience, this session is applicable for non-Masons as well (and they’ll learn a little about the Craft in the process).

I hope you find it interesting and worthwhile.

For a description of my book, click HERE.

Keep the Faith!

Evidence of Hidden Meaning in Masonic Ritual

rebisA Sojourners post by W. Bro. Rob Lund.

Albert Pike once wrote: “Freemasonry is the subjugation of the human that is in man, by the Divine; the conquest of the appetites and the passions, by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort, struggle, and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual.” Morals and Dogma, Sublime Prince

I found this definition of Freemasonry to be an appropriate introduction to what I am about to present.

I have always sensed that our ritual had a deeper significance than what appears on the surface. Through my association with other esoteric bodies and their knowledge, I have been able to recognize phrases, analogies, allegories, and symbols from these ancient teachings. Many Masons have either lost sight of, or are not aware of, what our ritual is indicating to us. I have made it my mission to share this discovery with all Masons, and would now like to expose, to you, in the coming chapters, some of the deeper meaning behind the ritual of our degree rituals, in the hope that you will propagate this information to others.

I have come to understand that there are three aspects to our ritual: physical, mental, and spiritual. The first degree is mostly related to the physical; the second degree to the mental (or intellectual), and the third to the spiritual. Also, each degree is built on the one before, so there are three levels: 1st degree – physical also (representing birth), 2nd degree – mental (also representing growth and development), and 3rd degree – spiritual (also representing death).

However, each one of the degree rituals has, within it, those same three levels. The physical relates to the actions and symbols; the mental relates to the moral and intellectual aspects; and the spiritual is what is explained in the following chapters.

First, I must tell you that there is no official view regarding this deeper aspect of our ritual. Grand Lodge cannot provide you with any standard book that contains these explanations (in fact, few Grand Lodge publications refer to the deeper, more esoteric, side of Masonry). Therefore, there are a few different interpretations that you may come across. It doesn’t matter – what matters is what is meaningful to you.

Next, I must put forward some arguments that provide evidence that there is a deeper meaning.

Our ritual tells us that there is. At your initiation, you were announced at the door of the lodge as “a poor candidate, in a state of darkness, humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Freemasonry.” What are these mysteries? Is Freemasonry ancient?

I will remind you that, during the examination before passing to the second degree, you were asked: “What is Freemasonry?” The answer you were to give is: “A beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” Brethren, in this statement are the first clues that there is something that is hidden. Let’s examine this statement further.

A “System of Morality…” – Are the rituals of Masonry there merely for the purpose of teaching morals: Temperance, Prudence, Justice, Charity, and Brotherly Love. Was Masonry instituted to teach these elementary virtues? As you well know, those who are “fit and proper people to be made Masons” must be “Just and upright men …… and strict morals.” So, ask yourself if Masonry was meant to teach morals to those who are already moral?

Veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols…” – “veiled” means “hidden or covered,” and that is another clue. “Allegory” means “a story that has a deeper or more general meaning in addition to its surface meaning,” and that is another clue. A symbol is “something used for or regarded as representing something else,” which is yet another clue.

As you can see, this statement of the definition of Masonry refers to something hidden. This is a clear indication of something deeper hidden in our ritual.

What is it that is veiled? The Junior Warden’s Tracing Board lecture begins,

The usages and customs of Masonry have ever corresponded with those of the Egyptian Philosophers, to which they bear a near affinity. Unwilling to expose their mysteries to vulgar eyes, those philosophers concealed their particular tenets and principles under certain hieroglyphic figures and expressed their notion of government by signs and symbols.

What this is suggesting is that, as in the ancient Egyptian mysteries, something is concealed in our customs.

These points indicate the real secret of Masonry: that our ritual hides deeper, more esoteric, spiritual lessons, based on various ancient mysteries and teachings that have been taught throughout the ages, in different forms, and is still being taught today.

These mysteries are not written or taught within Freemasonry. They are embedded for the use only of those who seek the light, through education, contemplation, understanding, and assimilation. It does not matter what religion, if any, you may follow, as these mysteries apply to all. The candidate, if he is to benefit by the light to which the Craft leads, must be prepared to keep his mind open, and seek those mysteries. They contain information which is of vital importance to us all.

The sources of our Initiation Ceremony, while based, perhaps, on old Operative ceremonies, are a blend of various streams of influence, usually called the Ancient Wisdom or “Secret Doctrine“, which is common to all the Ancient Mysteries and Initiation systems from the dawn of history. These are combined with elements from more recent systems, such as Hermeticism, the Hebrew Qabalah, Rosicrucianism, Muslim Sufism, Christian Mysticism, Buddhism, Theosophy, Anthoposophy, and others, drawing symbols from all of them.

Researching these, and there are many books regarding them, it becomes clear that all these sources have been promoters of the same Mysteries, and that they proclaim the same truths. Many of them also have rituals with layered meanings, and many correspond to our Degrees. Some of the founders of Freemasonry, as we know it today, were Rosicrucians, who are teachers of the ancient wisdom. Having studied their teachings myself, I can clearly see the signposts embedded in our ritual. I encourage you to do your own further research to verify this for yourselves. I will go so far as to say that it will be the most important thing you do in your life.

Rob Lund.

Rob Lund.

Rob Lund is a Past Master of Kilwinning Lodge #565 in Toronto, Canada, where he serves as Secretary. He has served as the Chairman of the Toronto West District Education Committee and on the Grand Lodge of Toronto Committee for Masonic Education. He is also the author of the new book The Hidden Code in Freemasonry: Finding Light through esoteric interpretation of Masonic Ritual, published in 2016.

You can follow Rob on Facebook.

Finding El Dorado

First-time author, Mason Pratt, brings to life a story of personal growth and mentorship. Read about the world’s best kept hidden and protected secrets. A story written as a fiction novel, with underlying truths.

Could it be true that there is a path that would lead a person to an unbelievable richness of growth and self-fulfillment as a member of a truly gifted society? Join Drew as he seeks the answer to this profound question.

Finding El Dorado Book Cover

Don’t we all, or at least most of us, want to see good triumph over evil? Isn’t there an inner self that seeks out the best for the individual and humankind at the same time? The only requirement to activate that which lies deep within us is to listen closely and quietly to where one is being nudged.

Is that God working within? Perhaps in many cases it is. But isn’t it possible that those who dig deep inside themselves can activate forces that the more superficial human cannot fathom?

If you had that little extra power, that higher ability coupled with a higher calling, could you not steer humankind to the preservation and protection of those working to make society a better place to live? At the same time would you not want those who possess such powers to subscribe to a code of virtues, ethics and morality?

And so starts the book Finding El Dorado with an ordinary man named Drew Wyatt who has a burning desire to make a difference in this world we call earth. That goodness which he has brought to the surface from the inner self and displayed publicly is what makes Wyatt attractive to a group called “Strykers.”

The Strykers see in Wyatt a good man that they can make better.

Finding El Dorado Sign of the Order. The triple tau is within a triangle and that is within a circle.

Finding El Dorado Sign of the Order. The triple tau is within a triangle and that is within a circle.

Wyatt tells them:

“I know it sounds a little hokey, but I think we owe a duty to others to make this a better place to live. Especially with the way the world is nowadays. I would like to think I had higher ideals and that my ‘destiny’ is somehow still out there. I do try to help out. I have volunteered at different places, I have given blood at the local Blood Bank and work with a local fraternal group in town working with schools and people down on their luck, but nothing permanent.”

The Strykers explain to Wyatt that:

“The name Stryker is new; we have gone under other names throughout history to stay relatively anonymous. The group goes public for a while every several hundred years or so for reasons I will explain later. However, to answer your question directly, the group has had many names depending on the time of history. We have been called in the last century Ghosts and Spirits when something unexplained happened, in early America we were called Medicine men and Shamans, in the middle ages we were called Magicians, Sorcerers, Wizards and Witches, in ancient countries of Greece, Egypt and Norway we were Seers and Soothsayers, in the ancient Middle East we were Oracles and Prophets, in India and the Far East we were called Genies and Viziers. We have been called Mages, Enchanters, Diviners, Conjurers, and Healers. The list goes on and on.”

“We are convinced that you have what it takes to join our order. You have the empathy to contribute as well as the temperament to control the power and responsibility to help society. Only one in thousand are considered and then only a small portion of them are accepted into the order.” His face suddenly became very serious, as he continued: “BUT…be aware that this group is difficult to join, dangerous to operate in and is a lifetime commitment.”

And that is the beginning of a new life for Drew Wyatt. First he must be interviewed, then initiated and finally he must complete 12 tasks to hone his skills as a Stryker and prove that he understands how to use his new powers correctly and wisely.

It is this story unfolding in which we see the development of an ordinary human being into an extraordinary one. It is a path that leads him to an unbelievable richness of growth and self-fulfillment?

Finding El Dorado Blue Rose

Finding El Dorado Blue Rose

It is also a captivating story that pushes the limits of scientific study and breakthroughs. With the Blue Rose as their symbol Strykers are literally enabled to change the world we live in. They cannot eliminate evil but they can foster and guide the good so that there is order in the world, not anarchy.

While this is a fiction book it is also one with a message. Freemasons will instantly recognize the message that author  Brother Mason Pratt is trying to convey. It is exactly the virtues of Freemasonry that Strykers operate with but unlike Freemasons, Strykers have a mission to be deeply involved in the inner workings of society, to preserve and protect society so that it continues onward and upward on its path.

This work can be a tremendous tool to explain how Freemasons think. For that reason, it is a great gift to those men deemed worthy of Masonic membership. It is very difficult for most Freemasons to explain their Craft. Through the use of fiction intertwined with philosophy and morality Pratt has written a book that will give deep understanding as to the nature of fraternal virtues and callings for all who read it. It is written for the Mason and the non-Mason alike.

As Pratt says about the Stryker movement:

Brother Mason Pratt

Brother Mason Pratt

Their direction is accomplished by forming new leaders using several ancient arts and sciences that move their initiates past the petty struggles of money and power. In this knowledge, Drew discovers a ‘worldwide’ unity of humanity which is held together by these constructive ideals.

I call Finding El Dorado the “Atlas Shrugged” of fraternal societies.

For more information see the Finding El Dorado website:

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If You Truly Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat

“If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.”

I was watching a video by Dennis Prager on happiness recently when it suddenly came to me that this had much significance for my Freemasonry and what the Craft meant to me. Now you might not see any Masonic connection with the video included here. One of the reasons is that we all join Freemasonry for different reasons and we all participate in the aspect of Freemasonry that speaks loudest to us.

Some of us use Freemasonry to network. The connections you make within the Fraternity can do wonders for your business.

Some of us enjoy the camaraderie of Freemasonry and that is what we get out of the Craft. Being close to a circle of buddies is important to human beings who are by nature social animals. It is especially important to those who do not make friends in their other walks of life.

Some of us want to give back to society, to leave something behind that contributed to the well being of humankind. We take part in some of the many charitable works of Freemasonry and the institutions Freemasonry has set up to make life better.

Some of us are seekers of a moral way of life outside of organized religion. The virtues of Freemasonry fill a need for those of us who seek to lead a noble life, to lift our spirits into the next realm and who want to do it here, right now.

Some of us are intrigued by the esoteric side of Freemasonry and desire to pursue Hermetic and Gnostic study. We see a connection from the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome right up into our present time. This knowledge, we believe, will show us a path to a greater way of life.

Many of us pursue more than one of these sides of Freemasonry; many of us only one. It is true that Freemasonry is a way of life, but that way of life may be different to different Freemasons. The overriding factor that ties all these factors together is our desire to take control of our lives and make a difference – to other people but even more so to ourselves.

That’s what Dennis Prager is trying to do. He is purposefully trying to change his behavior for the better. He sees a moral obligation to be the best person he can be. Does that not sound like Freemasonry? Do we as Masons not see a moral obligation to be a better person? Is it not possible that many who have joined Freemasonry have made a conscious step to be a better person by joining with others who have the same goals? This becomes not a mutual admiration society but a mutual self improvement society. Dennis Prager is doing it all by himself but we as Freemasons are doing it together in a group.

So let me pause here to add two rules of thumb that have guided me in this quest to take control of my life and point it in the right direction.

1) We all need a cheering section in our lives, a group of people who will shore us up in our time of need and encourage us to be the best we can be. We do not need people who bring us down.

Gregory Scott Reid put it this way:

“A few years back, I looked around and noticed that all I did was hang around with other salespeople such as myself. Realizing that I wanted more from my life than to simply sit around talking about the great deal or the money I’d made that day, I sought out a new group of people to associate myself with—people who could help me on my new journey to become an author and motivational speaker. I ran ads on the Internet and in the newspaper seeking new people to associate with and “soak up the success” with, so to speak.”

“When I couldn’t find such a club, I decided to create one of my own. I called it the Influential Men’s Group. We met once a month and discussed our ideas and plans to make them become realities. Most important, we supported and held one other accountable to see those dreams come true.”

“As I write this now, I think to myself how grateful I am for all the wonderful people who’ve come into my life this past year. Due to this great group of people, I’ve gone from a business owner/salesman, to a number one best-selling author.”

“We are the company we keep. Choose your company wisely.”

Freemasonry is not only a way of life it is a family and as one big family there are always family members there to help you through the rough times and to bolster your spirit.

That’s why:

2) We are who we associate with

When you run with the wrong group you start to pick up their ways. When you run with the right group their righteousness rubs off on you.

Colin Powell offers these words of advice:

“The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.”

Consider this:

“Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.”

“With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. ‘A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.’”

“The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.”

So I, as a Freemason, consciously sought out the Masonic Fraternity to help me with the ups and downs of life and to bond with others who are on the same path, knowing that I have surrounded myself with people of good will and a genuine interest in my well being. For me that was a good enough reason to join the Craft. And my life has been the better for it, because like Dennis Prager I have tried to modify my behavior for the better, only I am not doing it alone. I am doing it with my Brothers and Sisters who are my family and who love me as if I was blood.

We leave the last word to Steven Conn:

“Often times I look at people and see so much potential. I see the people they surround them selves with and look at what they do with their spare time and am saddened by the reality of the potential waiting to burst out, but yet will never come.”

“Who we are now is based on past experiences and decisions that we have made and the influence we have received from others, but we can’t dwell on the past if we want to accomplish great things. Sometimes we need to make tough choices and make some changes in the friendships we have. At least we have to rethink who we are getting advice from.”

“If we are going to make a change in our life, it requires effort and surrounding ourselves with new people of influence. Find someone that has changed for the positive in any area and they will tell you that someone helped them through it all, that without that person they would have failed miserably. Look around at the people you associate with. Are they constantly learning and researching new ideas, expanding their minds and keeping up with new technology. Are they looking to have a positive impact on the people around them or are they filled with unending sarcasm and belittling of anyone that tries to change or make a difference.”

“Are you hanging around with people that think change is too hard and things will never get better, or are you surrounding yourself with people that have eyes of a child and think anything is possible.”

“It takes faith to believe in what we cannot see. Have faith and seek out people that are looking to make a difference and you will be amazed at how you too, will accomplish what you want.”

“I believe that if you truly want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.”


What Role Should The Masons Have?


– Why we must become the “Merchants of Morality.”

It is no secret Masonic membership is in decline. According to the MSA, membership has gone down a whopping 68% since its high in 1959. With each passing year, fewer young men join to replace those who departed due to death. There is also no abating the number of members being suspended for non-payment of dues. A lot of people are baffled by these trends including our leaders who are at a loss as to what to do. One day classes and amnesty programs have proven ineffective. To me, the decline is indicative of an identity crisis as to who and what we are as Masons. There are those who become a Mason as nothing more than some sort of badge of honor, to make business connections, or perhaps to move on to an affiliated body, such as the Shrine. Then there are those who aspire to seek further light and seek to improve themselves in accordance with the basic tenets of Freemasonry: friendship, morality, and Brotherly love. To these people, Freemasonry is viewed as an on-going process of development as opposed to a one time proposition. The disparity between the two interpretations leads to political problems within Freemasonry and harmony suffers.

There is also the argument that membership is in decline due to changing attitudes and values among the public, and the fraternity’s inability to adapt to changing times. Socially, the world has changed substantially since the 20th century. It could be argued people are more apathetic, less industrious, more self-centered, and assume less personal responsibility for their actions. Further, the family unit has been steadily deteriorating, and we are witnessing an overall decline in the moral values of the country. According to a recent Gallup poll, “Values and Beliefs” (May 2013), 73% of the American public believes morality is getting worse, not better. This is unsettling to Masons and contributes to our problem of finding qualified people to fill our ranks. More importantly, there is a growing frustration within the fraternity as to the direction the country is moving.

Our choice is rather simple: we either abandon our principles and become a club like the Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc., or we maintain our integrity and educate the public in the necessity for leading a virtuous life. In other words, promote morality. To this end, there are two areas to concentrate on: Education and Role Models.

First, Masons need to renew their sense of identity and educate themselves internally on the principles of morality. This can be done through discussion groups and presentations. Following this, they can educate the public through open presentations. Such seminars would help dispel misconceptions about the fraternity and promote membership.

Second, morality is more effectively taught through role models. As such, Masons should be viewed as the “Merchants of Morality” thereby creating living models for how morality is to be practiced, such as basic courtesy and manners, and assisting others, e.g., neighbors, friends, co-workers, and the community. Freemasonry may not be a philanthropy, but we do a lot of philanthropic work. Our goal should be simple: to become living models for others to emulate (and possibly join our ranks in the process).

We should also recognize others in our community exhibiting outstanding morality, be it through a simple thank you, an award, or whatever. By acknowledging the work of role models, we are telling the public this person exhibits traits which should be applauded and emulated.

In the morality seminars I have been conducting lately, I am finding Masons to be particularly receptive to these ideas, not just the older members but particularly the younger members who crave a society based on integrity and honor as opposed to deceit and unscrupulous behavior. Memorizing catechisms may be nice, but trying to make the world a better place appears to be their idea of seeking “further light.”

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 © 2013 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), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Lance Tormey & Mike Bastinelli (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

How Did our Moral Values Change?

Was there an epoch event that caused us to change? Actually, Yes, I believe so.

Following the publication of my book, “Stand Up for MORALITY,” I was asked by a reader why there is a disparity between the moral values of yesteryear and today. Was there an event that caused it? I can only offer a theory as to the cause, but first let’s consider some fundamental differences between then and now:

Many years ago, declaring bankruptcy was considered a disgrace, now it is commonplace and a convenient way to avoid paying your bills. Over the last 100 years, bankruptcy in the United States has slowly climbed. It began to accelerate in 1980, when there were less than 500K filings, and skyrocketed to its height of +2M in 2005. True, bankruptcy will affect your credit and future ability to use money, but it has become the escape hatch of choice for people inundated with loans or bills. Declaring bankruptcy may get you out of the hole, but it certainly will not help your creditors.

Divorce was considered scandalous for many years. Attitudes change though and the 1970’s marked the decade where the divorce rate began to skyrocket.

Pregnancies out of wedlock were also considered a family disgrace. Since the 1960’s though, it has steadily increased. For example, in 1980 18.4% of all births in the United States were to unmarried women; in 2007 the rate was nearly 40%.

Premarital sex, which was long considered a taboo, accelerated dramatically in the 1960’s, from 22% to 74% in 1991.

Being unemployed was considered a black mark against a person, particularly if you were fired. Not so anymore, primarily due to the financial instability of our economy.

It used to be, the very idea of accepting charity from anyone was considered an embarrassment. Not so anymore. Today, over 100 million people accept federally funded welfare.

Female-headed households has grown considerably since 1960 at about 8% of households to 23% by 2000.

Whereas attending church was considered a natural part of life years ago, attendance has steadily declined since the 1960’s.

So, what caused these changes? My theory is it was the cultural revolution of the 1960’s where attitudes and values began to change. This is the decade where young Americans protested the Viet Nam war as opposed to supporting the military as their parents did in World War II. It was also the decade of civil rights, of protesting how we were treating the environment, of burning and looting downtowns, and where Yippie power turned the 1968 Democratic convention upside-down. Places like Chicago, Watts, Newark, and Selma became icons of disturbance in our country. And it was a decade marred by political assassinations triggered by social change.

The 1960’s was also a decade where a counterculture of drugs emerged; where people like Timothy Leary encouraged young people to “turn on, tune in, drop out,” and people like Dr. Benjamin Spock encouraged parents to give their children more freedom and independence as opposed to discipline and teamwork. It was a decade where our music changed, and the words accompanying it reflected the mood of the young people, of protest and change. Thanks to the space race of the 1960’s, our technology changed in leaps and bounds, and the electronic media became a dominating influence in our society. And it was a decade where lawyers dismantled old customs in our culture, such as the classroom, and people began to question if God really existed.

Because of the 1960’s, all of the attitudes and values of our parents were challenged and a new libertine era of permissiveness was born. We lost respect for our government, our institutions such as schools and churches, and the concept of conformity. It was an era where we tried to “beat the system” and reinvent America. We revolted with youthful exuberance, but interestingly, most of us didn’t know it at the time.

I can think of no other reason for such dramatic changes in moral values than the 1960’s. It was fascinating to live through, but we had no idea of the sweeping changes it would have on the personality of the country.

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 © 2013 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), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Merchants of Morality

“If not us, Who? If not now, When?”

Men join Freemasonry for a variety of reasons, right or wrong, be it to make new connections, join what they believe to be a philanthropy, to use it as a stepping stone to the Shrine or whatever. As for me, I was looking for a sense of morality. Prior to joining, I had been embroiled in business dealings with some deadbeat customers and employees. Further, I had been president of my homeowner association (talk about a snake pit). Frankly, I was beginning to wonder if there were any moral men left in the world. My father and grandfather had both been Masons, but they never pushed me in the direction of the fraternity. I had to find my own way. So, I joined the fraternity to sit amongst men who were courageously honest and their word was their bond; a sense of truth and justice.

As I joined, I was hoping to learn more about the fraternity’s concept of morality. Instead, I had to memorize and recite catechisms. True, there are words of morality in our obligations, lectures, and charges, but little else. I also discovered Freemasonry was far from being a moral society itself, where petty politics plagued not only the Blue Lodges, but also the Grand Lodges. Instead of finding ways to work together, as I presumed Masons would, I found turf wars erupting within Grand Lodges and between grand jurisdictions. This is certainly not what I signed up for, and is a turn-off to new members who face it for the first time. It’s no small wonder membership is dwindling. There is enough political intrigue in the workplace and elsewhere, and Masons want a refuge away from it. Besides, I thought we were above such squabbling and acted like men. Inevitably, I came to the realization that Masons are mortal and, as human animals, are just as political in nature as anyone else. This was a grave disappointment to me.

As we become Master Masons we are admonished to embrace the tenets of Freemasonry, which are friendship, morality, and Brotherly Love. When I first heard these words, I had a glimmer of hope. I still do. If we truly believe in these principles, we should be practicing them, both in and out of the Lodge room. My interpretation of these tenets was that Masons should be considered the “Merchants of Morality,” that it is our duty to promote morality not only within the fraternity but out in the general public as well.

When I wrote my recent eBook entitled, “Stand Up for MORALITY,” I was pleasantly surprised by how it was received by members of the Craft. I had evidently hit a hot button. I reviewed the lessons of the book in my own Lodge under Masonic Education. The older members liked it, but it seemed to particularly strike a chord with our younger members. One such member said afterwards, “This is precisely what I wanted to learn in a Masonic Lodge.” Such comments are gratifying. I had been able to engage my audience and got them thinking about morality.

When I began my research on morality I found there weren’t too many people or institutions talking about it. I discovered morality is something we all claim to know, but never openly discuss. It’s no small wonder we find ourselves in a reactive mode of teaching morality in this country. Instead, teaching defaults to others, particularly the media who transmits questionable moral values. This is precisely why I wrote my book, to stimulate thought and help create a proactive approach to morality.

It occurred to me though, the “Merchants of Morality” have a vital role to play in this as well. I can think of no other group better suited to promote morality than the Masons. The clergy is hampered by religious barriers, civic groups do excellent work in the community but are not charged with morality, and schools are restricted in terms of defining what is morally right and wrong. So, if not us, Who? If not now, When? We should not be embarrassed of who we are and what we represent, but rather, we should come out of the darkness and offer a new age of enlightenment. Let us resolve to return to the active morality which defined us publicly and privately.

As I mentioned in my book, 73% of the country believes America’s moral values are eroding. How long will we allow this to continue? This also provides us with an opportunity: If we open our Lodge doors to the public in order to offer seminars on morality, this could greatly raise the consciousness of our communities, and it would also give Masons the chance to dispel misconceptions about the fraternity (that we are not the bogeymen people claim we are). Heck, we could even use it as a fundraiser to boot. I already know one group in Southwest Ohio moving in this direction.

If you are interested in promoting morality in and around your Lodge, please drop me a line and I would be happy to discuss it with you.

Again – “If not us, Who? If not now, When?”

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 © 2013 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), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.



– “And if I stumble, grant me the courage to ask for help.”

We take several pledges and oaths during our lifetime, a symbolic and public commitment to certain ideals and principles. For example, the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States expresses our commitment to our country and patriotism. Just about everyone in our government must take an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. Our wedding vows represent our commitment to our spouse. Even street gangs and organized crime allegedly have symbolic oaths binding their members to their groups, for better or worse.

As I have just completed my series of articles on “Stand Up for MORALITY,” I have been asked what kind of token gesture we should make to express our commitment to improving morality. I thought about this long and hard, whereby I devised the following pledge which is intended to recognize the impact of morality on society and define some basic values the general populace can subscribe to. The pledge is not based on religion, thereby making it universally applicable to anyone who understands the need to practice and promote morality in this country.

The Morality Pledge

I believe morality is a distinguishing characteristic of our culture.
A society without morality is primitive and barbaric.
I know I am not perfect but I will try to lead a virtuous life, not just for myself, but for my family, friends, community, and country.
I will always try to do what is fair, equitable, honorable, or common sense under the circumstances.
I will adhere to the laws, rules, regulations of the land, as well as the local customs, courtesies, and social norms.
If I consider the laws, rules, and regulations immoral, I will endeavor to change them peacefully.
It is my responsibility to become a positive role model, promote moral values, and urge others to develop a moral compass.
I will recognize, and not ridicule, a person practicing a moral act, and will not accept the immoral behavior of others.
I recognize humans are imperfect and make mistakes, but we should strive to improve our society, not destroy it.
I may forgive a transgression, but I certainly will not forget and allow it to be repeated.
I believe in the moral values of honesty, courtesy, respect, kindness, honor, loyalty, courage, integrity, dedication and pride in workmanship.
I will do unto others as I would have others do unto me.
I will respect my elders and those in superior position.
I will help, aid, and assist all persons less fortunate, as I am able to.
I will not wrong, cheat or defraud another.
I will respect the property of others.
I will work faithfully, professionally, and industriously for those employing my services.
I will respect the dignity of the human spirit and treat people fairly and equitably.
I will not do anything to bring dishonor to myself, my family, my community, my profession, and my country.
I will endeavor to take responsibility for my actions and not become a burden on society.
I recognize this will be a difficult task, but grant me the power to resist temptation and do what is right.
And if I stumble, grant me the courage to ask for help.

Something as simple as this pledge may have a profound effect on how morality is implemented in this country. Simply place your right hand over your heart, the sign of fidelity, raise your left hand, repeat the pledge, and express your commitment…. There, that wasn’t so bad was it?

Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject

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 © 2013 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), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Stand Up For Morality: Part 8

– Unidirectional teaching is one thing, but it is also important to develop a two way dialog.

This is Part 8 in my series on “Morality” as derived from my new eBook “Stand Up for MORALITY.”

In Part 7 we discussed simplifying complex moral problems and made some more observations about the properties of Morality. Here, in Part 8, we will wrap-up our series with a discussion on “Where do we go from here?”


There is an old maxim derived from psychology which contends, “You cannot treat a patient if he doesn’t know he is sick.” If we can admit we have a problem with morality in this country, the next concern should be how to treat it. The answer should be rather obvious, become more proactive in teaching morality. We have been reactive far too long, probably because we falsely believe someone else is going to properly teach it for us, such as the schools and the media. This “hands off” approach is probably the single biggest cause for the decline of morality in this country. Unless you are willing to do what is necessary to teach morality yourself to your offspring or subordinates, someone will invariably do it for you, and probably not to your liking.

First, when should morality be taught? The sooner, the better, particularly for impressionable youth. Lessons of “good versus bad” should be given repetitively, as well as challenging the subordinate to think for him/herself, e.g.; “Is that right or wrong? Why?” Such lessons should be applied consistently. If not, the subordinates will question its validity as it applies to them. If a person understands the cause and effect of a moral lesson, they will more likely embrace it.

Unidirectional teaching is one thing, but it is also important to develop a two way dialog, thereby allowing the teacher to understand what the pupil is thinking. For most families, the dinner table can be invaluable for discussing morality. Openly discuss difficult subjects such as sex, drugs, alcohol, crime, violence, government, politics, etc., not in a crude way, but in a calm, rational manner. Do not try to escape your responsibilities, confront them. If you do not address it now, you will have to react to it later as your offspring will learn it elsewhere. Such an open discussion is invaluable for building trust, confidence, and bonding. For parents, it is particularly useful for understanding what is going on in your offspring’s world, e.g.; what kind of friends they have and what are they saying and doing.

As we have stated, understanding the consequences of our actions and decisions is an important part of learning moral values. To this end, be sure to reward and punish fairly and consistently. Anything less, will be observed by the object of your attention.

Next, become a positive role model. This may very well mean you will personally need to “shapeth up and geteth thine act together.” This will likely involve some soul-searching. You should always be cognizant that as a parent or boss, you are the prime role model and, as such, you should lead your life the way you want your subordinates to do. If this means cleaning up your appearance, dress, speech, habits, or whatever, such is the price for teaching morality. Yes, this means sacrifice.

It also pays to routinely monitor and analyze the progress of your children or employees. This can be done simply by developing a checklist and grading the person in question. On a scale of 1 (High) to 5 (Low) consider these universally applicable attributes associated with a person’s Morality:

Adherence to rules and regulations – whether written or unwritten
Authority, respect for – respectful versus disrespectful
Compassion – Kind and caring versus vicious
Courtesy – exhibits good manners versus crude
Duty, sense of – exhibits dependability, trustworthiness and responsibility
Honesty – truthful versus habitual liar
Language – articulate versus crude
Promptness/Tardiness – always on time or is regularly late

If this sounds like an Employee Evaluation form, it essentially is. Whereas managers/employees typically review such forms jointly to guide the employee, this should be considered optional in this situation. It may be more desirable to prepare this analysis and not divulge the contents to the person as it will become a guide for you, the mentor or parent, as to what issues need to be concentrated on. Then again, openly reviewing it with the other person provides an opportunity to discuss what is right or wrong with their moral values, along with “Why” you believe this is a problem. Conducting such an analysis on a routine basis, such as annually or twice a year, makes it rather easy to plot improvements or detect problems emerging.

I have developed such a form which is included at the end of this manuscript. If desired, please use it as you see fit.

I admonish you to get involved in the teaching of morality, not just at the dinner table, but become actively involved in the lives of your offspring or employees, particularly in the early formative years. If you do a good job early on, it will be more rewarding later on. For children, encourage and support their interests, be it athletics, academics, music or hobbies. If this means becoming a coach, an umpire, a volunteer, or a member of the PTA or Scouts, so be it. However, do not become overbearing thereby inhibiting their personal development. In other words, do not try to live your life through your children. Be more of an observer and offer advice as required. Investing your time now will pay dividends later.

Finally, applaud those people exhibiting strong moral character or committing some unselfish action. Encourage such behavior, do not ridicule it. Such positive feedback will encourage others to emulate them as opposed to criticizing it. If you see someone who has committed some special moral act, either compliment them, or report it to the media, be it the local newspaper, television station, or on the Internet. Recognizing moral behavior is important for others to emulate, be it an act of honesty, keeping one’s word, extending one’s self to help another, or some other act. If people understand their actions are being observed by others, it can have a profound effect on their behavior, as well as others surrounding the person. Most people are modest and avoid reporting simple acts of moral courage they have committed. They modestly see it as nothing more than something they do on a normal day-to-day basis. Nonetheless, we need more role models to emulate, regardless of their social standing in life. We need more people to “Stand Up for Morality.”


“I do not believe the greatest threat to our future is from bombs or guided missiles. I don’t think our civilization will die that way. I think it will die when we no longer care. Arnold Toynbee has pointed out that 19 of 21 civilizations have died from within and not from without. There were no bands playing and flags waving when these civilizations decayed. It happened slowly, in the quiet and the dark when no one was aware.”
– Laurence M. Gould
President Emeritus
Carleton College

EPILOG – Friends, I hope you have enjoyed this series on Morality. Again, you can obtain the entire text as an eBook entitled, “Stand Up for MORALITY,” which is available in PDF, Kindle and Audio formats.
All are available through MBA Press.
The Kindle version is available through AMAZON.


Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject

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 © 2013 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), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Stand Up For Morality: Part 6


– Solving problems of Morality (an exercise).

This is Part 6 in my series on “Morality” as derived from my new eBook “Stand Up for MORALITY.”

In Part 5 we discussed the other institutions affecting morality. Here, in Part 6, we will consider some Moral problems as an exercise.


Let’s consider some sample scenarios and determine whether or not they are moral. This can either be done individually or collectively as teams. Allow time for people to think and discuss. Make it competitive if you like. Some are simple, others more complex. All are from real life situations.

1. You happen to find a wallet on the sidewalk filled with a considerable sum of money but no identification as to the owner. Nobody saw you pick it up or knows you have it. What should you do?

A. Pocket the money and discard the wallet claiming “Finders keepers.”

B. Turn it over to the police in case the owner comes looking for it?

2. You are a professional programmer with many years of experience. You have just been hired by a new company and placed on a project to write a program. In designing the software, you realize the logic of the program will be similar to another program you wrote for your previous employer. What should you do?

A. You finalize the logic of the program and write the code anew.

B. Since you kept copies of the programs you have written on a flash drive, you copy the code from your previous assignments. Nobody will know the difference.

3. You are a parent of a high school senior and, naturally, you are concerned about the progress of your offspring. You believe your son/daughter to be a good student. However, the student brings home a high “C” on an important test. You become concerned the grade will cause the student’s grade point average to drop thereby making it harder to be eligible for a certain college. What should you do?

A. You call and ask to arrange a meeting with the teacher whereby you ask advice on how the student should work to improve his/her grades.

B. You call and ask the teacher to change the grade to a low “B”. If the teacher refuses, you
call the principal and register a complaint about the teacher’s competence.

4. You are a patent attorney who has been asked to discuss a new invention as created by a prospective client. You arrange an initial meeting at your office where you discuss the invention. No nondisclosure agreement is signed. The invention is of interest to you as you have a friend who owns a manufacturing company who can build such a product. The invention would be simple to reproduce. What should you do?

A. Tell the inventor you do not believe it is a viable product. You and your manufacturing friend then jointly apply for a patent for a similar offering. After all, you did not accept the inventor as a client, nor did you sign a nondisclosure.

B. You inform the inventor you do not have an interest in the product but provide a reference to another attorney who may be able to help him. The matter is dropped.

5. Commuter traffic is preventing you from getting to work on time. It will also cause you to be late for your weekly meeting where you normally report on the status of your department. You know five other people who will be attending the meeting, all of which are your subordinates. You now realize you will be late for the meeting by at least 30 minutes, maybe longer. What should you do?

A. Using your cell phone, you call the office and notify the attendees you will be late; they can either start without you or wait until you arrive.

B. 30 minutes isn’t a long wait. Instead of calling, you decide to focus on driving to work as quickly as possible.

6. You are a clerk in a cigar store. Mr. Smith is one of your regular customers. He appreciates your efforts and, even though he is under no obligation to do so, he always gives you a $5 tip for the cigars he purchases. One day, Mr. Smith is in a hurry and in signing his credit card receipt, he forgets to add a tip and total. Before you can catch him though, he is gone. What should you do?

A. Knowing he will not mind, you add the $5 tip to the receipt and total it accordingly.

B. You leave the tip blank and use the subtotal as the total.

7. You are a 24 year-old male office worker. You joined a company straight out of college and are enthusiastic about the mission of the business, its products and services. Although your immediate boss is easy going, the department’s senior director is older and very straight laced. Over time, you begin to grow facial hair which, admittedly, looks rough. One day, you decide to wear tattered blue jeans and a T-shirt to work. The senior director stops you in the hallway and admonishes you about your appearance. He instructs you to go home, change clothes, shave, and report back to work. This upsets you as you believe you look fine for the job and being unfairly treated. What should you do?

A. Ignore the Director and go about your business.

B. Do as the Director instructs.

8. You are a talented illustrator who produces artwork for magazines and books. A publication has hired you to develop a political illustration. However, you do not agree with the political point of view you are to depict. What should you do?

A. Produce an illustration in accordance with the specifications of the publisher.

B. Produce an illustration that changes the theme of the graphic and expresses your own political beliefs.

9. You are a well-known and respected newspaper reporter. You have been researching a major story for the last three months. You finally write the article which has the potential of becoming a whistle-blowing expose. You review the article with your editor. Although he thinks you have done an admirable job with the column, he is worried about the political ramifications of the piece, particularly to a politician the newspaper favors. Consequently, he orders you to either change it so it doesn’t embarrass the politician or drop it altogether. This offends you as you realize this is an important subject which the public should be made aware of. What should you do?

A. Do as your editor instructs; you either change it or drop it.

B. You give the story to a colleague who has it printed in a competing newspaper.

10. You are an intolerant anti-smoker. While at an outdoor cafe you observe a person at the next table smoking, which is legal to do so. You detest the smell and instantly develop a dislike for the smoker. What should you do?

A. Ask the smoker to extinguish the cigarette as you claim it bothers you. Should the smoker refuse to do so, you ask the waiter for another table further away from the smoker.

B. When the smoker isn’t looking, you grab the pack of cigarettes and throw it in the trash.

11. A new mother receives a mailed gift containing two of the same expensive item for her baby, but the shipping invoice indicates the giver was charged for only one item. Clearly, one item should be returned to the store with an explanation of the mistake. What should you do?

A. Keep the extra one to give as a shower gift.

B. Take it back to the store for a refund.

NOTE: Both answers are wrong.

As much as we might like to do one thing, we must resist temptation in order to fulfill our moral obligation. To some, the temptation is too great to resist. The more frequently we turn away from our moral values, the more our culture deteriorates. Consider the permissiveness of our society today. Was it like this during our parent’s generation? Our grandparent’s generation? Or great grandparent’s generation? I am fortunate to have witnessed five generations in my family. Each had their own unique perspective of morality and sense of tolerance. Some of the differences were subtle, such as drinking, smoking, and language; others were more pronounced, such as their perspectives on citizenship, patriotism, love, assisting others, etc. The impact of economics, war and peace played a dramatic role on their values, as did their participation in organized religion. It is my contention each generation becomes more permissive than the last due to changing perceptions of the country. What is considered acceptable today, may not be considered so yesterday, or possibly tomorrow. Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? And who is more tolerant, you or your offspring?


“Stand Up for MORALITY” is an eBook available in PDF, Kindle and Audio formats.
All are available through MBA Press.
The Kindle version is available through AMAZON.

Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.