Rachel Martin of NPR files this story about contemporary Freemasonry. Similar in tone to the famous LA Times story of 2008, the story highlights the new generation of masons and show them in a favorable light. Both stories emphasize new – that is 21st century – Masonry, where the Flintstone-esque attraction of Lodge Night replete with outrageous hats and grandiose titles is replaced by something more esoteric – an inward quest for self-awareness. And high time, too.
Still, there seems a basic lack of understanding by people outside our mystic circle that to me seems curious. Mark Tabbert, for instance, who is quoted in the article, is listed as a Massachusetts Grand Master, by the author, who clearly is confusing Mark’s “Masonic super-hero” alter ego with an altogether different heroic Grand Master.
But all kidding aside, Tabbert’s thoughts are right on the money. He says,
In the quest to be larger and to do more good and to have more fun, [Freemasonry] let in a lot more people, and it dropped the standards of the fraternity.
He says the current renewed interest in Freemasonry has brought in men who take a more serious approach to the ritual than older generations did, and who want to tighten initiation standards and raise dues. But he says the fraternity must watch out for men who sign up because of misguided theories linking Freemasonry to “divine secrets.”
Once you get through the romanticism of a quest that doesn’t exist, or foolishness about the Knights Templar or the Arc of the Covenant or the Holy Grail, you find out that there actually is a quest,” Tabbert says. “And the quest is the inner journey, the self improvement, to be useful in society and improve yourself.
NPR can’t bring itself to completely ditch the Templar treasure/ Holy Grail story line, though: “While the Masons may not have any big secrets, they do have treasures – including the gavel that George Washington used to hammer in the cornerstone on the Capitol building in 1793…. It’s one of the most treasured Masonic artifacts, guarded by a lodge in the Georgetown neighborhood of D.C.” [emphasis added] which makes it sound like it’s watched over by two giant Anubis-headed warriors like in Night of the Museum. And who knows – maybe it is and they were just gone the day I saw it.
On the whole, however, the article is a positive take on the Craft and will – undoubtedly – generate some interest.
Originally posted under audevidetace