During the past twenty years many of us have witnessed a form of Freemasonry that we believed to be the Masonic norm. Looking at this now with a retrospect it seems stupid in the extreme.
Looking at the following is this what I enjoyed or endured?
Regular ceremonies for candidates and ceremonies where there are no candidates. The teaching of ‘Freemasonry’ remains absent year upon year. Our book cases are locked and sometimes the key has been long misplaced.
Candidates who are not sure what they are joining. This is not clarified at the initial interview nor is the candidate asked this question in earnest. Sadly, we do not retain these brothers and mourn their loss very little. After all, we got a ceremony or three out of them,
Candidates with agenda’s other than the business of the evening. There are common misconceptions about business at meetings. Questions about the ritual and the craft still being raised amongst candidates but the masonic business ignores this need.
Ritual learned by rote but not understood. “I find by learning the ritual, I understand it”. I doubt this view as it is ignoring the advice that it is veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Candidates need to be instructed following any ceremony and coached for many weeks before the next degree.
Festive boards, are the high-spot of the evening, the only reason for the evening or the tool to prolong the night. Do we need these on every occasion? Why not start with a light meal, buffet or just a cup of tea?
Speeches that follow the format of, thank the host, complement the ceremony, complement the food, and note who did what. This can be a repetition exercise and often resorts to telling lies about the evening in general. Where is the truth as we look at ourselves? Can we learn if we do not face up to the reality?
Provincial speeches get lost in the delivery. They appear to describe an ideal not actual practice of the expectations of the East of the Lodge. This makes the Grand Rank holders look more like masonic symbols than worthy masons. Many are just symbols sounding with empty words when thought necessary. Where are the true Adepts of the Order?
It is noted that the view of our craft lodges is always to what has happened or “we did” years ago. The brethren forget that the originals once wore tricorn hats, breech’s, top hats and even white tie. Things that have changed become the normal. Change is a necessity for evolution the alternative is worse than changing ourselves. Extinction is the rule not the exception.
The present order and values of society and family is ignored by many. The working hours of a man, the requirements of a working mother and family commitments and the wish to get home and not stay late after a long working day. Family must come first.
There is no looking to the future by planning or innovative ideas. What are called initiatives are often reported on falsely with imaginary facts to make it satisfy “the Rulers”. Initiatives are not measured and fall into the realm of “a passing phase” quickly. How many rulers look for evidence of success in factual evidence? The objective over the subjective must be the case in any professional organisation.
The familiar question is why don’t we retain or attract members? The answer is out there but is ignored as it will upset the parochial nature of the present Craft.
There is a tendency to talk in the cliché to senior officers and ruler’s. Self-appreciation in this way hides the truth and kits out the “big apron seeker’s”. If that is what Freemasonry is about it will surely fade over time.
Never is this question answered in summary, “what is this Craft all about”?
Freemasonry is a philosophical Order nothing else above that fact. It is not a Charity, as self-appreciation society, and ego boost (ego should not be part of the Order ever) and it is not for the individual, but the individual is only a small cog in the machine.
The emphasis on Charity is of no value whatsoever. It encourages the egoistic types to take pride in a presentation on the floor. This should never be the case as charity should be personal and private. Charity is not understood and is not just cash. This is vanity and outrageous to consider giving cash as charity. Where is the Master Mason who understands Charity? We hear it mentioned as if it is all we are a charitable club.
This is not the case look to the grand principles:
Brotherly love – I see very little of this.
Relief – Charity is not the totality of this. What about service to those who are not masons, to each other the widow and the orphan. What about the time given to a failing member?
Truth – answer this yourselves.