Today my newest piece The 50 Year Member – Talkin’ Bout My Obligations was published on the Midnight Freemasons website.
Here recently I have been reading arguments on many of the Masonic discussion boards on the various social media sites. One of the posts I saw was some Brethren getting upset with other Brethren, mostly younger men, about Masonic tattoos that they have acquired or plan to get. Eventually one brother will post the ole saw “I will not write, print, paint… (Or in some jurisdictions write, indite..) even though I know this certain snippet of ritual will eventually pop up like a mole in a “Whack a mole” game I still shake my head in disappointment when it rears its ugly head.
First I want to say my disappointment has nothing to do with the subject. Many people who know me privately know I am not a tattoo guy and the fact I will never get one isn’t the reason this gets under my skin (Pun intended).
What needles me (Yes another tattoo pun) when this happens within a discussion board or inside a tiled lodge room it to me just further illustrates Freemasonry as a whole and it’s lack of ability to educate it’s members and actually “Make good men better.”
At one point in our history many of the “famous Masons” such as Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, John Paul Jones. Etc. would gather together in their lodge in Paris “La Loge des Neuf Sœurs” or The Lodge of the Nine Sisters, and they would discuss theology, science and yes even politics and these men not only became the top men in their fields but helped shaped the world as we know it now. Now we are lucky to decide how many handicap toilets we need to install in our buildings restrooms.
If a Brother who is trying to have a healthy and meaningful debate on a Masonic subject cannot use what he has been taught by Masonic teachings to further his point, then what have we taught him? He will grasp for anything he can remember from his lessons. In this case, something he remembers from his memory work when he was an Entered Apprentice.
Chances are his lack of ability to further his point is one of the reasons why so many of our discussions devolve into arguments unMasonic conduct in social media and lodge rooms.
Another one of these that are like nails on a blackboard to me is when the discussion comes up about firearms in a lodge room. There is always one Brother who will stand up and say matter of factly “ I will carry nothing offensive or defensive into the lodge with me.” Several Brothers will nod their heads in agreement and chances are each of these members sitting there has a pocket knife in his pants pocket.
We all know this was meant for a candidate going through the degrees because the membership is unsure of this man who says he wishes to join them in their labors (and other reasons), but after he is found worthy, he is “Reinvested of what he has been divested of.” And we move on with life. I guess if we were to continue with their logic we should maybe have the Tiler frisk every Brother who wishes to enter the lodge room or even better we should install metal detectors at the doors of the lodge to ensure no one “carries anything of a metallic kind into the lodge room with them.”
Either the words we say in our teachings have meanings, or they are just words we blurt out like a parrot when we are called on to recite them.
Brethren, in my opinion, We either need to teach the meanings of the words in which we expect our members recite, or we will continue to devolve into nothing more than men shouting at each other while wearing aprons about the proper way to wear his Masonic ring in public.