Contributed by W.M. Nicholas E. Adair, Matanuska Lodge No. 7
I recently wrote an article about Masonry that was going to be published in in this newspaper. It was regarding the common misconceptions of the organization of Freemasonry. The purpose of this article was to explain that most of the sensationalized junk that is found on the internet, social media, and television is not true.
I also wanted to explain that the organization of Freemasonry is not anti-church, or anti-religion in any way. There are so many religious people out there that think the organization of Freemasonry is against the teachings and tenets of their religious beliefs. Again, this is simply not true.
So, I spend the better part of a day writing this other article, and giving an explanation of the organization of Freemasonry, and a brief description of what it is about. Using statements such as: “Making Good Men Better” and “System of Morality, Veiled in Allegory, and Illustrated by Symbols.” The standardized statements that everyone hears. I went into brief explanations of the meanings behind these statements. I explained what an illustration is, and how its symbolized. I even went into a brief history of the forming of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1717. I even went a step further to include “mystery schools” and “human philosophy and psychology” as aspects of Freemasonry.
I even went so far as to list names of famous people who are Freemasons. Political leaders, businessmen, athletes, authors, movie stars, and the like. It looked like a really good article. It felt like I really gave a great appeal to Freemasonry. But there was something about it, I wasn’t really sure about. I read over it a couple more times, editing it for content. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. I wasn’t displeased with the article, but I wasn’t pleased either. I guess I would say, my regards were neutral. So, I asked a Masonic Brother about the article, and he had something different to reply.
He took the same standpoint I had. It wasn’t bad, and it was informative. My explanations were good, and I hit most of the main points. Then he said something to me that was so profound, I was stunned at the statement. He said “Well, it certainly toes the party line, Bro.”
“What did you mean by toeing the party line?” I asked eagerly, as my feelings about this article changed from complacent to fervent immediately.
He explained to me that all of the information I was using was all well and good, but it all seems a bit like the standard fare we are all given when we first come into this organization. I thought about it for another moment, and I realized my whole article was nothing but basic Freemasonic “Marketing.”
I was using the “bullet points” given to anyone who picked up the brochure regarding Freemasonry and started reading it without any frame of reference of what this organization is actually about. I knew this wasn’t how I truly felt about Masonry. I knew it right from the beginning. I felt as if I had boiled down the adroitness of my Craft to a bullet list full of talking points, in order to satiate the misunderstandings within and without the organization of Freemasonry.
I realized that it doesn’t matter which famous political leaders, businessmen, athletes, authors, and movie stars are Freemasons. Freemasonry regards no man because of his worldly honors. Nor does Freemasonry regard men because of their race, color, religion, or ethnic origins.
To me, the Craft of Masonry is so much deeper than the surface level organization. It’s so much more than bullet points, or a “Famous Freemason’s” list. It’s so much more than just spaghetti dinners, and stated meetings. When I started to think about how deeply the craft of Masonry has affected my life, I realized that utilizing a bulletlist of marketing tools was no different than looking at a magazine advertisement. Masonry is something that cannot be conveyed, it has to be experienced.
Imagine the euphoric feeling of accomplishment a wood-worker receives when he finishes his first table; a project he’s been working on for quite some time. It’s something that can’t be explained to any person who doesn’t understand the labor of love that went into making that table. And when you try to explain, you seem a bit obsessive to people who think that it’s “just a table.”
Masonry is not just slapping together any ol’ card table. It’s the process of building a masterpiece of yourself. Not only that, but what you learn during the process expands your horizons, and consequently, makes you a better person. It’s the process that you put your heart and soul into in order to bring out the exquisite details. The best part about this, is that there are people there who help you with your process of building. They share their advice, their techniques, and their own personal stories about how they are coming along on building their table.
One of the best things about the organization of Freemasonry, is that there is no spokesperson. There is no one Mason who speaks for the craft itself.
Just like this article, if anyone tells you all about Masonry, you should know that they are only giving you their opinion. If you want to know more about Masonry, look up your local Lodges. There are two in the Matanuska Valley (Matanuska No. 7, and Iditarod No. 20), and one in Eagle River (Eagle River No. 13), as well as three more in the Anchorage area.
There are many more lodges across Alaska, and can be found on the Grand Lodge of Alaska’s website at: grandlodgofalaska.org