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Article # 184
True Masonry

Author: W.Bro.Tim Bryce    Posted on: Friday, January 13, 2006
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TRUE MASONRY by W

True Masonry
by W. Bro.Tim Bryce, P.M, Palm Harbor, Florida, USA

[ The authour's quotation "Forget about today, build for tomorrow." as Bryce's Law reveals his dedication to whatever he undertakes. He is a learned brother with remarkable Masonic Knowledge. His unique role as an Information Technologist and Industrialist from 1976 and also a Masonic Scholar has enabled him to develop Masonic Websites for numerous Lodges in Northern America. He is sharing his thoughts on Freemasonry in this short Article and they merit a careful study. We are thankful to the learned author for his generous permission to post this Article in the website. Please read on . . .]

I recently had an opportunity to attend a Masonic Lodge in Ohio where I observed a Fellow Craft degree. As a Florida Mason I took note of the differences in floor work, ritual, lecture and charge. Essentially, it was the same as Florida's but with noticeably different structure and verbiage. Which version was better, Florida's or Ohio's? Frankly, such a question is irrelevant. What is more important was how I was warmly received as a visitor and made to feel at home in their Lodge. This got me thinking about how we practice Freemasonry around the world.

If you were to ask any Mason what Freemasonry means to him on a personal level, you will probably hear things like Brotherhood, friendship, camaraderie, charity, the virtues of common morality and honor, self improvement, our proud heritage, or perhaps the arts and sciences of the fraternity. I doubt you would hear about the pomp and ceremony of our degrees or the laws, rules, and regulations under which each jurisdiction operates. In fact, it is the former that draws men to Masonry and not the latter. We join in the hopes of discovering a new society where there is some uniform integrity and Brotherhood on a global basis. It is this belief in the universality of Freemasonry that gives it credibility. Regrettably, Freemasonry is not a universal concept as it is practiced on a jurisdictional basis. For example, how Freemasonry is practiced in Florida is certainly different than how it is practiced in Ohio or any other jurisdiction.

If Freemasonry were a universal practice, there would be certain standards in place for such things as examining first time visitors, conducting investigations of candidates, testing the proficiency of Masonic knowledge, eligibility to join, balloting, degree work, Masonic Education, recognition of Masonic bodies (e.g., Prince Hall, Co-Masonry), etc. Instead, we practice Freemasonry in accordance with the rules and regulations of our own Grand Lodge which we are bound to. In other words, the universality of Freemasonry is either a myth or we have somehow departed from its original path. This disturbs a lot of Masons today, including yours truly.

The ideologue of True Masonry is to meet upon the level, act upon the plumb, and part upon the square; it is a spirit, a way by which we elect to govern our lives and deport ourselves in society. Let us not forget we were first made Masons in our hearts. We were then taught lessons as frequently inculcated in our Masonic lectures and charges which we were exhorted to adhere to (and are freely willing to do so). True Masonry is denoted by our basic tenets of friendship, morality, and Brotherly love. It most definitely is not concerned with the administration or politics of running a Lodge, particular or Grand.

Consider this: Who is the better Mason, the Brother who regularly attends Lodge and progresses through the chairs or the Brother who dutifully pays his dues but rarely attends? This is like saying who has the strongest faith in his religion, the person who regularly attends his place of worship or the person who does not? Perhaps the Brother's cable-tow is such that he is unable to attend lodge but instead adheres to the ideologue mentioned above; that he lives his life in such a way as he becomes a pillar of his community and industry, is charitable and helps those less fortunate than himself, and is a model in terms of character and personality. Contrast this to the Brother who regularly attends Lodge, yet contributes nothing and gets involved with political maneuvering for petty personal gain (I am certainly not suggesting that all Brothers who regularly attend Lodge are of this ilk, but I use it as an example). In this comparison, it is the Brother who attends Lodge infrequently yet adheres to the ideologue of True Masonry is every bit as good a Mason, if not more so, than the Brother who attends regularly.

True Masonry represents the original spirit by which this great fraternity was devised; it is characterized by such things as equality, fairness, dignity, forgiveness, generosity, respect for the rights of the individual, and building for a better tomorrow. It is a way of life. It is this lifestyle which forged nations, introduced public education, fueled economies, fought injustice, and thwarted famine, disease and disaster time and again. It is most definitely not about bureaucracy or creating fiefdoms. When we pay more attention to the administrative bureaucracy or politics of a Grand jurisdiction and less on the ideologue of True Masonry, then we have a serious problem. Bureaucracy and politics inhibits Freemasonry, it does not promote it. For example, if we operate under the constant fear of making a bureaucratic or political mistake, than we are being distracted from our mission as Freemasons. I refer to this as the "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" phenomenon; we are simply doing the wrong things and not practicing True Masonry. The byproduct of these distractions is that the face of Freemasonry is slowly changing. To illustrate, it is not uncommon to see disrespect for the opinions of others in the Lodge (shouting matches occasionally erupt); un-Masonic conduct whereby we fail to help, aid and assist Brothers or, even worse, cheating or back stabbing a Brother, and; a general lack of harmony and trust resulting in contention in the Lodge. One may wonder whether we truly take "good men and make them better" (or do we make them worse).

Freemasonry is a noble institution and should be practiced on a universal basis. This is where our strength should lie. But it cannot afford to stagnate and become complacent. It needs to constantly evolve, improve, and seek perfection. Only in this way can we secure it as a viable institution for future generations, and affect the same type of sweeping changes and improvements as enacted by our forefathers. This is not done by bureaucracy or political wrangling, but rather by True Masonry. If we forget that Lodges are servants of the Craft, and not the other way around, then we will cease relevance.

Keep the Faith.

As a footnote: need an idea for Masonic Education at one of your meetings? Allow each member attending two minutes to describe what Freemasonry means to him. I think you will find the answers illuminating.


The learned Author is a Past Master and a Masonic Scholar, with remarkable Masonic Knowledge. He has been involved with the Information Technology Industry since 1976 and has specialized in Information Resource Management (IRM) which, among other things, includes methodologies for business planning, as well as systems and data base design, involving considerable teaching and technical writing. Consequently, He has written articles on management and technology issues since 1976, as well as industry newsletters. He has helped many Lodges to develop Masonic web pages from 1997, which included local lodges, then districts, zones and then on an international basis. We are thankful to him for permitting us to post this Article in this website- Webmaster,


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