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What Masonry means to people

Their thoughts on the Meaning of Masonry

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Turning The Hiram Key

Find out what Masonry means to Robert by reading his latest book, Turning The Hiram Key.

- Robert's own thoughts about his new book
- The official launch website
- Get hold of a signed copy
By Blackness
I'm a member of a Greek Letter Organization in Jackson, MS, not a Mason, but believe highly in the secrecy that Freemasons keep. I'm the great-grandson of a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite from New Orleans, H. J. Collins (deceased), and one of the items left to me in his passing was a Holy Bible with an amount of Freemason literature in its preface. The society has intrigued me for a long time now, their mythos and legends. I am not scared of them, but I've always wondered what it would be like to be welcomed into the Masonic Circle.

In the digital age, few things are sacred, with very few things in this world we live in today that can escape the microscope we call the Internet. Hell, one can find millions of web sites devoted to Freemasonry, for example. But its ritual is sacred. Its ritual is kept in the hands of guardians who believe there are those who would find great meaning in it, and every year hundreds of men are welcomed into these circles, and are taught lessons that are supposed to expand into the real world. My great-grandfather was an example of a man who took never stopped trying to learn, and who, through the Freemasonry lessons, did great things for a phenominal town.

Part of the intrigue and meaning behind these lessons would find themselves lost if found readily available as some Wikipedia entry. How the ancient Druids would be apphauled if they were around today and found their secretive teachings come up on 520,000 hits on Google. An opportunity for growth can be cheapened when found vastly available. Only in the proper setting may a few great men be given an opportunity for the benefit of all mankind.
By mkfmkf
I am 46 yrs old master mason.Practicing the craft for 3 years. I choose not to progress at present.
My thoughts are that many lodges and individual members choose the level of craft or social context that they wish within thier lodge.This way i find the nature and culture in each lodge lends itself to the benifit of the lodges membership.

The practicing of ritulas is often only very slightly differant between lodges.
However my partucular interest is the practice of more ancient ritual and our history.

The freemasons i have met have two things in common - mutual trust and respect without question. A value sadly lacking inthe genera lpublic.

It is these values that i respect amongst my social peers. Age class etc have never proved to a barrier to my enjoyment of the craft.

If however we are to continue to attract new members the craft must revisit how and why it must openly expalin its values, and defend the misconceptions that masons hold power,control politics or just scratch eachothers back.This is no more true of masons in a lodge than the members of the local golf club or working mens clubs i have visited.

Perpetuating the public perception that we hold secrets and hide things, fuels the paranoid perceptions the public have. Our PR is not working and our leaders need to be more open when quized by the public or its agents.
By Bro.Paul Fleming
I have recently become a Mason. It is entirely different from my preconceptions. Although I find the Craft fulflling and imensly enjoyable there should be more information given to potential initiates as there is a high drop-out rate due, I believe, to the ceremonies and rituals being so central to the activites on a weekly basis. In other words; some think they are joining a drinking club. I would not expect Masonry to change but the expectations of would-be brethren should be carefully managed.
Bro. Paul Fleming
Albert Edward Lodge No.1783
By Morning Star
I am certain that many good people join the Freemason's, some to enjoy a belonging amongst others, some to explore its true meaning and others to climb the social ladder. The truth is, we do not not need to belong, for we all belong, and the need to explore starts within and ends within. Sadly freemasonry has become an empty shell, and in some ways greedy and corrupt, and that is its downfall.
What is written, has a deeper meaning, in between the lines, it has no meaning in words and does not require a service to ourselves, but most of all the time has come whereby it is written in our hearts. Do not be led astray, do not be fooled. wearing garments that say I am part of this lodge or that lodge, I am a degree mason striving to increase my number. we are all equal and all we require is faith, keep it simple, no name, no garment, for to know God, is to know thyself, not as a group, not through rituals and not through belonging. few practise what they preach, for honour is a gift you give yourself and there you shall find God.
By JoeDu
Should Freemasonry be secret, or should we be more open about it?
Freemasonry ISN'T a secret. We're out in the open, wearing the symbols in jewely and on cars. Our Lodges are well marked and many engage in community booster activities. The Shrine Hospitals are a very large profile and reflect the best there is in humanity.

The only thing that's "a secret" are the things we do while at Labor in the Lodge. Everything else should be open and public for all to witness why we are an ancient and honorable order.

Is a member of your family a Freemason, and how do you feel about that?
I am a Past Master. No one else in my family was ever a Mason, that I know of.

If you are a Mason, what does Masonic ritual mean to you?
Masonic rites are where the solemn sanctity of Freemasonry can be found. It's where the lessons and morality can be found, and witnessing tham are what mark the priviledge of being a brother.

How did you feel when you were made a Mason?

And what role has Masonic ritual played in your life since?
It has implored and impelled me to be better.

Do you feel it is something which can not, or perhaps should not, be put into words?
Everyone walks away with something different, but putting at least some of it to words is imperative to attract more good men to our ranks.

Do you think Freemasonry benefits society?
Without a doubt. Society benefits by Freemasonry making good men better, and as better men they contribute more to a better society. Freemasons, either as individuals or as a Lodge, often engage in community activities that improve or enhance their neighborhoods or citizens.

If Freemasonry fails to continue it's traditions, it will have lost its purpose for being, and will fade into oblivion.
By Duncan
As a Fellow Craft Freemason - soon to be Raised - I have found the experience of Masonary interesting.

I joined the Craft to become a better man - to use masonary and its teachings as a barometer to my own life and actions. The teachings I have learnt so far have helped me to become more torrerant, more understanding and willing to offer more to my friends and those around me, taking time to notice when one of my friends is in trouble and offering whatever help and advice I can.

This is not a totally new experience for me - I have always considered myself to listen and be tollerant - but the masonic teaching I have recived have helped me to put these into context - part of my time should be spent helping a friend or brother in a time of need without detrement to myself or connections.

The initiation ceremony was a moving experience. I can only equate it to a wedding ceremony where I was both bride and groom. It was all centered around me and I was made to feel welcome and accepted.

The question of openess is a large one. On the one hand it is was makes the craft so special. On the other we need to be open in order for the craft to survive. I have researched on the internet and the Americans seem to have a much more open approach to the subject - infact I can find the entire ritual outlined on a number of pages. (Phoneix Freemasonary seems to be a site I keep going back to). My personal opinion is it is time that the craft opened up a little - most people like to research on the web and many of the province sites are somewhat lacking in detail or design. I personally feel we should improve this means of communication without "spoiling" the ceremonies and try to encourage new breatheren to join. Infact, I will be submitting some ideas to my own lodge (Kingsgate 4882) and possibly my province (East Kent) to try to improve this.

I must admit that I had a bad experience recently when I friend approached my about masonary. He had been approached by a Brother from my lodge about joining and was reasonably hesitant - to be honest I am not sure if the Craft is for him. However, at the end of this conversation the Breatheren said "We will be watching you Neil". This - understandably - worried my friend and made him feel like the Craft was perhaps not the place that it actually is. Perhaps some better guidelines for helping people apprioach others would be appreciated.

My thoughts and feelings come to you as a new mason and there will obviously be much more to learn in my masonic life but I hope that you take them with the honesty and candour I have offered my views. If it is possible, I would be interested to view your reseults to this survey. As a Senior Lecturer at University in Digital Media (marketing, web and design are my subjects) I would be interested in looking at the information with a view to producing material for the outside world.

Best regards
By David
Initially when i was raised, I wasn't sure about what the whole fraternaty was about beyond the basics described in the degrees. I started in the chairs of the lodge, progressed to the district level and finally to the provincial Grand Lodge, looking for something else, anything. What I found was friendship in large quantities, people that are keen and willing to do anything to get the job done, I also found that for every good mason there are some poor ones. You learn very quickely who are the good ones and who are the poor ones. We all have our own agendas when we start through Masonry and the agendas change and develope as time goes on. One conclusion I have come to is the the further up the chain of command you progress, the poor masons tend to get weeded out so that only the good and mature ones progress on. Mind you some poor ones make the same journey and manage to fool everyone, but in time they show through and either have to change their ways or drop out due to embarrasment.
A few years ago I started doing some research by way of reading books on Freemasonry. To be fair I read different authors, but have always returned to Knight and Lomas or Lomas as fair and sound authors willing to back up what they say with facts and not based on what other authors have said. I have since progressed in the Royal Arch degrees and have had some questions answered. But reading good material on the subject has more than enhanced my progression in Masonry. It fills in the blanks that the degrees don't cover.I look forward to reading the latest by Lomas as soon as it is available.
By Terry Gardner
I have been a member of the Fraternity since Nov 2000. In my short travels, i have learned many things. Once initiated i was craving information about our ancient brotherhood. Unfortunately most of the information i received, while given with the best of intentions by my brothers, it was incomplete and mostly lead me in circles. The path to Masonic Light is different for each individual, we must seek our own way. Some are scholarly, some are ritualist, some just come for the fellowship and yet others feel some sense of duty due to family history.
Typically you choose your path after your initiation, based upon your personal opinions and desires. I am a cross between a ritualist and a scholar. I have read many books and i mean MANY both pro and anti masonry. I have read many books about the history of our rituals. Now i offer to help brothers in their personal search for light, by trying to give them a place to find knowledge. From which i donate 100% of all profits.

I believe masonry should be more open about what we are, our goals and our faiths. Our modes of recognition and lodge meetings should remain as they are. Once we dilute ourselves then we offer nothing different from any other community organization.

The ritual of freemasonry is so full of allegory and symbology that a lifetime could be spent unraveling it's mysteries. Upon my initiation i was dying to understand the ritual and its meaning. I thought something so universal surely held a hidden meaning even buried in the most subtle nuances of the degree itself. I tried to understand and still am learning why the degree is the way it is and what does IT mean. From how we are prepared, to the significance of the lodge layout.

I knew once i was initiated something changed within me, sounds corny but i knew i belonged. I can honestly say that Masonry has helped make me a better man, i am giving of myself and my money. I have a better relationship with God. I treat my fellow man with respect and brotherly love. I am more honest in my dealings with everyone and i KNOW that help is always but a handshake or word away. I knew in my heart that once i was given the working tools of an Entered Apprentice and heard their meaning, it was more then a reciting of a unique cathechkism, it had meaning.. I am on a search for MY light and the paths are varied, some are short and some rather long, some hard and some easy. But each intersection offers a choice, some leading deeper into the degree, others leading off into background of the characters of the degree.

Our paths are unique to our own lives, but rest assured we each have a path. Some choose to walk in and out the lodge door without ever looking beyond the words, but are always there for meetings and always helping for our activities. Others become the officers, some the degree teams and yet a select few, try and become all. Each donating in his own way, giving back to the fraternity that welcomed them with open arms. We all have a path, most do not even know or realize they are traveling upon that path to their personal light. But we each seek it, the question becomes. What IS YOUR light?
By Joel Chaviano - New York, NY
Should Freemasonry be secret, or should we be more open about it?
Freemasonry should be more open in publicizing the organization BUT more selective on the members that it chooses.

What does Masonic ritual mean to you?
Ritual that is first participated in takes one from the inert state to the active. It is not until one sees the ritual that new meaning is brought to complete the ritualistic experience. Also, the more mysticism involved in the ritual the greater the effect and teaching that it will convey.

How do you feel when you were made a Mason?
It felt like a great honor, since I read so much about the grandeur of the organization, I felt like I was one of the few and elite who joined the ranks of those before me.

And what role has Masonic ritual played in your life since?
It has made me look at things differently and has made me eager to seek out more knowledge. There is a truth within a truth and only few will ever receive it, I will be one of those.

Do you feel it is something which can not, or perhaps should not, be put into words?
I think that we need to become more open in talking about Freemasonry but need to increase the secrecy of the teachings. Stricter demands should be placed in order to conceal what is now wildfire on the internet and books.
By Mike
I am a Lewis, and looking forward to becoming an EA in the very near future. I started reading about freemasonry before I was informed of my Fathers involvement in the Craft, he had kept it a secret, from his son, for 30 years. It is this level of commitment that I look forward to giving the craft when my time comes. I have been working in the middle east for a few years and have had the opportunity to visit some interesting sites such as, Babylon (Hilla) and the Temple in the City of Sumer (Nasirya), which is also the site of Abrahams house. Visiting these places was made a special experience because of the Masonic connections, what little I know of it, and I have shared thoughts with Masons, the ones who have "let on", about their experiences in that Country. I have some very interesting photos taken at these sites, if anyone is interested, maybe contact can be made through this site?
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