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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 Gary
I joined freemasonry in Northern Ireland a little over 10 years ago. I joined simply because the masons that I knew were all good men. My mother lodge was dying on its feet. They'd had three candidates in approx 10 years and the average age would have been geriatric!

A friend I'd worked with approx 10 years before I joined & whom I'd meet up with a couple of times a year for a drink had also joined another lodge and I started to visit it regularly before affiliating. I remained a member of my mother lodge until it folded, and held the chair in its penultimate year. I've also held the chair of my affiliated lodge and oversaw a merger. The lodge is now thriving and we are struggling to cope with the number of candidates we have, a nice problem to have. I will be taking the chair of the merged lodge in 2012.

I think we should be (and I am) more open about our masonry. Only the means of one mason identifying himself to another & the actual ritual should be secret.

I'm uneasy with the requirement for a belief in a supreme being. I know this is a minority view - but there are a lot of good men out there living in good repute amongst their friends and neighbours who are not believers. These are lost to the order or have to stretch an "what we don't understand we call God" idea

The ritual I see as a torch which has been handed to us by the masons of yesterday and to be handed on to those of tomorrow. I see it as a never ending relay and a connection through the ages. I do enjoy the ritual - but find it hard to express why. I enjoy the social side of the order as well.

How do I feel when I was made a Mason? A bit like when I joined the army - I was joining something bigger than myself!

I hope this helps & will happily answer any queries you have.
By FC - Derbyshire
Should Freemasonry be secret, or should we be more open about it?

I believe, as at present, it's ritual and modes of recognition should remain secret. The main reason i believe this is that there is nothing to prevent any person seeking enlightenment and applying to join should they wish to do so. If they subsequently decide it's not for them -then fair enough.

What does Masonic ritual mean to you?

I regard masonic ritual as akin to a russion doll. You'll get to the root of it all one day. Maybe.

How do you feel when you were made a Mason?

Immensely proud (after initially being excited & nervous).

And what role has Masonic ritual played in your life since?

It has provided some guidance in terms of my conduct towards myself and others. It has shone a light into some of my darker parts and helped me, on a conscious and sub-conscious level to improve as a human being.

By Cliff Jones
Should Freemasonry be secret, or should we be more open about it?
Freemasonry is a society of like minded inividuals who happen to have sectets. Not corrupt secrets but those of ritual. Open society does not understand why masons have these sectrets and even if it was exhibited I dont believe they would. Freemasonry is an experience and a journey. Masons should be more open about their membership as most masons are proud to be a member of the craft.

Is a member of your family a Freemason, and how do you feel about that?
Yes. I am fine with it. See below.

If you are a Mason, what does Masonic ritual mean to you? The ritual experiences are very personal to each member of the craft. Once you complete the journey to be made a master mason (3rd), you more understand the previous rituals. However, that is not the whole story as each time you witness a ceremony you find out a little more that was not clear to you at first. I feel that you will only attain a better understanding of the ritual if you read in to it and not just read it.

How did you feel when you were made a Mason? I felt like I was accepted in to a society that accepts everyone as an equal. I also had a thirst for further experiences as the story that was told to me made me think about more than just the words.

And what role has Masonic ritual played in your life since? It has enhanced it. I have always tried to lead a good life but I now better understand the necessary qualities to be a better person.

Do you feel it is something which can not, or perhaps should not, be put into words? It cannot be put in to words. It is a very personal journey.

Do you think Freemasonry benefits society? Quite simply, yes. Members are expected to act in accordance with moral & civil laws and promote charity.
By Simon
I have read the Hiram key, the lost messiah and am now enjoying the Book of Hiram.

As a freemason in my early 30s (family members have been in "the club" for generations) i did really wonder what the origins behind the carefully rehearsed rituals meant, as you often mention in your books. I do find it surprising that when i elaborate on some ideas raised in your books at a festive board that i am sometimes greeted by blank faces, i think masonry is more of a social event for many and a good thing too as it is the highlight of the month for many widowers in the town.

The history has been facinating and your research has really opened my eyes to conflict between the catholic church and freemasonry. I went to buckfast abbey school so the idea of going to a catholic boarding school must have caused some conflict for my father but the irony makes that more enjoyable.

Our lodge does make an effort to publicly support charities etc and we try and move away from the suspicion of masonry largely born out of ignorance, dan brown and the media.

I do not make a huge secret of my lodge membership, i am currently the lodge treasurer so i must deal with professional colleagues for services etc. I am proud to be a member of this ancient brotherhood and especially enjoy the fact that its origins predate christianity. Thank you for these books, i haven't got too far in thr current book but i hope one day the excavations at Rosslyn happen so your curiousity can be satisfied here.

Simon Lake
By Neil Wesley King - 08/10/72 - Born Newcastle Tyne
My thoughts were that fremasonary was a secret society only open to high flying rich men or influential business men, a very high class gentlemens club. How wrong I was......

I had always been fit and well and in 2003 after my partner and I had IVF which had already failed once, we were to have a baby. Unfortunately 2 months before the baby was due and soon before my 30th birthday I became very unwell and rushed into hospital and into intensive care with septicemia, Pneumonia and many complications leaving me in need of life support for a number of weeks with my liffe hanging in the balance. Having lost my fight for life at least 2x I was very fortunate to recover but I was then on a list for Heart transplant duer to the damage that the pneumonia had caused me. At that same time we became parents of a little girl and since I was still in hospital for a further month I realised how hard it was to be apart from my new family and reflected on how lucky I was to be alive still. I went on to have a heart transplant and rehab to learn to walk and generally do what I could before I was ill.

Since this "LIFE EVENT" I was very humbled at how lucky i was to be given another chance to rather enjoy the very great unknown mystery that is LIFE. Whilst recovering in hospital and then at home, I realised I was to get a decent quality of life back and felt driven to give something back to humanity, maybe a way of me saying thank you to whatever it was that had alowed me to regain consiousness in the hostpital and kept that little light of life burning in my body. I realised that my life was nealry extinguised without me ever having a chance to understand what is was about and what my role was in this earthly plane. Was it that I had not had a chnce to understand or appreciate AT ALL?

From that moment of recovery my life had changed forever! One evening I caught up with an old friend in a bar and explained what had happened and how this strange thing had happened to me. He broke news to me he was dying of cancer and that he was ready to die, since he had been a lucky man who had already discovered these things I was in search for. He explained that he was a Freemason and that it would be good for me to also join as it may be able to answer what I was in search of. I told him I wasnt in search of anything , he explained that by living his life by the morals of freemasonary he was able to be a better person by simply applying the masonic tools to his daily life. I had no ideas what he was waffling on about all seemed very churchy and all strange. Anyway as a mnark of respect I contacted my local masonic hall by Email after he dieed since I had no family of friends in masonary to introduce me. I say "did no thave any friends" I was proposed and seconded, balloted and have since passed my degrees, pending going into the Minerva Chapter.and that was 18 months ago. It has been the best journey of my life. Since completing my 3rd degree I have read some of your books and find the reading very very balanced and for me informative. I think I have found that freemasonary is simply a set of guides to live your life by which if strictly kept to would through time and pratice build a pillar of society! Which in my opinion is not such a bad thing.
By Nibs
After reading the excellent books written by Dr Lomas and Mr Knight, along with books on the subject by other authors, I now know a lot more about the Craft. I have a very great deal of respect for Freemasonry, particularly its promotion of self-improvement, tolerance and fairness to all, but unfortunately I believe that the Victorians destroyed much of its purpose by turning it into a yuppies' dining club. Although I am not a Mason and know only a couple of people who are, I have been inspired by all that I have read and have tried to incorporate the principles into my own life.
I agree that it would be a shame for Masonry to die out but if it is going to continue to be a social affair then we may as well concentrate on studying the books because that is the best way for the ancient knowledge and traditions embedded in the rituals to be preserved. If I was an authority at UGLE I would make it a condition that members actively study the ancient origins of the Craft and make this the sole purpose of their membership, rather than using it as a means of socialising. I strongly believe that education is the most important route towards improving society and where better to promote that route than within an organisation which has throughout the centuries done such a sterling job of preserving strands of knowledge which otherwise would have been lost?
I would also like to see the information contained in the books included in the history curriculum of our schools. I work in a college and have regular contact with young people; I am always impressed with how broad-minded they are and how keen to move outside the traditional boundaries of education. I think many of them would find this subject fascinating and this in itself would help to preserve the knowledge contained within the Craft.
Finally - thanks so much to Dr Lomas and Mr Knight for giving me years and years of pleasure from reading their books and for enabling me to learn more than I ever thought possible - and to want to go on learning more. I've travelled a long way through the books yet sometimes I think my journey has only just begun.
By Chris Earnshaw
* Should Freemasonry be secret, or should we be more open about it?

In Europe the Craft tends to be more secretive and difficult to join, this gives it an exclusive appearance. In the US it is more open but that has lead to degradation of the Craft's values. Being British, I prefer the European style. We wear dark clothes to the Lodge as we're in mourning for OMWGMHA, not jeans.

* Is a member of your family a Freemason, and how do you feel about that?

Many of the men in my family were in the Craft, and I admired the respectable friends they had.

* If you are a Mason, what does Masonic ritual mean to you?

It was only after about 20 years in the Craft, reciting the ritual that suddenly I began to see things hidden in the text, that had been there before, but now had new implications for me. This made me reexamine the rituals and I have learnt much from that reexamination; it lead to me writing a book "The Tarot of the Revelation" from something I found in the Third Degree lecture.

* How did you feel when you were made a Mason?

I understand the importance of the element of surprise and heightened suspense from not knowing what was going to happen, but afterwards I felt at a loss as a mentor wasn't assigned to me, as we do in the GL Japan. I had no understanding of the different constitutions (we have five in Japan) and the structure of the Craft and how far I could go.

* And what role has Masonic ritual played in your life since?

I think that the ritual has taught me much about social responsibility and the equality of man. I'm also very aware of the sacrifices people made in ancient times to protect the freedoms we take for granted now. It must have been terrible to live in the Dark Ages, and to be a Freethinker who rejected the dogma of the Catholic church, yet at the same times feared the Inquisition.

* Do you feel it is something which can not, or perhaps should not, be put into words?

It definitely has to be experienced. The less that is "exposed" on the Internet the better. You can teach the theory of riding a bicycle, but riding one is an experience that cannot be put into words - expects adjectives like exhilarating.

* Do you think Freemasonry benefits society?

Yes, it is a very important cement that binds people of different creeds, races and social standing, it opens doors that would otherwise be impossible to find. It make perfect ashlars out of otherwise lumpy people. I think we should stand shoulder to shoulder with religions and other organizations like the Boy Scouts, and St. John Ambulance rather than shying from the spotlight as though "we had something to hide."

I'm a PM of three lodges in Tokyo, PM of the Research Lodge, KCCH in Scottish Rite and active in York Rite.I'm a member of the GLE, GLM, GLJ and GLS. S&F regards, Chris Earnshaw, Tokyo
By Travelling Mason
Should freemasonary be secret ? I make it well known at work and in other organisations that I am a member of freemasonary, and have explained that although the workings may be kept a secret, it is fundamentally no different to being a member of a local social club. You build up relationships and you help each other out. A typical example would be if you wanted a wall building, and a member of your social club was able to give you a competative price you would accept it. So critisism for this to happen in masonic circles is unjustified. In my masonic career, I have never given or received any pecunary gain from my membership, and accordingly, I feel proud to let it be known of my involvement, explaining what we do, reduces the conspiracy therories.

The ritual becomes more enlightening as your progression takes place, and if the level of caring and morality, that is applied to non masonic orders aswell as masonic charities, promotes morality, in a country that could only benefit from its values.

When I was first made a mason, I was lost, but proud to have been invited into the organisation, time and time alone will lift the initial mist or being overwhealmed, and all becomes clear.

Masonic ritual encourages discipline, in that there is much to learn, and its values of morality, truth and encourages you to help not only friends or fellow bretheren, but humanity in general.

By not explaining and being inclusive of the general public, this only serves to promote a lack of trust due to excluding the general public. Masonary has moved on and is much more inclusive of society, which creates a more acceptable perception of masonary, and can only serve to be a benefit to the country in general.
By Christian Russo
I am particularly interested in the question, "Do you feel it is something which can not, or perhaps should not, be put into words?". Not a lot of new Masons can effectively articulate the purpose or meaning of Freemasonry. The larger question here (which I won't discuss) is how to increase membership of the organization without discussing what the organization actually does behind closed doors.

I took the wonderful and life-changing step of becoming a Freemason in May 2010. I became a Fellowcraft (second degree) later that year in November. I'm very honored to be preparing to be raised to the level of Master Mason in March or April of 2011. Upon joining, many friends had many questions, the most common of which was 'what is Freemasonry and why did you become a Freemason?'. The questions seem easy enough to answer. I always use the analogy of the smooth and rough ashlar to illustrate the effect of Masonry on men but that always seem to prompt more questions as that only explains the effect, not the vehicle through which that effect is delivered. The questions that inevitably follow are "How does that happen?" and "What do they teach you?". This is the aspect of Masonry that is hard to convey and probably can't be effectively summed up in words because each Mason takes different things away from Masonry, and on their journey they investigate different aspects of the Craft and themselves. They also join for wildly varying reasons. While Masonry is a tight society full of people across the globe whom you can call 'brother', the experience of transition is intensely personal and therein lies the difficulty in explaining it. Like love or friendship or fear, experiences that effect us deeply are hard to quantify, particularly ones that have a profound effect on our own personalities and ways of life. Can it be explained? To a degree (no pun intended). Should it be explained? Only to a degree. The lessons one learns present realizations that one must come to gradually, hence the progressive degrees and increasingly complex rituals. Trying to explain it all to someone would undermine the beauty of the journey and the experience of learning.

If I may use another analogy to sum it up: Freemasonry's beauty opens up to a Freemason gradually, like a flower opening at daybreak. Trying to explain it in detail would be like pulling the flower's petals apart open to see what's inside. It will only debase the matter and detract from it's rich beauty.
By Harvey
On a quest to improve myself as a human being, which began a number of years ago, I first discovered Buddhism. The practice of meditation and the eightfold path; right speech, right action etc., started me on a course that changed my life entirely. Down this new path of the improved man that I became, I found myself drawn to Freemasonry. I've always been a believer in a Grand Architect, but never really sure who or what he/she was, but was able to enter Freemasonry based on my answer to the question; Do you believe in God? What I found was both interesting and unexpected. Buddhism and Freemasonry work in almost the exact same manner, except that Freemasonry requires faith in deity. Other than that, I feel that I had a head start in the self-improvement techniques of Freemasonry from my experience in Buddhism. I still adore and practice both methods and feel like a changed man, much for the better.
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