True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Masonic Pencil

In some Masonic Jurisdictions, the Pencil is an instrument used by operative Masons to mark and layout their work, but it is used for more noble and glorious purposes by speculative Masons to remind them not to write, indict, print, carve, hack, hew, etch, letter or engrave any of the secrets of Freemasonry whereby they may be unlawfully communicated.

I mention this because I have had two communications with men I respect and admire since returning to the United States, and their comments on this blog have been, well, eye opening. One noted that I tend to drift too often into the negative (which really surprised me, to say the least), and used my article on Failings of a Brother and Is it Time for Freemasonry and Shrine to Separate as examples of negativity.

This, to say the least, surprised me, and lead me to review my posts. The next day, I spoke to my godfather about a reference for my new job (I am being considered for a security clearance, and I need to provide references, and I wanted to ask him first if he minded) and we spoke about this blog. He mentioned that he had read it, and that it was well written, well researched, and well considered, but that like all things that I write, it was controversial.

Wow, controversial... I never considered what I wrote to be controversial. He said that was not necessarily a bad thing, because stirring up the pot gets people to think, but that if you mix in a negative tone (and there was that negativity thing again) that it could be misread, misconstrued, and misunderstood.

These two comments, wildly diverging from the comments I have received on the blog and via email have pulled me up short. My intention here is to educate, to spread the light a bit, and to seek out how others think about freemasonry, not to spread negativity.

I have been exposed to much lately to the nabobs of negativity, who constantly try to tell us that Freemasonry needs to change, that the grand lodges are evil, that the men populating the leadership are "bad men" and so on, all the while violating their obligations and spreading not light, but arrogance and darkness. It has been my sincere intention NOT to spread negativity, but the opposite.

I love Freemasonry, I love my lodges, my brothers in Freemasonry, the ritual, the philosophy, and yes, even the brothers who are negative. with the exception of the race issue in the southern lodges, I have yet to find anything in regular Freemasonry with which I do not wholeheartedly agree. I can't imagine my life without my lodge and my brothers.

I have been a very fortunate mason, and I know that. I have good men around me, my godfather for instance, my uncle, my father, Manny, John, Bill, Giovanni and hundreds more. I have traveled the world, literally, and visited many lodges, and the atmosphere, the brotherly love,the light in these lodges has been awesome, and made such a positive influence in my life that I only want to pass on that light.

Life is too short to waste carping and complaining, and anyone can find something to complain about if they look hard enough. When I was a young man, my father always used to say: There are some people that would complain about being hung with a new rope. Now, I always thought that was silly, of COURSE you would complain about being hung... period. But that was not the point, and as I grew older (and hopefully wiser) I now understand what he meant... and of course, he was right.

The same holds true of the lodges. There are some men that join and immediately start complaining about the obligation, about keeping their word, and trying to weasel out of their given word. There will ALWAYS be men like this, men who would complain about that new rope, blinding themselves to the reason, rationale, meaning and symbolism because they do not care about... well, their word, or anything else other than their ego.

These men did not learn the lessons of the three degrees, and most especially the one about working together for a common goal. Yet, I have allowed myself to be dragged into their controversy, to be drawn into opposing them, and thus, drawn into their negativity. That association has tinged my thinking, unconsciously, to the point where I was opposing them and defending the craft against them... and thus on a certain level, spreading their negativity.

It took these two good men whispering good counsel for me to realize that my fundamental motto is all the more true:
I can't change them, they are who they are, and their punishment is that they have to live with themselves and the consequences of their actions. They can blame their lives on others, but the plain fact is, as they say: They have made their beds, and now they have to lie in them, or, as the bible says more prosaically in Hosea 8:7: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind...

I have not posted here for two weeks, partly because I was in transit from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to the United States via London, England, and in part, because I have been in lodge several times in the past few days, renewing my spirit in the warmth and brotherly love of my two lodges.

Now these two brothers have given me something more to think about... they have whispered good counsel. Now it is time for me to think about their words and how to inculcate their good advice into my life, my outlook, and my posts here and elsewhere. Be patient with me brothers, I am but a poor rough ashlar.
May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us!


Galen Dean said...

Bro. Theron,

Interesting perspective. You are fortunate to have surrounded yourself with good Masonic men. I trust that you will thoroughly examine and then assimilate that which is pertinent to your situation.

Radcliffe said...

Interesting thoughts my Brother, I know I could do with alittle more meditation and a little less delineation.Enjoyed your post about the fatwa very much, thanks

Anonymous said...

Theron, as you know I have also adopted your motto, and find it a great "leveler" when I find myself being drwan into the sort of negativity you talk of. I ask myself the question "will this conversation help me improve?" Most times the aswer is "yes!" But it does help one reflect before jumping in!

The method to achieve improvement seems to be summed up nicely by Casanova's quote at the top of your page. Attend, attend, attend!

Nice blog again!

Cliff Porter said...

I think you are doing doing good work and should keep it up period. Meditation and like is fine, but look, everyone has gifts and you bring Masonry to a lot of men, get them thinking, typing, etc...that is good work and should be kept up in the fashion that have been.

Unknown said...

Controversial? Whenever someone writes about other people, it stirs emotion. The first three pieces that you wrote caused me to really take notice, and I forwarded them to brothers that I thought would benefit from them. These brothers of course don't get into the whole internet Masonic forum deal. I haven't done that with the people pieces, but controversy does sell. Your blog is your feelings. I think it takes courage to hang those feeling out there.

Unknown said...

Bom Dia !
Interessante os vossos conceitos e compreensão acerca da virtude e da conduta M.'.Acho que todos nós ,independentes que sejamos ou não M.'. ,temos esse dever inalienável de transmitir ou compartilhar parte da nossa melhor visão acerca do mundo e do relacionamento entre todos.Só que como na parábola do Semeador,muito das sementes que vertemos sobre a terra são desperdiçadas das mais variadas maneiras.Mas ,assim mesmo,não podemos deixar de continuar tentando.Quem sabe algumas das semente germine,embora a inveja de muitos ,seja um sentimento corrosivo interposto,que felizmente corrói muito mais aqueles que a têm.
Timbó-SC Brasil

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