At The Crossroads

Saturday, 21 March 2015 19:08

"I will whisper good consul in the ear of my brethren and in the friendliest

manner, remind him of his errors and aid his reformation." These words of admonishment have been constantly invading my thoughts when I find myself assessing the role of our fraternity in these tumultuous times. I am compelled to express my concerns regarding our Masonic future.

Somewhere in the distant past, our forefathers decided that, in reflecting upon their own success in improving their lives, they would devise a system whereby any good man could expand his knowledge and horizons and thus obtain his highest potential. It was on this principle that the institution of freemasonry was born. This complex system of degrees, rituals, lectures and ceremonies was not meant for just any man, it was established to reward a good man with the tools and structured lessons to make him better. Our founders realized that an intense scrutiny in the investigation of prospective candidates was essential in the success of the system. Failure to select men of a respectable moral and ethical character would defeat the effect of the virtuous lessons upon the candidate. A good cook knows that if you want a prize winning apple pie, you have to start with the best ingredients possible. The apples should be without blemish, the flour pre and without chaff and other ingredients of the same high quality.

Unfortunately there are some within our craft who fail to realize the importance of the investigative process. They downplay its importance under the guise of membership quantity being more important than quality. Although we cannot go back and correct any investigative errors we may have made in the past, it is my firm belief that we must re-establish a more vigorous investigation of character and morality. To preserve the reputation of the fraternity and the dignity that Masonry deserves should be our constant care.

A second area of concern is the fact that there are many who would set aside the purpose of Masonry for the own personal enjoyment or aggrandizement ... Masonry was established as a brotherhood of men banded together to elevate the character of the brethren in the hopes that others would see in them a blueprint of moral and ethical conduct and find a desire to follow such examples. We must also consider that Masonry is not a game we play. Neither is it a Greek fraternity or a social club of the "good ole boys". Hazing, ridicule and/or demeaning of candidates prior to or during initiations sends the wrong message to the prospective candidate and is in direct contradiction to the image of a Lodge of respectable and upright men of class.

There seems to be in all organizations, a few who have no regard for rules, discipline, regulations or moral and ethical codes. These are the ones who through their irresponsible conduct, offensive language and unacceptable public behavior cause many persons to question the sincerity of our intentions in the business in which we are supposedly engaged - that of elevating our members to a higher and more responsible life.

The four basic building blocks of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice are the fundamental principles of not only our fraternity, but are also the basic framework of all the established faith denominations.

We stand today at the crossroads. We can make an effort to improve our fraternity in whatever areas need it and we can stop pretending that we don't see the actions of those that are tainting us by their un-Masonic conduct in public displays which reflect on the reputation of the entire body.

We also need to be more careful in the selection of our leadership. The public's perception of our organization and our future success is often judged by who we place in these positions of importance. When we introduce them as our leaders, the entire fraternity is rated by the intelligence, dignity and character they display and by their manner and presentation. We must seek to find those who are most qualified in finance, business administration, personnel motivation and a sincere regard for that will benefit each and every member rather than a select few.

Are you willing to speak out when you see an act of un-Masonic conduct or will you pretend not to have seen anything?

Perhaps if we all make an individual effort to improve our situation, then we might be on the road to a better and more prosperous future.

By P.G.M. Albert E. Foster, Sr.

(The opinions stated below are those of the writer and do not necessarily

reflect the views of the website or the M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan)

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