From Whence Come You?

Saturday, 21 March 2015 19:08

According to Masonic teachings, Masonry has existed from time immemorial.

It is because of a false interpretation of this statement that causes some to deny its accuracy.To think that our present system of Masonic Lodges and our present ritualism, ceremonies or modes of recognition are prevalent in ancient times is not rational or logical. This brings us to the most logical conclusion that it is not the present system or structure of Lodges to which we owe our longevity. But to the system of virtues, morals and ethics which have been used throughout the world as tools to improve a man’s life and make a good man better.

This time-honored question has repeatedly echoed throughout Lodge Halls but seldom if ever, been looked at and its purpose defined. It has often been confused with a similar question, “From Whence Came You?”

This question, with its subsequent reply, simply signifies that one is traveling from a specified place to another destination. The question which follows would seek to determine if the person is worthy to continue his journey. In context with the above hypothetical explanations, one can conclude that the first question “From Whence Come You?” is ritualistically correct.

Good men throughout the ages havebeen engaged in thenoble practice of selecting other men of good character, to join with them in a system virtuous endeavor and brotherly fellowship which could elevate a man from the darkness of an ordinary life to an improved life of respect and reward. It is a known fact that Masonry is not adaptable to every man’s lifestyle or personality. It is for this very reason that proper and sufficient investigation of all candidates is essential in maintaining the standards upon which Masonry was established.

A good cook knows that if you want the best apple pie, you must start with the best ingredients possible. The apples must be without blemish the flour without chaff and the other ingredients must possess the same high quality.

Our forefathers realized that an intense scrutiny of prospective candidates is critical in the selective system. Failure to select men of respectable, oral or ethical character would defeat their plan to help good men become better men. There are some within our organization who fail to realize the importance of the investigative process. They seem to downplay its importance under the false impression that quantity is more important than QUALITY.

It has been said that ADAM was the first man raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular. In deference to those whose views on man’s creation vary from the scriptural version, I refrain from commenting further on this subject.

Man has always been filled with curiosity about things unknown or unseen. Consequently the question that has baffled even the greatest Masonic scholars is- ‘When and where did Masonry originate?’

When we think of Masonry as an organization, we automatically think of Lodges, rituals, signs and passwords. True Masonry. However, it is a system of enlightenment and character building based upon the four cardinal virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. Add to this base a moral code of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth; augmented by constant education in the Arts and Sciences and like subjects and BEHOLD, you have discovered the true essence of Masonry.

The groups of men of the past who although they did not call themselves Masons but were known as brotherhoods, guilds, groups etc., were the forerunners of Masonry. They utilized the above system of enlightenment in an attempt to improve the life of some good men by making their life better through the process of virtuous education. It is through them that our claim to longevity is validated.

So, if someone asks, “From Whence Come You?” You can answer with assurance, From Time Immemorial!

Albert E. Foster, Sr. 33

Sr. Past Grand Master

M. W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge

Jurisdiction of Michigan

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