Some Incomplete Thoughts, Completely Worth Sharing

I start with Masonry being an Initiatic and orthopraxic tradition. As such the rituals aren’t for the candidate. The rituals are for the initiates. Lodges exist as a community, whereby the members arrange for a shared experience, a visceral encounter with the virtues – and in case of the MM degree the iniquities – built into the Degrees.

Lodges do this repeatedly, because Lodges know we are like children (in fact in the Webb work tells us to adopt a childlike attitude), and that we need to be told and reminded, time and time and time again. Even after the repetition has sunk into our subconscious, and even flowered into our mind and actions, we continue to re-immerse ourselves because discipline is how we overcome apathy, and discipline is how we train our hearts and minds to find something new in each encounter and cherish it.

Too many approach masonry orthodoxically. They want a lecture, or a sermon, or some other tidy bit of information that can be processed, or disposed of. They want that information to conform to their pre-existing conceptions of religion (what, non-christians can be masons), morality (what, gay men can be masons), politics (what, left/right people can be masons), esotericism/occultism (what, the the french post-napoleon school isn’t all there is), and so forth.

In short, many come to Masonry because they think Illumination is equivalent with becoming informed. Masonry works like an old school initiatic tradition, fake it until you make it. Or as Patton put it: if they start dressing and acting like soldiers, maybe they’ll start feeling like soldiers, and by god maybe they’ll even become soldiers.

This isn’t to say there isn’t information in Masonry. But it tends to be of a much more primal nature, somewhere at the point where our neo-cortex and parasympathetic nervous systems are well differentiated.

How to Crush Being a Junior or Senior Steward

  1. If you can’t get trusted with coffee, you can’t be trusted with anything else, most especially with initiating the next generation of men into the Craft.
  2. If you you’re “too good” to do the coffee run, that tells the Lodge everything they need to know about you.
  3. Show some initiative and confidence by leveling up the Lodge’s coffee game. Sure, unbranded stuff from the store is sufficient, but use some of your own money, and give the Lodge a treat and indulge them with something amazing they will enjoy (especially if you hate it).
  4. Actually serve the coffee. Learn how everyone takes their coffee. Master it.
  5. Remember #4 when you get to the East and show up at a Brothers house/office (with coffee) in need a favor or advice.

Corollary: If you’re a WM of a Lodge that can’t implement a full complement of officers, make the newest Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts perform this job. It makes their becoming a Master Mason all the more poignant when they’ve been relieved of this role. It also makes point #2 all the more critical when they’ve been moved back into it.

Happy 150th Birthday Wasatch Lodge â„– 1

On Monday, October 22nd, 1866, Wasatch Lodge was established by dispensation of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Montana, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, entrusting its fate to Brothers Reuben Howard Robertson Worshipful Master; J. M. Orr, Senior Warden; and S. De Wolfe, Junior Warden. The name “Wasatch” was suggested by then Montana Grand Lodge Secretary, Worshipful Brother Wilbur Fisk Sanders, who thought the name fitting for the location of the Lodge – as our beautiful mountain namesakes stretch forth to the heavens, so should it be that are our aspirations mirror that beauty and heaven-ward progress. Since that day, thousands of men have been created a Mason in our hallowed halls, and it is fitting, in memory of them and those yet to come, to commemorate the birth of our Lodge and call to mind its glorious (139) year history.

Ours is a Lodge set apart from all others in Utah, for we are number 1. This seemingly casual distinction on the rolls of the Grand Lodge bears with it an awesome responsibility, that of being a leader, to be the vanguard of Freemasonry, and to excel in any metric of Masonic measurement. Our solemn charge is not to be better than any other Lodge, for such contentions are not held among Masons, ours is the most sacred of Brotherly charges, to give back up for history the Lodge our forbears left to us, and to see to it, that those to whom we shall leave this Lodge, do justly the same; to leave Wasatch Lodge #1 stronger than we found it, and in doing so make our Mark on her walls as so many have done – that in this time and place we committed ourselves to a path of unmitigated excellence. The records of our Lodge firmly establish this, our great work – our struggle to be better than ourselves – which is itself our reward.

Since that late October Monday so long ago, the Brothers of Wasatch Lodge #1 have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, honoring themselves, their Fraternity, and the civilized world, and on every occasion establishing Freemasonry as synonymous with the highest sense of gallantry and virtuous practices.

We today have received the high name of Freemasonry and its repute from those Brothers who have preceded us. With it, we have received from them the eternal spirit, which has animated our tradition from generation to generation, and has been the distinguished emblem of men in all ages. So long as that spirit continues to flourish, I pray Wasatch Lodge #1 should be found equal to the task of establishing our Light wherever it may be in need; and in doing so, make no controversy for those who come long after we have all been Raised to that Celestial Grand Lodge Above, to regard us as worthy successors to that long line of illustrious men who have served since the founding of our Fraternity.

To Wait With Patience

I think Masons using Preston and Webb (and maybe Bristol) based work are familiar with the phrase “To Wait With Patience,” and I think we can all agree this is the first lesson in Masonry.

But I also think we can also agree, collectively speaking, Masonic education provides no further commentary on this lesson. Masonry lets us assume our personal ideas on patience are sufficient. But, as is evident elsewhere in Masonry, our personal ideas are never what Masonry has in store for us.

The lack of further education on patience creates a void.

This post from LifeHacker fills that void, and I think it succinctly explains what it means to “wait with patience” at the start of our Masonic journey,  and gives us clear lessons on how to learn and apply patience in our “daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.”

Calm My Demons and Walk With Me Brother

Maybe it’s because I’ve been up all night. Maybe it’s because I’ve not had enough coffee.

Maybe it’s because the hardened cynic I show you, is just the fragile shell of an unrepentant romantic.

But no matter the reason, the following poem (not mine) gets to me. It cuts right through all of the debris of the Temple and gets to – at least for me – the core, to heart, the meaning of this thing called Freemasonry.

And because I’m currently without adult supervision, I’m gonna share it with you.

Walking the roads of our youth
Through the land of our childhood, our home, and our truth
Be near me, guide me, always stay beside me
So I can be free.
Let’s roam this place, familiar and vast
Our playground of green frames our past.
We were wanderers.
Never lost.
Always home.
When every place was fenceless
And time was endless
Our ways were always the same.
Calm my demons and walk with me, my brother
Until our roads lead us away from each other.
And if your heart’s full of sorrow, keep walking
Don’t rest.
And promise me from heart to chest
To never let your memories die.
I will always be alive and by your side.
In your mind.
I’m free.