Personal Articles of the Craft
As a result of many years of consideration, I’ve found it beneficial to write down some personal Articles of the Craft. Statements and absolutes I hold to be true for the Craft.
- Freemasonry is a philosophical and initiatic Order, emerging from the noble religious, rationalist, and philosophical systems of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.
- Freemasonry requires her adherents to personally reconcile Faith and Reason.
- The object of Freemasonry is to enhance one’s rational and spiritual experience of the Divine and Creation. Charitable acts are a natural consequence of this object, and are the most outwardly visible manifestation of individual transformation – but they are not the primary object of this enhancement.
- Freemasons are Keepers of one of many means of Initiation, not withholders of Initiation.
- As such the method and manner of initiation depends first on the aspirant’s bona-fide desires, which may not be communicable to those without similarly resonating desires. Therein arises the difficulty in promoting or explaining Freemasonry to the profane.
- Freemasonry as an institution does not seek to change society, nor does it make claims to be able to do so. The institutions of the Craft exist to preserve and advance the tradition called Freemasonry. The institutions can however influence individuals to improve their lives and local communities based on the objects and methods of Freemasonry and their own personal transformation.
- The organization of Freemasonry is a universal brotherhood under the fatherhood of the Great Architect, and does not concern itself with the borders and flags created by man. Long has Freemasonry provided her adherents with the right to work and travel in foreign countries – Freemasonry does not bind itself to any State.
- And therefore no aspirant may be excluded based on political or religious affiliation, but all Freemasons must be men of faith, and of noble political character – Masonry sees no contradiction in this.
- All Freemasons must be good men, but not all good men must be Freemasons. The Craft is not for everyone . Freemasons must be concerned not only with the quality of the aspirant, but also his fit, place, and long term desires within the Craft.
- Investigating Committees conduct their business on the assumption that the aspirant is not suitable for membership.
- The aspirant must demonstrate his virtue by his own intellect and social abilities. The legacy or power of the references, or family names is immaterial.
- The Lodge experience must be of high-quality, in the spirit of inclusive brotherhood. The standards for dress and dining must be above average. The dress code for any Lodge meeting should be dark suit with solid or modest tie with gloves. Formal evening attire is encouraged and recommended to officers and past officers. Dining experiences should focus on quality of the experience, not profit or fundraising.
- Any prayers or benedictions containing doctrinal references of any religious expression are antithetical to the precepts and Universality of the Craft to all Good men.
- Freemasonry is not nationalism. While the Craft requires her adherents to be quiet and peaceable citizens within the bounds of their moral and political compasses, Freemasonry itself is not a forum for nationalism, ultra-nationalism, or jingoism.
- Freemasonry is not conservatism. Freemasonry is not liberalism.
- Freemasonry is not an extension of any religious doctrine, denomination, faith, or belief system. Any semblance found between the Craft and one’s spiritual or religious beliefs is not proof otherwise. Nor are the requirements of any appendent body.
- Freemasonry is not an extension of political doctrine, political ideology, political system, or political party. Any semblance found between the Craft and one’s political beliefs, views, or identity is not proof otherwise. Nor are the requirements of any appendent body
Props to Andrew Hammer for his thoughts, which were so fundamental, if not diametric on key points.