The Guiding Light Nov. 2015 - Page 13

Mouth To Ear

If Not You, Then Who?

Here’s an issue I have encountered a few times while teaching the esoteric work to a new Entered Apprentice. Upon asking him the question of why you were neither naked or clad, often the candidate responds, ‘to teach me that Masonry regards no man for his worldly wealth, or honors, and that it is the internal, and not the external qualifications that recommend a man to ‘become’ a Mason.’ This is an easily misunderstood phrase since so much of the memory work is archaic by nature and espouses old Victorian English. Of course, the correct word here is ‘made,’ not ‘become.’ One doesn’t ‘become’ a Mason. One is ‘made’ a Mason.

How then, is a man ‘made’ a Mason? It is through the process of mentoring and teaching by all Master Masons that the candidate comes in contact with, either in his home Lodge or with other Masons outside his Lodge. We lead by example. The new Mason observes our behavior, emulates our actions, and readily accepts ‘good and wholesome instruction’ by those around him. Rarely does one see a new Mason who is not hungry to learn about the mysticisms of the craft and all its principles so that he can understand what everyone has been tutoring him and promising him, that he will receive light, or knowledge. Here’s where the breakdown often occurs.

All Lodges have a collective personality and character that reflects the makeup of each and every individual Mason in that Lodge. If you have men who are strong the new Mason will become strong. If you have contention in your Lodge in any manner, the new Mason will detect that and his spirit will become dampened. Each and every man in a Lodge has a fiduciary responsibility to the craft to impart nothing less than the best Masonic principals to each other, and more importantly, to the new Mason.

Presently, we have a situation in our Lodge where all three line officers are in unusual positions, due to their life’s circumstances or usual vocations, and are continually challenged as men, and Masons. One is enduring family matters that require he devote a large portion of his time to that need to the point where his usual vocation sometimes suffers, and sometimes his commitment to the Lodge. Because he is a good Mason, he chooses to devote his time to his family issues. Smart move. Another has occasions when he must travel because of his occupation, sometimes

missing Lodge functions. Does this affect his effectiveness as an officer? Absolutely not. He makes up for it by devoting

time to the craft in other ways, coordinating events and serving on committees that most wouldn’t, or couldn’t. The other line officer is actually a Past Master from another state, so he is confronted with the task of relearning the esoteric work in order to become certified and advance through the chairs. What a commitment that man has chosen to undertake. The point is, all three of these men devote themselves to the craft above and beyond what is required, even though they have extenuating circumstances that prevent them from participating in the functioning of the Lodge all of the time. These men are not just leaders of men, they are good leaders of good men.

So what about the candidate and new Mason? How do we treat them? It is incumbent upon ALL Master Masons of every Lodge, not just line officers or those teaching him the esoteric work, to nurture that man by taking him under their wing and truly teach him. Don’t wait for him to ask a question. He is new and trying to find his comfort zone. You should make the effort and pull him aside and tell him what some furniture of the Lodge symbolizes. Explain to him the meaning of the obligation. Tell him of some of the parallels of operative masonry in the Ancient Guilds and how that has transcended into speculative Masonry. Tell him things he needs to know. Explain to him what the craft is and how we earn our wages. Believe me, he wants to know, he just doesn’t know how to ask sometimes. You should extend the effort to ‘make’ that man a good Mason. Trust me on this one, it will make an indelible impression on him and years later he will be able to tell other Masons he is tutoring that those who took the time to ‘make’ him a Mason will never be forgotten.

So, in the end, the question bodes …… if not you, then who?

Duke Davis, Past Master Fredericksburg Lodge #794

The Guiding Light / Nov. 2015 13