Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Friendship and Brotherly Love; or, The Musings of the Youngest Master Mason of Canyon Lodge

Well, if you made it through title to get to this point, know that the most difficult part of your journey is over. And it is probably inferred, but I am currently the youngest Master Mason of Canyon Lodge #13 being only 23 years old. There are a couple of younger Entered Apprentices and FellowCrafts, and hopefully soon I will be stripped of my title.
But, there is a member of Canyon Lodge who is a great man. As our friendship has grown I have had the opportunity to get to know his family, a family that I consider an extension of my own, his children being near the same age as I am. My brother and I have had numerous discussions regarding his children join the Lodge. He always asks and comments, "What do I tell them when they ask, 'What do you do?' We sit in a lodge room and aruge over raising dues and then go downstairs and have a cup of coffee." Now, since this time Canyon Lodge has grown; the amount of degrees we perform have increased meaning our membership is growing, our lodge meeting inlcude educational features and more meaningful discussions, and we have an active community presence by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

Yet, does the lodge have the corner on these markets? The short answer is no! So it must be asked, what draws men back into the lodge room? Men can participate in rituals in most organizations from the boy scouts to organized religions. The search for education and philosophy can be obtained through any good book and good discussion. And men can volunteer with any number of people through the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. It comes down to two of our most excellent tenants; Friendship and Brotherly Love!

I have found a Brother in Lodge who has become a Father figure, a man who I look up to and admire. There is a crotchety old timer who always like to "complain" about these days, but you can't help but enjoy listening to their stoires, just like grandpa. In the Lodge there are uncles and cousins, light-hearted jokes and someone searching for another to pull their fingers. This, I believe, is the essence of Masonry. These are the connections that bring men together and keep them together.

Now does Masonry have the corner of this market? No! Go to any family reunion and you will get the same experience, aunts included (perhaps one should join the Eastern Star for the full experience :)). But when a person looks at everything that Canyon Lodge has going for it; more meaningful degrees, more meaningful lodge meetings, charity, and Friendship and Brotherly Love, one sees what the mystic tie is of Freemasonry. I personally believe that lodges that are growing are the lodges that meet these four requirements, and perhaps for the lodges that are not, they should see which ones they are lacking. Hopefully, more lodges can become more like Canyon Lodge #13.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mormon and Mason

The other day I wrote this post on my wife's blog. I really enjoyed discussing my feelings towards being a Mason and a Mormon. It was after writing this post that I decided to branch out this blog. Therefore I have begun a new blog, Joseph's Lodge, the intent of this blog is to discuss my experience as a Mormon Mason. I will continue to post on this blog as well.

As many of you know, I am a member of an ancient and honourable institution, I am a Freemason. Recently, I joined a motorcycling club that requires that its membership be Master Masons. This club is known as the Freemasons Riding Club. Of course, I placed the back patch on my jacket and I am quite proud of having it on my jacket. While on a ride with a group of friend, one saw the patch and said, "You know, Mormons can't be Masons." Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to know if this person is joking or not.
This was definitely not the first time a comment like this has been made, nor will it be the last. Yet, this time it made me ask myself, why can't a Mormon be a Mason? Why is there such a conflict of misunderstanding between these two groups.
First, in the State of Utah, there has not been a restriction on Mormons becoming Masons since 1984 when the Grand Lodge of Utah lifted its ban and allowed Mormons to become Masons.
Second, there has never been an official ban of Mormon Masons by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's stance has been more of an attitude of neutrality. I have always viewed the opinion of the L.D.S. Faith as; 1) The first place of Fraternity and Fellowship should be the Elder's Quorum, 2) A member of the Church should dedicate their time to their Church callings, activities, etc., and 3) A member of the Church should not be a member, or sympathize, with any organization that draws their attention away from the Divinity of Christ and His sacred gospel. For me, Masonry does not hinder my performance or attitude in regard to these three points.
In fact, Masonry has strengthened my resolve and emboldened my confidence of being a Saint and Disciple of Jesus Christ. Today, we live in a world that contends for our time, talent, and energies, and this world is becoming more decadent every generation, it is nice to find an organization that stresses high moral character and the purpose of faith in one's life.
I must ask myself, would their be so much concern for my eternal soul if I was to become a member of the Lion's Club or Rotary and dedicated as much time to these organizations as I did my Masonic Lodge? Probably not!
In closing, I cannot find anything bad in an organization that has compelled such men as Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Willard Richards, Newell K. Whitney, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Orrin Porter Rockwell just to name a few. And I am reminded of the 13th Article of Faith:

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing
good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We
believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to
be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good
report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
I believe that Masonry is virtuous, lovely, and of good report.