Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Christianity vs Freemasonry

I've been a Freemason for nearly 17-years now and I've gone through countless degrees, orders, and grades, but I always remember the lessons, symbols, and charges given during the Entered Apprentice degree:

As a Mason, you are to regard the Volume of the Sacred Law as the great light in your profession; to consider it as the unerring standard of truth and justice; and to regulate your actions by the divine precepts it contains. In it you will learn the important duties which you owe to God, your neighbor, and yourself. To God, by never mentioning His name except with that awe and reverence which are due from the creature to his Creator; by imploring His aid in all your lawful undertakings; and by looking up to Him in every emergency, for comfort and support.

While most of the Masons in my Lodge are Christian, we do have men from other faiths represented and I have met Masons from all over representing the world's great religions. When I joined Freemasonry I considered myself a Christian, but I was not a church-goer (symptoms from bad experiences I had in my teen years). Once I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, I didn't race into any concordant or appendant body; I was actually advised against doing that. I waited for nearly 2-years until I had both my Warden's Certificate of Proficiency and my Worshipful Master's Certificate of Proficiency (requirements to sit in the East in Idaho) before I even filed my petition to join the York Rite. I went to the York Rite as the Masons in my Lodge that I admired were heavily involved with the York Rite and I was always fascinated with the Knights Templar.

In the 15-years that I've been a Templar and a Mason, I have felt my Christian faith only strengthen. I see that Freemasonry (and Templary) compliments my faith and my faith completes Freemasonry. However, before I was even initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason, I met a rabid anti-Mason during a flight who made some brazen and defamatory claims. After I joined, I found a small, but loud group of anti-Masons on social media platforms like Twitter who claim and I'm paraphrasing here, but often I see anti-Masons use the "I don't like Freemasonry and I'm a good Christian so, therefore, you're not a good Christian or a true Christian." I've even seen a few over the years say that since they consider themselves true Christians and they don't like Freemasonry that God must hate it as well. Freemasonry and Christianity are often seen as incompatible by some, but the fact remains that many Masons are Christians and there are several Christian orders (organizations) within the family of Freemasonry. I've seen accusations that there is devil worship in Freemasonry, that we're crypto-Jews, and many other sensational but baseless accusations that usually trace back to the Taxil Hoax.

Firstly, it is important to understand the principles of Freemasonry. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that seeks to promote moral and spiritual values through a series of degrees. It is based on a set of moral and ethical principles that are designed to promote good citizenship, charity, and social welfare for all as well as brotherhood and camaraderie among its members. Christianity, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of faith, love, and forgiveness, and seeks to promote a personal relationship with God.

At first glance, it may seem that these two belief systems are incompatible, but upon closer examination, it becomes clear that there are many areas of overlap between Freemasonry and Christianity. Both systems emphasize the importance of morality, charity, and service to others. Both also seek to promote the development of the individual, both morally and spiritually. It is important to note that Freemasonry, while religious, is not a religion itself.

One of the key areas of compatibility between Freemasonry and Christianity is the emphasis on moral and ethical values. Both systems place a strong emphasis on the importance of leading a virtuous life and on the importance of treating others with kindness, compassion, and respect. Both also emphasize the importance of self-improvement, and of striving to become a better person.

Another area of compatibility between Freemasonry and Christianity is the emphasis on charity and service to others. Both systems seek to promote the well-being of others, and encourage their members to engage in acts of charity and service. Freemasons are known for their charitable works, and many lodges have established charitable foundations supporting those in need (for both Masons and non-Masons). Similarly, Christianity emphasizes the importance of helping those in need, and encourages its followers to engage in acts of charity and service.

Finally, both Freemasonry and Christianity emphasize the importance of spiritual development. Freemasonry does not promote any particular religion, but it does require its members to have a belief in a Supreme Being. This belief can take many forms, and many Masons are also Christians who see their membership in the lodge as complementary to their faith. Similarly, Christianity emphasizes the importance of spiritual development and encourages its followers to deepen their relationship with God.

Freemasonry and Christianity are compatible belief systems that share many common values and principles. Both systems emphasize the importance of morality, charity, and service to others, and both seek to promote the development of the individual, both morally and spiritually. While there may be some differences in belief and practice, these are not insurmountable. Many Masons are also devout Christians who find that their membership in the lodge enhances their faith. Ultimately, both Freemasonry and Christianity seek to promote the well-being of humanity, and this common goal is what makes them compatible.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

North to Alaska

I've spent the past few days in Anchorage, AK, attending their Grand York Rite sessions. After traveling all morning, it was good to see the Alaskan Companions and Sir Knights.

Thursday morning, I attended Anchorage College No. 120 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America and Denali Tabernacle LXXX of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests. Thursday afternoon was the 71st Annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Alaska where I represented the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International and had the pleasure of installing the 2022-2023 Grand Chapter officers. Thursday night was spent hanging out with my friends from the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar.

With Friday morning came the 41st Annual Assembly of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Alaska and, in the afternoon, the 20th Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Alaska. Friday night I attended their Grand Banquet where I presented the Bronze Award to a worthy recipient and the Past Grand High Priest plaque. The rest of the night was spent hanging out in the hospitality suite and socializing with my fratres.

Now, I'm sitting at the Anchorage airport with the Most Illustrious Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, my roommate during this trip, waiting for our flight back home. Thank you, Companions and Sir Knights, for the warm welcome and hospitality, but now it's time to say goodbye to the Last Frontier.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Presiding Over the Red Cross

Today was a great day in Masonry. We held a meeting of Idaho College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, Star Garnet Council No. 560 of the Allied Masonic Degrees, Idaho Priory No. 13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, and St. Michael Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine.

We initiated one Zelator (I°) and two Theorici (II°) at Idaho College. I am so thankful for the officers that I serve with.

We initiated two new members in Star Garnet Council and exemplified the Master of Tyre degree. Our Sovereign Master was also elected to receive the Knight Commander of the Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri.

We had a quick business meeting for Idaho Priory and made some nominations that will be initiated at our annual meeting.

I had the pleasure of presiding over a joint meeting of St. Michael Conclave and St. Charles Conclave along with their Puissant Sovereign. We also had the Intendant General of Idaho and a Past Grand Sovereign in attendance. After the meeting, we had an excellent dinner overlooking the Snake River. Now, it’s time for bed before the long drive home in the morning.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Masonic Week 2023

Another Masonic Week is in the bag. I got in early Thursday morning, as I came from a work trip in the Pacific Northwest, and I went straight into meetings. The Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon was first up. It was the last meeting where a friend and mentor would preside over the order as Most Worthy Grand Master. I congratulate Joe on his term where we saw several new Chapels created. I am also honored to have been bestowed the rank of Past Grand Herald. I wish the new Most Worthy Grand Master the best of luck in his term. 

After a nice lunch (festive board) for the Knights of Acon and their guests, the Masonic Order of Athelstan met. After the initiation of new Court Masons, the Provincial Grand Court of the USA met and the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the order was in attendance from England. My constant travel companion and I went out for dinner before I had to get ready for the Masonic Order of the Bath. Due to the pandemic and other circumstances, we did not meet in 2021 or 2022. I was worried about the attendance, but we had 85 candidates show up! A great evening was had by all and, afterward, the officers of the High Council met and I was elected Most Honorable Commander-General of the Masonic Order of the Bath for the USA.

Friday morning I attended the Grand Council of Knight Masons where I was shocked when my name was called as a recipient of the Knight Commander of Zerubbabel. I want to thank those who nominated me from Knights of Tara Council No.560. I wish the best of luck to the new Grand officers for the ensuing year. After a quick lunch, it was time for the Grand College of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests which had been brought back to Masonic Week (last year, it had been in Kentucky on a separate weekend). Then the Grand College of Rites met where it was announced that this year's Collectanea would be about a manuscript relating to the Baldwyn Rite. After drinks in the hotel bar with Brothers from England, France, and the Congo, it was time for the annual dinner of the Masonic Society where the Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master of AMD in Canada was our guest speaker. The rest of the night was spent hanging out in hospitality suites with my Brothers; I didn't get to bed until 2:30am.

Needing sleep, I skipped the conferrals of the first Four Grades of the Royal Order of the Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord on Saturday morning. The 131st Annual Convocation of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA was in the afternoon. The Sovereign Grand Master did a great job leading the meeting while fighting a bad head cold. We changed Grand Secretaries; the former has earned a happy retirement and the new one will do a fantastic job. Once the meeting was concluded and the new officers installed, it was time for the banquet where Most Venerable Brother Bob Davis have a great speech. The rest of the night was dedicated to socializing and hanging out with Brothers from all over the world.

Now, I'm 36,000 feet flying above the surface of the Earth and flying home. I've been gone 10 days and it will be nice to be home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Visiting Iowa

I spent the last 5-days in Des Moines, IA, for work and while I was here I had the chance to reach out to some Masons that I knew lived here. This is one thing I love about being a Freemason: my job sends me all over the country, but no matter where I am, there are bound to be Brother Masons nearby.

After I flew in and got checked into my hotel, I headed to downtown Des Moines to the Scottish Rite Masonic Center where I attended the conferral of the Third Degree of Freemasonry. I always love watching degree work done in other jurisdictions. Legacy Lodge No.678 conferred the first section and the Grand Master and several Grand Lodge officers conferred the second section and raised the new Master Mason. Another Mason who was attending had raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason that morning so I presented both of the new Master Masons with the lapel pin of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho. I walked around and toured the rest of the building which had an excellent library and a large auditorium.

Friday after work I drove around and discovered how much Freemasonry had such a historical influence on the area. I even found a graveyard owned by the Masons. Saturday night, one of the Brothers who is heavily involved in both the York Rite and Scottish Rite took me out to dinner. Yesterday I had beers with another Brother and we had a good chat. Now I'm on my way to South Dakota for another work trip.