The other day I was listening to a presentation by an individual from our State Grand Lodge regarding the ‘six steps of initiation’. I never want to appear disrespectful towards anyone from Grand Lodge but I also know that if I did not speak up if I disagreed with someone just because of a title or position that not only would my father find a way to rise from the dead to have one of his ‘chats’ but also his father and so forth back at least six generations. There was a great deal of good information given in the presentation but there seemed to be one major element missing which separates someone from entering Masonry and a fraternity of the local university. That element was passion.
The motto for Freemasonry has been: 2b1ask1. But, unless my life exhibits passion for both life and Freemasonry, about what are they to be asking? I know there must be steps for initiation into Freemasonry, but steps, rules, exercises and being able to memorize things; while being good things, are also dead things. They are often found in numerous organizations, church groups, and social clubs. But Freemasonry is not an ‘organization’. Freemasonry is an organism. It is not a static group or gathering but is a living, energy producing organism. You never hook up a battery powered piece of electrical equipment to a power source with lower energy than it has within itself. You never hook up a dead or dying battery to a low powered or dead battery. You hook up a cell phone, car battery or anything that needs recharging to a greater source of power. If I want to bring a brother into the family of Freemasonry I must be that ‘greater power source’.
I have always been extremely humbled by the ‘greats’ of Freemasonry. People like George Washington, Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, the numerous Presidents, the countless military leaders, people of the caliber of John Wayne and Red Skelton. One thing all these people had in common was extreme passion. If I had never had any previous knowledge of Freemasonry except for the lives of these men I would be hungry to know what it was that made such a difference in their lives. No one would have to seek me out; I would be clamoring at the doors to know more about that common denominator in their lives: Freemasonry.
Prior to the ‘six steps of initiation’ I believe there must be ‘three steps of the initiator’. First is that I must be living a life worthy of talking to someone else about theirs. Freemasonry has the motto: making good men better. Does my life exemplify that of a ‘good man’? Do I live in a manner that once that person discovers that I am a Mason is my life style an asset or detriment? Second would be: Do I have a passion for Freemasonry. That new person is going to need that greater power source if I want them to also become passionate about Freemasonry. If I am not passionate about Masonry, all am really attempting to do is to add numbers to a cause. I am not bringing new life into the organism. If I am not passionate about Freemasonry myself, then I must ask why ‘I’ am a Mason. I cannot truly understand the history of Masonry and not be passionate about it. If I am not living, breathing, and expression the core of what it means to be a Mason I have missed something that our Forefathers had in their lives as Freemasons. Lastly is the question: Am I proud to be a Freemason? If I am a proud Freemason then I will be picky whom I allow into my family. I would want the best for my family. My life would draw men to that which is so vitally important to me. If I am not ‘busting at the seams’ with pride over being a Mason then I need to read the histories of our Forefathers again. I cannot be a proud American and not be a proud Freemason. It is this which gives the living element to the organism called Freemasonry.
Again, I show no disrespect to anyone or anything coming out of Grand Lodge. I do find it troubling that so many meetings are stagnating and that many lodges have diminishing numbers. I also believe that the answer to this problem is not necessarily to be found in someone who is able to memorize the best or who simply wants to join a fraternity. The answer is to be found in making sure that the passion of our Forefathers is rekindled. It is to be found in the passion that drove men of wealth to give up everything for the purpose of forming a new nation which was founded upon the principles of Freemasonry. It is to be found in finding the passion which drove men to become great leaders worthy of being followed into combat. It is to be found in the passion which helped create men who decades after their deaths can still stir the hearts, minds and souls of the general public. Without passion there is no life. Without life there is no organism. Without the organism all Masonry becomes is just another organization of good men.