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IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Moving Masonry into the 21st Century

Masonic Information Center
A Publication of:
Masonic Information Center
8120 Fenton Street
Silver Spring MD 20910-4785
Tel: 301-588-4010, Fax: 301-608-3457
email: [email protected]

The Masonic Information Center is a division of the Masonic Service
Association. The Center was formed in 1993 by a grant from John R.
Robinson, well-known author, speaker and Mason. Its purpose is to
provide information on Freemasonry to Masons and non-Masons
alike and to respond to critics of Freemasonry. The Center is directed
by a Steering Committee of distinguished Masons geographically
representative of the Craft throughout the United States and Canada.

IT’S ABOUT TIME!
Moving Masonry into the 21st Century
1st Printing Dec. 2005
It’s About Time! is the report completing a study undertaken by a
special task force of the Masonic Information Center Steering
Committee. This report marks the beginning of a Masonic Public
Awareness Program started at the request of the 2004 Conference of
Grand Masters in North America.
The Task Force members who prepared this report are:
iii
*John Boettjer
Carolyn Bain
Richard Curtis
William Feingold
Richard Fletcher
James Tresner
Editor
Consultant
Editor
Consultant
Exec Sec
Editor
The Scottish Rite Journal
Bain Pugh & Associates, Inc
The Northern Light
Public Relations Specialist
Masonic Service Association
The Oklahoma Mason
*John Boettjer worked with the Task Force until his retirement in April, 2005
MASONIC INFORMATION CENTER
STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
iv
John Boettjer
George B. Braatz
Robert E. Conley
Joseph R. Conway
Richard H. Curtis
Robert E. Davies
Robert G. Davis
Richard E. Fletcher
David C. Goodnow
Thomas W. Jackson
Jack H. Jones
Gary Leazer
Stewart W. Miner
S. Brent Morris
George D. Seghers
Terry Tilton
Bernice Robinson
SPECIAL MEMBER
Carolyn Bain
CONSULTANTS
William Feingold William Borman
James Tresner
v

WHY A STUDY? – WHY A REPORT?
The 2004 report from the Masonic Information Center (MIC) to
the Conference of Grand Masters focused on the need for Masonic
Public Awareness. The collective body of Grand Masters gave overwhelming
approval to the MIC to move forward. No resources
beyond those of the MIC were committed nor were any asked for at
the time.
We accepted the challenge and established a highly qualified
task force from the Steering Committee of the Masonic Information
Center. Our group continues to meet on a regular basis.
The Task Force realized that past attempts at public awareness
and promotional campaigns had produced disappointing results. If
past campaigns with supporting budgets did little to solve the problem,
how would our approach be different? Our group resisted the
temptation to jump into the “fun” of a creative project, brainstorming
activities and designing catchy slogans. We accepted the fact
that a traditional PR campaign works only if you know what you
want to communicate. The task for our group was to tackle the question
of Masonic public identity.

IT’S ABOUT TIME!
Moving Masonry into the 21st Century
Foreword
Examining the need for Masonic public awareness
It is no secret that participation in the Masonic fraternity has been dropping for
at least 50 years. Evidence of our decline is the fact that our membership totals
are at their lowest levels in more than 80 years. Hoping to stop the attrition,
Masonic leaders have tried numerous initiatives: one-day classes, shortened proficiencies,
and a lowered minimum age at which one can petition for membership.
Grand Lodges have hired public relations firms and have paid for promotions in
numerous media outlets, including newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio, and
television. Each initiative, while hinting at success, has failed to arrest our declining
numbers and has fallen short of rejuvenating our fraternal spirit.
For instance, one-day classes attracted many new members, but they did little
to halt the ever-increasing numbers of demits and NPD’s. We realized that getting
new members was only a part of the challenge. Clearly, Masons were not satisfactorily
addressing ways of keeping our members involved and enthusiastic
about Masonry. The time had come for us to take full responsibility for our sad
state of affairs and begin to move forward, embracing the fact that we have a lot
of work to do.
The work began in 2004 when the Conference of Grand Masters asked the
Masonic Information Center (MIC) to look into the possibility of creating a
National Masonic Public Awareness Program. We accepted the challenge. By
accepting that challenge, we assumed a greater responsibility: to test the integrity
of what we wanted to communicate to the public about Freemasonry. We had
to ask the tough question of ourselves: Who are we as a fraternal organization
within the context of the 21st century?
There was little argument among our group that Masons were not the first organization
wanting to improve their public image, and we knew that we could no longer
gloss over our situation’s complexity. In his book The World is Flat, Thomas
Friedman quotes business organization consultant Michael Hammer:
One thing that tells me a company is in trouble is when they tell me
how good they were in the past. Same with countries. You don’t want to
forget your identity. I am glad you were great in the 14th century, but that
was then and this is now. When memories exceed dreams, the end is near.
1
“When Memories exceed dreams, the end is near.”
— Michael Hammer
Our Masonic memories are to be treasured, but our Masonic dreams have faltered.
Simply put, we have forgotten our Masonic identity so that our memories
truly do exceed our dreams. It is about time we brought our actions in line with
our aspirations.
Thus began our study. Over a year later, we offer this report as a fraternal call
to action. It is neither a step-by-step plan nor a scholarly document. It is our way
of communicating to our fraternity the need to focus on making Masonry relevant
to our changing communities and our 21st century lives. The style of the report is
conversational and easy-to-read, representing the deliberations, fact-finding, and
talking points of the Task Force. We ask you, as fellow Masons, to heed the call
and to take the initiative to participate in building our own destiny, brother by
brother, lodge by lodge.
2
Part I – Introduction
“It’s about time!” When spoken forcefully, the phrase means an action is about to
be taken addressing a situation needing immediate attention. Sometimes the words are
said softly, “It’s about time; I don’t have any,” thereby making “time” the excuse for
doing nothing. How best to illustrate this conclusion?
Since the end of World War II, population figures in North America have soared.
Masonic membership increased also until 1959. Since that time, while the general
population has had dramatic increases, Masonic membership has dropped.
To further illustrate this trend, the Masonic Service Association (MSA) has tracked
membership figures for Masons in the United States since 1925. The numbers tell a
very sad tale of the decline of one of the world’s most important fraternal organizations,
slowly fading away, as T.S. Elliot says, “not with a bang, but a whimper.”
This chart illustrates the rise and fall of Masonic membership from the 1920s to the year 2003.
MEMBERSHIP TRENDS ACROSS NINE DECADES
Even at our membership’s lowest point in 1941, which included the Depression
years (the worst depression in US history), Freemasonry still had 800,000 more members
than we do today. In short, Freemasonry is at its lowest membership level in at
least 80 years.
3
“Change is the one constant and Freemasons have done little
to keep pace with change.”
— MIC Task Force
0
500000
1000000
1500000
2000000
2500000
3000000
3500000
4000000
4500000
Years 1925 1928 1941 1959 1960 1961 2003
Members 000 3,157, 3,295, 2,451, 4,103, 4,099, 4,086, 1,671,
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Interpreting the numbers
Four familiar excuses have frequently been touted as the cause of the decline.
• We are in a downward cycle.
History demonstrates that fraternal membership is always cyclical. Although
national membership statistics prior to 1925 are very difficult to compile, the figures
that are available clearly show cyclical ups and downs. However, our current
membership total is at its lowest point in 80 years. This clearly indicates that the
trend is not of a cyclical nature and must be viewed with the clear understanding
that other factors are at work.
• We lost the Vietnam generation.
The Vietnam generation resisted joining traditional mainstream organizations.
This was a generation turned off by anyone over 35; to this group, any
organization that embraced traditional values was distrusted. However, many
years have passed producing diminished membership figures. We have no choice
but to conclude the problem runs far deeper than one generation.
• We are all so busy.
Busy lifestyles complicate time commitments. No question about it. Where
one spouse used to be the major source of the family’s income, now both spouses
work. When they come home in the evening, they want time together rather
than separate functions to attend, if indeed there is a desire to participate at all.
This clearly means that any organization wishing to attract members must offer
something of great interest to even be considered worthwhile.
• People no longer join the way they used to.
Joining is no longer fashionable. Clearly true. In his book Bowling Alone,
Robert Putnam conclusively shows that people simply do not join organizations
as they did in the past. Since the World War II generation, volunteering (which is
what we do when we join an organization) has become almost nonexistent. Every
fraternal organization, many religious denominations, service clubs, and community
organizations such as the PTA/PTO have all suffered membership declines.
While these are valid reasons (yes, they did contribute to a decline in membership),
we have failed to accept the fact that the world is a different place than it was in the
1940s and 1950s. If you live in a metropolitan area, your 15-minute commute time to
work is now 50 minutes—if you are lucky. We spend more time going to and from
work than ever before. Current lifestyles often require two spouse incomes. Family
time is squeezed into the evenings and very often the children have their own activities.
The technology explosion has provided a source for entertainment/activity that
competes with any organization requiring a time commitment. In short, change is the
one constant. What have Freemasons done to keep pace with change? Very little!
4
Isn’t it about time to be realistic about our membership statistics? Population figures
in North America for the last 50 years have soared. At the same time membership
figures for the Masonic population have dropped. This can only mean that Masons
have simply not kept pace with our changing lifestyles. For example, communications
technology has exploded—cell phone vs. landline; PC vs. typewriter; e-mail vs. regular
mail. While these kinds of changes surround everyone living in a modern world,
Freemasons still grouse about any increase in dues or per capita. It is time to readjust
our thinking and come to realize that both time and money are necessary factors in
creating a quality organization.
Resisting and denying change
With few exceptions over the last several decades, we have been content to listen to
excuses, avoiding examination of the complicated set of changes that has weakened
Masonry’s relevance to our contemporary lives. Even today, we want to think of “loss of
membership” as our major problem. This report argues that membership loss is not the
major problem. In fact, our study asks that we shift our thinking to consider our loss of
membership as merely a symptom of the problem.
Based upon its study, the Task Force proposes that our core problem is twofold:
1. Loss of Masonic identity
2. Lack of energy invested in Masonry
This means our fraternity has suffered a loss of Masonic identity as an observable
way of life, and our lack of energy invested in Masonry no longer makes the fraternity
relevant to our busy contemporary lifestyles.
Seeking a lost identity
As Masons we have taken our fraternity’s identity for granted, and we have allowed
the general public to forget how important we are to the fabric of society. We forgot
that what we DO for each other, our lodges, and ourselves enriches the quality of life
for our families and communities. Only recently has Masonry found a new place in
popular culture with the introduction of Dan Brown’s book, The DaVinci Code, and
the movie, National Treasure. Now we see our public identity positioned in the context
of historical fiction. We owe the public more than fiction; we owe them facts, and
we owe them our best performance every day.
Members ask the familiar questions such as:
• Can’t we just purchase the solution to our image and membership decline?
• Can’t we just fix lethargy with a new PR campaign, developed and implemented
by outside PR agencies?
It would be convenient if traditional approaches alone would change the status of
Freemasonry in the minds of the general public. However, it would be like trying to
convince the public that Pepsi without “fizzy” is just as satisfying. We know that it
might be a fine drink, but the truth is—it just wouldn’t be Pepsi.
5
Claiming our Masonic identity
The Masonic Information Center proposes that Masons must first take ownership of
an identity that distinguishes Masonry from other men’s organizations. That is a complex
but exciting challenge. It is time to face it; Freemasonry is not an off-the-shelf product
whose value can be assessed only in quantifiable terms. One Task Force member reminded
the group that Masons are not marketing soap or ketchup. Masonry is a process of lifelong
learning and discovery that delivers a way of living a principled life, observable in
the simplest behaviors, whether at lodge, at home, or in the workplace.
The task facing Masonry is to define our Masonic identity in a rapidly changing
world. The public wants to know:
• Who are the Masons?
• How do we know them in our lives today?
When we can answer these questions, then we can move forward with traditional
programs for public relations, marketing communications, membership, and more.
It is about time that we did something as a fraternity for our fraternity—brother by
brother, lodge by lodge.
6
Part II – Facing the Facts and
Accepting the Challenge
In order to evaluate present-day Freemasonry, we had to assess the Fraternity’s
strengths and weaknesses. The Task Force proceeded methodically to question
Masonry’s past, present and future. We asked a series of penetrating questions, listed our
findings, and then completed each section with a summary formed by observations and
conclusions. In order to properly determine a course of action for a Masonic Public
Awareness Program, we believe it imperative that we understand, as a fraternity, where
we have been, where we are today, and what happened in the intervening years.
Forthright answers to the questions we posed did not come easily and required an
enormous amount of soul searching and critical evaluation.
Much of the data used in this report came from United States sources because those
were the ones most readily available and accessible to our Task Force. We have pointed
out where data was specifically from a United States source, but we have reason to
believe that data from Canada would be almost identical.
For instance, there were no Canadian membership statistics available to us unless
we laboriously went through, year by year, the figures from each Grand Lodge to
determine if the same trends occurred as in the United States. Because we have had
many discussions with Canadian Masons, there is no doubt in the minds of the Task
Force that the data trends are the same.
So this report needs to be considered in the context of North America, including the
United States and Canada, even though, on occasion, we list a United States source.
Exploring the patterns of Masonry
The deliberations of the Task Force were lengthy and lively. Below are the questions
that guided the discussions and the summaries of our findings.
1. What has Freemasonry done in the past?
For a fraternity that is centuries old, this question is extremely significant. It asks how
Freemasonry developed and what Masonic affiliation meant to Masons of an earlier time.
The Freemasons of the 1700s set a very high standard. In the late 1700s, Freemasons helped
build two new nations founded on Masonic principles. Patriots chose to help create the
United States; Loyalists chose to help strengthen Canada. Both groups had many Masons
in their midst. For detailed information, we turned to the historians on our Task Force who
led a review of our Masonic past. The key points and summaries are listed below.
7
“Freemasonry evolved from 18th century European enlightened thinking.
Today, Masonry is shaped by the 19th century concept of social benevolence
and the 20th century emphasis on ritual as the completion of a
Mason’s education about the fraternity.”
— MIC Task Force
In the past, Freemasonry accomplished the following:
• Provided camaraderie
• Created elite status
• Served as a stepping stone to military, arts, business and social contacts
• Attracted leaders to its membership
Guilds of Masons (early labor unions) probably originated in Scotland in the
1600s. Early Masons concentrated on the following tasks:
• Protecting workers’ interests
• Helping Masonic families
• Operating lodges
• Opening lodges to non-stonemasons
• Formally ritualizing the method of creating new members
In colonial America, Freemasonry provided leadership during the American
Revolution and throughout the nation’s history. It also provided a moral philosophy
relevant to the individual and to communities. In early America, Freemasonry:
• Promoted a philanthropic focus supporting fraternal kinship.
• Inspired authors to create a body of popular literature, offering satiric
views, i.e. Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain.
• Stimulated thought consistent with Masonic values. Lodges became sites of
Revolutionary debating, responding to contemporary thought.
We looked for historical trends that reshaped our Masonic identity. We found several
pivotal events:
• Freemasonry evolved from 18th century European enlightened thinking.
• In the late 1800s, Victorian values influenced Masonic priorities both in
Europe and North America by placing emphasis on heightening social awareness
and stressing social idealism.
• Twentieth-century Freemasonry sustained Victorian idealism and reinforced
philanthropic emphasis of fraternity.
• During World War II, President Truman said that men should join the
Masonic fraternity before going to war, which reinforced a rise in Masonic
membership.
• Masonic tradition became locked in ritual as an end, not as a process.
• Today Masonry is shaped by the 19th century concept of social benevolence
and the 20th century emphasis on ritual as the completion of a
Mason’s education about the fraternity.
8
Summary: Throughout history both European and North American Masonic
values consistently influenced people’s daily lives by encouraging the right to
question existing dogma and by upholding our right to express one’s own
thoughts and ideas. These values promote toleration of all religious and philosophical
views. The fraternity has been a constructive, stabilizing, and enlightening
force throughout history.
2. What is currently happening within Freemasonry?
Obviously, this question has no right or wrong answers because—like public opinion—
it asks for personal perceptions and observations. The Task Force members
agreed that there were and are tensions inherent in our organization today, including
but not limited to the following perceptions:
• There is a slight movement toward wanting to educate the public about the
fraternity.
• There is recognition that traditional communications tools have failed to
heighten public awareness.
• The inclusion of family members at Masonic events has produced mixed
results.
• Masonry is no longer identified as an elite organization.
• There are disagreements regarding priorities of financial commitments to
Masonic buildings and charitable obligations versus starting new programs.
• Current Masons do not understand the true meaning of our fraternity.
• A reliance on historic heroes inhibits Masons from achieving contemporary
significance.
3. How does the public perceive Freemasonry today?
In today’s world of high-speed communications, the public’s perception is often based
on insufficient information. Research suggests that today more people are impressed by
what they see and hear than by what they read. We believe that the public’s perception
and opinion of Freemasonry can be summarized briefly in the following ways:
1. Confused. Are the Masons a fraternity, a religious organization or an alternative religion?
2. Mistaken. Only grandfathers could be in such an old-fashioned organization
as Freemasonry.
3. Oblivious. People are not even aware Masonry still exists.
Summary: Masons are not visible in the daily life of their communities. Their identity
is frequently misunderstood and misrepresented in the press and by religious critics.
There is little reserve of positive memories of Masonic activity remaining in our communities.
Within eye and ear range of the public, Masons have failed to perform what they
profess; consequently, they have lost their significance within the context of community.
9
4. What is the desired image of Freemasonry?
From our difficult discussions of the current environment in which Freemasonry
finds itself, we turned to consider Masonry’s identity under ideal circumstances. The
model Masonic fraternity would be one that defines itself in terms of thought, energy,
and action. Under perfect circumstances, the public would know Masons according
to the following observable accomplishments:
• Building community based on shared Masonic values
• Constructing a positive environment for personal growth
• Encouraging education, idea sharing, and open discussion
• Welcoming diversity across religious denominations, ethnicity and age
• Growing leadership ability
• Establishing the relevance of Masonic values to contemporary life
• Advocating concern for the well being of other Masons and their families
Ideally, Masons would be defined as members of a fraternity, that fits the following
descriptions:
• Masonry is a serious men’s organization, dedicated to self-improvement
coupled with community involvement.
• Masonry is a provider of camaraderie, trust in each other, instant fellowship,
and brotherhood.
• Masonry brings together a group of people who emphasize individual
excellence.
• Masonry is a provider of an atmosphere of inclusiveness.
• Masonry is an organization that makes good men better.
Summary: The model Masonic fraternity member would be easy to identify in
the community by his actions and words. Public awareness of Masonry begins at
a grassroots level. Masons must be visible in the community to demonstrate
Masonic values in many aspects of their lives.
10
5. What are the benefits of Freemasonry within the context of our 21st century world?
Masonry offers an opportunity for a principled way of life rooted in the following
Masonic values:
• Integrity • Diversity
• Inquiry • Community
• Vitality
Summary: Masons are men who build community through brotherhood that
is based on a principled lifestyle. A Mason’s life is deeply rooted in a system of
values. Masonry cannot be kept inside the individual; it is a philosophy of fraternity
that must be shared in action through numerous experiences, which are
lodge-based, personal, and professional.
6. Who needs to be made aware of the message of Freemasonry?
Freemasonry’s significance to our culture is timeless and offers a major stabilizing
influence within our communities. The Masonic identity needs to be understood and
observed by the following:
• The general public, specifically the individuals who seek knowledge
about themselves and their humanity
• Our existing members
• Potential members who need information about the fraternity’s benefits
• Members of the media community
• Religious leaders who need to understand the distinction between Masonry and religion
• Civic leaders
7. Whom do we want to attract as potential members?
Masonry is a fraternity not limited by age, ethnicity, race or religious denomination.
Masons are individuals who respect a quality of life, which is uniquely fulfilling.
Among their many and diverse qualities, Masons are men who:
• Seek fulfillment through multiple levels of experience, including body,
mind, and spirit
• Enjoy brotherhood
• Desire a community enriched by participation, dialogue, and inquiry
• Are principled, disciplined, and compassionate
Summary: Freemasonry wants to attract fellow journeymen who are seeking
enrichment in body, mind, and spirit through participation in a brotherhood
committed to good works and personal growth.
11
8. What is at the core of our fraternity’s identity?
Masonry offers opportunity for expressing individuality, but at this critical time in
our history, the Task Force strongly recommends that Masonic programs focus their
efforts on constructing a fraternal identity that is true to the following themes:
• Freemasonry must be lodge-centered, giving members opportunities to express
themselves through activities that improve the experience of the lodge and
benefit the life of the community.
• Freemasonry sustains its viability as a fraternal organization through its
performance of Masonic rituals and values. Masonic values guide Masons
both in the lodge and through everyday life. As trustees of Masonry’s rich
and valuable heritage, members must continually invigorate their approach
to Masonic participation, making it an experience that is rewarding, enriching,
and relevant to its members, their families and the greater community.
12
Part III – Taking the Next Steps
1. Generating energy and transforming thought into action
We acknowledged that our identity as Masons must include work on ourselves both
as individuals and as a brotherhood. We recognized that our decline in membership
over the past 50 years is merely a symptom of the loss of Masonry’s relevance to our
lives and our communities. We have individually and collectively allowed our lethargy
to encrust the jewel of Masonry, which has been bequeathed to us to pass on to the
future. Our focus on the past has blinded us to the challenges of the present. And it is
the present that we must address both as individuals and as a fraternal organization.
Our reliance on former brothers’ successes has weakened our commitment to achieving
our own Masonic identities.
Without excusing our recent apathy, suffice it to say that we have been wooed by
the world of clever advertising into believing that symbolizing something makes it so.
We have succumbed to the agenda of corporate advertising. But we can no longer
delude ourselves into thinking about Masonry from the outside in. We must look
squarely into the challenge of performing Masonry to the betterment of our fraternity
and ourselves.
The Square and Compasses, the best known symbol of a Mason, cannot replace the
identity of living the life of a Mason, which is itself perpetually in a state of improving
ourselves in body, mind, and spirit. Masonic imagery is a valuable resource when
it inspires us to take new action consistent with our personal growth and enlightened
thought. We must discover our own Masonic calling, our own place in the history of
Masonry, by making authentic Masonic performance our top priority.
2. Breaking out of a pattern of lethargy
Borrowing from our Masonic symbolism, we ask that Masons consider the Rough
Ashlar that hides the natural beauty of the stone within. What values and actions have
we allowed to slip out of sight? How can we find the resources to emerge from the
layers of lethargy that block the natural beauty of Masonry from the general public?
We must uncover the Mason within us so that we can present Masonry in fact and not
in fiction.
Neither a public relations agency nor an advertising campaign will substitute for the
personal journey that will establish the presence of Masonry in the public’s view.
Each of us has a responsibility to steward our respected fraternity into the future, calling
on our own spirit rather than deferring to those of our predecessors. We must exercise
the same determination that we admire and celebrate in our heritage.
13
“Our Masonic resources are great! Our resource management skills are rusty.”
— MIC Task Force
3. Assessing our tangible and intangible assets
Relying on the Rough Ashlar as a metaphor for the Mason’s journey toward enlightenment,
the Task Force considered the now dormant natural resources of Masonry.
From the value of the individual brothers who sit among us to the lodge-centered
assets and systems that link us on a national and international level, we have a wealth
of untapped Masonic resources. It is our work to uncover these resources for the
immediate and long-term good health of our fraternity.
The Task Force recommends taking an inventory of individual lodge strengths in
terms of tangible and intangible resources. Consider the assets that are within immediate
reach of the lodge and can easily be adapted to meet new needs. These are just a few
suggestions to help lodges take an inventory. They are not listed by priority.
Tangible resources may include the following:
• Existing physical structures
• Network of over one and one-half million Masonic members
• Extensive North American geographic coverage
• Lodge facilities with their community centrality—kitchens, libraries,
collections, artifacts, exhibits, archives
• Existing programs
• Masonic clinics and hospitals
• Current Masonic publications
• Phone and e-mail networks
• Lodge-based websites
• Financial assets (even if limited)
• Contemporary books and films
Also consider the following examples of intangible resources:
• Our good name for doing good works
• Centuries of history in multiple countries
• Individual talents of each brother
• Historical and contemporary cultural associations
• Community relationships
• Family links
• Educational and arts partnerships
• A legacy of leadership
• Respected values system
• Tradition of diversity
• Rituals
• Mystery
• Symbols
• Opportunities for self-improvement
• Fellowship
• Recent positive media exposure through books and films
• Community history
14
4. Maximizing our resources
Once we inventory our resources, we need to find ways to manage them. We need
systems to monitor our progress. We need ways of recognizing success, encouraging
creativity, and rewarding accomplishments. Small actions, kind words, and expressions
of concern for others are just a few examples. Our work on Masonry’s public image
begins with work on ourselves, using our wealth of resources to dislodge the sediment
that has encrusted our riches and has diminished the value of our Masonic identity.
Our work begins by applying our resources and improving ourselves in the Masonic tradition
of body, mind, and spirit. We need only look in the mirror or offer a handshake to
crack the encasement of the Rough Ashlar that screens the natural beauty of the stone.
Our Masonic resources are great! Our resource management skills are rusty. The
tools for honing the Perfect Ashlar are at our disposal, but they lie scattered across
lodges, hidden in fading relationships, and atrophied by lack of use. We must put them
to good use.
We urge each lodge to inventory its tangible and intangible assets, such as people, places,
artifacts, relationships, and systems. Although each lodge has an individual and valuable
identity within the context of Freemasonry, there is much to learn and share from one another’s
lodge-based activities. With more than one and a half million members in North
America, Masons are poised to discharge our crews with the newly sharpened tools of our
craft to improve ourselves and to fulfill the promise of the stewardship of Freemasonry.
The words from William Preston’s Masonic lecture succinctly inform us of our
Masonic identity in terms of action:
By the Rough Ashlar, we are reminded of our rude and imperfect state by nature;
by the Perfect Ashlar, of the state of perfection at which we hope to arrive by a
virtuous education, our own endeavors, and the blessings of God.
Masons are unique in their commitment to “virtuous education.” By this we mean
appreciating Masonry’s commitment to life-long learning, self-improvement and personal
growth. We are reminded that Masonic identity is distinctive because Masons
are men of thought and action.
15
Part IV – Time to Energize Masonry
• Take action now
Beginning at the lodge level, plan meaningful activities that put Masonic values into
action. Consider how you and your lodge can make each and every activity uniquely
Masonic. Listed below are just a few suggestions that place a focus on using your time
to its greatest Masonic advantage:
1. Apply concepts of education and self-improvement to current print
and non-print communications tools of individual lodges, Grand
Lodges, and national Masonic organizations and societies.
2. Improve the environment of lodge-based fellowship; refresh the look of
the lodge; welcome new members; improve presentation skills; provide
mentoring to study degrees; and strengthen communications skills.
3. Organize group activities based on education and self-improvement that can
enrich lodge-centered fellowship such as: welcoming committees, lodge renovation
and clean-up campaigns, leadership development conferences, mentor
meetings, workshops on such things as Masonic ritual, history, symbolism,
architectural works, arts and cultural works.
4. Initiate workshops on personal growth topics. Learn more about
Masonry.
5. Call on local educational faculty: expert lecturers on topics of unique
interest to the lodge members that enrich the body, mind, and spirit of the
brothers.
6. Tap the talents of individual members and build a community of
experts to help Masons to help themselves and their communities.
7. Improve community accessibility to Masonry through public outreach and
program hosting.
8. Offer Masonic recognition and incentive programs for educational
initiatives, visitor programs and Chambers of Commerce presentations.
9. Honor the Mason within yourself.
10. Share success stories with other lodges.
16
“What is a man without energy? Nothing. Nothing at all.”
—Mark Twain
• Move Masonry into the 21st century
Our initial focus for our public awareness campaign requires imagination, openmindedness,
and discipline—the discipline to say “Yes.” Put aside old habits of saying
simply, “Ah, that’s been tried.” Or “Yes, but....” Cast off negativism. Turn the
objection around to a challenge. Encourage and reward open and positive communication
throughout each stage of change. Share ideas and ask yourself to take ownership
of transforming the identity of Masonry through each and every action, regardless
of how small. Make it the fraternity that you want—brother by brother, lodge by
lodge.
• Make the commitment now for the future
Our Task Force enthusiastically offers this report and our support to help move
Masonry into the 21st century, upholding the honor of membership and the joy of a
Masonic way of life. It’s about time for us to take the concept of Masonry off the shelf
and put the values of Masonry into action.
As we go forward moving Masonry into the 21st century by improving our lodges,
personal Masonic skills, and community visibility, there will come a time when finanical
investments will be needed to support continued growth and public awareness.
Through this progress report, the MIC has shared with you our vision about
Freemasonry. We felt it was absolutely critical that we examine our fraternity’s past in
order to properly understand our current needs. This was only the first step.
• Call to action
Now, we must move forward both individually and fraternally. We encourage you
to think carefully about how you invest your time, which is everyone’s most valuable
asset, and we ask that you use your time on programs and actions that are uniquely
Masonic. As we work together, we must ask each other how a program, a meeting, or
an event improves and demonstrates our experience of being a Mason. We have not a
moment to lose.
17
Masonic Information Center
8120 Fenton Street
Silver Spring MD 20910-4785
Tel: 301-588-4010, Fax: 301-608-3457
email: [email protected]
- Sahsima ozel mesaj atmadan once Yonetim Hiyerarsisini izleyerek ilgili yoneticiler ile gorusunuz.
- Masonluk hakkinda ozel mesaj ile bilgi, yardim ve destek sunulmamaktadir.
- Sorunuz ve mesajiniz hangi konuda ise o konudan sorumlu gorevli yada yonetici ile gorusunuz. Sahsim, butun cabalarinizdan sonra gorusmeniz gereken en son kisi olmalidir.
- Sadece hicbir yoneticinin cozemedigi yada forumda asla yazamayacaginiz cok ozel ve onemli konularda sahsima basvurmalisiniz.
- Masonluk ve Masonlar hakkinda bilgi almak ve en onemlisi kisisel yardim konularinda tarafima dogrudan ozel mesaj gonderenler cezalandirilacaktir. Bu konular hakkinda gerekli aciklama forum kurallari ve uyelik sozlesmesinde yeterince acik belirtilmsitir.


 

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