By Wor.Bro Clive Herron

  I think it’s fair to say that most of us when asked the question  “WHAT DO FREEMASONS DO” break out into a cold sweat. The best way to approach the subject is to have a clear understanding of what Masonry is. If we are to encourage others to join we cannot be vague about what we are, what we stand for and what we do. It is essential that we have a clear picture of Freemasonry and that we are able to articulate this.

  As Freemasons we are not an association or a club. Freemasonry was never instituted to be a service club. We do not gather to have a good time (although that may be one of the side benefits we enjoy). There are sports Clubs and Service clubs to fulfil the needs of those wishing to become involved  in such activities. Freemasonry cannot hope to compete with Lions or Rotary, we are not the same product.

  Freemasonry is not a pastime; nor a mere amusement. It is an active living principal formed and perfected over the centauries.

  Unlike Lions or Rotary which perform a strictly charitable and worthwhile function in the community, Freemasonry could be considered as being somewhat selfish – for it is about putting ourselves FIRST, finding our place, our responsibilities, carrying out our obligations thereby creating a better world and society, demonstrating honesty, charity, and brotherly love. We join Freemasonry to improve ourselves . Freemasonry is a school. We come here to know ourselves first of all and then to know our neighbour. We come here to educate ourselves, to search together for the way towards man’s perfection.

  Freemasonry then can best be summarised as follows:

  We are a complex body of men acknowledging the existence of one God the Creator of the Universe, seeking to improve ourselves spiritually bound together as a brotherhood, meeting and learning as equals, involved in labour, linked together in harmony and enjoying the fellowship of each other’s company. All this we do in the firm belief that through masonry we can promote UNDERSTANDING, PEACE, LOVE and HARMONY an ideal to which all good men aspire.

Quite a mouthful and better demonstrated by our actions rather than words.

Freemasonry teaches us that the most important part of life lies in the discharge of our duties toward God and our fellow man. Our objective is totally different to the service clubs. Freemasonry illustrates through the ritual and its symbols a form of Morality aimed at making the world a better place and is adopted by each individual according to his own particular spiritual needs

      ·        A Freemason strives to be moral and ethical.

·         He strives to show justice, act honourably, and be loyal.

·         A Freemason teaches and practices concern for people.

·         He cares for the less fortunate, and helps those in need.

·         And all this is done irrespective of cultural or ethnic background.

·         Irrespective of religious beliefs or any difference in social standing.

So through the use of Allegories we are taught – that  we are developing a Temple – The Temple represents ourselves, our bodies and our inner spiritual being.

Let us reflect on the legend of Solomon's Temple, it's conception, the builders and the materials, even the ornamentation. You will see that there is a lot that goes into building a Temple.

You must have a concept.
You must devise a plan.
You must find a suitable location to build.
You must find the right time to build.
You must prepare the ground for a foundation.
You must select suitable materials for a foundation.
You must select capable workers to prepare your foundation.
You must make certain the foundation sure and sound.
You must select the materials to build with.
You must see that the materials are assembled.
You must have the materials delivered to the job site.
You must have suitable and skilled workers to build your Temple, from the rough carpentry to the fine finish work.

Fail in any one of these areas and your Temple will not stand and if by miracle it does it will look like hell. The Temple we are building is a symbol of a mans character and therefore breaks and falls when the soul,( its architect),  is helpless. All the planning that went into Solomon’s Temple must go into ours.

We are building a Temple which is the unification and the harmonising of the entire human family through the development of ourselves. We are building a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens and it must be built on a sound foundation. 

We are the architects, we are the surveyors, we are the weather watchers, we are the ones who dig the foundation, we are the ones who select the materials, we are the ones who haul the materials, we are the builders.

You are all roles from Solomon and the Hirams to the workers. You are the one’s to make it all happen.

This is no easy task. As committed Masons you have had learn to think in new ways and you learn new skills. You have had to discover muscles you never thought you had in your labours

And the Gold, that will finally ornament your Temple, is rarely found on the surface. You must dig and dig to get at it. Then you must refine it before you can apply it. This suggests the last part of the work can be as hard as the start, in other words, it will not always be easy. As with the workers on Solomon’s Temple your regular attendance to your labour is expected. No craftsman can expect reward without fulfilling his tasks

Each step of the way will make you better, stronger and wiser, if you can just see through and when you are finished you will have a Temple that is eternal.

Figuratively speaking, as Masons, you will get hot, tired, sweaty, stinky, smelly, dirty, cut, bruised and callused before you are through. That is providing you are willing to see it through. And when you do get through you will be assured that the pencil, that tool, which symbolically reminded you  that all your words, and actions were truly observed and recorded by the Almighty Architect, will be your just reward

So what are the qualities a mason requires in the 21st Century?

King Solomon tells us in Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he;” Our thoughts are the bricks we use to build our spiritual temples, we are the aggregate of our thoughts – good and bad.

We are living in a world today that is locked in a struggle between good and evil. The outcome of this struggle will determine what type of a person we are.

Moral issues greet us each morning in the newspapers and bid us farewell with the evening news. We are bombarded with issues such as:

·        Is euthanasia right or wrong or are there conditions?

·        Are same sex marriages acceptable?

·        Drugs are being legalised

·        Alcohol and gambling are destroying family life

·        Abortion is available on demand

·        Child Abuse – wife bashing

·        Pornography

·        HIV and AIDS

·        Exploitation

·        Poverty

We are passing through a period of moral and spiritual depression. Is time that we as Freemasons rose up to the occasion and averted the great dangers that lay ahead?

For us this should be a modern crusade.

Dealing with moral issues is often perplexing. How exactly do YOU think through these issues?

·        What questions should we ask?

·        What factors should we consider?

·        Or do we just take them for granted.

 Freemasons are expected to follow a strict code of morality.

Our thoughts define us, we must be very careful as to their selection as they are the bricks we put into our edifice. Once these are cemented into place they become very hard to remove and replace should they prove defective. We ultimately become these thoughts and they stay with us for good or ill and ridding the ill ones can be very painful and difficult.

If we are not careful we can damage or scar our minds and the result is a poor building setting a poor example. In computer parlance - poor intake, bad output. This is the result of hate, spite and wilful ignorance.

Before this gets too long, here's where I'm going with it.

Freemasonry is nothing more than a word, a proper noun. The body of Masons bring meaning to the word and so Freemasonry is the sum total of the thoughts and deeds of individual Masons

All the good and great things Freemasonry is known for is the result of single individuals and the aggregate of their thoughts, their good Character.

All of the ills of Freemasonry, the issues of membership, their quality,  the shortcomings on all sides are also the result of single individuals and the aggregate of their thoughts and their Character.

There are no answers outside of ourselves as the problems are not outside us, individually or collectively. All evil is Man made NOT a single evil was created by God. The "good" or the "bad" is  built inside each and everyone of us, and then as we take our place in this larger Masonic edifice called Freemasonry, the good and the bad is built right into the fabric of Freemasonry.

Today there are good men out there shouting “MASONRY WHERE ARE YOU” Listen carefully My Brothers – WE NEED THOSE MEN. My hope is that we find them and together search our hearts and minds to chip away the rough and superfluous stone and that we do not look upon ourselves and others as unworthy - but rather as work in progress.

I came across the following quotation – the author is unknown

Don’t say we are weak! When God gives us a mission he also gives us the power to fulfil it. Don’t say that we are few. They were only twelve … the apostles who reformed the world