Challenges Of The 21st
By Worshipful Brother
Frederic L. Milliken
If We Are To Grow and if we are to meet
the challenges of the 21st Century, we must have a national approach for
Have you talked to today’s generation lately?
I am referring to someone who was born say in
1990. Have you noticed what kind of values they hold, their idealism, what
they will not put up with, how they communicate? Do they seem to hold a higher
level of tolerance and a much less judgmental attitude from their fathers and
Here is an article from 1988. The bold section
has been added by this writer.
The Bee Hive is indebted to Canadian Brother
Wayne Anderson for another great article. Brother Anderson operates a weekly
Masonic Newsletter. Each Sunday he sends out a new article.
To get on Brother Anderson’s list, at no cost,
E-Mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
DEALING WITH OUR MASONIC DESTINATIONS
by Francis G. Paul Sovereign Grand Commander
AASR Northern Masonic Jurisdiction
THE NORTHERN LIGHT November 1988
“Obstacles are those frightful things you
see,” someone wrote, “when you take your eyes off your goals.”
One of the best, most efficient ways to
stay where you are or even go backward is to focus on the obstacles. They are
the distractions that keep us from becoming the best we can – both personally
and as a fraternity.
When you and I take a risk, we test
ourselves. When we decide to solve a problem, we face the possibility of
failure. When we step out to break new ground, we know the voices of the
critics will be raised. Safety is certain, at least for awhile, if we do
Yet, Masonry teaches us to be dissatisfied
– discontent – with the status quo. Freemasonry challenges us to reach for the
ideals of justice, brotherly love, and improvement – individually and as a
In its annual report to the Supreme Council
in September, the Committee on the General State of the Rite broke new ground.
While applauding our many successes, the committee urges us to set our eyes on
our destinations, our goals.
Race and ethnic groups. “This committee
carefully searched our constitutions and ritual,” the report reads, “finding
nothing to indicate that we should deprive membership in our fraternity to any
man because of race, color or creed.” Pointing out that this is indeed a
difficult subject, yet it is one “that has been avoided for too many years.”
The report continues, “It is the
committee’s opinion that unadmitted, residual racial bias hurts us, sapping
our strength, and depriving us of men with strong leadership ability.”
Although long overdue, the Supreme Council
has elected the first black member to receive the 33rd degree at our next
annual meeting. “In today’s society, we can no longer ‘stone-wall’ this vital
issue if we really intend to practice what we preach – brotherly love – in
this wonderful nation of people with many and diverse origins,” states the
Sovereignty of the Grand Lodges. Noting
that the framers of our U.S. Constitution recognized that the survival of the
young nation depended on a balance of authority between the individual states
and a federal government, the committee indicates that “there is a lesson to
be learned” for our fraternity.
The committee has stepped forward
with a call for “some central governance group – a policy-setting body with
executive power to provide cohesive, coordinated management of the total
If we are to grow and if we are to
meet the challenges of today and those of the 21st century, we must have a
national approach for Freemasonry.
Penalties of the obligations and balloting.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that thinking candidates are having
trouble giving honest assent to the current penalties contained in the
obligations,” reports the committee. “Oaths required deal with ‘ancient’
penalties which are obsolete, unbelievable, unacceptable and simply not
relevant in today’s society.”
Oaths taken anywhere on a Bible are not
“symbolic.” Our credibility as a fraternity suffers when we attempt to
“explain away” our ancient Masonic penalties. As a result, the committee urges
all Bodies of Freemasonry to commence an “orderly rewrite and substitution of
the onerous penalties in the various obligations of our order. “
Finally, the committee addressed the
balloting issue. “With our prevailing procedures of admitting new members only
by unanimous, favorable ballot, we leave too much room for private pique and
spite, all of which serves to deny true liberty and justice.” In order to
rectify this situation, the committee has called for the Supreme Council to
amend its Constitutions to require three negative votes to reject a candidate
for all of our degrees, and urges all Masonic Bodies to give this suggestion
For men whose eyes are on the goals, there
are no obstacles, just opportunities to lead the way. The committee report
received a standing ovation. Evidently, we are ready to move forward.
We may never achieve perfection, but we can
find more perfect ways for justice, brotherly love, and improvement to prevail
in Freemasonry – and the world. When you think about it, the only frightful
obstacle is our unwillingness to act on our Masonic ideals.
Anderson, FCF, MPS
Alle Menschen Werden Brueder
If Freemasonry is to gain wide acceptance among
the current generation and the next it needs to do two important things.
- Communicate using today’s technology
- Have the same purpose, values, virtues and
principles throughout the entire nation
Today’s high tech generation living in the
highly mobile society of the Information Age is no longer grounded in one
state. The days of a family tracing back its ancestry to the same town in the
same state are long gone. The days of the Moon Lodge and most Freemasons
walking to Lodge are also extinct. Today’s American thinks country not state
moving many times to different regions of America.
Today’s generation and future generations will
not join Freemasonry if there is a segment that discriminates against African
Americans or turns its nose up to non Christians or shuns the foreign
THE IDEALS OF FREEMASONRY ARE UNIVERSAL BUT
THE AMERICAN PRACTICE IS PAROCHIAL.
The words of Sovereign Grand Commander Paul 34
years ago are here reiterated:
The committee has stepped forward with a
call for “some central governance group – a policy-setting body with executive
power to provide cohesive, coordinated management of the total Masonic
If we are to grow and if we are to meet the
challenges of today and those of the 21st century, we must have a national
approach for Freemasonry.
The South did not become integrated by leaving
it up to the states. Federal enforcement became necessary. If Freemasonry is
to meet the expectations of the current and future generations it must put a
stop to racial discrimination, expulsions without a good reason and without a
Masonic trial, overbearing Grand Lodge mandates, requirements that exclude,
overly moralistic prohibitions against alcohol, gambling and independent
Masonic thought & expression and intrusions into the private lives of
American Freemasonry must think American, be
American and in the process insist that certain basic requirements and
practices are met everywhere, otherwise the practice ceases to be Freemasonry.
We must have a national approach to Freemasonry as Paul suggests. American
Freemasonry needs to be Universally
American not Parochial. The
parts of American Freemasonry that do not live up to Freemasonry’s ideals
cannot be allowed to drag down the reputation of the good parts that practice
true Universal Freemasonry.
We have allowed 51 fiefdoms, under the
tradition of non interference into another jurisdiction’s affairs, to corrupt
Freemasonry in some quarters thereby resulting in versions of Freemasonry that
are no longer Freemasonry. They call themselves Freemasonry but they have so
distorted the basic principles of the Craft as to be actually practicing some
sort of heresy.
To that end some sort of national enforcement
is necessary. The bureaucracy of a National Grand Lodge would be fraught with
the same cronyism and ineptitude that is indicative of many jurisdictions. The
vehicle of enforcement is already in place, The conference of Grand Masters.
This Conference could, insisting on a two thirds majority, codify basic
cornerstones of American Masonic beliefs and practices. This would not
interfere with the sovereignty of each state jurisdiction. The affairs of
state would be administered by the individual states. But the overall
cornerstone upon which the rest of American Freemasonry rests would now be the
same from state to state.
Those jurisdictions who refused to comply with
the two thirds rulings of The Conference of Grand Masters, remembering here we
are only talking about basic cornerstone beliefs and practices, would be
declared clandestine and Recognition
of them would be removed. There would then be only one version of Freemasonry
in the United States, American Freemasonry, governed by 51 jurisdictions.
American Freemasonry needs to liberate itself
from the confines of CONTROLLED THOUGHT AND ABUSIVE POWER. It
must police itself before it turns off future prospects who will look upon the
corruptions of Freemasonry with disgust.