Freemasonry is
Is Masonry relevant?

The 21st century has turned out to be an era of colossal changes – globalisation, artificial intelligence, space exploration, social media, and the expansion of private enterprise which have seen growth of unprecedented proportions.

In spite of these great advancements, the new millennium has also presented us with an escalating number of challenges – social divide, terrorist attacks, political unrest, and an alarming increase in the frequency of natural disasters. These events have all had a radically transformative effect on the economic, political and ecological systems on a global scale. We are living in the midst of a rapidly changing world.

It’s often been said that change is what makes the world go around. Energy in motion permeates the entire universe, causing a state of constant transformation. As a consequence of this universal law, the human race continues its dynamic forward march perpetually transitioning from a state of lesser complexity, into a state of greater complexity. In a nutshell, as our inner and outer realities change, the world as we once knew it, is no more.

This brings us to the question:
After enduring 300 years of time has Freemasonry evolved enough to make it relevant to a new generation of young men in 2019?

The answer is beyond the deceptive veil impressed upon our senses by the wonders of this fast changing information age. In order to gain an appropriate degree of perspective, it is necessary to delve into a deeper source by exploring the very essence of human nature.

Emotional needs are inherent in all human beings. In order for a man to achieve a degree of self actualisation, his emotional needs, those that are a part of his essence, must be satisfied first. It is due in part to Masonry’s proven ability to fulfil the finer needs of man, which has enabled its resilience to the passing of time, ultimately cementing its staying power.

Freemasonry is a selective institution where not everyone is accepted; unless of course the applicant is willing to prove himself as a man under the tongue of good report. Once he’s received, the new member is granted access to a world-wide fraternity which honours the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. It is this noteworthy aspect of membership which fulfils a young man’s intrinsic need to belong; particularly to something that’s important and worthwhile.

Freemasonry provides a young man with the opportunity to establish longlasting friendships with like-minded individuals. Having this type of bond with fellow members reassures the new mason that should he ever feel the need to turn to someone for advice, he can do so at any time by confiding in one of his brethren. It is this aspect of membership which fulfils some of the other innate desires in man, namely: the need to be sociable, while experiencing a feeling of safety in his environment.

Just as importantly, Freemasonry equips a young man with the necessary tools to improve all aspects of his character. The masonic system enables the member to rid himself of some of his less favorable traits by improving his weaknesses; and it also facilitates a deeper understanding of who he is by refining his strengths. The process is transformational and enlightening , conducive to a journey towards self-actualisation, which gradually becomes a mason’s ultimate destination.

These are only a few of several transcendent and unconditional qualities which set the institution of Freemasonry apart from the rest.

Some people may say ‘all of this sounds very appealing , but... what type of specific knowledge can a young man expect to obtain from Masonry which makes it strictly unique, and could not be found anywhere else?

By becoming a mason a young man can expect to have access to a type of knowledge that is unaffected by the passing of time.

He may expect to learn that... Masonry is universal.

Masonry knows no creed, race or colour. The tenets of liberty, equality and fraternity which Masonry advocates and champions know no bounds. These proverbial axioms embrace all cultures and transverse every geographical line; promulgating a genuine sense of brotherhood amongst all nations. And although Masonry is neither a religion nor a substitute for one, the Craft acknowledges the significance of all religions, grasping their corresponding qualities, unifying their variances; but yet remains impartial to all. It counts within its circle Jews, Muslims, Christians and Hindus amongst many others. Freemasonry’s embracive nature also makes it equally welcoming to those men who are not necessarily creed bound, but who being true to their conscience, will only profess a belief in a Supreme Being. The abbreviation GAOTU, meaning the Great Architect of The Universe, truly is a most egalitarian, unbiased and integrating expression. The term is non denominational, allowing each mason the right to follow the spiritual path he so chooses.

A young man may also expect to learn that... Masonry is educational.

One of Masonry’s principal facets is the applicability of its wise philosophies to everyday life. The Craft inculcates morality by encouraging its members to be ethical in all their undertakings. It instills charity by emphasizing the existing interdependence and common ground of all mankind. The lessons are imparted in their purest form, proclaimed unpretentiously, and demonstrated with candor. The charges and lectures are sources of great inspiration, motivating each initiate to furnish favourable contributions toward society, making it a better place for every one to live in. Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of thought are the three timeless precepts which rest on the cornerstone of the masonic foundation, ever ready to obliterate the imminent threat from humanity’s three principal enemies, namely: ignorance, fanaticism and tyranny. Its rituals are the channel which transmits this timeless knowledge, making the essence discernable. Such rituals play a fundamental role in keeping the flame alive. The masonic system of communication is expressed through symbols, an idiom that is comprehensible in all of the world’s languages, and decipherable by all initiates, enabling each mason to derive benefits from the teachings in proportion to his individual capacity.

Since the inception of The Grand Lodge of England, Freemasonry has progressively become an organised, policy making body. The essence infused the substance giving it identity, the spirit acquired form making it intelligible, and the foundation which had been laid in centuries gone by gave rise to a superstructure. For three hundred years the Craft has disseminated its ancient wisdom the world over. This perennial knowledge has been transmitted from the homely repose of its temples of instruction, those distinctive dwellings we commonly refer to as ‘the lodge.’ It is at the lodge where each mason is extended the privilege to partake of its mysteries, and it is there where he learns that such invaluable ancient knowledge truly is time transcendent.

Since time immemorial the essence of Masonry has lived and breathed in the heart of mankind. From that defining, enlightening moment when man first became aware of his consciousness and developed a sense of self, the torch of Masonry rose and soared; emerging as an inextinguishable beacon of light for all seekers of truth to revere and follow.

This essay was written by father and son Brian Louis and Brian Lawrence Chaytor, of Claude M Kent Lodge No 681, Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Article extracted from Freemason magazine, June 2019, pages 14 and 15.

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