On The Level Podcast

The Essence and Ethics of Freemasonry: Illuminating Brotherhood, Belief, and Our Place in Society

January 27, 2024 Christopher Burns Season 2 Episode 14
On The Level Podcast
The Essence and Ethics of Freemasonry: Illuminating Brotherhood, Belief, and Our Place in Society
On The Level Podcast
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Embark on a thought-provoking journey with us as we explore the foundations and ethical quandaries of Freemasonry, navigating through its global brotherhood to the very essence of what it means to be a Mason. Our conversation begins by shedding light on the significance of the term "Mason" itself and the Fellow Craft tools, a foundational part of the Masonic experience. Our mailbag segment brings warmth and camaraderie to the forefront with a touching message from Past Master Campbell Tuhee of Canada, sparking a dialogue about the varying Masonic practices around the world. And we don't shy away from the tricky topics; listener Jared D Valdez's insights on marketing and outreach within the fraternity push us to reflect on the importance of these efforts in maintaining our revered institution.

As we delve deeper, we tackle the delicate balance between personal belief systems and the collective moral compass that Masonry provides. How do these influences shape our societal roles, and can the structured virtues within the Craft align with the subjectivity of individual morality? These are the questions we wrestle with, considering whether Masonic expectations resonate with a higher, transcendent standard. The art of debate is not lost on us as we delve into the robust discussions that occur within the walls of Masonic lodges, championing the pursuit of enlightenment both personal and communal.

Lastly, we confront the misconceptions and stigmas that too often cloud the reputation of Freemasonry, drawing a firm line between our values and those of unrelated political entities. We unpack the allure of Masonic secrecy and its misunderstood nature, sharing personal stories to illuminate the beauty of our tradition amid external skepticism. Navigating the sensitive terrain of political morality and the divisiveness in American politics today, we strive for understanding and unity—goals that transcend our Masonic brotherhood and extend into the communities we serve. Join us for an immersive episode that promises to challenge, enlighten, and unify.

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Speaker 1:

Hey Chris, yeah, fred, what's a Mason? That's a really good question, fred.

Speaker 2:

You've reached the internet's home for all things masonry.

Speaker 1:

Join Chris and I as we plumb the depths of our ancient craft, from the common gavel to the trowel. Nothing is off the table, so grab your tools and let's get to work. This is On the Level. Well, that's a good question, fred. Well, we are back once again, chris. How's it going, man? It's good, good.

Speaker 2:

It's early, as always, when we're here recording, but I slept well last night and I was up early and we got a surprise visitor in the office from another mason who just saw us recording in our new studio here on D-Ridge.

Speaker 1:

That's right, that's because our old landlord kicked us out, but our new landlord is pretty awesome, Pretty awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and we have video starting this episode. We were, with our new setup, we're able to actually have videos, so we're shouting out to the people on YouTube that are watching this. Not sure how I feel about that, chris, I have a face for radio. So this is going to be a new thing and I did forget my hat.

Speaker 1:

Typically, when I make appearances, I like to wear a hat, for obvious reason. I've got a wishful master's hat in my car.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I wear my master's hat.

Speaker 1:

I can't do that in the headphones at the same time. That'd be cool. Just put it over the headphones. Hey, guess what?

Speaker 2:

Hi-tech cowboy.

Speaker 1:

We have some emails, man, to read, as promised, as promised, and we got a bunch of them actually. But I want to start off. I want to read this one, just because it's just super encouraging. So this is from Campbell Tuhee, who's from Canada, our brother's up in the Great White North, little hoser and he says he says greeting brethren, greeting brethren from Canada. I'm a past master who enjoys ritual work done to perfection, man after my own heart. One of the parts I do is the junior warden charge. The other night I was curious if there was a podcast that may provide education on the EA and I newly discovered your podcast. Great job. Thank you, sir. Appreciate that. I'm thoroughly enjoying your episodes. I was even more excited when I learned that Sarasota Lodge number 147 was doing an EA degree on February 21st, the day I arrive in Sarasota for vacation. Are you kidding?

Speaker 2:

me, he's coming, he's coming, we're going to meet him, oh wow.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Looking forward to that Campbell Big time. I'm going to be at different lodges while on vacation and plan on attending the mighty 147 on February 21st. I'm contacting your secretary to arrange a visit. Nice, Keep up the good work and stay on the level.

Speaker 2:

And Campbell you, absolutely, we absolutely will.

Speaker 1:

He's from Rising Sun, number 85, st Lawrence district, under the Grand Lodge of Ontario. So, campbell, can't wait to see you. Brother, come on down. That's awesome. I'm the Tyler, so I will be the one greeting you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, isn't that awesome. I'm not in that degree, but I think I'm going to do the lectures, so he'll get to see both of us in action in one shape or form. And I'm curious what the junior warden charges. We don't have that in Florida. We'll have to ask him about that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, ok, right, what is the?

Speaker 2:

junior warden charge.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's so cool that we are a global fraternity from different countries and stuff and it's kind of cool to think that was crazy. The basics, the foundations, are the same, but there's all kinds of cool different. You know nuances to it, so, yeah, that'll be fun, don't? You got one?

Speaker 2:

I just have to make a comment.

Speaker 1:

Oh, rabbit holes, uh-oh.

Speaker 2:

I glanced up and I could swear that I was looking at a shirt that had E-Walks with guns. And now, as I'm looking at it, I see it's actually bears. You got bears with guns.

Speaker 1:

It's Alaska man. It's my Alaskan teacher.

Speaker 2:

I thought you were a nerd and had like a star horse.

Speaker 1:

E-Walk shirt. One of my goals in life is to go to Alaska for an extended period of time.

Speaker 2:

You can make a pit stop in Canada, in Canada this is my brother's lodge.

Speaker 1:

Well, you will. If you're driving, you definitely will make a pit stop in Canada.

Speaker 2:

I do. I have an email we received from Jared D Valdez, nice, and he is from Pennsylvania and he says brothers, fred and Chris wanted to drop a note and say that I'm loving the podcast Excellent choice and topics and production, audio quality Props. And shout out to Fred Thank you, sir, he's really dialed it now. You guys have been my workout companions this week.

Speaker 1:

Nice.

Speaker 2:

You two make a good team. I really appreciate the podcast that you did that touched on marketing and outreach. We'd love to see you go deeper on that topic in the future and perhaps on ideas for social events both inside and outside the lodge. Keep up the good work, fraternally, jared, so that's interesting. This is another state, pennsylvania.

Speaker 1:

Pennsylvania is still north. You know, we are in Florida, so everything is north to us.

Speaker 2:

He's probably just a few hours drive from the last brother that sent us an email, but that's interesting because that particular podcast is one of the lowest listen to ones that we have. I thought there was an interest in it, but it sounds like there is, so we'd be more than happy to go into more on that topic. Absolutely, yeah, that's one of our passions. Man Believe that if you go to Grand Lodge this year, you might see us possibly at Grand Lodge in multiple functions.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we weren't going to bring this up, but since Chris has brought it up, we might have a booth at Grand Lodge this year at the convention and trying to do some live simulcasting and stuff. So stay tuned, stay tuned, we'll see how that goes. Yes, I'm excited about that. We've also been rumored that we are asked to say some things on the big stage, possibly. We'll see how that goes. Of course, give me the stage. You know me, I will take the stage and it will be my stage, but anyway, I believe this.

Speaker 2:

What Jared's asking about, which is the marketing and outreach?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's in Florida.

Speaker 2:

This is the second year that the Grand Lodge has got an official program, which started at the mighty 147. Grown throughout the state, and so I've been on a committee at Grand Lodge to try to get the word out about this and help Lodge's increase their membership, and reached out to our current Grand Master who said they have a light schedule so he might let us present the program to everybody at Grand Lodge this year. So please, even if you weren't going to come, any member of Florida that's a master Mason is allowed to go to the Grand Lodge session, so it's not just for masters and wardens. Come out.

Speaker 1:

Yes, right.

Speaker 2:

You know you'll get to see us podcasting out there, probably, and you might see us on the big stage ruining our reputations in front of everybody in Florida.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Okay, so getting back to business.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Last episode we talked about Fellow Craft. We said that that was part one, this being by default part two, part three.

Speaker 2:

Oh right, lessons. Math is hard, it is early, I've either had too much coffee or not enough coffee.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, lessons from the Fellow Craft, part two. We left off on the plum, as one of the three working tools of a fellow craft Mason being the plum, let me read from the the manual mentors manual and see if we can kick off a decent conversation concerning that. Okay, I keep forgetting that we are actually being filmed as well. Yeah, it's not really film, it's digital.

Speaker 2:

But we call it film, just like we call it radio Recording. This is not radio Video recorded.

Speaker 1:

It's being video recorded. That's right.

Speaker 2:

Find the proper camera, all right.

Speaker 1:

So here you go. This is from GL 217, which is the mentors manual from Florida, from Grand Lodge in Florida, and it says the plum is a symbol of uprightness of conduct. Infremasonry is associated with the plum line which the Lord promised Amos he would set in the midst of his people, israel, symbolizing his standard of divine righteousness. The plum line in the midst of a people should mean that they will be judged by their own sense of right and wrong and not by the standard of others. Freemasons understanding the plum are to judge each brother by his own standards and not those of another. And the plum line is thought of in this way. It becomes a symbol of upright life and of the conscience by which each must live. Now, that's a little wordy there, but there's a little something in there that I think is worth discussing, and that is that the plum line in the midst of the people should mean that they will be judged by their own sense of right and wrong and not by the standard of others. Freemasons understanding the plum Freemasons understanding the plum, are to judge each brother by his own standards and not by those of another. So for me, I'm thinking that each, we all, have a standard that we set ourselves. It's the square of virtue, right? And then which is a set of actual virtues right? Here's how I and I think I've said this in a plum line before this is the way I look at it. You tell me if I'm crazy and if it lines up with that or not.

Speaker 2:

You're crazy.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. So the square is the sorry, the plum is the standard that I set. And that standard is for me, as a Christian, the standard is obviously the scriptures. So for me it's pretty simple my standard is already set and that's the standard that I live for. And then the square, of course, is that standard applied. So for me, that sense of righteousness or right living so don't be afraid of that word, righteousness, it means right living. That's my standard, that I have is set and I do my best to live by that standard of right living. What do you think about that?

Speaker 2:

So do you think it means that each of us individually should make our? Own, See now, that's the conversation, I think right, or is it saying that masons should live by their own moral code? Right, so is there irrespective of like, maybe the morality of the age that we live in.

Speaker 1:

Well, here's what it doesn't say. I don't think it says that masonry as a fraternity has a standard, that has a standard that it issues to masons when they come in necessarily Right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but I guess it has many standards. You know, we've got this digest of Masonic law that's 800 billion words long. Right, You've got a mentors manual, which you know. There's an etiquette book that tells you how to act properly. So it tells us a lot about how we're supposed to behave and act as men in society. So I'm torn on that because I think maybe I could see both sides of that.

Speaker 1:

Sure Sure.

Speaker 2:

The individual. Because you're saying you've got your own morals, that you've got from your personal religious beliefs. That's right. And then you know Brother Wade has his own set of morals from his personal religious beliefs, and so each of you should live according to what you said there, the standard that you set for yourself, correct. I also see that Masonry has a minimum kind of expectation for us as Masons. It does tell us how we're supposed to behave towards each other, towards the weak, towards the infirm, towards the sick, the kind of charity we're supposed to do for other people. It does have a lot that is directing us to do and behave. So maybe it's talking about us behaving like Masons in the world, and maybe you live in a country or in a town or a city where there's a lot of crime, maybe there's a lot of immorality happening, and so it's telling you to live like a Mason regardless of the situation around you. But I think behaving like a Mason and behaving like a Christian or behaving like a Buddhist aren't at odds with each other. In fact it could be the same thing.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think that right. So we're brushing up against the argument of relative truth. My truth is my truth, your truth is your truth. Well, yes. However, it's always wrong to torture five-year-olds for fun. That's always wrong. I don't care what religion you come from.

Speaker 2:

I'm not for fun. Right, there needs to be a reason. You're torturing a sider, so that statement is extreme.

Speaker 1:

I use an extreme statement to prove a point, but the point is that there is a standard. There is a universal standard. Now, we can argue about where it drops and where it rises, but there is a standard. Me taking your lunch from you because I'm bigger than you is always going to be wrong, but now there could be a guy that comes in and says well, my standard says that that's OK, it's survival of the fittest.

Speaker 2:

That's where I get a little with the individual standard thing. That's where I get a little scared about that. Because, who knows what people's individual? It tends to be low by default. People don't want to live up to a high standard and people are lazy and some of them are Mason. So I'm a little scared about what somebody's personal morality is.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and having to respect that Sure, and that's why I was somewhat relieved when I came into Masonry and I saw that if you dig in a little bit you'll find that the virtues, the seven virtues of Masonry, which came from well, some of it comes from scripture the first three are certainly found in the Book of Corinthians, but anyway and the vices as well, are known as the seven deadly sins. That's where it derives its original meaning from. So for me, the standards were already kind of familiar to me and set in place, and I don't know anybody who's going to disagree with those. I'm going to have to look at them a little cross. I'm going to say well, hold on, man, what part of don't steal or what part of any of this is a problem for you, right, I mean? So there is a standard for right living, loosely defined as the vices and superfluidities and the virtues. That's a standard.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and what you read? There is a passage out of the Old Testament that talks about God giving Amos this the prophet explanation that I, god, will set a plumb line. So in reality, he's saying I'm giving you the standard. And now we're going to have to live by this and you guys are going to have to make sure that you focus on this and not any other standards Correct. So in reality, I guess you could say that the standard came from God that we're all supposed to live by, and those standards are going to include not doing those seven deadly sins, and it will include the principles of faith, morality, charity, brotherly love, all of these things that masonry has in it that it gets from.

Speaker 1:

God Correct. So the ultimate standard, of course, is, if you believe in God as creator and grand architect of all things and sustainer, then all of that does have to originate with him, because he was the first. And as Christians, from a theological standpoint, it's more of who he is, not what he demands of us. He is simply conveying to us his essence and his being. God never murders and he doesn't steal, he doesn't gossip. These are things that this is who he is, and as his creatures. he wants, demands in some cases, us to live according to that way. Now we all know that we cannot perfectly live that way, and that gets into some theology there that we'll skip that for now and move on to something else.

Speaker 2:

But I think when we go to the great catechism in heaven, hopefully it's proficiency and not perfection that they're looking for.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and there's a great conversation right there as well. But again, I think this is probably the beginning, could be the beginnings of a great debate and conversation going forward the plumb line. I mean, I think we all need to. As masons, we need to sit down and talk about what are these standards of right living and how do we live them. Because, at bottom, masonry is a system of morality veiled in allegory and taught or illuminated through symbolism. So it's a system of morality. Well, morality speaks of a standard. There has to be a standard. So where is that standard? That is the crux of the debate, that I think healthy masonic lodges should sit down and have Well, we are not a healthy masonic lodge.

Speaker 2:

We are a podcast. And so I think what we should do is get a couple of brothers in here that represent various faiths that would be awesome and all represent the masonic values, and we can bring up the masonic values and then discuss them amongst the different representatives of the faiths.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that would be powerful.

Speaker 2:

Well, what do you think? What do you think?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, anybody out there who's listening?

Speaker 2:

man Does it really conflict with Freemasonry. Really, let's get them together and see.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say that anybody who's listening, who would want to be a part of that conversation, man, just shoot us an email. I don't have no idea how we'd set that up at this point. Well, it serves so many good purposes.

Speaker 2:

I mean one we had the conversation of. Should you talk about religion at all?

Speaker 1:

as Masonists.

Speaker 2:

And I think we determine both of us Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely you should.

Speaker 2:

As long as you handle the conversation masonically, with gentleness and respect for all, correct, and if you can't do that, don't come to the show.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, right, yeah, you're not going to last long. Oh, we have an email from that guy, so, yeah, we'll talk about that later. That guy is an idiot.

Speaker 2:

The other purpose I think it can serve is there's so much stuff on the internet about how Freemasonry is evil and satanic and you can't be a. Christian and a Mason and be those two things don't jive. So it serves as an opportunity for us to really put what are the values of Freemasonry up against the values of religion publicly See what people think about that. We're not giving away any of the secrets. No, we're not giving away any secrets, so I guess you could sit there and say well, they didn't talk about the secrets, and that's where the bad stuff is Right, they can't do anything about that.

Speaker 1:

And that's where they go. Here's a good rabbit hole. My youngest son came down from North Carolina with his wife. They got married less than a year ago and I just love them to death. Especially my daughter-in-law is awesome man. She is the perfect woman for my son. It couldn't be a more suitable spouse for this young man, yeah, yeah, yeah, she keeps him in line, keeps him in line big time and I love it. I love it. But so my youngest son, Danny. He was concerned when he heard that I had become a Mason.

Speaker 2:

Oh really, oh, yes, yes, and he's a and he's a. Is that about Christian?

Speaker 1:

He is. He's a Christian, he's a youth pastor and he does music in churches as well up in North Carolina and very evangelical. We'll leave that for another conversation. Anyway, as a Calvinist and he's an evangelical, it's interesting conversations, but Good, healthy conversations, but interesting indeed. But his first comment was you know, it's just like, well, I mean, I'm just concerned about this Luminati thing, what's going to happen to mom? And I'm like what?

Speaker 2:

are you talking about man? What did he mean?

Speaker 1:

Well, when he was in the Navy, he, just he got honorably discharged from the Navy. He's a submariner and he had a buddy there who claimed to have gone through Freemasonry up to some sort of mythical level of. Freemasonry.

Speaker 2:

They all have that. One person they know that got to the top. I was a 15th degree. They are lizard people. I saw them once I got to that level and he's all of 23 years old. He's a 13th degree, whatever, OK fine.

Speaker 1:

And he's talking about all this crazy stuff, and so my son is like, well, so he looks it up on the internet and goes right to Alex Jones. You know the genius, mr Alex Jones on everything. Alex Jones is simply a stopped clock, he's right. You know, like a stop clock is right twice a day, that's Alex Jones. Every once in a while he's right, but only because he just keeps talking and talking and talking. Eventually, something's going to be right, but he's completely wrong completely backwards about Freemasonry and everybody gets their information from guys like him. You know where it's the Luminati.

Speaker 2:

It gets listeners and viewers. When you talk about us, it gets clicks. We're interesting.

Speaker 1:

But I can tell you this here's the funny part, and this is what I ended up saying to him at the end You're willing. You're concerned about what you heard on the internet from people you don't know. You're concerned about something you heard from a buddy of yours who claims not to be in Masonry any longer. And now you're sitting here face to face with your dad, who is a Mason, and is telling you he's been through it. I'm a third degree master Mason, I've been through it and I'm telling you there's nothing contained therein that conflicts with any of my religious duties or practice at all. It does not. It absolutely does not conflict. And I looked at him and I said, son, you know me Right. You learned the scriptures from me for the laugh of your entire life. So you tell me, would I be led astray by anything?

Speaker 2:

And that Are you gullible?

Speaker 1:

Does he?

Speaker 2:

know you to be an easily fooled man.

Speaker 1:

He knows quite the opposite actually. So I think that's really where he and I kind of came to agreement. He's good with it, he knows me and he knows I would never be taken in by anything but on a grander scale. That's really what I want people to come away with. Look, if you're out there and you think Masonry is some kind of crazy lizard people, satanic goat worshipers why don't you go down to a lodge? They have open houses. We have one every Sunday at 2 PM. Come on down and talk to us and ask us questions. We don't have any sensationalism for you. We don't have any clickbait for you, we're just regular guys that meet regularly to hold each other up and, like we talked about, in a standard of living, in right living, to be better husbands, better fathers, better patriots in our community. Whatever it is man, better employees. That's what we do. It has the secrets, oh, and that's the other thing. He was just then. Why secrets? Why secrets? Yeah?

Speaker 2:

they are obsessed with the secrets being bad.

Speaker 1:

And I told him what I tell everybody because we like it. Well, you know. So I have a similar situation my wife's Ukrainian. Ok.

Speaker 2:

Her parents left Russia when it was still the Soviet Union, Said they lived in communism right.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And they're now clinging to their religion because they're right and they're very obsessed with their right to their religion. So I understand why they're so zealous about it. Get it Totally, get it Right. They think exactly the same way as your son did. He no longer thinks that Mine still do, because I guess I'm the in-law, so I'm coming into the family as an outsider already. Yeah, I'm bringing this baggage of masonry into it and they know so little about it that I was there this Sunday. Yeah, sunday I was there and her sister's in town from now that I won't say her name, she doesn't listen to this podcast, it's fine. She's only like 25, guessing, and they live in Portland and I wasn't there. It was before I got there because I was at an open house. So my wife went early and the topic of freemasonry came up and her sister was like oh, yeah. Yeah, I know those guys. They come into our church sometimes and my wife said I doubt it, I doubt that's true. How do you know they're freemasons? And she said oh, they wear their Proud Boys t-shirts. Oh, jeez, and she said, my wife is now losing it on her family Like they're not the Proud Boys. But that's how little people know about us. They don't even know the difference between.

Speaker 1:

They don't even know about the Proud Boys.

Speaker 2:

Various organizations that exist in the world and how disparate the ideologies are. And so my wife's trying to tell her the difference is, and she's not buying it. She's like, no, no, no, no, these are Christians, they're good people. And she's like not understand that, but they're not masons. Don't conflate those two things, because you're going to have a very wrong opinion about it.

Speaker 1:

When you do Google Proud Boys, when you get around to that Right, and it's just like anything else. They got in the way of the political machine and became something that they're not. I don't support the Proud Boys in any way, don't get me wrong.

Speaker 2:

Anybody that gets involved in the political machine is going to come out bad.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, unless you're toe in the line, they're going to paint you as something you're not.

Speaker 2:

And I don't believe anything what they say. Party you're in doesn't matter. What you believe Doesn't matter. Politics ruins everything, everybody that gets involved, especially.

Speaker 1:

American politics today is such a broken machine it doesn't really matter, and luckily what I see is more and more people out there are beginning to see that, and I don't know if that's going to end up crashing the whole system or revivalizing the whole system.

Speaker 2:

I don't care, but at least it's positive change, you would hope it's cyclical and that we're kind of going off the reservation and someday it'll swing back and we'll be a little more level headed and hopefully that'll get bad enough, we realized, dude, we really do need to sit down and talk to each other. This is getting a little crazy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's right. That's right, and there really are only two political classes. There's the national politicians, who are extremely wealthy and elite, and then there's the rest of us, and they like to pit us against each other so that we don't focus on them. But, I think that's becoming more harder and harder for them to do. So I know that I'm an ex-political junkie man. 10 years ago, man, I was a political hardcore and I knew it all. Man, I worked precincts, I did it all. But I can tell you right now, all of it, every bit of it, having studied it for a decade. It's all a lie, but I don't know how we got down this rail bit hole.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the other point I was going to make is Please do Rescue me from this rabbit hole, brother. His concern was secrets.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, OK, that's right.

Speaker 2:

That also my wife's father. One day we sat down and I asked him point blank what is your issue with Fring, what you know about it, what's your issue? And he had two things. He said do you worship Jesus? And I said yes. And he said oh, you say Jesus? And I said no. And he said then you don't worship Jesus. And I said wrong. A lot of people do and they are Freemasons. But when we pray we don't say names specifically, and that's his problem, that we don't say that name, that particular name, and that is a problem that people have with Freemasonry that are Christians. It is a thing. There's a book out there called 32 Degrees of Lies oh wow, which I read, and this book is written by an ex-Mason who's a Christian. He's a born-again Christian, so he made it. He's a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and apparently at some point converted to Christianity and then he wanted to say Jesus in all of his prayers.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

In Blue Lodge and in Scottish Rite and somebody told him please stop doing that Right. And you and I had this situation happen where we were at a degree practice and I always observed the traditions of Freemasonry, and one of our traditions is before any great or important thing that you do, you should pray, right. So I asked Fred to pray and he prayed his way and he ended it with in Jesus' name, we pray amen. And I looked at him and said, hey, just be careful with that. And he was like don't ask me to pray. Right, that's right and I respect that, then anyone should respect that. Like you, aren't totally entitled to pray however you want, but now I know if we're in a lodge I won't tap you to do it, because I don't want to put you in that position.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because Christians are not allowed to, we're not really permitted to offer generic prayers to generic gods. So there is some.

Speaker 2:

You see where the conflicts really start to come in there. It's not like an ideological problem. It's just like a technical thing of how you do something, listen and the words you use.

Speaker 1:

If everybody accepts everybody at face value, like our buddy Wade who practices Buddhism, I accept him for what he is. I think about it this way my kids used to play a lot of sports on sports teams. Take a soccer team, for instance, and all of us came together to do soccer as a soccer community. Within that community there were Muslims, there were Christians, there were Buddhists, there were people of all, and we could sit on the sideline and talk about it all day long, as long as it was with gentleness and respect, but it did not affect the mission of soccer in any way. It's the same idea here. I am a Christian, I am commissioned, you know. Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the nation, because all authority in heaven and earth has been granted to me. Ok, that's the great commission that's been given to Christians, and I am fully able and willing and ready to speak those words when asked, inside the lodge. But I do not proselytize inside the lodge because that's not my mission. That's it's not my mission. I come to this fraternity for fellowship with brothers who want to hold each other up to a moral standard. You know, and I don't have to. And I just want to say real quick about your father-in-law when he says do you worship Jesus?

Speaker 2:

As a.

Speaker 1:

Christian. What he means is are you trusting Christ for salvation? That's what he meant and that's the issue. That's why, in Christianity, when anybody like, for instance well, he's a Christian, but he's a born-again Christian, well, technically, if you're not born again, you're not a Christian.

Speaker 2:

So all true Christians are born again.

Speaker 1:

So there's all these theological words, and Christians are very bad at explaining clearly what they mean when they throw out Christian ease. They're speaking a different language and they expect everybody to understand it.

Speaker 2:

I don't think a lot of them understand it.

Speaker 1:

Unfortunately that is true. The pulpit is lacking in education big time, like most organizations.

Speaker 2:

It is like more, like you know, a lot of Freemasons. They understand the basic concepts. If that, but they haven't gone down there as far as we are into analyzing this stuff.

Speaker 1:

Correct correct.

Speaker 2:

So of course we're gonna be better Masons than they are, because we studied Masonry more.

Speaker 1:

That's right that's right, and it's the same for religions.

Speaker 2:

I think they're perfectly good Christians that don't really think too hard about it, and then there are really good Christians that think really hard about it. And the harder you look at it, I think, the more you see the similarities and the good things between the other religions and organizations of the world.

Speaker 1:

I like what you just said. I mean, what are the similarities?

Speaker 2:

So many, so many similarities.

Speaker 1:

The similarities are based in living a moral life. We care about each other.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right, us first, family first and then, if everyone there is protected, let's start to care about other people. Right, right, we all agree on that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we have each other's best interest at heart in the things we do and say. And as far as I'm concerned, in this world that's lacking. And Masonry offers that to the brothers that come in, at least at the Mighty 147, there's a real spirit of brotherhood growing there and tightness and pride in our lodge ownership and pride in our lodge. Man and people are really starting to respond to it and that's just lacking in this world.

Speaker 2:

It's funny because these stories keep coming.

Speaker 1:

perfectly, we're on such a rabbit trail. I think we just keep just roll with it, Roll with it.

Speaker 2:

Run, bunny, run, here we go. So I was there Sunday my wife's house and I get some texts from a brother who literally says I'm in great distress and might need some help with something, and I'm not paying attention to them anymore. I'm in my phone now. I'm like do do, do, do, do Right. And my dad goes what's going on, you got a problem? And I'm like one of my brothers is in trouble. So I'm just, I'm worried and he's like, oh, you have to do something, don't you? You have to because and I said, hold on, I don't have to do anything, I care about this person. I want to. I care about this person who's? In trouble. If you texted me that you were in trouble, I'd pay just as much attention to the text, even though you're not a Mason. I have to break it down because they just automatically think negative thoughts about it. Right, yeah, like it's a cult, Like I have to put my Masonic brothers before everything else, Otherwise I'll get swatted 25 times and bled out or something weird, Right yeah, I think that's a common misconception about Freemasonry that people have is that you have to put your brothers above all else, or even if they're committing a crime, you have to cover up for them, and that's just not the case in reality. But it's hard too, without having an in-depth conversation, explain that to somebody. And, like I said, anything from the outside can look scary. I had the experience of seeing communion as a kid. That looked scary to me.

Speaker 1:

Right right.

Speaker 2:

And I know it's not a scary thing and it's a beautiful thing, but at first glance it can look scary if you don't take the time to understand it, or if it's not explained to you correctly.

Speaker 1:

The church I attend, they explain what it is to the children.

Speaker 2:

They know what it is.

Speaker 1:

That's good they're very good at that, that's right.

Speaker 2:

And we live in a state that is predominantly Christian. Yes, very much so it happens a lot. I was at another organization, the Master Mason Association, and I asked brother Robert Leonard to pray.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, I was there, you were there.

Speaker 2:

And he let his slip. In Jesus' name we pray. And he said oh, he knew he wasn't supposed to do it. No one in that room cared, no and he made a really cool.

Speaker 1:

He made it not a joke but he kind of made it humorous the way he did it. But I could tell he was glad he did it.

Speaker 2:

But it was a mistake.

Speaker 1:

It's just like whoops, uh-oh, sorry, not sorry, and so why is it a mistake? And everybody was cool with it.

Speaker 2:

Right, nobody's upset about it because we're predominantly Christian, right? If you were in our lodge and I asked a Muslim guy to pray and he said Allah makmaa, whatever, probably the room's going to get a little different. They're going to be like whoa, whoa, whoa whoa, Just because they don't understand, you know what that means. It's not the predominant thing. They don't hear it a lot. It's very foreign to most of us and so you know, especially if you're a Christian. Masonry in Florida is super, not scary. We have the Christian Bible and the altar. We say prayers out of it constantly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and even part of the obligation has scripture in it.

Speaker 2:

We talk about Christian symbolism and the St Johns and St John the Baptist. Those are our patron saints. That's right. If any religion should be not scared of Freemasonry, it should be Christians.

Speaker 1:

Yes, but again, most Christians and I say this as a Christian they don't know what they believe and they don't know why they believe it. So, they've honestly, most of them have joined a club and to them it's a civics club more than an identity and a way of life. Because they don't study it, they don't take the time. All right, let's get off this kick, let's get on to. This was the plum.

Speaker 2:

We were finishing up conversation.

Speaker 1:

Oh, yeah, yeah, and there you go, there's the plum.

Speaker 2:

Now there's a whole episode on something not related to what we were talking about.

Speaker 1:

Boom, you're welcome. I hope you're still there. Hello is this thing on, Hello, so go ahead.

Speaker 2:

With the plum. The simple explanation is we're supposed to walk up rightly in our several jobs. That we have as men in the world. We're supposed to be a good dad, not just a good husband to your wife, but a crappy employer where you, like you know, demean and debase people. But you're supposed to be good here, good there, good there. You need to really think about what you're doing. In all of the different interactions you have and the responsibilities you have in this world, enact morally and good and also offer help to everybody that you can, with whatever limited power you have, in each of those stations in life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's right.

Speaker 2:

And that's the power of the plum.

Speaker 1:

The plum right Act in all of your dealings with men. Why? Why? So you can look good, so you can get advanced. No, because it's right. It's the right thing to do. Do what is right because it's right, for no other reason. So the next thing it talks about in the book is the jewels. Now it cautions us here Diamonds. No the jewels of the fellow craft. Here's what it says. Don't say it. Oh okay. These are named in the ritual and need not be repeated. They remind the craftsman that the time honored method of instruction is by word of mouth. The secrets of remation are always deposited in the hearts of faithful brethren. These jewels should signify the necessity to learn to utilize good Masonic instruction and develop a devotion to the teachings of the crafts. So, I don't know. Is it telling us not to talk about the jewels of Masonry?

Speaker 2:

It's a I mean okay, I'm gonna say, let's not, just because it kind of says it we won't say specifically what the jewels are, but it did explain in a broad sense that the purpose of the jewels is to teach the candidate or the brother that there are a lot of great moral lessons in Freemasonry and they're for us. They're for Freemasons because people that haven't gone through the initiation haven't taken the time to like learn the basics that we got in the inner apprentice degree. Now you're a man. Here's something that's important. Keep this crap to yourself, okay.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

Because other people aren't prepared to hear this. To make yourself a good person is hard. It's a hard way of life. People don't like to do things that are hard. They like to do things the easy way.

Speaker 1:

The easy way which is no way.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes, quite often, it is no way and we, as masons, are always looking to do the hard things, deal with the issues we don't wanna face. Look at the ugly parts of ourselves that we don't wanna show anybody.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's right.

Speaker 2:

Give money to somebody that I don't wanna necessarily part with but I can. It's hard things, but you have to do hard things if you're going to improve as a person, and masons should be prepared to do hard things by the time we're in the fellowcraft degree and you're getting an explanation at the end of this degree about what the precious jewels are to a fellowcraft. But it is a time for a man to realize you're different, you're being held to a higher standard and this isn't for everybody. And so just focus on the training wheels, just focus on the people here that want to be better for now, because later on, when you're a master mason, you can deal with the outside world, but right now you're not prepared for that. You need to deal with masons and people that are like minded and people that are trying to understand the same thing you're you're trying to understand. So I think that's the purpose of the jewels, and all the jewels do is give you the basic framework to say, okay, I've learned a lot. This is meant to be communicated to me, and only me, as a mason, and I need to be mindful of not telling trying to go evangelize the world about Freemason. I need to focus on just talking to masons for now about this stuff, because no one else is going to care. I'm wasting their time, I'm wasting my time. It's not going to do any benefit to go like a Jehovah's Witness door to door. Right yeah, I just wanted to tell you about the wonders of Freemasonry today, Like no, they slam the door in your face and sick the dog on you.

Speaker 1:

You know the other thing that I that stands out to me on, this is the time honored tradition of hand to mouth. Yeah, of mouth to ear, Sorry, yes of teaching through the spoken word, you know, and I find that to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of what we do, especially the catechism, you know, which is. You know that catechesis is just, it's just a fancy word, it just means teaching, but it is the connotation to it in Masonry is hand, is is mouth to ear. Yeah ear to mouth. It's, it's, it's, that's how we learn, is is through, is, through one man helping another man to memorize. You know the secrets, so to speak, of Masonry, and they're, they're transferred from my mouth to your ear Right, and then from your mouth to another ear, and they're you know, and then they're, they're stored away in the minds.

Speaker 2:

You know of Masonry, you know, and that's and hopefully they make their way down to the hearts. And that's exactly right, that's exactly right.

Speaker 1:

And I, just, I, just I remember when I first was in an apprentice. You know, you go through your degree and then you're handed a little white book with letters in it and it's called the Masonic code book, and you're like what is this?

Speaker 2:

And that's where you really feel cool, that's where you feel secret code book.

Speaker 1:

You kind of want to leave it out for people to find.

Speaker 2:

This is cool. Yeah, yeah. What is this? Oh, I can't tell you, sorry. I can read everything in there. You can't read anything. I've completely memorized all of it.

Speaker 1:

And and so, but. But then you, at first I resisted it only because it was it, it was just hard, you know it was really hard to to learn and I was told that there's websites out there where you could just get it all downloaded on cards and you can read it all and stuff like that. And from what I understand those people who do that, in the long run there's no advantage If you sit with a brother and he he dictates it to you and you dictate it back to him and you learn the way you're supposed to. You know mouth to ear, or you you take, you take the written, somebody wrote it out on the internet and and you read through it. There's really, in the long run since Masonry is a long term, lifelong thing, there's really no advantage. You might be able to memorize it faster than all your companions, but at the end of it, what you're missing out on is that relationship you're building with the person across from you. Exactly that guy is taking time out of his day, out of his life, to share with you a hard thing that he had to do in the future, and you're you're missing out on the heritage that Masonry offers, you know actually I think you're.

Speaker 2:

You're failing the first test in Masonry Big time, Because you know we take obligations to do things a certain way, because it's good for us. Doing hard things is good for us. That's right, it's a lot easier to go online and have it 24 seven access. I can learn so much faster that way, for sure, and I can blow up my ego when I return and it looks like I'm smarter than everybody else and everybody knows what you did. Yeah, yeah. And you're only robbing yourself, because the purpose of the catechism is One yes, you're supposed to be proficient about knowing what happened, but the main purpose of it, I think, is develop relationships with people.

Speaker 1:

That's correct and that's what it does. It cements that relationship.

Speaker 2:

You're forming a bond with a mason Right and you're going to get a strong bond with your other companions that you might be doing that with like really strong bonds over time. And that is the point of the catechism. That's why it's supposed to be mouth to ear, so that those relationships can be formed. And this is tough. It was tough for me when I first joined because I brought all of my profane ideas into Freebase Henry. I'm going to go faster, I'm going to be the smartest, I'm going to set records, I'm going to show these guys how awesome I am.

Speaker 1:

I'm an American, I'm going to win Seriously like.

Speaker 2:

I brought that in and it was literally the first lesson I learned because the guys I was going through weren't studying as hard as I wanted them to. My catechism instructor broke rules and gave me an audio file that I could listen to at home. And at the beginning I was doing that because a mason told me to do it. I didn't know how wrong it was at the time. Right right Going through the experience, I see what I missed, because I was in that situation. I was so much more advanced than everybody else in my class, but I hadn't formed bonds with any of them Exactly.

Speaker 1:

None of them.

Speaker 2:

And so it took me going to another brother that I respected because I observed him and said hey, can I just do this on my own, because I'm so much better than these people. And the advice I got was changed my life. He said this is your opportunity to learn the first lesson of Freemasonry If you're more advanced than your brothers, your job is to lift those brothers up, not to pass them by. Right, right. So you need to go back and spend your free time helping those brothers, and I didn't want to do that. I was like what they're not even trying Like. Come on, but what a great lesson that was for me. That it's not about me, right, it's about us, that's right. And if I'm a strong part of the group, my whole group should be stronger.

Speaker 1:

It's right, I can help them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I can help them do better.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And that was literally the first lesson I learned in Freemasonry that it's not about me. I wanted it so much to be about me. But you have to erase those. It's not a good tendency, you know. All the time I mean sure it's good to have a competitive spirit and all that, but Masonry is about us uniting his men together.

Speaker 1:

That's right yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so I think it's important to form bonds with people, and that mouth to ear, is the quickest way to form a bond with somebody that's a Mason and you not being a Mason, and we have to trust the system a little bit in the beginning, because it's hard. It's hard to go against our natural tendencies.

Speaker 1:

Well, and just think about how this really appeals to the man-child man in us, right, can't you just see a bunch of boys, you know, in their tree fort with their secret code?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And telling each other you must never write this down. If you write it down, we have to plunge a sword through your heart. Yeah, yeah, and that's not the actual.

Speaker 2:

Thing.

Speaker 1:

That doesn't actually happen, by the way.

Speaker 2:

That's in the.

Speaker 1:

Illuminati. So, but it really appeals to, you know, that sense that men are looking for of being part of something greater than ourselves. And the fact that I can learn this from a brother who learned it himself and he speaks it to me and then I memorize it and speak it to another through our secret code, if you will, it just absolutely lends itself to what men desire, you know, and what we want. I love it. I absolutely love it, and, you know, are the secrets that Mason re-hold, you know. Yeah, they're out there. I've said this before, they're out there. But, you know, if you're the kind of guy that wants to, you know, wants to broadcast that out there and put that out there, that's the thing that kills me.

Speaker 2:

The truth is out there, you can get it, and yet they still think they know stuff that's not out there.

Speaker 1:

Well, because they want that sensationalized you know the click-baity sensational thing it's boring. You know, if you come to Masonry thinking, it's the Illuminati and there's billion global billionaires. You know that. Call us on the phone. Hey, chris, we got our job for you you know what? You know it's like. No, it ain't like that, it's just a bunch of guys trying to be better husbands.

Speaker 2:

Oh well, that sucks, I don't want to. That sounds hard, that's hard, I don't want to do that.

Speaker 1:

What do you mean? Memorization, that's like school. I don't want to go to school. You're right. I don't know where I've gone with that, but yeah, so we started off with the jewels on this one and we ended up talking about the mouth to ear tradition, our time-honored tradition. The next in the book is the wages. Now do we want to go into that? We're already 50 minutes, so are you suggesting a part three? I don't. I think so. I think this is the gigantic 30-minute rabbit trail we put in the middle of this one. So we'll be more focused in part three. Part three promise, guys, we'll be much more focused in part three. What else, man? What's been going on lately with you?

Speaker 2:

in Masonry. I'm full swing into my year now.

Speaker 1:

As Worshifold Master as.

Speaker 2:

Worshifold Master, as President of the Scottish Right Club, as President of the Master Mason Association and involved with the Grand Lodge Marketing Reunbursement Program, I'm just in full swing, man. I did a lot of planning and now I'm just trusting in my calendar. I kind of all planned out. Let's see how it goes. So far, so good. I think you're doing a great job, worshifold Master?

Speaker 1:

I absolutely do. And for those of you who think that our Worshifold Master has left his 24-inch gauge and is not doing what is right, I'm managing it, I would refer you to the episode of Fred interviews Chris, our lowest. Yes, yes, no one wanted to hear me interview. Chris as the upcoming Worshifold Master. But you talked very clearly in there about how you sat down with your wife, sat down with people in your lives and laid this out that this year is about this and that next year will be a different focus.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right, this is my time to do what I'm doing. And I've thought it through purposely, and it's working. I've planned it out. It's happening. Things are getting thrown in. That was part of the plan. Things are going to happen, and so you have to accommodate that. So far, so good for me. How about you?

Speaker 1:

I'm enjoying every bit of it. I was over there yesterday under a sink, replacing a faucet I got it done and the men's room. A couple of valves in the men's room went bad so I fixed those.

Speaker 2:

We can flush the urinal now.

Speaker 1:

And the urinal flushes now, wow, it doesn't work perfectly because it's 180 years old and needs to be replaced. But I got new parts for it and put it in there being a plumber.

Speaker 2:

Nice, thank you.

Speaker 1:

So I got all that work and we'll see how it goes. We may have to replace it, but what I love about it is that I pop in there after work. I do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, you know, and I'm appreciated by my brothers for what I do. Not that I'm looking for that, but I was, before I came to Freemasonry, looking for a place to just serve, to just do something, to help out, to be a part of, you know, doing something for it. It doesn't have to be a big grandiose thing. I'm done with that. I don't need grandiose anymore. I just want to be part of something bigger than myself that needs my help, needs my expertise, and you know that's just one of them. So, yeah, I'm enjoying it as Tyler. I guess I like Tyler, yeah it's a wrap. I really miss not being in the lodge. Yeah, I don't like that. Our worshipful master, Chris Burns, was gracious enough to put a Tyler's chair just inside the door so I can lock the outer. I can lock up the house and come in during the middle of our meetings and stuff, which is great. I really appreciate that. But yeah, I'm ready to move in the line or ready to move to whatever's next. I shouldn't say that I'm willing to serve as Tyler for as long as is required of me. For sure, no doubt about that I'm enjoying it.

Speaker 2:

I think that's why it's a great role for a past master to serve in, because a person who's not been through the line yet, like yourself, does need to be in the lodge room.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that's how I learned too. I learned a lot there. Yeah, for sure. Do you see how everything's going Right, you see?

Speaker 2:

the relationships, you see the politics, you get a better sense of the lodge and the system of Freemasonry.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

So I think a past master who's already been there done that is kind of happy to be outside the lodge and not have to hear some of that stuff. That makes sense to me, you know what I'm saying and he knows everybody too. So you struggle sometimes, probably like is this a new guy, is this a?

Speaker 1:

new guy.

Speaker 2:

Is this not a member? I'm not sure. Right, fake it till you make it baby. But a past master would know He'd be like. No, I've been here, I know, I know you're not a member of the lodge, so there's a lot of benefits to having a past master there. But it tends to be a place where new masons are put these days and I'm sorry that that's where you're at this year, but you're doing a good job and for me was a selfish thing because I know how much a strong Tyler can benefit the master and if they're working together, how much easier his job is. Right, you know bringing them in when it's like help me get these guys and the Tyler can do that if he's good, that's right. And making sure the first time visitors have all been vetted and stuff Like if the Tyler's not doing it, the master's got to do it.

Speaker 1:

Right, right, yeah I trust.

Speaker 2:

you know the system, you know what to do and if you need my help, you'll call me, and my OCD helps out a lot in that area too, so I can't let anything not be done to absolute perfection.

Speaker 1:

You know I just have to. You know I'm inspecting people at this point. You know I'm checking their garments. They're walking in. I'm watching, I'm looking, I'm catching people all the time. Hey, hey, hey, get that apron on buddy. Hey, hey, yeah. You know let's do this right. You know so. I have not worn anybody out yet.

Speaker 2:

No, I'm not so far so good I will eventually.

Speaker 1:

I always do, but so far everyone still acts like they appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

No, I'm not, and the main thing for me is I appreciate it. I could have put a past master there who's just going to be like sleeping, but you're a new zealous brother and so it really benefited me to have someone like you there. So sorry that you had to do it Now. I appreciate you.

Speaker 1:

I serve at the Worshipful Master's Pleasure.

Speaker 2:

It really is a huge benefit to me All right man.

Speaker 1:

So this was an interesting podcast. I hope you guys out there enjoyed it. You know, send us some, tell us, give us some feedback, man, you know, if you didn't like it, if you absolutely hated it, we need to know that.

Speaker 2:

We'll read that one on the air too.

Speaker 1:

We'll read that one on the air too. As long as it's done with respect and gentleness, we don't need any references to the Illuminati. We'll be immediately thrown in the trash.

Speaker 2:

But we're done with that.

Speaker 1:

But, yeah, we really appreciate you guys. We have seen a lot of positive response and we're looking forward to kind of taking it to the next level. So we're going to start our YouTube channel.

Speaker 2:

We'll start up, we'll start doing some inserts and different things I forgot. We're recording this right now.

Speaker 1:

So for YouTube.

Speaker 2:

So and we'll just we just want to grow it. We'll wear hats next time. We'll wear appropriate. We're not going to dress up in suits, so you're still going to see bears with guns. But yeah, right We'll definitely put our makeup on next time, now that we know. Yeah, right, yeah, okay, but there's so many ways you can go with this. We've talked to other podcasters that are Masons. I need to clip out every. I wanted to sound so professional and in my mind I'm just thinking, wow, that's not how we're going to do this.

Speaker 1:

No, no, we're just going to have a conversation and that's what a lot of the feedback we're getting from you guys is that one guy said you know it feels like I'm there with you.

Speaker 2:

And you guys are, you're with us.

Speaker 1:

You're totally with us and we're not going to polish it, you know, and overdo any of that stuff. It's going to be what this is going to be what it is. It's a free, flowing conversation about free masonry. We'll find a topic.

Speaker 2:

We'll stay on topic as best we can, good luck with that and any rabbit holes are going to relate to the topic. That's right, that's right, that's right, it's not going to be totally off the rails.

Speaker 1:

All right, Worshipful Master. It has been an absolute pleasure and I will see you, sir, in Lodge. All right, bye, guys. We'll get started in next week.

Exploring Masonry and Fellow Craft Tools
Debating Moral Standards in Freemasonry
Misconceptions About Freemasonry and Political Morality
Religious Differences and Misconceptions
Mouth to Ear Learning in Freemasonry
Unity, Service, and Freemasonry Importance

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