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WHAT MAKES A MAN A MASON?
Posted on Thursday, January 27 @ 00:39:19 CST by van

News and Views One of the early lessons one learns in the Masonic Fraternity is that every man who is worthy of the brotherhood must publicly answer the question, "In whom do you place your trust"? The answer sought is simply, "In God." Masonry does not demand of any man any more than that each candidate for admission to the Degrees of Freemasonry be sufficiently humble to know and accept the fact there was and is a Divine Creator responsible for all things and to which all men are accountable.

The Masonic fraternity is not a religion! That question was well settled by the Nebraska State Supreme Court a number of years ago. Masonry does not teach a plan of Salvation and therefore doe not meet even the first criteria of a "religion."

Since the Masonic Fraternity does not define "God" but rather leaves that responsibility to each of its members, the organization is made up of good men of all faiths.

I have given many "Guest Night Talks" to prospective members and point out the likeness of Masonry to that of "Hamburger Helper." Hamburger Helper is a product which, when added to meat not only expands the serving of meat, but without the addition of the meat is far less palatable. A man's faith is his "meat" and the Masonic Fraternity is his "Hamburger Helper."

A principal core of Freemasonry is the desire and admonition to seek knowledge. Thus, to a significant degree, being a Mason makes a man more curious, more studious and indeed more faithful to the religion of his choice.

Masonry is not a Christian organization. It is not a Jewish organization. It is not a Muslim organization. Rather, it is one table that all men of faith can set around and engage in intellectual dialog without the divisiveness created by religious squabbles. It is no more of a religious organization that Sertoma, Rotary, Optimists, or any other service organization.

In subsequent articles, I will address some of the subjects which have caused much of the confusion as to the alleged conflicts between Masonry and various religious denominations. For the moment, however, I would like to share with you a writing by the Rev. Joseph Fort Newton, 33rd Degree (Scottish Rite Mason) and Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, 1911-1913

I first found a clipping from an Oklahoma newspaper which contained the work of Rev. Newton in the pages of my father's Masonic Bible. For the record, his "Masonic Bible" was a King James version of Holy Scriptures differing only from a Bible my grandmother gave me sixty-one years ago in that my Dad's Bible had Masonic Scriptural references. More on this subject in later articles.

Here is what Rev. Joseph Newton wrote a bit over ninety years ago:

WHEN IS A MAN A MASON?

When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and courage -- which is the root of every virtue.

When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellowman.

When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins -- knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds.

When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself.

When he loves flowers, can hunt birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy.

When he hears the laugh of a little child.

When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life.

When star-crowned trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters subdue him like the thought of one muched loved and long dead.

When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response.

When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be.

When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin.

When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope.

When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellowman, and with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song -- glad to live, but not afraid to die!

Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world.

VansOpinion
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