A Challenge For Masons
By Worshipful Brother Morris Rozen
Address at Lodge Bellville
03 June 1998
Masonry has held its strengths among men for generations despite changes in almost everything that is around us. This is proof of the meaningfulness of masonry in the lives of its members. But in the past few years our membership has declined and is continuing without interruption and we think it is time for serious concern. It is small satisfaction to masons to know that our churches, service organisations, clubs, and many others as well, are also losing members.
Some Masons believe, mistakenly, that nothing can be changed in Masonry. This has never been further from the truth. Starting from the same point a couple of centuries ago, if there had been no changes, the degree work under each of the Grand Lodges would all still be the same. It is not so. No two Grand Lodges have identical degree work. In most cases, the differences are quite pronounced.
The only things in this world that never change are no longer with us. We only know that dinosaurs and such creatures once existed because their bones have been found. Has anyone seen a model T-Ford, or a stagecoach, or even a typewriter in operation lately?
Freemasonry made its biggest change nearly 200 years ago when it changed from operative to speculative masonry. From small largely disunited lodges of workmen, the Order was opened to good men of all occupations. Symbolism was adopted to imprint on the minds of its members wise and serious moral principles. Perhaps the changes in society today offer a greater challenge than ever before. The changed moral principles that permeate our society does make more important than ever before the stressing of the moral principles and messages that Freemasonry has for so long promulgated.
Freemasonry proclaims from the beginning the sovereign right of the individual to make his own destiny. Freemasonry emphasises one major objective, that is to make a good man better – not better than his fellow man, but better than he would have been had he not been exposed to the philosophy of our fraternity.
Masonry certainly is too much needed in our society today. If only the politicians of the world would follow most of our teachings, this planet of ours would be a far happier and safer place to live in. As we approach the end of the twentieth century, let us not allow Freemasonry to decline and continue into a possible disappearance of the order with its many lessons and teachings.
Let each Mason search not so much as what has caused the present situation but to suggest means of revitalising our beloved Order of Freemasons.
Let each and every one of us make it as meaningful to the men at the end of this century and the century ahead as Masonry has been to all the brethren in the past.