Freemasonry Is A Way Of Life
By Right Worshipful Brother J.E.A. Salem (P.P.G.M.) (N.C.)
First published in August 1988
In the Provincial Grand Lodge (Southern Division) Spring Ball magazine
Freemasonry is not, as many believe, a secret society, nor is it a friendly society for mutual insurance against illness or distress. It is true that Masonry has secret modes of recognition which every Mason is sworn to preserve inviolate, but its teachings contain nothing that is secret or suspect.
Many and various are the objectives that its opponents have attributed to Freemasonry, some worthy, some political, and some even traitorous.
The fact is that “Freemasonry” is an organised society of men symbolically applying the principles of operative masonry and architecture to the character and to unite men in the bonds of brotherly love and mutual friendship. It has no ulterior aims of any sort.
“It is a life to be lived, not a formality to be observed, a life to be lived and not a set of empty creeds to which lip-service only is given. It is a life grounded in religion, organised in morality, mellowed by good fellowship, humanised in Charity, and dedicated to service.”
The teachings of Freemasonry are all based on a code of ethics and moral behaviour which has been pronounced by the sages of every country and every land as those alone which will lead to that universal peace, happiness, welfare and brotherhood which we all desire but seem incapable of bringing to fruition. Uninformed and bigoted men have proclaimed Freemasonry as an enemy of the Church and the State, yet Masonry bars from discussion all matters of political and religious import and demands of its members loyalty to the laws of the State where they live and abstain from all plots and intrigues whatever their nature or purpose.
It is true that every Masonic ceremony opens with prayer, and no ceremony may be conducted save with the Bible, Koran or other sacred Volume lying open in the Lodge; yet Masonry is neither a religion nor a substitute for such, for while religion tends to divide men into many sects, castes and denominations, the purpose of Freemasonry is to unite men in the common bond of brotherhood whatever their political or religious views and affiliations, as long as they profess a belief in the Great Architect of the Universe and are willing to preserve inviolate the “secrets” already referred to. No atheist is therefore accepted as a member of a Masonic Lodge.
These are facts which everyone is entitled to know. Not everyone attending Church is Christian, and not ever member of the Lodge is a true practising Freemason. It has been said that Freemasonry is no longer on trial but every Freemason is. Freemasonry cannot be judged by the wrongful acts of individual Masons. If every Freemason genuinely sought to live the Masonic way of life, the world would be a happier place. The various religious sects are divided by dogma and differ in the form of ceremony. Freemasonry lacks dogma, its tenets being summed up in a belief in the “Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the moral law, the Golden Rule and the hope of future life”.