Into The World Outside
By Right Worshipful Brother Morris Rozen
Address at Lodge St James
08 September 1998
Since I was initiated into the Craft over 24 years ago it has always been with a sense of pride to be associated with a group of men who demonstrate the true spirit of Freemasonry. By mixing with brethren from all four constitutions and visiting many lodges, I have seriously tried to educate myself in the affairs of Masonry and to see how this is put into practice by other groups of brethren. This caused my mind to reflect and sharpen my sense of observation. I have thus been able to formulate certain opinions of my own – rightly or wrongly so.
The more I pondered, the more my concern grew over our fraternity. The more I read into the history and landmarks, the more I saw the threat to its destiny because of the misinterpretations and practice of its teachings by many brethren who believe themselves to be true and devoted Masons. I have always believed that Masonry is an association of good people with strong ties of friendship who are constantly endeavouring to always improve themselves with the ultimate goal of imparting wisdom and love that they acquired from within their lodges to disseminate to the world outside.
Masonry teaches man to practise charity and benevolence, to respect ties of blood, to adopt and revere the principles of religion. It also teaches us to inculcate morality, promote learning, love man, and hope and pray for happiness.
There were times when a feeling that the possible ills of Freemasonry are the outcome not of its teachings and principles but of the current practice and misinterpretations of these lessons and philosophies. Nobody can ever question our noble teachings. They can fit into any society, can coincide with every creed and are suitable for all men wherever they are dispersed throughout the world.
Is it not possible that the education of our brethren is not sufficiently defined and explained correctly so that our objectives can be achieved? It should teach them how to carry the message of love, peace and understanding which prevails in our Order to the greater mass of population which resides outside the numerous masonic lodges.
It is only when we as committed Masons become involved outside our temples that our message as well as the examples that we set will be noticed by the public at large. It is only through this involvement that we shall be able to keep up with the progress in this modern world. It is necessary to take a hard look at ourselves and at our methods.
Progress and innovation is essential to us in our fight for survival. Our basic principles can always remain the same, but it is doubtful that we shall be able to survive without keeping up with a changing world. Time changes, peoples outlook change, their needs change, and consequently our methods to meet the demands of modern society must and should change.
I ask what kinds of innovations and changes are necessary? What is meant must be new methods dealing with the teachings and understanding of Freemasonry but not its framework of ceremonies and rituals. The education and correct knowledge acquired will allow each one of us to reach their full potential. What is the price if we do not change and adapt? The cost could be our possible decline where the public at large could look down on us without the respect that we deserve.
We can have the most beautiful and meaningful ceremonies, the most impressive rituals, but unless many more of us are going to put into practice their teachings and live Freemasonry to the full, the day is not too far away that the noble teachings of our Order will only be a distant and wonderful memory.