At DeKalb Lodge’s recent Open Installation of Officers, our new Worshipful Master made a speech to his new Officers, fellow Brothers and even visitors. It is reprinted here for your enjoyment.
One of my personal heroes has always been Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, a diplomatic statesman, resourceful scientist and, of course, a Mason. His humor and wit were often used to disarm adversaries, make light of a troubling moment and provide advice and direction in times when it was needed most. One of my favorite Franklin quotes is certainly:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
On the evening of my initiation into our Brotherhood, I was full of anxiety and uneasiness. I didn’t know what to expect, in fact, there was no way I could have been prepared for lie ahead. My wife, seeking to calm a husband probably not prone to such tension, remarked as I left the house, “don’t worry, it’s not as if they are going to tell you to take your clothes off.”
Those of you that know what a Candidate faces in the minutes before their first step into this Great Lodge know how that phrase would come back to haunt you. But our first steps along this journey are met blindfolded, full of mystery and with only the companionship of an unknown Brother to guide our way, guard against dangers and tell us what to say and do. As many before, I left the Lodge a simple Entered Apprentice, who was told many things and who’s spinning head was quickly forgetting the many visions, experiences and knowledge imparted.
A mentor was assigned to help my next steps. My many questions were answered. I was taught the meaning of symbols, words and actions experienced. As I quickly learned, this Brotherhood is based on reliance of one another, where each man is critical to the growth and success of every other.
As I made the final steps toward become a Master Mason, the things I first experienced passively, then later taught the meaning of, were remembered and the pieces began to fall into place. The Hidden Mysteries of this Great Organization began to fit like stones in a wall.
Once a Master Mason, I took a step that many of us do not. I became active in our Lodge and the many other affiliated organizations. With the encouragement of others, I learned parts in our Degrees, sat in chairs of office, took part in acts of Fellowship, voiced my opinions and offered leadership where needed.
Masonry has many meanings and purposes to our Brothers. For some, the simple experience of becoming a Mason and counted as an accepted member of this honorable organization is the capstone of their desire. Still others take pleasure in teaching the history, meaning and purpose of our Great Organization to those that seek further Light. And for some Brothers, involvement — to whatever degree — gives them pleasure.
Certainly Masonry has many meanings, many purposes for all of us. The occasion for fraternity and Brotherly love. A chance to be charitable to the needy. The opportunity to improve the life of another.
In this coming year, let us guide those who desire admission, serving as a faithful and trusted Companion. Let us teach those willing to learn, so that they might do the same for another. And let us participate and lead those who look to us, so that they might follow in our footsteps and later seek our counsel.