The Masonic Trowel

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by Ernest E. Murray
The Builder - JAN 1920

I have just read the editorial "Lodge Night," by Brother Schoonover, in the November issue and I want to say what is in my mind.

That we should attend lodge often and participate in the degree work, that it is well worth while, that it gives us a deal of peaceful enjoyment and takes us out of our daily grind, and, most of all, that it strengthens us in our journey through life - all these there is no gainsaying. But what do we find everywhere - that there are so many candidates, the officers are so busy, there are always being "specials" to handle the mass of work. It is one long grind of degrees, just as you say, and as soon as the degrees are finished it is a case of beating it for home. And the trouble is that we are not making Masons; we are just rushing men through the degrees, few know what it is all about, and there is no time given for real acquaintance and brotherhood. Against this there is a very strong desire, freely expressed, to know more about Masonry as a whole, to know what is back of the ritual - as one brother put it to me, to "Imow the wherefor of it all." I visit numerous lodges and everywhere I find the same condition of things.

What is the remedy?

In spite of the fact that there is so much work to do, special nights must be set aside when there is to be no work of the degrees and the whole evening given over to a program when Masonry must be the theme with all the avenues leading from it.

Recently I enjoyed, immensely, just such an evening in a small town. In my little world I have gained some reputation as ai Masonic s6holar, doubtless due to the fact that there are so few that it is easy to get such a reputation, and I am asked to give lectures on various subjects, especially explaining the hidden secrets of the ritual. The lodge in question set aside a special night, knowing I was visiting their town. We began to assemble in the lodge room about 7:30 o'clock. Some few had an animated game of cards, while the rest were grouped chatting and laughing until 8:30. The lodge was then opened on the Third degree and I was called upon to do my little stunt, the subject being "Below the Surface," explaining the degrees and indicating the secrets therein hidden. This lasted some two hours and questions arising from the lecture soon took us to eleven o'clock when a strong aroma of hot coffee from the supper room led us in that direction. The speeches that followed were not "long, barren and bore some," for the ice was broken, and we had been set to thinking. We were soon talking about the influence of Masonry in the world and in the United States in particular; the change that had come over the Protestant churches in the last decade, and the ministers who really "ministered"; the scope of education in the schools, and Masonry's mission in the present condition of unrest.

It was truly a great evening. We opened up. We got to know each other in a way we had never done before. And we did some good, for we went away thinking, and when we met the next day we got to talking about the very things of which we had talked the night before. I think it will lead to action

Possibly we did not get to bed as early as we should, but then we do not have such nights often. If we had more of them we would close earlier. Let us have more.  

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