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masonic matters

Title Unknow

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

"Happiness is like perfume; you can't pour it on somebody else without getting a few drops on yourself." James Vander Zee  

"Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in stranger's gardens." Douglas Jerrold  

"We are never so happy, or unhappy as we suppose ourselves to be." La Rochefoucauld  

When I was a kid growing up in the Twin Cities there was a sports program on TV that recapped all the sports scores for the week and talked about all the upcoming games. I watched this program religiously after my Dad bought us our first TV. The program starred a guy named Roundy. The Show was called 'Roundy Predicts,' and while I can't recall Roundy's real name, I do remember Roundy was easy to like; he seemed like a real happy guy. Roundy was a sports prognosticator, and he did all right as far as I was concerned, but being a kid I never had any money riding on any of the game predictions he passed on to us viewers.  

Roundy wore a top hat on the show, (not unlike the top hat the Master of a Lodge might wear here in Minnesota,) I really doubt if Roundy was a Mason, but he wore this hat, and on it he had two signs; one in the front and one in the back: One read 'Boy is my face red', and the other read 'See, I told you so." It all depended on how his predictions went on which sign was in the front. I remember the "Boy is my face red" sign the most. It was a fun show for a boy and his Dad to watch together.  

Well, there are times when I could wear a hat with those signs like Roundy did. I do get feedback on my articles from time to time, I like feedback. In some cases the feedback makes me smile and feel good and in some cases it sends me back to re-read what I wrote and back to my reference books. Some of the comments I received on the April 10, 2007 issue of Masonic Matters, (which had to do with anti-Masonry,) were complimentary and some pointed out an error.  

One error was when I quoted Benjamin Disraeli I said it was Brother Benjamin Disraeli, but as it was pointed out to me he was not a Mason. I quoted his uncle too, Issac D'israeli 1766-1848, but I didn't identify him as a Mason; I just quoted him. I truly thought Benjamin Disraeli was a Mason, but I was wrong; that's what I get for relying on my memory.  

Another comment was made about the Preface in Morals and Dogma. Starting with the first edition of Morals and Dogma in 1871, every edition is prefaced with these words: "Everyone is free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound. It is only required of him that he shall weigh what is taught, and give it a fair hearing and unprejudiced judgment." I said the preface was written by Brother Pike, but the Preface was not signed. Many times the forward is written by the author of the book. However, a Brother wrote to me and said it was put in there by the Scottish Rite and possibly it was. Since there is no identification attached to the preface in Morals and Dogma I can't say for sure who put the preface in the book, but I will go along with my Brother in his correction of what I wrote about it. Anti-Masons continue to claim that Morals and Dogma 'rules' Freemasonry and Freemasons in some unspecified way, but they totally ignore the admonition in the preface. How can one assume that Masons follow blindly everything else Pike wrote and ignore those two sentences in the preface that starts the book?  

Finally, in that article I mentioned some web sites where a Mason could get some good information on anti-Masonic activities. I wanted to mention Brother Ed King's site, but I just couldn't find the URL. Well as luck would have it, Brother King wrote to me and now I have it, so here it is: He has a good site and when you visit it you will learn more about what the anti-Masons are saying about us and what their tactics are.  

"Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit." Hosea Ballou  

A Brother once sent me an E-mail saying he was ready to resign from his Lodge, and that the words in the famous Masonic piece called "The Member Who Never Came Back" was very much how he felt. He went on to say how he had been ignored in his Lodge, and how his offers of help were rejected, and how even at Lodge suppers his Brother Masons would sit in groups or cliques leaving him to be by himself. By his description it sounded like a very unfriendly Lodge, to say the least. He mentioned how he missed a couple of meetings due to illness and then later in the year how he missed more meetings because of a serious accident that laid him up for quite a while, and during these times no one from the Lodge called or wrote to see how he was doing.  

It is unfortunate, but there are too many Lodges where some of the members are not happy being members of those lodges.  

Then in another E-mail a Brother wrote "As for being a happy Mason, I'm a contented Mason!" When I read that I was reminded of one of my favorite Bible Verses: Philippians 4:12; "Not that I speak in respect of want: For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." KJV  

I think being content is a good thing, while being satisfied is another question. From my observation; many times the happiest Masons are those who are happy because things are pleasant, but I have also noticed that many people are always pleasant and look for the good in all situations; these are the people many of us like to be around. There are also Masons who just aren't concerned with most perceived problems in their Lodge because they know many of the problems just aren't all that important, and certainly nothing to get all worked-up about: there is a difference between urgent and important; Urgent things act on you, important things are things we need to act upon. Important things require us to be proactive.  

Being a contented and happy Mason is a good way to be. A Mason should be happy, because his Lodge should be the port where others cease from troubling. In the work-a-day world a Mason may be one who has to put up with much grief in earning a living for his family. For some this is a sometimes thing, and unfortunately for some others it can be a more regular event in his work. When he arrives at home it should be a safe haven. His Masonic Lodge should be a safe haven too. Masons should treat each other with dignity, respect, and brotherly love. As Masons we should remember the lessons of the third degree, and if we don't it would pay us to revisit the degree again to refresh our memories.  

"What good is happiness? You can't buy money with it!" Henny Youngman  

From the Great light of Masonry = "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 NIV  

The Life Application Study Bible has this to say in the study notes about this piece of scripture: "Loneliness is everywhere - many people feel cut off and alienated from others. Being in a crowd just makes people more aware of their isolation. We all need friends who will who will stick close, listen, care, and offer help when it is needed - in good times and bad. It is better to have one such friend than dozens of superficial acquaintances. Instead of wishing you could find a true friend, seek to become one. There are people who need your friendship. Ask God to reveal them to you, and then take on the challenge of being a true friend."  

From the Kansas Masonic Digest; circa 1948:  

"If it were not for the Freemasons of the world today there would be no freedoms. Never before in the history of man have the principles of Masonry been needed more than at the present time. Imagine if the heads of all the world powers were Masons, who could sit down together and discuss things as you and I would do. They would have the respect and the trust for one another, knowing that each had traveled the same path, and each was interested in the other's welfare. Perhaps, some day, we will live to see the time when men can leave their troubles outside, and come into meeting with an open mind, and be interested in the welfare of everyone, and not just for selfish desires. "We as Masons have a challenge to meet, and we are taught the principles of Masonry in the lodge that can be applied to our everyday lives. If we will but remember our Masonic teachings in dealing with our fellowmen in the business world, in the lodge, the clubs, and in church, we will show the way for continued freedom."

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Last modified: March 22, 2014