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To Join Or Not To Join

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

From the Builder December 1925

To join, or not to join, that is the question

Whether ’tis better for myself to suffer

This non-Masonic state of outer darkness

Or tread the path of other, braver men

And by enrolling, end it?

To join – to meet

No more, and in the Lodge to say we end

The cold, uncharitable, unfeeling times

Non-Masons suffer – ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished.

To join the Lodge

Its mysteries perform – ay, there’s the rub

For in those awful scenes what may be done

Which may intend to shake a strong man’s soul?

It makes us pause.

There’s the respect

That makes calamity of our friendless state;

For who would bear the Solitary life

The World’s indifference, the lack of Sympathy,

The want of friendly speech and the snubs

Which swelling self-importance stings us with,

Which he himself might evermore ignore,

By joining up?

Who would so friendless be

To stand outside a genial Brotherhood

But that the dread of something afterwards

That unknown Society, whose secrets

No Mason reveals, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

So stand we hesitating on the brink

And so our firm resolve to join the Craft

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought

And leaves us marking time

On our own ground.

- Diogenes.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014