Our Wives, Daughters, Mothers, Sisters and Widows

Recently some Brethren have expressed suggestions that they do not want our wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and widows using the Lodge facilities for their meetings.  The main reason was a planned fund raiser directly conflicting with our effort to endow the Grand Lodge.  That issue has been put to rest and withdrawn by the Eastern Star and is no longer a concern.

If we as a fraternity are going to fulfill our mission, let alone survive the inundations of time we must unite. The family of Freemasonry consists of our Blue Lodges, the York Rite, the Scottish Rite, Shriners International, the Order of the Eastern Star, DeMolay International, the Order of Rainbow for Girls, and many others who are connected with Freemasonry.  While each of the aforementioned Bodies are worthy of our support and consideration, as Grand Master I would like to expand on the Order of the Eastern Star.

The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both women and men may belong. Eastern Star is a social order comprised of persons with spiritual values, but it is not a religion.  Its appeal rests in the true beauty of the refreshing and character-building lessons that are so sincerely portrayed in its ritualistic work.  A deep fraternal bond exists between our members. The wholesome relationship of sisterly and brotherly love brought about through high principles exemplified in our lives which makes us near and dear to each other.

The Order of the Eastern Star is composed of people of deep spiritual convictions; it is open to all faiths. The personal welfare of our members is vital to all of those in the Eastern Star, and it is considered a privilege to help another member whenever we can. Perhaps you have a local chapter meeting in your Lodge, and you are not fully cognizant of what they do?

Please allow me to share some of their purposes common with us: 

  • Charitable- we believe that we should help support our fellowman through philanthropic activities.
  • Educational- there are two things which will change your life for the better or worse. They are the books you read and the people your meet. OES activities consist of presenting public forums, lectures, and programs to promote social welfare to combat community deterioration.
  • Fraternal- we are a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to foster fellowship and mutual benefits among our members to the benefit of society.
  • Scientific- study allegorical symbols detailing the lessons of 5 heroines.

However there is much more to do, because when the family of freemasonry unites there will be no mountain too high or valley to deep which we cannot overcome. Dr. Rob Morris PGM, the Poet Laureate of Masonry, founded the Order using the beautiful and inspiring Biblical examples of heroic conduct and moral values. These portray the noble principles which should adorn the personal lives of Eastern Star members. Eastern Star strives to take good people and through uplifting and elevating associations of love and service, and through precept and example build an Order which is truly dedicated to charity, truth and loving kindness.

With this in mind why would our Lodges not welcome our wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and widows into our facilities? I am aware that disagreements exists between certain factions in each organization, however we must find common ground and unite. We do not always have to agree, but we need to unite in harmony. Unity will help the Blue Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star apply spiritual principles enabling each one to renew our strength.

Perhaps it is time for those who disagree with welcoming the Eastern Star to use our lodges should look in the mirror and examine their reasons.  I know that the barriers which have been built will not easily be removed; all I am asking is that if you do not agree with welcoming our wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and widows into our lodges to examine your reasons and remove them one brick at a time.

Our Great Light informs us that all gifts are from GOD.  Consequently we see recorded in the loom of time countless reminders of those whom climbed the ladder of fame, and those who stumble under the weight of praise.  Additionally there are those who serve as presiding Officer and refuse to relinquish the authority they received at their installation. I see nothing positive from holding on to resentment and clinging to some territorial prominence.

Remember that:

  • Titles and honors are fleeting, be meek
  • Talent is God- given, be humble
  • Fame is man-given, be thankful
  • Conceit is self-serving, be careful

Therefore let us humbly welcome Eastern Star members into our lodges so that the honor of our Fraternity may remain unsullied and we continue to support each other in brotherly and sisterly love.

Ken Dyer
Grand Master

 

What is Freemasonry and the Importance of its Secrets

If someone were to ask you to define “Freemasonry”, what would your response be? Many ponder their choice of words and being fearful of saying something that would be viewed as giving away some secret – they usually say nothing. Let’s arm ourselves with some knowledge and understand what we as masons should be telling those that do not understand us or our teachings.

A good definition by a District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Arizona, says that: “Freemasonry is a body of transcendental teachings, conveyed through symbolism, promoting a fraternal, exemplary and moral way of life; which, voluntarily observed by initiated men, contributes to their spiritual fulfillment and, through them, to the Betterment of Humanity.”

If we are to withstand the attacks of anti-masonic forces, we must practice what we are taught. As we all know, actions always speak louder than words. All masons are warned not to get into arguments with those who, through ignorance, would ridicule the Fraternity; however, we can win by the testimony we live in our everyday lives. Brother Thomas Webb (back in the early 1800’s) put forth some ideas that demonstrated the importance of the secrets of Masonry.

If the secrets of Masonry are replete with such advantages to mankind, it may be asked: why are they not divulged for the general good of society? To which it may be answered: were the privileges of Masonry to be indiscriminately bestowed, the design of the institution would be subverted, and being familiar to everybody, like many other important matters, would soon lose their value, and sink into disregard.

It is a weakness in human nature, that men are generally more charmed with novelty, than the real worth or intrinsic value of things. Novelty influences all our actions and determinations, what is new or difficult in the acquisition; however, trifling or insignificant, readily captivates the imagination, and ensures a temporary admiration; while what is familiar, or easily obtained, however noble and eminent for its utility, is sure to be disregarded by the giddy and unthinking.

Did the particular secrets of peculiar forms prevalent among Masons constitute the essence of the art, it might be alleged that our amusements were trifling; and our ceremonies superficial. But this is not the case. Having their use, they are preserved, and from the recollection of the lessons they inculcate, the well informed Mason derives instruction. Drawing them to a near inspection, he views them through a proper medium; adverts to the circumstances which gave them rise; dwells upon the tenets that convey; and finding them replete with useful information, adopts them as keys to the privileges of his art, and prizes them as sacred. Thus convinced of their propriety, he estimates the value from their utility.

Many people are deluded by their vague supposition that our mysteries are merely nominal; that the practices established among us are frivolous; and that our ceremonies might be adopted, or waved, at pleasure. On this false foundation, we have found them hurrying through all the degrees, without adverting to the propriety of one step they purse, or possessing one single qualification requisite for advancement. Passing through the usual formalities, they have accepted offices and assumed the government of lodges, equally unacquainted with the rules of the institution they pretended to support, or the nature of the trust reposed in them. The consequence is obvious; wherever such practices have been allowed, anarchy and confusion have ensued, and the substance has been lost in the shadow.

Were the brethren, who preside over lodges, properly instructed previous to their appointment, and regularly apprised of the importance of their respective offices, a general reformation would speedily take place. This would evince the propriety of our mode of government, and lead men to acknowledge, that our honors were deservedly conferred. The ancient consequence of the order would be restored, and the reputation of the Society preserved.

Such conduct alone can support our character. Unless prudent actions shall distinguish our title to the honors of Masonry, and regular deportment display the influence and utility of our rules, the world in general will not easily be led to reconcile our proceedings with the tenets of our profession.

Masonry is an art equally useful and extensive. In every art there is a mystery which requires a gradual progression of knowledge to arrive at any degree of perfection in it. Without much instruction, and more exercise, no man can be skillful in any art; in like manner, without an assiduous application to the various subjects treated of in the different lectures of Masonry, no person can be sufficiently acquainted with its true value.

It must not, however, be inferred from this remark that persons, who labor under the disadvantages of a confined education or whole sphere of life, require a more intense application to business of study and are to be discouraged in their endeavors to gain a knowledge of Masonry.

To qualify an individual to enjoy the benefits of the society at large, or to partake of its privileges, it is not absolutely necessary that he should be acquainted with all the intricate parts of the science. These are only intended for the diligent and assiduous Mason, who may have leisure and opportunity to indulge such pursuits. Though some are more able than others, more eminent, some more useful, yet all, in their different spheres, may prove advantageous to the community.

Understanding these guidelines, Masons should live by a set of enduring Core Values forming the bedrock of our Nation’s character. Core Values that give them strength and courage so that they can meet any challenge. (Which all Marines will recognize and know)

Honor guides us to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior; to never lie, cheat or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; respect human dignity and respect others. The qualities of maturity, dedication, trust and dependability commits us to act responsibly; to be accountable for our actions; to fulfill our obligations; and to hold others accountable for their actions.

Courage is the mental, moral and physical strength ingrained in us. It carries us through the challenges of life and helps to overcome fear. It is the inner strength that enables an individual to do what is right; to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct; and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure.

Commitment is the spirit of determination and dedication found in those committed to the Fraternity. It leads to the highest order of discipline for individuals and is the ingredient that enables a dedication to God and country. It inspires the unrelenting determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor.

Put the anti-masonic naysayers to shame. Be Always Faithful: to God, our Country, our Wounded Warriors – Be a Builder – Failure is not an Option. Semper Fi.

Fraternally,
Kenneth Dyer
Grand Master

True Success

Each generation must face the stark reality that we are responsible for our actions and accountable for the messages our lives are sending to our children, grandchildren and youth. I see television ads and testimonials about quick fix surgeries, breast implants, liposuction, face lifts and tummy tucks, not to mention hair implants, hair growth and hair removal…yes America’s biggest loser is fast becoming our youth.  Today humanity has allowed itself to be trapped with indifference and we have forgotten each generation has the duty of raising our youth in the principles that founded our nation.

There are eight guiding principles transfixed into the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America.

  • We the People of the United States
  • In order to form a more perfect Union
  • Establish Justice
  • Insure Domestic Tranquility
  • Provide for the Common Defense
  • Promote the General Welfare
  • And Secure the Blessings of Liberty To ourselves and our Posterity
  • Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

Consequently the Preamble defines America’s core principles to be imparted to each generation unimpaired. It reflects the desire of our founding fathers had to ensure the government would be just. The preamble does not affirm the sovereign authority of the state or the sovereignty of man. Rather that each generation must have as their body of work to secure the blessings of liberty to our posterity.

Have you shared with your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews the following principles?

  • The Sovereign authority of God
  • The Absolute Truth
  • The Veracity of objective moral values
  • The Fixed standards
  • The Sanctity of human life

When our Founding fathers were looking for guiding principles to establish the constitution, they turned to our Great Light – the Holy Bible, and the result was the birth of America. Before, during and after the birth of America; humanity has experienced many trials and tribulations. I believe Noah Webster said it best when he declared, “the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from today: vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, are the results from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Therefore since the Holy Bible is the Great Light of masonry we should follow its direction and allow its truth to light our path. Consequently we should never try to be better than others. We should not seek to raise ourselves up at the expense of another’s character, worth, or reputation. Our reputation is what we are perceived to be, our character is what we are when no one is looking.

There are those special bonds we form on earth with family and friends. What makes these bonds special is they know us for who we are, warts and all…and they still love and accept us anyway. Yes sometimes there are life bonds that can never be broken, the bonds of family, the bonds of friendship, and the bonds of marriage, fraternal bonds, bonds formed from athletic competition, and the bonds of comrades in arms. Each of these bonds accepts and acknowledges us for who we are, no more, no less and affirms the fact that we matter. This is another lesson we need to teach our youth.

While attending High School I formed many such bonds. In my last year there were a few team members on our baseball team who set the goal of a perfect season and a state championship, while others began working on another goal. That year our baseball coach introduced a philosophy that would change my life. He asked us to remain after practice to learn precepts that would ensure “true success”. The concept was simple and it was called “A Pyramid of Success.”

The first idea learned that day was “a player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player.”  This leads to a personal definition for success as follows, “True success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction and knowing that you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.”

A more visual manifestation of 15 behavioral traits essential to achieve this idea of success is shown in the diagram below.

The corner stone of a mason’s foundation is in our Great Light.  Additionally the three jewels of a Fellow Craft encourage us to seek, preserve and teach divine truth.  Brethren if your pilgrimage through life has been stagnate and left you unaware; then I challenge you to search for “true success.”

Beginning at the base of the Pyramid of Success the 15 behavioral traits are perceive to be:

  • Industriousness – anything worthwhile requires dedication and work.
  • Friendship – respect and camaraderie.
  • Loyalty – “To thine own self be true.”  Do not betray yourself and those you lead.
  • Cooperation – if you wish to be heard – listen.
  • Enthusiasm – is contagious, so is despair and negative rhetoric. If you are not enthused about where you are leave.
  • Self- control – You cannot lead or function effectively unless your emotions are under control.
  • Alertness – There is always something going on around your circle of acquaintance from which knowledge can be gained if you are alert.
  • Initiative – Have the courage to make decisions and take action. Often failure to act is the greatest failure.
  • Intentness – the ability to resist temptation and stay the course.
  • Condition – You must have mental and moral condition, without proper conditioning in all areas; you will fall short of your potential.
  • Skill – You must know what you are doing and be able to perform quickly and properly. Regardless of the specific skills required in your profession you must master each one.
  • Team Spirit – Eagerness to sacrifice personal interests or glory for the welfare of all. Praise that comes because of your contribution to the group is the kind of praise that should be desired.
  • Poise – remaining true to oneself, not getting rattled, thrown off, or unbalanced regardless of the circumstances or situation.
  • Confidence – is earned only by a tenaciously pursuing and attaining those assets that allow you to reach your own level of competency. However confidence must be monitored to ensure it does not spoil or rot and turn into arrogance.
  • Competitive Greatness – “A real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required.”  Instilling a joy derived from the struggle itself, the journey, and the contest.

I believe applying these 15 precepts of the Pyramid of Success will help our lodges become effective pillars in our communities. The brethren who came before us knew and applied the eight guiding principles transfixed into the Preamble of the Constitution which had been imparted to them by our founding fathers. If our lodges are going to endure for future generations we must recommit, dedicate and teach true success.

Our founding fathers came to this wilderness in search of religious freedom, not agnostic despotism. The foundation of masonry was built upon the precepts contained in the Holy Bible and many of those 15 character traits contained in the Pyramid of Success.

During the life of the children of Israel they faced a similar fate as we do today in America. They had reached a point where the current generation could no longer rely upon the previous generations commitments to ensure the blessings of liberty.  Each one had to decide the path they would travel to the future. On bended knee they heard GOD provide the solution. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”   2 Chronicles 7:14.

I pray our Nation turns back to GOD.  My hope is for a new since of patriotism to engulf our nation, and that our Fraternal Bonds are strengthened. It only takes one brother with an eagerness to sacrifice personal interests or glory for the welfare of all to begin a reformation. In my heart I know the 15 precepts of the Pyramid of Success can benefit each mason under the whole canopy of heaven.

Following biblical precepts, true success will be attained. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. It is the only thing that ever has.

Kenneth Dyer
Grand Master