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Order In A Chaotic World

June 24, 2021

The smoke from the three recently extinguished candles traced lazy patterns in the middle of the lodge room. Circling slowly up until the smoke lost itself.

Tonight I participated in a ritual (yes, an actual ritual.) It’s a ritual that has been performed virtually unchanged for decades, centuries even. It’s a ritual that George Washington once participated. As did Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormon Church), as well as Franklin Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, John Wayne, Neil Armstrong. In total 14 US presidents have participated in this ritual. Kings from dozens of countries, including Kings George IV, Edward VII, Edward VIII, and James VI of Great Britain. Prime ministers including Winston Churchill.

What’s amazing is that also regular everyday men, who were not famous outside of their own family have participated in this ritual. In fact, tonight two men that you have likely never heard of went through this same ritual that has been experienced by the great and famous.

I watched two men, brothers now that they’ve been initiated, go through the ritual of joining the ranks of Freemasonry. They were initiated Entered Apprentices. It’s the first of the three offices in Masonry. The others being Fellowcraft and finally Master Mason.

I’ve been a mason for many years. I joined because my uncle was a mason and my grandfather had been a mason. I have remained a mason because I see it as a worthy organization that helps make good men better; better husbands, better fathers and better brothers.

Our lodge, Utah Story Lodge #4 has seen remarkable growth in the years I’ve been a member. The men we welcomed to the fraternity tonight are much younger than I am. In fact, everyone in the lodge is younger than I am. And I don’t consider myself old.

Why are men attracted to Masonry, an ancient fraternity that uses rituals and candles? I think they, we, are searching for some semblance of meaning and purpose in an increasingly chaotic and disorganized world. While Freemasonry has “secrets,” the biggest secret benefit of all is the fellowship with other men from our community. Masonry prides itself on the fact that in lodge all men are equal without any regard for wealth or status.

Masonry also requires an oath from those wishing to join its ranks. An oath to be loyal to the lodge and to your brother masons. An oath to look after the widows and the fatherless. An oath, in other words, to be a good man and attempt to be better.

Not a lot of things in today’s world require an actual oath: getting married, testifying in court, joining the military, being elected to Congress. But for most folks, we don’t have to make (or keep) oaths.

Masonry isn’t for every man. And it’s not for any women. They are barred from the fraternity. But, for men looking for a purpose bigger than themselves, they can find that purpose in Masonry.

Welcome to our new brothers.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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