Has UGLE diverted Masonry's objectives into service club activities


Bro. William Neil Love, P.G.M.

While fully acknowledging the benefits to be derived from social activities in a Lodge, many concerned Brethren worry lest we again go too far in these distractions and forget our true Masonic purpose. They cite the cases where Masonic programs are drastically curtailed or eliminated altogether because they may delay the party.

There is a growing tendency for Lodges to put entertainment ahead of instruction in Lodge programs. Thus we see a drift to pass over interesting and informative Masonic speakers in favour of talks on such topics as pollution, breathalyzers, or the drug problem . . . anything at all, in fact, that can be found anywhere, except the one thing we can get nowhere else: Freemasonry.

The practice of holding "open installations" is fairly widespread in the United States. While applauded by some, other Masons have profound misgivings. They realize that once such novelties are introduced, they are exceedingly difficult to eradicate.

An open installation is one in which family and friends are invited to participate. In the opinion of many, these affairs sometimes become nothing more than a restricted ego trip for the Grand Lodge officers rather than a dignified and traditional ceremony, attended by the Craft as a whole. There is again a tendency to shorten the ceremony by elimination of longer and more esoteric passages lest it bore the visitors . . . A direct parallel to the emasculation of the ritual in the 17th century.

The real tragedy of some of these truncated ceremonies, however,
is that they are turning a traditional Rite into a purely social event which fewer and fewer of the rank and file of Masons even bother to attend, their places having long since been filled with women and children, cousins and grandchildren, parents and in-laws, and all-manner of business connections.

The socializers and innovators of today who work so enthusiastically to change Masonry's role, have introduced a twist never dreamed of by their predecessors who brought about the first "Great Schism". It came with the advent of the service club idea, and the modern efforts to divert Masonry's objectives into service club activities.

We are being urged daily to launch our Lodges into projects, campaigns, charity drives, and other highly visible community projects. The big shift is from our traditional emphasis on individual charity to institutional charity.

It should be apparent to the most blind that Masonic Lodges are no more equipped to do service club work than the service clubs are equipped to practice Masonry.

Did our distinguished forefathers intend Freemasonry to be a service club?

Are we getting off track?

Some concerned Brethren feel we might be.


If you have any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you.