A Mason's Response to the Sovereign Grand Commander's Report

Wayne Carr Linder, Jr., PM

While I claim no great titles, other than Past Master of my Lodge, I do claim the right to speak on a subject very near and dear to my heart. Not being a member of the Scottish Rite or Shrine, I can only view their actions from afar, and from my interpretation of the message of Francis G. Paul, Sovereign Grand Commander, I can only hope they remain even further afar.

I'm particularly upset by the suggestion of changing our ritual. It seems to me that EVERY Mason took an obligation and is constantly taught to permit NO innovations or changes in the body of Masonry. I strongly suspect the leaders of the bodies claiming Masonic affiliation have been too long from their Mother Lodges, and have lost sight of the great and important teachings of the Blue Lodge.

On the issue of balloting, while some good men have been rejected by "private pique and spite", permitting a ballot to pass with up to three negative votes strikes at the heart of Masonry. It leads me to wonder whence came the members of the committee? Surely not from any body Masonic! I would go ever further and suggest that if any member of the "Supreme Council" were a member of my Lodge, I would have him brought up on Masonic Charges!

The antiquity of Masonry lends it a charm which no re-write of the obligation or other changes in the ritual can come close to in teaching the important lessons only brought forth in the Blue Lodge. Being somewhat of a ritualist, teaching the floor work and lectures of the three degrees, and District Lecturer in the Grand Royal Arch, I strongly resent any attempt to change what has worked for over 200 years. While I admit there have been changes in the past, and some of the thinking of today may be a wee bit slanted, changes in the ritual will NOT make Masonry better. I have been told that in times past, men clamored to be allowed to "get in line". In a lodge with a membership of over 450, I can vouch for the fact that it is difficult to find a man willing to devote 7 years to the Craft. Changing the ritual will not create devotion to the Craft.

A close examination of Masonry today will reveal a problem no one wants to acknowledge. We just do not give it the time and attention our fathers and grandfathers did. There are many demands on our time in today's world. Only when we decide to put Masonry third in our lives, immediately behind Family and Church, will Masonry become the wonderful influence it was 20 plus years ago. It is up to you and I to make it happen. Sitting at home, saying it isn't what it used to be will assure it never being so again. As I already spend 3-4 nights a week with things Masonic, it is up to you now.

Elmer Timberman Lodge No. 54, AF & AM