The Missing Link

The Missing Link

by Vern S. Wertz, MPS

In their efforts to study and understand 
natural phenomena scientists try to de-
velop a logical sequence or chain of data 
that will lead to an orderly and rational 
explanation of the events observed. All 
too often even the finest of researchers 
discovers that the ruthless hand of his 
own ignorance has left him with a chain 
of evidence with unexplained gaps-- 
missing links! With intuitive reasoning 
the experienced scientist uses the gaps to 
point towards the next area of research.
If we place Freemasonry under the 
scientist's microscope of critical exami-
nation for an analysis of her past and 
present, we discover some missing links 
in a chain that ought to be complete, 
harmonious and unbroken.
Perhaps, the most obvious of these mis-
sing links is the one known as leadership. 
Even a cursory examination of the many 
bodies of our rite reveals a dearth of 
leadership or worse an excess of negative 
leadership as typified by those who seem 
to revel in prattling about all the prob-
lems that foretell the imminent demise of 
Why is this? One explanation would be 
that too many of our brethren who have 
been elected to a position of leadership 
erroneously believe that they are not now 
and can never be a leader. They mis-
takenly assume that leadership is some 
sort of accident of birth and a product of 
a mysterious aura known as charisma. 
Leadership is the result of using very 
specific "tools, " a concept Mason~ 
should be intimately familiar with in 
both a figurative and a literal sense. 
Every Mason has a life work and in that 
work he used the "tools of the trade." 
Those tools can range from the surgeons 
scalpel to the carpenters hammer. In 
every case he had to learn during some
kind of apprenticeship the most effective 
way to use them. Masonry is no differ-
ent! We struggle all our life to learn the 
best use of the working tools of Freema-
sonry. Furthermore, in every body of our 
great fraternity a brother is expected to
serve in a line that allows him time to 
master the skills of leadership. And that 
may be where we get into trouble as there 
seems to be little evidence of such 
Fortunately, having identified leader-
ship as a missing link it requires no great 
intuitive leap of the mind to determine 
the next appropriate procedure. The ob-
vious next step is to present our brethren 
with the tools of leadership and to teach 
them their uses.
Perhaps a brief discussion of some of 
these tools will indicate what we are mis-
sing and how easy it would be to reforge 
one of the vital links in the chain of 
Freemasonry through their use.
A successful leader will always identify 
and then make use of the skills and tal-
ents of the members of his group. This is 
another way of saying you can't do it all 
yourself and if you try you are the road 
to failure. Everyone enjoys contributing 
to the success of the group and almost 
everyone will lend a hand when asked; 
but the greatest joy, the greatest sense of 
accomplishment comes from utilizing 
skills that have been developed over a life 
time. In other words a leader really must 
find ways to let his brethren "show off"
their talents in service to the Craft.
A successful leader will always deter-
mine the needs of his group. By one 
definition a leader helps a group estab-
lish goals, and then keeps them together 
while they achieve those goals. How one
could do this without some under-
standing of the desires and needs of the 
membership is difficult to imagine. After 
all, Masonry is a people organization; 
everything we do is about people. There-
fore, a leader must produce programs 
that meet the real needs of his brethren.
A successful leader will always share 
that leadership. Once again, you can't do 
it all yourself, and there are at least two 
good reasons for not trying. First, one of 
the principal duties of a leader is to train 
his successors by giving them the oppor-
tunity to test themselves and develop 
their own leadership abilities. Remem-
ber the reason for serving several years 
in a line? Second, a major goal of a leader 
is to involve his brethren in ways that will 
give them a sense of value and achieve-
ment. In simplest of terms a leader must 
provide ways for his brethren to be suc-
cessful; then, and only then, will he too 
be a success.

A successful leader will always insure 
that members have the opportunity to 
learn and grow. Masonry can be, should 
be one of the greatest institutions of 
learning on this planet because the qu-
ality and the quantity of the lessons it 
teaches are simply remarkable. A leader 
who does not see to the Masonic educa-
tion of his brethren has cheated, 
wronged, and defrauded them of some-
thing of inestimable value.

A successful leader will always carry 
out an evaluation of every activity. It is 
absolutely necessary to answer questions
like: Are we on schedule? Why did this 
work? Why did this fail? What needs to 
be changed? Evaluation is critical be-
cause it is how a leader avoids repeating 
the same mistakes over and over.
There are a number of other tools of 
leadership that could be discussed, all of 
importance; but, hopefully, the point has 
been made that leadership can be 
Masonry offers many opportunities to 
its votaries, not the least of which is pre-
siding in the East. To do this well does 
not require greatness, only the proper 
application of the useful tools of leader-

The Philalethes, April 1992