WHAT IS MASONRY?
Frank C. Rideout, Th.D., 32°
MASONRY is a glorious fellowship. It gathers together in fraternal association highminded men who are, by nature, kindred spirits, who love liberty, espouse the cause of truth, and promote the cause of righteous. Its sacred altar and its open Bible are the symbols of reverence, devotion to duty, humility, and faith in God, the Supreme Architect of the Universe. It strives to make a man a better man.
Masonry is a profound and a correct philosophy of life. With Masons life is never frivolous, but it is forever serious. It has its tasks, its responsibilities and its obligations, as well as its opportunities. It has its hours of labor, its adequate wages, and its call from labor to refreshment. Masons are builders of a Temple which will stand the tests of time and of eternity. The pathway upward is the pathway wherein men deliberately choose to do the hard right instead of the easy wrong, in spite of all allurements. That, too, is the pathway of wisdom.
Masonry is a sublime system of ethics. Its symbols - plummet, level, square and compasses-indicate an upstanding, plummet-sounded manhood where straight thinking, straight living and square dealing become the master passions. Masonry is at its best when men are true to themselves and also to others. The ideal of Masonry is to meet upon the level and to part upon the square.
Masonry is an exalted patriotism. It stands forever true to the Flag of its country. It grounds itself in the loftiest traditions of the human race. It teaches that way of life which exalts character, dignity of manhood, and the sanctity of womanhood. For the individual it teaches sobriety, honorable industry, sound learning and pure manners. No traitor could ever be happy in a Masonic Fraternity; and no man can live up to the ideals of Masonry without becoming a truer and a better man in every sense of the word.
Masonry in its higher, degrees is an exposition, of Liberty, Equalitly and Justice for all men. It stands always for the advocacy of civil rights for all and special privileges for none. It loathes all forms of dictatorship, authoritarianism and tyranny, whether it be of body, mind or soul. It is opposed to all forms of oppression and of subserviency.
Once upon a time Masonry was agreeable to Rome, as the many symbols in numerous French places of worship testify, but there came a time when there had to be a parting of the ways. Masonry brooks no domination of the mind or the spirit. Anyone who has seen the picture of the Hon. Myron C. Taylor kneeling in abject humility before the Pope of Rome must have experienced a sense of sorrow that he could do it, having been brought up in the traditions of American liberty and equality. The Risen lord Jesus, said to conscience-stricken Saul of Tarsus, "Rise, man, stand upon thy feet." But the Roman pontiff says, "Kneel, Myron, and kiss my ring."