Mehr Licht – More Light
Number 334 – October 24, 2011
Old LEO Letters
By Ed Halpaus
Anti-Masonry and Apathy
Dear Friends, Brothers, and Masonic Students;
Anti-Masonry, ignorance, and the lack of critical thinking, is alive and well in the United States and the world today, just as it has been for centuries.
I used to have a small hand-made sign attached to the driver’s side visor in my business car; I had it there for years; when I needed it I would simply pull the visor down and see it, then put it up again. The sign went away in 1997 when I retired, but the sign is still there in my mind, and I remember it well –
“Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down.”
If you would like to see some comments from Anti-Masons and / or some ignorant or non-thinking people regarding Freemasonry, as well as some fine comments from some of our Brother Masons, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z30Gb98cIko&feature=email&email=comment_received There are 6 pages of comments, but over the last 6 months they have become unpleasant to insulting and nasty: When you go to the site the link will take you to, the most recent posts will appear first.
I would suggest that it might be a good idea for Masons to keep my old sign and slogan in mind when it comes to anti-Masonry, apathy, and bad behavior.
There probably is not much we can do about the real devout anti-Masons of the world; these are truly the enemies of Freemasonry, who will not be satisfied until Speculative Freemasonry ceases to exist: They can be differentiated from the anti-Masons who simply parrot what they hear from our enemies.
There is something we can do about the non-thinking people who parrot the charges and claims they hear from our enemies: We can educate the members of our respective Lodges and jurisdictions, and we can educate the uninitiated who are interested in Freemasonry; even the uninitiated critics are interested in Freemasonry; if they weren’t they would ignore Freemasonry, and they surely would not bother to look up Freemasonry on the Internet, and spend time thinking and talking [by actually speaking or typing] about it: One of the sad things about the parrots of anti-Masonry is that they are dupes to help the real anti-Masons – the enemies of Freemasonry – promote their anti-Masonic books, Cd’s, and speaking engagements – they are making money from Freemasonry in their efforts to kill it. Another sad thing is the apathy and lack of knowledge of those who have been initiated.
One of the more important books in my library is titled “Enemies Within” – ‘The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America’ by Robert Alan Goldberg: Happily this book is available at www.amazon.com as a Kindle Book for $19.25 and also as a Hard Cover for $35. I have and use both versions, and they are worth the price. You can also read an excerpt of the book’s theme in the M.S.A. Short Talk Bulletin in volume 80 No. 10 dated October 2002 its by the author of the book. Another good place to go to for a fine article on Anti-Masonry and Conspiracy Theories in the Scottish Rite research Society’s book Heredom Volume 10 – 2002 – the article is titled “Anti-Masonic Conspiracy Theories; A Narrative of Demonization and Scapegoating” by Chip Berlet, the article begins on page 243.
The book ‘Enemies Within’ tells us on page 240; “Dramatic declines in political participation and membership in voluntary organizations suggests a broad retreat and the widespread apathy that has plagued millennial America. For many, conspiracy thinking proves an antidote to powerlessness.”
Apathy also, it seems to me, is a dangerous attitude among the initiated; thinking that the problem, (anti-Masonry, declining Lodge attendance, and declining membership through demits and npd’s) will take care of themselves, or be taken care of by someone else, and ‘my help isn’t needed or wanted’, is also part of the problem.
In Freemasonry, in addition to the unfounded charges and allegations by the anti-Masons of the world, it is the lack of Masonic knowledge and apathy among the initiated that will help our enemies eliminate something that has helped mankind for centuries. If we want Freemasonry to continue in the centuries to come it is up to the Freemasons of today to learn more, and educate others, about Freemasonry, so that even the uninitiated will know what Masonry is and what it isn’t. Those interested in Freemasonry should be urged to study Freemasonry; everyone should know what Freemasonry is and stands for; this can be shouted from the housetops. Freemasonry can stand up to study and investigation; it’s the charges coming from the anti-Masons that can’t stand up to study and investigation.
Masons interested in furthering their Masonic knowledge are living in a great time to do that with all the books, articles, and talks being written on and about Speculative Freemasonry. Many are available free via the Internet, and most Masonic writers are happy to deliver talks on Masonry at no cost or a little something to cover travel expenses. There are also groups such as the Masonic Society http://www.themasonicsociety.com/ ; the Scottish Rite Research Society http://scottishrite.org/about/masonic-education/srrs/ ; the Southern California Research Lodge http://www.calodges.org/scrl/ ; The Masonic Service Association of North America http://www.msana.com/ ; and The Philalethes Society http://freemasonry.org/ : I mention The Philalethes Society last because I’m very partial to it, I always have been, and while I am a member of all that are listed, plus others, The Philalethes is the oldest (founded in 1928) and is the premiere Masonic research society in North America; I think it does a great job in the way of Masonic information and member benefits for its members, and it keeps improving with age.
All of these Masonic education groups are worthwhile for any Mason to participate in, as are hosts of others throughout the world in all the Masonic jurisdictions. The important thing is to associate with well informed Brethren, and one of the best places to do that, in addition to your own Lodge, is where Masonic students congregate. They congregate in Masonic research Lodges, Societies, Philalethes Chapters, Traditional Observance Lodges, and Masonic discussion groups.
I have a follow-up article on anti-Masonic charges, which I will send out in the next issue of the Old LEO Letters in More Light.
Another sign, which I used to have on my desk when I was in business, had my name on one side, but on the side that faced me it said: “If It Is To Be It is Up To me” ten 2 letter words – this was followed up with “Make a Difference.” When it comes to turning around all the falsehoods and declining membership numbers it might be good to remember and personalize –“If It Is To Be It Is Up To me – Make a Difference” It’s individual Masons who help their Lodge survive and thrive.
Words to Live by: “Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there’s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.” – Arthur Gordon
Questions and ideas for Masonic discussions and programs can be found at www.lodgebuilder.org – just click on the Masonic Monday Question.
It’s individual Masons who help their Lodge survive and thrive – Ed Halpaus