Old Leo Letters – November 10, 2010

Old Leo Letters
Issue # 2 – November 10, 2010
L.E.O. – Leadership – Education – Oratory!

“The real leader has no need to lead — he is content to point the way.” Henry Miller

Knock Three Times
By Ed Halpaus

Sometimes there are people who will accost someone wearing a Masonic ring or pin, with accusations about things they perceive as wrong with Freemasonry. They many times will ask questions, demanding a response from the man wearing a ring or pin. One Masonic Brother mentioned to me that he thinks that could be a reason the number of Masons “wearing Light” has diminished over the years.

Being confident in our ability to answer charges against Freemasonry is important. Every Mason can be able to do by studying the allegories and lessons of Freemasonry; this is made easier if one reads articles and books written by other Masonic students. Those who attack Freemasonry and Freemasons rely on the presumption that Masons don’t know enough about their Fraternity and Craft to effectively answer the charges from the critics and enemies of Freemasonry.

We are admonished not to enter into arguments with those, who being misinformed will ridicule Freemasonry. Masons are not at their best if they enter into an argument and speak unkindly. We can be gentlemanly, and convey factual information about our Fraternity, when we have someone who will listen to us.  One book I have that contains tips on Evangelizing suggests that some contemptuous people will not grasp what is being said; that’s true, so the Freemason being attacked needs to discern if he is hearing someone who he can have a conversation with.  While it is true that the anti-Masons of the world are intent on accomplishing what they set out to do so long ago, to eliminate Freemasonry, the people you and I come in contact with everyday who may have a negative view of Freemasonry are not anti-Masons, they are generally just misinformed.

Someone once said about democracy, and I think it applies to Freemasonry as well, that if it ceases to exist it will not come from attacks from the outside – it will come from the apathy within. This reminds me of the saying that it is the internal not the external that renders a man worthy to be made a Mason.  When it comes to learning what Masonry has to teach, Masons should not be apathetic. It is true that when a Mason studies, learns, and applies what he learns in Freemasonry he will be a happier man, and a better man to be around.

The Masonic Student will look at the charges some level against us as an open invitation to investigate the charges and study Masonry to see if there is any validity to the charges. I hope no one reading this will think ill of this suggestion, because Freemasonry can stand up to investigation, it is the charges from our critics and enemies that can’t stand up to investigation.

One of the questions or charges against Freemasonry is that we Masons don’t pray to or acknowledge Jesus in our Lodges. I’ll say just a little something about prayers; the prayers in a Lodge are interfaith prayers, which are not unlike interfaith prayers offered up in the Military, Congress, or in interfaith religious gatherings of clergy. Anytime there is a gathering of people who are likely to be of varying religions the prayers offered up for them as a group will be an interfaith prayer they can all be happy with. Anyone in the clergy will be familiar with that kind of prayer.

When it comes to acknowledging someone; I think we do acknowledge Jesus in our degree work; he is one of a few personages from the Holy Bible we do acknowledge by quoting him and what is attributed to him as lessons in the Scriptures of the New Testament.

One example of this can be found in the First Degree; there is a short explanation of the example / lesson in the lecture of the degree. When I think of this explanation I will sometimes smile, because to me there are a couple of once popular songs that remind me of this example of acknowledging Jesus in our degree work: The songs are “I’m going to Knock on your Door” by Eddie Hodges, and “Knock three times” by Tony Orlando and Dawn; these songs can be found on www.youtube.com if you’d like to hear them again. Anyway, the scripture they remind me of is Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” [NIV] You can also find this in Luke 11:9

As every Freemason knows this quote from Jesus is demonstrated with importance in the First, and following degrees. However, even though there is a short explanation given in the lecture of the degree many of our newly made Brothers, after they receive the Entered Apprentice Degree, don’t seem to understand that there is a lot to study about the degree, and that studying the degrees will naturally lead the Masonic student, (and the new E.A. has every opportunity and reason to become a Masonic Student,) to The Great Light of Masonry to learn more about what is contained in our degrees.

For instance, in the reference to Matthew: 7:7 this is a part of a very important section of Christian Scriptures; “The Sermon on the Mount.”  The commentary regarding 7:7 tells us it is a promise from Jesus that prayer will be answered; Jesus’ followers, (as are Freemasons through this example in our degree work,) are urged to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking. This impresses the lesson and importance of persistent and consistent prayer in life. It is only through prayer that a man can stay in contact with God. And one thing is for sure; Prayer is a very important part of Freemasonry.

I possibly should comment here that I refer to the Holy Bible as the Great Light of Masonry. I do this because in my jurisdiction it is, but others will say that there are other volumes of Sacred Law that are the Great Light in other parts of the world, and possibly there Grand Lodges that place a Volume of Sacred Law as The Great Light on the altar instead of the Holy Bible. Nevertheless, I still maintain that the Holy Bible should always be the Great Light of Masonry no matter what country or what religion is prevalent there; this is because the degrees of Masonry are based on stories and allegories found in the Holy Bible and nowhere else. However, because it is generally acknowledged and true that since Freemasonry is open to all men who have a sincere belief and trust in a supreme being, and who meet certain other qualifications; there can and should be other Volumes of Sacred Law placed on the altar along with the Three Great Lights when there are other than Christian members present.

One Bible commentator suggests that the verse we are talking about can be memorized:  “This wonderful verse is easily memorized by aid of the acronym formed by the letters A-S-K. – A – ask, and ye shall receive … S – seek, and ye shall find … K – knock, and it shall be opened …” Brother C.C. Hunt in his Masonic Concordance of the Holy Bible says that the three words Ask, Seek, and Knock “include the three Masonic ideas; ‘want, loss, and earnestness;’ you ask for acceptance, you seek for light, [and] you knock for initiation.” Further study in the Masonic Concordance gives us more to think about: “The knocks in Masonry have different (though related) meanings according to the time and place they are given:  In the First Degree they mean, ask, seek, and find:  In the Second, the three Jewels of a Fellow Craft: In the Third, Brotherly Love, Relief, and truth.”

“The three words (ask, seek, knock) combine to emphasize the truth that those who bring their needs to God can trust that they will be satisfied. All three are metaphors for praying. Sometimes God does not answer our prayers immediately; sometimes we must keep on knocking, awaiting answers to our prayer.

The Masonic Student knows that the charge of not acknowledging Jesus simply isn’t true, and he knows not praying in Jesus’ name is no different than a prayer many a Christian Clergy will offer up for a prayer at an interfaith gathering.

“Successful leaders don’t start out asking, ‘What do I want to do?’ They ask, ‘What needs to be done?’ Then they ask, ‘Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?’ They don’t tackle things they aren’t good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! They are not afraid of strength in others. Andrew Carnegie wanted to put on his gravestone, ‘Here lies a man who knew how to put into his service more able men than he was himself.” Unknown

Fraternal regards,
Ed Halpaus
Grand LEO
Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of MN