The Minnesota MASON July–August 2010

Brethren – Following is a column written by Most Worshipful John L. Cook, Grand Master, Grand Lodge  AF&AM – Minnesota. You can read this, and many other articles, online by entering,org.  The paper is published every two months to their 17,000 Masons plus is available online.  I encourage each of you to read the following article, read it twice, and examine yourself.  Are we as West Virginia Masons living the life we swore on the Holy Bible to uphold?  I am not trying to judge anyone other than myself, and brethren – I fall short.

Harold “Phil” Phillips

The Minnesota MASON July–August 2010
Masonic obligation
M.W.B. John L. Cook
Grand Master

How long have you been a Mason?
How many times have you witnessed one
of our three degrees? How many times
have you stood in lodge and repeated
your obligation, with the Master at a
degree? No matter what your answer was
to these questions, the most important
question is what makes you a Mason?
The word ‘obligation’ comes from a
Latin word obligatio—a binding to, a tie.
An obligation is more than an oath, it is
more than a vow, it combines both.
In civil society we find that ties and
obligations bind all men together. We
speak of marriage bond or tie. All fraternal
orders, good bad or indifferent, are
built on formal obligations; as are all religious
orders and societies. Baptism is a
form of obligation and so are many
church ceremonies. If we ceased to
administer oaths or obligations, society
could itself be dissolved and, of course,
all justice and right dealing.
While no single obligation is representative
of Freemasonry as a whole, a number
of common themes appear when considering
a range of potential texts. Some of the
content which may appear in at least one
of the three obligations includes: promises
to obey the law of his Supreme Being,
promises to obey the law of his sovereign
state, promise to attend his lodge if he is
able, promise to act in a manner befitting a
member of civilized society, promises not
to wrong, cheat nor defraud the lodge or
the brethren, and promise to provide aid or
charity to a member of the human family,
in times of need, if it can be done without
causing a financial harm to himself or his
When we look at our fraternity,
Freemasonry is described as “the gentle
craft.” Its teachings are brotherly love,
relief, and truth—love of a supreme
being, charity, immortality, sympathy and
mutual help. As noted from our mission
statement, we make good men better.
Further teaching of Freemasonry teaches
the spirit of humanitarianism, kindness
and charity and that vengeance and retaliation
have no place in Freemasonry. The
Masonic obligations are high-minded
2 The Minnesota MASON July–August 2010
Masonic obligation
M.W.B. John L. Cook
Grand Master
Name __________________________
Lodge __________________________
Old Address ______________________
Old City __________________________
Old State/ZIP ______________________
New Address ______________________
New City ________________________
New State/ZIP ____________________
New Phone ______________________
Effective date of change______________
Mail: Office of the Grand Secretary
11501 Masonic Home Drive
Bloomington, MN 55437-3699
Phone: 952-948-6700 or 800-245-6050
The Minnesota MASON
July–August 2010 VOL. 58, No. 2
The Minnesota MASON (USPS 593-
460) is the only official publication of the
Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Minnesota.
It is published bimonthly in January-
February, March-April, May-June, July-
August, September-October, and
Office of publication of The Minnesota
MASON is the Grand Lodge of
Minnesota, 11501 Masonic Home Drive,
Bloomington, Minnesota 55437-3699.
Telephone number is 952-948-6700.
Periodicals Postage Paid at
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401 and
additional entry offices.
POSTMASTER: Please send address
corrections to The Minnesota MASON,
11501 Masonic Home Drive,
Bloomington, Minnesota 55437-3699.
Design & Layout
Bobbie Lampi
RSL desktop publishing services
duties voluntarily assumed by candidates
as their part in becoming Brethren of the
Ancient Craft.
Today I cannot over-emphasize the
importance of our Masonic obligation,
and each brother must recognize the true
meaning in his heart.
Our obligations are what binds every
member. Its aims and objects makes him
feel his brotherhood with other members
of the lodge and Freemasonry throughout
the world and with all who have taken the
same obligations. These obligations
require all brethren to adopt a certain
course of action towards others who are
brethren, to help, aid and assist others, to
refrain from injuring others—even from a
mental aspect—to refrain from Masonic
intercourse with outsiders and with irregular
A true Mason is one whose word is
his bond; who can be depended upon to
do what he undertakes to do; to be what
he ought to be; one who—day by day,
year by year, and brother by brother—recognizes
his obligation. I accept you, you
accept me, because we have knelt at the
same altar, taken the same obligations.
Today, my brothers, ask yourself:
What does my obligation mean to me,
have these words found their way into my
heart and have their life lessons made me
a better man?