Indifferent Masons

Unfortunately, nothing really changes in Freemasonry.

An article Indifferent Masons, From Le Monde Maçonnique December 1874.

French translation published in The Freemason’s Chronicle 20th February, 1875

Among Freemasons indifference to the duties and efforts of the grand Institution to which they have sworn to lend their aid is worse than a grave error; it is a desertion in the very face of the enemy—a true act of treason.

Devoted to the inquiry after Truth and the conquest of Justice, Masonry, in spite of the violence and gross enmity of which it has been the object, is ever struggling” with energy against error, prejudices and superstition, against oppression and deceit.

In such a work it has a right to look for support to all who seek an asylum at its hearth and are anxious for enlightenment from its teaching.

But this assistance, in order to be useful and efficacious, must be active and thorough.

No soft heartedness is possible; no lukewarmness tolerable.

Eager and earnest permissible hearts can alone be really serviceable to our grand and fraternal Association.

As inconsistent Masons, so indifferent Masons have done Freemasonry all the harm they possibly could without actually destroying it.

It is these who paralyze our efforts and render them futile. It is these who make our Lodges empty and who keep aloof those who would prove the earnest and fittest defenders of our cause.

It is this in-difference, which, passing on from one spot to another, freezes the hearts of the Brethren, extinguishes our enthusiasm, and surrounds us with that cold atmosphere which paralyzes the strongest will.

An indifferent Mason is not only a useless member of our Craft, he is hurtful, corrupting, by his noxious influence, all who surround him, and impeding the clue performance of our labours.

He is a true paralytic, almost indeed a corpse, which we are dragging after us and which hinders and delays all our movements.

Nothing that interests our fellows, nothing that can in any way contribute to the amelioration of their lot and the development of their intellectual and moral faculties, should be indifferent to men of feeling,

– and more especially to Masons, whose obligations are greater, and who, having entered our Order freely and unconstrainedly, have duties devolving upon them, all the more important that they have been contracted freely.

In the meantime, the number of indifferent brethren appears for some time past to have been continuously increasing.

Whence arises this abnormal state of things ? Clearly from several and various causes.

The excuses which go to justify the unjustifiable neglect of Masonic duties are—

“Powerlessness of Masonry to fulfil its programme, the senselessness of its aims, the futility and barrenness of its labours”—

wretched arguments which only react on those who use them; for if Masonry is powerless, its objects vain, its labours barren and of no effect, we can only, in reason, lay the blame on the half-heartedness and indifference of its workmen.

We must seek then elsewhere the true causes of the evil which gives us so much concern.

In our opinion indifferent Masons may be classed under three chief categories..

1. Those who, having entered the Order with an exaggerated idea of the influence and power of Masonry, have experienced discouragements, and discovered the error of their views.

These, the natural bent of their minds, induces them to exaggerate, just as they had done their early aspirations.

2. Those who, having entered young into our Order, have dispelled or lost, in the varying struggles of life, all their hopes and the noble sentiments which animated their youth.

3. The ambitious vulgar, who only joined Masonry in order to seek a protection which it was impossible to give them.

Of these three categories, the first may easily be recalled to a more rational way of viewing their position; the second, though almost incurable, deserves our pity.

As to the third, incorrigible and incapable of inspiring us with the slightest interest we can only urge on the brethren who compose it to renounce at once and for ever their title to be regular Masons.

A sense of honour forbids them to remain any longer members of a body which they discourage by exhibiting towards its labours the most intense disdain.

To these three classes of indifferent brethren we might have added a forth, more numerous still, which comprises of those Masons who are always ready to be guided by the influence of those who surround them; but we have thought it better not to insist too strongly on the weakness of such Brethren, but to encourage them by good example to re-awaken their zeal and become once again really useful and active members of the Craft.

Indifference, adding its ravages to those inflicted by the late war has, during the last four years especially, weakened French Masonry.

Our Lodges have been partially deserted, and notwithstanding the efforts of the most devoted members, the duties languish and are unproductive.

Against the dangers which such a position involves, it is the duty of all who are sincerely attached to our Institution to combat with the utmost energy.

The general elections have recently taken place in all the district Lodges.

May the newly elected officers signalise their accession to power by a merciless war against this mortal enemy of our great family.

May they pursue, unrelentingly, even to its last retrenchments, and afford in all circumstances, to the lukewarm and hesitating, the comforting example of zeal and activity.

All well disposed men are ready to give their efforts, to labour earnestly with them to restore to our Lodges the life and energy which are deserting them.

In this work of restoration, hesitation is impossible, devotion will not fail of its influence.

And since indifference is, of all the dangers which menace us, the greatest and most pressing, let us, at this moment, and everywhere throughout French Masonry [and all Freemasonry worldwide], have but one thought, but one aim, but one rallying cry: —

” Guerre aI’ indiffercnce!”

[ War of Indifference ]



(Signed) Camlet

– The Freemason’s Chronicle 20th February, 1875

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