To be a Better Citizen of the World; Step 3

A value proposition for Pure Ancient Masonry as defined in terms of Citizenship;  the allegories, symbolism and lessons are a blueprint for all Freemasons to be a better citizen of the world.

freemasonry

Freemasonry is a free open source protocol for all backgrounds and cultures.
No one person or institution owns or has the global control over Freemasonry.

freemason

A Freemason is made the instant a person seals their obligation at their initiation ceremony based on the Solomon legend.

grand lodge

A Grand Lodge is a centralised masonic institution that limits its members from practising Freemasonry by means of its Constitutions, Grand Lodge Certificates and Private Lodge Warrants.

The thesis for this article series is that Pure Ancient Masonry consists of no more – nor no less – than Three Degrees and the Royal Arch: as stipulated in the Articles of the Union dated 27 December 1813. ( Freemasonry under the English Constitution)

The author is ‘advocating’ that the value proposition presented to existing members and future candidates for initiation, is that Freemasonry under the English Constitution, should be promoted as a four-part offering, conferred in a Craft lodge opened in four stages.

On a practical basis, the Royal Arch Chapter units would be absorbed back into the Craft lodges.  The Craft lodge would either conduct meetings in the first three stages, or would be configured as a Chapter and opened in the fourth stage.

Membership of a Pure Ancient Masonry lodge would automatically include all four stages, which completes membership of Pure Ancient Masonry.

to be a good citizen of the world

Secondly, the value proposition for Pure Ancient Masonry is defined in terms of Citizenship; therefore the allegories, symbolism, and lessons will be a blueprint for all Freemasons to be a better citizen of the world. 

The world we live in now, and the world we want to leave to our children.  

I acknowledge that many Freemasons achieve esoteric and spiritual fulfilment from their Freemasonry.

This series of articles does not intend to replace or challenge that fulfilment. But, on the contrary, to offer an alternative Masonic fulfilment, through leadership and personal skill sets based on the lessons taught in Pure Ancient Masonry.

This is a series of 4 articles;
Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master, and Companion

In order for clarity, each step of this series of articles focuses on the working tools and how symbolically these tools can be used as the working tools to become a better citizen of the world, through leadership and personal development skill sets.

 

  1. Entered Apprentice Working tools – preparation for citizenship
  2. Fellowcraft Working tools – communication skills
  3. Master Mason Working tools – character building & leadership
  4. Companion Implements of labour – building relationships & trust

Freemasonry offers so much more symbolism, in the charges, lectures, tracing boards etc.

At the present time, it is left open for the student to investigate and incorporate these lessons into their personal path of a daily advancement of Masonic knowledge.

​at the end of life, what really matters
is not what we bought, but what we built;
not what we got, but what we shared;
not our competence, but our character;
and not our success, but our significance.
live a life that matters. live a life of love.

– Unknown

​Citizenship step 3 – Master & Installed Master

The Master’s Working tools – building character
(under the guidance of the Guilds)

trust takes years to build..
seconds to break..
forever to repair..

 

The Skirret – that straight undeviating line of conduct, laid down for our pursuit

 

The Pencil – reminds us that our words and actions are recorded, people will remember your words and actions, both good and bad.

 

The Compasses – teaches us to keep within our own boundaries, know our limitations, the line of good and evil.

What you see as defective in others, in yourself amend

Freemasonry is a self development process. It is not up to members to correct errors in others, but rather correct their own errors. Sometimes this is a very hard concept to understand.

Members of the lodge who exhibit non-Masonic characteristics are a blessing – they are a lesson.

It is not for us to try and correct them, but learn from them, thank them for the lesson, and correct that defect in our own character.

In the time of the Operative guilds, a fellowcraft having travelled and perfected his skills, is able, under the rules of the guild, to take on an apprentice.

This is how the skills are passed on to the next generation, and thus preserved. In Freemasonry, it is how good citizenship is passed from one generation to another, something that has perpetuated for over 300 years.

The Master is expected to be respected in their wider family and community – that straight line of conduct, laid down for our pursuit.

The Master should be all too aware that his words and actions will be remembered and recorded by others, both good deeds and bad.

His character should not be judged by his mistakes, but by how he fixes them. Sometimes you don’t really know someone until you witness their mistake, then watch how they go about fixing it.

We learn more by our own mistakes and failures than by our successes. A success can be a lucky first attempt, or no more than the last attempt in fixing a string of previous failures.

The Compasses remind the Master to keep within their own boundaries, of expertise as well as their family, and business affairs. It is all too easy for people to express their opinions in areas they have little or no knowledge.
 
It is correct that everyone is entitled to an opinion. And everyone is entitled to express their opinion. They are just not entitled to express their opinion as facts – something a few fail to understand, especially on social media, which is a 21st century innovation.

Opinions expressed on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and shared messaging apps like WhatsApp are recorded in perpetuity. These comments are all recorded, and can be used to remind you at any time in the future.

before you make any comment,
let it pass three gates…

is it necessary…
is it kind..
is it truthful…

There are additional lessons a Master Mason is taught in this third step. These are covered in the ritual, which we will briefly touch on.

1. Refection of one’s life so far. The Master Mason is invited to reflect on death, his own mortality. What has he achieved to date, then what does he want to accomplish during the rest of his mortal existence. What is left on his bucket list.

Look in the mirror, and ask your self each morning: are my plans for the day taking me forward to achieving my goals? Am I looking forward to the day? If you answer ‘no’, too many times in a row, maybe it is time to revaluate the process, not your plans.

2. A lesson of honour – standing by his commitments, such as Hiram, who sacrificed his own life to honour his obligation. Likewise the lessons taught by the ruffians, who tried to take the shortcut to knowledge and learning, which failed with devastating consequences. There is no shortcut to success.  

3. A Master Mason has the opportunity to become the Master of his lodge – the first rung on the management ladder – the leader of the tribe.

To help him accomplish this additional role, he is presented with three additional working tools, which show leadership skills.

II

The Installed Master’s Working Tools – leadership skills 
(under the guidance of the Guilds)

It has been an established custom among Freemasons, for each lodge, at a stated period, each year, to select from its Wardens and Past Wardens, a skilled craftsman to preside over them as Master.

treat others the way you want to be treated..
talk to others the way you want to be talked to..
everyone deserves respect..

 

The character qualification to be selected and elected a leader of the lodge, a Master should be considered by the members as true and trusted, easy of address, steady and firm in principle, well skilled in the noble arts, willing and able to undertake the management of the work.

In the age of the guilds, a skilled craftsman would be appointed to lead a group of fellowcrafts, master masons and apprentices on a specific area of the structure – they may be known as a leading hand or overseer.

Not so often now, but an Installed Master would be presented with the working tools, which will help him in developing his leadership skills.

Working Tools – Leadership Skills – becoming Master of the lodge, management / leadership skills

The Plan of Works – making plans through critical thinking, projections and consensus of the members.

 

The Plumb Line – leadership integrity, not to overload members of the team with too many tasks, and not pressuring others to do things you would not do yourself, morally or ethically.

 

The Trowel – the management tool; to smooth out conflicts and quarrels between members in order to keep harmony in the lodge.

Lower management, leading a tribe

Often having to manage the hand you are dealt, (there is a narrow option to change a few people).  Leadership skills, mentoring, decision making, building confidence, in yourself and your team

How often do individuals get the opportunity to be a team leader, if only for a year? 

This is a unique feature of Freemasonry as a learning strategy to be a better citizen of the world.

A Freemason is given, in some cases, only a once in a life time opportunity, to practice leadership skills for real, first hand, in a supportive environment.

The leader learns that he needs to rely on the support of his team to be successful.

In Freemasonry that will be the team of Officers in progression, who assist in the ritual in open lodge.

Plus, the administration team in the general running of the lodge. The Worshipful Master of a lodge soon learns that to be successful, he needs the support and cooperation of all the members.

There is an expectation by the members, that the Worshipful Master, with the assistance of other officers, will produce a work plan, for open meetings within the lodge, and any social events outside the lodge. Plan the work, and work the plan.

The Worshipful Master is also duty bound not to put any member under pressure to undertake a task, that they would not undertake themselves.

Some entry-level managers, either due to pressure from above, or though lack of experience, can be found bullying members of their team. It is a cycle an inexperienced manager can find themselves trapped in.

The Worshipful Master is also expected to be the arbitrator, to resolve situations of conflict between members; to hold the scales of justice with an equipoise.

Having served the year as Worshipful Master, the Master is automatically appointed Immediate Past Master, the only Office in the lodge a Mason has by right.

This Office is an introduction to state craftsmanship which is to follow in step four.

The principle task of the Immediate Past Master, is to council the Worshipful Master in the management of the lodge – to help guide him through the ritual, that light hand on the back which transmits confidence, that all is well.

The Immediate Past Master’s advice is subtle and subdued, so the Worshipful Master remains in control, and appears to be in control, which inspires a confidence in the members in the choice they have made.

In terms of the Guild, a member would served his Apprenticeship, then become a Journeyman or Craftsman, then at a later point qualified as a Master, had schooled his own apprentice, and may have lead a team of workers, is ready to offer council to the guild when called upon.

With some years of experience, he might become a ruler in the Guild, or someone others turn to for counsel. He becomes a states-craftsman.

He is invited to take a seat with the Princes and rulers of the craft.

Next month we look at the working tools, or the implements of labour of a Royal Arch Companion. The Royal Arch is the fourth step in English Freemasonry, which is unique among other craft Grand Lodges.

This came about at the union of the two English Grand Lodges in 1813.

In the fourth step we use the working tools of a Royal Arch Companion in terms of building reputation, a states-craftsman. This is where all the working tools in the previous three steps are second nature.

continue reading next chapter
To be a Better Citizen of the World: Step 4

Article by: Nicholas J Broadway

njcholas broadway

Nicholas was initiated into Freemasonry in 1989 in Stonewell Lodge No. 9137, Essex England (UGLE) and was Master in 1995, 2011 and 2016. He also joined other UGLE craft Lodges and is a PZ in the Royal Arch Chapter. 

He acquired the title of The Square Magazine in January 2020 and oversees the technical running of the digital publication.

SQ Leadership & Personal Development Books

Selected Books on Leadership and Personal Development available at Amazon

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