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September 25, 2020

Personal Integrity:
The Cornerstone of Masonic Philosophy

By Most Worshipful Brother Clayton J. Borne. III. P.G.M.
Originally presented at the 9th World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges


 
In November, 2006 at the 8th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges, held in conjunction with the Grand Lodge National of France (G.L.N.F.) in Paris France I had the honor of presenting a paper entitled, "Relevancy of Freemasonry in the Twenty-first Century", wherein it was presented that the universal appeal of our fraternal brotherhood over the ages was the direct result of our convictions relative to our Spiritual beliefs, namely the fundamental principles of "Monotheism", defined as the oneness of God; "Transfiguration", defined as mans ability to return to the Spirit state upon death; and ''Transformation'', defined as the molding of man from a rough stone to a higher State of Spiritual Reality. The Masonic Philosophy demands of each Brother, to individually commit to that spiritual discipline, and have him understand that collectively he has an opportunity to contribute to a cause that leads to a more ordered society and the betterment of mankind. The paper concluded with the conclusion that our fundamental principles and their significance in society are just as relevant today as they were to our ancient brothers.

Accepting this conclusion as the premise for this paper and extrapolating the cause and effect relationship forward in time, what is true is that civilized society and mankind in general will measure the dynamics of our Spiritual Brotherhood not by its idealistic objectives, but whether the Masonic philosophy is truly alive and evident in the lives of each of our brothers. In other words if instead of integrity they see hypocrisy, instead of truth they see prevarication, instead of honesty they see deception~ our footprints on the pages of time will be tarnished. Where our history is adorned in a cloak of charity, brazened by badges of truth, honor and courage, the 21st century will continue to see men drawn to our lodges, as the Brotherhood and its destiny is truly a reflection of who we are and all that we do.

As a predicate to this paper I ask each of my brothers the question, "Why do we, as a brotherhood, believe that belief in a Supreme Being is necessary for a personal transformation in our lives and ultimately necessary for the development of a disciplined yet free society?" As an extension of that thought," Why is a belief in a Supreme Being essential to the landmarks of our fraternity and sacred to the ritual of our "Regular" Masonic Lodges? The answer is fundamental to understanding the Masonic Philosophy or the Masonic Way of Life.

Exactly how were we able to affirm a belief in a Supreme Being and what effect did it have on our lives? Have we truly challenged the concept of the "Being behind Reality" and its effect on the men that we are? Did the Masonic initiation ritual enhance you conviction and your commitment to spiritual growth? Philosophers over the ages have challenged this basic concept and pushed mankind to investigate more specific questions. What is the nature of God and how is God related to the universe? Is God a force responsible for creation? What is the true concept of God? Is it possible to even come to a knowledge of God? And for us, as Masons, why was it essential to the tenants of our brotherhood that we affirm the concept before gaining admission? Why have we severed communications with those Grand Lodges that believe it is no longer essential to the Masonic discipline to embrace a belief in a Supreme Being?

KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

The concept avoided by many early philosophers and historians yet fundamental to each of our beliefs is, "How do we as humans come to a knowledge of God and why is it important?" Further for the purpose of this paper what effect does this academic inquiry have on our Masonic Brotherhood, its spiritual pursuits and objectives?

After much research, self reflection and thought, it is my sincere belief that a finite creature, such as man, to come to a knowledge of an infinite creature or being such as God, is on its surface impossible. Man as a finite creature can not truly or understand or comprehend the limitless concepts such as eternity or infinite. Despite many brilliant, philosophers, allegations to the contrary finite man conceptional defines everything in terms of or with limits.

GOD HOWEVER MOST DEFINITELY CAN BE KNOWN.

God is known to the extent that his nature would demand it be revealed. That is, in the ways God would choose to reveal himself to his created An example would be found in our perception and knowledge of nature. As a Christian the revelation would be the embodiment and person of Jesus Christ. There are others. Only in the revelation is a finite knowledge of God possible. By his creation God or the Creator becomes the principal of the Universe. God is the whole of His creation: God is truly the "Grand Architect of the Universe".

EFFECT ON MAN OF A BELIEF IN GOD

I submit that the reason that a belief in God is essential for our Spiritual Brotherhood is because of our fraternity's conviction and purpose to aggressively encourage the development of the spiritual nature of man, knowing well that our successes over time is the creation and development of a self disciplined society. That development must of necessity begin with each of us personally and its success measured by our spiritual advancement Collectively it created dynamic lodges. The obvious question becomes, how does this process individually and collectively take place and exactly what are the effects and are they truly in harmony with what we believe are our personal objectives and life goals?
Very simply a belief in God has an immediate and direct bearing on our values and convictions. Those disciplines have a direct effect on our behavior. The belief opens the door to the spirit life after death and our ability as finite creatures to pass on an infinite state. Exactly how does this intellectual affirmation or belief transform each of us, and is our Masonic Fraternity doing its part in simulating this growth?

Understanding that once man had a conviction or belief in God, it created, in addition to the most basic concept of survival which dominated and existed in a non orderly barbaric society, a true purpose for life. Belief in a creator, God, transforms man from a rude, self centered, savage state into a creature with a more civilized meaningful purpose. READ MORE...

Supreme Council, SJ Announces
Masonic Book Club is now Dues Free


 
The Masonic Book Club (MBC) was formed in 1970 by two Illinois Masons, Alphonse Cerza and Louis Williams. The MBC primarily reprinted out-of-print Masonic books with a scholarly introduction; occasionally they would print original texts. (See “Past Publications” tab.) After some 40 years of service to the Craft, the directors in 2010 decided to dissolve the MBC. The club originally was limited to 333 members, but the number eventually expanded to nearly 2,000, with 1,083 members when it dissolved in 2010.

In 2017 MW Barry Weer, 33°, the last president of the MBC, transferred the MBC name and assets to the Supreme Council, 33°, SJ USA. The revived Masonic Book Club has the goals of publishing classic Masonic books and of supporting Scottish Rite SJ USA Philanthropies. Membership is open to anyone 18 years or older who is interested in the history of Freemasonry and allows you to purchase MBC editions at a pre-publication discount.

The new MBC will have a different business model than the old. Most significantly, there will be no dues; being a member entitles you to purchase books at a pre-publication discount. Check out the FAQ section below for more details. For specific questions, write to mbc@scottishrite.org.
 
Sign Up Here

Head, Heart, & Gut: An Introduction to Energy Work

A Guided Meditation with Brother Chuck Dunning
Author of The Contemplative Mason

Listen Here
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