The Morality of Masons
The Editorial Comment by Bro Norm Leeper
Southern California Research Lodge – 1 April 2009
One would think that, to subdue my passions, would be all that needs to be said about morality. To the Mason trying to live by the tenets of the fraternity, this is probably so. But to those of us who slide every now and then, morality is a pretty heavy subject.
Morality is not discussed per se in the degrees. The degrees teach by allegory by and large, and clarity is to be found either in working tools, lectures or charges. It is there that Masons find the definitions we use as the standard of our conduct.
Dictionaries tend to define moral, an adjective, as being right or wrong, good or bad, sexually virtuous, etc. Morality, on the other hand, a noun, is the quality of virtue, right conduct, ethics, etc. In considering these definitions, one may find them as vague as the allegories in the degrees. Whereas, no thought is required, for example, of "the plumb teaches us to walk uprightly in our several station … "
The theme of morality runs throughout the three degrees, but it takes real thought to define the meaning of the allegory used to inculcate the principles of the fraternity. It is the point of this discussion. The candidate who takes his degrees, "gets his ring" and never again darkens the Masonic hall has short changed himself, wasted his time and that of others, and likely received no profit for his effort.
Then there are the faithful, the ones that stray from time to time. These are the brethren that try to practice lessons of the craft, the ones that wear the pins and rings. The lessons are not lost on this brother, but when he does wander, there is a danger that his dalliance may reflect dishonourably on himself and the fraternity.
There is no solution to immorality save individual integrity. It is on each Mason's head to be responsible for his conduct (and his misconduct). In the instance of the candidate who never returns to lodge, is it not a community (lodge) obligation to retain this member? The same for the wandering brother, isn't the obligation of the brethren to whisper good counsel?
The morality of Masons is a force. One that when applied is a standard for all humanity.