How Far Would You Go?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian Schimian

Recently, a question was posed on social media that went a little something like this:

What is the definition of a True Brother? Would you die to protect your brother? Would you give all your life savings to help a brother in need, no matter what it is, without judging him?”

Okay, it was exactly like that, I copied & pasted it directly from the page…

Any-who… I fired of a fast and simple reply: "Yes."

Then a question was posed in regard to the Oath’s of years past that would have been more in-line with the Knight’s Templar’s and other Knights from back in the day.

That got me thinking… and I wrote a bit more thought out reply:

I have taken several oaths in the civil service ring. I never one swore to die for the brothers & sisters with me on the line, but I would have. Came close a few times. I still wonder why I didn't some times. I certainly bled enough for them.

But nobody ever questioned each other's resolve to die for anyone of us.

I take my obligations more series than some, I suppose.

Every time I knelt at the altar in any of the degrees (DeMolay through York Rite), I reaffirmed what was in my heart, what I am willing to give for my Brother's and the Craft, when I kissed the Volume of Sacred Law. I don't expect the same from those that came before or after me. It is different for everyone. What I can tell you, even with the little traveling I have done, I am not disappointed in what I have found.

I have been around "this thing of ours" since I was 8 years old. It is a part of me in every way. Everything good in my life is associated in some way with Freemasonry. It even saved my life. By virtue of the people I have met and the Family that I have been given thru Freemasonry, I would die for the Craft. That is how much it means to me. That is what is in my heart.

The Obligation doesn't make the Man... The Man makes the Obligation.

We all come to the Craft seeking different things. Some blindly with no expectations, only questions. What I can say, what I have seen, the wages I have received and paid out when traveling, is that Freemasonry without a doubt, pays back ten-fold what you put into it.

I am reminded of Bro. Benjamin Franklin’s words:

Masonic Labor Is Purely A Labor Of Love
He who seeks to draw wages in gold or silver will be disappointed.
The wages of a mason are earned and paid in their dealings with one another:
Sympathy Begets Sympathy…
Kindness Begets Kindness…
Helpfulness Begets Helpfulness…


Bro. Brian Schimian is Life of Member A.O. Fay #676 in Highland Park Illinois and the Medinah Shriners - Lake County Shrine Club. He was also the Past Master Counselor of DeMolay - Lakes Chapter in 1995. Most recently, Brian became a Companion of the York Rite, joining Waukegan Chapter #41 R.A.M. Brian is a father of two children. "Start Square, Finish Level"


  1. How about...without injury to your family or yourself. I believe that giving of your life is a personal decision and not required by obligation. Even the highest degree claims only if there is greater chance of saving him.

    1. Agreed... But the obligation doesn't say that you CAN'T... it isn't required, it gives you an out... The MAN makes the OBLIGATION.

      Just like you don't HAVE to help a Brother that commits treason or murder... but you can if you feel that your obligation outweighs the act.

      Think of a situation where a Brother has committed an offense that where the obligation gives you that out... You know of it, do you call the police and report them? What if the Brother asks you for help? You are certainly within your obligation to refuse. But what about if the police ask you if you know anything? Do you tell them or do you remain silent, and not speak ill of a Brother behind his back?

      None of these are simple situations with easy answers. They make you evaluate the entirety of the situation and make a decision of you actions based on how you view your obligation and what you perceive and Right. I don't know that I would "lie" in that situation, but I certainly wouldn't say anything that would impact the Brother negatively. If that means an obstruction charge, then so be it. In my mind, I may not have to "help" a Brother, but I certainly can not impede him either based on how I take my obligation.

      Another flip side of this is that we as Brother's, shouldn't be looking to put each-other in a situation of having to make that decision in the first place...

      As far as bodily harm, I risked much more for less in the past. I would go into harms way for a distressed Brother or his family. Again, that is my personal decision and I would not be expecting the same from others.

  2. This is a conundrum. How about the relationship between obligation and justice even with with mitigation? Isn't our basic tenet truth? When can we dispose of it? As I understand most ethics issues, truth is the last and final good. Is it truth to our self or truth to mankind or spiritual truth? Let your light shine on me, please.

    1. I agree... But you can't there be degrees of the truth? In the situation I presented with a Brother than has transgressed where the obligation clearly state that you may choose to not aid him, and you are questioned about his involvement or whereabouts, clearly being on the Level, you could not lie. But you could refuse to answer the questioning by answering that you took an obligation and you are bound by it. Therefore you can speak ill of your Brother behind his back. You aren't lying in any form and you are still holding true to your obligation. If that is the way in which you view it. Clearly, in this particular situation, you have not obligation to assist the Brother. If to you that means saying what you know, then you too have still been within your obligation.

      I look at it in the same manner that a spouse can not be forced to testify in a court of law against the other spouse. True, we as fraternal brethren may not be protected under that same legal statute, but much in the same manner that a reporter would go to jail under contempt of court for not revealing a source, you have to weigh the reproductions of your decisions and actions against your own personal ideals and ideology of your obligation.

      It is very much a conundrum and id applaud those that crafted our ritual and "further mores" for having the foresight to allow us to make that personal decision in certain situations.

      But think about this... There are only 2 instances explicitly mentioned in which you do not HAVE to aid a Brother. There are too may other offenses that one can commit wherein you would technically be obligated to offer aid... Take a second and ask yourself what you would do in any number of those situations...

  3. It will always come down to the length of your cabletow, won't it? It will be a personal decision at each event and made separately upon the given circumstances. It is a conundrum for man as a whole but not for the individual man.


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