You Must Be The Change

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Todd E. Creason, 33°, FMLR

"As these men I have profiled in the book show, Masonry has always attracted capable and industrious people.  Builders, doers, pioneers, and freethinkers tend to migrate towards Masonry."

I was just beginning my journey as a Freemason when I wrote those words in my first book back in about 2006.  I'd been a Mason for maybe a year, but I clearly understood this concept very well--Masons do things. I'd seen it in my Lodge.  I'd seen it in the Scottish Rite.  I'd definitely seen it in the men I had researched and written about in my books.  As Benjamin Franklin said, "Well done is better than well said."  

That certainly doesn't mean that all Freemasons are builders, doers, pioneers, and freethinkers.  They aren't.  Lodges need great leaders--and far too many don't have them.  Some lodges have fallen into decades of the status quo--dying a slow but inevitable death.  They've forgotten what their purpose is.  And all they really need is a leader with a vision-- a leader with a plan.

The fraternity desperately needs leaders who have ideas, who have a vision, and can make a clear argument for change.  Leaders that will bring life back into the meetings, meaning back into the ritual, and make education and self-improvement a priority for its members.  It's not enough to complain about the problems in your Lodge, you have to be the change.  If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.  If you want to bring the light back into your Lodge, you need to be willing to carry the torch.

And I'll tell you something--it isn't easy.  I've been there.  You will be criticized.  You will be second-guessed.  You'll have no shortage of armchair quarterbacks ignoring every success, and pointing out every failure.  But you won't just find critics--you'll also find allies.  Men that will share your vision for the future and join with you.  That's key.  You'll never get there alone, but if you can make a compelling argument and get your Brothers behind you, you will be successful.  Before you know it, there will be more following your lead than listening to your critics.  And that's when you know your Lodge is turning the corner.  That's when your Lodge comes out of it's long slumber and begins to grow again.  That's when even your harshest critics will begin to see your vision--and when you win over your critics, you've achieved a success. 

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but I've seen Lodges come roaring back that were only a few meetings away from fading away forever.  Masonry is important.  It's not just about your Lodge, it's about your community.  The world has never been in greater need of men of the type that Freemasonry has been known to help produce for centuries.  Men who possess a strong moral code.  Men with values.  Gentlemen of strong character.  Once these qualities weren't at all uncommon, but today, they have become much more difficult to find.  There are few places left where men can strive to improve themselves in these areas--a Lodge of Freemasons is one such place.  But these places must continue to exists and thrive, and it's up to us to make sure that they do.

But it will take leadership, and strong leaders to bring that purpose back to the forefront.  Maybe that's what you're supposed to be to your Lodge.  


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and continues to be a regular contributor. He is also the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog, where he posts on a regular schedule on topics relating to Freemasonry.  He is the author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and currently serves as Secretary, and is also a member of Homer Lodge No. 199.  He is a member the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), the Ansar Shrine (IL), Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL), and a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research.  He was recently awarded the 2014 Illinois Secretary of the Year Award by the Illinois Masonic Secretaries Association.  You can contact him at:


  1. You didn't just hit a home run with this one, Todd. It was a grand slam.

  2. I can assure you that Todd has been a great leader for the fraternity in his own right, both at the local lodge level and beyond.

  3. Bill Childers here, PGM of Masons in NM. A great big "WOW" on this one Todd. I agree totally with Brother Steve Harrison. Your comments equate to the "individual responsibility" aspect of our Order. It is something we do not put enough emphasis on. Freemasonry cannot MAKE anyone anything they do not choose to be. It has been proven many times over, I can't change you and you can't change me; we can only change ourselves. Freemasonry creates and maintains a learning environment, offers opportunity and provides the working tools for self development but the individual must step into that environment with the proper mind set; he must take advantage of the opportunity and he must utilize the working tools for their intended purpose. Yes, Freemasonry has a responsibility to the Brethren, but the individual Brother must pursue further knowledge that will take him toward that level of perfection as represented by the perfect ashlar. He must understand the teachings of Freemasonry because one cannot apply what one does not understand.

  4. Yup. That's my take on it. We have the obligation to provide the opportunities to learn. As you said in the end it is up to the Mason to take advantage of it. Of course my experiences been there are no shortage of good ideas but when it comes time to find volunteers that's when you'll find where the shortage truly is. It's time for our members to stop waiting for somebody else to fix the problems and assume responsibility themselves.


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