Deportment and Upright Character

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

Returning from a road trip with fellow Midnight Freemason Todd Creason, to the 160th Anniversary rededication of Pekin Royal Arch Chapter No. 25 in Pekin, Illinois, we began discussing current day issues and the severe lack of civility in today’s culture and language. It wasn’t lost on either us, that Freemasonry has an incredible opportunity to once again help reshape American culture, with the very ideals that we espouse in our fraternity.  
One ideal that Todd brought up was “deportment” and I have to admit, I didn’t fully know or understand the definition of deportment. I was familiar with the word having heard it in the second degree charge, but it was time for me to do some homework.
Merriam-Webster defines deportment as “the manner in which one conducts oneself”.
The charge says in part: “Your past regular deportment and upright character have merited the honor we have now conferred…” (Duncans Ritual of Freemasonry).   
Is the charge only referring to our conduct as Freemason’s within the lodge?  What about our interactions with the outside world?  Do those matter?  The second degree charge also talks about a mason’s “upright character”, how does this interrelate with deportment?
Looking further at definitions:  upright as an adjective means adhering to rectitude, righteous, honorable and just; character refers to a person’s behavior, qualities of honesty and reputation.
A brother who has come through the second degree to hear these words, is considered by his brethren to have led a life worthy of first being elected to receive the degrees, then becoming an Entered Apprentice and having made further progress in Masonry by being passed to the degree of Fellow Craft.
We as Masons are expected to lead our lives both inside and outside the lodge in a manner that is exemplary for others.  The world is looking at our conduct, at our actions, listening to our words and examining our behaviors.   This is an opportunity and duty to influence the world in a positive manner.
Staying on this path is hard work, requires constant attention, is not always easy and may at times seem frustrating when so much of the world acts otherwise.  The benefits of leading such a life are large though, such as setting a good example for your children, mentoring and encouraging others, and improving your community and lodge.
There are many men in Freemasonry who I consider their deportment and upright character to be exemplary.  It’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to meetings, reunions and dinners.   Being around them and learning from them, helps make me a better individual.
WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.  He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana.  He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society.  Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. 

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