Words have powerful meanings. Some of the most powerful words in Freemasonry for myself, is the Scottish Rite Creed. When thought about deeply, these words encompass everything that Freemasonry should be about. Let me use this article to breakdown further and what I believe they mean.
“the enfranchisement of human thought is our supreme wish” Human beings are unique amongst all the Supreme Grand Architects creations in that we have the capacity of intellectual thought. When something is enfranchised, it is set free or liberated and guaranteed. As freemasons, we are builders. We are builders with our thoughts, with our actions and with our deeds. A free mind has boundless capabilities and when encouraged and nourished will produce remarkable results that will have a profound impact on the world around us.
“the freedom of human conscience our mission” Knowing right from wrong is a foundational bedrock of a civilized society. By liberating the human mind, we allow mankind to progress in our intellectual capacity in obtaining a deeper understanding of the world around us. The freedom of human conscience puts no limits on the ability of the individual to develop their own beliefs in areas such as religion and politics. As freemasons, we place a priority on the individual to develop to the very best of their ability and contribute in positive manner to society and mankind.
“and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention” Oppression is still present throughout the world and the forces of darkness seek to limit the freedom of the individual. Freemasonry builds men to improve themselves as individuals, in turn we are to be exemplars in society helping to build and improve the world around us.
Does Freemasonry live up to these lofty ideals? My answer is yes. Do individual freemasons fall short? Yes, we do. We work towards the perfection of the individual knowing that achieving such may be impossible. Collectively we put forth our efforts together to make a difference in our families, nation and world.
There has never been a time in human history when the ideals of freemasonry are needed more. Let us resolve to continue our work of self-improvement and thereby having a positive impact on the world around us.
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.