The Final Countdown (Not the song by Europe)

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

I was looking for something to watch tonight (July 17, 2018) and saw that one of my guilty pleasure
movies was available on demand. The movie, ‘The Final Countdown’, was released in 1980. Starring Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Charles During, Katharine Ross, James Farentino, and Ron O’Neal, the premise is that while on maneuvers outside of Pearl Harbor, The USS Nimitz, encounters a strange storm. After some investigation, it becomes apparent that the aircraft carrier has been transported through time to December 6, 1941. The crew then must make a decision regarding whether to impact history by destroying the Japanese fleet before it can attack Pearl Harbor, or allow history to take its course. Ultimately, the decision to attack the Japanese Fleet is made, but the strange storm reappears. Unable to outrun the storm before they can destroy the fleet, they return to the present day. Of course, this is an over simplification of the plot, but the movie made me think about something.

Imagine if you will, “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead- your next stop, a lodge meeting in the past.” If you were able to travel back in time, to a lodge meeting say 100 years ago, what do you think you’d encounter? Most of us would probably answer that we’d see a lodge room full of our Brothers engaged in fellowship. The golden age of Freemasonry. But my guess is that after those brothers were done investigating you and probably questioning your manner of dress, that you’d encounter brethren frustrated with the state of Freemasonry.

We tend to have a romantic view of the past. If you want some interesting reading, read through the minutes of your home lodge from 100 years ago. (Or an older lodge if your home lodge was formed after 1918). I am willing to bet that you will see that the attendance was not much better than it is today. Sure, each lodge may have had a greater membership, but I’m willing to bet that you’re going to see attendance pretty much the same. You’re going to read about all of the issues that face us as Masons today, facing them. You’re going to quickly realize that Freemasonry as an institution hasn’t really changed in the past 100 years.

So being 100 years in the past, what advice could you possibly give to your Brothers? What wisdom would you impart? Do you think that you could change something in the past that would radically impact the future? Would you reveal that you were from the future?

We each most likely will have different answers to the above questions. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, then I tend to believe that you probably care about Freemasonry. I’d also be willing to believe that you are an active member of Freemasonry. So if you have answers to the above questions regarding advice, wisdom or change that you could give to our Brothers in the past then guess what? You can impact Masonry now. If the issues of Freemasonry haven’t changed in 100 years, whatever answers you could provide for then would still be relevant now.

I know, I know... Past Masters, bylaws, impediments. It’s not that easy to change the institution. Actually it is. If you aren’t getting out of Masonry what you want to get out of Masonry, then I’m willing to bet there are a good number of Brothers in neighboring lodges that feel the same way. Find them. Seek them out, and tell them there has to be a better way. Apply your answers to the questions above by finding a lodge that is in need of saving (At that point, the remaining Brethren of that lodge are going to be more open to change in order to keep the lodge open), or form a new lodge. You can’t change the past. You have the ability to change the future. You just need to find a corner of the world to create something that you and other like-minded Brethren have a stake in. “It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?”-RATM, Guerilla Radio 


WB Darin A. Lahners is the Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). He is also a member of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. You can reach him by email at

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