So let me put some perspective on this. When I joined my Lodge, I went through three marvelous degrees (there are few Lodges in this country that do a better job with ritual than the Lodges right here in my own area). I expected that experience to continue after I was raised, but like so many Masons that write me, that’s not what I found. I found myself in boring business meetings, and pancake breakfasts, and we had workers clubs where we were instructed in ritual—and let me tell you, the instructors in those sessions weren’t polite, they weren’t patient, and I was often singled out in a way that sometimes reminded me of my experience in Army basic training.
I knew that there was an intention that Freemasonry be more to men than what I found when I joined. I took the responsibility of bringing that “something more” to Freemasonry on myself. I moved up through the chairs. I started a newsletter in my Lodge. I read books and researched Freemasonry and shared what I was learning with my Lodge (in very short and very interesting pieces). I researched and wrote books. I started a blog and in the beginning wrote and posted three short education pieces every single week—it’s the blog your reading now, and it’s become one of the largest and most read Masonic blogs that exist today. Over years and years I’ve met other Masons in my area interested in the same kind of experience in Masonry that I was interested in. And over time, we’ve slowly changed the culture in some of the Lodges in my area. Both of the Lodges I belong to now place a focus on member education—teaching our members old and new about the principles of Masonry and how to apply them to their every day lives. And we’re just getting there now after thirteen years of hard work. And it’s a job that I’ll keep working on for many, many, many more years. It’s a destination I’ll never arrive at, but it’s been a very rewarding journey—and I’m quite certain when I finally lay down my tools, somebody else WILL pick them up and continue the work I began.
So you can imagine what I’d like to say to people that complain about their Lodges. I’ve yet to hear a complaint that I haven’t had to work through in one way or another myself—from cranky Past Masters to clashes with a Lodge cultures that were resistant to anything new. The key to the whole thing is connecting with Brothers that share your vision—as you can see from the Midnight Freemasons of today, I’m no longer alone here.
Freemasonry is a call to action. It’s a call to labor. It’s not here for your pleasure, and if that’s why you joined, you’re in the wrong place. There’s an expectation in Freemasonry that you’re going to work. You’re going to learn our ways. You’re going to learn and apply our values. That you’re going to work in your Lodge to become a leader and an example to others both in your Lodge and outside its walls. You’re going to work hard on improving yourself so you can become an example for others to follow. You’re going to work in your communities to improve the quality of life for those that live there. There’s a reason so much of our ritual has to do with laboring in the quarries, and building a house not made with human hands. What I learned from those Masons I’ve studied and written about over the years is that the vast majority of them were men of action. They didn’t complain, they saw what needed to be done, and they did it even when they failed at it over and over again as a few of them did.
Each of our journeys in Freemasonry is going to be different, and yours won’t be like mine most likely. But in order to really get out of Freemasonry what was originally intended, we have to work at it. And at some point, we all find our niche. We all find our mission. For me it’s about member development and Masonic education. For others it’s about ritual instruction. For others, they find their mission in everything from flipping pancakes to raise money for charity to driving young children to their doctors appointments at a Shriner’s Hospital.
But Freemasonry isn’t here for your pleasure--it’s here for your improvement. And sometimes the path to personal growth isn’t clearly marked. Many of us have had to cut our own trail. That’s what many of us here at the Midnight Freemasons have done. The advantage of blazing your own trail in Freemasonry is when you turn around, you’ll find Masons following you because you’ve established a clear path for them to follow.
That’s why we’re here, and that's what I'd like for people to know who write to me. Don't ever underestimate your ability to make a difference.
Todd E. Creason, 33° is an