The Effects of Masonry

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Brian L. Pettice, 33˚

I don’t know if it is the depressing weather and darkness of a long winter or what, but lately it seems I have experienced a lot of negativity regarding the fraternity, society, and people in general coming from some of my brethren. This time of year people are hard on others in person and, especially, on-line in social media. I confess I have had a hard time staying positive about people and the fraternity myself for the last few weeks.

This has gotten me to thinking about a piece of the ritual I’ve heard scores of times in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite where a statement similar to this is made, “In the world men know Masonry only through the lives of individual Masons.”

What does this statement mean? Do I feel a sense of responsibility from it? What does the world know of Masonry through my life?

Does the world know a man who controls his passions or one who is controlled by them?

Does the world know a man who is hopeful or one who is down on Society and his fellow man?

Does the world know a humble man or a braggart?

Does the world know one who conciliates or one who divides?

Does the world know a peacemaker or a troublemaker?

Does the world know one who builds up his brother or one who tears him down?

Does the world know one who forgives or one who holds a grudge?

Does the world know one who loves or one who hates?

The answers to these questions show the effects of Masonry, the evidence of the place it holds in my life.

If Freemasonry is the journey towards becoming a better man-- if it is the seeking after that state of Perfection at which I will never fully arrive in this life-- what do the answer to these questions say about the progress I am making?

I can know all of the ritual. I can study all of the esoteric secrets. I can have years of experience. I can be a leader. I can be confident I am one of the “good” Masons. If my life, though, doesn’t display this evidence or show these effects, to what end do I do this?

To what end do you do it?

As I look in the proverbial mirror, I realize I have, as always, work to do. What about you? How are you doing? What do you see in the mirror?

As another piece of ritual I’ve heard scores of times says, “The honor of Freemasonry is in your keeping.”


Brian L. Pettice, 33° is a Past Master of Anchor Lodge No. 980 and plural member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 in Danville, IL and an Honorary Member of a couple of others. He is also an active member of both the York and Scottish Rites. He cherishes the Brothers that have become Friends over the years and is thankful for the opportunities Freemasonry gives and has given him to examine and improve himself, to meet people he might not otherwise have had chance to meet, and to do things he might not otherwise have had chance to do. He is employed as an electrician at the University of Illinois and lives near Alvin, IL with his wife Janet and their son Aidan. He looks forward to sharing the joy the fraternity brings him with others. His email address is

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