The issue of ego and elitism, of buying into an entitled or cancel culture (kicked out of the Fraternity) mindset, isn’t new. No, actually, Freemasonry has endured many splinter groups and cross-pollination into other groups since inception. Fortunately, in most cases, cooler heads prevailed over time, and Masons didn’t excommunicate large percentages of the Craft. Every individual has a right to his or her own opinion and his or her own thoughts. Who are we to tell someone they must think a certain way?
Groups of Freemasons wanted to band together for mutual insurance groups, so the Elks and Odd Fellows were created. Some Masons wanted more fraternity and less grumpy Past Masters criticizing ritual, so they took over a hotel for a weekend and threw a massive party. Turns out that while they enjoyed being Masons, they also enjoyed the fraternal brotherhood away from heavy dogma, enjoyed partying, and decided to help pay for children’s medical bills. Right Shriners? Grotto? Other Masons or candidates were disappointed in other issues with Freemasonry and formed social organizations like the Moose, Eagles, and others.
None of the above splinter groups are wrong. None. Not even the ritualists who took the ritual to a different depth adding much more symbolic and esoteric content than exists in Freemasonry. They, every one of them, realized that Freemasonry was just fine on its own and didn’t need to change. Freemasonry existed before they were born, throughout their lifetime, and will exist in largely the same way well after they are gone. These well-meaning but wrong-headed Masons were either frustrated by Freemasonry’s strictures and eventually realized what they wanted was outside the bounds of Freemasonry.
In every instance, ego and elitism played a part in the desire to change Freemasonry to the way they believed it should be done. In every instance, these Freemasons found a small group of other Freemasons to help champion their cause.
Brothers, Freemasonry is meant to show and demonstrate the use of tools to help your own personal growth. Your own personal journey. When we tell others how they should practice Freemasonry or try to change other Masons toward our own views, that crosses a line. If you want to change Freemasonry, go right ahead. There are multiple examples above in forming your own Masonic or non-Masonic affiliated lodges. Then others can join your lodge as they choose, or not.
Bro. Randy and his wife Elyana live in O'Fallon, MO, just outside of St. Louis. Randy earned a
Bachelors in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and he works in telecom IT. He volunteers his time as a professional and personal mentor, is an NRA certified Chief Range Safety Officer, and enjoys competitive tactical pistol. He has a 30+ year background teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and healing arts. Randy's Masonic bio includes lodge education officer of two blue lodges, running the Wentzville Lodge Book Club, active in York Rite AMD, Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis co-librarian, Clerk of the Academy Of Reflection through the Valley of Guthrie, a trained facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society. As a pre-COVID-19 pioneer in Masonic virtual education, Randy is an administrator of Refracted Light and an international presenter on esoteric topics. Randy enjoys facilitating and presenting Masonic esoteric education, and he hosts an open, weekly Masonic virtual Friday Happy Hour. Randy is an accomplished home chef, a certified barbecue judge, raises Great Pyrenees dogs, and enjoys travel and philosophy.