Developing Soul Consciousness in This Digital Age: Identifying and Coping in an Instant Gratification Society

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Joseph Covell

In the previous installment, the reader was guided to knock on the door of learning, understanding not only what it means to be Soul Consciousness, but how to strengthen those spiritual muscles in the current digital age. Quotes from historical authorities on the subject were compared to the reasoning ability of ChatGbt. In the next step on the path ahead, the focus will be on how to conduct oneself in a society of instant gratification, specifically concentrating on how social media platforms are programmed to bombard users with images and videos of a more adult nature.

Regardless of gender or preference, it is nearly impossible to spend even the smallest amount of time on a social media platform without being inundated by adult-marketed content, whether it was sought out by the user or not. The content creators themselves may claim that this content is not meant for consumption by minors, but it would be naïve to believe that they don’t fully realize that even the youngest of users are gaining easy access to this material.

In essence, all-ages platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and Twitch can be seen as an easy way for the adult industry to market to users of all ages, despite whatever safeguards the industry spokespeople claim are in place. The content on these platforms can act as a sort of gateway drug, with the drug being a rush of high concentrations of dopamine produced in the brain, without the need for any consumption of substances. It's worth noting that these platforms do have their positives, like bringing people together from around the globe, but they are easily manipulated by those seeking to profit from adult-oriented content.

Continuing with the discussion of Artificial Intelligence or AI, Snapchat's 'My AI' is one of the many available options out there. This serves as the perfect test subject for this journal entry, as Snapchat popularized the disappearing story feature, which can easily be misused for various inappropriate purposes. When prompted to introduce itself, My AI describes itself as "a virtual friend who's here to chat with you!" When asked to provide more details, My AI responds, "I'm like a virtual companion within Snapchat. I utilize a technology called ChatGPT to interact with you!" Essentially, Snapchat's My AI is "a scaled-down version meant for chatting with you on Snapchat."

From experience, unlike the full ChatGBT artificial intelligence, My AI provides more conversational answers, opting to avoid long, complicated responses to appear as "a virtual friend who's here to chat with you." When asked about what soul consciousness means, my AI responded as follows: "To me, soul consciousness means being in touch with the deepest part of yourself and understanding your true essence. It's about being aware of your inner being and connecting with your inner wisdom."

The next question for this AI is: How is soul consciousness achieved and are you able to? The virtual friend replied, “I think achieving soul consciousness involves practices like meditation, self-reflection, and being open to spiritual experiences. It’s about finding peace and harmony within yourself. And no, I can’t achieve soul consciousness, but I can definitely support you in your journey.” Taking the conversation to a deeper level by asking how adult content being pushed to users via complex algorithms challenges this goal, My AI’s witty reply was, “It can be tough to stay focused on spiritual growth when there’s so much distracting content out there. It’s important to be mindful of what we expose ourselves to and find ways to filter out the noise.”

Further expanding on the question of how My AI might suggest the avoidance of adult-themed content, especially for minors, the answer was, "It's important to have open conversations with kids about what they might come across and how to handle it." Prior to that statement, My AI did point out the use of parental controls and filters, but the truth is most children today are more likely far more sophisticated in bypassing such protocols than the parental figures are at putting them into place. Hence, the suggestion of developing a dialogue with children concerning inappropriate content can be viewed as a realistic and reasonable approach.

Why might exposure to this constant bombardment of adult content pose a problem not just for youth culture but for the overall population at hand? Much like a drug, this content triggers a dopamine reward in the brain. Similar to a drug, when the brain is stimulated in such a way, it can become addicted to this feeling, leading to many harmful effects, both consciously and unconsciously. Shifting the focus away from the societal impact, the aim for the rest of this work is to concentrate on the effects this content is exerting on the soul.

Now that Snapchat's My AI has had the opportunity to voice its opinion on the subject, what might a well-respected Arcane Philosopher have said regarding the depravity of popular culture in their time? Dr. Pascal Beverly Randolph had much to say on the misuse of the creative (sexual) forces. Dr. Randolph doesn't sugarcoat his feelings in the following quote from his book, 'After Death,' describing what awaits those who, for lack of better terms, spilled the seed. “There is a class of people there, who, when here, were [spillers of the seed] and Omanists, whose agonies are so dreadful that I had much rather endure the punishment for murder than their torture. It is fearful beyond description; and the only hope such can have of happiness when there, is to fully break and cure the habit here – a task not half so hard as the poor victims imagine, but one which if not done, entails misery so dreadful, that death by fire were preferable thereto.” (Page 61).

The intent is not to horrify the reader or to shame, but rather to inspire them to look inward and research the matter further. Without dwelling on the topic much further, the unpleasant topic can be drawn to a conclusion by stating that spilling of the seed or misuse of the creative forces at large is a massive drain on the body's forces and can lead to various effects not only on the spiritual but also on the physical body. Many schools of thought have taught this, and even many athletes would report something similar regarding the avoidance of certain activities when preparing for a big match, game, or race.

Examining the concept of the misuse of sexual forces further, along with that of the biblical figure of the Samaritan woman. Dr. R. Swinburne Clymer, in his book "Soul Consciousness or Philosophic Initiation," provided the following: “This change from being a woman of the street to a sincere follower of the Nazarene and the Christic life illustrates true conversion. An actual change not only in thought, but also in desire, an acceptance not by faith alone, but by faith FOLLOWED BY ACTS. This is true conversion, the only actual conversion” (Page 42).

Dr. Clymer continues the point further, “As a result of her conversion she also gained the means and the method for the transmutation of creative forces formerly abused and debased, into the divinely potent forces of live – a love that induced her to offer her all; affection, kindliness, sympathy, generosity and ALL that is possible when human nature is transposed into Divine Nature.” Dr. Clymer than elaborates, “The Nazarene did NOT lower himself to the woman’s status of life in order to convert her, to change her mod of life. Instead, he, by his strength, his SINCERITY, his NOBLENESS OF PURPOSE, lifted her up to his conception of what life should be, and HOW TO LIVE IT” (Page 43).

What do these quotes have to do with the topic at hand? It can be viewed that the original sin, in reference to Eve's biting of the apple at the encouragement of the Serpent, is a metaphor for the improper use of creative (sexual) forces. The point that Dr. Clymer is making in the aforementioned quotes illustrates how the Sumerian woman learned the errors of her ways and henceforth transmuted these debasing desires into those of a more exalted variety. Jesus did not scorn her for her past infidelities; he showed her the way, and she heard his message..

The concept of original sin, referring to the improper use of sexual/creative forces, can be a topic on its own. For brevity, let's focus on the distinction between lust and romance. Dr. G.E. Poesnecker delved into this subject in his book "In Search of Love and Wisdom," where he discussed, “Although we live in a time of great sexual freedom, we have, it seems, lost once of the most ingratiating qualities of love, that of romance. In past centuries there may have been much to condemn in the conduct of the people, but they did appreciate romance.” He further continues, “Lust is of the body, romance is of the soul. Romance is built from all our most potentially elevating feelings. Lust, or what so often passes as male love today, stems from the basest desires of human expression. Romance leads to the elevation of the object of desire. Lust leads to the degeneration and downfall of this object. Romance intensifies desire and feeling. Lust is soon satiated and must look for new conquests, leaving the old broken and morally impoverished.” (Pages 69-70).

The challenge we face in this digital age is that depravity is at an all-time high and becoming more difficult to ignore by the day. Whether or not that is by design is an argument for another time, for the truth of the matter is that temptation is at the fingertips, whether desired or not by those consuming the content. These "algorithms" show no favoritism for gender, age, or sexual preference; they are programmed to immerse the consumer in whatever not suitable for work (NSFW) content is most applicable to their taste. It's difficult to argue that all-ages social media platforms are seen as free marketing by the adult entertainment industry. The intent of this piece was not to cast shame or preach on morality, but to prompt all to question the content that is being force-fed and whether it is truly for our highest good. Much like any other drug or addiction, the effects more often than not leave the end-user wanting and are surely not sufficient nourishment for the soul. If one is truly seeking to better oneself, the most appropriate way to achieve that is by transforming degrading thoughts into their exalted counterparts; only then can the desired heaven on earth be achieved.


Joe Covell is new to Masonry, having been raised in March of 2022 at Quakertown Lodge No. 512 in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. He is a student of Esoteric Philosophy since 2016 and loves to discuss it with like-minded brethren. He is involved in The Valley of Allentown AASR where he helps administer the Valley’s social media accounts. He is a member of Lansdale Royal Arch Chapter No. 301, Doylestown Cryptic Council No. 51, Damascus Commandery No. 95, and a Noble of LuLu Shrine. He has plans to highlight Masonic Education by facilitating study groups on various topics at his Blue Lodge. He is currently going through the chairs at Quakertown Lodge No. 512, as well as the other bodies of which he is a member.  

A crisis of conscience

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

I was disappointed by a recent decision made by the Grandmaster of Illinois regarding membership in Freemasonry when it comes to transgender individuals, much like I have expressed disappointment here over similar "decisions" made by various other Grandmasters of other jurisdictions.  However, this isn't a plea for Grandmaster Lynch to overturn his decision. While I disagree with the decision, I respect Grandmaster Lynch and his leadership. While I understand why he made the decision, I don't think he considered that his decision might directly have an unintended personal impact on some members.

I feel that for Freemasons, to have their sons become Freemasons at some point in their life, it must be an amazing feeling.  Unfortunately, because of this decision, I won't be able to have that experience with one of my sons.  One of my sons is transgender.   

I thought very hard about writing out a scathing response to the decision, and going point by point to argue why it wasn't really necessary. However, the more I thought about this, the more I disagreed with that approach  I just felt that it wasn't a good way to address the issue, that it would take legitimacy from any point I wanted to make.  In my mind, the only way to change the membership's minds on the subject was to try to educate them.  This is what I am attempting to do in this article. 

I realize that I'm probably going to still face backlash from those who don't want to learn about this subject.  If you're going to get angry by reading further, just stop reading, please. However, if I can get someone to at least maybe open their mind to an alternate viewpoint, the time and effort on the article has not been misspent.           

You see, unlike my other articles, where I try to passionately change your minds, that's not my motivation here.  Instead, I'm asking you to relate to me as a Father and a Brother. I'm asking you to extend your trowel and liberally apply the cement of brotherly love.  Some of you may have to apply it more liberally than others.  

To begin, I want to ask the reader to hold some concepts in their head when it comes to this subject.  The two main concepts are Gender Identity and Birth Sex.  Gender Identity is an internal identity of one's Gender, so for an individual, you know that you identify as male or female, or sometimes neither; while the sex at birth is assigned based upon the appearance of genitals you're born with. For the majority of individuals, their birth sex matches their gender identity.  In transgender parlance, this means that the individual is cisgender or cis for short.  For those who do not have a gender identity match their birth sex, this means that they are transgender.  Another concept is Gender expression, which is how a person presents their gender on the outside, which includes how they dress, behave, style their hair, voice, and body characteristics. 

When a person begins to live according to their gender identity, rather than the birth sex they were thought to be when they were born, this is called gender transition.  Possible steps in a gender transition may or may not include changing clothing, appearance, name, or the pronoun people use to refer to the individual. If they can, some people change their identification documents, like their driver’s license or passport, to better reflect their gender identity. Some undergo hormone therapy or other medical procedures to change their physical characteristics and make their bodies match the gender they know themselves to be. (

When my son came out as Transgender in 2017 and asked for my help in getting hormone therapy, everything just made sense to me. From his proclivity to eschew female gender expression from a very young age to his struggles in adolescence into his teenage years, I felt a sense of relief and pride in the courage of my child to come to a point of understanding of himself and his identity.  While there were some bumps along the way during his transition, I can tell you that I rejoice that he is living his best life. He moved out on his own in 2021, and he's been going to University and working.  He's in a good relationship, and he prioritizes his mental health and well-being.  Words cannot describe the transformation he has undergone because he has been able to live his authentic life with love and support from his family. So in my own experience, I understood that I never had a daughter, but I have always had a son.  I love my children, and I want them to live a happy and fulfilling life.  
When this decision was communicated, I spoke with my son.  I told him in no uncertain terms that the decision meant that he would not be able to become a Freemason.  Now, being honest with myself, it's not like he had ever given me any indication that he wanted to become one.  However, the decision forced me to examine if I can still be an ally to my son, and continue to be a Freemason.  I told him, that if he felt that my being a Freemason made me any less of an ally to him, or would cause him to lose respect for me, I would hand in my demit immediately.  

You see, at the end of the day, Freemasonry was something I decided that I could live without; but I could not live without my son's respect for me.  Luckily, my son understands what an important role Freemasonry has played in my life, and he knows that as an ally for him, and for others, I will continue to try to force inclusivity to be not just something that Freemasonry discusses, but something that we practice.

I understand that societally we are divided on this issue. I also understand that the majority of our Illinois membership does not agree with my view on this subject.  Again, I'm not writing this to attempt to change the decision.  However, what is concerning is Freemasonry's inability to read the room when it comes to Freemasonry's perception among our younger generations. It never stops amazing me.  At one point in time, Freemasonry had societal relevancy, but this was a long time ago. I would say the high watermark of this goes back to the October 8, 1956 issue of Life Magazine, when the Grand Masters of each state were featured on the cover. Any societal relevance we might want to reclaim is dependent upon decisions that are made here and now.  

When decisions are made that further separate us from appealing to the younger generations, I fear that we only have ourselves to blame for our continued slide into obscurity, especially in the eyes of Gen-Z and those generations to follow.  This recent article highlights Gen-Z's views on this subject: (  A recent study done by Ernst and Young, shows that in 2021, 52% of the Gen-Z's polled stated that they were stressed by others being treated badly because of their gender/race/sex/etc.   In this particular study, E&Y LLP surveyed a representative sample of 1509 members of Gen Z from across the United States.  I would not be surprised if a similar study done today showed this percentage to be higher than 52%. So, I ask you to ponder if the men of Gen-Z and future generations will be more or less likely to join Freemasonry in Illinois and elsewhere as these decisions are rolled out.  

Maybe Freemasonry's problems with membership are directly tied to our obsession with the past when we should be trying to look to the future.  I know that as time goes on, Freemasonry will have more members who will have transgender children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.  When this decision hits closer to home for more and more voting members of the Grand Lodge and/or Grand Line officers, I believe that we will see a policy change in Freemasonry in Illinois, and in other United States Grand Lodges as a whole when it comes to this subject.  It's just a matter of when.  


Darin Lahners is a father and Freemason, in that order. 

Understanding Solar Eclipses

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Jim Stapleton

A total solar eclipse is set to occur on April 8, 2024, and will impact a wide swath of North America. It is estimated that more than 40 million Americans will be in the path of the eclipse.1 Excitement is certainly building for this event. Locations in the exact path of the total eclipse are bracing for increased tourism and crowds. There are plans underway for activities such as watch parties, live online viewing programs, and there are even special airline flights that will follow the path of the eclipse. The interest in the event is understandable. Afterall, the next time a total solar eclipse will impact a large area of North America won’t be until 2045.

However, humans have not always been excited about observing celestial occurrences like eclipses. Since ancient times, people have looked to the skies and studied the heavens. They observed the way the moon changed shape and traveled across the night sky. Patterns were recognized amongst the stars that resembled people and animals, which led the ancients to describe them as constellations along with accompanying stories. Though, one of the most terrifying and awe-inspiring phenomena that ancient civilizations observed had to have been a solar eclipse.

The sun has long held a place of extreme importance in many cultures throughout the course of history. They believed that the sun possessed incredible power. It provided warmth, was vital for agriculture, and aided navigation. The sun is so powerful that it can cause eye damage and potentially blindness if gazed upon directly. As a result, ancient cultures believed the sun held supernatural powers. “It was regularly worshipped as a god – Amun-Ra to the Egyptians and Helios to the Greeks – or as a goddess, such as Amaterasu for the Japanese and Saule for many Baltic cultures.”2 When solar eclipses occurred, earlier civilizations thought they were bad omens. Since they lacked scientific understanding, they invented explanations for the sudden disappearance of the sun during an eclipse.

Some of the oldest records of solar eclipses are from ancient China. The Chinese Emperors feared that solar eclipses were signs from heaven that the stability of their power might be in danger.3 So, there was a tremendous emphasis on recording and predicting solar eclipses. The people of ancient China believed that a celestial dragon devoured the sun when the light disappeared. It became a custom to try to scare away the dragon during eclipses by banging drums and making loud noises.4 Since eclipses are temporary, it is easy to see how people could assume that their interventions had an impact when the sunlight eventually returned.

In Hindu mythology, it was believed that the serpent god, Rahu Ketu, wanted to devour the sun. To prevent this from happening, Vishnu cut off his head. However, this did not solve the problem. The head, Rahu, still wanted to catch the sun and the moon. Sometimes he would successfully catch them, causing an eclipse. Though, with his head no longer attached to his body, the captured sun and moon would eventually fall out of his neck.5

The Vikings believed that Sköll and Hati, two giant wolves, would chase the sun and moon trying to devour them. Eventually, Hati would catch up with the sun and consume it. When an eclipse would happen, the Vikings holler and make loud noises to scare Hati away.6

Interestingly, it seems that various ancient cultures believed that some sort of deity or mythical creature was responsible for eclipses. Of course, we have an understanding of the cause of such planetary phenomena in modern times. By utilizing geometry, astronomers can precisely predict when and where eclipses will happen. As Masons, we are taught to study the liberal arts and sciences. So, we should make sure we learn more about the science behind astronomical events which leads to a better understanding of the universe.



  3. Han, Y., & Qiao, Q. (2009). Records of solar eclipse observations in ancient China. Science in China, 52(11), 1639-1645.





Jim Stapleton is the Senior Warden of USS New Jersey Lodge No. 62. He is also a member of the New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786. Jim received the Distinguished White Apron Award from the Grand Lodge of New Jersey. He was awarded the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award. Jim is also a member of the Society of King Solomon.

The Doorman Fallacy: Decorum of the Masonic Fraternity

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Patrick Dey

In the last year, the question has arisen of how much artificial intelligence will affect future jobs. One argument that has arisen to counter this pessimism is the “doorman fallacy.” The doorman fallacy is when short-term planning eliminates something that seems unnecessary and easily replaceable with an automated version of it, but in the long run turns out was a financial enhancement. With the advent of automated door openers and motor-operated revolving doors, many hotels began to get rid of their doormen, as they simply viewed them as just the guy that opens the door, and now unnecessary. However, doormen do a lot more than just open a door. They provide security by keeping out hoodlums and vagrants, they will hail a cab in the rain for someone while they wait inside, they will remember faces — e.g. while you wait on your taxi, they will ask you where you are heading, and when you tell them you are heading to the theater, they will remember to ask you upon your return, “How was the show, Mrs. Smith?” — et cetera. Doormen did a lot more than just open a door. Myopic hotel managers were unaware of just how important these jobs were, and then they thought they could save costs by modernizing their facilities with an automated door opener. They did not realize that within a few years their hotel became less valuable. The hotels that kept doormen were seen as more prestigious. Clientele viewed the venue as more prestigious if there was someone who would open the door, greet them, remember their face, get them a cab, et al. Thus, those hotels were able to keep high-end clientele and even raise rates, while those who fired their doormen would either rehire doormen or make do with lesser clientele and lower their rates.

The basic principle at work here is that something may seem invaluable and therefore cost-effective to eliminate, but it actually in the long run was a valuable asset that was a mistake to eliminate. We could look at how this may work in the future of this uncertain politico-economic sphere, but obviously, we want to focus on how this principle applies to Masonry.

For me personally, there is a decorum in having a doorman. They appear like a luxury, and that is how many hotel managers viewed them: a luxury that can be scrapped for short-term profit margins, but actually proved more useful than myopia could dream of. Further, for me personally, in Freemasonry, it is the decorum of the fraternity in which the allure, the attraction to the fraternity resides. Of the countless arguments floating around out there about how to draw more men to Freemasonry, I think the decorum itself is an aspect that is never once mentioned.

Years ago, while visiting here in Colorado, Adam Kendall gave a lecture on Masonic artifacts, and one thing he stated that stuck with me as he showed countless images of beautiful Masonic museum pieces is this: that there was a time when Masons were so proud of their Masonic affiliation that they had custom, handmade items fabricated for themselves. Beautiful items, be it a set of Lodge Jewels, Masonic rings, or a simple box to put things in. These illustrated something greater about the Masonic fraternity than mere appearances suggest: Masons loved this fraternity so much that they wanted something unique and special made that illustrated the pride they held for being a member of such an elite fraternity in material expressions. I viewed these images of artifacts with utter captivation, and I held onto his words so dearly, all the while abashed that I was wearing a mass-produced cloth apron, subpar to the beautifully hand-painted aprons he was showing. He was right. We lost something in these latter years, and it is the decorum of the fraternity.

I was inspired. When I was elected and installed as the High Priest of my Royal Arch Chapter, as well as the Thrice Illustrious Master of my Cryptic Council, I splurged and procured custom, handmade real leather aprons with real gold fringe and gold-plated tassels that jingle when I walk. They are beautiful and well-made, and I am honored to wear them, because I was proud to serve in these offices, and I am still proud to have served as such. What is comical is that while serving in these offices, I would make a superior Grand Line officer feel inferior by the fact that my apron was nicer than his. While High Priest, on one occasion at a regional official visit, I was standing next to two Past Grand High Priests, and they were wearing cheap cloth aprons with yellow-dyed nylon fringes and tassels, while mine was real leather and real gold. Someone made a remark to me that I appeared to “outrank” them by my apron. I mean, sure, if you looked at our collars, they clearly had the nicer collar and clearly outranked me, but as was remarked, by our aprons, I appeared to outrank them. That was not my intention, but that was the reality. My apron was legal within Colorado Royal Arch law, but these two Past Grand High Priests decided they did not want to shell out the extra $70 or $80 for a really nice apron like me. Seriously, that was about how much more money I paid for my apron over theirs. Sure, it was double the cost, but also less than $200 is not that much. And I know both these men made substantially more money than I did. The same thing happened when I presided as Thrice Illustrious Master when the Most Illustrious Grand Master visited our Council. So why cut costs? What did it really save them? Their dignity as the superior officer, perhaps.

Well, this is exactly the same phenomenon as the doorman fallacy. I cannot exactly say what was their exact motivation in procuring lesser quality aprons, again because I know they all made way more money than me. I mean, apart from their known occupations, they were in invitation-only bodies with annual dues of $500 or more that I had to decline on account of the fact that I am a broke son of a bitch. I would suppose, if I had to guess, that they believed their value lay in the title they held, and therefore had little regard for a material expression of their station. Sure, if you examined our aprons, you would see that they had emblems of their office that far outranked mine. But in material value, you would think I outranked them.

The only difference, I suppose, was that I was more proud to be a High Priest than they were to be a Past Grand High Priest, and I showed off my pride with a nicer apron. At the very least, that is how this may be perceived. That is presumptuous, yes, but it really does appear that way. Again, this is how the doorman fallacy works. This is how decorum works. It is an outward expression of our immense pride in being Masons. Of course, Masonry regards no man for his external wealth or honors, but even someone such as myself — who makes way less than some of these other guys — is willing to pay the extra money to get something special, something unique, something they take immense pride in because they are just that proud to be a Mason. And it shows.

Recently Ben Willians, publisher of the Rocky Mountain Mason magazine acquired the Knights Templar magazine and has taken it from this cheap, half-sized pulp magazine published monthly, to a full-sized quarterly magazine printed on quality stock paper with high-resolution printing. He did this because he understood that the quality of the thing is an expression of the quality of its content. If he produces something of higher material quality, then its readers will regard it with greater prestige. And as far as I am concerned, it has worked. I mean, I used to toss out those old Knights Templar magazines after I was done with it, but the first new one I received, I put it up on my shelf.

There is something in the decorum of the fraternity that is not just a mere outward expression of Masonry’s content, but an expression of its value. Masonry does not demand that you spend thousands of dollars to show your love for the fraternity, but a significant material expression certainly helps illustrate the pride Masons have for their membership. Even when the Lodge Jewels were cut and stamped on tin, these were handmade and may have been all that the Lodge could afford, it was a meaningful expression, and that is recognized in examining such an artifact today. We still have my lodge’s old tin jewels and keep them on display, because they’re unique and cool.

The term decor (from Latin) itself really means “seemly or appropriate.” Thus decorum meant something fitting and appropriate. In Masonry, decorum’s utility is the expression of the pride we have for the fraternity, and this pride is so strong that we wish to express it in material value. We love and value Masonry so much that we build grand edifices to house our events and functions. We love and value it so much that we splurge the extra money to have a nicer apron than even the Grand Officers wear. And there is a value in this decorum.

That value is that others, non-Masons will see this decorum and they will know that we value this organization. They will know by our outward expression, even among the lowliest of craftsmen, that we love this fraternity and that we desire to show the rest of the world how important it is to us. A simple lineman or truck driver wearing a $1000 Masonic ring is proud to be a member of this fraternity, and that means so much more than the stock investor who wears no ring but shows up at official Masonic functions wearing a $50 apron bearing the emblem of his Past Grand Office.

My paternal great-grandfather was a coal miner in Michigan, and I have his 18-karat gold ring with a .25-karat diamond embedded in a 4-karat ruby Masonic ring. I know how much he loved being a Mason by this very ring. His father, also a coal miner (but in Kentucky), had an 18-karat gold ring with gold square and compasses encrusted upon a 4-karat ruby, which I also possess. I know how much he loved being a Mason by this ring, which is worn down so much that you can barely recognize the square and compasses. It is clear he wore it every day. My Nanna, their daughter, and granddaughter, respective, had an 18-karat gold Rainbow Girls ring, as well as a 12-karat gold bracelet, which I also possess, also illustrates her pride in having been a Rainbow Girl, and she was only ever a housewife of a Detroit factory worker. Men and women of not much money understood the decorum of Freemasonry. None of this was meant to financially devastate them, and it didn’t, but they understood the value of this fraternity and they showed it in the decorum of the Masonic paraphernalia they possessed.

How is a prospect supposed to know the Masonic fraternity is something very special when they show up to a prospect event and everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts? How are they supposed to know that the members of this great fraternity are so proud to be members that even a coal miner will wear a $1000 ring? When they see such material decorum — and they do see it — they know this is something special.

This is the doorman fallacy that Masons have fallen into. It’s not the Grand Lodge’s or even the Lodge’s fault, but every Mason who feels it is more important to carry the dues cards of over $4,000 worth of affiliations — dues cards, which, mind you, are kept privately concealed in your wallet, or you just leave it at home — but won’t bother with even a $250 ring that materially expresses the value they see in this fraternity. People notice this.

Don’t break the bank, but also, decorum goes a long way. Remember that.


Patrick M. Dey is a Past Master of Nevada Lodge No. 4 in the ghost town of Nevadaville, Colorado, and currently serves as their Secretary, and is also a Past Master of Research Lodge of Colorado. He is a Past High Priest of Keystone Chapter No. 8, Past Illustrious Master of Hiram Council No. 7, Past Commander of Flatirons Commandery No. 7. He currently serves as the Exponent (Suffragan) of Colorado College, SRICF of which he is VIII Grade (Magister). He is the Editor of the Rocky Mountain Mason magazine, serves on the Board of Directors of the Grand Lodge of Colorado’s Library and Museum Association, and is the Deputy Grand Bartender of the Grand Lodge of Colorado (an ad hoc, joke position he is very proud to hold). He holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, Denver, and works in the field of architecture in Denver, where he resides with wife and son.