(I to We to Us)
There we were, June 2017. It was crystal clear to many of us that we were at an important crossroads in Masonic history. We concluded that we were at the very moments when the decisions made in the next few years would determine if this beloved Institution would survive as a brotherly fraternity. From my conversations with Masons from many States over the years, we had concerns from the “outside” about the purposes and structure of our entire system. More importantly, could something be done to advance our maze of titles, lovely allegories, and mysteries to a greater level, of really benefitting humanity and thus do more than merely survive, but to inspire?
In my view, the lessons of the Cryptic degrees had been neglected by the Craft, often lost in the shuffle amidst the beauty of the Royal Arch Degrees and the chase for chivalric experiences or the promise of any wisdom that might be found in other Rites or invitational bodies. I sensed that the Cryptic Rite could play a vital role in generating interest in Freemasonry from the emerging generations as well as providing important guideposts for Masonic leadership for any part of the Masonic prism of Light.
So “I” became a candidate for the office of General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work 2017-2020 of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons, International. “I” presented a platform to any voting members that I could contact wherein “I” said that the General Grand Council should have four major purposes:
- A Clearinghouse for ideas and education in the history and legends of Freemasonry.
- A Resource for solutions for promoting and retaining membership, providing improvement of leadership and knowledge of the ritualistic intentions of Ancient Craft Masonry, and support for charitable endeavors of the Masonic family.
- A forum for sharing and celebrating the successes in Freemasonry.
- An active vehicle for support of Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation and taking its worthy purposes and research needs to the public for increased financial support.
“I “have no idea if any of you were moved to vote for me because of any of this platform. However, once elected, “I” was delighted to find that “I” had become “We”. Everyone elected in August 2017 not only shared our concerns about the future of Freemasonry but also shared the belief that it was time to make changes in the standard way of doing Masonic business. So, “We” soon came to include all of the Elected Officers and the appointed Officers. The key to all of this would be communication with our fellow Freemasons. Moreover, we not only had to set goals but truly deliver on those goals.
We also initiated a process for a true partnership with the General Grand Chapter and the Grand Encampment in furthering the interests of the American York Rite form of Freemasonry. Many of our Grand Councils have recently discovered what some have known for years: Building the Blue Lodges as a partner with your Grand Lodge is good for all of us! This is not limited to joint membership initiatives but it must and will include active participation of the York Rite in the life of the Blue Lodges, the Scottish Rite, the Shrine, and everything else that we have on the Masonic shelves. Ultimately, there is only One Rite, the Rite of Freemasonry.
In visiting many Grand Councils in the past year, I know of your concerns about finances, membership and the relevance of Cryptic Masonry. I can assure with great confidence that Cryptic Masonry, Royal, Select, Super-Excellent and our often-overlooked Legends, are going to be a VERY important part of revitalizing Freemasonry in the United States and our world of brotherly partners. We want a world that is safe for Freemasonry, one in which your family, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren can know with certainty that wherever they go, whomever they meet, Freemasonry means that every brother and companion they or you may encounter, shares your values and shares your sense of integrity and compassion.
We cannot carry out that mission without being of benefit to the Grand Councils and their membership. With dedicated volunteer efforts, we are making progress in development of ongoing Cryptic and Masonic Education programs and tools for increasing and retaining membership. But we NEED your help so that WE can truly be all of US!
General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work