John M. Pratt, MIPGM
Grand High Priest
Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wisconsin
General Grand Council Ambassador to Wisconsin

John M Pratt PMIGM photo

When our Most Puissant General Grand Master, David Grindle asked me to write something for this publication, I told him to be careful what he asks for.  Here goes.

Freemasonry is 300 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress.  There, I said it.

When we were children, we all had our parents walk into our room and it looked like a nuke had gone off.  After staring in shock they would always ask, “What have you done?”  Our answer was always the same, “Nothing.”  As Masons we’ve taken the same approach to Membership.  We’ve kept Masonry in the lodge room, done nothing and the place is a mess!

People no longer know Freemasonry exists, except for what they watched on the History Channel.  Nor do they know what we do.  It’s like we’ve stopped trying to grow.  The, “wait for them to come to us” approach doesn’t work!  Those days are looooooooooong gone.  Well, for myself at least, no longer.

For those of you that don't know, the Northern Jurisdiction of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite has put together excellent materials which all Masonic Bodies may use to recruit new Masons.  It's called Not Just a Man. A Mason. www.notjustaman.org  It was introduced to us at our Grand Lodge Annual Communication in June.  I'm not in the Scottish Rite, but I'll steal a good idea from anyone.  We need to utilize this resource.  Absolutely not for the purpose to recruit ultimately for our Order.  But to grow the ranks of Freemasonry, without favor to any of its Bodies.  In this way we all grow.

The Brothers of my Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt #322 in Green Bay, decided to grab the idea and run.  So far, we have twice had a booth at Green Bay’s Wednesday Farmer's Market.  We’re going to be at the Saturday Market in October.  We’re also working our way into other public venues and events.  The Lodge purchased a double banner display from the program and I purchased another.  We set up a stall, handed out materials about Masonry in general and the charities of all our bodies in particular.  We had members from the other three lodges in town come and help.  My Lady came with her spinning wheel and spun yarn.  Yes, people still do that.  Her spinning draws the kids, the kids bring their moms and dads.  Yes, she’s a lot smarter than I am.

John M Pratt PMIGM photo

Did we get 400 new members?  No.  But, we did greet every single person that walked by. We actively engaged the public. There’s now hundreds of people that associate the Square and Compasses with people that smile and tell total strangers; "Hello.", "Good afternoon.", "Beautiful day, isn't it?", "How are you today?", “Have a great day!”  We spoke about Masonry to everyone that stopped.  We put a lodge business card in their hand.  We answered questions - even stupid ones.  We told people who we are and what we do.  And, we’ve had several people contact us asking about our next meeting.  Gooooaaaalllllll!

Get out of that messy Lodge room and into your communities.  Once there, seek out and bring good men to Freemasonry.  How do we do that?  Explain to them what we’ve all promised - to help, aid and assist our fellow man.  That's it in a nutshell.  We help, aid and assist.  And, we're good at it.  In fact, we’re far and away the best.

I firmly believe our charities are the way to not only help, aid and assist others; but they’re the vehicle to grow the fraternity.  Every day, good men walk for cures, buy raffle tickets and ring bells because they want to help, aid and assist others.  They don’t realize it, but they’re already Freemasons in their hearts.  So let’s show them vascular diseases treated and cured.  Let’s show them diabetics keeping their limbs and sight.  Let’s show them burn victims healed and crippled children walking.  Let’s show them elderly people receiving eye care.  Let’s show them cardiac arrhythmia corrected.  Let’s show them dyslexic children reading.  Let’s show them children with auditory and comprehension difficulties learning and functioning as they should.  Let’s show them a fraternity that does all that and so much more.  Let’s tell them, “This is who we are and this is what we do.”  Or, we can continue to say, "We make good men better."  Any bets which attracts more good men who want to be better?

Freemasonry is the greatest philanthropic organization in the history of the world.  That's the message we must get out and spread.  We must show the world who we are and what we do.   Every Mason should be able, at any time or place, to stand up and give a 5 to 10 minute talk on our charities.  Even those charities of organizations he's not a member.  Every single person on earth has some kind of connection with something we do.  We need to find that button and push.

We must seek out and bring good men to Freemasonry.  We must do it today, or there is no tomorrow.  Let’s clean up the mess.

If anyone wants any information or has questions about what we're doing, just let me know.  But, be careful what you ask for.

With Brotherly Love, Affection and Zeal.

Decryption - All Articles

  • General Grand Master's Update: November 2019
  • G. Thomas Taylor, Candidate for General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work
  • 2019 Northeast Conference Recap
  • Passing of MI Silas Wilson, PMIGM of Arkansas and Ambassador to Arkansas
  • Some Aspects of the Theories in the Development of the Cryptic Degrees
  • Ebenezer: Stone of Help
  • Velox Annos (Fast Year) – GGR September 2019
  • South Central Conference Recap
  • The Mercy Seat
  • The First First Responder's Award Presentation
  • What are your regular hours?
  • Aaron's Rod and It's Message
  • Grand Cryptic Council of DC Centenary: November 8-9, 2019
  • Manna: What is it?
  • The Importance of Improvising
  • Guardians of the Sacred Treasures
  • Consejo Internacional 2019
  • Passing of MI Don Himes, PMIGM of Michigan
  • South Central Regional Conference: September 20-21, 2019
  • The 200th Anniversary of the Grand Council of Connecticut
  • Jurisdiction Jewels: Arizona Ish Sodi
  • General Grand Recorder's Update: August 2019
  • Passing of MI Bill Price, PMIGM of California and Ambassador to California-North
  • Arizona, the 48th State, the Wild West
  • I find our number to be 3 times 9 plus 1: The 25th GP Rendezvous
  • The Significance of the Silver Trumpet
  • Introducing the First Responders Award
  • Cryptic Masons International: Enhancing Our Awards Presentation
  • Summary Assembly 2019: Reaffirmation of Your Masonic Lessons
  • The Revitalization of Rathdrum Lodge #41
  • Discharge Your Duty to the Craft
  • General Grand Master's Update: Happy Cryptic New Year!
  • Portugal's Upcoming 22nd Annual Assembly
  • A Challenge to Become an Individual Giver
  • A Review, A Call, and A Need for the General Grand Council's History
  • General Grand Recorder's Update: July 2019
  • Snyder's Synopsis of three of the Thirteen Degrees in the American York Rite
  • A Message from the Decryption Staff
  • The Beginnings of the Thrice Illustrious Master's Degree
  • Arizona: Order of Ish Sodi and Super Excellent Master Degree
  • Passing of Betty J. VanEtten, Widow of Charles VanEtten GGM 2002-2005
  • Deputy General Grand Master: Travels in April (Austria, GEKT Easter Observance, Maine, GGC-PHA,...
  • Educational Article: The Regular Alarm of the Mysterious Nine
  • General Grand Master: More on types of Masonic Members and recent activities
  • General Grand Chaplain's Message: Our Family, Gifts from God, and Masonry's Place in Life
  • Right Puissant Companion Gerald L. "Jerry" Ogle, PGM, has been called to work on the second temple...
  • Right Puissant Companion Carle L. Jackson has been called to work on the second temple above.
  • Update on the Recorders office - a lot done, A LOT left to do!
  • Ritual demand and some changes that will ensure continued availability.
  • The General Grand Master's announcement regarding the next Triennial.
  • ADVANCE AND BE RECOGNIZED! - Being A Cryptic Freemason in an Ever-Changing World.
  • The key to Freemasonry; that each of us – and the Fraternity – grows by mutual admiration and...
  • Technology Update as We Approach the Mid-term of the Triennium.
  • 2018 Provisional Royal & Select Master Ritual - Printed and Available
  • Strategically Approaching the New Year and Beyond
  • From One Member of a GREAT Team
  • Some very significant Grand Council activities in Maryland over the past six months
  • Progress is being made in regards to Cryptic Masonry in the Hawaiian Archipelago
  • Happy New Year, Companions! It's been quite the start.
  • Looking to the future, our faith being in God, we will surely prevail!
  • 2018 European Cryptic Masonry - A year filled with travel for the Cryptic Rite
  • Daniel's Gloves - 'If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'
  • From the Editor - TWO IN TWO DAYS!! THAT’S TOO MUCH… Or is it enough?
  • 70 Companions gather in France to create 25 new Super Excellent Masters in 2018
  • 2018 Provisional Royal & Select Master Ritual - Announcing the availability of the provisional...
  • General Grand Council Service - Monty Glover and continued service.
  • The General Grand Treasurer, duties and great experiences!
  • GG Chaplain - Christmas at the Gas Station - Carry this warm story through the New Year!
  • From the Editor - Projects, processes and fruition - Catching up with communication.
  • Cooperative work within the Ninth Arch recently resulted in an historic moment for our Craft.
  • Here is an outline of the living plan for a path forward for the General Grand Council.
  • Let’s give you an update on some of the opportunities that I have been given to promote the cause...
  • The Board of Trustees met October 12, 2018 with Dr. Michael Murphy
  • Preserving Traditions, Enabling Masonic Unity, and Creating Conduits for Effective Masonic...
  • We as Masons are generally becoming busier because we are picking up the work that we have laid...
  • Does Character reflect your true self and your true relationship with your God?
  • York Rite Masonry is beginning to spread its wings here in the Mid-Atlantic region
  • Grand Orient of Brazil – about Freemasonry today and the perspectives to it in the rest of the...
  • Such an honor being included on one of the most effective and communicative leadership teams!
  • We in the Southwest still have two major events coming up - Colorado River Fall Festival and the...
  • Nuggets from the North Central Region
  • This is one of the smallest but one of the most important and certainly one of the most curious of...
  • Please anticipate much more on ritualistic teachings like this in future issues.
  • The General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International has made a major commitment to Masonic...
  • There are (at least) two reasons for having this conference every year...
  • The 2018 Colorado River Fall Festival is being held on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.
  • Just a few examples of how the Brothers, Companions, Sir Knights, and Families can be involved in...
  • Freemasonry is 300 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress.
  • Strategic Planning consists of a systematic process that the organization agrees on...
  • Out of the mouth of babes, so they say, comes a saying we can all learn from.
  • Please consider this your invitation to join us at the 61st Annual South-Central Regional York...
  • General Grand Recorder Reassigned, Stephen Balke, GGR and Bryan Bechler, RDGGM for Canada - both...
  • Regional York Rite Conferences: Traditions and the Way Forward as True Partners
  • Kentucky is close to wrapping up Cryptic year 2017-2018, but we’re not done yet!
  • You are cordially invited to the South Dakota Grand York Rite Sessions will occur on September...
  • August, Arizona and Ascending the Cliffs Together
  • Introducing the Cryptic Mason Service Medal
  • You are cordially invited to attend our Grand session in Casper Wyoming in September!
  • The Grand York Rite Session of Colorado for 2018 will be in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • This month sees the General Grand Officers becoming very busy after a short lull...
  • Results of the survey on GGCCMI Objectives and Improvements.
  • New York State is proud to have one of the founding Grand Councils.
  • First Year Triennium Reflections
  • Ego autem in nobis Nobis
  • I keep finding evidence of great cooperation between the York Rite bodies from Grand Lodge to...
  • Busy of late, visiting Asia, and Hawaii updates.
  • We just finished our Florida Grand York Rite and all went well with Peace & Harmony Prevailing.
  • A Seat of Power or a Place at the Father's Table?
  • Your General Grand Council officers continue to represent you and share information across several...
  • So, what does this phrase in our ritual signify or reference?
  • Learning to allow the Craft to grow will have its own reward.
  • Regalia, Symbols, and keeping our history alive for future generations.
  • Share your Masonic experience and become a part of others' journey!
  • Masons Operative Masonry English Freemasonry
  • The study of the Evolution of the Three Great Lights
  • When you first joined your Craft Lodge
  • With this issue of the Weekly Decryption, I wanted to briefly report to you about the emerging and...
  • The Education Manual Course that was discussed at our 193rd NY Grand Assembly when I was GPCW and...
  • Last week, MP Grindle mentioned that the General Grand Council is investigating the concept of...
  • The East Central Region consists of the states of Michigan, Indiana and the Commonwealth of...
  • In Delaware, we are proud of the fact that we are the first state. We are also the second...
  • Update including the progress on our Weekly Decryption newsletter, traveling officers, and...
  • Something I've seen over the past few months is how the General Grand Council team is working...
  • It has been truthfully proclaimed that to preserve and transmit our principles to those who...
  • Greetings to my Royal and Select Companions throughout worldwide Cryptic Freemasonry!
  • The Ritual Committee this Triennium is making a concerted effort to correct the many mistakes that...
  • The Cryptic Degrees are a set of three degrees controlled by the Council of Cryptic Masons: Royal...
  • Welcome to a New Year with new beginnings. It’s an exciting time with exciting challenges ahead of...
  • Welcome to the new technology applications of the General Grand Council - We Want YOU! Help us...
  • Greetings from the Southwestern States of the US!
  • Life Membership Listings for the Each of the Grand Councils.
  • Happy New Year, Companions, and welcome to the first issue of our on-line and email newsletter.
  • Despite its antiquity, the York Rite still has a lot of untold histories, unclear symbols and...