[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: September 2000

Please note: Here's exactly the kind of letter I'd be very glad not to get any more of. If you're thinking of writing just to argue about religion with me -- I don't.

There are lots of things about other people's religions I am interested in: the history and founders of the faith, its legends and lessons, how the person happened to choose their faith, or came to believe what they were brought up in, what are the faith's holy scriptures and how did they come to be written (especially if it is an obscure group in this country that most people don't know about), unusual features of someone's worship, etc. etc. And those things are my own personal interests, not part of Masonry at all.

But I am absolutely NOT interested in arguments about which is the "right" religion, or how come Masons don't believe in this or that, or "aren't allowed to pray" in a lodge, etc. My experience shows that those kinds of letters come from people who are sure they are correct about everything, and convinced that it's their job to make everyone else agree with them.

So please, if you agree with the person who wrote the following letter, then you can read my answer, but if you need to write to someone about it, write to her, not me. Thanks

Message-Id: <F570C6E291AED211A2AD00C00D0033A057C5F9@EXCHANGE1>
From: "Jones, Jeanie" <JonesJ3@tyler.sprnet.org>
To: "'masonry-ask@mit.edu'" <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Subject: Jesus Christ
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 13:04:20 -0500

If each and every Mason at a meeting is of a faith believing in Christ,( however maybe not really born again Christian but at lest believes he exists), then why aren't Masons allowed to pray in the name of Jesus as ordered by God's word? He said that only through his Son can we come to the Father. God can be a combination of gods. I have found 2 ex-Masons who gave up the Order because they were not allowed to pray in Jesus' name to the only tru God. Now, there is really something wrong here. I know Masons say they are not a "religion", however my research shows a really good imitation of it if it is not. And, why pray at all if not through our Savior, Jesus Christ? Just why pray at all? Next, how many Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc., etc. do you think are in orders down here in Texas? Your organization speaks of Masters all of the time, yet the one true Master, Jesus, cannot even be mentioned in a lodge. I am finding more and more ex-Masons who left because of this.

Thanks for clearing up anything concerning this very bazarre issue.

Jeanie Jones

To: "Jones, Jeanie" <JonesJ3@tyler.sprnet.org>
Subject: Re: Jesus Christ
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Thu, 21 Sep 2000 13:04:20 CDT."

Are you writing to ask or to argue? I no longer have time or interest for arguments.

If you're writing to ask, Masonry is not a religion of any kind. I don't care what your "research" shows.

Now regarding prayers to Jesus in a lodge, Members can pray silently and individually however they want, whenever they want. But the group prayers that open and close meetings are non-sectarian.

What your question really boils down to is "Why can't Christian Masons force all the other Masons to pray in the name of Jesus?"

I'm sure if you were at a meeting of your town council or business council or whatever and a non-Christian clergy gave a prayer to Allah or to Brahma or The Great Spirit or whatever, I'll bet you'd have your panties all in a twist in a blink. You'd be up and screaming if somebody else prayed in a way you didn't agree with. But you're used to being in the majority in your neck of the woods, so you don't care if other people are put in that position.

You ask "how many Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc do I think are in Texas." The answer is plenty. More than you think. And more all the time.

There are plenty of religious theocracies in the world, dictatorships in the name of one religion or another. This happens not to be one of them, and the idea of freedom of conscience that inspired the people who invented this country just happens to have come right straight out of Masonry!

So if you want to move to some religious dictatorship that's your business, but until then, even in Texas, you're going to have neighbors who are Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Moslem, Agnostic, Wiccan, Deist, Theist, etc etc and even more et cetera.

You don't have to agree with them. You do have to live with them. Them's the rules. And people who like it that way, and think it's good that there are many different traditions and ways of knowing and honoring The Infinite Who Is Beyond Our Understanding, those kind of people join the Masons. People who think everyone should all think alike can join some other group -- and there's plenty of those already.

Please do me the kind favor of not writing back.

| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| PM: Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142  | PM: Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, MA
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/  | Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge, MIT, MA
| w: 617.253-0184 f: 617.258-6875 | Internet Lodge #9659, E. Lancs UGLE
|                                 | 32~; MPS; B'hood o/t Blue Forget-Me-Not
|                                 | R.W. Grand Rep. GL Russia near GL Mass.
| "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
|  whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|  or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."

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