[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: January 1998

Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 18:46:43 -0700
From: Shawn Coffee <scoffee@nmt.edu>
To: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
Subject: connections

I am a member of DeMolay and my father is a Master Mason, I am currently investigating further into the lodge. I am also a Protestant Christian too. I have been surfing the web for pro and anti-masonic websites. I have found a lot of "Christian" webpages attacking masons on all fronts from being Satanic to the Anti-Christ. I know that most of these accusations are false. The question is if I join someday, will I be exposed to teachings that contridict my Christian beliefs? I realize that the lodge is not a religion, but supports as in the DeMolay ritual "reverence" for all religion. I believe in Christ as the only Son of God. Will membership in the fraternity in any way conflict with my belief? --

Shawn Coffee

))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
        What is the use of having all of the intelligence in the 
        world, if you do not have the wisdom to effectively use your
        talent?          
                        
                http://www.nmt.edu/~scoffee             

                John 3:16
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To: Shawn Coffee <scoffee@nmt.edu>
Subject: Re: connections 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Tue, 20 Jan 1998 18:46:43 MST."
             <34C55383.639FFFBA@nmt.edu> 
--------

Dear Mr. Coffee,

Thank you for writing. I appreciate your concern and, even more, your careful and inquiring approach to the matter.

Personally, I am not a Christian, but as best as I can tell by the number of faithful Christians I know personally in Masonry, I can assure you that our Institution ought not to "in any way conflict with [your] belief."

Let me be more specific:

Because of your belief "in Christ as the only Son of God," if you feel that you do not wish to associate with other people of other faiths because they are misled, misbelieving, and/or destined for damnation, then Masonry is not for you.

In Masonic lodges we offer an opening and closing prayer, and those prayers do not explicitly mention Jesus Christ. If you feel that such prayers would be against your faith, or that an organization that will not explicitly mention Jesus Christ in its prayers is inherently satanic, then Masonry is not for you.

In one of the Masonic lectures it says that we will all someday "be rewarded according to our merits" and makes no explicit mention of any fixed doctrine of "salvation by faith" -- in fact Masonry has no discussion of doctrines of salvation at all. If you feel that this contradicts your faith in an unacceptable way, then Masonry is not for you.

On the other hand, if you are willing, NO, if you are eager to be in the company of men of all different faiths and national and economic and social backgrounds, all of whom are engaged in trying to be better people, and who are bound by ties of mutual friendship and respect for each others' traditions, all of whom do share a belief in a Supreme Being, Who we as Masons name in lodge only as Great Architect (or Supreme Geometer) of the Universe, which is a name that all Masons can agree on, then Masonry may be for you.

I hope this answers your question. As a DeMolay and son of a Mason, I hope you will take all the opportunity you can to ask about Masonry with your father and others of his lodge. Please feel free to show them this letter and let them give you their opinions of my words.

Best of luck.

+---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Gary L. Dryfoos | MPS; PM: Mt. Scopus Lodge, Malden, MA;
| P.O.Box 505, Cambridge, MA 02142|           & Ocean Lodge, Winthrop, MA;
| ofc: 617.253-0184 fax: 253-8665 | B'hood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not;
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/  | Int'l Guild Masonic Webm@sters, Pres. MA
|      "...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."
+===========================================================================
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 10:42:16 -0700 (MST)
From: "Mr. Coffee" <scoffee@nmt.edu>
To: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: connections 

It does not bother me to be with people of other faiths. I attend college here at New Mexico Tech and there is a diversity of belief. I give respect to what there personal beliefs are even though I disagree with them. What bothers me is the concept that I have to accept other supreme beings (such as Islam's Allah) as being the same God that I believe in. To become a mason, will I have to accept other religion's deities as mine being the same as mine.

questioning,
Shawn Coffee

To: "Mr. Coffee" <scoffee@nmt.edu>
Subject: Re: connections 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Wed, 21 Jan 1998 10:42:16 MST."
              
--------

} 
} 	It does not bother me to be with people of other faiths.  I attend
} college here at New Mexico Tech and there is a diversity of belief. I give
} respect to what there personal beliefs are even though I disagree with
} them.  What bothers me is the concept that I have to accept other supreme
} beings (such as Islam's Allah) as being the same God that I believe in. 
} To become a mason, will I have to accept other religion's deities as mine
} being the same as mine.
} 
} 
} 			questioning,
} 			Shawn Coffee

Well, that's certainly up to you.

You are correct in your surmise. When a Muslim prays to Allah, he intends his prayer to the only Supreme Being in the Universe, the One Who created all of it, the One Who inspired Abraham to leave idolotry, the One Who called John the Baptist to His service, etc. But the Muslim also has beliefs and hundreds of names for Him that are not part of Christian tradition.

If that bothers you irreconcileably, then Masonry and you may not be for each other. It happens.

Even tougher for you, perhaps, will be that when, say, a Hindu Mason addresses his prayers to the Great Architect, he will be thinking of the Supreme Being as he understands Him/Them/It, as the Brahma, Ultimate Ground of All Being, the Creator and all of the Created.

Some Masons look at it that the Supreme Being is One and Infinite, and that all our different descriptions, names, beliefs are the best attempts we can make at praising Who is beyond what we can ever know.

We don't discuss religion or religions in lodge ever. Such discussions would only divide people who don't wish to be divided.

+---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Gary L. Dryfoos | MPS; PM: Mt. Scopus Lodge, Malden, MA;
| P.O.Box 505, Cambridge, MA 02142|           & Ocean Lodge, Winthrop, MA;
| ofc: 617.253-0184 fax: 253-8665 | B'hood of the Blue Forget-Me-Not;
| http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/  | Int'l Guild Masonic Webm@sters, Pres. MA
|      "...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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