St. John's Lodge No. 9

Seattle's Oldest Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons

What Do Masons Do?

by: VWBro. James Russell

I'm not a fast thinker, not "fast on my feet," as they say. So when I'm asked, "What do Masons do," I usually break out into a cold sweat when asked this honest and legitimate question.

To really answer the question, "What do Masons do?," we need to answer the seldom asked question, "Why do Masons do what they do?" Then perhaps we go on to those other journalist questions, "where" do we do it, "when" do we do it, and "how" do we do it?

Why are we Masons? Freemasonry for a long, long time has attracted men to the fraternity who want to "subdue" their passions. We want to exert a control over our own attitudes, thoughts, and actions. We want to do right by others, because it is the proper thing to do. We relish our association with one another, with men who have the same desire to subdue their passions, who want to be a part of a greater humanity, who are children of the same God and therefore true brothers who not only ought to, but want to "aid, support and protect each other."

Why are we Masons? Because we want to "improve ourselves in Masonry." Through Masonic principles and tenets, we can learn to be better men When we examine and re-examine those principles, we stretch our imagination. We challenge our attitudes. And when we challenge our attitudes, we can more easily challenge our thoughts, words, and deeds. We become better men because we have associated with others who also want to become better men. Our fraternity lets men associate with other men of honor and integrity who believe things like honesty, compassion, love, trust, and knowledge are important.

Yes, "guilt by association" can also be "enrichment by association!"

Why are we Masons? Because in Freemasonry we are able to do things in the world that most of us cannot do alone. Masonry teaches that each person has a responsibility to make things better in the world. Together, we do that. Masonry is deeply involved with helping people. It spends more than $1.4 million every day in the United States just to make life a little easier for those who are sick, handicapped, or crippled.

Why are we Masons? Because Freemasonry enables us to spend time with friends. We enjoy being together with men we like and respect. While much of a lodge activity is spent in works of charity or in lessons in self-development, much is also spent in fellowship. We have picnics and golf outings and many events for the entire family.

So, "What do Masons do?" We identify where efforts are needed to make this a better world. We identify how our efforts can make a difference. And we work at making life a little better for those who are afflicted in a greater measure than ourselves.

And if we improve ourselves a little in the effort, we are better for it.

"Where" do we do what we do? In the lodge and in our hearts.

"When" do we do it? Once a month and every day.

"How" do we do it? By being ever watchful and guarded in our thoughts, words, and actions. By being alert to the needs of our neighbors and wider community. By working together to make good things happen.

"What do Masons do?" We exercise Brotherly Love. We extend welcome Relief. We promise to be honest and reward Truth in our daily quest for eternal Brotherhood.

That's just what we do.