From the Personal Representative (September, 2007)

posted May 1, 2015, 12:25 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 2, 2015, 12:02 PM ]
In 1951 the film “Quo Vadis” was produced, which is a Latin term for the question “Whither goest thou?” or “Where are you going?”, a question that had great meaning to early Christians. Literally the words propose to the listener the thought that he should pause and analyze his course of conduct and test it against the set of standards laid down by the leaders of his faith. It is a question of timeless importance, and one we should each ask ourselves on a daily basis.

Recently the City of Gilroy was criticized for allowing a religious group, “The Masons” to participate in a Cornerstone Ceremony for the newly constructed Police Headquarters. Bro. Greg Hall 32°, and I both sent letters with our standard response to such misinterpretations, explaining that each Mason observes his own religion, and Masonry isn't it. The reader was unconvinced, but a few days later, one of the columnists for the newspaper was kind enough to write an article explaining Masonry and supporting our position.

It's important for us, as Masons, to be aware of the difference between our Masonic principles and the practice of religion, and I know I'm wandering precariously close to a Masonic taboo by even bringing up the subject.

“Quo vadis?” “Whither goest thou?” Are we, as Masons, following a deity or are we simply applying a set of moral standards to our lives? The difference, I think, is quite simple. Religions typically follow a recognized Spiritual Leader, a Standard Bearer, a real Person. We, as Masons, are taught to apply to our lives a set of standards, and even though those standards may be the very same that are or have been preached over the ages by religious leaders, to us they are rules of our conduct and not a faith to follow.

Can a good Mason be a practicing member of an organized faith? Well, I should certainly hope so, or my time spent in church every Sunday is all for naught. I had a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church, tell me once that when his church told him he must choose between the church and Masonry, that was the time he'd have to leave that church; and if the Lodge told him he would have to make a similar decision, well, he'd just have to leave the Lodge. “Free choice”, the 29° lecture reads, “is essential to the exercise of free will”.

Space prohibits my pursuing this subject to its logical end, here, but Brethren, don't let the subject die in your thoughts and conversations. Where are we, as Masons, going? If Masonry has any merit at all, we should apply our sincerest efforts in support of it. Don't be timid about explaining your feelings toward Masonry with your friends, and don't be lost for an answer when Masonry comes under criticism.

Be aware of where you are going.  

Bob Winter - Personal representative of the Deputy of the Supreme Council in California

The Rite Word - September 2007, Volume 1, Issue 1