Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why Are Visitors Examined?

Major John Andre, a British spy, was put on trial after being betrayed by, ironically, Benedict Arnold.   

I have only sat at a few lodges in my short time as a Mason but I have enjoyed every single one of those visits as they offered an opportunity to meet more brothers as well as see the rituals performed by a different group of officers. It is like watching a remake of a movie. You know the story line but the performances are always slightly different. Same script but the way that they are delivered give you a little bit of the personality both of the individual Mason and the lodge itself.

This was the topic of discussion during lodge this evening. While I recall having reviewed this once before I can’t say that I am familiar with the process of examining a visitor. Every time I have visited a lodge, there has always been someone there who can vouch for me as a Mason and so the examination was never needed. While this process is unfamiliar at this point, it is something that I need to know not just for when we have visitors to our stated meetings but for when I inevitably visit other lodges where I am a brother but still a complete stranger.

The process is simple and anyone who is a Master Mason knows the answers to all the questions and the corresponding signs that need to be known. It is more a matter of memory and preparation than anything else. Obviously, I cannot divulge many of the details but it can be said that we take our fraternity seriously and such an examination is a perfect example of the dedication we all have to the craft and to one another. Being examined is a small price to pay to ensure that only those who have demonstrated the desire to improve themselves and have taken the oath and obligation are present.

This is not a matter of secrecy as many would like you to believe. Ensuring that all present are Master Masons is to reassure the brethren that the lodge is a safe place to be themselves and to present motions to the brethren to be voted upon. Each many has made a journey which led them to Freemasonry. It is something that we all share and it is part of what bands us together as brothers. Lodge is a place when we are all on equal footing where all men have been created equal. We are all Masons at the end of the day, regardless of race, specific religion, occupation, political views, the kind of car we drive, the money we have in the bank, where we live, and so on. We are all on the level.

It is our common purpose and our bond as brothers which we desire to protect. When a non-Mason tries to attend a meeting of Master Masons, they are putting themselves above the rules and therefore they see themselves as better than every Master Mason who has made the commitment to one another and the fraternity as a whole. Those imposters are by no means, in any way, and will most likely never be on the level. So, if you visit another lodge, expect to be examined and thank your brothers for ensuring the integrity of the lodge.