"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Tom Jackson on Freemasonry Around the World

My friend and Brother, Thomas W. Jackson, Past Grand Secretary of Pennsylvania, is well traveled with a long glowing career in Freemasonry. His international travels are legendary (along with his reputation as a big game hunter). He and I have very different attitudes about Freemasonry in the United States, and we have shared the stage several times. His observations are illustrative of the broad variations in the culture of Freemasonry around the world. He makes the compelling case for higher dues, greater requirements, and that quality will attract quality: in short, that there's nothing wrong with elitism. I don't think he's wrong.

Tom spoke at the Grand Lodge of Montana's annual communication in 2009. Have a listen to his comments here. (Or read the text here)


  1. This was very helpful and in due time. I am having trouble myself with a feeling of disappointment. I am noticing that our craft withing the USA, at least California, is loosing that philosophical value it once had and it is turning into a social club. That is going completely against of why I joined the craft. Once book that comfort me was the Masonic Myth, by a Brother of the name Jay Kinney, which at the end he addressed this issue as well and open my eyes to the T.O. Lodges, Traditional Observance lodges. My question is why can't all lodges be T.O. ? I speak to my godfather - brother from Brazil, he is an officer with the Grand Orient of Brazil, he explains to me the structure of Freemasonry in Brazil today and explains the requirements that the candidate has to complete before initiation and also to advance through the degrees. I was a little hesitant to talk about how we do it here in California, or at least at my lodge. I never lost faith in the craft and I was very happy to see a Brother such as Right Wors. Br. Jackson take this issue at hand as well. This gives me great hope that our craft will change in the USA and that I am not alone in this troubling fact.

  2. While I agree with the spirit of his speech and his ideas, I wonder however why his "quality" is so based on the mundane. Not one person that he cited as having met was lauded for his spiritual or personal mettle, but rather for material "success." He said, "Wouldn't it be great to sit with people like that in our lodges?" Well, I for one do. I sit with mayors, brokers, social reformers, and engineers. I also sit with students and construction workers. Each one, however, is an amazing, thoughtful individual. While I have people around me who are individually amazing, I feel no loss at having no ministers, presidents, or astronauts in my lodge. I wonder why he does not see them; in Wilmington, each of our three AF&AM lodges have people of moral mettle and integrity that every day, make me proud. I wonder to where HE travels.

    Ben Sorensen
    St. John's Lodge #1, Wilmington, NC.

  3. I agree. I joined for the philosophical, esoteric element. I thought i was joining a moral, thinking man's fraternity not a pancake club. In diappointment though i found many like minded brothers and formed the Collegium Alchemicum,y own lemonade if u will.....


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