Sunday, September 17, 2006

T.G.A.O.T.U.


FREEMASONRY offers no doctrine as to the nature and attributes of God. It has no theory to propound, no philosophy to promulgate, as to His relations to men and to the universe. The Craft assumes that God is a reality, a sacred and unquestioned reality, in the mind of every man who proposes himself for membership in a lodge, and it leaves to that man the prerogative of fashioning his own theological and philosophical theories. A man may believe in the Trinity or deny the same; he may believe in the deity of Jesus or not; he may hold that God created the universe out of nothing or he may prefer to think that the universe is co-existent with God; and he may, whether he be of one persuasion or another, remain a good Mason. But this does not mean that to Freemasonry God is unreal; far from it. Many of the things and persons most real to us, friendship, truth, father, mother, friend, are none the less real for not being defined, or even capable of being defined.

There is no desire herein to preach to the reader, for that is not the function of these columns, but even at the risk of so doing, there is something to be said about God which it is well for all to ponder. That something is this: Masonry does not demand that we define, or accept any definitions of Him, but it does demand that He be real in every Masonic life.

During the solemn moments of initiation the candidate, of his own free will, confesses that his faith is in God, and this confession is accepted by the Master with instant and cordial approval. He assumes his obligations as in the presence and name of God, and acknowledges his inability to fulfill the same except that God help him. His various journeys in search of light, wherein he is confronted by many dangers and conflicts, are undertaken in prayer, both by himself and the Master. If, with a free mind and a clear consciousness, the man does all this as if it were only so much meaningless show, and if he goes away from so solemn an experience to think of it all as merely an interesting piece of acting in which he himself has been a participant, the man is a hypocrite who, by such trifling with the things that are the most solemn to every soul, endangers the very integrity of his spiritual nature. If his initiation is to be real to him, then must he ever feel that it has been a genuine pact between him and his Creator. Unless the man is genuinely sincere while accepting such a rite as Masonic initiation, it is far better for his character and his happiness as a man that he never seek it at all.

By the same token God must be real to the lodge, else its very existence must become a mockery. Its center is an altar; its great light is a Book that symbolizes the revelation of the Divine Will; God is the center of the ritual as the sun is in the midst of its planets; He is the guarantor of its principles; and all its teachings are made in His name. Unless He be real the whole thing falls to pieces as a sham, and Masonry itself were better out of existence.

At the present moment a wave of new life is sweeping across American Masonry which is best compared to eras of spiritual awakening wherein new religions are born, and new epochs of culture are initiated. Never before have so many men thronged the gates of the Fraternity, or so many able men gladly volunteered to accept the burdens of management and leadership. A new dawn is upon the great Order, and mighty things are destined to be done. In all its branches Masons are working at Masonry to strengthen and to renew it, to understand, and to promulgate it. In this revival of interest, when lodges vie with each other in efforts to make Masonry become all that it can become to state and individual those leaders will be wisest and their work will be most enduring who ever remember that the cornerstone of it all, in all its senses, is T.G.A.O.T.U.

The Builder June 1921

LONG ISLAND MASONS

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