2Ambassadors for Freemasonry A brief introductionSome suggestions and ideasThe myths about MasonryQuestion & Answer sessionOpen Forum – what do you want to see next ?
3Ambassadors for Freemasonry .The aim is to help all Masons, includingthe new Mason, to talk about Freemasonry with his family and friends.The intention here is that we should all feel able and willing to talk comfortably and confidently about our organisation, and thereby act asAmbassadors for Freemasonry.It is perfectly acceptable to appoint your Lodge Mentor immediately
4Ambassadors for Freemasonry So how do we do that ???The help is already there !Group OfficersGroup MentorLodge MentorPersonal MentorLodge members
5Ambassadors for Freemasonry A new approach to communication is neededIntegrityKindnessHonestyFairness
6Ambassadors for Freemasonry Help from Grand LodgeFreemasonry – What’s it all about ?A new leaflet written in plain languageA Short Talk to be delivered in Lodge, or at the Festive Board, on speaking freely about Freemasonry
7Myths about MasonryThe wonderful thing about the miracle of the internet is the total freedom for anyone, around the world, on any continent, at any time, to be totally at liberty to contribute absolute rubbish about any subject, including Freemasonry, on the world wide web, without any shred of proof or substantiationMany people have taken full advantage of this freedom !This doesn’t mean any of this electronic “publishing” is even partially true, educational or in any way helpful
8The 3 AAAs of Masonic Myths Allegedly (insert allegation here)Apparently (insert apparent fact here)According to (insert name of “expert” here)
9So where do myths come from ? The age-old fight of Knowledge vs IgnoranceWhere knowledge is lacking, this leaves room for Suspicion, Supposition and Stupidity !!We are now starting to provide the knowledge to break down this ignorance more publicly than ever before
10Masonic Myths We are not alone in being subjected to this kind of thing !It would be horrible to feelwe have been left out !
11Other Myth Recipients !All Presidents of the USA are apparently reptilian (seriously?) members of the Illuminati (yawn), and oh yes, Masons ( sometimes true !)The Police and Armed Forces are allegedly puppets of some vague, shadowy multi-national organisation who wish to create chaosThe particle accelerator at CERN near Geneva was going to destroy the earth by creating black holes – yes, the conspiracy theorists even take on advanced particle physicistsEven some numbers get a rough press !
12So what do “they” say about us ?? It is hilarious to ask friends and family what they have heardIt is real fun to investigate on the www 5,820,000 results !So this is going to take some time or is it ? Draw on your OWN experiences to dispel these myths with non-masons
13Top 10 Masonic MythsThankfully not ! – we take an oath not to discuss religion or politics when we join, to avoid disharmony; and we are not linked with any one religion, whilst a belief in a Supreme Being remains a condition of membership. We also talk about Integrity, Kindness Honesty & Fairness – hardly proper behaviour for anyself-respecting evil-doer !1) Are Masons Occultists, Devil Worshippers or Cult Followers etc etc etc ?
14Masonic Myths 2) Are we trying to take over the world ? Probably not – who on earth would wantHonesty, Integrity, Kindness and Fairnessto mess up the world ??There are many Grand Lodges and typesof Masonry, with no mechanism to contactor control them all. France has just fallenoff the map Mon dieu !And don’t forget, each Lodge is a private Lodge
15Yet more myths ! Oh, for goodness sake ! 3) Are we a branch of the Illuminati ?Oh, for goodness sake !There was a Bavarian Illuminatiorganisation which died out in 1784Since then, they have probably struggled a bit on recruitment And no, we are not a branch of theirs, even if they did exist !
16More myths4) All World Leaders are MasonsNot true –President Obama is not a Mason. Gerald Ford was the last US Presidential Mason.No other World Leaders are currently Masons. A clear recruitment opportunity Brethren!
17Partly true, but co-incidental Myths..... 5) Masonic Symbols are everywhereMany of our symbols come from aperiod before Masonry was even invented.The all-seeing eye was put on the Dollar Bill by artist Pierre Du Simitiere, who was not a Mason.The pentagram is much older than Freemasonry, and took it’s link with the occult only in the 19th century.
18Another myth ! 6) We are a Secret Society No, we are a society of men, with certain modes of recognition (in the form of a handshake) for use within Freemasonry, that we keep private. After all, even KFC keeps the ingredients for their recipe private .Our meeting places are often opened tothe public for social events, weddings etc.and many of our own functions welcomefamily, friends and non-masons.We openly exhibit at the Southport Flower Show !
19Myths, myths, more myths 7) Do we only look after our own ? Yes we do help our members, BUT we also give generouslyto non-Masonic charitable causes.In West Lancs, the Lodges and Chapters, and community grants from Province, give similar amounts to Masonic and non-Masonic causes.Grand Lodge Charity - 51% Masonic, 49% non-Masonic
20Not many myths to go now - Number 8 Are we all Solicitors ?Bank Managers ?Business-men who help each other ?Do you need to be rich to join ?A show of hands here would be helpful – who is a Solicitor, Bank Manager, Businessman ?Who is rich ???Today, Freemasonry welcomes ALL occupations, religions and races
21The Penultimate Myth Do we have a funny handshake ? We don’t call it a funny handshake !We do however have certain methods of recognition, just like any society of men.The army has ranks, uniforms and salutesWe also have badges, jewels and regaliaMost of these are now available to view online
22Myth number 10 We roll our trouser legs up? Oops, sorry, this myth is true ! But we only do it early in our Masonic careers, and like all our ritual, it is rooted in tradition, with an historic significanceLet’s remember that not all myths are untrue –Some Masonic myths come from time immemorial, and have been changed in the telling over many generations
23Myths are usually just that The myths about Freemasonry often show a real contrast to what has recently been uncovered by serious research by a totally impartial body......We now challenge these misconceptions more than ever. Nigel Brown, our Grand Secretary, has recently toured around 60 radio stations and press offices, willing to answer all questions
24Enough about myths, now for some facts ! Everything in this presentation is absolutely true, firm, solid, unequivocal, and is not open to speculation, interpretation or doubt !INCORRECT !
25Masonic Misunderstandings? Most of the following “facts” and “answers” are open to personal interpretation, as Masonry often evokes different emotions and meanings in different people; we could have many different answers to the same question !
26Enough about myths, now for some facts ! So why do we roll our trousers up ?When initiated, we must be free men, of the full age of twenty one years.Historically, the trouser leg was rolled up to ensure there was no chain from a jail still attached, or the marks left by a chain !
27Do we always obey our own rules ? Is 21 still the lower age limit ?Surprisingly, this is 18Any man can apply to join by dispensation when he is 18. University Lodges are the most common instances of this rule, and probably could not exist without it.This is not always a bad thing – our Provincial Grand Secretary, Geoffrey Lee, joined at the tender age of 18
28Why do we meet monthly ?Traditionally, each member of the Lodge had to make his way there on horseback.Many Lodges took advantage of the full moon to make the journey easier, and called their meetings to coincide with the best public lighting available at the time !There are still some Lodges which meet on the full moon, but this does make scheduling very difficultThis fact contributed by W Bro Rowand Tait PJGD Queensland, Australia
29Common Words, with uncommon meanings Just Perfect and RegularLike much of our ritual, we have heard these words on many occasions, but what do we think they mean ?
30Common Words, with uncommon meanings JustJusticeJudiciaryJudiciousThe Volume of the Sacred Law
31Common Words, with uncommon meanings PerfectThe DC ?The Treasurer ?The elder brethren ?A Lodge cannot be perfect without a quorum, or number of members to fill all the offices i.e. 7, WM through Tyler
32Common Words, with uncommon meanings RegularMonthly ?Held at the same time of day ?Sticks to the rules and regulations ?A lodge cannot be regular without a warrant
33Different Lodges with differing customs Many Lodges expect the brethren to always square the Lodge whenever they walk around it.Is this something we all have to do, and if so, why don’t we do it at Provincial meetings ?According to the Emulation Ritual book, the only time we should square the Lodge is during the actual ceremonies. After that, it has been extended by many Lodges as the correct way to move around the room. As Province does not conduct ceremonies, there is no squaring the Lodge at Provincial meetingsContributed by our Royal Arch Provincial DC, Mark Dimelow
34Where should we put a DC? Where it is most convenient for the Master ! Usually on the Master’s right and slightly behind him, in the East.But what if the WM is deaf in his right ear ?Kindly contributed again by Mark Dimelow, Past PrDC of West Lancashire
35Masonry is a progressive science Why does the WM seem to be above us all ?Because he is - his Chair of King Solomon is, in most Lodges, placed on three steps, that of the SW on two steps, and the JW on just one step.Contributed by W Bro Damon Tait PPrGSuptWks, N. Fylde Group Mentor
36Questions for a changing world Are we open to all religions ?A belief in a Supreme Being
37Questions for a changing world How would we decide ?Are we limited to “recognised” religions ?Always seek the guidance of Province before things progress too far – always good advice !Would we admit a Druid, who takes his oath on a block of wood to represent Mother Earth ?
38Questions about our Lodge room What does the G mean in our Lodges ?Some say God, whoever your own God may beSome say Geometry, or Grand GeometricianWhy does it always face the Senior Warden ?
39Questions about our Lodge room Why do we have a black and white or chequered carpet ?The Mosaic or chequered pavement represents this world, the light and darkness and the joys and sorrows of our chequered existencePoetically contributed by Peter Bentham, Blackpool Group Chairman
40Questions about our Lodge room Is this the only reason we have a blackand white or chequered carpet ?W Bro Duncan Smith, our Provincial Senior Grand Warden, says this represents the floor of King Solomon’s temple.
41Questions about our Lodge room Why do the Grand Officers , Provincial Grand Officers, and Past Masters always sit in the same place in Lodge ?Tradition again, but this is slowly changing in some LodgesInstallations are more formal and should remain so perhapsWe have to make our visitors and newer Brethren feel welcomeCommented on by our Provincial DC, Keith Kemp
42Questions for the future Why did you join Freemasonry ?Never ignore the power of your own storyIt may lead others to the same decision
43Questions for the future How do we speak about Freemasonry to others ?How has this changed over the last few years ?Are we comfortable to acknowledge our membership ?How does this differ between the newer and more experienced Mason ?
44Questions for the future Do we all agree that it is now acceptable to discuss Freemasonry openly ?Do we all agree with this latest initiative ?Do we really have anything to hide ?
45Questions for nowHow do we look after our newer members?How have we done this in the past ?Was this working ?
46Questions for the future Within 4 years we lose around a quarter of our new brethren
48The future is here already So, we probably need to change as an organisation...
49Mentoring can help !Once our newer members are looked after properly, these losses will dropAnd we will have a new generation of Masons, who are better informed, and more knowledgeable about Freemasonry than ever before, and better equipped to share that knowledge.
50And progress to be better Men, Masons, and........