Truth, one of our three main principles and precepts does not change. Truth, in a Masonic connotation, may be expanded into, or interpreted as, public and private morality, the knowledge and fear of God and, following on from that, respect for, and love of, our neighbour.
This respect includes toleration of his personal viewpoint, his religious beliefs and his political opinions. If we pursue the aims of Freemasonry, our search should widen, yet focus our vision, while ever making us more deeply aware of, and closer to, the Great Architect of the Universe, heightening our spirituality and deepening our insight into that which we may never hope to fully understand.
The purpose of Masonry is “self improvement” – not in the material sense, but in the intellectual, moral and philosophic sense of developing the whole persona and psyche so as, in the beautiful and emotive language of the ritual, “to fit ourselves to take our places, as living stones, in that great spiritual building, not made by hands, eternal in the Heavens.”
In marketing terms we must view Freemasonry as a product. This is what we are “selling”, or otherwise providing, for uptake by members and potential members. To increase our sales, we must either improve the product or make the packaging more attractive.
Freemasonry principles and precepts have stood the test of time and are as valid today as ever. We cannot change the product and remain in the same business; and we must be true to ourselves in this.
If we want change to the extent of getting into a new line of business it must be accepted and recognised that this is exactly what we are doing, and will it perhaps not be long before somebody decides that the new product is not quite right and needs further adjustment to meet the current demands of society.
This is not an option which is open to us. What we have and what we stand for will always be right, even if its acceptance rises or falls on the scales of time.
What we can do is upgrade the packaging, and make it look more attractive to potential customers, while also actually making it more palatable to current consumers.
I am entirely against the “go out into the highways and by-ways and compel them to come in” attitude as is currently being adopted and practised by some North American Grand Lodges.
Our principles, sometimes referred to as “Ancient Landmarks”, must stand firm, upright and visible, like the pillars of stone and brick raised by Enoch in the Land of Siriad, and which were still standing in the time of Josephus, lest the Arts and Sciences – in our case the whole body of Freemasonry – should slip from the knowledge of men.