Friday, November 15, 2013

A Lodge's Greatest Resource: Past Masters

I had the great priviledge last night of visiting the community of Oblong, Illinois, and speaking at a Past Master's dinner at Oblong City Lodge No. 644.  It's a good two hour trek for me, and I don't get down that way very much.  But it's a great community, with super friendly people.  And what a fanatastic group of Masons I met at that Lodge--and so many young officers.  It's good to see that Freemasonry is thriving in the community of Oblong, Illinois.  Well worth the drive down. 

I don't speak as much as I used to--I was a little out of practice.  Instead of giving my usual Past Master's Dinner schtick, I wrote something brand new from beginning to end.  They seemed to enjoy it.  I thought what I'd written at the end was pretty good.  I'd never thought of Past Masters in quite the way I'd looked at it towards the end of my presention, and once I began seeing it that way, I wrote these few paragraphs in a couple minutes.  Words don't often come that easily for me when I'm writing speeches--it's usually a battle to get enough on paper to fill the space.  But this came very easily, and that's usually an indication I've stumbled onto something interesting.  I thought I'd share it with you. 

It went like this: 
"In conclusion, I just wanted to say that Past Masters serve an important role in the Lodge.  You represent what we are as Masons.  You’re the example.  Do you think these young guys join this lodge because they like hotdogs and green beans?  They don’t.  They join our Fraternity because they want to be like you.  They want to have what you have.  They want to be better men.  They want to be examples like you’ve been to them.  They want to learn from you.  They want to earn that same respect you have earned.  They want to share in those same principles and morals you demonstrate.  And they hope one day, when they have sons of their own, they’ll be able to share that experience with them as well. 
"As we all know, our Fraternity is not about hats, it’s not about rings, it’s not about chairs, and it’s not about jewels and aprons.  Past Masters know that better than anyone else.  It’s not about us either.  It’s about giving.  It’s about learning from each other.  It’s about friendship and becoming better men.  As a Past Master, your conduct serves as a model for those that come after you.  And because of you, this Fraternity has lasted nearly 300 years in its modern form. 
"Masters pass that gavel from one hand to another, and then become links in a long chain back to the beginnings of the lodge. Past Masters are how Lodges mark their history.  That’s why almost every lodge has a wall covered in pictures of those men.  Our Past Masters represent the best in us.  And long after a Master leaves the East, he continues to grow as a man, and he continues to serve as that example to those that come after. 

"Don’t underestimate your role in this fraternity.  If it weren’t for you, Freemasonry would have faded out three hundred years ago."


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014. You can contact Todd E. Creason at:


  1. Brother Todd,

    Absolutely SPOT ON. The real reason I joined the fraternity was because I had a *very* deep admiration for the men that you described. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to become such a gentleman.

    Thanks for the wonderful article.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Towards the beginning I talked about one of my mentors--a Past Master at my lodge. I think we learn a great deal and take great inspiration by the examples set by those that have been this way before us.


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