The North Carolina Mason

May/June 2019

North Carolina Mason

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Page 2 The North Carolina Mason May/June 2019 FROM THE GRAND MASTER Are you a Mason or a member? By Dwight M. "Mack" Sigmon Grand Master M y Brethren, the district meetings have nished and summer activities are just around the corner. I am deeply grateful for the warm welcome I received as I traveled across our grand jurisdiction bringing my message of kindness and encouraging the wholesome respect of our fellowman. I emphasized the critical importance of living the lessons of our ritual in conjunction with the lessons of our various Books of Faith. Living these lessons is what separates us from all other organizations. If we live our lives the same after beginning our Masonic journey, have we really paid attention to the meaning of these teachings? If not, then we have failed ourselves in taking advantage of the true purpose of Freemasonry, one of the world's greatest self-improvement programs. I often ask myself, why me? What did the Great Architect of the Universe have in mind, in putting me in this position of serving as the 166th Grand Master of Masons in North Carolina? I am just a plain simple country boy from a small town in western North Carolina. Maybe it is my love of the lessons our various rituals teach and that it is time we have a friendly reminder of how these lessons can help bring a positive change to the world we live in. Our world is extremely divided and has been for some time. I truly believe as Freemasons, we have the tools to make a real dierence in guiding this world on a more positive journey. Anyone who knows me well knows my love of the ritual and the lessons it teaches us. ese, coupled with my Book of Faith, guide my life in everything I do and say. In two of our degrees, we are taught that Masonry is Work! It is not always easy being a Mason but that doesn't mean we can't be successful if we try. Making good men better as our motto states, making ourselves better, is hard work but as Freemasons, it is truly worth the eort. Making good men better is not just a slogan, it should be a way of life. Each of us must be committed if we are to bring a positive change both to our own lives as well as the lives of others. We do this by the example of the type of life we choose to lead. Actions always speak louder than words. Each of us has a choice, we can choose to be a Mason or just a member. To me, a Mason is one who lives his life in accordance with the lessons taught to him. A member may choose to be impressed by the lessons when rst heard but afterward quickly returns to his previous lifestyle as if he never even began this journey. Remember, there is a huge dierence in being impressed by a ritual lesson versus being changed by that lesson. Our third-degree charge cautions us: Be particularly attentive not to recommend him unless you are convinced he will conform to our rules (this means our ritual lessons as well, not just the Code). We need to guard our west gate! My Grand Master pin this year is intended to be a friendly reminder of what guides our lives as men and as Masons. In the middle of the Square and Compass is the all-seeing eye. Under it is an open book. is book represents both our own Books of Faith and our various ritual books from where we have taken multiple obligations. At the bottom, it stresses that Masonry is Work. Many view Masonic emblems, pins, rings etc. … as our chance to show others that we are members of this frater- nity. ere are, however, several rituals that teach us that these illustrations are intended for ourselves, not others, to serve as a constant reminder should we ever be tempted to prefer anything to honor or duty or for a moment forget that we are a Mason and the solemn obligations that name imposes on us. Our dues cards say that we are a member of this fraternity. It does not state that we are Masons. To me it is when the lessons of our rituals, obligations and vows, coupled with those lessons from our own Book of Faith, enter our hearts that we are truly made Masons. After completing our third degree, we are told that we are now a member. You have to earn the title of Mason and you do that by the respect you earn through your words and actions. Remember the all-seeing eye is always watching everything we do and say. As Masons, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. e majority of us joined this fraternity because of someone we looked up to – a father, grandfather, a member of our church or maybe a community leader. As Freemasons, it is now our turn to be the person others would want to emulate. e choice of how you choose to represent our fraternity is one that you must make every day. More importantly, always remember that your own actions, appearance and words provide an opportunity for us to attract the best of the best this world has to oer in becoming a part of our historical fraternity, or they can just as easily discourage someone from exploring further an opportunity to be a part of the world's greatest and oldest fraternity. How often do you truly renew your obliga- tions? Consider holding an annual homecoming event at a stated communication of your lodge. Promote and encourage inactive members to attend as well. Make renewing your obligations part of that celebration. Many problems in our lodges could be solved if we would be Mason enough to sit down and do what our lessons teach, both in prevention and forgiveness. A simple rule to follow is: if you have wronged a brother – apologize; if a brother has wronged you – forgive. I believe every wrong deserves forgiveness but that does not mean it goes unpunished, if applicable. In the Maundy ursday ritual of the Scot- tish Rite we are reminded in the relighting ceremony that "Each man is still responsible for his own actions and must account to our Father" and at the close of the ceremony, "What there is, to be our fate and fortune, depends upon ourselves." Being a Mason is hard, you see Masonry is Work! As mentioned before, we live in divided times. Social media has contributed to the problem. I respect everyone's right to freedom of speech; however, I am extremely disap- pointed in some of the social media postings I read from my Masonic brothers and my friends outside of Freemasonry. It is human nature to have dierences in opinions, but it does not and should not give us the right to be disrespectful. If you choose How often do you truly renew your obligations? ■ see SIGMON page 3 OBLIGATION TO A HIGHER STANDARD

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