Membership is a prevailing theme across masonry. I have read several articles at both the local and national levels addressing the anecdote, symptom, origination, and truth arising from declining membership. To narrow scope, I attempt an ethos of virtue but clarify using Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word (Picador, 2008) which says, “To lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial…without a theory, I can’t see a painting.” I agree. In the spirit of transparency, I am not particularly worried about quantity but instead quality, purpose and to a larger degree truth.
Masonry offers to its membership the authentic opportunity to design and build both internally and externally. Masonic teaching uniquely enhances our internal exploration but also offers an external experience to expound upon and test the boundaries of provoking evidence. When a body of masonry expires, while sad, not all is lost and the archives of human collection deepens. How wonderful it was to receive the most recent edition of Collectanea which featured The William H. Peckham ‘Cerneau’ Scottish Rite (10°-13°). This is issued by the Grand College of Rites, a Masonic organization dedicated to presenting “some of the most famous, interesting, disused Masonic and quasi-Masonic Orders” for the purpose of masonic study [Volume 24, Part 3]. Plug – Membership is open to Master Masons in good standing for a nominal fee.
The Cerneau ritual (now defunct) competed against the other Scottish Rite Supreme Councils. Controversy aside, what an interesting opportunity to promote truth echoing from beyond the grave. From within the Sanctum Sanctorum the reader being reminded the Lord’s requirements of an everlasting life; and in such beautiful degree, the great danger undeterred by the virtuous and zealous Brother who prevails and progresses onward to Perfection.
From the Lodge of Perfection motto: Virtue unites what death cannot separate. Pride of great membership, while convenient, potentially intoxicates power neglecting the true purpose of Freemasonry.