I’m not certain how often this is noticed, but I do tend to write about topics that either rub me the wrong way or rub others the wrong way. What can I say? Apparently, my writing motivation is just wired that way. Fair warning, this is a bit of a rant.
Recently, an acquaintance started a Masonic Education group. I think that this is a wonderful thing. Freemasonry tends to be a very large topic, and has a lot of nooks and crannies, sometimes the meaning of one sentence can be teased out for hours on end. I think that’s great. Any sort of intellectual conversation that is friendly, and makes you think, and challenges what you know and believe should always be encouraged in my opinion. It’s a wonderful way to further the community, as well as a great way to help people understand things in ways they might not have thought of before.
That being said. I will never attend the education group. It has nothing to do with the people running the group, or that I disagree or dislike the topics being discussed, or even that I simply don’t have the time. It’s because I’m not allowed.
Now, as many of you know, I am okay with not being allowed to become a Mason. I would simply like something similar for myself. Separate but equal. The only thing missing is the pedigree; alas, that is another post altogether.
However, I am a firm believer that Masonic education should be for everyone, both Masons, and non-Masons, as well as for men, women, and everyone in between. As it stands, Freemasonry supports this idea as well. UGLE has made a number of positive statements about the existence of the women’s Lodges. The Master Craftsman of the Scottish Rite is open to absolutely everyone. Many Annual Communications have Masonic Education breakfasts that are open. The first year that I attended an education breakfast, I was told that they would have to double-check that it was okay. When I got the go ahead, I was the only woman there. The following year, I was very happy to see other women attending.
I think that the thing that bothers me the most, is that not allowing open communication and education on Masonic topics is only furthering the issue of miscommunication about Freemasonry, not only online, but also in Lodges, and relationships. Turning inward and denying others something as simple as education hurts not only those you turn from, but also Freemasonry as a whole.
I would love to have a time where I could have an intellectual conversation about things like the symbolism used within the degrees. Yes, I understand secret work could not be discussed with non-Masons, but secret work is a very small portion of what Freemasonry is really all about. Discouraging interested non-Masons from conversing about Masonic educational topics often leads to disgruntled Google searches, which usually links either directly to ritual work, or a lot of misinformation. Education should be freely used and freely given; there are some topics that have a proper time and place, but that does not mean that someone should be denied completely. Get out there and educate yourselves!
What do you think? Does your Lodge or Masonic community have an education group? Have you ever attended? Why or why not? Do you think Masonic education should be for anyone who’s interested, or more regulated?
Other news: Be on the lookout! The Mason’s Lady will be featured on the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (SRNMJ) Blog later this month! I will be sure to link to it when it is posted.
Any questions or comments can be asked below, or at TheMasonsLady@gmail.com. Have a lovely month!