The Masonic Trowel

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by DR. William R. White - President, Baylor University Waco, Texas
Royal Arch Mason - Fall 1961

Masonry is neither a church nor a substitute for a church. It can be made into a substitute, but this would be a perversion. It does embrace several great beliefs, but it is not a dogma. It in no sense has a system of theology. It is set against bigotry and intolerance. 

It is a fellowship but not an ecclesiastical system. It is a Fraternity with vast ramifications, but has no heirarchy. Its ties of brotherhood are strong. Its obligated devotions are solemn and severely binding. 

Its symbolism is ritualistic but not sacramental. Some of its ritual is similar but not the same as practiced by the church. One rite of Masonry is distinctly Christian, but it is not sectarian. All men who are true Christians in faith and life can belong, 

The other rite is inclusive of all monotheists or those believing in one God. Yes, it includes devout Christians, for they believe in the unity of Deity. This rite, while reflecting in its lectures and pageantry the philosophies and insights of all high thinking people among all religions, does not purpose to be either a synthesis of all beliefs or a world religion. These philosophies and insights are presented for our enlightenment and reflection. We are under no pressure to accept them. Only the obligations are mandatory. These obligations are in no sense religious tenets. They are fraternal commitments to loyalties that do no violation to conscience. 

Masonry, like church, stands for charity of a broad nature. However, its motivations and objectives do not stem from the same source as it is true of the church. The Masonic objectives and motivations are wholly humanitarian. In the church they spring from a love shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit and are both manward and Godward. 

Masonry is a bulwark for religious liberty. It does not propose to make bad men good, but to make good men better. It is a friend and supporter of the basic objectives of religion. The churches and Masonic bodies should be cordial allies. They are not identical, but have so many interests in common. 

Masonry is not to permit the Mason to replace church, but to reinforce it. It does not supplant, but supplement. It does not subvert, but support.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014