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What do you guys do?
Presented at the Vancouver Grand Masonic Day, October 18, 2000
by R.W. Bro. Isaac Brower-Berkoven, Chairman, Education Committee
“Hi Andy. Why are you hanging about all dressed up?”
“Waiting for my drive. We’re going to lodge.”
“What d’you mean, going to lodge?”
“I belong to a masonic lodge. It’s Lodge night.”
“I didn’t know you were a mason. What do you guys do?”
“Can’t tell you too much. We take an oath of secrecy on the Bible. But we try and live good lives, we support a number of charities, and we use symbols to teach us better morals.”
“What kind of symbols?”
“Well... symbols.”
“What do you carry in the case?”
“I keep my apron in it, We wear an apron in the lodge room.”
“Do you do a lot of washing up?”
“It’s not that kind of apron.”
“What do you wear it for?”
“We just do.”
“What do you do in the lodge room then?”
“We have business meetings. same as any other organization, we also make other Freemasons.”
“What do you mean, make other Freemasons?”
“Well, we have ceremonies. We make people Masons.”
“What sort of ceremonies?”
“Hey, it’s kind of secret. You’d have to join to find out.”
“What’s it cost?”
“My lodge charges 250 bucks to join and 75 bucks a year in dues.”
“What! Just so I can be told how to have better morals and part with more of my money ? You must be joking.”
“Here’s my ride. See you.”
What are we ?
We are the oldest world-wide brotherhood in the world. Our main purposes are charity and moral self improvement. We support a wide variety of organizations from children’s hospitals to cancer treatments to bursaries for needy students. We also try to live up to a moral code which is contained in a form of ritual made up by Freemasons hundreds of years ago.
What do we do?
The various branches of Freemasonry support a great many charities. Almost 4 million dollars a DAY raised in North America. Our Masonic family supports those in need as follows.
Grand Lodge
Cancer Car Project, We Can Help Program, Variety Club, Many other charities through the Benevolent Fund, Bursaries for Students of further Education
Individual lodges
Local charities, Hospital equipment, food banks, Christmas hampers, Helping in the Community
Royal Arch
Royal Arch Masonic Homes. Society of Royal Arch Masons: Helps Handicapped R.A. Companions to remain at home. Keystone Foundation: Funds Medical Equipment for Hospitals. Student Bursaries.
Masonic and Military Order of the Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine, Knight of the Holy Sepulchre & St. John the Evangelist
Supports the Arthritis Society.
Order of the Knights Templar
Knights Templar Orphans and General Welfare Fund. Used to support Widows and to assist Divinity Students.
Funds Burn and Crippled Childrens Hospitals.
Ancient Accepted Order of the Scottish Rite
Supports the Alzheimers Society.
Royal Order of Scotland
Only sixty members. No Charity Arm.
Cryptic Rite
Information not supplied.
Van Zor Grotto
Funds the training of Dentists for treatment of handicapped children such as Cerebral Palsy,
Eastern Star
Provides free cancer dressings, supplies information Videos and other materials for Cancer patients. Bursaries for higher learning including students of music.
Daughters of the Nile
Support for Childrens Hospital patients through the Convalescent Relief Fund.
Ladies Oriental Shrine
Gizah travelling funds supporting families of children in hospital, also supports The Vancouver Childrens Hospital Immunology Department.
Job’s Daughters
Supplying hearing aid equipment for hearing impaired children. Hearing resources for Childrens Hospital. Canvases for the Salvation Army and Heart Foundation.
De Molay
Supports the Make a Wish Foundation for terminally ill children, Childrens Telethon and the Cancer Cars.
The main purpose of Freemasonry is moral self improvement. without this element the Craft would not be in existence today. Charity is a by-product of our moral concepts. So when we are asked “What do you guys do?” charity is the easy and more visible answer, it is much more difficult to elucidate our primary purpose, that of building ourselves into the best we can possibly be. The tools that we use for moral self improvement can be listed as follows
The rendering of what is due. The fulfillment of moral and legal obligations. Goodness. The triumph over temptation and conflict. Integrity. Being incorruptible and honest.
Being honest above and beyond just legal requirements Uprightness. Conforming to rectitude and justice. Chastity. Pureness of heart and life. Honesty. Truthfulness to the soul and its Maker. Purity. Freedom from all that debases, from guilt or defilement. Virtuousness. Abstaining from vice. Conformity of life to the moral-law.
Rightness of principle and practice, Uprightness of mind.
Worthy of esteem. Purity of character.
Possessing good qualities to an eminent degree.
Fidelity. A constant loyalty.
Rendering to everyone that which is due.
Conforming to the rules.
The state of being in conformity to fact in act and word.
How can we explain ‘Moral self improvement’? Certainly not by listing all the above. We could say that it is to try and live in such a manner as to not intentionally harm our family, friends, neighbours, and those with whom we have dealings. The higher up in business or government we rise the more challenging and difficult it becomes. To deal fairly with everyone, no matter whether they are good or bad, colleague or competitor, enemy or friend. The universality of Freemasonry provides for a fraternal affection among people of differing social and ethnic backgrounds enveloping many languages and cultures.
What we “guys” do is try and live up to our moral and legal obligations to the utmost of our ability and practice brotherly love to all of humanity. How do you explain Brotherly love to the uninitiated? Scripture tells us to love one another with a pure heart. This would seem a good explanation. The term Brotherly Love does not necessarily mean love only toward a brother Mason although the implication is there, it also means the kind of relationship one sibling would have for another. The love a brother would have for his own brother or sister. We could say that one of our beliefs is that we act in our dealings with others as we would to a member of our own family, with respect, consideration and understanding.
It is too much to expect the individual Freemason, especially one newly admitted, to understand our philosophy and actually practice it by himself. Help is needed to lift the veil from around our symbolism and allegory so that the true teachings can be found. A wise and trusted advisor is essential. A mentor to guide and encourage those that need it. We firmly believe that a mentor programme in each lodge would promote active and vibrant freemasonry and allow the individual to reach his potential both inside and out of the lodge.
“Hi Andy. Why are you hanging about all dressed up?”
“Waiting for my drive. We’re going to lodge.”
“What do you mean, going to Lodge?”
“I’m a Freemason. It’s lodge night.”
“I didn’t know you were a Freemason. What do you guys do?”
“We’re a world wide Brotherhood. We raise millions of dollars for charity and we try and promote a moral way of life for our members by using ritual and symbols.”
“What sort of symbols?”
“Well, you’ve heard of the square? That’s one of our main symbols, it’s where a “square deal” came from.”
“Oh. What do you have in the case?”
“My masonic apron. It’s like a lodge uniform that we wear.”
“What do you do in your Lodge?”
“Well, we get together with our pals and do lodge business like finances and so on, and we use a masonic ritual hundreds of years old to make new members and teach a moral way of life. And have a lot of fun doing it. Ah. here’s my ride.”
“What’s it cost?”
“Well, it s not cheap, nothing worth while is, but I’ll give you a call tomorrow and we’ll talk about it. Okay?”

The 2000-2001 Education Committee members are Isaac Brower-Berkhoven (Chairman), Aidan Gordon, Andrew Law, Bob Levin, Max Lindner and George Skelton.


© 1871-2012 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. Updated: March 16, 2001