Brethren, Our identity as Masons must include work on ourselves both as individuals and as a brotherhood. Our decline in membership over the past 50 years is merely a symptom of the loss of Masonry’s relevance to our lives and our communities.
Our focus on the past has blinded us to the challenges of the present. And it is the present that we must address both as individuals and as a fraternal organization. Our reliance on former brothers’ successes has weakened our commitment to achieving our own Masonic identities.
We have been wooed by the world of clever advertising into believing that symbolizing something makes it so. We have succumbed to the agenda of corporate advertising. But we can no longer delude ourselves into thinking about Masonry from the outside in. We must look squarely into the challenge of performing Masonry to the betterment of our fraternity and ourselves. We must discover our own Masonic calling and our own place in the history of Masonry and put our Masonic per-formance before the symbol.
The Square and Compasses, the best known symbol of a Mason, cannot replace the identity of living the life of a Mason, which is itself perpetually in a state of improving ourselves in body, mind and spirit.
Masonic imagery is a valuable resource when it inspires us to take new action consistent with our personal growth and enlightened thinking. We must uncover the Mason within us so that we can expose Masonry to the public at large.
No public relations agency or advertising campaign will substitute for the personal journey that will establish the presence of Masonry in the public’s view. Each of us has a responsibility to steward our respected fraternity into the future, calling on our own spirit rather than deferring to those of our predecessors. We must exercise the same determination that we admire and celebrate in our heritage.