Brotherly Love

Just one of our tenants.

By: Thomas L. Schenk
Grand Master of Masons in New Mexico

Thomas L. Schenk Grand Master of Masons in New Mexico

These summer months are usually a very active time for Freemasonry, celebrations, cook-outs, camping and outdoor Lodge get togethers. Annually in the month of July, the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference is held. This Conference consists of nine Masonic Jurisdictions in attendance and each year a different Grand Lodge hosts the event. This year it will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada under the direction of MWB Kevin McCanns, Grand Master of Nevada. Various topics will be discussed at this conference, and each Senior Grand Warden will give a presentation pre-assigned by the host. This usually starts great debates and discussions, and the answers are something of great value that each of us can bring back to our respective Grand Lodges.

Back in 2018 I attended my first RMMC in Salt Lake City, Utah. The following year it was held in Denver, Colorado. It was at the Denver conference that I experienced something truly masonic, and I will never forget how profound our masonic teachings really are.

Upon checking into the host hotel, I was told that my room was not ready and that there would be a short wait time. I immediately went to the lounge to have something to drink and waited for my room to be ready. I happened to sit next to this younger gentleman who was obviously working on something very important. He had his laptop in front of him and was talking to himself all the while waiving his hands around in a frenzy. When he noticed that I was looking at him, he apologized for his actions and proceeded to tell me that he was working on a presentation. I asked him how it was going, and he replied, “very well”, and said that he had never given one so far west, and to a bunch of “cowboy” types! It was obvious that he was very nervous and anxious, so I introduced myself and asked if he would like some help.

When he started to recite his speech aloud, it was at that point I realized that he was a Mason. The words that he used, and the examples he gave were inspiring. Turns out that he was the guest speaker for the event. The Junior Grand Warden of Prince Hall Freemasonry of New York. We must have sat there for almost two hours, my room ready long ago, just enjoying each other’s company.

All through the event we would talk. I remember giving him a thumbs up following his presentation as it was a remarkable success and he smiled back.

On my flight home I thought to myself what had brought the two of us together. Was it because we were at the same hotel in the same city at the same time? Or was it because he was just a friendly man? Or could it have been because we were both masons, scheduled to be at the same conference. The latter would be the easiest answer.

I also thought to myself, would I have ever interacted with this man if the circumstances had been different. The honest answer is I don’t know. I would have been cordial and respectful, but beyond that I don’t know. Here we were, two individuals of different races, different backgrounds, and from opposite sides of the country. Everything from age, religion, political preference and probably basic interests and hobbies were as opposite as east and west.

While I was driving home from the airport, I started working on ritual as most of us do when we are behind the wheel and a thought came over me. It was like someone turned on a light switch. You could say that I was once again “Brought to Light”, the answer was in front of me the whole time.

“By the excercise of Brotherly Love, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family. The high, the low, the rich, the poor. Who as created by one Almighty Parent, and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aid, support and protect each other. On this principle, Freemasonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance”.

Brethren, everything that we do in life has a tie to Freemasonry, if we are open to it. I challenge each of you to be aware of all your own actions and identify when and where our teachings come into play in each of your lives, and together we will find that we live by our obligations automatically.

Back in January I was able to attend the Grand Lodge of Texas with then SGW RWB Steve Almager, and RWB Glenn Connolly, DDGM District 8. While coming in and out of the auditorium we noticed large stacks of old masonic publications dating back to the thirties, they must have been cleaning out the vault as they were there for everyone to take. We proceeded to look through the material and help ourselves to whatever caught our eye. The old pictures and stories seemed fascinating.

Recently I was cleaning out my apron case and one of these periodicals fell out. It was the April 1949 edition of the Texas Grand Lodge Magazine and in it was an article that said:

“A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral law, and if he rightly understands the art, he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine. But through ancient times ,Masons were charged in every country to be the religion of that country or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves, that it is good to be men, and true, or men of honor and honesty by whatever denominations or persuasions they me be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the center of union, and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must have remained at a perpetual distance.”

With that being said, the previous statement proves that our masonic teachings stand the test of time. Here it is almost seventy-five years later, and those words are still as true and meaningful today, as they were then.

The article went on to say that “This ancient charge, with the words changed, became in spirit that part of our Constitution known as the Bill of Rights. Let us remember, as we contemplate on the subject of tolerance, that it is not a virtue to sit idly by and see intolerance fostered upon the world. To do that is to admit to cowardice,”

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