Address of R.W.
Bro. James F. Kirk-White
On His Official Visit to Muskoka Lodge, March 02, 2004
Sharing Freemasonry Within Your Community
Brethren, since delivering the Improper
Solicitation message in January, I have received requests for further
clarification of what ‘may’ be said. So tonight’s message should reveal to
the brethren the intensity in which one might communicate Freemasonry to
any person or group, and to do so with confidence.
To accomplish this, I will be repeating a speech which I presented to the
Burk’s Falls Lions Club the year Corona Lodge celebrated their 100th
anniversary, and in which the Lions were involved. Like many
organizations, the Lions are always looking for guest speakers and our
particular subject matter will peak their interest. Some of you might
consider offering a similar speech to your own community service clubs.
Let’s begin: “Lion President and fellow Lions: Tonight I have been asked
to speak to you on the subject of Freemasonry in general, and of the
Masonic Lodge in Burk's Falls in particular.
I'd like to begin with the observation that many current and past members
of this Lions Club were also Freemasons, and as you will soon discover, it
is by design that these community minded people wear two such hats in
order to enjoy a full life.
Let us proceed by comparing the structure of our two great organizations,
starting with membership qualifications:
The Lions Club’s membership is open to male and female and has affiliated
groups, like the Leos, Lioness and Lionettes. The existence of female
groups is due to a time when Lions Clubs were a male only organization.
The membership is now a mixed gender which was established in accordance
to law, and by its membership several years ago.
Masonic membership is primarily male. Although females have joined
thru-out time, it is the exception rather than the rule. Male only
membership is recognized by law and preferred by the majority of the
There are affiliated groups, such as the Shriners, the Scottish Rite, York
Rite, Demolay, Jobs Daughters, and the Order of the Eastern Star to
mention a few.
Jobs Daughters, and the Eastern Star enjoy female membership and
Lions Clubs are ‘service’ clubs by Constitution and Mission statement.
Their motto is; “We Serve”.
Masonic Lodges are ‘fraternal’ organization by Constitution and Mission
statement. Their motto is “Making Good Men Better.”
About Membership Development:
Lions are encouraged to solicit every person they feel would be a good
community worker and do so with enthusiasm and consistency.
Promoting Masonic membership is the opposite. Tradition requires that a
prospective member should first demonstrate an interest in Masonry, in
fact we have a slogan which states, "To be one, Ask one".
The Governance of our two great Organizations:
The Lions Club is an International Organization, founded by Melvin Jones
in 1917. It has one central International ruling body. The mission being:
to provide 'service' to people and communities by utilizing a grass roots
The first Speculative Grand Lodge began in 1717 in England. (It seems 17
is a very good year to begin important things.)
Freemasonry's governance, although international in scope, has no singular
international ruling body. The governance is performed by individual Grand
Lodges. For example, The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario
is the sole governing body of all lodges and districts in the Province of
Ontario and Corona Lodge in Burks Falls is part of the Masonic District of
Muskoka-Parry Sound. To explain further; there is no Grand Lodge for all
of Canada, and no Grand Lodge for all of the USA. But rather Grand Lodges
of individual Provinces, States and of course many countries.
The District Deputy Grand Master is the representative of the Grand Master
in his District – he is similar to the Lions Club’s District Governor. The
Master of a Lodge is similar to the President of a Lions Club -however
their directives are quite different.
Service work and charity:
Every community which has a Lions Club can, and will, be proud to show off
their Lions Club projects and service accomplishments.
The glue that binds Lions together through-out the world is pride in
Freemasonry refers to Service Work as Charity or Benevolence and here,
although we have quiet traditions, the accomplishments are many.
The glue that binds Masons together through-out the world is a fraternity
which is based on brotherly love, relief and truth.
Charity is a fundamental principal and primary virtue of Freemasonry.
Masons learn that charity is the top rung on the ladder of life, and we
are taught the importance of benevolence and in giving, -personally and
The exception to quietly is the Shrine Club whose charity works are widely
known -by the way, the Shriners would be an interesting subject for a
Lions, it is now time to discuss Masonic secrets;
Contrary to public belief, there are very few Masonic secrets. The deep,
dark foreboding myths of Masonry being a secret society are exactly that,
First of all, we are not a secret society. Masonry is a fraternity with
some secrets and I assure you that none of our secrets are harmful or
evil. Take a look around you, the people you personally know to be Masons
would never be a member of an evil or harmful organization. Quite the
opposite in fact; as loyalty to our country; our laws; our family; our
community; and to each other is a virtue for which we strive.
Masonry has been labeled a cult. Many great things may be called a cult.
The dictionary’s definition of a cult is “a system of worship”, it does
not refer to the system as being bad or good, so all religious
organizations may be labeled a cult.
Another definition of a cult is “a devotion to an idea”. Therefore it is
impossible for most organizations, including the Lions Club and the
Masons, to deny that we are a type of cult, -due to the very definition of
Why does secrecy have to exist in today’s world? Frankly, it has to do
The first secret that comes to my mind is due to the fact that Freemasonry
is quite ancient. Our history is somewhat veiled and muddled even to
ourselves. We are constantly researching our roots because we do not know
our own true beginnings.
I am not denying we have secrets -for we do. The secrets we do not share
publicly are symbolic in nature and relate to; traditions, teaching
techniques, and are part of the philosophy of our fundamental tenants and
principals. You see, tradition is extremely important to Freemasonry.
The public would gain nothing in knowing of these secrets. Whereas Masons,
with the help of other Masons, become better men because of how symbols
and allegories are put to use, -expanding upon an individual’s morals and
In fact, many such Masonic symbols have become a part of today's every-day
communication -for instance: "Are you on the level?" or "Hey, I want a
square deal.", and I am sure you have all heard of, "Faith, Hope and
Charity" to mention a few.
It is no accident that these publicly known Masonic symbols, or so-called
secrets, all refer to ethical behaviour and universal benevolence.
There are symbols that Masons use to recognize each other -no matter what
part of the world we visit. Like the Lions, we too proudly wear our lapel
pins and rings, -displaying the Masonic Square and Compasses.
Because of Masonic tradition, and its timeless inheritance, other means of
Masonic recognition are kept secret. Secrets that at one time were
essential for the protection of the community and the safety of their
building projects. They are still used to this day and are known by Masons
throughout the world. These are secrets based on tradition -and must never
be used for dishonest purposes.
Many of our symbolic secrets are in fact written, and open to the public,
you just have to read the Bible. But to be honest, only a Mason would
recognize them as being part of the Fraternity.
We use the Bible -does that mean Freemasonry is a religion?
No it does not, for we are not a religion. There is however, a
prerequisite to becoming a Mason and that is you must have a belief in the
Supreme Being. You must believe there is a God –and that God will reward
virtue and punish vise.
Masonry encourages all Masons to attend a religion of their choice, but
Masonry does not express any preference towards any particular religion.
And like the Lions club, Masonry does not permit the discussion of
politics or religion within a lodge meeting.
What is Freemasonry history and how did it start?
We are not exactly sure, so I will begin with the Operative Freemasons
during the Medieval times, which were a strong force of society, and were
the single most important body of men in the history of civilization.
Their roots are founded in the genius of architecture and construction of
'monumental' buildings around the globe. Even now the Middle Ages are
often represented by a picture of a stone cathedral. The impact they made
on society is still felt today.
When new projects were started by Operative Freemasons, a lodge building
was the first building erected at the new site and Freemasons were called
to work from everywhere. This immediately created a self-supporting
community. The lodge thus became the school, church, office and workshop
for their community.
All Freemasons world-wide knew the same symbols and trials pertaining to
their particular degree of skills. They would only be allowed entry into
the lodge once proof of being a Freemason was presented to the Master
-thus protecting the integrity and safety of their project and community.
They were called Freemasons because these Masons earned the right to
travel freely around the globe to perform their duty. A right granted by
the Kings and Rulers of all nations. A right based on the Freemason's
credentials- a lifetime of study. These Masons willingly passed on their
knowledge to protégés, which was protected by secret obligations, secret
communications, and secret symbols. To know the skills was to know the
A morphing process from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry began, and
eventually the Freemason's tenets and principles evolved from being tools
for Operative Freemasons to earn a living, to tools for today's
Speculative Freemasons to improve themselves -creating a “university for
the common man”.
Lions: Thank you for this opportunity to share Freemasonry with you
And finally, brethren: I hope this illustration has helped you in your
An interesting note relating to tonight’s message: Corona Lodge’s newest
Entered Apprentice is the current President of the Lions Club of Burk’s
Falls. He is now one of many Corona Lodge members who have proudly worn
two hats for their community.
As usual, this speech will be placed on our District website for your
further use. I trust you will make good use of tonight’s information as
you shine with Masonic pride within your community.
Brethren for the fine banquet, your warm hospitality and your friendship,
I thank you very much.
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