On December 19th, 2007 the Grand Master of the State of Texas attended the annual event when Alamo Lodge #44 held it’s stated meeting in the Alamo itself. This tradition was started in the early 1980s and has been happening since.
For those that aren’t from America or have a history handicap, you can check out the wikipedia page for more info. Of those that served in the Alamo the following were known to be Masons:
William Barrett Travis (Alabama Lodge No. 3)
James Bowie (L'Humble Chaumiere No. 19)
David Crockett (lodge unknown)
James Bonham (So Carolina lodge records were destroyed in a fire in 1837)
So the Alamo has become and rightfully not only a shrine to the fallen solders of Texans and Tejanos, but to the brave Masons, known and unknown who served there. It is a big event in which Masons not only from all over San Antonio come around, but from the state. Sometimes during this event they will confer a degree or recite the Master Mason’s Oath. This time the Grand Master decided to address the crowd.
The Grand Master is your typical Texan, he has a texan accent, worked as an independent business man, in get this, the gas and oil fields. In the craft he served on the Committee of Work for 13 years before being elected in the South. He is a self admitted “hard-ass” when it comes to the work and the memorization.
During his speech he discussed and clarified the edicts that are coming out in next month’s Texas Mason, which directly deal with the work. He addressed that some lodges were cheating the system of catachism. In it some rogue lodges took it upon themselves to cut short the catachism to get men through the system faster. I heard of these rumors, but never known it to be true. He gave a long lecture on the virtues of the work and how traditions define us as Masons (which I completely agree with).
He then made an off the wall comment about how Masons were respected in the community, but aren’t that pillar anymore, and said “We Aren't the Men We Use to Be”. Left the question of how we can take back that great time (read 1955) to today’s Masonry.
But I ask, is today’s Masonry really that bad? There is a surgence in the esoteric work with the younger Masons, that really wasn't present before. Men are more interested in learning about the work then to go collect titles and awards. Where in the past the rites had been breeding grounds for nepotism and favoritism now are starting to break free of those old habits. Is it because we don’t have 1,200 Master Masons in a lodge? Is mass numbers really a sign of success?
It’s a good time to be apart of Freemasonry, while there are growing pains, the benefits in the long run can do nothing but do good for the Craft. The esoteric and ritual side is starting to be emphasis, while the fish fries and go-karts are starting to wilt (no offense to the Shrine).
So I ask you, do we really want to become “The Men We Once Were?”