The Bainbridge Rotary Club recently hosted a meeting featuring Jason Sawyer, a member of the Masonic Lodge, as the guest speaker. Sawyer provided an enlightening discourse on the origins, principles, and activities of Freemasonry, a topic that holds a certain allure due to its rich history and intriguing ideals.
Freemasonry, according to Sawyer, has its roots in the guilds of European stone masons. Over time, it evolved from a profession-focused group, known as “operative” masons, into a fraternal organization of “speculative” masons, not strictly tied to the craft of stone masonry. This transition marked a significant shift in the organization’s focus, broadening its reach and influence.
Sawyer outlined the core principles that Freemasons are expected to uphold, including integrity, friendship, respect, and charity. These ideals form the bedrock of the organization, guiding its members in their interactions and endeavors. Notably, discussions on politics or religion are discouraged during meetings to maintain unity and prevent divisiveness.
The application process to become a Mason member is stringent, with a strong emphasis on the integrity of the applicant. Those deemed lacking in this quality can be disqualified from joining. Furthermore, Freemasonry is deeply committed to charitable work, supporting organizations like the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.
One of the most profound aspects of Freemasonry, as highlighted by Sawyer, is the brotherly bond it fosters among its members. “Although there are many titles a man can carry throughout his lifetime of masonry, there is no title that is more regarded than that of a brother. That is a bond that is indescribable… It is truly family in that regard,” he said.
Sawyer also delved into the history of the Masons, their symbolism, and hierarchy, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the organization. He concluded his presentation by answering questions from the audience, further enriching their knowledge of Freemasonry.