Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On so-called "Co-Masonry"

Like many modern-day thirty-something Masons, I'm a frequent participant in the many online Masonic message boards.  Most notably, those at the social networking site reddit.  It's by far the most active and hosts more intellectual discussions about Masonry than the rest.

Quite often, the topic of so-called co-masonry will arise.  Reddit is a fairly progressive-minded website, so it's not unusual for such topics to be discussed.  On the latest such discussion, I opined the following:

I just don't get this. "I like organization 'A' but don't like how organization 'A' does things, so I am going to start my own organization, adopt 99% of the practices, change what I don't like, and pass myself off as a valid alternative."

Freemasonry is what Freemasonry is. If you can't accept that, start your own lodge with a different name and stop pretending to be what you aren't. I'm sure the Odd Fellows or Mooses are looking for members.
Honestly, I do not get it.  Freemasonry is what it is - a men's fraternity that operates in it's own way.  If you don't like it, don't become a Freemason.  How hard is that?  The whole raison d’etre of Masonry is getting along, following orders, and being a peaceful person that abides by the rules.  Saying "nuts to you" and forming your own variant flies in the face of the very mindset you're attempting to emulate.

A participant noted how this correlates to what some believe the Catholic view of non-Catholics to be.  Are non-Catholics non-Christian? Does the fact that the Catholic Church (supposedly) refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of those who aren't Catholic mean that Protestants aren't real Christians?

Of course not - but do those other groups call themselves Catholic?  No.  They call themselves Lutheran, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Episcopalian, Methodist, etc.  They have their own beliefs and ways of worshipping Christ and identify as such.  They don't call themselves co-Catholic, wear the clerical clothing of a priest, and pass themselves off as equal believers in what occurs in Rome.

If you identify with the moral teachings of Masonry, great.  If you wish to study the Gnostic lessons of The Craft, more power to you.  If you want to flip pancakes and growl about dues levels, there's room for you as well.  But if you aren't born male and don't want to follow the rules, then don't join.  If you don't join, don't form a clandestine, counterfeit knock-off and try to pass it off as Freemasonry.  Why is this so difficult?