Integrity at the West Gate


Trends are changing in Freemasonry, both in our jurisdiction and indeed around the world. For the first time in many years we seem to have an onslaught of petitions from young men in their twenties, thirties and forties. One cannot help but ask “why is this”? what is happening in the outside world that is causing young men to arrive at the west gate seeking to partake with us the mysteries of our fraternity? I suppose one could assume that this may be due, in some small way, to our efforts as a fraternity to become more visible in our communities.  Perhaps it could be linked to a more aggressive approach by the brethren towards attracting new initiates. Or perhaps it’s just the snowball effect of a few good young men spreading the word among their peers that we have something different to offer. Whatever the reason, we are most fortunate to have these young men in our lodge rooms.

I tend to think that while the above reasons may each contribute to our good fortune to some degree, there is a more compelling reason that they are gravitating towards our gentle craft. I believe that they are looking for something better in life, searching for answers, and are limited and frustrated with the choices available to them. Young boys and youth seem to have an abundance of activities through school, church, and the community at large, but adult males are searching for something deeper. They need to find out what life is all about. They need to challenge and to be challenged. They need to be involved and they need a forum in which to express their views. I believe that Freemasonry can provide these things to them, and much more.

The very successful Merriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary recorded and published the top ten definitions sought after by its users in 2005. Many of these can easily be related to television news. Words such as: refugee; filibuster; tsunami; pandemic and levee where used frequently by the media throughout the year and are all among the top ten hits. The word that piqued the public’s interest most however, the number one word on the hit list, is integrity. Upon reading this my initial thoughts were “how sad that so many people did not know of this word or it’s meaning”, and why isn’t someone teaching these people about integrity? Don’t you learn about this in school? Was this word used frequently on television in 2005 also? I must have missed it. Could it be that there just is not that much integrity out there in today’s world? Could it be that integrity is what people are searching for?

The Winnipeg Sun, in their opinion column on February 3rd states that they don’t think you can teach people to have integrity. They say that either you have it or you don’t. I strongly disagree with this statement. There is an organization I know of that teaches good men to be better, andintegrity is one of the foundations of this teaching.

Justice Gomery knows what it is all about. In his 240 page report on the sponsorship scandal entitled “RESTORING ACCOUNTABILITY” he said “what we need is a new political culture in our country, we need a culture of integrity”. He also said that we need to change certain factions from a “culture of entitlement” to a “culture of integrity”. I wonder if he is a member of the craft.

The American comedian Dave Chappelle also knows what it is about. He caused a huge controversy when he walked off his hit television show on Comedy Central and away from a fifty million dollar contract. When asked why he said “I was being asked to do things that infringed on my ethics, I still have my integrity”. How many people do you know who would turn their back on fifty million dollars? I would like to meet Dave Chappelle,

Could it be that the young men calling at the west gate are searching for an understanding ofintegrity.  Is this what is missing from their lives?  If this is so, then one can safely assume that they must also be searching for the meaning of many similar words. Words like truth and honestyand character and brotherhood. Perhaps it is this desire for light that has brought them knocking at the west gate.

If you are a new initiate, I say to you “knock, and it shall be opened unto you”, and if you are a Master Mason I say to you “let’s not disappoint those who knock”. When the west gate is opened and their eyes meet yours, they must instinctively know that they have found truth, honesty, character, brotherhood, but most of all, the thing that binds all of these, INTEGRITY.

W. Bro George Moore
District Education Officer
District # 23
A.F. & A.M. British Columbia & Yukon