Joseph H. Collison, 33

We must make preparations for the funeral service of the Masonic Fraternity. We need to be prepared. Who will conduct the service and attend---if anyone?

As we watch our great Fraternity slowly die with the same mind-boggling ritual, spotty education and onerous memory requirements, we need to compare our situation with that of a person with heart trouble.

Relative to our physical well-being, we work to improve or sustain our health with exercise, proper diet, and medical care to insure that we may live a useful life as long as the Supreme Architect of the Universe has plans for each of us. In the case of heart problems, surgery and medication have afforded many persons years of continued life and service. Medical science has greatly improved the average age of our lives.

Let us assume that our Fraternity has heart trouble. Obviously, the life blood of the Blue Lodge is not flowing. Just look at declining membership in the Shrine and York or Scottish Rites. The Blue Lodge, the heart of all Masonic Bodies, has clogged arteries, and the blood of membership is not moving, but the patient just talks about how bad he feels and does nothing about any correction of the problem. Those that urge him to change are criticized for trying to bring fresh solutions to old problems. Many say, “We have been sick before. We’ll get better. Don’t worry too much.”

Brethren, our Fraternity is experiencing a serious heart attack. The patient is in the emergency room. We need immediate surgery. Should we wait until legislation is proposed, delay a year until a committee investigates the situation and then passes legislation by a two-thirds majority of persons who have only the preservation of the past in mind? Probably, the treatment recommended will be no more than some weak medication, a minor change or two, followed by the suggestion that the patient remain in bed, rest, and do nothing.

The real answer is up to each Grand Master, officer, and member of our Masonic Fraternity. Do we do immediate surgery, open up the arteries, increase the flow of members and put new life in the patient, or do we wait longer, continue discussions, delay action and, finally, decide who will conduct the final service?