Changes In Iowa Freemasonry


Freemasonry began as a force for change in society.  It was a major contributor to the advances of the age of enlightenment, providing society with examples of how to rule themselves in a democratic fashion, maintain tolerance for others and for other ways of doing things, and for promoting learning and charity.  It's time to get back to that. 

The need for change is not new.  The recognition of that need is not new.  It has been voiced many times in the past.  Here is what John Fletcher Sanford, Grand Master of Masons in Iowa 1856-58, had to say.  This was taken from a resolution presented by him for appointment of a committee to perfect and present the details of a plan of organization for a “Masonic Institute of Learning.”

The forms of Masonry alone will not maintain a vigorous existence; neither can it be claimed that the social condition of the human race, as it respects our relation to each other in any of the pursuits of life, presents the same necessity for its maintenance in the world now as it once did. Its principals are the most beautiful which can find a resting place in the human breast; its theory is pure and leads the mind heavenward.  Yet without some results which will meet the wants of the present age, it will prove like the beautiful and enchanting mirage of the desert, which lures the pilgrim only to its sultry bosom.

 And in one of his annual addresses, he included the following:

 Were it in my power to confer upon my brethren of this jurisdiction the greatest blessing to be realized from our fraternal system, I would, without hesitation, excite in their minds a true conception of the internal philosophy of Masonry, by the aid of which they can obtain truer and better views of the principles of its construction, than any combination of mere forms can give.  I would employ this language of art, only as a means of laying upon the soul the inspiration of nature’s gentle voice, which impels us with “enthusiasm from truth to truth” until the whole science of Masonry spreads out in new and sublime form, adorning the paths of life and cheering the prospect of death.

It was clear that he recognized that what was important in the fraternity was its philosophy and its results, NOT ITS FORMS.  And what we need to change are its forms, not its philosophy, not its core principles, not its identity, not its landmarks.