Here's an article based upon the Craft Distinctions section of my book: Building Perpends - Uncommon Aphorisms for Uncommon Masonic Education - Volume 5 that was published last year.
Fraternally and Sincerely,
Bro. Coach N
The Coaches Coach: Freemasonry-Masonry, an Unabashedly Blunt Primer[i]
Freemasonry and Masonry are not the same thing.
Fool not yourself into thinking that they are.
– Dr. John S. Nagy
Today, and for the last Three Centuries, the greatest challenge the Craft faces is Recognizing, Understanding and Separating out that which is clearly supportive of the Organizations of Freemasons and that which is clearly supportive of the members within those Organizational Structures. Members would do well to Perpend these and act accordingly.
While Logical and Literal minds cannot see Truth conveyed by Figures of Speech, obdurate minds refuse to.
Freemasonry's number one priority is to focus its energy and resources upon Preserving its Code and replicating it by means of machine-like cultures. It is a group activity and this is what makes it so successful. Masonry's number one priority is to focus each Mason's energy and resources upon Recognizing, Understanding and Executing the Code that Freemasonry Preserves and Propagating these skills by means of organic cultures. It is a solo activity and this is what makes it so challenging.
Freemasonry is mostly Organizations of activity; Masonry is mostly Activities of organization. Freemasonry Preserves and Passes down only that which supports the internal operations and functions of the Organizational structure; Masonry, on the other hand, supports the operations and functions of the internal organizational Structure of its members.
What Maintains Organizations won’t necessarily Maintain its members. The former are machines; the latter are living beings. Each requires different support. Each requires different methods. Each requires different "mindsets" to survive and to thrive. When Brothers confuse the two and try to treat one as the other, woe is their companion in those moments.
The difference between Freemasonic Education and Masonic Education is the difference between what supports, sustains and nurtures the Organization of Freemasons and what supports, sustains and nurtures the Masons within that Organization. Freemasonry and Masonry have two entirely different Educational focuses and each produce entirely different results. Freemasonry is the art and science of bringing life to men. Masonry is the art and science of bringing men to life. Freemasonry is about Maintaining the Organization. Masonry is about making Good Men Better, as in, Building Better Builders.
Freemasonry conceals Masonry; Masonry reveals Freemasonry. The former practice is clear; the latter practice is rigidly vague. Freemasonry teaches Toleration, as much as it teaches Acceptance, Resistance and Rejection. Masonry manifests these behaviors appropriately within men. Such things are to be, ought to be and should be.
Freemasonry's Secrets differ from Masonic Secrets. The former are given to men by others by simply showing up and complying. The latter are revealed to Masons through diligent personal Work. Masons know these differences; many Freemasons are not even aware of the latter.
Freemasonry practices can and do overshadow and choke out Masonry. Intelligent members who desire to become Better, through Masonic Education, do so, sadly enough, on their own when Freemasonry is the dominant focus. Both Freemason Education and Masonic Education must be fully provided lest each shall fail the other.
When any overly focused efforts actually prevent nurturing, the Craft has lost itself.
What Freemasonry directs men toward is Eternal. – Dr. John S. Nagy
Freemasonry: Building Better Members
Freemasonry need not change, ever; Masons do.
Freemasonry is not a Universal Religion; it is a
Universal Way for Good Men who Desire to improve themselves. Freemasonry’s Lectures, Ritual and Proficiencies only point Freemasons toward Knowledge. Each of these provides only road signs on a Map. They are not the road themselves! Freemasonry points to Work that Transforms Good Men into Better Men. It is not the Work itself.
What Freemasonry lacks is a Die-Hardened Quality Control Program that prevents Entitlement.
Freemasonry was neither designed nor intended to spoon-feed anyone. It was Built to entice Worthy men toward Betterment of their Spirit and to this end alone through their own consciously directed Investments. Those who are not so enticed shall find nothing more than a soul-less machine to service. When Betterment is not part of the equation, Men loose their humanity and end up serving soul-less creatures. Machines are spiritless; expect Machines to have no interest in the Spiritual Nurturing of men. Machines take no actions to serve Spiritual ends. Serving any Machine should only serve men's interests in Nurturing their fellow man.
Transformations and Transitions
Freemasonry attracts all sorts of men; Masonry attracts only Builders. Men may Enter Freemasonry, but it is only Builders who take Masonic Steps thereafter. Reveal Manly Work to males and you'll recognize soon the Men within them.
For a very special few, there exists a certain point when a Freemason gives birth to a Mason. From these Bournes, Masons are forever driven to encourage those so inclined, risking full contempt and condemnation from those who never shall.
Masonry is the Spirit and Soul of Freemasonry – it is its Core. Deplete the Core of Freemasonry and the slightest breeze will crumble its walls. When members are not attracting and keeping Good Men within Freemasonry and they want to attract and keep Good Men within Freemasonry than they must stop doing what they're currently doing. Far too many Brothers don't actually practice Masonry; they practice only Freemasonry. Masons should keep these in mind when they see Freemasonry waning.
Any Organization that espouses personal Transformation should support that very end and without waver. Beware when there are no overtly understood or conveyed Steps that men can consciously take to Transform themselves for the Better. Take caution when those who are supposed to support men’s Transformation put forth swift and poignant dismissals, sabotages and general disinterests in what truly Nurtures. Masons should never overlook the insanity of unworthy Directions and their undue influence upon any member within the Craft. Masons cannot rightly proclaim that they can't recognize such insanity when it’s clearly before them -- they know Better.
Masonry reveals to Masons the Class of men. – Dr. John S. Nagy
Masonry: Building Better Men
Masons are Traveling men and Masonry provides keys to those men who desire cave-free lives. Travelers enjoy
better when they know how to get there. Masonry is not a religion, not a club, not an association and not a way of life. It's a way of Being! Masonry Guides Brothers toward different Territorial definitions and understandings more Suitable to their needs and that of their Faith. Very few men know of Masonry. Even fewer men exist who invest in making Masonry happen for them. Masonic Territories
Masonry should be the focus of Freemasonry. If you think Masonry is about thinking, think again. Masonry is Spiritual Journey. To do Masonry any other Way or for any other Reason corrupts its intent. Masonry is Founded upon Recognized Structure. Without Structure, Masonry would not exist. Masonry doesn't come to mind. It comes from Mind.
We have all the Light we need, we just need to put it in practice. – Albert Pike
Masons experience a series of staged trials and deliberate tests to obtain the true Light that was intended for them. They are Philosophical in Heart and in Spirit. They conduct themselves in ways that invite, provoke, encourage and inevitably cause success. Self-motivating, Self-initiating, Self-directing and Self-reflecting are all Masonic traits. They execute tasks that are Principle based, Moral in nature and Humane by default. Masons quench their thirst with the sweat of their brows.[ii] There is no such thing as Insalubrious Masonic Practice. Masons shun all who claim otherwise and aid those who want Better.
Properly Trained Masons can see how things came into being and can see where things are eventually leading. The untrained may believe that Masons can read the past and predict the future. They are correct in their belief. Properly Trained Masons can see into the soul of others. The untaught may believe that these Masons are Mind readers. They are correct in their belief.
Masons get a Charge out of Freemasonry. They are Charged with undertaking great and important tasks. Masons are blessed with Insights that astound and Patterns that energize with knowledged Zeal for more of the same. They accept, encourage and support the use of high Quality, Suitable Standards and well-directed Maxims. Masons expect no more than what they are willing to give. Masons’ appearances do not betray them.
A Properly Trained Mason is someone to behold.
Masons are not frightened by the Work to which Freemasonry points. Neither do they shirk their responsibility. They Freely Choose to undertake this Work with Guided Fervor and Unwavering Zeal. Masons confuse not Freemason work with the Masonic Work to which Freemasonry points. When Brothers want to attract Good Men to Freemasonry then they must live and teach Masonry alongside Freemasonry.
"A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor." – Victor Hugo
Points to Perpend:
Revolution[iv]: 1. Going round in an orbit or elliptical course. 2. To make a complete round in its orbit. 3. The rotation of a celestial body on its axis. 4. Completion of a course. 5. Rotation. 6. A sudden, radical, or complete change. 7. A fundamental change in political organization. 8. Activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in situations. 9. A fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something: a change of paradigm. 10. A changeover in use or preference. 11. (The act of making) a successful, violent attempt to change or remove a government etc. 12. A complete change in ideas, methods etc. 13. Involving or causing great changes in ideas, methods etc. 14. To cause great changes in (ideas, methods etc). 15. Coming back full circle to a specific starting point.
Evolution[v]: 1. A gradual change in the characteristics of a population over successive generations. 2. A gradual development or unfolding. 3. The act of throwing off. 4. A Pattern formed by a series of movements or something similar. 5. An operation in which the root is extracted. 6. An exercise carried out in accordance with a set procedure or plan.
Renaissance: 1. the spirit, culture, art, science, and thought characteristics of intensified classical scholarship, scientific and geographical discovery, a sense of individual human potentialities, and the assertion of the active and secular over the religious and contemplative life. 2. A revival or rebirth, especially of culture and learning and the Culture of Learning.
[i] Author’s Note: Brothers exist within Fraternal Organizations who see no distinction whatsoever between Freemasonry and Masonry, or Freemasons and Masons. They shall view what is shared herein as Rubbish. Brothers also exist that do see the distinctions shared herein. Still other Brothers assign exactly the opposite distinctions to the words shared in this article. It is hoped that those Brothers who find value in drawing such distinctions shall find this primer of peculiar interest.
[ii] Genesis 3:19
[iii] Latin re- + nascī to be born
[iv] Middle English revolucioun, from Old French revolution, from Late Latin revolti, revoltin-, from Latin revoltus, past participle of revolvere, to turn over
[v] Latin ēvolūtiō an unrolling, from ēvolvere to evolve