Wednesday, April 6, 2016
A Brother Asks... Are the Twelve Fellow Crafts Reformed Ruffians?
A Brother Asks: Were the remaining Twelve Fellow Crafts Reformed Ruffians?
My Response: Before I respond directly to your question, let me take some liberty here and lay a foundation for it.
Freemasonry does not make good men better. That is a fabricated slogan that serves the purpose of gaining the interest of a target market. It has worked unbelievably well over the years and is well suited to that purpose.
If you inspect the results of Craft influence in an unbiased way, it should become obvious from the evidence that it is only by Seeking and Practicing Masonry, not Freemasonry, that a Good Man becomes a Better Man.
That being said, Mainstream Freemasonry is an organization of men who collectively claim that they seek to make Good Men Better. They also lay claim to supporting this end without wavering. They do this by directing members' attention toward focusing upon those things that each can do to improve themselves. They do this in the hope that Members may eventually come to know and embrace Masonry; not just Freemasonry.
However, these claims must be backed by action on the part of each member for that Betterment to be realized. The first step toward that end is Realizing and Understanding that there actually is a difference between the organization and what it espouses. The second step is Realizing and Understanding that Participation in organizational activities is not the same as doing the Work that it espouses; these are two entirely different activities and they serve different ends.
Should you get upset or offended by this information? Only if you insist upon not earnestly examining what Betterment of yourself actually entails.
Back to your Question
From a very deep and personal prospective, I find the Twelve Fellow Crafts who went back to Work more heroic than any other characters within the Temple's Allegorical Tale. I see taking up the Work with unwavering intent to Complete it to be one of the most heroic and noblest of journeys any Man can undertake.
To Recognize this need and Dedicate oneself to its fulfillment and completion to be a rare and noble quality.
But that's just me. I know from experience what it actually takes. A man must cultivate something very special and utterly unique within himself to take such Work on and then move it toward completion.
It Transforms the man, his life and his world.
The Work is not for wimps, wusses, or Ruffians.
And there in lies the answer to your question.
The Twelve Fellow Craft were part of the original conspiracy to ruff on the required Work. They had every intention to ruff. They were going to follow through with ruffing and ultimately changed their minds. The opted out of ruffing and followed suit on pursuing the Work. By all Blue Lodge accounts, we are left with a distinct understanding that their plans were to reform their ways and get back to business - doing the Work.
So, "Yes", they were reformed Ruffians, or, at least, Working toward that end.
Brother John S. Nagy
 Ruffian: One who ruffs; one who does not follow suit; one who skips over what is usually necessary to accomplish a desired end.
 Ruff: an archaic term meaning to "trump"; to not follow suit; to skip over what is usually necessary to accomplish a desired end.