Bro. Cody J. Spangler
Analyzing names is a great place to start when you are looking at an origin pertaining to history, but what’s in the name may not be as easy as just tracing it through time.
The term Free and Accepted Mason has its roots with the ancient stone Masons. In the days of the ancient stone craftsman artistic ability in crafting architecture was a ticket to freedom. Men who were heralded as great builders had a rare freedom that usually only governing Dignitaries held. That freedom was the ability to pass between territories freely without repercussion to continue their craft for other cities. City officials well knew that once all work was completed that these wonderful artists would no long be able to practice their craft. Thus, it was made so that anyone who had been recognized as a Master craftsman could travel unregulated to find work.
The accepted part soon followed once guilds were formed. Guilds worked similar to contractors do today. They had a few Masters and then different skill levels that were in training. In order to join a guild back then, because of the competitiveness of the trade, one would have to petition the guild they desired. Once petitioned they would be voted on by their peers and hopefully “accepted” into said guild.
The Free and Accepted Mason nowadays is not so different in terms of definition. The difference goes beyond the word Mason. Previously a Mason was a stone craftsman, but what does it mean now. It truly depends on who you ask.
Those who are not members have many different definitions for us. A cult, an independent religion, Satan worshipers, government controllers, power seekers the list goes on and on.
So what about the men who are a part of this historical fraternity? What do we say about ourselves and what it means to be a Freemason? Once again it depends on who you ask.
The men who received the privilege to be called Brother and subsequently became absent from any of the goings on in any Masonic body may just say its a fraternity or it really doesn’t do much for me but hey I get to wear this cool ring and all these pins atleast. How does that represent what we are really about? Well it doesn’t. These are the same people who throw bumper stickers on their cars and drive like mad men. The same ones who may have a few to many in a bar and don’t act accordingly but they have their square and compass shirt or hat on.
If you haven’t noticed these first two groups aren’t really giving us a fighting chance. But then you look at the third group. These are the men who are at the lodge during their free time just as much as they are home. The men who take time to understand what it really means to be a Freemason. The men who live according to honesty integrity charity and their faith. These are usually the men that no one knows to be a Mason.
To be a Mason means that you are dedicated to your faith, without prejudice to those who do not practice the same as you. To be a Mason is to be devoted to your family. To be a Mason is to go out into the public and serve thy neighbor with no expectation of recognition but that satisfaction that you made a difference. To be a Mason means that you have taken the obligation to better yourself and then better everyone in your life.
That my friends and Brothers is what is in our name!
Bro. Cody Spangler, P.M. is a two time Past Master of Armstrong Lodge #239 in Freeport, PA. He is also the sitting Most Excellent High Priest of Orient Holy Royal Arch Chapter #247, a member of Kittanning Council #52 and Holy Rood Commandery #100 in Kittanning, PA and a member of the Valley of New Castle AASR.
Bro. Spangler can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org