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The Enemy Within


What would you do if suddenly your Lodge was no longer functional, gone, dead? Would you seek out another lodge to attend, or would you even miss your Masonic affiliation? Ponder that question! WHAT WOULD YOU DO!?

Let us suppose that you are Master of your lodge and you received this letter:

"Worshipful Master,

"I am an enemy to your lodge. I do not come as a thief in the night; I am brazen enough to come to the lodge while it is at labor, and you don't even know I'm there. I am not a cowan for I do not hide from you and peek into the lodge without your knowledge; I am in plain sight and you cannot see me, but I am not a ghost. I seek to destroy your lodge by whatever means are available to me, but I am non-violent. Make no mistake about it, I am very persistent and very deadly, yet you would never guess it, my sheep's clothing is very deceptive. You receive me with open arms and know not what you do. You feed me at every lodge meeting and I eagerly accept your hospitality, gorging myself on the feast you offer me. I get stronger at every meal, and I grow more powerful every year. I see the brethren gather in groups and whisper one to the other, you are my kind of guys! I love listening to your secrets, and I hear them, though you don't tell me what they are.

"I will divide and thereby conquer your lodge and you will willing do my bidding and wonít even know it. I am not a preacher nor a prophet but I predict that you will accept the message I preach, because I am relentless. I will pit one against the other, friend against friend, son against father, brother against brother and you will help me; I love you for that. I am jealous of those who do good, for I seek to undo them.

"It may take me longer than I had anticipated to complete my mission, but I will never give up my quest. I suffer setbacks now and then but that does not deter me from my appointed task, I just work harder at it. I will win at all costs. You are already defeated and donít even know it. Your lodge is going to be mine sooner or later, it doesnít matter to me, I am very patient. When things donít go my way, I donít get upset, I get more determined. I never tire, I'm am always on the job. I wonít let you ignore me, I am too loud though you canít hear me. You cannot silence me, I have too many voices. You cannot stop me, I have too many players and I outnumber you. 'Circle the wagons, boys, it is your only hope!'

"I have defeated many great organizations, and your lodge is a strong and worthy opponent, but that only strengthens my resolve. You will be defeated by the sheer number of assaults I can deliver to the door of your lodge. You cannot long endure the pressure I can bring to bear on you. My forces are legion, my army is strong, my training is unmatched, my strategy is foolproof. I have no written plan, for that would reveal my weakness. I am flexible. I can alter my plans without notice and attack a newfound weakness with all the power of a firestorm. Don't even blink! It takes too much of your time and I can take advantage of that. And woe be unto you if you turn your head! I will grasp the moment and savor the fruits of my labor and relish the thought of winning. And I will win! It is just a matter of time! Take nothing for granted. Never let your guard down for I will strike when you least expect it. But you canít keep your guard up! You do not have that kind of discipline, and I know it. That is what makes me so dangerous to your precious lodge. All I have to do is bide my time. I have plenty of it and I will wait for the most opportune moment to strike. You will know that I am coming but you will know not when. You wonít even see me coming because I will come like a lightning bolt out of the blue and reduce your lodge to nothing in the space of the time it takes to take a breath (the stroke of the Grand Master's pen). Then what will you do? As for me, I will be drunk on the sorrow and confusion that I have created and when I have sobered up I will begin looking for another victim. They are so easy to find and they invite me so innocently into their ranks as to make it almost shameful on my part to accept such an invitation. But I am a slut and I feed on confusion and sorrow; it is how I grow.

"I am absolutely without shame because I have no morals. I sometimes regret my actions but only briefly, because I quickly find some of you to blame them on, after all, when I have won, it is you who have helped me. I am not a bad person because you would not let me into your lodge if you knew me, yet you do know me and still you let me in! And you will continue to let me in and I will eventually destroy you! How impotent you are! Lacking enough courage to fight me! I make known to you my intentions and yet you do not try to defend yourselves! Why? I love a good fight, yet you refuse! Sometimes my victory is shallow because you succumb so easily, but a victory is a victory and I will take all I can get even though it may come as a gift, because I am a glutton. My challenge to you is "en garde", meet me on the battlefield of your lodge floor, if you have the courage!"

"Yours in chaos,

Brethren, do you think that the Master of your lodge is not faced with this enemy? Think again! It comes in the oath of his office, though it is unspoken, the minute the assumes the chair in the East. The enemy of your lodge has been defined and pointed out and it is each of us. We look to the Master and his officers for answers to the question of how to unite the lodge and breathe new life into it, yet we offer no suggestions. You canít imagine how many hours have been spent by these men in trying to come up with solutions to this problem. You say, "Thatís his job, let him think of a way, that is why he wanted to be master." Brethren, it is true that the Master thinks that he has something to contribute or else he would not be there, but he does not have all of the answers to this dilemma. He has his own ideas but without your input or suggestions for him to consider, he is like the engineer whose train has run out of coal. No coal, no steam. No steam, no power to run the train and he canít push it by himself. To this you say, "Let the officers help, that is their job!" Brethren, the officers are in those chairs to serve you and the Order, but if you fail to participate in the activities suggested by them, you are only hurting your lodge, not the officers. How much success do you think eleven officers will have (assuming that your lodge is lucky enough to have eleven officers) pushing or pulling this train (the lodge) if the passengers (members) do nothing or very little to help? Brethren, with privileges or rights come responsibilities. If it is your privilege to be called a Freemason, you have certain rights but you must take the responsibility that comes with that privilege if your lodge and the Order are to survive. If you are unsure of what that responsibility is, study, participate, work and help out and you wonít have to ask! Then ask yourself, "How can I be an even more responsible Mason?" The lodge is not the building, it is its membership, and as goes the membership so goes the lodge! Just food for thought.

Bill Edwards PM
Riverdale Lodge #709

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