Why Men Love Freemasonry
Originally Published in Carl H. Claudy's Old Tiler Talks - 1925
The New Brother sat near the Old Tiler in the
anteroom, crossed his legs and took out his cigar
"Have a smoke and unpuzzle me."
The Old Tiler accepted the proffered cigar with a
"I am often puzzled, too," he sympathized. "Tell me."
"I am crazy about Masonry. I love it. So do a lot of
other men. And I don't know why. I can't find anyone
who will tell me why. Old Tiler, why do men love
The Old Tiler got up and crossed the room to a book
case, extracted a volume and returned.
"I read that question in this little book, 'The Magic of
Freemasonry,' by Arthur E. Powell. Let me read to
you--" The Old Tiler fluttered the pages. Finding his
place he sat and began:
"'Why do men love Masonry? What lure leads them to
it? What spell holds them through the long years?
What strand is it that tugs at our hearts, taut when so
many threads are broken by the rough ways of the
world? And what is it in the wild that calls to the little
wild things? What sacred secret things do the
mountains whisper to the hillman, so silently yet so
surely that they can be heard above the din and
clatter of the world? What mystery does the sea tell
the sailor; the desert to the Arab; the arctic ice to the
explorer; the stars to the astronomer? When we have
answered these questions mayhap we may divine the
magic of Masonry. Who knows what it is, or how or
why, unless it be the long cabletow of God, running
from heart to heart...'"
The Old Tiler closed the book and waited.
"The cabletow of God," repeated the New Mason.
"That's a beautiful phrase."
"It's more than a phrase, I think," the Old Tiler
answered. "As I see it, the heart of Freemasonry by
which all manner of men are attracted and held, is just
that- the longing for communion with the Most High."
"Oh, you must be mistaken. Men who want God go to
"Do you go to church?"
"Er, oh, well, sometimes."
"Yet you never miss coming to lodge?"
"No, I don't, but--"
"Never mind the 'but.'" The Old Tiler smiled. "A lot of
men come to the lodge who do not find heart's ease in
the church. The lodge is not a substitute for church.
Masonry is not a religion, although it has religion. If
the church fails, occasionally, it is because all human
institutions must fail at times. No minister or church
can satisfy all men. Some men find communion with
the Most High in Masonry a greater satisfaction than
in a church. I think that is the real reason some men
love Freemasonry so much."
"You give me credit with being a lot more religious
than I do," retorted the New Mason.
"Men are incurably religious," asserted the Old Tiler.
"Many don't know it and refuse to call it by that name,
like you, for instance! In a church men are told various
things about God. In a lodge they are allowed to tell
themselves what they will. In a church you are taught
a creed, a dogma. In a lodge there is neither. In a
church you are quiet and respectful and whisper if you
speak at all. It is kept high, unspotted from the world.
A lodge is more intimate, personal. You can be jolly in
a lodge, except during a degree. Here are just other
men, brothers. They think as we do; they believe in
the one God, as we do. They repeat the same words,
think the same Masonic thoughts, do the same
Masonic acts, as we do. We feel at home with them in
"Through years of simple, profound degrees, we
weave the Mystic Tie. We cannot say of what it is
composed. We cannot put a name to it. St. Augustine,
asked of God, answered, 'I know until you ask me-
when you ask me, I do not know.' In your heart you
know, and I know, what the Mystic tie is- what
Freemasonry is. But you cannot say it, nor can I. It is
too deep for words. It is the reason we use symbols,
for words cannot express it.
"Deep in us is something which understands what our
brains cannot think; something which knows what our
minds cannot comprehend. Masonry speaks to that
something in its own language. If we must put it into
words, God is the only syllable which seems to fit. But
when we say God we mean no special deity, but all
that is beautiful in life, in friendship, in charity, in
"So, my brother, there is no reason for you to be
puzzled; no man can answer your puzzle.
Freemasonry is loved by men because it strikes deep
into the human heart, and supplies the answer to the
question, the food for the hunger, which the tongue
"Unless it is the tongue of a wise, wise Old Tiler,"
finished the New Brother thoughtfully. "And thank you,
I am not puzzled now."