The Masonic Centennial Cornerstone Ceremony...(And By The Way, Who Are Those Freemasons?)

Masonic cornerstone is dedicated. (Photo courtesy of Alexander Belisle)

On May 30th, a public centennial cornerstone ceremony transpired at Lakewood Masonic Temple, celebrating one hundred years of its existence. The Grand Lodge of Ohio visited the Temple, and provided a very moving program. As one of the participants in that celebration, I thought that I might give a shout-out to some people who came out that day to offer their help or support:

Here's a special thanks to Lakewood's Mayor Michael Summers for coming and representing the City of Lakewood. Another thanks goes out to our new Lakewoodite ace photographer Alex Belisle, for his professional documentary online Observer photo blog of the event. Thanks also, to the Gospel Group of the Lakewood United Methodist Church for performing a song that Dad (Robert Rice) and I wrote for this occasion: "A Temple Stands In Lakewood". That song was one of the last musical collaborations that Dad and I completed before his passing.

The Lakewood Masonic Temple is indeed a magnificent edifice, and has been a wonderful part of Lakewood's history since 1915. Masons have long had a tradition of placing cornerstones in Masonic and public buildings, including the United States Capitol.

There have been many questions, and indeed some fairly outrageous claims regarding Freemasonry on the web, so here's a bit of background about the organization from my personal point of view: American Freemasonry is simply a religious-respecting non-sectarian fraternity based on respect for God and brotherhood. There are also Masonic-affiliated women's groups like the Eastern Star. Men of all faiths and political persuasions meet within the walls of a Masonic Temple as Masons, leaving their particular political and religious opinions temporarily at the door of the Lodge; centering instead on activities within the Lodge that all moral people could agree with.

In spite of what you might read on the internet, Masonry is not a conspiracy-laden dark thing at all, nor is it a secret society, nor is it a religion. It is instead, essentially a private fraternity that has a few secrets. Indeed, it was perhaps the first private organization that was not officially affiliated with powers-that-be. Both wealthy and poor could meet on level ground and work on whatever unites humankind, rather than what divides us all. Because Masons existed outside of the control of kings and other powers, they were therefore the subject of much suspicion and many lies and misunderstandings that continue on the internet today.

I can only offer this observation for you from a personal perspective: Many of you know me well, or perhaps you knew my Dad. We have been involved with Masonry for many years. Many of you may also have known a Freemason personally, or have had an ancestor who was one. Look at the Freemasons whom you do know, and you will then have a better idea about the kind of organization that they belong to. To become a Mason, you must ask them to join.

Many of your fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers once belonged to this group. Lakewood Freemasons continue to serve this community and the world with quiet distinction.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 5:52 PM, 06.09.2015