Contributed by Brother Candidio Gutierrez

                             What Kind of Mason Are You?

An Opinion offered by Brother Bradley Kohanke, PM Davy Crockett Lodge.

– This month I’m going to talk about two unrelated topics, but in the end I will try to tie them
together.  First of all, I want to talk just a little bit about the “initiatic” experience and why so many
cultures, mystery schools, and fraternities (including our own) blindfold their candidates for
initiation.  This topic arose out of a conversation I had with a student while teaching him the EA
work.  For some reason, he could not understand what it meant or why it was important for him to
think about the beauty of our ceremony before seeing it with his eyes.  I tried re-wording the
message conveyed in the memory work several different ways, but no matter how I tried to
explain it he still didn’t understand.  We finally had to move on and I told him I’d try to find a way to
explain it to him later.  I thought about it off and on for weeks until one Sunday during a sermon at
my church, our Reverend found a way of explaining it that I think finally makes it clear.  She was
talking about a different topic of course, and had no idea that her message had impacted me in an
unintended but powerful way.  In trying to explain how to spend more time thinking and acting
with our hearts, she asked several questions...”Why do we close our eyes when we pray?”  “Why
do we close our eyes when we kiss our lover?”  “Why do jazz and blues musicians close their
eyes when they’re lost in the music?”  The answer is because the most powerful ideas, the most
poignant thoughts, the deepest emotions are felt through the heart, not seen through the eyes.  
That is what I think we are saying when we tell our new Brethren that we wanted them to think
about it before seeing it…so that they could feel it in their hearts first.

The second topic I want to talk about is something that I find very disturbing that I see happening
in our beloved Fraternity.  Since my year as Worshipful Master ended, I’ve had an opportunity to
travel around the city and State, and attend numerous meetings of appendant bodies.  I used to
think there were primarily two different types of Masons, namely Ritualists and Philosophers.  In
my opinion, neither of these groups can exist without the other since without the Ritualists, the
Philosophers have nothing to talk about…and without the Philosophers, the Ritualists don’t know
the deeper meanings behind what they’re saying.  Over time however, I have learned that there
are way more than just two types of Masons…there are those who are in it for the Charitable
aspects, those in it for the fellowship and brotherly love, those that are in it because of the rich
historical study value…all of which are noble reasons and the Fraternity aids each of these men
in their own personal quest for self-improvement.  However, I am sadly realizing that there is a
fairly large group out there that I did not previously know existed.  I am going to borrow an idea
from the political arena and name these guys “Masons in Name Only,” or “MINO.”

There exist among us, men who really have no business being in this Fraternity.  I can only guess
at what their reasons were for joining…to make political connections, to build business contacts,
to relish in the power they think they might wield over others, etc?  Whatever their reason for
joining, of this I am certain…they did not join to learn and implement the moral teachings of our
Fraternity, nor did they join to contribute to teaching others those noble tenants.  I have
witnessed some of the most heinous abuses of power, disregard for Grand Lodge, disrespect for
the representatives of Grand Lodge, etc.  It sickens me that this takes place and that there is
seemingly no solution to this problem.  We are forced to put up with it and them, to the detriment
of the reputation of our Fraternity.  I have actually heard some of these guys say to candidates for
initiation that “This is all just BS,” then just go through the motions of initiating them, hand them a
codebook and tell them to learn the work.  More often than not, the new EA quits out of disgust,
or if we’re lucky they move on to another Lodge that offers a true Masonic experience.  So why
do these “MINO’s” even stick around?  Sure, maybe some of the stories we use to convey moral
lessons are only allegory, but that doesn’t make the moral lesson less true.  The greatest
teachers throughout history have used parables and allegory to convey important truths.  The
reason is because if you tell a story and the student realizes the truth of the lesson on his own
without being lectured to, the lesson sticks.

Now, I doubt seriously that anyone reading this article is a “MINO,” because frankly if you were,
you certainly wouldn’t be wasting your time reading my mindless dribble.  But, I want you to do me
a favor.  When you’re done reading this article, I want you to close your eyes and think about
whether you know any of these “MINO’s.”  Then ask yourself if you think they truly belong in our
Fraternity.  The answer you feel in your heart is the truth.  They don’t belong, and they don’t
deserve our respect, support, or even our fear.  They don’t have Masonry in their hearts and
what they deserve is to leave the Fraternity. As a post-script, I decided to look up “MINO” to see
if it was a word in any language.  Surprisingly enough it is the present tense of the Italian word
“minare,” which means - to undermine.  Huh…go figure.  ~From “Light Reflected,