"Acacia Lodge No.17 Oration" Gavin K. K. Wardrope, W. Grand Orator

Family Values

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters, Right Worshipful Brothers, Worshipful Brothers and Brethren all, Good Evening.

Most Worshipful we have reached the home stretch and even though there is still 1 Oration to go I wish to state my gratitude in allowing me to serve as your Orator for your term of Office.

You have seemed to be getting rather nervous the closer we have got to the end, as if you fear that something may happen that may cause you some consternation. I can assure you that I personally would have nothing to do with something along those lines, although I cannot speak for anyone else in your Grand Lodge line or for the appearance of this red mole animal that has made its way from Moab. You can explain him later.

Anyway, let us proceed with your homecoming Oration. Firstly, I wish to state that I recall the first time I was here with the good Brothers of Acacia #17. It was a double Entered Apprentice Degree and WB Larry Beaslin was Master and the two Entered Apprentices that night were the sons of WB Beaslin and yourself, a moving experience for all if I recall.

It is now the time of year when we all should be gathering in the harvest from the seeds that were planted in the spring. Most Worshipful I don"t know what seeds you planted but there has been an abundance of whatever it was that was sown!

However, as in the case of all harvests it cannot all be successful, however, it should be with pride that at your Installation you planted the seeds of family or Ohana and there can be no doubt that through your encouragement, or gentle persuasion, that has been one seed that is plentiful in our State. It has been tremendous to see the participation of your Grand Lodge Officers at the Installation of all the Bethel"s and de Molay Chapters and other Masonic functions.

A couple of weeks ago our Grand Persuivant posted on Facebook the following question, "Is anyone excited for today?" As usual with our Grand "Percy" I thought what the devil is he going on about? It turned out that the excitement was all over the release of IOS 7, which I am sure everyone is aware is an update to the Apple operating systems. All day long on Facebook all that was posted was this is fantastic that is wonderful, you get the idea, he was like the boy in the candy store.

However, it got me thinking as to how we could do the same for Freemasonry here in Utah, achieve that same level of excitement just by tweaking a couple of things, packaging it up and sending it out. It can"t surely be that difficult if we get all excited over the update to a computer system.

What is wrong with the package we have just now? As far as I am concerned there is nothing wrong with our package it is the way the package is being presented that is the problem We are letting people receive the "Lite" package instead of the full system. We have to get away from being scared to telling Members and potential Candidates the truth; we must not let our traditions be gradually diminished because of our need for new Members.

I heard it said a few weeks ago that a certain Master and a Past Master felt that their duty was not to make Masons but to raise as many Masons as they possibly could. I wonder how many Masters feel that the goal of their Office is to raise as many Masons as they can as if it is a competition. How many of our newest Entered Apprentices feel unwanted as soon as they receive their Degree? We do not take the time and effort to teach them our Masonic Values.

In our Entered Apprentice Degree we are taught that the Rough Ashlar "is a stone as taken from the quarry in its rude and natural state" and that the Perfect Ashlar "is a stone made ready by the hands of the workman, to be adjusted by the working tools of the Fellow Craft." The Rough Ashlar was not a stone that was merely picked up somewhere. It was a stone that had been selected. Some work was done upon it. It was apparently a good stone. It was a stone that showed good prospects of being capable of being made into a Perfect Ashlar. If it had not been a good stone, it would never have been cut out from the quarry.

So it is with our prospective member. He cannot be merely picked up somewhere. He must be selected. Before he is ready to be initiated some work must be done upon him. He must stand certain basic tests. He must be apparently of good material. He must be a man who shows good prospects of being capable of being made into a good Mason. If he had not been a good man, he should never have been proposed for membership.

In changing a Rough Ashlar into a Perfect Ashlar, the workman takes away and never adds to. He chips and chips. He cuts away the rough edges. He removes the visible flaws, he does not create by chemical means or otherwise, a new material. He takes that which is already there and develops it into the Perfect Ashlar. Let us be honest with one another this is very rarely done, we cheat them, they get the package that they, the Candidate wants to hear and receive.

The last 2 potential Candidates that I have been involved with failed to even show for an arranged appointment and both were not happy that I did not continue to be accommodating to them; one of them even had the cheek to complain to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales in Australia regarding my attitude. By the way this potential Candidate lives in West Valley, go figure.

What happened to those ideals that have stood us in great stead for 300 years that Freemasonry is a fraternity based on a belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place, while being devoted to his family, faith, country and fraternity.

I would suggest that maybe we are approaching the problem the wrong way. Instead of making ourselves so approachable perhaps we should be making ourselves more secretive and desirable for admission.

"True value has no price; rather it"s priceless and quite personal. We"ve all heard that Freemasonry is a brotherhood, a fraternity, and what it teaches is a beautiful system of morals veiled in allegory, illustrated by symbols. Our lessons include topics such as brotherly love, relief and truth, we teach the importance of charity. Tonight, I submit that Masonry is much, much more. The true value in fact cannot be universally expressed; rather it can only be expressed as it relates to the individual."

Most Worshipful Grand Master, we know how much this Fraternity has meant to you and your family and I am sure you recognized that quote which was from one of your own Orations.

We have to continually remind everyone that our values are worth holding onto and remember that as well as "walking the walk we must talk the talk."

I leave you with these final thoughts.

There is nothing wrong with disagreement but as Masons we must foremost practice a lifestyle based on honor, integrity and philanthropic values, we believe there is more to life than pleasure and money. We must, at all times, respect other people"s opinions and strive to grow and develop as Human Beings. We can make the world a better place.

Most Worshipful Grand Master you can relax now I once again thank you for allowing me to say these few words, but remember I still have 1 to go and of course, as always, enjoy the rest of your visitation.

Fraternally, Gavin KK Wardrope PM Grand Orator October 3, 2013