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By WM Travis Bryan, PM


Most of you are painfully aware of my unique obsession with the minutiae of History. I never am certain whether I am stretching your intellect or simply wearing your patience. I proceed none the less.


My focus on the ancient is born from the desire for context. How do we, us here in this room right now, fit into this larger story of humanity? Freemasonry, for me, has served as an optic to view and filter the expanse of information looking for an answer to that timeless question. Through this Masonic lens I see our history develop. While my Masonic work further hones and improves this lens I wanted to share something with you this evening. While this is a glimpse into a larger work it seemed ripe enough for sharing in this forum.


What we do is timeless.

What we do is timeless.

So, this statement presumes we all know what we do. A simple and difficult question in and of its self. For this discussion it is enough to say that we preserve for future civilizations the ideals of our tenants and the practicing of them. We are the embodiment of a near perfect structure for the values that form the basis of any enduring cooperation of men. This may be an over simplification but after much thought it is what I have distilled. To answer, “what do we do?” should always be in the mind of a Master Mason.


What we do is not complex, but it is hard. We continually buck the trends in society by being non-nationalistic, not favoring one holy book above another, by excising class, income, and race as a precursor to membership. These things are counter to most human nature, and human history. However, we Brothers, through the centuries have stayed true to those basic ideals that have been codified and serve as the landmarks from which we practice our craft. Perfection being our goal we have faltered numerous times as individuals and as an organization. However, our own internal values and resolve have righted the course and they continue to guide us.


All of us should feel tremendous pride in regard to our Masonic history. Freemasons have utilized the lessons learned in Lodge to build the basis of the society we now enjoy. Again, we should all feel great pride but we should also feel the burden of our future. For it is up to us to lead the Craft forward to carry the tenants of Brotherly Love, Relief, Truth, Virtue, and Morality into the future by exemplifying their meaning. We have the duty and honor to preserve in this room the lessons of countless generations of men. Preserve what it takes to be more than individuals and to work towards a greater goal than one's own needs.


“On a long enough timeline, everyone’s survivability rate drops to zero” That is a quote from a movie but applies to nations as well. The tide of civilization has always ebbed and flowed. Around 1150 BCE the major civilizations of the Mediterranean including the Hittites, the Mycenaean kingdoms, and the Egyptian Empire in Syria and Canaan all suddenly collapsed. This is known as the Late Bronze age collapse. No definitive explanation can be given as to why, only theories. On their remains was built the great Roman Empire. It fell in 476 CE harkening in the dark ages. The Renaissance brought ancient knowledge forward and we built again. This cycle of creation and destruction is an unavoidable fact and should not be viewed with remorse or sadness. For it has always been that man rebuilds. It is for that reason we do our work. If this great nation dissolved tomorrow our obligations would not change, nor would our customs. All of us would still be Brothers, we would still be Freemasons.


It is for our own future Brothers, and for all Humanity that we do what we do. Passing on those ideals so that they are not lost to the ravages of time or the vicissitudes of the seasons. When the series of events that we cannot yet see occur, it will be us, serving as a crucial link for man. Bringing forward our wisdom which is immortalized in our ritual and practiced in our customs.


We are the guardians of the civility that makes civilization possible. We hold with in our order the process and blueprints that will guide successive generations. We have served this role before and it is imperative that Brothers understand this responsibility. We are not trying to take over the world, we are simply making sure it can be rebuilt.


Some may think it hyperbole to say that the future success of humanity depends on what we do in this room. I do not think it is, nor do I believe I am overstating our importance.  So approach what we do with deliberate thought and mindful action. We must succeed. We must endure.

Remarks delivered at the October 9th, 2017 stated meeting in Redmond Oregon