Once we enter the lodge, we leave behind our riches and debts, our power and our poverty, and we meet on the level as equals under the eye of the Great Architect of the Universe. But one thing we cannot leave at the door is our name. Whether or not your name means something somewhere is irrelevant; it is significant to you and our names serve as the foundation on which our masonic growth and reputation are built. To better express what I mean, take this example. John Smith may have many accomplishments outside of the lodge. He could be doing very well at work and others may recognize him as John Smith, VP of regional operations. But that’s of no significance to us within the lodge. We hear and say “John Smith” and we think “oh he’s a very good ritualist”, “such a good orator”, “he’s come a long way in a short period here in lodge”, or “isn’t that the guy that comes for dinner and then leaves before lodge opens?” You see the name that we carry into the lodge can be worn as a badge of honor – hopefully. And if we respect the actions and masonic deeds behind the name, and we respect the man who carries the name, then we should also respect the name.
So why am I bringing this up? You’d think I would have gotten to the point by now. I’m not writing this article to convince you why you should do and learn more, to become a better mason in order to add significance to your name. No. I’m writing to remind everyone about the importance of respecting one another within the lodge and that begins with honoring a man’s name – whether that name is buckling under the weight of Masonic Accomplishment or is new and fresh to the craft – by pronouncing it correctly. Mispronouncing a new name is a common mistake, but it is very rude to deliberately mispronounce a name rather than learning the correct way to say it; especially during our ceremonies and introductions. You see our neighborhood is becoming more diverse and if we hope to stick around and remain relevant, we should become more diverse too. That means you’ll be seeing new faces from new backgrounds and maybe you’ll come across some new names with sounds and letter combinations you’re not too familiar with. It’s worth taking the time to learn your new brother’s name and how to pronounce it. Butchering a name isn’t as rude if you’re purposefully trying to learn how to say it correctly and our new brothers will appreciate the effort that you’re putting in to recognize them for who they are. To learn their names.
Brothers, I invite you to log into your Facebook account and request membership to our closed group for members only. It’s called Washington Lodge 46 Members and it allows us a better way to communicate and share updates outside of the lodge room.