MW Cameron M. Bailey


Since the pandemic began, the one thing we have heard more than anything else is:

“Our Lodge wants to hold its Stated Meetings.”

We've heard that again and again, it is clear that the Masons of Washington want to go back to Stated Meetings.

Recently, our Grand Master has authorized Stated Meetings to take place on virtual platforms. In fact, he has required those meetings to either take place, or the Lodge to seek his permission to not hold them.

Frankly, I am very surprised and deeply saddened by the number of requests for permission to not hold Stated Meetings he has received.

Far too many Lodges in Washington have not taken advantage of the opportunity to handle vital business via virtual platforms. Far too many have not created virtual platform based programs of Masonic education.

The move to virtual platforms has undoubtedly been difficult and traumatic for Freemasonry. Equally true however is the fact that we have seen how Freemasonry can be improved through the embrace of these modern tools.

Providing high quality masonic education has never been easier. Checking in with our Brothers who have moved across the country or around the world has never been easier. Even business discussions have been made easier.

If our Lodges are to thrive into the future, they will do so through our ancient practices, enhanced with the use of technology.

For the brother stuck in the hospital, or nursing home, or Florida, how great would it be to be able to join his Lodge meetings via Zoom, since it is impossible for him to be there in person?

For a Temple Board facing an emergency repair, how much easier to pull everyone together via Zoom, then trying to get them all down to the Lodge some evening?

Every Lodge in this Jurisdiction should be regularly meeting, right now, on Zoom. (Or the virtual platform of your choice.)

Some of these regular meetings should be to take care of business. Some of them should be to provide high quality Masonic education. All of them should include candidates and prospective candidates.

This absolutely should be happening now. It should have been happening long before now. There is no excuse not to be doing it.

Lodges that are not doing it, and are continuing to refuse to do it, will not find a bright future.

Frankly, I've heard a lot of excuses that just don't hold water. “Our members don't have computers.” “Our members live where there isn't internet available.” On and on.


A Chromebook is a great tool for using Zoom. They can be purchased for 150 dollars. The purchaser can take it out of the box, plug it into the wall, open it up, chose a nickname and a password and that is all it takes to be able to join a Zoom meeting.

If a fellow has a cell phone, well, then he has high speed internet perfectly capable of Zooming right through that phone. Heck he can Zoom directly on the phone if desired.

If all else fails, internet hot spots have been created all over Washington State in order to facilitate online education for our students in elementary and high schools. These can be utilized.

Using Zoom on a Chromebook, or any other computer for that matter is little more than clicking on a single link.

Another excuse often heard, not about this, but about Grandview and many other things is: “My Lodge doesn't have a computer.”

Well, all I can say is, buy one.

Again, Chromebooks can be had for 150 dollars. Life Membership checks are being sent to our Lodges right now. Take some of that money, buy a computer for the Lodge Secretary to use, another for the Master or Treasurer. Better yet get 5 so that all the elected officers can be online.

The pandemic has forced the future on all of us, including on our Fraternity. Our Lodges will either chose to utilize the tools of the future and thrive, or they will reject progress and pass into history.

I hope that your Lodge chooses the former.

Surely it is a choice.

The fact that our Legislators have been meeting virtually for a year now, from the largest Western Washington Cities, to the most rural of Eastern Washington farms proves that everyone can do it. No matter where they happen to live.



Cameron M. Bailey Past Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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It’s been about a year since government directives halted in person Masonic events, and the use of Masonic ritual in Washington. What was claimed to be ‘two weeks to flatten the curve’ seems to have turned into a never ending shutdown as our society has tried to eliminate the corona virus.

Shortly after the shutdown began, I was installed as Deputy Grand Master, and in all of the time since I’ve only put on my DGM apron once. On behalf of our Grand Master, I was able to open a Lodge with the primary officers so that the Lodge could approve a significant business transaction that had been in the works for some time.

That’s it. One Masonic meeting in a year. A very quick and truncated meeting at that.

I know that it is even worse for the great majority of our Brothers. Officers have been held over, and Lodges have struggled to do essential business as best they can. Masonic fellowship exists on Zoom, but that is a bare shadow of the brotherhood we can feel when we are meeting in person.

The good and great news is that we will once again be able to meet in person soon.

Covid numbers are improving, the vaccine is getting out there, and widespread immunity will be upon us before we know it.

The other good news is that I think most of us now have a new appreciation of Freemasonry.

I can tell you that the one time I was able to meet in Lodge with a very small number of brothers, I was struck by just how great that experience was. I know that it will be similar for all of our other active members once the restrictions on in person meetings are lifted.

I think that perhaps, we all, myself included, tended to take Freemasonry and our local Lodge for granted. We assumed that the Lodge would always be there for us. We have learned differently through this pandemic. We have learned what it is like to be forced to live without Freemasonry.

I think that following this pandemic, all of us will have a greater appreciation for our Fraternity, and the positive impact our brotherhood has on our lives.

Because of that, despite what naysayers might claim, I think that Freemasonry will not only survive the pandemic well, it will positively thrive following this difficult time.

If we look upon this nation’s expansion to the west, we see that Masonic Lodges popped up in tiny towns and larger cities almost from the very moment that settlers first arrived.

A handful of settlers moved in, soon a Masonic Club was formed, and once it was large enough, a Charter for a Lodge was sought. Often times this Chartering alone required extremely long and difficult journeys. Many of our own earliest Lodges have records explaining the lengths our Brothers of long ago had to go so that they could experience Masonry in their lives.

I think that by having lived through this pandemic, we can understand why those men were so committed to the Fraternity. We can see why they were so eager to create new Lodges in their new homes following their move across the country. We can see why Freemasonry grew so extraordinarily fast during that time.

I think that we will see a similar reflowering of Freemasonry following this pandemic.

We have all missed it, and we will return to it with renewed vigor. That has to be a very good thing.

We must however be certain that we are prepared.

Most of our Lodges have candidates and potential candidates in waiting. We must be prepared to perform those Degrees, and mentor those new men who come into our Lodge. We’d better be practicing our ritual parts now so that we are ready. We had better decide who will mentor these new men, and develop a good plan of Masonic education for them. If we do these things, they will bring a new excitement and a new vigor into our Lodges.

The future of Freemasonry is bright. My belief is that it is brighter now than it has been in decades.

It is my sincere hope that I get to sit in Lodge once again with you very soon. I miss it badly, and I know that you do too.



Cameron M. Bailey Past Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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Last week I heard a Brother ask the question:

Since our Lodges aren't meeting, we aren't able to 'do' Masonry. If that goes for a year, or most of a year, why should we have to pay Lodge dues or Grand Lodge assessments?

The basic argument was that Masons aren't getting Masonry during this time, so shouldn't be asked to pay for Masonry.

The Brother's question made no sense to me. I guess that he and I have had very different experiences with Masonry these past few months.

To my mind, Masonry is everywhere right now!

Our Lodges have older and sicker members for whom the virus is of great danger. Hopefully we have all reached out to these Brothers. Doing so is certainly an expression of Masonry.

Our Lodges have Brothers who have lost their jobs and are facing great financial hardship. Washington Masonic Charities is raising money to help, and getting that help where it is needed. That is certainly a strong expression of Masonry, and something our individual Lodges can be doing right now as well.

Lodges, Districts, and Grand Lodges are holding Masonic education video conference meetings. The most interesting Masonic educational discussion I've taken part in in years was held over Zoom by our own District 8. I've always been interested in feminine Freemasonry, so thanks to the Grand Lodge of California I was able to enjoy a long presentation by a female Grand Master. This week I know that some of the Masons I'm close with are going to be attending an educational event hosted by the Grand Lodge of New York. Not a week goes by, almost not a day goes by, that doesn't have one or more of these events.

Many of us enjoy fun side degrees. The Railroad Degree, the Loggers Degree, Shipbuilders, and Pirates all seem popular in our Jurisdiction. Well, I received a side degree via Zoom too, it was great fun.

Lodges and Grand Lodges are hosting regular toasts to build fellowship and to remember our absent Brothers.

For quite literally hundreds of years very well respected Masonic scholars have pointed out that Masons aren't much into actually reading about Freemasonry. Well, we have libraries of books all available. What a great opportunity this pandemic is for us to actually read about our Fraternity, no matter what our interest in it is.

Brothers are creating Masonic blogs, videos, and podcasts at a breakneck pace.

In my opinion there is more Freemasonry available right now than at any previous time. All one must do is take a look to find it. To believe that there is no Masonry simply because we are not able to hold Stated Meetings is a badly false belief.

#Dues #VideoConference #MasonicEducation #SideDegrees #WashingtonMasonicCharities #Pandemic


Cameron M. Bailey Past Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” -Brother George Washington

When I was a youngster, back in high school, way back in the mid 1980's, we were taught in school, quite a bit actually, about our then enemy, the Soviet Union.

We were taught that one of the most evil things about this evil empire was the fact that it intentionally turned neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, and family member against family member by encouraging everyone to become a snitch. By encouraging everyone to turn in anyone who disagreed with the orthodoxy of the state.

35 years ago, the State of Washington's public schools were teaching students that it was evil to look for excuses to turn ones neighbors, friends, or family members into the government for perceived crimes.

Only 35 years ago.

Today, our government, at all levels, is using the pandemic as an excuse to encourage all citizens to turn in their neighbors who might be violating governmental mandates made in the name of pandemic response. Our government today is encouraging our citizenry into becoming a nation of snitches. Encouraging our citizenry to turn rat and snitch on neighbors, friends, family members. Encouraging our citizenry to do precicely that which was condemned as evil just 35 years ago.

Let us be clear. Freemasonry strives to unite all men into the Fraternal bonds of Brotherhood.

Government snitching programs do directly the oposite. These programs seek to divide men, to make them secretive and furitive, to convince them to spy upon their neighbors.

As is known by all, Freemasonry does not involve itself with partisan politics. It does however stand for free government and liberty. Indeed it must do so, for it has been outlawed and supressed by every totalitarian regeme that has ever come to power. (Castro's Cuba being the sole exception that proves the rule.)

We, as individual Masons, during this scary time, must look for ways to aid and assist our neighbors. To (figuratively at least) extend the hand of Brotherhood and fellowship to all of those around us. We must stand for universal Benevolence and Fraternity.

We must not seek excuses to begin viewing our neighbors, or our Brothers with suspicion.

#Pandemic #Brotherhood #Liberty


Cameron M. Bailey Past Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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The concern that I have heard expressed most often by Lodge leaders since our Lodges have been closed has been about our candidates for the Degrees.

The widely held concern is that we have people awaiting their EA Degree, somewhere in the process of receiving the three Degrees, or in the process of the Six Steps. The worry is that if the Lodge is able to take no action, these men might give up on Masonry.

I've got a suggestion.

While it is true that our Lodges can not now meet to initiate these men, there is nothing in either the governmental guidelines or the Grand Master's edicts that says that a member of the Lodge can't sit down with them one on one and teach them about Masonry. This could certainly be done either in person, or via video conference.

Virtually every Lodge I have ever been inside of has at least half a dozen copies of the book Morals and Dogma stored somewhere. For those who are not familiar with it, Morals and Dogma is a collection of lectures for the Scottish Rite Degrees. Including the first three Degrees.

Given that they are very rarely worked, or even exemplified in the United States, many Masons do not realize that the Scottish Rite has its own versions of our first three, or Craft Degrees. Nevertheless it does, and Morals and Dogma contains extensive writings on each of these Degrees.

So, my suggestion is that a Lodge assign a Brother to work with a candidate, providing each with a copy of this book, and slowly they can work through the information it contains within those three chapters.

If it were me, I'd actually make the Preface (in newer versions this is titled 'Preface to the original edition') into the first lesson. Under the guidance of my Mentor, I read that preface as an EA, and what I learned from it has been one of the most valuable things I've learned in my entire Masonic career.

If you utilize Morals and Dogma with a candidate, please note that he will learn some things, particularly as to the items contained within a Lodge Room that he might otherwise not see until his Degree. However, he will not learn any of the secrets of the Degrees, and quite likely he would have already seen things like our Pillars while cruising around the internet, so there is little or no danger of somehow spoiling his Degrees for him, provided that the Brother leading the discussion uses some care to not divulge those things that should not be talked about.

With full knowledge and approval of my Lodge I read Morals and Dogma as I went through the Degrees, and I found that doing so enhanced, rather than detracted from my experience. I think your candidates will find the same result.

There is a tremendous amount of information contained within the three Degree chapters. Taking just a few pages at a time will lead to very lively and enlightening discussions, plus provide months of material for the Candidate to work with.

It will keep him active and engaged with Masonry, which seems to address the concerns I've heard expressed. Beyond that, the Lodge will greatly benefit because when he does eventually become a Master Mason, the man in question will be extremely well educated about his new Craft.

Benefits of course will accrue to the Brother guiding the candidate as well, for one of the very best ways to learn is to teach.

If for whatever reason your Lodge does not have copies of Morals and Dogma, copies can be purchased directly from the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction in their online store. The newer version might actually prove more satisfactory because unlike the old, it contains extensive footnoting which leads to easier understanding.

It is my hope that this suggestion will prove helpful to those who currently have, and are concerned about candidates during this unique time.

#Pandemic #Candidate #ScottishRite #MoralsAndDogma #Mentoring


Cameron M. Bailey Past Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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Yesterday evening found me out on the back porch of my home. The sun was beautiful, and the end of day beer tasted great.

As has become so common in this time of pandemic, I was alone, yet not alone, for our Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Grand Secretary, and his Assistant GS were with me on Zoom. It was yet another virtual meeting of the Executive Committee of the Grand Lodge of Washington.

Our main topic of discussion?

I imagine that you can guess it...

Yep, can we open our Lodges yet?

Well, regretfully the answer is no. While our State continues to open, cases of people infected is growing again. Growing quite fast in some areas. Our Grand Master will continue to hold our Lodges, and other Masonic bodies closed. For the health of all our members, this decision is wise.

That decision made, we talked a great deal about the need for us to communicate to all of the superb men who make up this Jurisdiction, the Freemasons of Washington.

Since the closures of our Lodges, all of us have participated in Lodge and District virtual meetings, various online Masonic education events, and even shot some videos for posting on social media. I received a new side-degree via zoom, and that was a great deal of fun.

We talked about the need to encourage all of our Lodges to continue their embrace of virtual meetings, but more importantly we talked about our own responsibilities to continue doing all that we can to communicate and interact with our Brothers.

The creation of more videos was talked about, as were offering of online classes similar to those from our annual Lodge Leadership Retreat, and modernization of our Masonic Tribune.

We talked about the fact that each of us have different strengths and weaknesses, and different comfort levels with different forms of communication.

So, I guess that for part of my own solution, this is it.

I enjoy writing, and I enjoy writing about Freemasonry, so this will be a place for me to share my thoughts about Freemasonry in general, and Washington Freemasonry specifically. At least for as long as we are all kept out of our Lodges.

Please do visit this site regularly, follow it, or even sign up for the email updates. I'll do my best to keep it eternally green until we can meet again.

#Lodge #Freemasonry #Masonic #Pandemic


Cameron M. Bailey Past Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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