As the world reels from the coronavirus pandemic, and we brace ourselves for the worst part of the storm, it is truly helpful to reflect on the values and tenets of our fraternity – our spiritual anchor in these troublesome times.   Of our core beliefs: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, the first two have obvious applications in this crisis, but I find myself pondering the one that seems least obvious: Truth.

The pursuit of Truth is at the root of… well… everything.  How could we possibly address a problem like the coronavirus without first gathering all the facts: How does the virus spread?  What are the symptoms?  How long before symptoms show up?  What types of human social behaviors accelerate the spread? etc.

At the end of the day, discovering the Truth, and even more difficult, convincing the wider population of the facts, have been the most challenging aspects of the battle our leaders and health experts are waging.  Sometimes our individual pursuit of the Truth leads us to one of the more painful challenges a man can face: admitting when he was wrong.

A few weeks back, which now seems a lifetime ago, the officers and trustees of the Valley of Dayton were discussing what to do about the health crisis.  We were even debating whether to cancel the Spring Reunion, which seemed like an extremely excessive step to me at the time.  I cringe to admit it now, but I was a vocal advocate for carrying on.  Just before we reached a final conclusion (which, for the record, I appeared to on the losing side of), the decision was made for us with the Governor’s ban on gatherings and the Grand Master’s decision to close the Masonic Center.

Since then, obviously, I personally have learned more of the Truth, and I feel a twinge of guilt and shame over my previous position.   One of the more remarkable aspects of this experience, however, has been the patience shown me by my brethren.  I haven’t heard a single “I told you so” or a harsh word of any kind.  Sometimes, it seems, the best expression of Brotherly Love is simply having faith that your brother has good intentions and being a little patient with him as he discovers the Truth.

Warmest regards, my Brethren.  Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and if you need anything, we’re here.

Mark Jeffers

High Priest

Miami Council, Princes of Jerusalem