A Brother made a comment on a social media platform that is, in my opinion, quite valid. He observed that explanations of old Masonic artefacts are often just fantasy. No one can claim “this gavel was used when building the Temple at Jerusalem”. I agree, and can add that doing any good Masonic research is hard work. It demands time, creative problem-solving skills, and then communication skills to be able to share the result.
There are two goals with any good Masonic research. One is to share knowledge, to inform, and to educate other Masons. This is visible when the end product of research is delivered. Whether in a tyled Lodge meeting, or published somewhere, good research adds to the body of knowledge of all men, and more particularly to the knowledge of Masons.
The second goal is to make a change in yourself. This is achieved by ongoing examination of the process and products of research. In my own case, it is easy to say that I have traveled down many false paths, and collected lots of irrelevant information, as I’ve looked at artefacts, and ideas. I think my skills have improved, and my confidence grows that I am supporting the fundamental principle of truth.
So when I share my research I also share my sources of information.
My article on a Highland Lodge Seal includes mention of my contacts with the current Regiment, and with the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
My biography of James Agar includes over a dozen of the most relevant primary sources of information so others can confirm my research.
My small book regarding the motto Audi, Vide, Tace has 20 references in the footnotes and 3 pages of images.
My book The Master’s Emblem Explained for Masons has 7 pages listing my sources.
But back to the observation of the Brother. I am glad that he made the comment because it means he is looking for Masonic education. He is searching for truth, for knowledge, and for understanding. I commend him for doing so. I hope that my efforts in Masonic education assist him in his researches.