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Personality Difficulties with My Fellow Masons

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    Posted: March/31/2014 at 4:45pm
So my topic for discussion relates to the unhappier side of the Craft:  That of managing disappointment within a Lodge and within the Craft generally.

When I petitioned my Lodge several years ago, I was very eager and excited to begin my Masonic journey.  I had heard much about the wonderful fraternity and sincerity of Masons, so I was really looking forward to making friends with a group of like-minded men.

After awhile though, I started to realize that many Masons share very little in common, in reality, apart from a collective interest in Masonry.

Most of the men in my Lodge were not men that I would otherwise ever bother to socialize with.  It's not that they were good or bad, smart or uneducated, nor that I was being supercilious or arrogant.

I am a very busy and demanding person who runs a law firm and has a busy family life, and generally interacts with a different type of personality, both socially and professionally.

These Masons I have met are not go-getters in life.  Mostly these were men who had nothing better to do than go to Lodge meetings and bicker over nonsensical trivial details that would affect no one, ever. There was a lot of back-slapping and self-congratulation, but little intellectual challenge or discipline.

Over time, I rose in Masonry to the 32nd Degree in the Scottish Rite, and while I did find a "higher caliber" of Mason participating in that Rite, I wasn't exactly blown away by the quality of intellect or character I have come across generally.

Frankly, I've interacted with some brilliant doctors, lawyers, professors and bankers in my professional life, men who I think would make far better Masons than the men in my Lodge, yet these busy professionals profess little or no interest in joining a Lodge.  

Further, I cannot vouch for the value of the Lodge to these men, to try to garner their interest in joining, because I know that they would be as bored and uninterested in the fraternizing as I am after awhile.

Have others had this type of disappointing experience over time, as well?


Edited by Limelight - March/31/2014 at 4:47pm
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In short.... yup
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2014 at 7:42pm
You say you have seen a higher caliber of Mason in Scottish Rite, but not that higher, if I read your post accurately. Have you visited other Blue Lodges? Each Blue Lodge has a unique character or culture. The culture of my original Blue Lodge changed to the point where I was no longer interested in associating with it. The members were not for the most part bad people, they just had different outlooks, motivations and desires in what they wanted to get out of Masonry; the chemistry wasn't there for me.  I found another lodge about five years ago, affiliated with it and I am very happy there. Perhaps you should look around to see if there is a lodge more compatible with your interests.

It is interesting you notice that the intellectual piece seems to be missing. A hundred years ago, the go-getters and intellectuals you describe were very much attracted to Freemasonry. These days you don't see that often. The go-getters, if I am interpreting what you consider a "go-getter" right, are too busy building their careers due to requirements they put on themselves or that their employers put on them and they don't have time for Masonry. The other part is, unfortunately, in my opinion, that Masonry in many areas has watered down the intellectual aspects, and your comments reflect that. Is there a research lodge in your area? You might find some of what you are looking for there.

You also have to ask yourself, what are you looking for in Masonry? I'm not sure from your post what it is you are seeking. You have to look at Masonry's basic purpose of making good men better i.e. character building, along with good fellowship among other things. It is not a net-working organization or an exclusive group for high intellectuals, although there is a place for that.

My advice is visit other lodges and see if there are any that are a better fit for you. It is not uncommon for members to do that.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Limelight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2014 at 8:56pm
Droche:  Thank you for your reply.  Excellent comments.

First, I have not yet considered affiliating with another Blue Lodge, but perhaps that is a path I should consider treading.

Second, what I want out of Masonry are enlightenment and fraternity.  What I do not want to endure are petty squabbles over nonsense, arguing over paying bills, and the lack of intellectual exchange of ideas. 

Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2014 at 11:22am
Limelight

I agree with Droche.    You should look around for a Lodge more to your liking.   The membership  and the caliber of a Lodge is not something a Candidate would know when petitioning, but these situation will come to light within a short time.   ... I have heard (here on the this forum) of a Lodge that was primarily made up of judges and lawyers.  Because of the single blackball vote on a new Candidate, it is highly likely for a Lodge to become tight 'good-old-boys' club or be so diverse that members do not socialize outside of the Lodge.

As far as bickering over bills in the Lodge, this is the wrong way for Lodge maintenance, expenses, and bills to be handled.  But, this is what most Lodges do.    ... These should be handled by applicable committee with a report to the Lodge the expense is reasonable, within Lodge budget, and should be paid.  Then in Lodge the WM should only handle to motion to pay the bill.    .... I believe if Lodge start doing this, then many 'drop-out' or 'no-show' Masons will start coming back to the Lodge meetings.   A Lodge meeting consisting of 'business only' and no Masonic education or entertainment is BORING.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stormriderjd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2014 at 12:29pm

Limelight,

 

You may find that you have to be willing to be a catalyst to change. The lodge I attend is an old farmer's lodge that my father joined in the 70's. It is not a place where you will find a lot of intellectuals, but they are all good men.  The lodge since my joining has become heavily prior service men that are very much of like mind.  I and several others have made it our mission to make the lodge more interesting, more useful.  Masonic education now teaches history, goes into the ritual in detail, teaches presentation skills.  We also do more in the area and are more visible in the community. We have been the force of change to make our lodge more than it was.

 

A suggestion: Find a lodge with young men eager to learn and teach them.  It sounds like you have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer that some will jump at the chance to have among them.

 

Don’t ever stop looking for further light, but also never forget to stop long enough to teach those following after you.

 

Good luck.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2014 at 5:47pm
Originally posted by Limelight Limelight wrote:

... What I do not want to endure are petty squabbles over nonsense, arguing over paying bills, and the lack of intellectual exchange of ideas. 

Thank you.

As edwmax also noted, this is all too common in many lodges and I would suspect is a major, if not the major factor that drives people away. We should all take due notice thereof and govern ourselves accordingly.


Edited by droche - April/01/2014 at 5:48pm
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While not all lodges are intellectual havens as you had hoped to find, there are a lot of us out here that function quite well, have good fellowship, and occasionally squabble over paying some bills while still doing a service for our local communities. Perhaps an organization like MENSA may be more to your liking for intellectual stimulus. But be forwarned, I'm sure they have occasional squabbles too. It is the nature of the beast when you mix people of diffrent backgrounds trying to achieve a common goal. Im sorry your lodge has failed to meet your high browed expectations.Shocked Do your Brothers know how you feel about them?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 9:13am
Originally posted by ga.mason ga.mason wrote:

While not all lodges are intellectual havens as you had hoped to find, there are a lot of us out here that function quite well, have good fellowship, and occasionally squabble over paying some bills while still doing a service for our local communities. Perhaps an organization like MENSA may be more to your liking for intellectual stimulus. But be forwarned, I'm sure they have occasional squabbles too. It is the nature of the beast when you mix people of diffrent backgrounds trying to achieve a common goal. Im sorry your lodge has failed to meet your high browed expectations.Shocked Do your Brothers know how you feel about them?
I don't read the OP as being high browed. I read it as a Brother who may have thought Freemasonry was more romantic than it really is.

The business end of meetings is boring as hell sometimes. The constant fund raising is saturating to say the least. I did not join a masonic lodge to do fund raisers or listen to a Brother preach to the choir about how we need to meet our financial obligations.

Some people think there should be this AHA! moment when the hoodwink comes off. Unfortunately the only light in masonry you are given is the arts, parts and points of Freemasonry. The working tools and their usage are up to you when you leave the lodge.

I know Brothers who are in the line. They are good men. They know their parts for the opening, closing and degree work. However it stops there for them. They prefer to fellowship with each other versus debating where we originated from or the esoteric meanings of masonry.

You go to lodge to do the necessary work so that you may mingle with the world again and be an extraordinary man in ordinary circumstances.


Edited by BroScubaSteve - April/02/2014 at 9:16am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ldarnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2014 at 4:05pm
Originally posted by ga.mason ga.mason wrote:

While not all lodges are intellectual havens as you had hoped to find, there are a lot of us out here that function quite well, have good fellowship, and occasionally squabble over paying some bills while still doing a service for our local communities. Perhaps an organization like MENSA may be more to your liking for intellectual stimulus. But be forwarned, I'm sure they have occasional squabbles too. It is the nature of the beast when you mix people of diffrent backgrounds trying to achieve a common goal. Im sorry your lodge has failed to meet your high browed expectations.Shocked Do your Brothers know how you feel about them?

I didn't feel Limelight was being highbrowed. Freemasonry does have a strong intellectual base historically, and has for centuries tried to preserve and pass on the wisdom of the ancients. It does appear however that the intellectual aspect of Freemasonry has been greatly diminished in many American lodges, especially in the past 50 years or so.  The lodges in our district spend practically no time on education or history of any kind.  That is not necessarily bad, in and of itself, just more of a statement of fact. 

Personally, I very much enjoy the historical and educational aspects of Freemasonry, and wish we had more of it in Lodge.  Since we don't I decided to seek it out myself by joining our Lodge of Research, reading everything i can get my hands on, and seeing if I could find like-minded individual brothers to satisfy that part of my personality. Not surprisingly, I did find them in my lodge, and sometimes in the most unexpected people. I just had to look for them.  

It is interesting to me that while there is very little in the way of intellectual pursuits going on in the lodges around me, that every time there is an event with a speaker focusing on masonic history or even esoteric Masonic topics, they sell out very quickly.  The interest is there and while open intellectualism may not dominate your lodge meetings, I guarantee you that there are likely other brothers who would enjoy the same things you do. 

My lodge brothers, regardless of their interests both in and out of Freemasonry, are amazing men who are striving to become better men.  I am honored and proud to know each and every one of them, even the ones with whom I have very little in common.  Not surprisingly, those are the brothers I tend to learn the most from!

There are many aspects of Freemasonry, and all of them are important to some brother. 


Edited by ldarnell - April/02/2014 at 4:24pm
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Thank you for all the comments.  Affiliating with a different Lodge is definitely the way I am going to go.

The more I reflect on it, the more I think my critiques boil down to two issues:

1.   The regular business of paying bills, etc. should rarely, if ever, take up significant Lodge time.  A committee should clearly be empowered to handle such routine matters, and the Lodge should only be voting on summary reports, not on each individual bill.  The reason for such inefficient use of time relates to my second point:

2. The "quality" of the men who are becoming Masons today has clearly decreased.  At the risk of sounding highbrowed or arrogant, here is the harsh reality:  We have lowered our standards in order to attract fresh blood.  There's no other way to say it and it should not be sugarcoated.  The men who are attracted to the Craft now are not the quality of the Masons of yesteryear who were otherwise accomplished men outside the Lodge.  There are often men joining today who are of fairly low caliber in this regard.  Therefore, these men may never have actually had much responsibility outside the Lodge.  Why would we expect them to be able to manage Lodge affairs any better??

These are not doctors, generals, judges and professionals, as in the past.  In many cases, these are out of work plumbers looking to "network" to find new customers.  That is not what Masonry should be about, in my opinion.
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Just do your new lodge a favor when you transfer. Tell them up front how "enlightened" and intellegent you are and they are probably not the same calibre of a man as you are because they dig ditches for a living versus your chosen proffesion. Also try to remeber your obligation. You are NO better than the ditch digger when you sit in lodge as brethren. Lets not sugar coat it, if you were in my lodge and I had the knowlege of how you were bellittling the brothers behind there back I would have you brought up on charges for Un masonic conduct! I think you should reconsider even being a Mason, because your just not the calibre of man I want to call Brother!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote clamman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 11:32am
Out of work plumbers?  Brother you are out of order.  I am one of those lowly blue collar workers who makes less than 30K a year.  After I was raised I went straight to the chairs and traveled to the East.  I had a fantastic year in a very successful Lodge.  You have slapped me in my face.  I'm thinking that the Craft may not be for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Limelight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 11:36am
ga.mason:  Interesting viewpoint.  So, as a busy professional with a family and other interests, I should want to sit around and watch unemployed plumbers figure out how to balance the Lodge's checkbook, on my time and dime?  That is what the great tradition of Freemasonry is about?  That is why great men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin joined?  Doubtful.

The reason that accomplished neurosurgeons, judges and successful businessmen are not joining the Craft in droves, but unemployed plumbers are, is that we are not expecting more of men and are pretending that a goal of equality permits nonsense to prevail.


Edited by Limelight - April/03/2014 at 11:37am
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Clamman:  a lowly blue collar worker who makes less than 30k a year is my brother as much as a neurosurgeon.

However, if either the "blue collar worker" or neurosurgeon are unable to manage Lodge affairs efficiently and effectively, they should not be in the Chairs, wasting the Brothers' valuable time!
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I must admit that I am mystified as to what we have done that Clanman perceives our "standards" are now lower than what they were in the past. We are admonished that when we come into the lodge room that we are to act upon the level by the square and to keep our desires within due bounds.  I most certainly do not feel that any of my brethren are beneath me nor do I feel that I am superior to any of them.  They are my brethren and have traveled the same road that I did and as others have traveled in the past.   
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log cabin bill:  I think you meant that I had said that our standards are lower now than in the past, not clanman.

I do think we have lowered our standards and stand by that allegation.  I suggest the following bases for my observation:

First, the number of petitioners to Lodges has objectively dropped.  Here is some data to back that up:

In 1924, there were 3 million active, dues-paying Freemasons in the U.S.
In 1964, there were 4 million.
This number remained fairly consistent until 1980.  By 2000, the number had dropped to 1.8 million members, and by 2012, there were only 1.3 million.  This is true despite the fact that the U.S. population went from 100M in 1924 to 300 million in 2012.

Therefore, the pool from which Lodges are selecting men is clearly much more shallow than it was in the past.

Second, I have rarely seen a petition rejected by a Lodge on ballot.  The pre-ballot investigation has become much more perfunctory than it was in the past.  For example, there used to be a requirement that a man's family fully participate in the investigation, and that the investigating committee met with the man at his home or place of work.  We have seen this practice relaxed generously, to the point where it has become a virtual "drool" test (in other words, if the petitioner doesn't drool, he will be probably be permitted to join a Lodge).

Third, the memorization and ritual requirements have become much looser and more casual.  As this is not a tiled forum, I cannot get into those details here.

Suffice to say, there is no question that Freemasonry in the U.S. went from being a once powerful, more elite institution to one that has become more of a generic fraternal organization, more like the Elks Lodges or Kiwanis clubs.

Here is a great post about this issue:  http://www.masonicdictionary.com/boredom.html


Edited by Limelight - April/03/2014 at 1:41pm
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While your statistics are intresting they are only the tip of the iceberg. When freemasonry was at its zenith, it was the best thing going. Men didnt have to work 70 hour weeks to make a living, they didnt sit around and watch tv or babysit the kids while the wife worked to make ends meet, or a host of other things. Lodge membership is declining because there are more thing to choose from to occupy our time than coming to lodge. Just as boring as casual business may be, consatnt lectures about how it used to be becomes daunting also. Again I dont really disagree that a lot of standards need improvemnet, but I do think your attitude about it just as damaging as letting in all the blue collar workers at the end of the day. If you will note the dates of the decline in your post you will see that it correlates to the advent of the internet. Many people base thier actions on what theyve read on the internet, and as we all know there is a lot of outright lies about freemasonry out there. You think that might have something to do with it as well. Oh well. I will get off my soapbox now and get back to work!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 2:38pm
I agree that we have lowered our standards, but that does not mean that membership should be restricted by the type of job one has, or even if one does not have a job. One must always remember that it is the internal qualities that make a good Mason, not the external. A man I always looked up to and many of the now "old-timers" of my current lodge looked up to was an old farmer. He came to meetings in overalls with a blazer thrown over them in order to meet the dress code. He chewed Granger pipe tobacco at meetings but very few Masons could hold a candle to him when it came to Masonic qualities. On the other hand, I have seen many professional types come in who are after self-serving and self-aggrandizing benefits and we could well do without those types.

A story I heard, don't know how true it was, but it illustrates the point, is that as President of the United States, Harry Truman attended lodge in D.C. and bowed to the Master. The Master he bowed to was the White House gardener. Masonry can be a great leveler if practiced the right way, and that is what it is supposed to be. I think it would be a dangerous path to go down if we restrict our membership based on outward appearances. Come to think of it, we have done just that in many instances.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 2:51pm
Originally posted by Limelight Limelight wrote:

log cabin bill:  I think you meant that I had said that our standards are lower now than in the past, not clanman.

I do think we have lowered our standards and stand by that allegation.  I suggest the following bases for my observation:

First, the number of petitioners to Lodges has objectively dropped.  Here is some data to back that up:

In 1924, there were 3 million active, dues-paying Freemasons in the U.S.
In 1964, there were 4 million.
This number remained fairly consistent until 1980.  By 2000, the number had dropped to 1.8 million members, and by 2012, there were only 1.3 million.  This is true despite the fact that the U.S. population went from 100M in 1924 to 300 million in 2012.

Therefore, the pool from which Lodges are selecting men is clearly much more shallow than it was in the past.

Second, I have rarely seen a petition rejected by a Lodge on ballot.  The pre-ballot investigation has become much more perfunctory than it was in the past.  For example, there used to be a requirement that a man's family fully participate in the investigation, and that the investigating committee met with the man at his home or place of work.  We have seen this practice relaxed generously, to the point where it has become a virtual "drool" test (in other words, if the petitioner doesn't drool, he will be probably be permitted to join a Lodge).

Third, the memorization and ritual requirements have become much looser and more casual.  As this is not a tiled forum, I cannot get into those details here.

Suffice to say, there is no question that Freemasonry in the U.S. went from being a once powerful, more elite institution to one that has become more of a generic fraternal organization, more like the Elks Lodges or Kiwanis clubs.

Here is a great post about this issue:  http://www.masonicdictionary.com/boredom.html


Edited: I realize my jurisdiction is not the whole of the USA. I'm not trying to compare. Just trying to say that masonry may be stabilizing in our area. Now is the time to start getting back to our roots.

 Another glaring issue is each generation falls further away from religion.

Also, to counter this post, I have heard rumors that we may be going back to the longer exam here in my jurisdiction. We require exams for all three degrees but we may be going back to the long form Q/A.

We also initiated 8 EAs this year so far with one in waiting once he is balloted on. Most of them are in their late 20s or early 30's.

Our IC requires 1 PM to be on them. We must meet the immediate family of the person being interviewed if they are married. It must happen at their home. We do make an exception to meet at the lodge, but the wife must be present.

While our IC is open to volunteers, we try to keep it to our officers.

I think our lodge is very lucky in the present make up of the line and age bracket. We do have our elder brothers and they are looked up to and they try to impart as much as they can to keep us going.

that is the hardest part...The handing off of the baton...Once you get that process flowing, hold on tight.


Edited by BroScubaSteve - April/03/2014 at 2:55pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Limelight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 3:36pm
These are very helpful comments, thank you.

I think where I strayed off message was in suggesting that, because someone may be an "out-of-work plumber," he is necessarily going to be a lousy Masonic Officer or Master of a Lodge.

My implicit point was that an out-of-work plumber is probably not going to be a highly efficient manager of an organization, as compared to someone who is skilled at doing so in their daily lives.

Of course, that is not necessarily the case, and there are some out of work plumbers who would make spectacular Masters of a Lodge, and some highly skilled neurosurgeons, who clearly would not.

So, I take your point to heart.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2014 at 6:00pm
I think I realized the point you were trying to make. You are right, some members will not have the ability to run the certain aspects of a lodge, yet, the out of work plumber can do various tasks around the lodge and save it a considerable amount of money while making him feel useful .  To me, what makes a lodge "rich" (not in a financial sense) is a diversity of types working in harmony and utilizing the talents of all members and involving all members. If I had to guess, your lodge is falling down probably because there is a small group of men who insist on having all control and won't let others into their tight little group. Just an educated guess on my part. But sometimes you can't change a culture and if you come away from meetings with not a good feeling and frustrated, then it's probably time to look elsewhere.
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Reading some of the comments above I find it ironic that our craft is based on a blue collar profession. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clamman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 6:15am
Originally posted by log cabin Bill log cabin Bill wrote:

I must admit that I am mystified as to what we have done that Clanman perceives our "standards" are now lower than what they were in the past. We are admonished that when we come into the lodge room that we are to act upon the level by the square and to keep our desires within due bounds.  I most certainly do not feel that any of my brethren are beneath me nor do I feel that I am superior to any of them.  They are my brethren and have traveled the same road that I did and as others have traveled in the past.   


Point well taken. I'm sorry If I sounded harsh.
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Originally posted by nevburt nevburt wrote:

Reading some of the comments above I find it ironic that our craft is based on a blue collar profession. 


While our Craft was based on the 'blue collar' profession of the operative stone mason, it was the 'Speculative Masons' who were the educated aristocrat members of the Royal Society of London that founded the Grand Lodge in 1717.  ... I have found list of founding Masons that show they were also members of the Royal Society.   Also, I am now finding (in the past week) old publications that make direct connections to the Royal Society.

While the operative stonemason guild was 'blue collar', it was the requirement of Church to be of the 'christian' faith that introduced the elements of Faith and religion during the great Gothic construction period (14 & 1500s).   It was the 'Speculative' Masons of the time and members of the Royal Society (Dr. & Rev. James Anderson, Dr. & Rev. John T. Desaguliers, Ashmole, and others) that created our modern ritual and GL administration procedures pulling together the old charges, legends, and religious elements as the foundation of our modern Speculative system of Freemasonry.


Edited by edwmax - April/04/2014 at 9:37am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rchadwic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 9:30am
A couple comments come to mind...
First, in reference to paying bills... If your Lodge has a budget, and I am certain it must, then payment of routine bills covered by the budget ought to be pretty much automatic, defined by the bodget, authorized by the Secretary and WM, and paid by the treasurer. I'd expect that your Grand Lodge has some form of Treasurer/Secretary's handbook to cover this sort of detail. And yes, debate over whether to pay the electric bill or reimburse the JW for refreshments is a waste of Lodge member's time.

Second, Limelight, have you inquired among other Lodge members to see if there's anyone else there who shares your viewpoint? Perhaps there is something you can do, either alone or in concert with others, to refocus your Lodge rather than just throwing up your hands in despair and moving on. Look around a little bit. You may be surprised.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 10:03am
Originally posted by rchadwic rchadwic wrote:

A couple comments come to mind...
First, in reference to paying bills... If your Lodge has a budget, and I am certain it must, then payment of routine bills covered by the budget ought to be pretty much automatic, defined by the bodget, authorized by the Secretary and WM, and paid by the treasurer.  ...


quote: " ... and to pay them out on the order of the Worshipful Master and with the consent of the Lodge."     ... In my GL & Lodge;  ... All checks or monies being paid out from the Lodge treasury must be approved by the Lodge, then ordered by the WM.    The Secretary when reading the minutes & correspondences should list all bills being presented of payment.  They are correspondences and should be officially entered as part of the minutes & action of the Lodge.    .... The proper committee or the Secretary should be able to assure the Lodge the bill is proper, correct, within the Lodge budget, and funds are available for payment.  Then payment is by motion, second, and approving vote.   ... When done correctly, this should not be a big deal in the Lodge.


Edited by edwmax - April/04/2014 at 10:12am
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We are all on the level. No ones better or worse than one another. We are all brothers, sure, some may have higher paying jobs, some may be doctors, some may not have a high school diploma or a decent job. None of that matters to us though. Were all trying to become better men. And just so you know, if you were ever in a hard situation and in distress and gave the GHS I guarantee you that those blue collar plumber brothers would be right there ready to help you and your family in a heart beat. Trust me, those are usually the brothers who would go to the end of the world for you when your in a horrible place in your llife, Just remember that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/18/2014 at 10:19am
As a Scottish Rite Mason, this is an amazing discussion to me.

Spending time in the further degrees (not higher) has shed some light on some of these very ideas.

Gentlemen and Princes, let us put away our Royal Axes for a moment and I would say lets be patient with the brother while we teach, because I don't think ANY ashlar came between the columns smooth and perfect.

THIS is part of that process.

My brother, I am glad you raised this here, because I have heard this very thing from others and the reactions are similar to what you have witnessed here.   But I have a different take on this.

***
My take on the topic is "It's SUPPOSED to be this way!"

What I mean by that, is every other organization you may be a part of, the membership tends to have a significantly higher concentration of things in common - for example:

Work (Common skills, professional training)
Greek Letter (College Educated)
Church Denomination (Common core religious beliefs)
Veteran based (self explanatory)

...and so on.   Even in my work example, its not that common to see the IT guys having lunch with the Accountants, the Maintenance staff chatting it up with the Executive Branch, etc.

So what is my point?   The social and philosophical system that doesn't blink an eye seeing the Neurosurgeon and the Plumber seated on either side of the Junior Warden (who happens to be a Cop) is a unique and mind-altering one.   It is unfamiliar; it is strange; it triggers reactions such as those you have mentioned; but it a wonderful and necessary feature of our Gentle Craft.

LIVING that experience my brother, is another part of why the Masonic Order cannot be captured by a password or a grip. That secret is in the living, not in the telling, so even these words when read by a Cowan will be meaningless.

So don't worry about the lack of "quality", embrace the "diversity"!

S&F

Edited by NobleShabba - April/18/2014 at 10:23am
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Outstanding post brother NobleShabba. From one Prince to another... VERY well said!
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In the past, you'd have seen a mix of members: both intellectual and not intellectual. Generally from reading past communications, you'd also find this dearth in intellectual stimulation.

Outside academic environments, (even within them sometimes) you'll find more people are not focused on intellectual growth, just handling business as is. "If the motor ain't broke, don't try to fix it." would be their motif. Naturally, they don't see intellectual progression as part of their duty as masons.

My recommendation would be to visit other lodges. Also, they say be the change you want to see...and that's not cliche. Prepare yourself for the opportunity to lead and take arms in your lodge. 

But I expect someone with your capacity can figure it all out on his own.
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I'm not a doctor, lawyer or general, just a retired correctional officer. But I do not feel that that fact means that I am not a "quality" person or a dummy not worthy of Masonry.

Edited by Warrior1256 - September/12/2014 at 5:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrimoireA3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2014 at 10:33am
Originally posted by Limelight Limelight wrote:



These are not doctors, generals, judges and professionals, as in the past.  In many cases, these are out of work plumbers looking to "network" to find new customers.  That is not what Masonry should be about, in my opinion.


Hi Limelight,

Just to remind you that I am not a Freemason. But I've been studying and researching Masonry for over a year and a half.

Your observation sounds just like my experience when I joined a yachtclub here in Boston. I was very disappointed in the membership. Mostly working class guys who boated most of their lives yet new next to nothing of navigation principles at all; and turned the yacht club into a waterfront grog shop. Too many police officers were members and I have an aversion to them. I did not renew my membership. But in their defense the working class ethic and trade skills benefited the club since all the engines were in top notch shape and one of the chronic alcoholic members was a First Class Welder by occupation and he designed and constructed a fantastic lifting cradle out of I-beams all by himself. The club was able to lift any size boat out of the water thanks to this inebriate. But you wouldn't want to go out to sea with him.

Now your observation that Freemasonry isn't attracting the same high quality achievers as of yesteryear is not born out in my readings or research. Like my yachtclub, I should have joined a fancier club which is out of my pay-range. You too should seek another Lodge which has the membership you are looking for. My point is that in the history of Freemasonry, the working class and petty businessmen have always been members of the Craft, and seem to have provided a good foundation on which to make good men better.

One British Mason communicated to me that Masonic 'Guilds' are very popular over in Great Britain where automobile mechanics, mathematics, and electricity are studied. I found that inspiring. (How's your mechanical ability or knowledge of electricity? Your Lodge Brothers might help you improve this skill?). So maybe you can find a Masonic 'guild' here in America with professional membership and skills.

I used to work over in Cambridge at MIT, and visited the campus MITMASON Lodge and sailed at the Pavilion on the Charles River with many MIT Masons. At that time I thought Freemasonry was just a rich man's Elks Club. Yet those Professionals did not seem to have any trouble associating with their peers at MIT. Maybe you should contact MITMASON@mit.edu??

So don't get disheartened because I'm sure you will associate with your Masonic peers eventually. I am impressed that Freemasonry has a lot to offer anyone in the long run.   Thanx!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2014 at 3:46pm
Originally posted by Caution1010 Caution1010 wrote:

In the past, you'd have seen a mix of members: both intellectual and not intellectual. Generally from reading past communications, you'd also find this dearth in intellectual stimulation.

Outside academic environments, (even within them sometimes) you'll find more people are not focused on intellectual growth, just handling business as is. "If the motor ain't broke, don't try to fix it." would be their motif. Naturally, they don't see intellectual progression as part of their duty as masons.

My recommendation would be to visit other lodges. Also, they say be the change you want to see...and that's not cliche. Prepare yourself for the opportunity to lead and take arms in your lodge. 

But I expect someone with your capacity can figure it all out on his own.


Good point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CLewey44 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2015 at 12:07pm
I get what you mean and I haven't been a MM very long but I hear that it is rare that someone doesn't get voted in. To me, it should be a bit more stringent. Not based on tax brackets or career titles but simply respectability. If a plumber or yard guy is a good man, tries to provide for his family and has respect for the lodge and its members, he's good to go to me. But I have seen so far some questionable characters allowed to be initiated. This had NOTHING to do with their profession, but instead their personality as I perceived it. When we vote, I won't just go with the flow and vote in every person that tries to join. I suggest, as I plan to do, that we join our IC and get involved in that. I'm a good judgement of character and would like to be proactive in the petition process.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote imzj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/20/2015 at 2:23pm
I would mainly prefer to be a member of a blue lodge where more "esoteric" and philosopic discussions/presentations take place. However I am not sure if there are such lodges in Philadelphia or even in cities around it.

See, in the country where I was initiated to freeemasonry, the blue lodges mainly work under the scottish rite, even the three blue lodge degrees work under a scottish rite monitor, and the lodge decoration/symbols explanation (for the apprentice, fellowcraft and master) lean on the esoteric/philosophical part.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windrider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 9:03am
I just finished reading this thread and may have a different perspective to offer. My lodge will hold it's elections in about three weeks and it is expected that I will be elected to serve as Master. 

The presiding Master and I are good friends but several brothers have left our lodge because they had a problem with him. Some view the Officers as a clique with impenetrable walls. Other say they are not getting any "Masonry" from our meetings. In each case, for them, they are completely correct. Perception is reality when it comes to something we do because we enjoy it. If we aren't getting what we are looking for we should not waste our time doing it. 

I've been talking with some of the guys who have stopped coming to meetings over the past couple of years and learned a lot from them. The first thing I learned is that they love the Craft as much as I do. They want to become better men and live the lessons of Masonry. When some of them saw some of the things pointed out in this thread like boredom over paying bills and a lack of inspiration in the meetings and among the members I took notice. I worked with the Master and invited a Masonic author to the lodge who gave an amazing talk. Again working with the Master I invited the Rainbow Girls to one of our meetings to confer their "Fun Degree" (my Rainbow Girl name is Janet) which brought more laughter to the lodge room than any time in memory. It also helped the Girls raise a bit of money for their work.

To sum up, if you aren't happy with the way the meetings are going, change them. No Master in his right mind would turn down a brother who wants to bring something special to the meetings. If the kinds of things I did aren't your cup of tea, bring your own ideas.

The one thing that any leader will tell you drives them crazy is the people who walk up to them and say, "You should....". My response, no matter what the idea is, will be, "Great idea! Make it happen." If you aren't willing to put in the work to improve the lodge, don't complain about it and expect others to do what you should be doing yourself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 11:58am
Originally posted by windrider windrider wrote:

To sum up, if you aren't happy with the way the meetings are going, change them.

But the problem, as I see it, is not just that Brother "Limelight" is not getting enough Masonry (for lack of a better term) from his lodge, its is that he makes it abundantly clear that many if not most of the Brethren in his lodge are beneath him. 

I know that ritual is slightly different from one jurisdiction to another, but I am pretty sure in all jurisdictions that when a Brother is being raised, one of the things he is told is to not be envious of a Brother Master Mason or jealous of his preferment. But this also works in reverse. If you are the one with the preferment, you should not look down upon other Master Masons who are not your financial, educational or social peers.

Freemasonry is not for everybody. It does not appear as if Masonry is what Brother "Limelight" is looking for and to be totally honest, I agree with those who say that he is not what we are looking for either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windrider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 1:17pm
That very well might be the case but I prefer to believe that Brother Limelight simply needed a little whispered council. 

It's easy to point one's finger and say something needs to change. It's much more difficult to be the agent of that change. We who are committed to the Craft as evidenced by our journey toward the East are the agents of change. We, from the Inside Sentinel to the man sitting in the Oriental Chair made the commitment to run our lodge and take on responsibility. What makes me wonder is those who take no responsibility yet feel the need to tell the rest of us what we should be doing. 

One of the lessons of the Level is that each of us has the freedom to act for the good of the lodge while keeping the lessons of the square and compasses firmly in mind. Let there be no contention among us except that noble contention of who can best work and best agree.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 4:24pm
Originally posted by windrider windrider wrote:

That very well might be the case but I prefer to believe that Brother Limelight simply needed a little whispered council.

And how would you council this man who believes that the members of his lodge are below his station?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adept? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 6:22pm
Limelight - Last Visit:     April/24/2014 at 11:17am

Just shy a year since his last visit to the forum. Whispering council, or the manner with which to do so may be moot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/21/2015 at 9:53pm
Maybe he got the message and moved on.
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