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I do not like the ascension by line

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Caution1010 View Drop Down
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    Posted: September/15/2014 at 5:52pm
Most of our lodges have a "line" by which brothers eventually become Masters. I don't agree with it. I think brothers should be voted to the appropriate offices depending on their merit and their character.

What do you think?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NewToLight84 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2014 at 7:21pm
Hmmm....interesting question. I'm going to have to think about that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adept? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2014 at 7:50pm
I agree 100% My lodge wanted me to go "through the chairs" I declined because they wanted me to start at JR steward. I was voted in as senior decan in my first lodge in florida, nominated for the chair by my coach, and at that time jr warden. (Having been raised only a month earlier) I told them that i would fill a chair when needed, but if i were going to take any chair regularly that i would only feel comfortable moving up from the chair i have already held for a year. They seemed to understand, but would not depart from their usual "progress line" Just because someone is a good junior decan, does not mean they are ready for, the senior decan spot...and so on and so on. Any elidgable brother should be able to be nominated, or throw his own hat in the ring for any chair he may desire to hold, and let the voting members cast their vote as they see fit for the good of the lodge and the order.

Edited by Adept? - September/15/2014 at 8:08pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2014 at 9:22pm
Originally posted by Caution1010 Caution1010 wrote:

Most of our lodges have a "line" by which brothers eventually become Masters. I don't agree with it. I think brothers should be voted to the appropriate offices depending on their merit and their character.

What do you think?


I don't entirely disagree with you here.   BUT ...  if the Officers do their job properly then the 'line' is the training ground for the next station and it duties.   ... However, most Officers (& Lodges for that matter) never actually learn their duties and only preform the 'ritual' work for the station they occupy.

Each Officer has specific duties related to the operation & function of the Lodge ...!!!... beside the 'ritual' duties of the opening/closing & degree work.  The line is the training ground for those operational/functional duties of a well run Lodge.      ... Because members are jumped into chair and never learn their actual duties, the WM is forced to micro-manage the Lodge.   ... This is not the way a Lodge should work.  Alot of things fall though the cracks this way.

... I know some of you are scratching your heads now.   Take for example the JR Warden.   In most Lodge JW is told that he is the 'chief' cook for all meals.    ... NOT TRUE ...  

 "to superintend the craft during the hours of refreshment ..."  the said the JW is the 'General Manager' of ALL work outside of the 'open' Lodge; specifically building and ground maintenance as well as the preparation of Lodge functions (meals).   A Lodge needs an approved budget for the JW to do his job well.  Then the WJ can hire ground keeper, building maintenance, and catering (kitchen staff) as needed and present their approved (within budget) bills to the secretary for payment  ... without having to debate the actives on the floor of the Lodge.

The SW:  " ... to assist the WM in opening, governing, & closing the Lodge ..." All committees (except the investigating committee) should report to the SW.   It is here the SW become complete familiar with ALL functions of the Lodge and is able to assume the East if necessary.

The WM:   "... open, govern, and close the Lodge; to set the craft at Labor ..."    The WM is the CEO.  ALL the he has to do at the beginning of his year is to assign the proper committees (finance, budget, fund raising, education, and charity, ect).  Then sit back and govern (referee) the petty sideline quarrels and visit other Lodges.   The Lodge will run itself.

The Deacons and the Stewards have specific duties too other than just ritual.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote KSigMason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2014 at 10:30pm
I personally don't think that once appointed to the officer line that there should be an automatic assumption that one will move up the line. It needs to be on merit. A good Warden or Deacon, may not be a good Worshipful Master.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2014 at 5:42am
Originally posted by KSigMason KSigMason wrote:

I personally don't think that once appointed to the officer line that there should be an automatic assumption that one will move up the line. It needs to be on merit. A good Warden or Deacon, may not be a good Worshipful Master.


My point is that "Merit" is proven by one's willingness to do the job of his station properly.    If he fails or is too casual about the station, then replace him (appointment or election).      ... It is also true that Members who fully understand the 'real' work of each Officer (chair) would not need to go though a line.   So member education of how a Lodge functions become very important.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Warrior1256 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2014 at 2:01pm
I'm a new MM having been raised the 4th of last month. I like the idea of someone like me going through the line starting at the bottom. That way I can learn everything I need to know before becoming WM. For more experienced Masons I don't see the need for this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ldarnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2014 at 4:34pm
I personally like the idea of the "line" for advancement.  It ensures that any man who ultimately sits as WM knows every aspect of his lodge and has had the humility to serve his lodge in every role.  It is a tremendous training ground and if done properly ensures that by the time a man reaches the East he knows most if not all of the ritual.  It also allows proof of the man's leadership abilities and dedication to ultimately serving in the East. 

I do believe a man has to prove himself in the various places and stations, and no automatic assumption should ever be made about moving up the line.  To me the line is about serving your brothers and the lodge.  That takes time and commitment, something not always valued in today's world, but terribly important to the future of our Lodges.  

I have seen lodges where people "skip" chairs.  These are usually smaller lodges that have barely enough people to function and have a hard time maintaining succession in the line.  While I understand why it sometimes happens, I think those "shortcuts" have their own inherent dangers and that should be used sparingly if at all. 

GATOU willing, I will be in the East in another six years, and I believe I will need every one of those years to learn and prepare.  If and when that happens, I will be given stewardship over a (then) 155 year-old lodge.  I have an obligation to every past brother who made my lodge what it is, every current brother who is trying to become a better man, and to every future brother who may someday find light through our doors.  It is a trust that I dare not take lightly, and failure is not an option.  To me, sitting in the East is just not something to be hurried. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote log cabin Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2014 at 8:26pm
Very well put Bro. Darnell. I agree.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/17/2014 at 6:23am
I agree with bro edwmax, after all - how can you determine their merit within the lodge for higher office without them working in some official capacity within that lodge?

Now that being said, the lodge should also feel free to "bump" a brother out of the line if he is not doing his job as per the information below.   So we would have a PROGRESSION of capable brothers, not just a random bunch of brothers who are not proven.

Originally posted by edwmax edwmax wrote:


Originally posted by Caution1010 Caution1010 wrote:

Most of our lodges have a "line" by which brothers eventually become Masters. I don't agree with it. I think brothers should be voted to the appropriate offices depending on their merit and their character.

What do you think?


I don't entirely disagree with you here.   BUT ...  if the Officers do their job properly then the 'line' is the training ground for the next station and it duties.   ... However, most Officers (& Lodges for that matter) never actually learn their duties and only preform the 'ritual' work for the station they occupy.

Each Officer has specific duties related to the operation & function of the Lodge ...!!!... beside the 'ritual' duties of the opening/closing & degree work.  The line is the training ground for those operational/functional duties of a well run Lodge.      ... Because members are jumped into chair and never learn their actual duties, the WM is forced to micro-manage the Lodge.   ... This is not the way a Lodge should work.  Alot of things fall though the cracks this way.

... I know some of you are scratching your heads now.   Take for example the JR Warden.   In most Lodge JW is told that he is the 'chief' cook for all meals.    ... NOT TRUE ...  

 "to superintend the craft during the hours of refreshment ..."  the said the JW is the 'General Manager' of ALL work outside of the 'open' Lodge; specifically building and ground maintenance as well as the preparation of Lodge functions (meals).   A Lodge needs an approved budget for the JW to do his job well.  Then the WJ can hire ground keeper, building maintenance, and catering (kitchen staff) as needed and present their approved (within budget) bills to the secretary for payment  ... without having to debate the actives on the floor of the Lodge.

The SW:  " ... to assist the WM in opening, governing, & closing the Lodge ..." All committees (except the investigating committee) should report to the SW.   It is here the SW become complete familiar with ALL functions of the Lodge and is able to assume the East if necessary.

The WM:   "... open, govern, and close the Lodge; to set the craft at Labor ..."    The WM is the CEO.  ALL the he has to do at the beginning of his year is to assign the proper committees (finance, budget, fund raising, education, and charity, ect).  Then sit back and govern (referee) the petty sideline quarrels and visit other Lodges.   The Lodge will run itself.

The Deacons and the Stewards have specific duties too other than just ritual.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mosaic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/18/2014 at 8:01am
I think the progressive line is OK in a perfect world where every officer performs all their duties to perfection with perfect attendence.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/20/2014 at 7:00am
Then the answer is to have a progressive line, but where advancement is based on the work put in. Nothing in life is guaranteed, why should it be any different for the line?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote log cabin Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/20/2014 at 4:50pm
I agree with Noble Shabba's response. Here in PA, those officers who wish to advance are required to go to their local school of instruction and prove proficient before advancement can happen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdeal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/20/2014 at 8:56pm
The fact someone has to prove proficient in the work before progressing is a great idea.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/24/2014 at 9:13pm
There is nothing that says you have to vote for the next person in line, at least not in Missouri. You can vote for anyone you want, but another issue in Missouri is that "electioneering" is a Masonic offense. IOW, you can not "run for office". 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PennsyMason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/27/2014 at 8:52am
Originally posted by log cabin Bill log cabin Bill wrote:

I agree with Noble Shabba's response. Here in PA, those officers who wish to advance are required to go to their local school of instruction and prove proficient before advancement can happen.
That's news to me. I know not of a single officer who received any certification of his proficiency from the district's School of Disruption.
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School of disruption??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote log cabin Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/27/2014 at 2:35pm
Please note that I did not say that they received a certificate of proficiency; however, a record is kept of who has met with an instructor and has shown to that instructor that he knows the part of the ritual for his office and the floor movements associated with his office.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PennsyMason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/28/2014 at 11:13am
Originally posted by Adept? Adept? wrote:

School of disruption??
Aptly re-named for the several brethren who arise from their seats every 5 minutes to suggest that both the instructors and the officers exemplifying the work might be in error, because that's not the way THEY learned it!

Originally posted by log cabin Bill log cabin Bill wrote:

Please note that I did not say that they received a certificate of proficiency; however, a record is kept of who has met with an instructor and has shown to that instructor that he knows the part of the ritual for his office and the floor movements associated with his office.
Either something has changed in the past 2 years, or my district has been doing things their own way, again.

Edited by PennsyMason - October/28/2014 at 2:22pm
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Originally posted by Caution1010 Caution1010 wrote:

Most of our lodges have a "line" by which brothers eventually become Masters. I don't agree with it. I think brothers should be voted to the appropriate offices depending on their merit and their character.

What do you think?
The line up to and including Senior Deacon is appointed in my jurisdiction which is at the pleasure of the incoming master. If the WM slot is contested, then the line may be in for a revamp depending on who is coming in.

The secretary, Treasurer, JW, SR and WM are elected positions.

you may not be advanced If you are not doing the work in the lower chairs.
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I made a remark to our lodge ritualist plus incoming WM about if the brother is not proficient in the work or does not attend practices why should they just move to the next chair? I feel as though I was wrong in saying that I do not want to cause disharmony. A brother only gets to be a EA, FC and MM once as the candidate. I can see if you try and show to practice. Am I wrong? Should I have not said anything?
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Originally posted by jdeal jdeal wrote:

I made a remark to our lodge ritualist plus incoming WM about if the brother is not proficient in the work or does not attend practices why should they just move to the next chair?

With all due respect my brother, there is more to being a Freemason, much more, than just how well one does the ritual. Yes, everyone in a chair should practice the ritual and perform it to the best of his ability, but let's not lose sight of our real purpose in the community.

For example...

In Missouri, we have the MoCHIP program. MoCHIP is a child identification program that provides parents and guardians with digital photographs, digital fingerprints, child information, emergency contacts and dental bite impressions (which also include DNA samples) all at no charge to the parents. Since the program began in 2005, we have identified over 200,000 children and in that time, 9 children have come back home thanks to the use of the information gathered through our program. Those children and their parents don't care how well we perform the ritual in our lodge.

Also, there is a brother in our lodge who admittedly isn't not all that keen on ritual. This year he is the Senior Deacon and does an OK job at the ritual for his station. Not great, but OK. He can do his part in the opening and closing of the lodge, but he lets another brother take his chair for degree work. Last Spring he headed the committee to organize our lodge's first golf tournament which was held in September. Our lodge received its charter in 1852 and this single golf tournament alone raised more money for our children's charities than any other event we have ever held in over 162 years. 

There is another brother in our lodge who is in a similar position as the brother above. He has never held a chair in our lodge and honestly has no desire to do so. He is our representative to the Missouri Department of Conservation's "Share The Harvest" campaign. This program helps deer hunters donate surplus venison to the needy. Last year our lodge alone was responsible for the donation of over 2000 pounds of venison to our local food pantry. So far this year we are already already over 500 pounds. 

So what do you think? Would you vote for either of these guys for WM if they made it that far and it was their desire to ascend to the East? I would!

If we were all about ritual and nothing else, this fraternity would have died 300 years ago. We don't remember George Washington because he always took off with his left foot and squared his corners. We honor and remember him because of his leadership.
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Makes sense. The CHIP program is what brought me to masonry
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As someone who is currently working his way through the chairs, I appreciate the apprenticeship that the process is providing me.  Our progressive line in our lodge starts at the junior deacon's chair, and winds up, if you behave yourself and actually show up to work, five years later in the Oriental Chair.  In between, you get a good taste for just about everything that goes on in the lodge.

Our lodge, like most others in our area, is hurting for people; though not as badly as most others.  And yes, there will be time when you have to step in and replace someone out of sequence, or plug a couple of holes.  We've had that in the past few years, and in fact, when I step up to the East about this time next year, I will be the first one in a coon's age to have actually gone through all five progressive stations, sequentially.   I was appointed as JD almost immediately after turning in my MM proficiency, to replace my predecessor, who had simply quit coming to lodge, and hasn't been seen since.  That half-year was used in getting my feet on the ground and sort of figuring out how things worked.   The next year, as senior deacon, was devoted to learning the Work,  and getting my various proficiency and instructor certifications.  This past year as JW has been primarily spent in learning the logistics of runing a lodge...  the ins and outs of the kitchens and feeding the hungry (and often fussy) brethren, working with budgets, facility upkeep, and reading and expounding the Digest of Laws.  This coming year as Senior Warden, I plan to serve as the XO in keeping the Master's programs on track, working to strengthen our educational and outreach work, and making plans for what needs to be done to keep things moving forward in the following year, when it's my turn to take all the blame for whatever happens ;-)

A lodge works as a team, and the progressive line has shown me that this sequential sort of preparation works well to build that sort of partnership.  I have seen in other lodges, as well as in our grand line, what happens when someone jumps in there with more of a sense of ego in mind rather than a servant leadership style...  and in these cases some bad things can happen, and it often takes a decade or more for the evil to work its way out of the system.

A Master must indeed be a master of many trades...  ritual, management, counseling, food and entertainment management, peacemaker, things that we don't often think of when you just put on the hat and rap the gavel.  I'm still a little leery of my state of preparation to move up the one chair, much less others.  But at least I'll have a team of brothers with me to help smooth out the rough surfaces...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2014 at 2:52pm
WELL SAID.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2014 at 7:53am
You also have to account for a few things...

Your past masters should be involved in the Lodge. If they see something going on that they do not like in someone who is progressing through the line, they will and should run against that individual if he is up for an elected chair the following year or talk to the next master and get them out of the line before it is too late.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2014 at 8:56am
Brother Steve,

I don't know how things work in New Jersey, but something like you suggest could never happen in Missouri.

You suggest that someone, a Past Master perhaps, should run against that individual for the next chair in the line. You may want to check your Grand Lodge bylaws, but in Missouri, electioneering is a serious Masonic offense. IOW, one can not run for office. Officers are elected solely at the will of the lodge.

As far as the Master getting someone out of the line before it is too late, this is also something that should be covered in your Grand Lodge bylaws. If someone is elected, the only way (that I know of) to get them out of that office is if someone can prove that they have committed some Masonic offense. The Master can not just decide that they do not want someone in line that has been duly elected to that office unless he can prove that the officer in question is doing something that is in violation of Masonic law.

With all due respect especially given the relatively short time you have been a Mason, my suggestion is that you talk with more knowledgeable brethren and find out exactly what a Master can and can not do in your jurisdiction.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windrider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2014 at 9:54am
I don't know about New Jersey, but here in Massachusetts, only the Treasurers, Secretaries, Master and Wardens are elected. All other Officers are appointed by the Worshipful Master. 

I searched our Grand Constitutions and only found a procedure for Impeachment of the Master. My assumption is that all officers serve at the Master's will and pleasure. I've emailed my DDGM for clarification. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2014 at 10:39am
Our jurisdiction is the same. Only the master, wardens, secretary and treasurer are elected as well. The rest is at the pleasure of the master.

I don't want to say it is electioneering. However, if an unworthy person gets to the point to where a chair is up for election, there will be two names in the hat. This rarely if ever happens but it could happen.

Our secretary was contested this past year. I saw people I never saw in lodge that night. Was it electioneering? I bet it was. Could I prove it? Nope.


Edited by BroScubaSteve - December/19/2014 at 10:40am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2014 at 1:24pm
Originally posted by BroScubaSteve BroScubaSteve wrote:

However, if an unworthy person gets to the point to where a chair is up for election, there will be two names in the hat. This rarely if ever happens but it could happen.

But how does an "unworthy" Brother get elected to his chair? Of course the answer is that he was elected by a majority of the lodge members present at the time of the election. If you do not think a particular person is worthy of holding that office then don't vote for him, but if a majority of members vote for someone, then that is something you will have to live with for a year whether you wanted him there or not.

And how do you define "unworthy"? If someone has been in the advancing line of a lodge long enough to make it to the point where he is eligible for an elected office, he has most likely proven his worth by that time.

Originally posted by BroScubaSteve BroScubaSteve wrote:

Our secretary was contested this past year.

As the secretary of my lodge, I can only pray for the day someone else wants my job!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ebojones Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2014 at 7:35pm
I think the line is a good idea for the brothers that take their current chair as serious as they can. I don't think the line is good for slackers, or those that are too relaxed with their duties. I so look forward to an election rather than the line filling the next chair in the east. Improvement is needed, as well as someone willing to take measures toward improvement. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windrider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2014 at 6:02pm
Originally posted by windrider windrider wrote:

I don't know about New Jersey, but here in Massachusetts, only the Treasurers, Secretaries, Master and Wardens are elected. All other Officers are appointed by the Worshipful Master. 

I searched our Grand Constitutions and only found a procedure for Impeachment of the Master. My assumption is that all officers serve at the Master's will and pleasure. I've emailed my DDGM for clarification. 

I just got back from a painting party at the Masonic Building. The DD was there helping out so I got to discuss this with him and our presiding Master. It seems I was actually completely wrong. Once installed, the chair is that man's for the year. An officer other than the Master can resign and be replaced by appointment but no sitting officer can be "fired" except by the Grand Master. 

Worshipful Masters cannot even resign! Only the Grand Master can remove the Master from the East. The process is that at least five members of the lodge must bring the issue to the District Deputy Grand Master. The DDGM then investigates and at his sole discretion may bring the matter to the attention of the Grand Master. The Grand Master then may initiate an investigation and at his sole discretion, remove the Master.

Here I am, just a few months away from my lodge's elections and the only candidate for Master. Nobody told me this is a job I can't even quit from ;)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pscyclepath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/21/2014 at 5:18pm
In our jurisdiction, neither of the wardens nor the master may quit or dimit during their terms of office.

The Master may terminate one of his officers for good cause, and he may appoint a replacement officer pro tem should he be absent, or have to give up his office due to unforeseen circumstances.

The Master (or any other oficer, for that matter) may be removed from office by the Grand Master, in which case the Senior Warden steps up and serves out the remainder of that term, then takes his own turn in the line should he be duly elected.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2014 at 7:38am
Originally posted by WBScott WBScott wrote:


But how does an "unworthy" Brother get elected to his chair? Of course the answer is that he was elected by a majority of the lodge members present at the time of the election. If you do not think a particular person is worthy of holding that office then don't vote for him, but if a majority of members vote for someone, then that is something you will have to live with for a year whether you wanted him there or not.

And how do you define "unworthy"? If someone has been in the advancing line of a lodge long enough to make it to the point where he is eligible for an elected office, he has most likely proven his worth by that time.
There was a time at my lodge, before my time, that if you were senior deacon and did not do the inner chamber lecture during a fellowcraft degree you would have someone running against you for the JW chair.

Was that the right thing to do? Probably not. I've never been in that position.

Some people are not cut out for the East. It is a case by case scenario with each person being looked at. I cannot list every facet as to why someone might not be worthy in a particular lodge. It is a question that must be asked by all voting Brethren at each individual lodge.
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Some brothers are just not good with the long lectures or memory work in general. As long as he puts forth 100%...needing assistance with lectures does not (IMO) make him not worthy of his next chair. However...having said that...you certainly don't want a master, or even a warden that cannot remember their parts of the ritual opening/closing or degree work.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2014 at 8:11am
True, I have seen a brother who was phenomenal with memory work in the four houses he was a member of, LOVED IT - but had no taste for leadership.

Everyone saw that he was very good with the ritualistic stuff - so guess what? They pushed him all the way to the East TWICE, and he was miserable.   It has been years since he has been back to a meeting.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2014 at 9:12pm
Originally posted by BroScubaSteve BroScubaSteve wrote:

Some people are not cut out for the East.

Originally posted by Adept? Adept? wrote:

...you certainly don't want a master, or even a warden that cannot remember their parts of the ritual opening/closing or degree work.

Many years ago when I was the Junior Warden of my lodge, the brother sitting in the West was an older gentleman who had been a Mason for over 50 years. He was a fighter pilot during the Korean War. At some time during his service, he joined a lodge, but his service and later his civilian life made it difficult to attend lodge on a regular basis. 

After he retired and all of his children moved away, he started coming back to lodge and expressed an interest in going through the chairs. After he completed his term as Junior Steward, he was moved up to Senior Steward and and I was appointed as Junior Steward. As we both ascended through the line, I obviously worked with him as Stewards, Deacons and Wardens.

By the time he made it to Senior Warden and I made it to Junior Warden, it was quite obvious that he was having memory issues... and he knew it. Towards the end of his year in the West, he came to me and some of the "elder statesmen" of the lodge and said that he did not want to be the Worshipful Master because he did not want to embarrass himself or the lodge.

So here was a man who served his country, raised his family and was a member of our lodge for over 50 years. While he may not have been active for most of that time, he continued to pay his dues because he wanted to become active one day. Then through no fault of his own, he developed Alzheimer's (which eventually was the cause of his death). 

We assured him that if anyone in our lodge deserved a seat in the East, he did. We further assured him that the Brother who was Chaplain (who was also a ritual instructor) agreed to keep that position and prompt him as necessary since he would be sitting right next to him. We also assured him that if things ever got to the point where he did not feel he could handle the Master's job any more, then we would completely understand and fill the Master's chair from the advancing line (meaning me!) 

As his disease progressed, he pretty much quit coming to lodge altogether. He kept his title and I filled it "pro tem" for the remainder of his term. Never once was it suggested that he resign. When he died, he received full Masonic honors... and we wouldn't have it any other way.

It was an honor to sit in lodge with him.

Originally posted by NobleShabba NobleShabba wrote:

True, I have seen a brother who was phenomenal with memory work in the four houses he was a member of, LOVED IT - but had no taste for leadership.

Everyone saw that he was very good with the ritualistic stuff - so guess what? They pushed him all the way to the East TWICE, and he was miserable.   It has been years since he has been back to a meeting.

Some people feel that it is poor form to make it that far through the advancing line and then step aside when they become eligible to become Worshipful Master. After all, there is no greater honor in a lodge than to sit in the East. So he muddled through his year and your lodge somehow managed to survive. But why on earth was he elected to a second term if his first was such a disaster? The brethren who elected him the second time are completely to blame for driving him away from the lodge.
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adept? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2014 at 10:32pm
WBScott, you quoted me out of context. I clearly stated just above the part of my post that you quoted that as long as the individual is putting forth 100 percent effort then there is no reason for them not to have their seat.

Edited by Adept? - December/23/2014 at 10:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/24/2014 at 6:49am
My stance of men who are not cut out for the East has to do with those men who ruin the craft by thinking their core group of men, not necessarily the officers, are better than the whole. They aspire for the chair for one reason and one reason only. Not for the Craft but for themselves.

Sometimes you see this coming a mile away. Sometimes you get caught with your pants down.

Just as you have to guard the west gate, you also need to guard the Chair from those who could do actual harm to a Lodge. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windrider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/24/2014 at 8:55am
I'm heading to the East soon myself, so this thread is very interesting. The presiding Master has been quite generous with his time and efforts to help me prepare for my time in the East. I, as Senior Warden, am responsible for harmony in the lodge and find that many brothers come to me when they are not happy with something in the lodge or may be having some difficulties. Most of the time my answer is, "Let's go talk to the Master." 

The issue is quickly resolved and the Master and I usually wonder why the brother came to me first rather than him. Some of these things are such that most men would want as few others to know as possible. My opinion is that my office is more approachable than the Master's office and when I'm in the East people will go to another officer before me, too. 

The progression through the line and the mentorship involved in that progression is our "management training". Between the progressive line and the assistance of Past Masters, a receptive brother with the best interests of the lodge foremost in his mind has every chance of success.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/24/2014 at 8:55am
Originally posted by Adept? Adept? wrote:

WBScott, you quoted me out of context. I clearly stated just above the part of my post that you quoted that as long as the individual is putting forth 100 percent effort then there is no reason for them not to have their seat.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. That is why I told my story. As I said earlier, there is so much more to being a good Mason than knowing the ritual. However, you did say, "...you certainly don't want a master, or even a warden that cannot remember their parts of the ritual opening/closing or degree work."

So with all due respect, which is it?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windrider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/24/2014 at 9:12am
Originally posted by WBScott WBScott wrote:

Originally posted by Adept? Adept? wrote:

WBScott, you quoted me out of context. I clearly stated just above the part of my post that you quoted that as long as the individual is putting forth 100 percent effort then there is no reason for them not to have their seat.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. That is why I told my story. As I said earlier, there is so much more to being a good Mason than knowing the ritual. However, you did say, "...you certainly don't want a master, or even a warden that cannot remember their parts of the ritual opening/closing or degree work."

So with all due respect, which is it?



Not to steal WBScott's thunder but in my opinion, both are required. 

In my lodge, the Senior Deacon chair is very important. It is the last of the appointed offices and is the first time the brother is really challenged to deliver a lecture of any length. After I delivered that lecture for the first time, one of the past Masters came up to me to congratulate me on my performance. He went on to tell me that I would never sit in a Warden's chair if I had not done the work as Senior Deacon. 

This is the place where the brother's capacity for ritual is tested. Those of us who have progressed understand that it doesn't get any easier until you sit on the sidelines again. If you can't do Ritual, you don't belong in any chair, let alone the East. Ritual is the core of the Officer's responsibilities. It is what distinguishes our great Fraternity. When a man delivers great Ritual from memory, he is showing his commitment to doing the work. That same commitment carries over to the dedication required to rule and govern a lodge well. 

Many will say that memorizing Ritual is not the same as governing the lodge and they are right. It is, however, one of the qualifications of being an officer. That doesn't mean it is the only one. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NobleShabba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/24/2014 at 9:21am
Originally posted by WBScott WBScott wrote:

Originally posted by NobleShabba NobleShabba wrote:

True, I have seen a brother who was phenomenal with memory work in the four houses he was a member of, LOVED IT - but had no taste for leadership.

Everyone saw that he was very good with the ritualistic stuff - so guess what? They pushed him all the way to the East TWICE, and he was miserable.   It has been years since he has been back to a meeting.

Some people feel that it is poor form to make it that far through the advancing line and then step aside when they become eligible to become Worshipful Master. After all, there is no greater honor in a lodge than to sit in the East. So he muddled through his year and your lodge somehow managed to survive. But why on earth was he elected to a second term if his first was such a disaster? The brethren who elected him the second time are completely to blame for driving him away from the lodge.

Wasn't my lodge to be accurate, I was just very familiar with the members and the challenges.   He was not elected to the Lodge's east twice, he was elected to the East in two different fraternal houses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WBScott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/25/2014 at 11:08am
Originally posted by BroScubaSteve BroScubaSteve wrote:

My stance of men who are not cut out for the East has to do with those men who ruin the craft by thinking their core group of men, not necessarily the officers, are better than the whole. They aspire for the chair for one reason and one reason only. Not for the Craft but for themselves.

Sometimes you see this coming a mile away. Sometimes you get caught with your pants down.

Just as you have to guard the west gate, you also need to guard the Chair from those who could do actual harm to a Lodge. 

First of all, Merry Christmas.

But regarding your comments and with all due respect...

I see by your signature line that you have only been a Master Mason for a year and a half so I am wondering just how you are able to determine who is qualified to sit in the East especially given your extremely limited experience as an officer of your lodge and a Mason in general?

Since you have been eligible to participate in your lodge's election process once, maybe twice, how are you able to determine exactly what someone's motivations are for wanting to sit in the East and how are you able to determine who could do "actual harm" to a Lodge? 

And why would someone want to intentionally do "actual harm" to a lodge?

As far as "getting caught with  your pants down", there should not be any surprises when someone is elected as Master. It can (should?) takes several years (5 or 6 years at the very least) before someone becomes eligible to sit in the East so his leadership qualities should be fairly well known by that time. This is precisely why there is an "advancing line" so you will have (hopefully!) seen him in action as an officer in several chairs up to that point so you can make an informed decision when it is time to vote.

And so what if someone has personal motivations for wanting to be Master of a lodge? Some men aspire to become a District level officer or even to receive an appointment to the Grand Lodge line. Some of these men join as many apendant bodies as possible just to build up their Mason resume. In extreme cases, we call these men "apron collectors" and this is not necessarily a meant as a complimentary term. But just because they have personal motivations it does not necessarily mean that they want to "do harm" to their lodge.

And for the record, my opinions are based on nearly 20 years as a Master Mason. I have been elected to the East three times (in two different lodges) and have been Secretary for longer than I care to think about! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adept? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/25/2014 at 2:16pm
Originally posted by WBScott WBScott wrote:

So with all due respect, which is it?

Well.... it's both. In an ideal world, all officers know their parts. But in a situation like the story you told, or any similar situation, inability to memorize or remember should not disqualify any brother who is otherwise worthy and well qualified.
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