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Technical Masonic Questions - Event Date: October/15/2014

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    Posted: October/15/2014 at 8:31pm
Hello,

I have some questions regarding demitting of masons, Northern and Southern jurisdiction in different states, recognized lodges through issuance of charters, as well as several symbolic questions.  First a little bit about me: I am a California resident who lives in New York and recently expressed my desire to become a Freemason to a Master Mason of the grand lodge of New York.  As a result, I was invited to tour the lodge with him, however, upon discovering the fact that I am under 21 we reached an impasse; New York is under the current jurisdiction requiring that the minimum age of a Mason must be 21.  At the time I did not know this because of my residence in California where the minimum age is 18.  

In an attempt to circumvent this I asked him if one was able to join in my home state or another state under different jurisdiction while visiting.  Upon joining in a separate state with a lodge reputable enough for the Grand Lodge of New York to recognize ie. (a lodge with charter) I would return to New York and continue my masonic education.  Although this sounds as if it would work to a person uneducated in the judicial aspects of separate masonic lodges there are two things that come to mind; one, it is possible that demitting from one lodge after spending a brief period with your brothers may be disrespectful and two, the fact that the Grand Lodge of New York may choose not to recognize your dues card.  

The Master attempted to answer my question the best way he could.  According to him, on the off-chance it may be possible but the main flaw in this plan would be achieving sufficient merit in order to be recognized at the separate lodge.  In addition, he expressed that the brothers occupying the lodge where I would initially attempt to join would not take my absence personally.  I will ask about that in a second.

Now that we have the ground work for my questions, they are as follows.

Questions applicable to becoming a Freemason.

1. Do you believe that this would work?
2. What constitutes a recognizable lodge, a charter?
3. Does demitting affect your record as a Mason?
4. Would leaving the original lodge be disrespectful?
5. At what point does a Mason receive his dues card, upon acceptance, ritual, or upon the first degree?
6. For a dues card to be recognized is there a communication process or an analysis of the card by a corresponding chapter/lodge to verify someone?

I understand that this is a lot of information, please bear with me.  I only wish to learn and place myself in the most advantageous position.

Side Questions

1. Which is the oldest formal gathering of Practicing Masons that brothers commonly recognize, the gathering in Israel upon the scope of the construction of Solomon's temple, in Europe predating 1717 (emergence of handshakes and passwords), or at the Goose and Gridiron in 1717 mainly comprised of speculative masons?

2. Do you recognize that different brothers have contrasting self/recreational education of Masonry and tend to disagree with others when esoterica, symbolism, etymology, and astrology are brought up? ie. Morals and Dogma, Ancient Masonry

3. Why do many Masons dispel the suggestion that Masonic symbolism originates from astrology and heraldry? Because they do not want to feed the conspiracy theorists?

4. What do you personally believe the majority of AA&F Masonic symbolism originates from? 

I take my questions very seriously so I thank you for your time reading this and any responses you can come back with.



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I'll answer some quickly:

1. Do you believe that this would work?
It probably would work but I'd suggest that you just wait till you turn 21.  There is no hurry.  I myself had to wait till 21 (oddly enough they changed it to 18 that same year).

2. What constitutes a recognizable lodge, a charter?
Formost recognition by the Grand Lodge of the State, this is almost always evidenced by a charter.

3. Does demitting affect your record as a Mason?
Not at all.  People understand that Brothers move around the country, want to go to bigger lodges, etc.

4. Would leaving the original lodge be disrespectful?
Not as long as you explain why you are leaving.  I don't see it as disrespectful at all.

5. At what point does a Mason receive his dues card, upon acceptance, ritual, or upon the first degree?
Once dues are paid in full and you have been raised to the third degree.  Some lodges wait till you have been examined after the 3rd degree.

6. For a dues card to be recognized is there a communication process or an analysis of the card by a corresponding chapter/lodge to verify someone?
Depends on the lodge - there is a process.  Sometimes a vouch by a trusted brother will get you in, sometimes you will be "tested" to a certain degree.  Anyone raised will pass.

Side Questions

1. Which is the oldest formal gathering of Practicing Masons that brothers commonly recognize, the gathering in Israel upon the scope of the construction of Solomon's temple, in Europe predating 1717 (emergence of handshakes and passwords), or at the Goose and Gridiron in 1717 mainly comprised of speculative masons?

The oldest gathering is 1717, as a starting point to the modern fraternity.  There were lodges in existence independently before then.  I myself do not know much about those lodges origins.  This is a matter of much (pardon the pun) speculation - a lot of masonic research cover this though.

2. Do you recognize that different brothers have contrasting self/recreational education of Masonry and tend to disagree with others when esoterica, symbolism, etymology, and astrology are brought up? ie. Morals and Dogma, Ancient Masonry

Any Master Mason can write and expound on his interpretation of Masonry.  There is no universal agreement but there are no real limitations.  I would only note that to be considered valid, you ought to be able to qualify your interpretations through examples or citation.

3. Why do many Masons dispel the suggestion that Masonic symbolism originates from astrology and heraldry? Because they do not want to feed the conspiracy theorists?

Likely due to its relative absence in the ritual work.  There may be some limited homage to certain aspects of it but I see very little.  I consider it open to debate.

4. What do you personally believe the majority of AA&F Masonic symbolism originates from? 

A variety of sources, really - a mixture of mythology, rituals of various fraternities, and a general desire to include additional esoterica


Sorry about the quick responses - just got off shift and I'm hitting the sack.  Good questions!  I'd be happy to respond to more.


Edited by AaronSawyer - October/15/2014 at 11:01pm
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Recognized Grand Lodges usually have residency requirements.

Grand Lodges recognize other a Grand Lodges, not individual lodges.

Most US Grand Lodges require a certificate of good standing for a joining member. Most US Grand Lodges will issue the letter once you are proficient in all degrees. A dues card is usually not adequate.

There is no "Masonic record." A demit is not a problem in my experience.

Speculative Masonry clearly began before 1717.

There are a wide variety of views as to the foundations of Masonry. There is a wide variety of toleration to such views.

I am unaware of Masonry symbolism being thought to have come from heraldry, and I have some experience in both areas.

Edited by Cookslc - October/15/2014 at 11:07pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Learning Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2014 at 11:53am
Originally posted by AaronSawyer AaronSawyer wrote:

I'll answer some quickly:

1. Do you believe that this would work?
It probably would work but I'd suggest that you just wait till you turn 21.  There is no hurry.  I myself had to wait till 21 (oddly enough they changed it to 18 that same year).

2. What constitutes a recognizable lodge, a charter?
Formost recognition by the Grand Lodge of the State, this is almost always evidenced by a charter.

3. Does demitting affect your record as a Mason?
Not at all.  People understand that Brothers move around the country, want to go to bigger lodges, etc.

4. Would leaving the original lodge be disrespectful?
Not as long as you explain why you are leaving.  I don't see it as disrespectful at all.

5. At what point does a Mason receive his dues card, upon acceptance, ritual, or upon the first degree?
Once dues are paid in full and you have been raised to the third degree.  Some lodges wait till you have been examined after the 3rd degree.

6. For a dues card to be recognized is there a communication process or an analysis of the card by a corresponding chapter/lodge to verify someone?
Depends on the lodge - there is a process.  Sometimes a vouch by a trusted brother will get you in, sometimes you will be "tested" to a certain degree.  Anyone raised will pass.

Side Questions

1. Which is the oldest formal gathering of Practicing Masons that brothers commonly recognize, the gathering in Israel upon the scope of the construction of Solomon's temple, in Europe predating 1717 (emergence of handshakes and passwords), or at the Goose and Gridiron in 1717 mainly comprised of speculative masons?

The oldest gathering is 1717, as a starting point to the modern fraternity.  There were lodges in existence independently before then.  I myself do not know much about those lodges origins.  This is a matter of much (pardon the pun) speculation - a lot of masonic research cover this though.

2. Do you recognize that different brothers have contrasting self/recreational education of Masonry and tend to disagree with others when esoterica, symbolism, etymology, and astrology are brought up? ie. Morals and Dogma, Ancient Masonry

Any Master Mason can write and expound on his interpretation of Masonry.  There is no universal agreement but there are no real limitations.  I would only note that to be considered valid, you ought to be able to qualify your interpretations through examples or citation.

3. Why do many Masons dispel the suggestion that Masonic symbolism originates from astrology and heraldry? Because they do not want to feed the conspiracy theorists?

Likely due to its relative absence in the ritual work.  There may be some limited homage to certain aspects of it but I see very little.  I consider it open to debate.

4. What do you personally believe the majority of AA&F Masonic symbolism originates from? 

A variety of sources, really - a mixture of mythology, rituals of various fraternities, and a general desire to include additional esoterica


Sorry about the quick responses - just got off shift and I'm hitting the sack.  Good questions!  I'd be happy to respond to more.

Wow that was a fantastic response.  Thank you! That certainly opens my eyes a bit more in several significant ways.  Your response is greatly appreciated.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Learning Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/16/2014 at 11:56am
Originally posted by Cookslc Cookslc wrote:

Recognized Grand Lodges usually have residency requirements.

Grand Lodges recognize other a Grand Lodges, not individual lodges.

Most US Grand Lodges require a certificate of good standing for a joining member. Most US Grand Lodges will issue the letter once you are proficient in all degrees. A dues card is usually not adequate.

There is no "Masonic record." A demit is not a problem in my experience.

Speculative Masonry clearly began before 1717.

There are a wide variety of views as to the foundations of Masonry. There is a wide variety of toleration to such views.

I am unaware of Masonry symbolism being thought to have come from heraldry, and I have some experience in both areas.

Thank you for your response as well.  The two of you really helped me understand a few concepts that I consider crucial for my understanding.  It is greatly appreciated.  As far as the source of heraldry reference is drawn, to be honest my education on that is vague so you would likely have a more accurate understanding.  Thanks again! Great responses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pscyclepath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2014 at 6:38pm
Originally posted by Learning Learning wrote:

1. Do you believe that this would work?

Our obligations require us to conform to and abide by the rules effective within the grand lodge jurisdiction where we are at the time.  So as an Arkansas Mason, I follow the GL rules there while I'm in my home state.  Should I go traveling/visiting to another jurisdiction, such as Missouri, Tennessee, or New York, then I'm required to follow the rules effective for that grand lodge so long as I am physically present in that jurisdiction.  

Quote
2. What constitutes a recognizable lodge, a charter?

A lodge is an assemblance of Masons, having the three Great Lights, and a charter or dispensation authorizing them to work. 

Quote
3. Does demitting affect your record as a Mason?

No.  A dimit is technically a formal withdrawal of membership from your lodge, which proves that you left in good standing, square on the books, typically to join a new lodge.  While dimitted, you are technically a "Mason at Large."  When you find a new lodge to join, you provide them with your dimit in order to prove your good standing as a qualification to petition to join the new lodge.

Your "Masonic record" is maintained within each individual lodge of which you are a member, tracking your standing with that particular lodge.

Quote
4. Would leaving the original lodge be disrespectful?

No.  Life happens.  Sometime we need to move from one community to another, or find something more convenient, congenial, or comfortable, and need (or want) to affiliate with another lodge.

Quote
5. At what point does a Mason receive his dues card, upon acceptance, ritual, or upon the first degree?

You receive your dues card, and start paying lodge dues, when you are raised as a Master Mason.  Some lodges may provide their EAs and FCs with a temporary card indicating their status as such, but this is not a universal practice, and likely will not be sufficient proof to be admitted without being vouched for by a Master Mason who has sat with you in open lodge at that degree, nor exempt you from being examined prior to admission.  Even us card-holding MMs often have to submit to examination in order to be admitted ;-)

Quote
6. For a dues card to be recognized is there a communication process or an analysis of the card by a corresponding chapter/lodge to verify someone?

Remember the appropriate portion of your obligations...  For a strange brother who wants to attend lodge, the Master will appoint an examining committee (usually the SW and two other MMs) to verify the stranger's qualifications. Typically, as Senior Warden checking a brother's eligibility, I will check his dues card and compare that to his ID...  driver's license, or a similar document.  The name and signatures should match.  The issuing lodge should be listed in the current book of recognized lodges that we keep at the Tyler's station and in the lodge library.  The brother should take the Tyler's, or Test Oath, and be proficient in the Modes of Recognition.  Any discrepancies or suspicion in the above will drive how far I probe further.  As SW, I'm required to satisfy myself that all present are qualified to be there, so I will either be with the examining committee, or the committee will report their findings to me, and I in turn report to the Master at the proper time.

Quote
Side Questions
1. Which is the oldest formal gathering of Practicing Masons that brothers commonly recognize, the gathering in Israel upon the scope of the construction of Solomon's temple, in Europe predating 1717 (emergence of handshakes and passwords), or at the Goose and Gridiron in 1717 mainly comprised of speculative masons?

The meeting in 1717 is the oldest definite establishment of what we can really call Masonry today, or at least the real beginning of what we have today.  If you have access to Arturo de Hoyas' Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide (available from the AASR's House of the Temple and its Master Craftsman's Program), there is an excellent tracing of the history of Masonry which may satisfy your questions.

Quote
2. Do you recognize that different brothers have contrasting self/recreational education of Masonry and tend to disagree with others when esoterica, symbolism, etymology, and astrology are brought up? ie. Morals and Dogma, Ancient Masonry.

3. Why do many Masons dispel the suggestion that Masonic symbolism originates from astrology and heraldry? Because they do not want to feed the conspiracy theorists?

4. What do you personally believe the majority of AA&F Masonic symbolism originates from?

What you need to understand about Freemasonry is that the meaning of what you have seen and heard in the lodge room (and elsewhere) is largely what _you_ make of it.  No single man speaks for Freemasonry -- except you, to yourself.  There is no sin or inherent meaning in symbols; only in the meanings that we, by our own conscious choice, ascribe to them.

Books like those of Manley and others, and even Pike's Morals andDogma do not speak for all of the Craft...  they merely express the opinions and thoughts of their authors, and each brother is free to accept -or reject - in part or in total - what they say.  What Masonry provides is a structure within you direct your own search for light in your quest to build your own spiritual temple.  Freemasonry does have a teaching, however:  it teaches each man to look within his own heart, with clarity and subdued passion, to determine what is right and true.

There is an ancient riddle that asks, "Who is the Master who makes the grass green?"  The answer, is you.  You are entrusted with the power and responsibility to interpret within your own reason and experience  all that you see and hear.  And as long as you remain faithful to that trust, then no one may ever take that power or responsibility away from you.

Travel safe, my Brother...

Tom Ezell
Adoniram #288, Mabelvale, AR


Tom Ezell
Adoniram #288, F&AM
Mablevale, AR
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Learning Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2014 at 6:42pm
Thank you for the awesome response.  Great to hear the feedback from people putting in responses to this hefty post.  Take care Thumbs Up
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