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Alcohol in Lodges

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longp2000 View Drop Down
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    Posted: July/10/2015 at 3:07pm
I start this topic which I've seen discussed in various manners on forums and in person. Please be courteous to each other when discussing. I've seen these go sideways before.

First, I want to tell you about a situation and then tell you why I support the prohibition of alcohol in Texas lodges.

I have a good friend that was interested in Masonry, he'd mentioned it to me several times nonchalantly but never asked direct questions. I invited him to have dinner with us sometime but he never did. One day he specifically asked me about being a mason and I told him the standard stuff (what I had been told) which I won't repeat now and told him if he wanted to meet some of the brothers to come to dinner on Thursday with me and meet a few of the guys. He was hesitant and I didn't think he'd come. To my surprise he did but seemed shy until we all started eating and talking. As I walked him around the lodge and showed him our books and antiques, different parts of the lodge he saw a sign that was framed. It was from the late 1800s and our lodge had framed it and placed it outside of our dining area. It was the law prohibiting alcohol in any Texas lodge. He read it and then said "The reason I didn't come the first few times you invited me is because I am a recovering alcoholic." He went on to tell me that in his twenties he had been pretty rough and he dealt with alcoholism to the point that his wife gave him and ultimatum, either he stop drinking or he lost his family. He looked me in the eye and said "I have been sober for 18-years and the way I do it to not put myself in situations where I may slip." He did not know our lodge was alcohol free and I didn't think to tell him that. He has been a lodge member for six years now and a good one at that.

I feel like those of us that have never dealt with alcoholism do not entirely grasp that keeping a lodge alcohol free creates a "safe" place for some of our brothers where they don't have to worry about being reminded of that part of their lives or face that temptation.

If we did allow alcohol in our lodge and it cost us one potential brother, that would be too many for me. There are a 100 places in my town to have a beer. I like the lodge not being one of those places, I can always have a glass of tea there though.
"So long as we are loved by others I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend." - Robert Louis Stevenson
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log cabin Bill View Drop Down
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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: July/11/2015 at 10:10am
Thanks for sharing that story. I am glad that your friend has joined and has been such a good member. Pennsylvania lodges are also alcohol free.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rchadwic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/11/2015 at 2:16pm
You make an excellent point, Bro longp... I'd never thought of that angle. Fla Lodges are also alcohol-free, and IMHO, there's no reason to change that. Thanks for the story and insight.

Bob Chadwick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adept? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/11/2015 at 3:10pm
I had also never thought of this issue from that perspective. It is indeed a VERY good point,and legitimate reason (IMO) for keeping lodges dry, or making them so if they are not. Maine lodges are also dry. (at least to the best of my knowledge.) I've never seen alcohol served, or available at any lodge function.
"It is humanity that creates god, and men think that god has made them in his image, because they make him in theirs."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anthony660 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/15/2015 at 12:25pm
I am in the minority and beleive we should be able to have alcohol at lodge events. We are adults and if we learn anything from the 1st degree is that we should exercise Temperance not abstinence. What would be wrong with rasing a toast to a newly raised brother? Or sharing a bourbon with a brother in lodge?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote longp2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/17/2015 at 4:28pm
Anthony, I don't think there would be anything wrong with toasting a brother or having a drink with him. We have lodge brothers that do that at a bar a few blocks from our lodge. Those that want to participate do, those that don't, don't, no one is ever compelled to leave the lodge to avoid it. I respect your opinion though.
"So long as we are loved by others I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend." - Robert Louis Stevenson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote goomba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2015 at 8:01pm
Originally posted by Anthony660 Anthony660 wrote:

I am in the minority and believe we should be able to have alcohol at lodge events. We are adults and if we learn anything from the 1st degree is that we should exercise Temperance not abstinence. What would be wrong with raising a toast to a newly raised brother? Or sharing a bourbon with a brother in lodge?


I'm with you on this brother 100%.  I also believe wine in particular is mentioned somewhere in the 2nd degree Wink.  After working for so long some would say some of us have earned it again Wink.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sec'yBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2015 at 10:04pm
Let me start out by stating, I am not taking a stand on this, just offering my .02 cents worth.
 
I am Lodge education Officer, and I have done some research obviously.  Many , many times, mostly in the past, has a Lodge either lost it's charter or suffered some serious setback due to alcohol.
 
Now, let me set the table..........................many years back,  most Lodges met either upstairs from, or alongside a tavern, and often the Brothers would meet at the watering hole prior to a meeting, and gets things started.  Then after getting a bit of the sauce, would enter Lodge and things would go south.
 
Now a days, most if not all Lodges are seperated from taverns  so the direct influence is no longer there.  Most of the above, occurred during and around the civil war time period, and war, politics, religion etc. were the topics of choice.
 
Should we ban it now?/keep it banned?    I think it is up to the respective Grand Lodges and their members.   I suppose  a small amount of drink after a meeting would be acceptable, but that could be done at a bar just as easily.  And the general public, I suppose would look at us with a better eye, if it was banned from the building.
 
I am not a "drinker", I do have one  every now and then, so I don't need it at Lodge.  But I would certainly have one with a brother, if it was allowed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Warrior1256 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2015 at 11:24am
Kentucky lodges are dry. I like a beer now and then but am  in favor of keeping the ban. I believe that this projects a more positive image.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cemab4y Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/10/2015 at 7:19pm
I have attended lodge in five other nations.   The usa is one of the few nations that. Are dry. I vote WET. We are adults,and we should be treated like adults. I have visited lodges all over the usa where the lodge is located near a bar or lounge. After the lodge meeting, you walk next door and have a beer. I live in a treatment hospital. With alcoholics and drug addicts. I know about as much about alcoholism as any layman.

If a man cannot enter a lodge unless the building has no alcohol.he should seriously consider avoiding masonry altogether. I guess the man cannot enter a restaurant unless no alcohol. Is served. If a man has no self control. I do not want him in my lodge.   

My perspective is different than most, I have lived for many years in Islamic countries, where all alcohol. Is banned.

Fyi:there are AA meetings in Saudi Arabia

Charles E. Martin

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Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windrider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2015 at 1:04pm
I recently visited a lodge in Rennes, France. As soon as I shook hands with a brother on entering the building I was offered a beer. Then Scotch. I mentioned that in Massachusetts we are not allowed to drink before a lodge meeting. The French brother said, "We used to be like that, too. Unfortunately most of our members were late for meetings. When we started serving alcohol before the meeting, everyone was early." Now, the French have a very different set of rules for alcohol than we in the US do. There is no "drinking age" and wine is considered an essential part of a good meal. On the other hand, any more than one glass of wine with a meal made every driver I knew stay off the road. 

My lodge serves beer and a specialty of mine, moonshine recipes. after our meetings. The Worshipful Master that raised me is a recovering alcoholic. He had no issues with others drinking so long as it was not to excess. I agree with that. Now that I'm in the East, I have had a discussion with a brother who's passions were not within due bounds and offered help if he chose it. 

I also meet with my mentor on most Sunday evenings to rehearse ritual. To be honest, half our time is spent gossiping these days. I realized very early on that if I have as little as one beer all ritual flees from my mind and I may as well stay home. As a result, I never drink before a meeting where there is even a chance that I might be filling in for a missing officer and certainly not when I'm presiding. 

The bottom line for me is that each jurisdiction has its own culture and mores respecting alcohol. To the French, starting the evening with fellowship and a few drinks is perfectly normal and even expected. To me in Massachusetts, the drinking starts after the work of the evening. To you in Texas, alcohol has no place in the lodge. I say we are all correct.

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God never sends us anything we can't handle. Sometimes I wish He didn't trust me so much. - Mother Teresa
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