"See it’s time now. If you want to make this your decade, you’ve to start saying yes to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams. Yes to your unfolding future. Yes to your potential. As opposed to saying no.
When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish.”
"black balled" is the correct term haha, but I know what you meant. I can’t really give all our criteria out, because then people could attempt to beat the system. In general the "investigative committee" of 3 Master Masons wants to sit and talk with you to find out why you want to be a Mason, see if you have any questions, see if your family has any questions (if you’re married). I’ll be honest, if I went to a house and saw a bong laying out on a table..that man is someone I would black-ball. I don’t care what a man does in his personal time, but if he doesn’t have a enough respect for the organization to at least hide things like that when we come over then he isn’t someone that I would vote for. Not to mention the Lodge isn’t looking for people that could get in trouble for drugs and then next thing you know "Freemason Caught With Marijuana" hits the newspapers and that’s bad for everybody. See what I mean? Imagine the rumors and B.S. that would hit the internet over THAT haha. The Lodge doesn’t want to bring in men that we have to worry about in terms of potential legal trouble, for starters. In general we want men that are legitimately good men, and who are looking to better themselves and their communities.
33rd degree is honorary. Nobody except the 33rds know how a Mason gets it. No 32nd degrees talk about it or ask about it. If you ask about it, you’ll never get it. We just keep our mouth shut and if you get it, you get it. No problem, any other questions and feel free to ask away
I’m going to put my two cents in on a book that I haven’t been able to read cover to cover because it frustrates me that much, every time I try to get through it. It is less than 150 pages in length and has taken me a full year to complete. I respect the author as much as a Mason should respect any other Regular Mason. I’m sure that his intent with the book was nothing but positive. Some of where he was trying to go with this book, I actually agree with but I’m going to pick out parts of the book I both disagree and agree with, and elaborate as to why. The purpose for this is not to “pick on” the Brother but to generate healthy discussion regarding the Craft worthy of consideration of all Regularly initiated Brothers. If you want to find out the book bad enough, I’m sure you can do so. But as I don’t want it to seem like I’m targeting him specifically, I’ll leave his name and the title of the book out of this.
"One might argue that these things don’t matter; that how a man dresses for Lodge is insignificant. But the question remains: if a man cannot bring himself to make even the ‘insignificant’ improvement in how he presents himself to the Lodge, how can he possibly commit to the significant discipline of making himself better in other, more important ways?"
—This gave me a bad taste early on in my reading, being just on page 5. I do see the point he is trying to make. But, is it not the internal qualifications that make a man a Mason? Where is a man first prepared? I think that out of tradition and respect, dressing up a little bit can be a good thing in Lodge. My personal opinion is that each Brother should wear whatever he wants to wear, and to be himself. Of course dressing within reason, but with the quality of men we aim to admit into the Order, there should be no concern about inappropriate clothing being worn in Lodge. I know some men who are outstanding Masons in terms of ritual work, contribution to the Lodge and their community, and as a person in general…who just simply don’t like to dress up. They are more active than half of the members who do dress up. The Lodge that this author belongs to is rumored to require every single member to wear a tux to all meetings. Furthermore I hear they are required to wear a white tux in the summer and a black tux in the winter, all members…not just the officers. Another reason that I don’t like this, is if a Mason has to pick between going home to clean up and look pretty to go to a Lodge meeting which in turn would make him late to the meeting depending on what time he gets off work, or him going straight to the Lodge as he is so that he may be on time…I would much prefer to have more Masons in attendance wearing whatever they have on, than fewer in attendance all wearing tuxes or suits. Brothers: what would be more impressive to a candidate in that defining moment during the EA degree…6 Brothers in tuxedos, or 25+ Brothers in both casual and formal attire? Participation is what Lodges need right now. I do wear a tux to our stated meetings as I’m a Lodge officer, and I do wear a dark suit to the 3rd degrees of my Lodge. For the 1st and 2nd degrees I typically wear nice jeans and a polo t-shirt. I also have two full sleeves of tattoos, and I make those seen on purpose. It’s not at all for my gain, but for the candidates. The lessons taught in the EA and FC degrees emphasize that it is the internal qualifications we care about as Masons, not the external. In my personal opinion this is the single greatest lesson in Freemasonry. When I, and other, members of the Lodge appear like this…it helps drive that point home to the candidate. Then for the 3rd degree I’ll fancy up a bit for them, given the nature of the degree. Lets face it, at the end of a long day some Masons don’t go to Lodge because the last thing they feel like doing is throwing on a suit or “nice” clothes, and I would put money on more members attending more regularly if it was known that they can come as they are. In this same chapter the author goes on to say that this is one of the things that should be changed to reclaim dignity of our organization. He actually says “reclaim dignity.” I find it insulting that any Brother would think that any Mason who doesn’t don a suit or tux for a Lodge meeting takes away from the “dignity” of our organization. That viewpoint is hypocritical to what Masonry is supposed to be about.
"If Lodge meetings and functions are no different than any other social function one would normally have in life, save the symbols and jargon, then in time brothers will have forgotten what Masonry truly is, and abandoned what makes it the treasure it has been for centuries to the best of men in all stations in life."
—I do agree with this completely. This is something that I think is important for all Lodges to understand. I’ve traveled to handfuls of Lodges around the country and many Lodges do well at avoiding this kind of atmosphere. Others, not so much. It really just depends. Some Lodges care about nothing but the ritual involved. Other Lodges struggle a bit on ritual but do well in driving home the lessons of the degrees, which in my personal opinion is more important, but of course a healthy balance between the two is the best scenario. I am fortunate to belong to a Lodge that is very strong in both areas, and creates a great Lodge environment for both new Masons and more “veteran” Masons alike. What Lodges need to realize is that time moves forward, so if they want to keep the lights on they need to attract new membership. We don’t need to recruit. REAL and regular Lodges don’t recruit. I’ve had people tell me that “the Masons tried to recruit my dad” or something along those lines. No, actually, they did not. There are fake lodges out there which in turn creates fake masons. We call them “clandys” or, clandestine. The fake lodges are literally corporations that are out to make money. They proactively recruit people because that helps them generate more money for the “leadership” to pocket. So one of those cowans may have tried to recruit somebody you know, but no Regular Lodge has or will do that. Period. Anyway, the point is that Masonry is starting to get younger. Younger men are taking interest in the Craft and have a genuine interest in becoming a part of it, and want to be a part of our Order for the right reasons. This is good for the Craft and exactly what it needs right now, nation wide. With that said, Lodges need to realize that the younger men coming into the Lodges sometimes have a different way of seeing things than the older members, and that’s purely because of the generation differences. This isn’t to say that traditions and customs of the Lodges can’t and shouldn’t be taught and emphasized to all members regardless of age, but things such as dress code won’t matter as much to the younger Masons. Many of the new Masons coming in will have tattoos, gauges in their ears, and may have professions that traditionally Masonry hasn’t seen much of in their Lodges. These include but are not limited to tattoo artists, motorcycle mechanics, or even touring rock musicians. The focus of the Lodge needs to be to get these new Brothers active in the Lodge and give them an insatiable thirst for Masonic knowledge. This helps the Lodge with participation which in turn helps the quality of ritual work, it helps the Brethren become better men and better followers of their chosen Faith, and helps Freemasonry in general. We need to create a Lodge environment that Brothers look forward to going to, want to be a part of, and truly enjoy for the Craft to thrive and grow. When I say “grow”, I don’t think that the world needs nor should it have millions of Freemasons. The Order is about quality, not quantity. With that said, there is nothing wrong with bringing in MORE quality men so that each individual Lodge across the country can thrive with activity.
“Simply stated, Masons today are being distracted from the three Craft degrees by all sorts of fabricated additional organizations which have been associated with Freemasonry, but which are not Freemasonry.”
—Again, I can see how this COULD be an issue for SOME people who care more about Masonic titles than what those titles and degrees actually stand for and are meant to teach. I have met nobody yet that falls into this category in Masonry, although I’m sure there are some somewhere. My take on this is that if your Blue Lodge does things right, it gives you a thirst for more Masonic knowledge. In my opinion, degree work itself is not knowledge. It contains some knowledge, has a purpose, and is necessary. But those alone may not satisfy a Masons quest for “light”, or knowledge. This kind of thirst is usually a genuine interest in Masonic history, which is very complex and extremely old. That’s part of the mystery about it all. That’s what happened to me. I went through my 3 Blue Lodge degrees but wanted to learn more..much more. That’s what the additional organizations like the York Rite and Scottish Rite were created for, was for Masons that want to learn more and further pursue Masonic knowledge and history. These organizations absolutely ARE a part of Freemasonry, contrary to what the author claims. Some Blue Lodges also aren’t as active as others so additional Masonic organizations provide a way for them to stay involved and continue to educate themselves Masonically, as well as continue to have a positive impact on the community through the various charities or events that an appendant body may be involved in. In these bodies, say the Scottish Rite for example, it is made very clear that Blue Lodge is the most important and oldest part of Freemasonry. It is also made clear and even emphasized that a 32nd degree Freemason is not a better Mason than a 3rd degree Freemason. I know some people who had an extreme interest in the Knights Templars and that’s why they joined Masonry. I’m betting that the author would probably argue against admitting a man like this if he was honest about his purpose for wanting to join Masonry, but I don’t see an issue with it as long as all of the other qualifications of the man meet the standards of that Lodge. In this case, a man came into a Blue Lodge due to the requirement of having to be a Master Mason before being able to petition the York Rite. He then became involved with his Blue Lodge and got in line as well. This man became an asset to his Lodge, while pursuing his goals of becoming a Knight Templar outside of his Blue Lodge duties. I see no problem with this. Everybody wins. The Blue Lodge gets a man that cares about Craft Masonry and is active in his Lodge and a regular and consistent basis, the York Rite gains a good member that is active and wants to be involved in the York Rite, and the individual Mason benefits from his Blue Lodge and York Rite activity as well as attains the goal he had of becoming a Knights Templar. As long as the man is not simply joining for JUST a title and then bows out…it’s his business and let him go about it in whatever way he wants so long as he contributes as an active Mason to his Lodge.
This is where I’ll stop for now. I’ll continue this over the coming weeks. For the record, none of this was meant to be disrespectful to anybody regardless of your views on these topics.
York right is more Christian based lessons. And the “top” of the York Rite are the Knights Templars. The Scottish Rite is how you become a 32nd degree Freemason. It is considered the “university of Freemasonry” because there is a lot of reading and research involved. I am a Scottish Rite Mason but because I’m a Christian really want to get involved in the York Rite when I have the time to dedicate to it. Both are great organizations and one is not “better” than the other.