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Need Advice From Veteran Masons.
Posted: 17 August 2015 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I was raised in December of 2014. So I haven’t been a mason long. I’m trying to give it a year, but I’m seriously considering leaving masonry. Since my first meeting as a MM, I was asked to take the J.D. chair. I politely declined. The very next day after my first meeting, I was asked to take the S.S. position. I was told all I needed to do was prep candidates. I explained I may not be able to make it to every meeting because I don’t have a babysitter if my wife is working. They said no problem. After accepting, I was told to help open and close the building, prepare food because the J.W. needed a break, coach all newcomers while it was fresh in my mind, and be on the investigation committee. This required I be at every meeting as well. So after one meeting as S.S. I withdrew from the position.

Since then, I still get pressure to take the J.D. chair. I even backed out of my third degree proficiency just to keep from forced into the chair. Or at least to me, that’s what it felt like. Even though I didn’t do my third degree proficiency, I still get asked or teased every meeting about taking the chair. I’ve even overheard snide comments about me not doing my part for the lodge. I’ve tried helping the lodge the best I can in other ways. I’m still on the investigation committee, I built the lodge a top notch website, purchased a domain out of my own pocket, and did a tad bit of photography for the lodge(like take pictures of officers and digitize photos all past masters in the past 98 years.

In meetings, religion and politics get brought up. Not in heavy discussions, but a seed gets planted which leads to a short discussions. Two meetings ago, there were racial slurs being made in which I was deeply offended. I tried to let it go, but the next day I tried calling the W.M to address it. I didn’t get ahold of him on the phone, so I then called my coach. We discussed it and I just asked if our lodge was racist. His answer was “yes”, but he personally wasn’t. The I asked if all the lodges in our area was, and he answered “yes” and told me which ones were the worst, so I could avoid them(I like visiting other lodges).

Now an hour ago, I called our J.W. to find out why he wasn’t doing our dinner tomorrow night. He said because he was removed from the chair. His wife split a week ago accusing him of cheating. I asked if he was, and he said “no”. I asked him if she had any so called evidence that he was. He said “no”. I know it is his word versus hers, but how can they remove him from the chair without evidence or confession? His wife works with the Secretary’s wife, and has been friends with the controlling group of the lodge a lot longer than he has. What happened to being there from our brothers? For months the controlling group(mostly P.M.‘s) have been bad mouthing him. I even had a friend who asked about masonry, and I asked my coach what do I do if he wants to petition the lodge. That my friend knew both me and the J.W. My coach said don’t let the J.W. sign the petition or my friend won’t get in. WTF?

I could go on about other issues with there being factions within our lodge. I visit 3 other lodges looking for a better lodge, but I don’t know the procedure for leaving my current lodge and joining a new one. I haven’t found a new one yet, but I certainly don’t want to continue in the lodge that I’m in.

I’ve even considered abandoning masonry altogether, mainly because I’m not Christian, but masonry seems to evolve around it. I know masonry accepts people of various faiths, but it appears as though only Christians would be comfortable and fully accepted there. Is it mostly like this elsewhere? In our lodge, the masonic education is based on how many bible versus are in masonry. Rituals I can tolerate, but not Sunday school.

Please advise. I don’t know what to do. I want to move to another lodge, but don’t know the procedure, and I don’t want to leave masonry, but I will if something doesn’t change.

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Posted: 18 August 2015 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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There may be some differences in procedure, but in general, you petition the Lodge of your choice for an affiliate membership.After you are accepted, you can then “demit” from your original Lodge.
Another way is to “demit” now and you have a certain period in which to join another Lodge without having to get approval from your GL.

YMMV as this is the procedure in NY.

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Past Master, Dryden Lodge #472
Secretary, Caroline Lodge #618
Hudson,Fulton,Dryden Chapter #250 OES
32* A&ASR; Coudersport Pa.
RAM Fidelity #77

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Posted: 18 August 2015 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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The procedure in Massachusetts would be the same as in New York, affiliate with another lodge then demit from you mother lodge.

When you leave your current lodge, you will not be leaving Masonry. It doesn’t sound like there’s a whole lot of Masonry being practiced there.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

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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Posted: 18 August 2015 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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As much as we try to avoid it, some lodges just seem to fall apart.  Unfortunate, but since lodges are self run, the only way to address issues in the lodge is to get the Grand Lodge involved.

I would say if your lodge is engaged in openly racist behavior, or if they are having political or religious discussions that you find exclusionary in the lodge, they they need some serious tuning, and the Grand Lodge should be made aware.

It’s up to you though if you want to take that on. 

If you find a lodge that you like better, you should be able to just demit from one and petition for affiliation with the other, but check with the Grand Secretary for the exact procedure.

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Senior Deacon, Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 18 August 2015 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hello Brother.

As Worshipful Dan said, any Lodge can run into infighting and personality conflicts at some point in their history, but in my experience that often comes from simply not having enough members to fill the officer chairs.  At that point, Past Masters often have to fill in, affecting the growth and vitality of the Lodge. At the same time, you should have never been pressured to become an officer. And if you expressed fear that you would not be able to attend Lodge and rehearsals, you should never have been allowed to become an officer. That’s because one of the things that getting into the “line” teaches is both a dependency on and respect for our fellow officers.

Since this is the New Mason section of the Forum, I think your concerns merit some discussion. But I would like to let prospective members and other new Masons know that this is not the norm in Freemasonry. Many Lodges these days are actively growing, have a new younger membership, and often have a waiting list to become an officer. I know many Brothers in North Carolina who are in active, growing, and vibrant Lodges.

But because a Lodge is like a breathing, changing being, it will have down times from time to time. When that happens it is often up to the newest Masons to get involved and re-energize the Lodge. Great Lodges do this again and again in their history.  So I wouldn’t necessarily give up on your Lodge. And if you do affiliate with another Lodge, you can always wait to see if things get better in yours, while you attend your new Lodge.

By the way, Forum rules do state that to post as a Freemason you must include your Lodge affiliation in your posts or your Bio.  If you feel uncomfortable doing that, please email or PM an administrator with that information and a request to keep your Lodge affiliation private.

Thanks.

Bob Heruska
Forum Admin

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Bob Heruska
Past Master
Columbian Lodge
Boston, MA

Member of the York Rite, Scottish Rite, and the Mystic Shrine.

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Posted: 18 August 2015 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I’m not the most senior Mason by far but I’m also not new to Masonry so I’ll give my take.

There are many lodges.  All of them are part of the Masonic family.  Not all of them practice Masonry.  But remember a handful of Masons not practicing Masonry does not mean Masonry is the problem.  Look for another lodge or maybe other Masons in the area of like mind.  There are many internet forums for Masonic discussion.  I know my home lodge has never offered me the Masonic experience I’ve looked for.  Granted its nothing like what you’ve described.  So I joined the York Rite.  This is where I have gotten the most enjoyment and light from Masonry.

I’m sorry for your problems brother.  You should read A Traditional Observance Lodge: One Mason’s Journey to Fulfillment you will read of a brother Mason who was feed up with Masonry and what he did.

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DeWayne
Kensington-Bethesda Lodge No. 198 - Senior Warden
RAM, RSM, KT, KM, SRICF

I’m living in the DC area now.

There is no Gospel According to St. Youtube.

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Posted: 19 November 2016 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Without going into too much personal detail, I wanted to post an update about the problems I had with my lodge.

I spoke with our 2016 Master around April about the problems I was having with the lodge after a 6 month absence. Since then he has done his best to address the issues with the lodge. He did well I think. He has dispelled the racism issues by inviting non-whites, non-American masons from other countries. Particular “problem members” have changed their behavior for the better, and several have demitted from the lodge altogether. Other previous members who had left, before I became a member, because of the same issues I’ve mentioned, have returned to the lodge. Our Master also did masonic education almost every single meeting. Now meetings have went from an average 4-6 member attendance, to an average 8-14 member attendance. I mean, it’s not perfect, but things are looking up.

At the moment, I couldn’t feel any better about being a freemason.

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Posted: 19 November 2016 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Excellent news, brother. I have discovered that although the lodge has its own character, the Master has a big influence on the members and the quality of the meetings. When I was distracted, the sideline attendance fell. When I was back on track, the sidelines filled back up again. I asked my sponsor why he thought attendance had fallen and he said, “What have you done to entertain me lately?” He is a wise man and a good friend.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

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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Posted: 19 November 2016 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Glad to hear things are looking up, but I’d be concerned about the future of a lodge that only gets 8-14 members attending. For me, that doesn’t bode well at all.

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Richard
Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Provincial Grand Treasurer (Royal Arch)
Member of Craft, Royal Arch, Ancient & Accepted Rite, Mark, Royal Ark Mariner, Knight Templar, Knight Templar Priest, Order of Secret Monitor, Royal Order of Scotland
UGLE.

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Posted: 20 November 2016 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
There are times when the only recourse is to leave.
Other times patience is what is needed.

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Past Master, Dryden Lodge #472
Secretary, Caroline Lodge #618
Hudson,Fulton,Dryden Chapter #250 OES
32* A&ASR; Coudersport Pa.
RAM Fidelity #77

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Posted: 20 November 2016 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Xarcell,

  Glad you posted an update and glad things are improving. I hope that maybe with the improvement your attendance will continue to rise as well.

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Ken Byrd

Petitioned 10/15/2013
Initiated 4/15/2014
Passed 3/17/2015
Raised 9/15/2015

Socrates Lodge #373
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

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Posted: 21 November 2016 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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So glad to hear things are looking up!

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Senior Deacon, Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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