Ask a Freemason Questions and Answers Find a Lodge Near You
   
 
Knights Templar Commandery
Posted: 16 March 2017 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  93
Joined  2014-08-22

I’ve seen posts on other forums concerning the decline in membership in the Commandery. I would like to get a fresh perspective. Does anyone here think that the Commandery decline is any worse that in Masonry as a whole? If so why? Any suggestions on upping membership? I very much like the York Rite in general and the Commandery in particular. Would welcome any replies concerning this.

 Signature 

St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
King Solomon Chapter # 5, Royal Arch Masons
Louisville Council # 4, Royal and Select Masters
Louisville-DeMolay Commandery #12, Knights Templar

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 March 2017 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2331
Joined  2011-01-20
Warrior1256 - 16 March 2017 07:00 PM

I’ve seen posts on other forums concerning the decline in membership in the Commandery. I would like to get a fresh perspective. Does anyone here think that the Commandery decline is any worse that in Masonry as a whole? If so why? Any suggestions on upping membership? I very much like the York Rite in general and the Commandery in particular. Would welcome any replies concerning this.

Please don’t take this as a criticism as it is only my reason for not joining York Rite. Again,  in my opinion York Rite is the only body of Masonry that discriminates based on a Brother’s religion. When reading the petition when I was considering joining I found that I would be required to swear to defend the Christian religion above all others. While I value the lessons of Jesus my faith demands respect for all religions that teach us to love one another. I could not take that oath and remain true to my faith. A Mason should never be put in the position of choosing between the Craft and his faith.

York Rite is the most faith based of the bodies. There has been a long decline in most religious practitioners to the point where the Pope recently announced he would consider married men for the priesthood.  This, I’m sure, contributes to a decline in York Rite membership even more severely than the Craft overall.

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  249
Joined  2014-06-15
Brother John - 16 March 2017 09:53 PM

...in my opinion York Rite is the only body of Masonry that discriminates based on a Brother’s religion. When reading the petition when I was considering joining I found that I would be required to swear to defend the Christian religion above all others. While I value the lessons of Jesus my faith demands respect for all religions that teach us to love one another. I could not take that oath and remain true to my faith…

First, that issue with the petition is jurisdicitonal. In ours it does not state that on the Petition as it is not a requirement for the Chapter or Council and should not be asked to join those bodies. The only time a candidate is asked to protect the Christian faith above all others (at least for us) is when starting the Commandery degrees. So in our jurisdiction you could join the Chapter and Council without falsifying any “oath”.

Second, I don’t think that is the reason in decline for the Commandery. Most people understand that the Commandery/Masonic Knights Templar are just that, a masonic version of the KNIGHTS TEMPLAR who were Christian Knights tasked with protecting Christians on the pilgrim’s path to Jerusalem. You could not join the Knights Templar without taking an oath of fealty to the Christian faith. I believe that the decline in the Commandery is because it isn’t what people expect it to be. Frankly, I after a couple of months of membership, I considered dropping my Commandery and Council memberships and only maintaining my Chapter membership (and only that one because I see value in the continuation of the Masonic story). By the same token, I have considered dropping my Scottish Rite membership because I see nothing different in this body, either.

I expected it to be a more disciplined militant order based on the reasoning and ideas of the Knights Templar, albeit a modernized version. Instead, it turns out that while there are those there who want it and expected it to be similar to what I did, most of them are older gentleman who carried over the thinking of their other masonic bodies into this one… just another excuse to get together and drink coffee.

It’s also expensive to join because of the dress uniform. $140 or more for the suit; $175 or more for the Chapeau; $150 or more for the sword belt; plus sword, medals, gloves, etc. And to top it all off, the uniform looks like something more from the early 1800s naval uniforms than a Knight Templar.

My opinion is that if you want to boost membership and retain those who join, especially the younger crowd. Then make it what it is supposed to be, or at least what is implied it should be.

Change the uniform to be more of a match to a modernized Knight Templar: maybe dress formal would be dark suit and tie with Templar mantle and cap (some have adopted this but still not valid for Grand Encampment). This would also be cheaper as the person could use his business suit for this purpose; would not have to buy the chapeau (cap is much cheaper); and maybe make the sword belt more generic and functional as well being just a simple leather sword belt.

Then change the thinking of the meetings. Make it a more militant style meeting with the appropriate training and drills. Some local commanderies have sword drill teams, but require all members to know basic sword techniques. And while we are at it, have a guest instructor come in to show basic sword skills in fighting.

Just some suggestions. But make it more real. Make it cheaper to be a part of, etc.

 Signature 

Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  249
Joined  2014-06-15

Sorry, for the second posting, but I forgot to mention…

For those who do not practice the Christian faith but are interested in the Chapter and “knighthood”, there is the Council of Knight Masons. The only requirement is that you are a mason in good standing and a current member of a Royal Arch Chapter. The Council of Knight Masons includes three more degrees considered by some to be the Irish degrees: Knight of the Sword, Knight of the East, and Knight of the East and West.

The regalia is more consistent with Freemasony, and the additional items such as sword belt and sash are cheaper than the regalia of the Commandery.

 Signature 

Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2331
Joined  2011-01-20

While I understand that any brother is welcome to join Chapter and Counsel, why bother if you can’t go through all the degrees of York Rite? Why support the organization when they exclude men because of their faith?

Again, just my opinion.

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  249
Joined  2014-06-15

But that’s just it. You are not supporting the Commandery if you only join Chapter and Council. You are supporting what you join. I don’t know how things are done in Massachusetts, but here we pay the York Rite bodies dues all at one time in one payment. But the payment can be broken out so that you only pay for the bodies you belong to.

Also, money is money, but support is bodies and activity. But you do for you what you feel is right. If you do not practice the Christian faith then don’t join the Commandery. (By the way, this also means that you will also never be in the Societas Rosicruciana Civitatibus Foederatis [SRCIF]as it is a Christian order as well)

If you don’t like it and feel you are missing out then form another version that isn’t Christian oriented, like the knight degrees in Scottish Rite, or the Council of Knight Masons. No one is judging you on the path you have chosen for your faith; so please don’t talk down a path that is not in line with what you have personally chosen.

 Signature 

Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2331
Joined  2011-01-20

First of all, you asked for opinions as to the reasons for a decline in membership for York Rite. In all my replies, I pointed out that this was my opinion.

It’s not a matter of trying to start another appendant body, which would be difficult at best, I was just trying to let you know my reasons for not joining. I know several others in the same situation. I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to join a specialized group so long as they accept and agree with the principals of that group. It’s not that I don’t like York Rite, It’s just not for me or many of my brothers. Since the pool of possible recruits is limited, the participation in any specialized group will be more severely effected by the decline in overall membership in the Fraternity. Every appendant body is feeling the pain, some more than others.

Many brothers ask me about joining appendant bodies. They often ask me the difference between York and Scottish Rites. My answer is that both expand upon the lessons of the degrees. York Rite presents them from a Christian perspective while Scottish Rite uses many different perspectives. The next question is usually which ones I belong to. I tell them I’m a member of Scottish Rite. Hardly anyone every asks me why i didn’t choose York Rite.

The last thing I wish to do is cause disharmony between us, my brother. You asked, I answered. If you don’t like my reasons that’s OK. I will always respect your opinions and hope you can give me the same courtesy.

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  249
Joined  2014-06-15
Brother John - 17 March 2017 09:36 AM

First of all, you asked for opinions as to the reasons for a decline in membership for York Rite. In all my replies, I pointed out that this was my opinion.

I didn’t ask but the OP did. I was like you giving my opinion. You chimed in on my clarification of your “opinion” and then my opinions.

You stated that you had to be Christian to be in the York Rite. That is not true as I stated in my first reply. The only time Christianity has a play is when joining the Commandery. Remember the York rite is made up of three separate bodies each one governed by it’s own Grand whatever. And if you don’t want to or can’t join the commandery due to your faith then there are other options such as the Knight Masons or Scottish Rite (also already mentioned.)

You also stated that it was the only body that discriminates, and that is not true either. And I gave the example of SRICF. Of course, if you really want to hit on a body then try the Swedish Rite of Freemasonry practiced all over Scandinavia and a few other jurisdictions. They require that you be Christian, as well.

I wasn’t trying to speak ill about your opinions, but I was trying to let the OP know that your opinion of the York Rite is not everyone’s opinion, and may not be the reason for declining numbers as that was his original question.

Instead of presenting that opinion in a negative light (which may not have been your intention, but it came across that way) then maybe use words like specialized group instead of discriminatory group. After all Freemasonry as a whole is a “discriminatory group”. We only accept men, and out of men we only accept those of good character.

Peace brother. Live and practice Freemasonry as you see fit.

 Signature 

Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  93
Joined  2014-08-22
Brother John - 17 March 2017 09:36 AM

First of all, you asked for opinions as to the reasons for a decline in membership for York Rite. In all my replies, I pointed out that this was my opinion.

It’s not a matter of trying to start another appendant body, which would be difficult at best, I was just trying to let you know my reasons for not joining. I know several others in the same situation. I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to join a specialized group so long as they accept and agree with the principals of that group. It’s not that I don’t like York Rite, It’s just not for me or many of my brothers. Since the pool of possible recruits is limited, the participation in any specialized group will be more severely effected by the decline in overall membership in the Fraternity. Every appendant body is feeling the pain, some more than others.

Many brothers ask me about joining appendant bodies. They often ask me the difference between York and Scottish Rites. My answer is that both expand upon the lessons of the degrees. York Rite presents them from a Christian perspective while Scottish Rite uses many different perspectives. The next question is usually which ones I belong to. I tell them I’m a member of Scottish Rite. Hardly anyone every asks me why i didn’t choose York Rite.
No Brother, it was me that asked the original question and I DO respect your opinion and thank you for your replies.
The last thing I wish to do is cause disharmony between us, my brother. You asked, I answered. If you don’t like my reasons that’s OK. I will always respect your opinions and hope you can give me the same courtesy.

I respect your opinions Brother and thank you for your replies.

 Signature 

St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
King Solomon Chapter # 5, Royal Arch Masons
Louisville Council # 4, Royal and Select Masters
Louisville-DeMolay Commandery #12, Knights Templar

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 March 2017 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  93
Joined  2014-08-22
Bro DHoward - 17 March 2017 10:26 AM
Brother John - 17 March 2017 09:36 AM

First of all, you asked for opinions as to the reasons for a decline in membership for York Rite. In all my replies, I pointed out that this was my opinion.

I didn’t ask but the OP did. I was like you giving my opinion. You chimed in on my clarification of your “opinion” and then my opinions.

You stated that you had to be Christian to be in the York Rite. That is not true as I stated in my first reply. The only time Christianity has a play is when joining the Commandery. Remember the York rite is made up of three separate bodies each one governed by it’s own Grand whatever. And if you don’t want to or can’t join the commandery due to your faith then there are other options such as the Knight Masons or Scottish Rite (also already mentioned.)

You also stated that it was the only body that discriminates, and that is not true either. And I gave the example of SRICF. Of course, if you really want to hit on a body then try the Swedish Rite of Freemasonry practiced all over Scandinavia and a few other jurisdictions. They require that you be Christian, as well.

I wasn’t trying to speak ill about your opinions, but I was trying to let the OP know that your opinion of the York Rite is not everyone’s opinion, and may not be the reason for declining numbers as that was his original question.

Instead of presenting that opinion in a negative light (which may not have been your intention, but it came across that way) then maybe use words like specialized group instead of discriminatory group. After all Freemasonry as a whole is a “discriminatory group”. We only accept men, and out of men we only accept those of good character.

Peace brother. Live and practice Freemasonry as you see fit.

I also respect your opinions Brother and thank you for your replies.

 Signature 

St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
King Solomon Chapter # 5, Royal Arch Masons
Louisville Council # 4, Royal and Select Masters
Louisville-DeMolay Commandery #12, Knights Templar

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 March 2017 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  503
Joined  2012-01-30

I think part of the problem is we grouped groups that are not groups.  The York Rite is not a rite whereas the Scottish Rite is a unified rite.  A more appropriate name would be the Chapter, Council, and Commandery Association of Bodies, but who would want to say that.  When I joined the YR the petition was for all three bodies and said something like “I affirm my belief in the Christian Faith”.  Being that it was one petition for all bodies I don’t think a non-Christian could join the Chapter I did.  Which is sad.

When I joined SRICF the petition asked if I believed in the Trinitarian Christian Faith.  This limits a large group of people who consider themselves Christian.  For the invitational bodies I have no issue with these types of requirements as by default there are not open for everyone.  But for a body that is not invitational and on top of that is extremely well known it doesn’t feel right to me.  Granted my feelings don’t amount to much except to me.

I’ll bow out now as I’m involved in the topic where I brother came from and I am not a fresh set of eyes. 

Friendship, morality, and brotherly love always.

 Signature 

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

I’m living in the DC area now.

There is no Gospel According to St. Youtube.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 March 2017 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  93
Joined  2014-08-22
goomba - 22 March 2017 01:12 AM

I think part of the problem is we grouped groups that are not groups.  The York Rite is not a rite whereas the Scottish Rite is a unified rite.  A more appropriate name would be the Chapter, Council, and Commandery Association of Bodies, but who would want to say that.  When I joined the YR the petition was for all three bodies and said something like “I affirm my belief in the Christian Faith”.  Being that it was one petition for all bodies I don’t think a non-Christian could join the Chapter I did.  Which is sad.

When I joined SRICF the petition asked if I believed in the Trinitarian Christian Faith.  This limits a large group of people who consider themselves Christian.  For the invitational bodies I have no issue with these types of requirements as by default there are not open for everyone.  But for a body that is not invitational and on top of that is extremely well known it doesn’t feel right to me.  Granted my feelings don’t amount to much except to me.

I’ll bow out now as I’m involved in the topic where I brother came from and I am not a fresh set of eyes. 

Friendship, morality, and brotherly love always.

Thank you for your post Brother.

 Signature 

St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
King Solomon Chapter # 5, Royal Arch Masons
Louisville Council # 4, Royal and Select Masters
Louisville-DeMolay Commandery #12, Knights Templar

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 March 2017 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  91
Joined  2015-11-25

I am devout Christian.

I am very much looking forward to petitioning the York Rite after becoming MM.

From the beginning of interest in Masonry I was also very interested in KT. My interest is greater here than ever stepping into the Blue Lodge Officer line. (dont read into that too deep, I have no intention of fading out of blue lodge) (my fear is it will cost more than I can commit)

I believe that the origins of Masonry are / were in fact Christian and the 3 degrees reflect that. Over time it has evolved to be a form of improvement for all faiths. I think the inclusion of all faiths in Blue Lodge is apropriate.

I am more than a little frustrated at all of the anti-Christian wet blanket stifle attitude of our world today. YR is not Freemasonry. I’ve have been re-inforced many times that apendant bodies and the actions of those who belong to them are not a reflection of Masons or masonry. So to say that a branch of Masonry is not inclusive is really flipping that protective view into an insinuation of bigotry. For instance, anti-masons are fast to point out perceived faults with Albert Pike and the SR. The first defense to pop up is, SR is completely separate from FM. If that defense holds any water, then YR is also separate and therefore can totally be Christian if it chooses to.

For anyone that doesnt want to bother with YR, just join SR (all faiths) or focus on Blue Lodge (all faiths). I know the Blue Lodge doesnt want me to make those aspects to be any more Christian than they already are. YR is a good place to reinforce more Christian Faith.

As you know there are MANY MANY other apendant bodies and organizations to get involved in OR possibly even start a new one with like minded brothers. I only say all this because I urge my Masonic Brothers not to get caught up in these worldly emotions that push anything Christian down. This is popular today. I’m asking you to stand up for me and my faith as I stand up for you and yours.

I believe that because of my faith, I had a deeper (different) experience with my degrees than some Brothers have. My faith connection is much more important to me than the Blue Lodge will ever be. I look forward to continuing that connection as I learn about the YR. The Fraternity has enough problems with anti-mason Christians and Catholics. Pushing YR and KT into broader faiths just ads fuel to their misconceptions that Masonry grows even more demonic.

 Signature 

Entered-06-20-16
Passed-02-20-17
Raised-06-10-17
Golden City Lodge #1
Golden, CO

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 March 2017 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  93
Joined  2014-08-22

Very Good!

 Signature 

St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
King Solomon Chapter # 5, Royal Arch Masons
Louisville Council # 4, Royal and Select Masters
Louisville-DeMolay Commandery #12, Knights Templar

Profile
 
 
   
 
 

© 2007 - 2011 The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

Page rendered in 0.4285 seconds.