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Is this keeping in the tradition of Freemasonry?
Posted: 23 February 2011 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hello all

This past October I received all three of my degrees in the same day. A program known as the “One Day Masonic Journey” has been authorized by the Grand Master of Pennsylvania. Its main purpose is for men who are too busy to work on their degrees over a long period of time, so the solution would be to grant new Masons all three degrees in one day. However, all new brothers are being referenced to this program instead of the traditional one degree at a time method, regardless of preference. I heard this was due to budget constraints. Here is a link to the program: http://www.pagrandlodge.org/gmaster/oneday.html

Also, the Grand Master of PA has authorized that Masons invite friends they feel are worthy into the fraternity. Would this be crossing the line of a Mason trying to ask or encourage someone into joining instead of waiting for them to ask?

So is all this still keeping in the regular traditions of the craft?

Thanks!

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Posted: 24 February 2011 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Good questions.

It sounds like the Grand Lodge of PA is trying something that they tried in Massachusetts a few years ago.  I sat in a couple of “One Day Classes” as a mentor to new Masons.

In my personal experience, many of the men in these classes actually fell asleep during their “raising”.  It was a nightmare.  All these Masons being made who won’t even remember their degrees.  It became a meaningless ceremony, and I don’t know ANY active lodge participants who are still around who were raised on one of those days.

Being raised as a Mason is a very personal and intimate ceremony.  The one day class contradicts that utterly.

In my own personal opinion (I do not speak for the Grand Lodge) it was a failed experiment.

Furthermore, it is a shame that they are referring all men to this type of raising.

There, I’ve shared my opinion on that…..but each Grand Lodge can do what they want.  I know that if Mass ever tried it again, there would be no members of our lodge there.

As for asking men to join, MA tried that too.  I remember the GM carrying around applications in his pocket and asking all other Masons to do the same.  While I appreciate what he was trying to do, I myself do not feel that this is the way to make Masons.  Asking someone to join does go against tradition and in fact would force a contradiction in what you swear before you are even first brought into a lodge, that you freely and voluntarily offer yourself as a candidate, unbiased by friends and uninfluenced by mercinary motives.

OK, I’m a little opinionated on this, but I’ve seen the “results” firsthand and I think we’ve learned from the mistake.

I’m sure there are brothers on here with different perspectives and my mind is very open should you wish to persuade me as to the merits of such a program.

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Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
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Posted: 24 February 2011 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Wow… well. I haven’t been around long but, I worked full time and attended college as a full time student while moving through my degrees. It was important for me to make time and now, I am glad I did.

My personal opinion is that Freemasonry is a dying “art”(For lack of a better term in my head). That doesn’t mean it is DEAD. The country as a whole needs to look to its founders who made this country so strong.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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What the GL of PA has created is even more of a monster than what has been said above. An arrangement has been made twice to my knowledge with the Supreme Council 33 deg. to add the AASR to the one-day extravaganza and also the Shrine, so that the candidates can receive the three lodge degrees in the morning, in the afternoon the 31st & 32nd degrees (which used to be the two parts of a single degree, the 32) and after dinner the Shrine ceremonial is held. Thus they go from profanes to 32nd deg. masons and Shriners in one day. I disapprove strongly with creating someone a 32 deg. AASR member on this minimal basis. It not only robs the candidates of the AASR experience, but also the whole Valley, since this takes up an entire reunion and only a relative few of the valley members are needed and only for part of an afternoon instead of the usual two-day reunion of hundreds of members to do a semi-annual reunion in the course of which 6 to 10 degrees are conferred.

The GL of MD tried one-day classes a couple of times, about 10 years ago and the experience was about the same as you describe in Mass.  Few of those who became masons have ever been seen again. There is at present virtually no support for ever trying it again.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Frankly, I’m speechless on that one.  Wow.

Well, criticizing the policies of any particular Grand Lodge is certainly not the purpose of this forum, so I’ll try to get this one back on the rails.

College Stoodent….right now it is what it is.  PA has chosen to attempt this route.  I have my theories as to where it will lead, but for now it is policy.

I can only recommend personally that I would not go this route, nor recommend any others to do so, as I believe it only serves to diminish the more significant parts of Freemasonry.

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Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
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Posted: 24 February 2011 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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The experience that the various Grand Lodges has had with ODC’s has been varied. In Northern Virginia, where commutes and drive times are long, ODC’s have enabled men who otherwise could not take the degrees at night, to become Masons.

In WW2, many lodges worked literally ‘around the clock’ to get deploying soldiers through the degrees before they went overseas.

Some Grand Lodges have had good results, and the men who have completed these degrees in one day, have gone on to good Masonic experiences.

When I was in Florida (2009), the Grand Master announced that there would be no ODC’s on his watch.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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In most cases, lodges meet once a month.  If you can’t make your degree nights, how can you attend lodge?  Why make Masons that can’t attend lodge?  I guess that’s another good questions.

Anyway….don’t suck me into a debate, because I’ll go on.  :)

I think the question was more about ASKING potential members to join, instead of the other way around.

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Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
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Posted: 24 February 2011 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I’m a PA Mason. I would never ask someone to be a Mason that I don’t know. It was explained to me that I could “ask” someone who I would be comfortable inviting into my home. That being said, I have been first line signer for 4 men in the last 9 months. Have I asked them to join, no. Have I portrated Masonery in a favorable light so that they asked and then joined, yes. I think that you can ask without saying those exact words.
As far as the ODC goes, our lodge had 8 men join that day in late October. I’ve seen 2 of those 8 in Lodge. I mentored 3 men at the ODC and then received my Scottish Rite. I personally was not impressed with the ODC at all. Nobody really seemed to know what they went through and all the other bodies were there, kind of like a trade show. Everybody were competing for everyones money and membership. 2 Shrines were in attendance. One about an hour from our lodge and the other about 2 hours. A man I mentored joined the Shrine further away because they had a ODC special and undercut the other Shrine’s fees by $50. He had no clue which Shrine he just joined, but I’m sure they won’t see him either.

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Posted: 25 February 2011 04:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Hello all.

This has been an interesting discussion.

As Dan said, this is a Forum designed to help men learn how to become Freemasons. Since this Forum is sponsored by – and has members from – many Grand Lodges, I don’t want anyone here to take what we are saying as disparaging to any state’s ideas. If a state has a one day class, at least they are doing something. And I do think it’s important that this Forum puts information out there for those interested – so they can learn what various states are doing to assist them in becoming Masons. Although we are seeing a tremendous number of men again becoming Masons in a few states – it’s not that way everywhere.

In that regard, I have a couple of thoughts which I will expound on a bit:

1.  One Day Classes can serve a purpose
2.  Masonry is more than just getting 3 degrees
3.  And however you look at it, to become a Mason you have to ASK.


1) I was around during the one day class in Massachusetts. And while, being a traditionalist, I personally did not think it was a great idea, in many ways it “jumpstarted” the state’s membership in a way that got everything going again. Yes, we never saw many of the 1000 members again that joined that day, but we saw enough of them that it did breathe new life into a lot of Lodges that up until that point had not had new members for years. All of a sudden you had a couple of new, excited members in the Lodge who wanted to get in line and learn more. They asked questions of the older members who dusted off their ritual memories and began teaching. The new members mentioned that they had become Freemasons to their friends, and before long some of these lodges were bringing new members in the Traditional way. And some of the one day class guys have started to come back to Lodge. All I’m saying here is that I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most Grand Lodges that hold a one-day class only do it only once – and those that have now have burgeoning memberships.

2) Masonry is a life-long experience. I will never forget my degrees – given in the traditional manner 20 some years ago, as they made a strong impression on my mind – but it wasn’t until later when I really got involved that I truly considered myself a Mason and understood what I had heard. What I would recommend to any man who becomes a Mason – whether it’s in the one day class or in the traditional manner—is to find a way to get involved as soon as possible afterwards. One of the Forum members is always telling new Masons to go see another Lodge’s degree work – there’s one going on somewhere every month in every state. That’s where you learn what it means to be a Mason – by travelling, meeting other Masons and finding immediate friendships, seeing the different nuances of the ritual and learning different ways Masons are helping in their communities – and taking it all with you back to your Lodge.

3) The idea of selectively “asking” someone to become a Mason is very controversial in Freemasonry.  Those that have said it’s OK to selectively encourage someone you know might ask you to say something like: “You know, you’d probably make a good Mason – and knowing a bit about you, I think you might enjoy it … so if you’re every interested….”  But other states have said even broaching the subject would never be OK. And that’s the purpose of this Site – to bridge a bit of that gap. This site is designed as a public service really – to let those interested know that the way to become a Mason – if you want to become one “of your own free will and accord”—is to “Ask.” Just like every Mason has done before you.  We’re not asking. We’re not advertising. We’re just answering your questions and letting you know the process.

Bob Heruska
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Posted: 01 March 2011 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Very well put Bob!

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Eric Gagne

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Posted: 01 March 2011 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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illusionist - 01 March 2011 12:11 PM

Very well put Bob!

As always!  We are blessed with some great Past Masters.  Bob’s Northeast corner is perhaps the biggest of all!

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Dan

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Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
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Posted: 04 April 2011 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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First of all, since this is my first post on the forum I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Mike and I’m a Master Mason in the Sacramento 40 Lodge, Sacramento California.

I’ve heard about those ‘degrees-in-a-day’ and, personally, I’m glad I did it the old fashioned way. I did the long form proficiency for all my degrees and memorized everything with the help of my excellent coach that I met twice a week. I recall countless hours spent sitting in my truck at parks and shopping centers with my Masonic cipher going over things until I got them just right. I have great memories of sitting with my coach, discussing things non-Masonic as well as Masonic; asking questions about ritual, history, and Masonic lore. Those are the things that made my progress to Master Mason special. I (personally) feel that while Freemasonry is a fraternity and is big on camaraderie, there is an equal part that is personal and introspective - as in how much effort you put in “of your own free will and accord.” I think that all of that is lost in the ‘degrees-in-a-day.’

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Posted: 04 April 2011 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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There are very good pieces of input and information for both sides of the coin.  Doing the degrees “the old fashioned way” and doing them in the accelerated “one day version”.  Very neat discussion.  I really find a lot of these kind of discussions enlightening.

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Posted: 04 April 2011 10:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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I have been evolved in producing some of the ritual for 2 one day classes; one on the State level and one on the District level. On the State level we raised 985 men and on the district level we raised 27. I find that future involvement of the men depends on how active the individual Lodge is among the district, by taking those men to see various degrees the long way and how much their mentors teach them about Masonry. The percentage of future activity between the one dayers and the long wayers seems to be about the same. 1 out of 5 learns the ritual and becomes an officer. 2 out of 5 work the fundraisers and get evolved with the community aspect of the Fraternity and 2 out of 5 pay their dues and are seen yearly at best. Any of the paths they continue to walk down are respected and appreciated; they’re Master Masons and they do what they can. You get out of Freemasonry as much as you put into it, and the more you put into it, the greater pleasure of self worth will be felt. It’s up to we senior members to see that all our younger Brethern receive Masonic enlightened whether they became Master Masons in one day or one year. It is most important that we keep in touch and let them all feel welcome. We all continue to grow through this experience and will continue to grow, on Earth, until we meet with our fathers who have gone before us and I am so glad that I have decided to become a part of the greatest organization in the world.

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Tuckerton Lodge # 4 F&AM;
Tuckerton, NJ

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Posted: 05 April 2011 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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College_Stoodent - 23 February 2011 09:31 PM

This past October I received all three of my degrees in the same day. A program known as the “One Day Masonic Journey” has been authorized by the Grand Master of Pennsylvania. Its main purpose is for men who are too busy to work on their degrees over a long period of time, so the solution would be to grant new Masons all three degrees in one day. However, all new brothers are being referenced to this program instead of the traditional one degree at a time method, regardless of preference. I heard this was due to budget constraints.

The ODC are really a bit of a shame as that is not how Masonry was intended to be studied (it is a study BTW). In the 18th and 19th Centuries it was quite a common thing for a Mason not to make it past Apprentice or Fellow let alone make it to Master. To now be able to magically do it in one day flies in the face of those brethren who built the Craft that we are a part of today.

College_Stoodent - 23 February 2011 09:31 PM

Masons invite friends they feel are worthy into the fraternity. Would this be crossing the line of a Mason trying to ask or encourage someone into joining instead of waiting for them to ask?

There is inviting and there is also “inviting”!

Here in England we are allowed to mention to someone who we know to be a fit and proper person that they might like to consider becoming a Freemason, we are not allowed to say “do you want to join my Lodge”. We are also allowed to remind them, ONCE, of the fact that we have previously mentioned it. If they are not moved to request admission after that we are not allowed to do it again.

Mike

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Posted: 05 April 2011 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Mike Martin - 05 April 2011 11:12 AM
College_Stoodent - 23 February 2011 09:31 PM

Masons invite friends they feel are worthy into the fraternity. Would this be crossing the line of a Mason trying to ask or encourage someone into joining instead of waiting for them to ask?

There is inviting and there is also “inviting”!

Here in England we are allowed to mention to someone who we know to be a fit and proper person that they might like to consider becoming a Freemason, we are not allowed to say “do you want to join my Lodge”. We are also allowed to remind them, ONCE, of the fact that we have previously mentioned it. If they are not moved to request admission after that we are not allowed to do it again.

Same here in California, for the most part. We have a little trick to get around the recruitment proscription, though:
My Lodge is very active, and the building we use also is rented out to a chapter of Order of the Eastern Star, an assembly of Rainbow, a Bethel of Job’s Daughters, and a chapter of Demolay. Because we ended up being so family-oriented, we usually have a dinner every week that is free for members and their friends and family. We might not be allowed to ask a person to join the Fraternity, but we sure as hell can strongarm them into coming to dinner! ;-)

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