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Is this keeping in the tradition of Freemasonry?
Posted: 05 April 2011 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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This has become one of our most interesting threads, partly because it involves law and tradition in different jurisdictions. Whatever any of us may think about one-day classes or other ways of streamlining the joining process, we always have to keep in mind that it’s a matter of what the law is in each jurisdiction, and these vary considerably from place to place. There is also the question of how new initiatives are started.

This applies to the GL of Pennsylvania perhaps more than others. PA is, I believe, unique in that in PA an edict of the Grand Master is law, effective immediately on its publication, and can not be challenged, amended or reversed, not even by the Grand Lodge; only a subsequent GM can alter or reverse it. It used to be that the degrees could not be conferred in any other way but the traditional one; it was forbidden to put any part of the ritual or catechism in writing; it was also forbidden to ask or suggest to anyone that he should join. All of these traditional regulations have, in just a few years, been reversed by edicts. PA now has ODCs, a cipher ritual, and a cautious policy on inviting men to join. There weren’t any battles in the Grand Lodge over this, with cautious traditionalists vs. those who felt that changes were needed. This is a good thing, in that much disharmony was avoided (or at least driven underground), whatever anyone may think about the new rules. It can not be denied that new rules have resulted in many new members. The long-term effects have yet to be determined.

In Maryland, ODCs were, and are, done by dispensations issued by the Grand Master. The GM in MD does not have the autocratic power of the GM of PA, but he does have the power to issue dispensations, which are a one-time relaxation of the usual rules for a specific situation. Permanent changes in the law must be made by the Grand Lodge at one of its regular communications and published beforehand so that the members of lodges can instruct their representatives on how to vote. This, however, means that changes in the traditional ways are subject to discussion and voting in GL meetings with the traditionalists pitted against the reformers, and only cautious reforms have any chance of being adopted. In this way, the use of a cipher ritual for catechism instruction (now in use) and for officers to learn the work (now in process of writing) was adopted after several attempts at approval. The current GM has been making use of his power to make masons at sight in the case of men who are in the military and facing deployment, and no one questions this even though it is being done with a unique form of the degree work. The GM has also used his dispensation power to permit lodges with large numbers of petitioners to hold their own ODC (by waiving the law which says that a lodge can not confer more than one degree on the same day and waiving the requirements for proficiency between degrees), or to confer the degrees one at a time with a dispensation which allows up to five candidates at a time (instead of one at a time) in the EA degree, and another which allows lodges to use a shortened form of the MM degree which formerly could be used only by the GL.

I think that as we head into a new chapter in the history of Freemasonry in America, with the adoption of ODCs, publicity campaigns (under whatever euphemism GLs may choose to call them), Open Houses, and a generally more open attitude to the public, we will begin to see Grand Lodges grappling with the need to make changes so as to better confront the longstanding disconnect between the Fraternity and the outside world and to make it easier for men to become Masons in a society that is very different from the 18th and 19th centuries. It will be fascinating to watch and I believe this Forum can perform a great service in keeping everyone, Masons and non-Masons alike, informed.

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Liberty Pickering Lodge #219, Baltimore MD
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Posted: 05 April 2011 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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We had ODC’s here in Nevada in 2000 I believe, before my time.  We haven’t had any since.  GM’s here can also issue edicts, but they are only good for the year he is GM, then they expire.  I can’t speak for any Grand Lodge or Grand Master, but I believe that here, the GM’s word is law, as long as no Landmarks or the Masonic Code here are violated I’m assuming.  We have cyphers, and rituals, which I believe we’ve always had.  I personally don’t see why not.  It wouldn’t mean much to anybody that doesn’t know how to read it.  We have always been able to run several people through the degrees at a time, except for the second section of the MM degree, which is done separately. A lot of the way our Grand Lodge works is the same as MD I believe, especially when it comes to changing the code.

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Kevin Kelly, PM
Fernley Lodge #34, F.&A.M.
Fernley, NV

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Posted: 16 April 2011 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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College_Stoodent - 23 February 2011 09:31 PM

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!

soliciting members was never a tradition of masonry, it is so simple ask one to be one, you have to ask to join but nothing wrong with advertising masonry, when saying to your friends your a mason, interested friends will simply be asking you on how to join, and I am actually shocked to learn that some lodges allow their members to get all three degrees in one day!

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Posted: 16 April 2011 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Yasser - 16 April 2011 05:23 AM

soliciting members was never a tradition of masonry, it is so simple ask one to be one, you have to ask to join but nothing wrong with advertising masonry, when saying to your friends your a mason, interested friends will simply be asking you on how to join, and I am actually shocked to learn that some lodges allow their members to get all three degrees in one day!

One day classes are Grand Lodge sponsored events, so it isn’t so much a lodge allowing it, it is entire Grand Lodges allowing it.  Massachusetts used to do it, but thankfully we don’t anymore.  I watched several men sleep through their raising!

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Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
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: 16 April 2011 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Brother Young, I have never heard of a shortened form of the MM degree.
would you please explain, if possible, if not, send me a PM. Thank you, Jay

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Jay Mathis
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Tuckerton Lodge # 4 F&AM;
Tuckerton, NJ

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Posted: 16 April 2011 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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I, personally, would not want to participate like this….

We have way too much drive-thru , 30 minute fotomat, feed me now burger chain mentality in this country.

I would rather actually fully understand what I am learning (as much as I could) and take my time.

Just me…..

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Posted: 16 April 2011 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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willvt - 16 April 2011 08:46 PM

I, personally, would not want to participate like this….

We have way too much drive-thru , 30 minute fotomat, feed me now burger chain mentality in this country.

I would rather actually fully understand what I am learning (as much as I could) and take my time.

Just me…..

No, not just you :)

As for the abbreviated form. we use that here in MA with multiple MM candidates, where all of the men are raised on the short form and then get to sit and watch the final candidate raised in the long form.

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
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: 17 April 2011 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Dan Madore - 16 April 2011 10:57 PM
willvt - 16 April 2011 08:46 PM

I, personally, would not want to participate like this….

We have way too much drive-thru , 30 minute fotomat, feed me now burger chain mentality in this country.

I would rather actually fully understand what I am learning (as much as I could) and take my time.

Just me…..

No, not just you :)

And not just you two, either.

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Posted: 17 April 2011 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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I’ll just say about the 1 day class….. for a few years we did have them here in MA, but….you don’t see them anymore.  I haven’t heard of them doing a one day class for several years now.

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
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: 22 April 2011 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Dan Madore - 24 February 2011 06:32 PM

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.

Yes, we meet once a month for our Stated Meetings as most probably do.  Here in Nevada, we open Stated Meetings to accommodate the lowest members present.  So it is up to the WM to open up on whatever degree he deems appropriate.  We used to open only on the 3rd degree as I believe California still does and many others, but I was told they changed that a while back so that EA’s and FC’s could attend the Stated Meetings and not feel left out, and thus drop out.  We also don’t generally hold degrees on stated meetings and try to schedule them for what would be best for the candidate or Brother.  3rd degrees, in my Lodge, are almost always exclusively scheduled for a Saturday afternoon.

As far as one day classes go, I believe I’ve mentioned that we have had them once in 2000.  I personally only know of two active members in my Lodge from those, but I don’t know how many from my Lodge there was to begin with.  I’m personally a traditionalist and I wouldn’t recommend them to someone I knew, I would tell them to take their time also.

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Kevin Kelly, PM
Fernley Lodge #34, F.&A.M.
Fernley, NV

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Posted: 22 April 2011 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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I recently attended a 3rd degree with seven candidates. The Lodge did this by “Exemplification” where one of the men was chosen to receive the full, long form degree while the other candidates watched from the sidelines. I asked a Past master about this as I thought the six men on the sidelines had been short changed by this. The answer I got was that this was a Grand Lodge Edict saying that no more than five men could be raised with the short-form followed by the long form. I was told there have been several complaints about this.

The complaints may harken back to the old joke: how many Masons does it take to change a light bulb? Masons don’t like change.

Personally, I was raise with five other men. I was the fifth of the evening to be put through the short form and it was a pleasure to watch the long form right after. I got to experience the impact of the second section for myself and will always treasure that memory.

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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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Posted: 22 April 2011 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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KevinK37 - 22 April 2011 12:17 PM

We used to open only on the 3rd degree as I believe California still does and many others, but I was told they changed that a while back so that EA’s and FC’s could attend the Stated Meetings and not feel left out, and thus drop out.

California still closes Stated meetings to Master Masons only. EAs and FCs don’t pay dues and they can’t vote, so attending a Stated meeting would be the equivalent of reading the minutes, which they can do anyway. Why make them sit through something they can’t participate in?

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Posted: 22 April 2011 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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I have a story to relate with regards to speeding things up.

In other threads, I’ve mentioned that I’m a Coach who doesn’t teach anything but the Long form proficiencies. There is a direct correlation between the amount of work that a candidate puts in to his proficiency study and the amount of activity he shows in the Lodge after he gets his 3rd, so I feel like teaching the short form really robs a candidate of something.

In California, two candidates can give their proficiency examinations at the same time. The Coach alternates questions back and forth, so that each candidate answers approximately half of the questions. They both say their full obligation when it comes to it, as well as the Mode of Recognition. We call this “tandem form.” Again, I feel that it robs the candidate of well-deserved attention, as if the Lodge is saying “great job on your work! We only have time to hear HALF of it, though, so hurry up.”

As with the short form, I’ve been against Tandem form ever since I saw it. Our Secretary, a 50-year member, asked me one day if I would “please, please, pretty please” tell my fellow coach to do HIS two candidates Tandem instead of examining each in the long form. I told him no, on the grounds that they had not been practicing Tandem form, but more particularly because one of those candidates was SHORT form. “Tandem would be totally pointless,” I said. He looked at me and plaintively exclaimed, with absolute sincerity, “it’ll get us out of here five minutes faster!” and without thinking I said “Brother, we’re doing Masonry here. If that doesn’t interest you, if you have somewhere else you’d rather be, why don’t you just leave now? I think we could find someone to fill your seat.”

Man did I get in trouble for saying THAT.

I guess my point is that it’s usually not the new people who are demanding things faster—it’s the older ones, the ones who’ve been there for years and have seen it all or at least think they have. The next generation of Masons I’ve found is FAR more demanding. Right now my Lodge is getting six new applications a month but I think if we offered ODCs here, we’d fall off the face of the earth. No one I know that is worthy of joining is interested in joining just because they want to call themselves a Mason.

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Posted: 22 April 2011 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Marshall - 22 April 2011 01:53 PM

I have a story to relate with regards to speeding things up.

In other threads, I’ve mentioned that I’m a Coach who doesn’t teach anything but the Long form proficiencies. There is a direct correlation between the amount of work that a candidate puts in to his proficiency study and the amount of activity he shows in the Lodge after he gets his 3rd, so I feel like teaching the short form really robs a candidate of something.

In California, two candidates can give their proficiency examinations at the same time. The Coach alternates questions back and forth, so that each candidate answers approximately half of the questions. They both say their full obligation when it comes to it, as well as the Mode of Recognition. We call this “tandem form.” Again, I feel that it robs the candidate of well-deserved attention, as if the Lodge is saying “great job on your work! We only have time to hear HALF of it, though, so hurry up.”

As with the short form, I’ve been against Tandem form ever since I saw it. Our Secretary, a 50-year member, asked me one day if I would “please, please, pretty please” tell my fellow coach to do HIS two candidates Tandem instead of examining each in the long form. I told him no, on the grounds that they had not been practicing Tandem form, but more particularly because one of those candidates was SHORT form. “Tandem would be totally pointless,” I said. He looked at me and plaintively exclaimed, with absolute sincerity, “it’ll get us out of here five minutes faster!” and without thinking I said “Brother, we’re doing Masonry here. If that doesn’t interest you, if you have somewhere else you’d rather be, why don’t you just leave now? I think we could find someone to fill your seat.”

Man did I get in trouble for saying THAT.

I guess my point is that it’s usually not the new people who are demanding things faster—it’s the older ones, the ones who’ve been there for years and have seen it all or at least think they have. The next generation of Masons I’ve found is FAR more demanding. Right now my Lodge is getting six new applications a month but I think if we offered ODCs here, we’d fall off the face of the earth. No one I know that is worthy of joining is interested in joining just because they want to call themselves a Mason.

Brother Marshall,

I agree that the Candidates are not asking to be rushed through their degrees. They shouldn’t know what’s coming anyway so, of course, it’s got to be someone other than the candidate. To me, the short form is fine. It hits all the highlights and leaves out very little. What I didn’t hear during my degree was presented later for my edification. I still had all the important experiences, though. The rules are not made at the Lodge level, they are made for us at the Grand Lodge.

The problem I have with using an exemplar is that the other candidates don’t get the experience of the degree. I can’t make a prediction if those men will be active or not, they are good men and should make great Masons.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Past 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: 22 April 2011 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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John, allow me to point out to you, and other brothers, that a Grand Lodge is composed of certain elected officers, the WM and Wardens of all the lodges which compose the Grand Lodge, and (maybe, depending on local law) the past masters of the lodges. The WM and Wardens are the representatives of the lodges and cast the lodges’ votes. The PMs may, depending on local law, have a collective vote. Every lodge has the power to instruct their representatives, who must vote on any issue on which they have been instructed in the way they have been instructed by the Lodge. Thus, it can’t really be said that the Grand Lodge makes the rules for the lodges. Rules may, indeed, be proposed in the GL, but every lodge votes on them. If there is enough opposition to any practice, whether it be concerned with ritual or something else, the members of every local lodge have the power to instruct their representatives to make a certain motion and vote to carry it, or may instruct how a proposed action at an upcoming GL session is to be voted on. If the PMs have a vote, they can not be instructed—it’s up to them how to vote, but they will rarely vote differently from the lodge’s vote. I have myself seen many proposals arise in Grand Lodge which have been voted down by the lodges, although it is true that it is difficult for local lodges to get up enough momentum to overturn or change something, although it is possible.

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Liberty Pickering Lodge #219, Baltimore MD
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