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Is this keeping in the tradition of Freemasonry?
Posted: 22 April 2011 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Brother Windrider, I’m not sure I’m following your use of the terms “short form” and “long form.” In California, our 3rd degree is divided into three sections, the third part being the Lecture and the 2nd part being the—... well, the most memorable part, let’s call it. For us, the 1st and 2nd sections are always the same, there is no truncation. The Lecture has a few pages that are optional, and we call that the “long form LECTURE.”

Is it different where you are? Is there another, shorter form of the 2nd section of the degree itself? PM me if you could, I’m interested to hear about this!

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Posted: 22 April 2011 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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REYoung - 22 April 2011 03:20 PM

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.

Brother Young,

Thank you for your gentle instruction. I swore on the Bible, Square and Compasses to obey the rules of Masonry. Thank you for reminding me that it is we, the members of the Lodges that are ultimately responsible for the rules by means of the representative government of the Jurisdiction.

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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 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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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.

Hi Marshall,
That was really interesting - I did not know about the tandem form. That’s why I like this website, I’m always learning something new!

Take care Bro!

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Posted: 22 April 2011 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Brother Marshall, During the teaching process we tell the candidates to learn the questions as well as the answers in order for them to know what’s coming next. A couple of candidates were so good that we had one candidate ask the questions while the other candidate answered, Of course, the instructor was also in front during the examination. It showed great proficiency and the examination time was cut in half. Those candidates who asked the questions are now part of the instruction team as Master Masons. Our Members really enjoyed the evening and we will do it again in the future. Give that one a try; I’m sure your secretary will enjoy it. You were not totally wrong in your response to the questioning Brother and should not have gotten into trouble. You have been given the task to teach the candidates and you are doing it your way. You are volunteering hundreds of hours to the task, so in my mind, you should have never been questioned. I have been given the task of Lodge Ritual Instructor and am also responsible to oversee the candidate instruction committee; so I tell the Instructors, if anyone has a problem with the way you are teaching, tell them to come to me! Rarely do I ever hear it and the Instructors are left alone.

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Tuckerton Lodge # 4 F&AM;
Tuckerton, NJ

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Posted: 28 April 2011 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Spencer Rapley

Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. Boston, MA
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Posted: 28 April 2011 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Spencer, thank you very much for sharing your story. Those of us who are traditionalists need to be reminded, often, that the traditional methods can be, and often are, a formidable roadblock for some men who want to be Masons but whose circumstances don’t allow them to follow the traditional path. We also have to face the fact that many men who become lodge members by the traditional way soon, often immediately, disappear from our meetings and activities and remain only names on our books. No one ever says that this is due to the way they received the degrees. But when men who come in a one-day or accelerated way disappear, the finger is immediately pointed at the abbreviated process.

I think the lesson is that whether or not a man becomes, and remains, a committed member depends largely on his motivation and to what extent he appreciated and absorbed the lessons of our ceremonies, no matter how he received them. I think that it is also of the greatest importance that several members (at least) of the initiate’s lodge be present to meet him and welcome him at the conferral of the degrees. What I have seen is men receiving the degrees in one day, and no more than 1 or so of his fellow lodge members is there to meet and welcome him. No wonder you don’t see him afterward except maybe for proficiency demonstration.

Bottom line from a traditionalist:  There is a place for the occasional use of accelerated methods for those who can’t follow the traditional path; but the initiate’s lodge must take special pains to be there to meet him and make him welcome so that he will want to be as much a part of the lodge as he is able to, in hopes that when his situation changes, he’ll be a regular.

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Posted: 29 April 2011 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Marshall - 22 April 2011 01:35 PM
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?

Brother Marshall,

We don’t make the EA’s and FC’s sit through anything.  They come of their own free will and accord.  It’s just that the option is there if they wish to attend.  That way, our new Brothers get to know everyone better and see how things are done.  Also, they are usually there when it comes time for the “Festive Board” as I like to call it, afterwards.  I’m not saying that any one way is better than another, but I do know that our EA’s and FC’s love attending Lodge, as I did when I was an EA and an FC.

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

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Posted: 29 April 2011 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Marshall - 22 April 2011 01:35 PM

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?

Boy I hope that’s not all you do in your business meetings.  :(  You read minutes and vote?  No other lodge business?  Planning of events?  Upcoming charitable opportunities?  Other news of sick or infirmed brothers?  Comittee reports?  Official greetings conveyed?

Surely there are other activities that might benefit our other brothers of varying degrees?

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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: 29 April 2011 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Dan Madore - 29 April 2011 12:01 PM
Marshall - 22 April 2011 01:35 PM

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?

Boy I hope that’s not all you do in your business meetings.  :(  You read minutes and vote?  No other lodge business?  Planning of events?  Upcoming charitable opportunities?  Other news of sick or infirmed brothers?  Comittee reports?  Official greetings conveyed?

Surely there are other activities that might benefit our other brothers of varying degrees?

I believe you hit the nail on the head.  There is a lot of other “activities” that do go on in the Lodge that a new Brother might be interested in hearing about whether they can vote or not.

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

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Posted: 29 April 2011 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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KevinK37 - 29 April 2011 12:25 PM
Dan Madore - 29 April 2011 12:01 PM
Marshall - 22 April 2011 01:35 PM

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?

Boy I hope that’s not all you do in your business meetings.  :(  You read minutes and vote?  No other lodge business?  Planning of events?  Upcoming charitable opportunities?  Other news of sick or infirmed brothers?  Comittee reports?  Official greetings conveyed?

Surely there are other activities that might benefit our other brothers of varying degrees?

I believe you hit the nail on the head.  There is a lot of other “activities” that do go on in the Lodge that a new Brother might be interested in hearing about whether they can vote or not.

Not sure if I communicated this right, but all those other activities you mentioned can be found either in the trestleboard or in the minutes. They certainly hear about it one way or another so sitting in on the meeting isn’t necessary for them.

Now that you put it that way, though, I can see your point. Allowing EAs and FCs the right to at least sit in on the meetings would be interesting for them. The voting process would be a pain because we’d have to make sure none of them tried to get up and vote… how is that dealt with in your Lodge, Kevin?

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Posted: 29 April 2011 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Marshall - 29 April 2011 01:00 PM
KevinK37 - 29 April 2011 12:25 PM
Dan Madore - 29 April 2011 12:01 PM
Marshall - 22 April 2011 01:35 PM

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?

Boy I hope that’s not all you do in your business meetings.  :(  You read minutes and vote?  No other lodge business?  Planning of events?  Upcoming charitable opportunities?  Other news of sick or infirmed brothers?  Comittee reports?  Official greetings conveyed?

Surely there are other activities that might benefit our other brothers of varying degrees?

I believe you hit the nail on the head.  There is a lot of other “activities” that do go on in the Lodge that a new Brother might be interested in hearing about whether they can vote or not.

Not sure if I communicated this right, but all those other activities you mentioned can be found either in the trestleboard or in the minutes. They certainly hear about it one way or another so sitting in on the meeting isn’t necessary for them.

Now that you put it that way, though, I can see your point. Allowing EAs and FCs the right to at least sit in on the meetings would be interesting for them. The voting process would be a pain because we’d have to make sure none of them tried to get up and vote… how is that dealt with in your Lodge, Kevin?

They are told from the beginning that they have no right to vote until they are raised a Master Mason and that takes care of it.

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

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Posted: 29 April 2011 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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KevinK37 - 29 April 2011 01:27 PM
Marshall - 29 April 2011 01:00 PM
KevinK37 - 29 April 2011 12:25 PM
Dan Madore - 29 April 2011 12:01 PM
Marshall - 22 April 2011 01:35 PM

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?

Boy I hope that’s not all you do in your business meetings.  :(  You read minutes and vote?  No other lodge business?  Planning of events?  Upcoming charitable opportunities?  Other news of sick or infirmed brothers?  Comittee reports?  Official greetings conveyed?

Surely there are other activities that might benefit our other brothers of varying degrees?

I believe you hit the nail on the head.  There is a lot of other “activities” that do go on in the Lodge that a new Brother might be interested in hearing about whether they can vote or not.

Not sure if I communicated this right, but all those other activities you mentioned can be found either in the trestleboard or in the minutes. They certainly hear about it one way or another so sitting in on the meeting isn’t necessary for them.

Now that you put it that way, though, I can see your point. Allowing EAs and FCs the right to at least sit in on the meetings would be interesting for them. The voting process would be a pain because we’d have to make sure none of them tried to get up and vote… how is that dealt with in your Lodge, Kevin?

They are told from the beginning that they have no right to vote until they are raised a Master Mason and that takes care of it.

My Lodge has a similar system except the member pays dues and a small initiation fee up front and we return it if he doesn’t make it through the degrees. We open all business meetings on the first degree and all the brothers are encouraged to attend.

You can read the minutes all you want, but the fellowship of Masonry is only forged in the Lodge. I may be new to the Craft, but there is something wonderful when the Senior Warden says, “All are 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: 30 April 2011 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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MOD EDIT:  Spam.  User to be removed.

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Posted: 30 April 2011 11:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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Being on a ODL would have been better for me as I am using my vacation time to become a mason. I am sure had I not been willing to use said vacation time to become a mason a ODL would have happened. Having said this I am actually glad a ODL was not arranged for me. The experience of the degrees is awesome and I much prefer using a few days of vacation for this. Knowing that all masons before me became mason in this way to me is a foundation stone in the brotherhood of masons.

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EA: 3/14/11
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Posted: 25 May 2011 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Wow, I had no idea this would turn into such a discussion!

I read that just recently, in the Pennsylvania Freemason magazine, that the Grand Master of PA is still holding one day classes, but that all new brothers will have the choice of going through all their degrees the one day class style or the traditional way. And membership in Pennsylvania has gone up for the first time in 47 years due to the one day class option and the option of allowing brothers to invite men who they deem worthy.

I personally would not invite others for fear or crossing the fine line of inviting and recruiting. I feel if they truly were interested in becoming a Mason, they would either ask me how, since my affiliation is public due to my ring, or research it online on how to join.

In the debate wether a the one day class will have the new brothers not attend meetings and disappear, I feel its on the individual. On the one day class, they emphasized that what you get out of Masonry depends on what you put into it. And that our journey of education and work begins on that day, and has to come from us. Them only things that should be put above Masonry is family, duty to country, work, or religious obligations, so just because a brother never comes to meetings does not mean he does not care; he could just have a job that needs 10 hours a day and comes home to a wife and 9 kids.

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