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In regards to both Blue Lodge & Prince Hall
Posted: 13 April 2011 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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So one of my fraternity brothers is pursuing enlightenment as well as I am but he comes from a family of Prince Hall Masons.  We began to speak about our reasons for joining until he began to tell me some things that set an alarm off in my head.  He told me in certain Prince Hall lodges, if not all, the process to become a Master Mason is very different, or maybe similiar.  He began to speak of intense hazing involved in the rituals.  I did some research and found that some Blue Lodges may partake in hazing as well such as paddling among other things.  I researched Prince Hall and found out in some lodges it can be a very brutal process that requires a lot physically and mentally.  I probably wont get an honest answer but its worth a shot.

I was wondering if any Masonic brothers can shed some light on this.  I pledged a fraternity myself (which apparently has Masonic ties) so hazing isn’t what I am afraid of.  As long as its not life threatening hazing can make a pledge class closer, and leave many lasting memories.  I wanted to know if during the process will there be things like having to do push ups or getting hit.  As much as I don’t want to relate Freemasonry to a college fraternity, many college fraternities came out of Freemasonry so maybe there is some connection. 

Help?

Honesty?

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Posted: 13 April 2011 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Okay, first of all I resent your assumption that you “won’t get an honest answer.” That’s what this forum is for - to give honest answers about Masonry. If you are going to assume that whatever information a Brother is giving you is dishonest or deceptive then please don’t even bother posting. Seriously.

As to the hazing. I never experienced any. Nothing. Not even remotely close. As for what the Prince Hall Lodges do, I don’t know. Never been to one. But as to my experiences and what I’ve seen from Masonry, hazing (in the college fraternity sense) does not exist. The purpose of the Fraternity is NOT to humiliate, degrade, or prove superiority over another man. It’s to bond in a fellowship of brotherhood. That can’t happen by intimidation, coercion, or bullying. Period. That’s great that you know all about hazing from your fraternity days. I know about it too from my time in the Army. I went through the mill, got my ‘blood stripes’, and saw discipline handled with soda cans inside of tube socks. Big deal. So what. Masonry isn’t like that.

But what do I know. You probably think I’m not ‘giving an honest answer’ anyways.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 12:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I’m sorry I assumed that I wasn’t going to get an honest answer but at the end of the day I wont know what happens to me UNTIL I reach the time of truth.  My assumption comes out of the fact that this is a public forum.  So any Freemason that does admit to hazing in any sort of way could face consequences either within his lodge or by the law.  I understand your resentment, but your sarcasm was as unnecessary.  And my thought was simply because I have been told by several Masons that there are parts of your journey in which you will be intimidated, but it is all for a reason.  I wish you the best “zoffy” but like i said, if anybody has done any sort of hazing in their lodge, what are the chances of them really admitting it on an open forum?

I understand the principles of Freemasonry like Integrity and Honesty, but before we become anything we are all men, we make mistakes, we sin, we lie.  I was just hoping someone could give me info about hazing in lodges (i.e. previous accounts in their lodge, stories from other lodges, etc).  thanks for your answer though it helped out alot army man!!!

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Posted: 14 April 2011 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Okay, Last Gentileman,

I thought about what you said (really), but I feel that the sarcasm was justified. However, I respect the tone of your second posting and after you clarified a little more why you thought that there would be hazing in a lodge, I understand.

The best way I can explain it without getting into too much detail is to think about it like this…If you are familiar with Joseph Campbell (and you seem fairly literate, so I’ll assume you are) you know about his stages in the Journey of a Hero. One part of the Hero’s journey is “the Test” where his mettle is tested to see if he is deserving of a boon, or gift. If he passes the test, he can become the Hero, the self-actualized man who can bring something beneficial back to his society. Now, this ‘testing’ is not hazing (and I don’t think that Campbell would have thought so either). It’s not meant to humiliate, degrade, or denigrate. It’s meant to see if a man is worthy of the hero’s gift. There is a figure in Masonic tradition that fits the description of Joseph Campbell’s Hero.

That’s about all I can say. Hope it helps.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Greetings Last Gentleman,

If you are being accurate on what you stated that you have been told so far, fear not! Because you are now (at last) conversing with REAL (rather than claimed) Freemasons.

As Freemasons we are not at liberty to share the grips tokens and words (that prove us to be Freemasons and which indicate the degree we have) as we promise to keep these secret from non-Masons. Some Grand Lodges further prefer their members not to share some details of the Ceremonies that we perform. However, generally speaking any genuine Freemason can tell you most of what goes on in the Lodge. If you meet people who say they can’t you should treat them with caution, in my time on the Net I have come across many “pretenders”.

Anyway on to your question. Hazing has no place within Freemasonry other than some very (and I mean very) light joking before your Initiation, you will have been told about the Masonic “goat” joke that used to be very popular in the US.

However, it is a known fact that certain irregular Orders (ie not genuine) do not properly follow the system that they claim to represent and I too have heard of hazing from certain irregular Prince Hall Lodges. However you must be careful not to lay blame at ALL Prince Hall Lodges as the vast majority of them are totally regular in their practises.

The testing that you would encounter in a Masonic Initiation is not actually physical, it is philosophical and meditative. In fact an element of physicality only enters into the Third Degree by which time you have more of an idea of what is being symbolised by the Ceremony. Roughly speaking, at Initiation the tests are based on Patience, Fortitude, Belief in God, Trust, Obedience and not least Charity.

I hope this helps

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Posted: 14 April 2011 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I would like to add here that we can’t actually speak for Prince Hall Masonry, as they are a separate (but recognized in 40 states), lodge system. 

However, I can say 2 things. 

1) While I have heard a few rumors about some sort of hazing in SOME Prince Hall lodges, I have also had many conversation with Prince Hall Brothers who say that their lodge doesn’t allow it, at least not in a dangerous or life threatening capacity.  I can only hope that they mean that they really don’t do it at all.

2) I’ve been to literally HUNDREDS of “regular” Masonic initiations, and I have never once seen any example of hazing.  Nor would I tolerate it if I did.  That is grounds for losing your lodge charter, and I’d make that happen if within my power.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Since I am just getting my degree work done now. I cannot speak for Prince Hall lodges as I did not join one. But I have been treated with the upmost respect by my fellow brothers I am a large man weight wise and accomadations have been made during the rituals for this.

On the night I made FC there was some discussion of PH lodges and nothing was mentioned about hazing in fact they were complimented on knowing there degree work.

If masons have told you hazing does happens I would thing your being misled or they are not a regular lodge. My best advice is to set up a meeting at a lodge and talk to someone. Then you will be meeting real masons and getting the truth.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Mike Martin - 14 April 2011 04:39 AM

Greetings Last Gentleman,

If you are being accurate on what you stated that you have been told so far, fear not! Because you are now (at last) conversing with REAL (rather than claimed) Freemasons.

As Freemasons we are not at liberty to share the grips tokens and words (that prove us to be Freemasons and which indicate the degree we have) as we promise to keep these secret from non-Masons. Some Grand Lodges further prefer their members not to share some details of the Ceremonies that we perform. However, generally speaking any genuine Freemason can tell you most of what goes on in the Lodge. If you meet people who say they can’t you should treat them with caution, in my time on the Net I have come across many “pretenders”.

Anyway on to your question. Hazing has no place within Freemasonry other than some very (and I mean very) light joking before your Initiation, you will have been told about the Masonic “goat” joke that used to be very popular in the US.

However, it is a known fact that certain irregular Orders (ie not genuine) do not properly follow the system that they claim to represent and I too have heard of hazing from certain irregular Prince Hall Lodges. However you must be careful not to lay blame at ALL Prince Hall Lodges as the vast majority of them are totally regular in their practises.

The testing that you would encounter in a Masonic Initiation is not actually physical, it is philosophical and meditative. In fact an element of physicality only enters into the Third Degree by which time you have more of an idea of what is being symbolised by the Ceremony. Roughly speaking, at Initiation the tests are based on Patience, Fortitude, Belief in God, Trust, Obedience and not least Charity.

I hope this helps

The “goat” joke is still going strong here! LOL

but yeah, no hazing. We’re not a college frat, we don’t do that sort of thing. Any Lodge that’s found doing it usually is warned first, then shut down if it happens again.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I presume Last Gentleman and others will accept a written and published statement on the subject of hazing. The following is contained in the official Masonic Digest of the Grand Lodge AF&AM; of Maryland and is appended to the Constitution. The content of the Digest is as binding as the official text of the Constitution. This is not a secret publication and is available to whoever may want a copy. The following quote is verbatim and complete.

“TREATMENT OF CANDIDATES

  “No subject connected with the govenment of a Masonic Lodge should receive more serious consideration than that of the treatment of candidates.
  “Every man who petitions a Masonic Lodge should be regarded as a gentleman in every respect and as such he is entitled to every consideration on the part of the members.
  “When he appears at the Lodge room to receive his first degree he should be cordially greeted; his hat and coat taken and disposed of, and he should be escorted to the room where he is to await the pleasure of the Lodge. It is a most courteous act to assign some member to keep the candidate company.
  “Joking with the candidate about the degree which he is to take, or remarks of any kind tending to scare him are as foreign to the intents and purposes of Masonry as to merit the highest condemnation. Any Mason who will indulge in such a practice with a candidate who is receiving his degrees is a fit subject for Masonic investigation. And any Deacon or Steward who employs these tactics in the preparation room should be placed on trial for unmasonic conduct.
  “First impressions are lasting and the idea which a man forms of Freemasonry on his first night will be a deep and lasting one. All through his progress in Masonry he should be treated with such courtesy and decorum as will convince him that he is being received into a society of gentlemen distinguished for gentility and good breeding.
  “Thus the opinion which he gains of the Fraternity will be one that will make him a lover of the Fraternity and a zealous Freemason.”

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Posted: 14 April 2011 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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I’ve had the privilege of preparing Candidates for the degrees. I always tell them the following:

The reason you were asked to be here tonight is because you were elected to receive the degrees by every Master Mason in the Lodge. We have spent many hours in preparation and rehearsal so we can make this evening one you will fondly remember for the rest of your life. Every man in the Lodge Room is there because he wants to become your friend and brother. You have nothing to fear from us. We have all sat where you sit now. Enjoy yourself as you take the first steps on a life-long journey along with the four million men who will soon call you “brother”.

There is a lot of confusion related to our degrees, especially the third degree. People get the false impression that this is the root of the expression used in police dramas, “Give him the third degree.” The third degree referred to in that expression is not the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. It is the third degree of torture used during the Inquisition. I’ll spare you the details. The Rituals we present are designed to invoke spiritual growth and brotherly love, not pain or fear. The five memories I hold most dear are my wedding day; the day my daughter was born; and my three degrees.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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could they be just talking you up to scare you?

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Posted: 14 April 2011 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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I have been a Freemason in NJ for 10 years and have never witnessed any thing
that resembles hazing; only the utmost respect of a candidate. An Order from the Grand Lodge is read before the Master Mason Degree and the degree is performed with true Masonic Brotherly Love. All Masonic ceremonies are serious and impressive and any disrespect will not be
tolerated.

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Tuckerton Lodge # 4 F&AM;
Tuckerton, NJ

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Posted: 15 April 2011 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Many thanks to those who answered the question.  I’ve drowned myself in Freemasonry books, I have petitioned for a lodge in NY, and I have spoken to Freemasons about the mental aspects of the long journey, and the exact reason i posted the question was because everything I have learned about Freemasonry goes in the complete opposite direction of hazing and those sorts of things.  Many thanks to zoffy who put things in the right perspective for me.  Once again thank you all and I look forward to speaking with you all again be it through forum or if God allows us to cross paths.

Kind Regards,

LG

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Posted: 15 April 2011 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Freemasonry is a serious subject. It deserves to be studied seriously. I have been a Mason since 1982, and I have visited lodges all over the USA, and in five (5) foreign countries. Becoming a Mason, is a serious and life-changing experience. There is NO HAZING permitted in regular Freemasonry. I have never witnessed any hazing. If I were to be in a lodge, where any such un-masonic behavior were to be exhibited, I would walk out on that lodge, and report the incident to the Grand Lodge, which held their charter.

Once you complete the degrees, you will see what I am talking about. I wish you well in your Masonic journey. May the Great Architect of the Universe, guide your steps.

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Posted: 15 April 2011 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Last_Gentleman I am a Fellow Craft Mason and will be going through my 3rd degree on May 5th.  I have never seen, experienced or witnessed any type of hazing in any shape or form.  I have been treated with the upmost respect and kindness from my brothers in the lodge room.  If you want my own personal account of what I have experienced please visit my post entitled “My Masonic Journey” it will give you a step by step account of my experience from attending lodge dinners as a guest, applying for membership, and going through degrees.  Take care.

Read my post “My Masonic Journey” here—} http://www.masonforum.com/viewthread/1042/

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Posted: 15 April 2011 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Last Gentleman,

I think that you will be happy with your decision to join a lodge and pursue the degrees. There’s a lot of stuff to study (if one is inclined to to) and there’s fellowship with a pretty good bunch of guys.

Keep us posted on your progress. It’s always interesting to hear about the experiences of other Brothers!

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