Chamber of Reflection

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by relapse98, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. DJGurkins

    DJGurkins Floresville #515 Premium Member

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    Why is this such a big issue? It seems everyone would welcome something that enhanced the candidates experience and reflected the solemnness of the ceremony. I think that giving a candidate a little alone time to contemplate the endeavor he is about to undertake and invoke the aid of deity would be a good thing. Being a new MM I am just trying to learn not offend so I am sorry if this post comes across wrong.
     
  2. catsale

    catsale Registered User

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    One area of "innovation" (dirty word in masonry) that I see is where lodges can hold a degree in different locations. For example some lodges can hold a degree in a cave, on a battleship, in the alamo. Now I think these are cool and in no way detract from the uniformity and solemnity of the degree. So this makes me think there is some creative diversity from lodge to lodge that still keeps the words of the ritual constant.

    Some areas where Texas is lacking... when I travel out of state, I see lodge rooms with real winding staircases, however I think there may be a prohibition against building any more those of new Texas lodges (maybe wrong on that). Also when I attend a lodge building that has a non-used organ. I was asking if its ever used (or if any lodge for that matter in Texas uses music because I would like to see how that is used) and I was told there is a grand lodge prohibition against using music. Not sure if that is true or not. In my college fraternity, we used some recorded music in a few places where our candidate was blindfolded to set the mood or increase the drama. When I went through that in college, i assure you it was very cool.

    But back on the CoR discussion. On why the Texas grand lodge is reluctant to use of chamber of reflections... I am not sure if this enhancement is any more of a innovation than allowing lodges to hold degrees in caves or battleships. However, on one point, it could be that the CoR is just too darn spooky. Maybe it scares candidates into getting up and walking out before they even go into the official 1st degree where the master of ceremonies does his traditional stuff. Maybe they get the idea that blue lodge is some kind of satanic cult when they see a skeleton head. Could that be the resistance to the whole idea?

    I think the CoR is successfully used in Europe and South America and perhaps other parts of US (Louisiana?),maybe in parts of Canada. I knew a little about CoR from internet searching even before I was initiated into the 1st degree, and I was disappointed that my Texas lodge did not have a CoR. I hear from another lodge in Texas that did it for a while, that their candidates thought the experience was pretty cool and was a good enhancement to the solemnity of the occasion. When you consider all the stuff they do in Scottish Rite, having a simple CoR in the blue lodge is only a very small taste of that type of stuff. There is a tremendous amount of visual symbolism in the CoR and before you bring a candidate to light in the real degree, the CoR is like creating a polar opposite so they can pause, reflect, and get serious while they are "in the dark" (literally, physically).
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  3. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Montezuma Lodge has used it's CoR for every Candidate since 2000 and I have never heard of a single one saying they thought it was"spooky," or of anyone backing out of their Initiation because of it.
     
  4. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I know the Committee on Work doesn't like them, but I don't know that there is any published prohibition of them.
    It's not true. The problem is that very few Lodges have Brethren who are musicians.
    I see nothing wrong with having a quiet place for a candidate to reflect upon his situation. I think some are afraid that some Lodges might get carried away with the idea & create a "haunted house", if you will.
     
  5. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    The DI for our district made the statement at our last stated meeting that a lodge got their charter pulled for having a Chamber of Reflection, I was skeptical of this, as I haven't heard of it happening.

    So did it really happen, or was the statement more of a scare tactic?

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  6. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    First I've heard of it, if true.
     
  7. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Not quite either. If a charter had been pulled over it that would have been extensively discussed here so that didn't happen. What happened is the GM issued an edict forbidding the use of CoR complete with an extensive explanation of what had been done.

    On the one hand news tends to get reduced to sound bites. The explanation gets lost. The explanation *matters*. A lodge broke ritual. Anyone who has seen a Bible presentation knows that non-ritual items can be performed on the evening of a degree as long as it is done during a break point in the ritual. That's not how the CoR was implemented. The reduction of the sound bite went from "learn the what the ritual means and you can add stuff without problems" to "CoR bad".

    On the other hand doesn't the current GM object to Traditional Observance lodges? TO lodges do what we are taught, as much of it as they can pull off and they start with very high expectations so they pull off a ton of it. I have trouble viewing objections to TO lodges in terms other than wanting to restrict Masonry to a bowling league.
     
  8. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Bro. Freyburger, have you personally seen a copy of said edict? Under GLoTX, whenever the GM issues an edict, it is posted on the GL website and published and sent out to the Lodges. Our Lodge has received no such edict nor can I find any mention of it on the GL website.
     
  9. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It was read by the DDGM during the first of his Official Visits. I heard him read it during my visits to both Helotes and Victory lodges in district 39-A. In both cases he pulled out a sheet and read verbatim from it. So what the RW Bro Ron read in those OVs was a statement of policy or something that did not rise to the level of Edict or Decision? Sounded like a command to me so I figured it would be listed as an Edict or Decision. If it's not an Edict or Decision that has implications about setting precedents ...

    Tuesday is a 2nd OV at Victory. I'll be there so I'll ask what standing he think the paper he read has.
     
  10. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I'll see our DDGM Tuesday night & ask him if he knows anything about it. It may have been just a reminder that such must be approved by the Committee on Work before being used.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  11. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    This isn't meant to seem, rude but a Chamber of Reflection is an "innovation" in Freemasonry neither the Antients or Moderns Grand Lodges or the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland used them in the beginning of speculative Freemasonry during the late 1600 and early 1700s.

    It was introduced into the Freemasonry practised by the Grand Orient of France as a result of the invention of the Rite of Perfection in 1760s France and as that Rite became a part of the newly created Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite Masonry in the 1780s.

    This may well be the reason that your Grand Lodges don't wish to see its use creep into your regular Craft Lodges.
     
  12. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Hah, then again. Wasn't the MM degree itself an "innovation" at one point? I wonder how many GLs forget that.


    Freemason Connect HD
     
  13. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Does your lodge still meet in a tavern? :)
     
  14. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    Meeting places are not innovations the Lodge room must be Tyled and have the correct furniture there is no more requirement than that and yes here in England there are Lodges that meet in upstairs rooms of Pubs.

    However, I suspect you may not have read the last line that I posted where I just suggested that it might be part of the reason but in no way tried to say it definitely was the reason.
     
  15. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Touche my brother!

    While location may not be an innovation, the ritual has almost certainly changed since the days most lodges were meeting in taverns. Not only that but brethren who are more well traveled than I can attest that many GL jurisdictions do things very differently than we do in Texas. Where can we draw a line and say 'that's a change' and 'that's an innovation'?

    I read the last line a bit differently but, to be honest, I just enjoy a friendly debate. :001_smile:
     
  16. Roy Vance

    Roy Vance Certified Premium Member

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    Brother DJ, it is such a big issue because of the "it's not what we do here" or "we've never done that before, so it ain't legal" sort of thinking that goes on when the lodges get lazy and complacent and quit actually working and just sit back and let the world go on by while they "read the minutes and pay the bills". And, don't worry, if you did not offend us before you were Raised, then you probably won't offend us now. I have read many of your posts before you became a Master Mason. Worry not, my Brother.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  17. DJGurkins

    DJGurkins Floresville #515 Premium Member

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    Thank you Bro. Vance there must be a lot about the room I don't understand and have knowledge of. That might be a good area to look into and study a little.


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  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I asked our RW DDGM on Tuesday after his second OV. He said it was something the district instructors were told to read at their lodges. So it's not an edict and thus goes away once the annual GL meeting lets out.

    The part that never goes away is the part that should never have been done in the first place - Inserting it at a point in the ritual not intended for spontaneous events and introducing a candidate not yet obligated into a tiled lodge not in the regular manner.

    But that leaves the part that's in the title going away - The Chamber of Reflection itself. Banning CoR itself, implemented correctly, is like banning a Bible presentation, implemented correctly.

    Just like the lodge that did it wrong did not think it through, it looks like the WM GM has not thought it through. He invited the brethren to present legislation then let the topic fade into obscurity.
     
  19. catsale

    catsale Registered User

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    So lets get some clarity here. Is this kosher then for immediate use? In this order of events? Or do you guys think we have to get a grand lodge vote on this. Or not sure.
    I think the order is..

    (a) Master of ceremonies reads the usual stuff from monitor to candidate to make sure they ready
    (b) MC takes candidate (in their street clothes and not hoodwinked) to a dark, candlelit CoR for them to fill out some papers (life goals or whatever), leaves them alone, maybe have background music, and then they ring a bell when ready to proceed and MC comes to get them. We decorate this CoR per traditional standards....
    (c) MC takes candidate in street clothes to the room adjoining the lodge to become duly and truly prepared (and all that means) and then we start the EA formal process.
    (d) Actual 1st degree occurs from beginning to end per usual.

    Now perhaps flipping (a) and (b) is required but I am not sure why that would matter. Makes more sense to have (a) and (b) in the order I suggest.
     
  20. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    In NM, we did it before anything Monitorial or Ritual, effectively outside of "regulated" space. We would open Lodge while the Candidate was in contemplation. Once Lodge was open and the SW informed the WM that there was a Candidate in waiting, the WM sent the SD and Stewards out to prep him. All nice and neat and by the book.
     

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