Grand Lodge of Texas Codebook

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by Blake Bowden, Aug 9, 2009.


Should the Grand Lodge of Texas publish an "Official" Codebook?

  1. Yes

    98 vote(s)
  2. No

    69 vote(s)
  3. Undecided

    17 vote(s)
  1. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    R U sure it was Shakespeare?
    I've been told it was Cervantes.
    Just sayin.

  2. Brother Joe

    Brother Joe Registered User

    I've actually seen older Brethren refreshing their knowledge with this book. Not as a teaching tool, but an aid to the mind that tends to forget details from time to time. I duly understand that we are not to write such things, but I think this is a necessary evil in some ways.
  3. jwhary

    jwhary Registered User

    According to the poll, the brothers have spoken.
  4. Plustax

    Plustax Registered User

    unfortunately..... It ain't gonna change anytime soon. Waaayyyyy too many that would rather have membership dues raised to give more to the GLoT instead of (GLoT) getting the money for the code books of which 100% proceeds are presently going to the bookstores or anyone that sells them. Kinda just rubs me wrong that times are hard for everyone, economy is bad & yet dues are going up, yet it doesn't appear that much is being done to allow in bringing in more money to our Fraternity. And some wonder why membership is dropping or fewer people are joining. JMO...
  5. polmjonz

    polmjonz Registered User

    While i can see the value of the cypher for self study or maybe even practice nights, i firmly believe that it should not be used in open lodge. I recently attended a Masters degree where in a foreign lodge where the code books were in hand and a good number of people needed it to perform their parts and there were a good number of mistakes made by people who didn't use the book. I often thought that i would like to have one but after looking at one i think it was more confusing that learning the way have in the little time i have been around.


    If GLoT has it approved for use then maybe they should be the ones to profit from its sale to turn it around and benefit the fraternity.
  6. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

    NM has a cypher, but it is forbidden to use it in Lodge.
  7. poppacarl

    poppacarl Registered User

    What is the official latest ruling on code books in Texas Lodges?
  8. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    Art. 505. Certain Other Masonic Disciplinary Violations.
    It shall be a Masonic disciplinary violation for a Lodge, a committee or any combination of Masons, or an individual Mason to:
    20. Possess, or use a cipher/code book anywhere on a Lodge premises, and to use a cipher/code book in the presence of a candidate when instructing the candidate in the esoteric work of a Masonic Degree. (Revised 2007)
  9. macjames53

    macjames53 Registered User

    We all know brethren who violate the rules about the code books. Also, those who have sought more light by joining the York Rite know the long term effect of allowing the wide spread use of the books. They end up in the openings and closings and the companions won't come to the practices because they have the books. It's a CATCH-22.
    I guarantee that if we start the wide spread use of the code books, our lodges will suffer the same fate and we'll be hosting "festivals" to confer all 3 degrees in Masonry. Just as our appendant bodies do.
    The work has survived all these years because we dedicate ourselves to the passing down the work to the next generation and conferring well practiced degrees.
    So - a resounding NO!
  10. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

    We have them in Oklahoma and the problems you speak of I have never personally witnessed. I have one and I have never taken it in the Lodge during a degree or stated meeting. I do take it when we are practicing degrees. I have yet to see where it causes a problem with anything. I know that they have been a valuable tool when learning the work and needing a reference to look at. There are times when we are practicing when a question arises about what the language is in a particular portion of it. We will ask a Brother and sometimes we get conflicting info coming from different people. A simple look in the book tells us who is right and who is wrong. No questions are given about why one is right or wrong. It is in the book and it is the final authority. The problem that I see from this thread and others about the subject is that Texas has no control on what is in a code book or who gets one. That is the problem that needs to be resolved first before the issue of where it gets used is addressed.
  11. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

    The Scottish Rite has a tightly controlled printed ritual (I worked in the 18th degree for a brief time) and it seems to work there because it is required that all parts be performed from memory.

    If think the GLoTx should publish a code book and forbid it's use in the Lodge building, or in front of a candidate. I fail to see the harm it would do, plus the GL would open a new revenue stream and give them control of the content. Print the code book, require that degrees be done from memory only, and candidate instruction be done mouth-to-ear and I do not see how there could be a problem.
  12. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    For the word "code" I'm used to it meaning what Texans call the law book. I have copies of the "California Masonic Code" and the "Illinois Masonic Code" and they are both the constitution and by-laws of my jurisdictions. The California one has been on-line for a while with a login needed to download it. I arranged for a login through my secretary a few years ago.

    I posted earlier in this thread - California is a cypher state with a cypher Book of Standard Work published by the GL. Illinois is a written out state (modes of recognition underscores) with the Book of Standard Work published by the GL.
  13. JBD

    JBD Premium Member

    No what they are referring to is a"code" book of the esoteric work not the laws. The laws are readily available from the Grand Lodge. The code book is entirely different.
    The possession of a code book was removed as an offense years ago. It is, and rightfully so, still prohibited on Lodge property and from use in instruction.
    The law as currently written is fine by me. The book available has errors and it is readily discernable if one learned the work with it.

    I am opposed to a sanctioned code book of the work. The only thing worse is a plain English version. Just look at the quality of some of the appendent bodies where plain English is available. As an aid to memory it is one thing, but we have hard evidence the quality suffers with anything written.

    I am all for things that improve the fraternity, this is not one of those.

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  14. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    I wouldn't mind it if the GL created a 'sanctioned' code book and sold them. It'd be a good way for them to raise money. Most brothers are going to buy codebooks anyhow, might as well have an official version. That being said, I'd still want the laws to stay the same: no codebooks in the lodge.

    I agree that having them in plain English would be much worse, especially if they were allowed in the lodge. Once you start doing that it's not long before nobody knows the work and they're using the ritual books to open and close like the Yorkrite bodies do. :(
  15. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

    Yah I agree. Watching a chapter or council opening/closing is a sad affair sometimes. Trying to change that mentality in mine and have them leave their books home this next year.

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  16. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    This is like the words "hoggie" and "submarine sandwich". They mean something that's interchangeable but they don't mean "hot dog". If someone asks for a hoggie or submarine and you hand them a hot dog they will likely think you didn't hear correctly. Try explaining that's what they are called here and you'll be thought quaintly provincial.

    Plenty of jurisdictions have a code book or law book. They mean something that's interchangeable but they don't mean cipher, cypher or book of standard work. Variations from jurisdiction to jurisdiction are fun to experience.

    One of my two jurisdictions for example.

    Actually, no you don't have hard evidence for it unless you have traveled to states that have them and it appears you have not. I've seen good and bad ritual in at least one cipher state. I've seen good and bad ritual in at least one written out state. I've seen good and bad ritual in at least one mouth to ear state. And I've seen good and bad ritual at Scottish Rite as well.

    The difference is the activity level of the lodge and the dedication level of the brothers not the presence or absence of the book.
  17. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User


    I think the only evidence you have is that some people can memorize things and repeat them in public better than others. The real deciding factor between good ritual and bad is the dedication level of the brothers (and some ability to memorize and repeat in public---which can be overcome by LOTS of hard work). I was active in a Scouting Honor Society in St. Joeseph, Missouri when I was a young man. Some guys did their speaking parts very well, and some didn't The ceremonies were printed, but parts had to be recited from exceptions. Some just did a better job than others.
  18. JBD

    JBD Premium Member

    My Brother, your post is offensive. I have my experiences and you have yours.

    Although I am not compelled to tell you where all I have traveled, lets just say you are not the only one who has been in other jurisdictions. My comment was that we have evidence of ANYTHING written has affected the proficiency and yes I do have the evidence in my own travels. And yes in both written and non-written states. The variations of personal commitment exist regardless of written or not, therefore, the variable is the writing. I was more particularly addressing Texas, not because I have not seen other work, because Texas is the Grand Lodge under whom I work as a Mason and it is not my place to comment on the work of other jurisdictions, even if I know and have traveled there.
  19. Starr

    Starr Registered User

    While I have not been involved long, I would think mouth to ear would lead to words changing over time. The telephone game from grade school is evidence of that. Is this an inaccurate point of view?

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  20. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

    Committee on Work, certificate Forums and Exams, and schools of instruction are *supposed* to keep that from happening and ritual work on track. Supposed to at least. ;)

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