Membership and participation in Freemasonry today

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by amhdive, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. nfasson

    nfasson Registered User

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    I retract my earlier post...
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  2. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

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    I like that "more masonry in men"


    My Freemasonry
     
  3. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    148 invested in a website that quickly paid for itself. Very powerful tool for a lodge.
     
  4. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    Yep. We were a pretty moribund lodge until we launched our web site. Since then, we've had petitioners to initiate, pass, and raise on a regular basis, and almost all of them came as a result of queries through the web site. Enough of them have stayed active that our entire progressive line is made up of men 40 and under, with no Past Masters in the line, plus young men on the sidelines waiting for a chance to get in the line.

    If young men today have a question about anything, their first move is to do a web search. Your lodge should be the first thing that comes up on a Google search for "[your town] masons."
     
  5. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I am ashamed to say, that my mother lodge does not have a webpage, and has no plans to obtain one. The membership is not convinced of the value of the internet. I was glad to see when the Grand Lodge of Ohio, announced a regulation that all subordinate lodges must have an internet site.

    I predict that more lodges and Grand Lodges will be utilizing the internet. We may even see a Grand Lodge office "Grand Webmaster", to advise subordinate lodges on how to exploit the internet to the fullest.

    Try to imagine what a young man must feel , when he sees one of the excellent programs about Freemasonry on "History" or "Discovery" channel. Then he checks to see if there is a lodge in his town, and nothing pops up on google. He may decide that there is no Freemasonry in his town!

    I believe that the internet is ideal for Freemasonry. At least one Grand Lodge (PA) gives all masons the option of paying their dues on line.
     
  6. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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  7. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Those words seem to have resonated with me, provoking much thought.

    First of all, IMHO, if a the membership of a particular lodge wants to avoid any visibility or availability via the Internet, that's fine. They should be free to do so. I can see the possibility that such a group of Masons might, upon careful consideration, decided that they did not want or need such things. I can envision, for instance, a small but thriving T.O. lodge that values "Masonry in men" (winks at Doug) more than the number of men in Masonry. They are small and exclusive, and they like it that way. More power to them, I say.

    I rather doubt, however, that such considerations are really the case. More likely, it is a bunch of stodgy old men who don't understand the thing and are thus unaware it's potential, or are even afraid of it. And that, IMO, is inexcusable.

    The Internet, or more precisely, the various mediums that are enabled by the Internet, are now and for evermore a part of our community. One of the great things about the technology is that it can broaden that community in so many ways (not just geographically). We (the community in general, and Freemasonry in particular) have only begun to see some of the ways that technology will change things. Some of those changes are obvious - a web presence is, arguably, more important than a phone book listing. Some changes less so - the ability to pay one's dues using PayPal or similar. Some are still unrealized dreams - the extension of an open lodge, via telepresence, to members who could not otherwise attend. Such a thing might add rather substantially to the Tyler's required qualifications, perhaps even a redefinition of the role, but certainly there are no technical boundaries to it. Mind you, I'm not suggesting that it's a replacement for traditional "meatspace" meetings, only that it might be a worthy adjunct for those who, for various reasons, might not be able to attend in person.
     
  8. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    You will find that most lodges have a "buzzard's row", who will hold up, derail, and stop any new project or idea that comes along. The usual response is "We never did it that way before" or "We never had an internet page before". Once this statement is proffered, the project/idea/program is derailed.
     
  9. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I would love for more Grand Lodges to follow Ohio's example, and mandate (force) all subordinate lodges to have some internet presence and/or web page. The internet is the "wave of the present", and I cannot fathom why so many lodges have not embraced it.

    I reside in metro WashDC. (I work internationally). Many (not all) of the lodges in my area have web pages. Some get a majority of their new petitions from their webpage. Fredericksburg #4(VA) no longer has a print newsletter, all information is disseminated via their internet newsletter.
     
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Or we could allow lodges to do what they feel works best for them and not force anyone into doing anything against their will?

    Having an online presence is nice but I've found that it's impact has been pretty minimal so far, we've certainly received no petitions from it. It may be because my lodge is rural, I'll admit, but I couldn't tell you one way or another.

    What about a lodge that doesn't have the resources/capability to build a website? Granted, it's not terribly expensive but it does take more than a basic level of skill to design a webpage that looks appealing and I'd suggest that no website at all is better than some of the lodge (and some GL) websites I've seen over the years.
     
  11. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Or we could allow lodges to do what they feel works best for them and not force anyone into doing anything against their will?

    --Every subordinate lodge MUST follow the rules/constitution/by-laws of their Grand Lodge. When a Grand Lodge issues new legislation, lodges must obey. This is how it works. If a lodge is unwilling to follow the directives of their Grand Lodge, then they must turn in their charter, and cease operations. "Suck it up" is how it works.

    Lodges do get a great deal of leeway in how they operate, but the Grand Lodge is BOSS.

    Having an online presence is nice but I've found that it's impact has been pretty minimal so far, we've certainly received no petitions from it.

    --If your lodge has not received any petitions from the internet, yet. They will in the future. Lodges in my district (Northern VA), get a majority of their petitions from their internet presence. One lodge in my town got 17 new petitions in one month, all from the 'net.


    It may be because my lodge is rural, I'll admit, but I couldn't tell you one way or another.

    What about a lodge that doesn't have the resources/capability to build a website?

    --In case like this, the Grand Lodge will have to provide support and guidance. Grand Lodges will establish an office of "Grand Webmaster", to provide subordinate lodges with advice and directives. This way, every lodge will not to "re-invent the wheel". Also, Grand Lodge control, will ensure that all lodge websites "toe the line", and present Freemasonry properly, and not open the lodge to legal action, or have the possibility of a conflict of interest, or copyright violations, etc.



    Granted, it's not terribly expensive but it does take more than a basic level of skill to design a webpage that looks appealing and I'd suggest that no website at all is better than some of the lodge (and some GL) websites I've seen over the years.


    --All the more reason for assistance from the Grand Lodge. I have seen many masonic websites. Some are excellent, some are mediocre, some are an embarrassment. I agree, that no website is better than a crappy website.

    All the more reason for Grand Lodges to establish a "template" so that all subordinate lodges will have a minimum standard. I get a pain in my chest, when I see a masonic website, that lists an event which occured two years ago, and it is still advertised on the site!

    Grand Lodges can also establish a "competition" where all lodge sites would compete for "blue ribbons", for which subordinate lodge has the best overall website.

    Resistance to all change is endemic to our lodges. Grand Lodges are going to have to mandate that lodges have websites, and drag the subordinate lodges into the 21st century.


     
  12. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    One sitting Master I know began gaveling down the "buzzards," as such commentary disrupts the harmony of the Lodge. He also imposed a series of fines for interruptions, and speaking without using the proper etiquette (stand, sign, be recognized).
     
  13. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It combines a couple of sources. The quantity versus quality issue does get phrased as "More men in Masonry or more Masonry in men?" Also Bro Nagy defines Freemasonry as the organization and process thus favoring quantity, Masonry as the individual process thus favoring quality.

    The phrasing ends up "More men in Freemasonry or more Masonry in men?" With that context it becomes clear the answer is yes to both. As Freemasons we want more candidates for our lodges. As Masons we want to practice our principles. The Ying and Yang.
     
  14. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It's hard to do the first time. It gets easier over time not the least reason is once the lodge knows the Master is in charge they follow knowingly instead of out of habit. More than just it being our obligation, it makes sense to follow a man who has demonstrated such leadership. It's also very easy to tell when a brother has started abusing the oriental gavel so abuse it once and the brothers find it getting easier over time to sit and wait for his year to be over.

    A WM needs skill at both leadership and administration. They are very different skills not often taught as such. In the military they are taught in NCO school and staff college so Navy folks who have dealt with "khakis and flags" will know the difference. Other branches will use other terms, the enlisted folks who moved from senior technical to first sergeant moving towards sergeant major and generals/admirals.
     
  15. brother josh

    brother josh Registered User

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    Only problem with that is if we give grand lodge that type of authority to force a lodge to do what it wants then we lose the idea of independence of each lodge governs itself


    My Freemasonry
     
  16. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    ===Subordinate lodges do NOT "give" authority to their Grand Lodge. Grand Lodges give authority to subordinate lodges to operate. Grand Lodges have constitutions/by-laws and regulations.

    Lodges are not independent, they operate under the supervision of the Grand Lodge which holds their charter.

    The Grand Lodge of Ohio voted in convention, to require all subordinate lodges to obtain a webpage. The regulation was made properly, by majority vote.
     
  17. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Masonry works like a federated republic.

    Each lodge elects some of its officers and sends them as representatives to GL - Whether a lodge counts as a republic depends on the details of your exact definition. Each lodge is supposed to have "control" over its "territory" in the sense of drawing candidates from its cable tow. As the number of lodges have grown this limited level of independence has dwindled.

    Each GL is composed of the representatives of its constituent lodges, with the details of who votes varying by jurisdiction. On the one hand lodges can't exist without a GL. On the other hand the lodges hold veto over GL by voting in the annual communication.

    So what does it even mean when discussing authority that flows two ways like that? I don't know but I've read that W Bro George Washington said or quoted "He who rules least rules best". if there's a way to get it done without a mandate that should be tried first.
     
  18. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. We're all required to accept GL law, there's no dispute about that, my argument was about if mandates are really necessary. Just because some people think every lodge should have a website does it mean that they're right? Furthermore, just because some people think every lodge should have a website and have the ability to make requiring one a mandate, does that make it right?

    Every lodge is unique and it's a bad idea to treat them like they're not in my opinion. We should give lodges the freedom to determine if certain things are best for them or not.
     
  19. brother josh

    brother josh Registered User

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    I find both answers from you brother to be of a reasonable mind as long as we all GL included can meet on the level without anything being force by one lodge or another then I feel brotherly love will overcome


    My Freemasonry
     
  20. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Mandates are sometimes necessary. Example: The Grand Lodge of North Carolina voted some years ago to extend full fraternal relations to MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina. Not all lodges were thrilled with this action. But, the Grand Master pushed and got 2/3 of the lodges to adopt the regulation. All lodges and all NC masons must accept this decision. "Suck it up" is the rule.

    If "some people", meaning a majority of the lodges in a particular Grand Lodge makes the proposal, and it carries, then ALL lodges must accept the directive. Does this make it "right"? I don't know. But- It makes it mandatory, and since all lodges which are chartered by the Grand Lodge, then it must be done. Lodges and individual Masons are required to "cheerfully conform" to all of the laws, rules and regulations of the Grand Lodge. The discussion is over.
     

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