Ritual Book Etiquette

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by tomasball, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    York Rite members know that, for better or worse, our work has been available in official ritual books for many years.

    Notwithstanding the fact that it is a violation of our laws to use a ritual book in open Chapter, Council, etc., the use of these books in openings, closings, and the conferral of our degrees is rampant. That's troubling, but I have an even bigger beef.

    If you are sitting on the sidelines, watching a degree, why would you open a ritual and read along in it, rather than paying attention to the Companions doing the work? This has alway struck me as the most disrespectful thing a man can do, and yet, many seem unable to leave their books in their pockets while the work is going on.

    I have also seen this in York Rite Colleges, KYCH Priories, and RCC Conclaves.

    Tom Ball
    KYCH
     
  2. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    The books are indeed a crutch.
     
  3. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    Yes, but my point is it's worse than a crutch. People just sitting on the sidelines don't need a crutch...they don't need to do anything but sit and listen. They're not doing the work; they're just sitting there. What possible justification is there for them to be reading the book at that point, unless it's so they can, as has often happened to me, leap in and offer an uninvited prompt if the speaker pauses to catch his breath.
     
  4. trowlison

    trowlison Registered User

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    I understand. Here is my take on it though. I am the SD in our Blue Lodge and I am memorizing the Stair Lecture of the FC degree. I like to travel and visit other lodges during their degree work in case they need help and maybe pick up a pointer on something I've already learned from another brother. Anyway, I have found myself on the sideline listening to a brother give the lecture, and following along with the ritual book. I find it easier to memorize by not only hearing but seeing the coded words at the same time. Of course once the lecture is over my book is closed and my attention is back on the action.
     
  5. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    I'm sorry; this is going to sound harsh...maybe that's okay with the guys in your jurisdiction, but speaking as someone who usually is out there reciting the ritual, if you did that while I was doing a degree, I would consider it very, very rude.
     
  6. trowlison

    trowlison Registered User

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    To the contrary. The SD reciting the lecture encouraged it by giving me his ritual book with notations in it, telling me to follow along. My point is everyone is different with how they memorize the work. You find it rude (which I understand), and others have no problem, depending on the circumstance. I personally, also have no problem with a brother following along. Doing it for no reason, is another story, but following along to memorize work lectures, IMHO is ok.
     
  7. tom268

    tom268 Registered User

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    Well, I may step on some brothers toes now, so I apologize in advance, if I hurt any feelings. In my opinion, in many occasions across the USA, a ritual meeting has degraded to some kind of memorization contest. If the text is flawless, the ritual was "a great experience and something seemingly overwhelming".
    I never heard of brothers in the sidelines reading along the ongoing ritual, but I totally believe, that such thing exists. But such a thing can only happen, when the ritual experience is zero. Then brothers start to talk about profane issues in lodge, as if the ritual is a comercial break in a TV show, or they start checking their e-mails or search for errors in the performence of the officers.

    Here in Germany, where I live, reading the ritual is standard. It is not even a break of rules, it is mendatory by the grand lodge. The acting officers have to read the ritual. Errors occur too, of course, but the focus of the acting offers and the brothers in the sidelines is different ... and nobody has to prompt. The ritual books are usually large formats, so you can read them while standing behind yout offic table. There are traveling versions for interested brothers, who want to study the ritual while away, but I never heard of anyone, sitting in the sidelines and check the text.

    Maybe that's an advantage here.
     
  8. jimmy

    jimmy Registered User

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    In NY your not allowed to have a ritual book open in your Blue Lodge during a Tyled meeting.Period. I have seen some in the Chapter open up but not to follow along with someone else, just for their part.
     
  9. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    We likely wouldn't be able to open a Chapter or Council at my lodge without the ritual books (assuming enough people even show up).

    It doesn't really impress, but it's time consuming enough to try and get the Blue Lodge ritual memorized. When we do open, there might be one or two companions on the sidelines and they usually follow the ritual somewhat in the book as well.
     

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