Traditional Observance

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by dlee12882, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Bob Reed

    Bob Reed Registered User

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    Cliff is one of the biggest proponents of the TO style lodge and one of the founders of E198. One of the problems, and I am guilty of this too, is that some TO Masons have a tendency of being very vocal and enthusiastic about the things going on in lodge and the craft in general. I think this enthusiasm can be viewed as arrogance or elitism and we've got to guard against that. This is just such exciting stuff!!!
     
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  2. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    I would imagine so, especially to those who haven't read the book where he expounds and validates his points. I'm paraphrasing here of course, but one section in particular really resonated with me...the section on dues:

    Freemasonry is supposed to be elite. There's supposed to be pomp and circumstance and a feeling of being part of something special. Over the years as membership dwindled, there was a movement to "dumb down" Freemasonry by lowering dues and lowering standards. This had the adverse effect of driving more people away from the Craft than drawing new members to it.

    Dues at my lodge is way too low. We're in "maintain" mode instead of "improving" mode, and in my opinion, that's a mistake. We have outdated...everything...and as much as I love the experience, it could still be made a whole lot better. A T.O. lodge aspires to do better. To provide a quality experience for its members so that they can't wait to come back versus just going through the motions. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
     
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  3. Bob Reed

    Bob Reed Registered User

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    I guess the proof is in the pudding. If the whole TO thing fails to meet the needs of the members then it will die. Fortunately, the opposite is proving true: Instead of dumbing down let's up the requirements. Make a prospective brother earn the right to petition by showing up for the Agape and getting to know the brothers, then if elected to join our ranks make them work for their degrees. Then charge dues that will do more than keep the lights on, but provide a meaningful experience they will want again and again.

    It should be an honor to be a Mason.
     
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  4. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    Without dispute membership has declined each year since 1959, after the post WW2 membership boom, but based on my personal experience and research the decline is a result of major societal, cultural, and demographic shifts. What evidence do you have to support your statement?

    In my opinion TO and EC Lodges appeal to a very small segment of men, that is not to say there is anything wrong with them, but I can tell you that if all Lodges adopted their requirements Masonic membership in Louisiana would plummet.

    Do you have any data on the number of members that currently belong to these types of Lodges and the number of members they have initiated, passed, and raised over the last 5 years.
     
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  5. Bob Reed

    Bob Reed Registered User

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    I don't think anyone is saying that these requirements should be universal. Masonry has room for everyone and there are lodges to fit those needs. I also don't think that data on numbers would be an apples to apples comparison since brothers can have a year or more between degrees so we move slower. The biggest plus here is that so far in my lodge anyway, we do not have anyone come for the degrees and are never seen again.
     
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  6. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    The only data I can point to are the author's own words: Their dues are much higher and requirements are tougher, yet they maintain near 100% attendance, have to kick members out the door @ 2:00am, and have a waiting list of interested candidates. From just about everything I hear in person and read online, just the opposite is true of other lodges. Members are demitting or not attending, meetings are boring, meals consist of bologna sandwiches (if anything), and there is a serious recruitment problem. And there are official numbers to support those statements.

    Personally, I don't know how anyone would not be interested in the T.O. experience. It's the same Freemasonry, only with quality, style and substance.
     
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  7. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    I was not suggesting,
    I was just pointing out that while TO and EC Lodges are appealing to some, that appeal is limited to a relatively small number of men, and if one of the goals is to stem the tide of declining Masonic membership (which I do not believe to be the case), in my opinion it will not meet that goal.

    I was addressing the cause and effect fallacies “as membership dwindled” that created “a movement to "dumb down" Freemasonry by lowering dues and lowering standards” (in and of itself debatable) which in turn resulted in “the adverse effect of driving more people away from the Craft than drawing new members to it”.

    I would like to see the evidence to support that assertion.

    That is an anecdotal account about one Lodge.

    I am not saying that the following information is representative of all TO and EC Lodges:
    In Louisiana there are two TO Lodges
    • The Lodge of Nine Muses No. 9 in Baton Rouge, LA
      • Dispensation granted in 2004, 19 members 12-31-2004
      • 24 members 12-31-2012
    • O. K. Allen Lodge No. 33 Winnfield, LA
      • Dispensation granted in 2010, 25 members 12-31-2010
      • 22 members 12-31-2012

    Also, I find it interesting that of the 23 Charter Members of Lodge Virtruvian No. 767 in Indianapolis, Indiana 19 have demitted. http://vitruvian.org/?page_id=10

    Again, I am not saying there is anything wrong with TO and EC Lodges. To each his own.

    Now that sounds elitist.
     
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  8. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    Personally, I am partial to the fried catfish, french fries, coleslaw, hush puppies, and iced tea we have at our "Table Lodges".;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Bob Reed

    Bob Reed Registered User

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    A simple google search into Masonic membership (http://www.msana.com/msastats.asp) shows an obvious decline in membership in our fraternity year by year. I think it is also obvious that our current "solutions" are not working. I believe it is correct that TO or any new fangled style isn't going to put those numbers back to 1960s level, but I will say that in all likelyhood TO masons stay involved. I am a member of the lodge Cliff Porter references in his book. Our dues are high ($365/yr) and it took me 10 months to get a petition, but the energy and brotherhood was unlike anything I have ever seen. This year, we will raise 2 brothers, including me in April, and we have lost 2 to death, so our number will not swell overnight, but that is by design. Give me 30 dedicated brothers and you can keep the 100 no-shows. Quality over quantity. Check out www.enlightenment198.com if you'd like.
    Thanks to everyone on this forum. I am enjoying the civil debate and new opinions.
    Bob
     
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  10. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I have Porter's book and have it set aside to read while on vacation in a couple of weeks.

    I have always said give me 20 Masons over 200 members any day.
     
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  11. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Brothers from such lodges. FYI, I know members of Enlightenment and Cliff Porter has stayed in my home.

    . Let me note again, dressing up, as you put it, is not the issue. Rather, it is the implication that only TO lodges do so. I do not consider $365 particularly high. I've paid £200 for four meetings a year, plus dining. I'm a member of a side order which has various fees commensurate with that. This makes my point: TO lodges don't have a monopoly on dressing up or any other factor, other than calling a meal by a different name
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  12. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    This sums it up nicely.

    Nearly everyone who has read the book comments that there was a lot of head-nodding in agreement while reading it. The concepts outlined within its pages speak to a lot of Masons, and if you listen to those who are not yet initiated, it addresses many of their concerns as well. Never once did I get the impression that the author was saying other lodges are "doing it wrong" or that T.O. is "better".

    Is T.O. the answer? Who knows? We'd have to wait several years to find out if retention and attendance is better in the long run. But in my opinion, the answer is already available. I have yet to see any member of a T.O. lodge complain about their lodge experience.
     
  13. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Most of us don't have a problem with the TO experience. It is the implication they have a monopoly in the experience.
     
  14. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    Sure that implication isn't self-inflicted?
     
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  15. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    It is too bad that someone can't create a podcast that explains the problems facing Freemasonry. Oh, wait, http://xoriente.com/?p=212
     
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  16. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I totally agree that TO lodges aren't the only bodies who try to make things a little more formal. I was asked by a brother if I thought there was a need for a TO lodge in our area. As much as I enjoyed it, I told him probably not. I would most be the same people in our general area who are most active in other things, and we don't need another meeting. Our various invitational York Rite bodies are almost hand-in-hand with the TO setting.
     
  17. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    I am thinking that may be a "hasty generalization fallacy" Can you quantify that? (i.e. how many people have read the book and how many have made the comment?)

    So, are your comments based solely on second hand information or are you commenting based on your personal experience?

    Out of curiosity how long have you been a Mason and do you belong to or have you ever attended a TO Lodge.
     
  18. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    You are basing your comments in this thread solely on perceived logical fallacies.

    Here, you are attempting to discredit my opinion by attacking my level of experience. Do you have an opinion of your own on this topic, or are you just trolling with logic fallacies open in another tab?

    How about that? I have access to the internet too.
     
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  19. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    Quite the opposite, I do not know nor have I attacked your "level of experience". I am just asking what it is to have a better idea of your point of reference.

    I will gladly provide my point of reference: I have been a Master Mason since 1973, served as WM in 1976 and as Secretary for many years starting in 1977. I served as DDGM in 1985. I was a member of all of the York Rite Bodies (I am demitted from them now), I served as HP and IM and DDGHP. All of my Masonic experience was in rural northwest Louisiana. My experiences have shaped and define my point of reference.

    I have expressed my opinion on this topic in my prior posts in this thread.

    Rhetoric and Logic are two of the "Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences". Does that ring a bell?
     
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  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The question that seems unexamined is why the 1960s level should be viewed as desirable. It is a historical anomaly that does not correlate with the "quality versus quantity" question. It was a market bubble rather like tulips or houses and the bubble burst. Why isn't the bubble level of our membership in the 1960s seen as a problem not as a goal? Like all bubbles it was followed by a crash. We missed an entire generation in that crash. To the extent that a bubble triggered a crash why do people appear to target having another bubble?

    Our numbers have swung up and down across the centuries. Numbers of degrees lead total membership because our average membership is decades and our median membership is several decades. The number of degree conferrals has been at the pre-Civil-War level for years now.

    If TO lodges are perceived as having a monopoly of high attendance, what's the data? Data talks, hand waving walks. TO lodges are not the only ones that have high attendance. It's active lodges of any ilk that have high attendance.
     
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