Why I demited out of York Rite

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by Rifleman1776, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    Really, a lot of reasons. Some you might not agree with. I'll preface by saying I believe all the YR degrees and rituals are beautiful and tell important lessons. I consider myself YR and a KT to this day even though I did demit out. Years ago my town only had Chapter, it was necessary to drive two hours to attend Council and over three hours to attend Commandery. Discouraging in itself. Everyone in my Chapter was elderly and most had trouble with the work. It came to a point where I was the prompter for every station and would walk around whispering in their ears then they would repeat, about 10% accurately out loud. The thing with the hands was nearly dangerous. Nobody ever got it right and the process was downright silly. I was always afraid someone would get poked in the eye. At one time I had an opportunity to be in Little Rock (Arkansas) where my Commandery was located and could attend a meeting. Before getting there I was informed full uniform was required. Not having one I did not attend. To this day I have never attended a Commandery meeting. Very discouraging. I was elected to HP and am proud of that even though it was frustrating trying to run an organized meeting. About like herding cats. After my term I became Secretary and held that for many years until I demited out. During that time I had to help a number of Kings down steps to the floor because they were so elderly and feeble. They kept dying. When I helped each one I felt I was helping a dead man walking. Very sad and discouraging. I wanted out in a non-controversial way for a long time. Eventually the Shrine dropped the requirement for KT or 32nd Degree for membership. Also, about that time our retirement income dropped to near nothing and I had a double excuse to demit. I needed to save dues money.
     
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  2. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I am sorry to hear that as I personally feel the YR is the best part of Masonry. Here are some thoughts:
    1. If you heart isn't into it, and certainly if dues are a financial strain, by all means demit.
    2. Instead of focusing on the advanced age of membership, recruit some young blood.
    3. I can't speak for your Commandery, but I have never heard of one requiring a uniform to attend meetings. You do need a uniform to be an officer, but many times, the Commandery or someone will give you enough items to piece together a uniform. I personally don't get overly excited about the Commandery. I don't get into all that goes on during the opening. I didn't even attend meetings until one December - a meeting I wasn't at! - I got voted into an office.
    4. I agree with your and would like to streamline the Chapter opening.
    5. You mentioned distance. That's why I've never considered SR. My YR bodies all meet in one place less than 5 miles from my home. SR meets an hour and a half away.
    6. The Shrine dropping its KT requirement really didn't impact my local bodies. I think it did the SR. Locally, we have a very strong YR and have been up front about not being in the business of being a stepping stone for the Shrine. If that was someone's only interest in becoming a YR Mason, we told them to look somewhere else.
    7. I'm glad you withdrew the proper way. That way, if you feel a calling to return, you can do so.
     
  3. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    Thank you for your thoughtful response.
    #3 is near impossible in this area. It is heavily retiree, most new members are transfers in but are already at advanced age. As to the opening ritual. I am a writer and have written two stories on this subject. They were published about 20 years ago in the York Rite and Knights Templar magazines. If I can locate them in digital format, I'll post here. Readers tell me they are interesting and on point.
     
  4. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    I left too.
     
  5. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

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    When I got a demit from the blue lodge about 10 years ago (I'm back now), I also left the SR and YR. I miss the SR, but not the YR. I don't know if I will ever reapply to the SR, join the Shrine or the Grotto (mostly due to budgetary constraints).
     
  6. Pscyclepath

    Pscyclepath Premium Member

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    I am still fairly active in the Chapter, but work schedules, and being put into the line at blue lodge has impacted my ability to do very much over the past year or so. I actually belong to 2 chapters as a plural member, one meets on Monday evening once a month and I have been able to participate there, but the other, and my home chapter, meets on Wednesdays, and I am now tied up in blue lodge practice/lecturing those evenings. May have to look at demitting there, as I don't see the schedule easing up any over the next two years or so as I potentially move through the West and East.

    Council was pretty much a stepping stone to the Commandery... I do belong to the same Commandery as the original poster, and guess I have had similar experiences. Outside the actual conferral of the orders every now and then, most of the work appeared to be pretty much oriented toward moving folks through the east. My first meeting after beeing knighted, I was assigned as the Sentinel and spent the whole meeting standing outside ;-) They are pretty serious about the uniform thing... and there didn't seem to be a whole lot of guidance or help in getting kitted out. The second meeting, I had a partial deal assembled (save for the hat and some of the insignia, which I still haven't figured out) and did get to sit through an opening... but as Council meets immediately prior to the Commandery, across the hallway, I got chewed out for wearing a Commandery uniform to a Council meeting. I live about 20 miles outside town, and didn't realize the need to bring/wear two suits of clothes for a single evening of meetings. I haven't really been back to a meeting since that time. They meet on Thursdays, and being JW in my blue lodge, which meets on a different Thursday, I'm tied up in lodge work just about every Thursday as well.

    Hopefully in a couple years there will be a little more slack in the cable tow and I can think about being more active, but will have to see how things work out...
     
  7. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    Yes, you, Blake and many others leave for a variety of reasons. Younger family men often simply cannot handle all the dues. Neither can many retirees. It is devasting to the organizations and to the people involved. At one point my annual dues (not all Masonic) totaled a months income. I had to cut back on many things that were important to me. Like NRA. Plus fraternities just do not fill the role they once did for men and their families. In a sense, they are no longer needed. Sad.
     
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  8. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    I left because because it became comical. People wearing 70+ year old costumes, reading from cheat/code books and having to prompt each other on what to do. Of course not all york rite bodies are the same so mileage will vary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  9. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    I think fraternities can still serve an important role for young men, and that masonry especially has a lot to offer... at least it does for me. If lodges were to show how much they really have to offer I think there would be a huge influx of young men, instead of it being a typical place for the old guys to go to get away from their wives and drink coffee.

    I know I'm not the only young guy who sees masonry isn't just a place to rally to do charity work in the community or provide brotherhood, but that the principles of masonry really offer the opportunity for good men to become better men, no matter how cliche that sounds. I appreciate that masonry purposely guards itself from admitting just anyone. I don't have to worry that I'll be at lodge with a knucklehead.

    My wife told me last night that she is happy that I recently petitioned the Scottish rite because if it will have an impact on me as my blue lodge experience has been she's all for it.

    From my own perspective it seems there isn't a lot in modern society that offers a young man a place to learn principles such as honor and integrity... a way to live life honorably. I have found that freemasonry offers that to me along with the support of brotherhood to achieve it. So for me every dime I've spent in dues has been worth it. Sorry for the long post, but I wished every young man my age could see how much masonry can make a positive difference and offer them. This is why I'm glad to see that we are opening up a bit and having a lot of internet presence so that by some chance more will see it.
     
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I really want to enjoy YR but there need to be some changes if they want more people to get involved and/or take them seriously.

    (Warning: The following is only my opinion.)

    1. The degrees are too numerous and require too much manpower. Many lodges, especially rural ones, have their hands full keeping enough active members that are proficient enough to confer the first three degrees. YR has what...six or seven more degrees? Some of them require a lot of people and most YR bodies have less people to work with than Blue Lodge do as it is.

    2. Festivals cheapen the experience. It's assembly-line Freemasonry and anything that's mass produced is cheap and replaceable. Granted, some lodges can't confer their own degrees (see #1) so they have to wait for festivals to get new members. Then again, if we fix #1 then maybe #2 won't be so pronounced.

    3. I won't beat around the bush: Commandry uniforms are stupid. Please somebody fix this! I don't want to spend money on a uniform that looks goofy and makes me feel like a dork. Sure, some lodges have spare uniforms sitting around but they probably wont fit well and they still look silly. Cap and mantles are nice...black triangular aprons are nicer.

    4. It takes too long to open Commandry full form. Nothing should take 30-45 minutes to open. Ever. If we were actually plotting the world domination everyone is always talking about then I could get past watching people march around and play with swords for 45 minutes. I could even get past the feathered taco hats. But we're not and the drill is rather pointless, I'd almost rather just show up and hour late.
     
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  11. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    JJones
    1. I don't know that the degrees require that much more manpower. My district has 7 Chapters, and there are always people ready to do degree work. We have a very strong York Rite Association and a very strong York Rite College. I am very fortunate to be in a York Rite hotbed.
    2. I'm not sure if if festivals cheapen the experience. At least one of the YR degrees requires 3 candidates. It is better to do the rest on a single person, I agree, especially in the Order of the Temple.
    1 and 2. If this was really an issue, the SR would be sunk.
    3. I can't disagree with you about the uniforms. I don't know if I'd call them stupid, but I'm far from a fan. As I have said on other threads, I don't know if you can ever put the uniform genie back in the bottle. New guys might not want to pay the price for a uniform. Veteran members who already have the current setup don't want to pay for something different. I'll give a "yes" vote to changing in a heartbeat. Judging by your photo, you are a fairly young guy. You call the uniforms stupid. I know many older guys who seem to like them. I'm in the middle at 43 and can take them or leave them; I'd prefer something else, but am willing to go along.
    4. I agree wholeheartedly. If you really want to be in for an agonizingly long night, go somewhere when the Grand Commander is in attendance. For years and years, my Commandery was in another town, and that was my excuse not to be involved. Then, when we started our local Commandery, and I moved my membership, it was like "Oh, greeeeeaat (#face palm)." I still wasn't active but eventually had to be because I got voted into an office - during a meeting I wasn't at!


    In short, Commandery I can take or leave. I think that every Mason should be involved with the Chapter and Council. Without them, your Masonic experience is an incomplete story. I really like our YRC meetings because of the formality of them.
     
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  12. goomba

    goomba Neo-Antient Site Benefactor

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    I've made it clear in my commandery that I have zero desire to be in office because of the uniform.
     
  13. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    JJ, I understand where you are coming from. But my Commander initiation was a dramatic and memorable experience. No doubt partly because the Brother/Companion putting it on was an exceptional person. I would have liked to attend at least one Commandery meeting but the people running things there (Little Rock, Arkansas) demanded the full uniform and that killed my enthusiasm.
     
  14. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    I guess I stirred things up a bit with this thread. The responses show a common theme. I will dig up my stories and retype them into digital format and post here later on. It will take a while but I would like to share and preserve. I do belive you will enjoy.
     
  15. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    @Companion Joe -

    It was like trying to drink water from a firehose for me (coming straight to the festival from working a night shift didn't help much either) and I still to this day couldn't recollect enough to tell you what I learned from it. This is just my experience and opinion though. The Order of the Temple degree is probably my favorite degree after the MM...it's by far the best degree in YR in my opinion.

    Stupid was probably a strong word choice, I admit, and I don't usually like to use it. Still, I warned you that it was my opinion and any gentler word would have made me feel dishonest.

    @Rifleman1776 - Are you referring to the Order of the Temple? I really enjoyed some of the YR degrees but the Order of the Temple is by far my favorite.

    Anyhow, sorry if I came off as rude or anything in my last post. I've gone inactive in my YR bodies (and will probably demit soon as well) and I didn't feel as though I should beat around the bush as to why.
     
  16. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    JJ, I don't know if it was called Order of the Temple. Long time ago, term is not familiar to me. Just KT as far as I can recall. Nothing rude there. Straight talk if fine with me.
     
  17. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    I like these uniforms...
     

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  18. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    @JJones I didn't think you were coming off as rude. I was just trying to provide a response to each point.

    I do agree about the festivals being information overload. I don't think I took much away from the festival (it's been 20 years so I really don't remember); I got far more reading the ritual book and working in degrees. At that point, that's where most people get it to click that the Mark Master, Most Excellent Master, Royal Arch, Royal Master, and Select Master degrees really complete the Hiramic legend.

    If those degrees represent an 8-chapter book, just getting the Blue Lodge degrees are akin to reading Chpts. 1 and 2, then jumping forward to Chpt. 6 and stopping. If someone hasn't had the YR degrees and taken them in, then his Masonic story is incomplete.

    As for the Order of the Temple, it is by far the most impressive in Masonry, but as it has no connection to the Masonic story, I don't get overly excited about the degree. The Super Excellent degree is also quite impressive.

    My favorite degree in all of Masonry, because of the lessons it teaches, is the Mark Master.
     
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  19. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    Those uniforms that everyone seems to like, and I can probably be counted among that number, look a lot like the outfits worn by the Order of St. Thomas of Acon.
     
  20. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    @JJones - I don't agree w/ #1, and #2 pretty much. But oh man #3 is spot on. And 4. I'd so much prefer a cap/mantle setup which is more accessible and affordable and less... Dorky. ;)
     

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