Why is it so hard to get Masons to join the Commandery?

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by David Melear, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. Ashlar

    Ashlar Registered User

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    Our Mantles look like the one DeMolay is wearing . I will be honest , if I had to wear those uniforms I would not be an active member of my Commandery , and if I can not (or will not) be active , I will not even join . Those uniforms are why the other Commandery in my district is struggling , the younger members can not afford those uniforms , and they refuse to bend so those young members are coming to our YR bodies . And I find the mantles better looking , I also refuse to wear that feathered chapeau . And if you want your own mantle , it is a little better than a $100 , so you are still better off than purchasing the entire uniform .

    I have taught our non-military members a few facing movements but we do not dwell on drilling , I have went through that in the service and I do not want to do that again , it is a bore .

    We have a lot of education on the real Templars , Freemasonry , famous Masons etc; etc; .
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  2. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    What I couldn't get to stick earlier
    cregalia1.jpg templars.jpg

    In looking at this, it seems more appropriate to me for Freemasonry. I like it.
     
  3. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    I REALLY like this idea and the Mantles look waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than black suits with bird feathers. I joined the Commandery a couple of years ago, but haven't been active due to a busy schedule and having to shell $$$$ for an outfit.
     
  4. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    GREAT! Let's vote! . . .

    Blake or anyone, do you know if the individual York Rite Commanderies in Texas have that option of the mantles or are the black suits and feathers mandatory?

    I too think the mantles look better and if Texas were to adopt the approach that apparently is in effect in Kentucky could really breathe some new life into the York rite. Around here anyway.
     
  5. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    My question: What would be worn underneath the mantle? Because the first time I see a mantle over blue jeans and a coors T-Shirt, I'm demitting. :p

    All kidding aside, though, one of the things the uniforms has done is keep the respect for the institution alive, to some extent or another. And (as a still relatively young person in freemasonry at 24), the mantles over casual dress would look... well, not like an organization I would want to be a part of. It would still need to be over some level of dress wear, in my opinion, to avoid looking asinine.

    I could probably live without the current chapeaus though. For price alone. Granted, we have a commandery set that is available, so new members can check one out for use. But not every commandery is so fortunate, and adopting more affordable headwear (as pictured above) would go a long way towards helping some of our members have a full uniform.
     
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  6. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Well said Traveling Man. Though Christian, I find it impossible to exclude my Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddist brethren. I'll leave any exclusions to the G.O.A.T. to decide. As for me, I have sworn not to break the triangle beneath the compasses.
     
  7. Ashlar

    Ashlar Registered User

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    We wear our mantles over black/dark business suits . And I think the Mantle over a suit looks smarter and more "knightly" than those uniforms .

    We had some visiting Sir Knights show up in uniform for one of our Christmas Observances and the wife , not being used to seeing them because all she has seen is our mantles , asked me why the Salvation Army was attending our function . I nearly busted a gut laughing .
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  8. KSigMason

    KSigMason Traveling Templar Site Benefactor

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    That's not a bad idea. My Commandery supplies as much as they can as we do have some chapeaus, some jackets, and plenty of swords, but that's not a bad idea to change to the cap and mantle.

    This is from the Grand Encampment Constitution:

    I couldn't find an online copy of the Texas Grand Commandery's Constitution, but I know Idaho's Constitution says something similar.

    I find the Jacket & Chapeau uniform to be handsome and in the militaristic sense can look very...awesome, when worn right. I think though as we take the name Knights Templar in commemoration of the Knights of old that wearing the cap and mantle is probably better.

    The Order of the Temple is an amazing ceremony.

    I know in Idaho at least you must be a Christian to join.
     
  9. David Melear

    David Melear Right Eminent Grand Commander Premium Member

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    Once the new format of our Constitution and Statutes is approved in April, it should appear on the Grand Commandery website.


    This is how the Constitution and Statutes of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Texas addresses the Cap and Mantle. I also added what is to be worn under the Mantle.
    Art. 351. (G 41 & G 62). Uniforms.
    The purchase of Knights Templar uniform by a petitioner for the Orders in this Grand Jurisdiction is optional with the petitioner.
    (d) In lieu of the regulation uniform, a Constituent Commandery may provide and use the cap and mantle as their official uniform. The regulation uniform or cap and mantle may be worn for all Templar occasions, provided, however, that, when appearing in public, the entire Commandery shall be dressed in the same uniform, that is, all either in a regulation uniform or in the cap and mantle uniform. The cap and mantle uniform is authorized for use and is as prescribed in Article 354. Art. 353.
    Specifications for Texas Templar Full Dress Uniform.
    (b) Trousers to be cut on U. Navy pattern, zipper fly. Plain button, no cuffs, of same material as coat.
    (d) Shirt to be white turndown collar.
    (e) Tie to be black four-in-hand.
    (g) Black shoes or black Wellington or black cowboy boots, and black hose; the trousers to be worn on the outside of the boot at all times.
    Art. 354. Design and material for the Cap and Mantle Templar Uniform: The following is herein designated as proper design of the caps and mantles (ceremonial robes) now permitted as an alternative to the Uniform in the Opening and Closing of the Commandery and in the conferral of the Order of the Temple:
    A. TEMPLAR MANTLE: In general, the mantle shall be of the style worn by Medieval Templars and by members of the Sovereign Great Priories. It shall consist of white material, with hood, reaching to approximately twelve inches from the floor and ornamented as follows:
    1. For members of the Order below the rank of Commander:
    The mantle shall be of white; the hood to be lined with silky white material; the Passion Cross in bright red, nine inches in height, on the left breast; the mantle to tie closely around the neck with white cords with white tassels.
    2. For Commanders and Past Commanders:
    The mantle shall have a single red ribbon, one inch wide, stitched one-half inch from the outer edge; the hood to be lined with a similar red material; the Passion Cross in red with gold rays, nine inches in height, on the left breast; the mantle to tie closely around the neck with red cords with red tassels.
    3. For Grand Officers and Past Grand Officers entitled to permanent rank:
    The mantle shall have the ribbon of a Past Commander and an additional red ribbon one-half inch wide, stitched one-half inch from said ribbon; the Templar Cross in red, nine inches in height, on the left breast; the mantle to tie closely around the neck with red cords and tassels.
    4. For the Grand Commander:
    The mantle shall have a single red ribbon, two inches wide, stitched one inch from the outer edge; the hood lined in red with a similar material; the Templar Cross in red, nine inches in height on the left breast; the mantle to tie closely around the neck with red cords and red tassels.
    5. For Past Grand Commanders:
    The mantle shall have a single purple ribbon, one and one-half inches wide, stitched three-quarters of an inch from the outer edge; the hood lined in purple with similar material; and the Templar Cross in purple material on the left breast, nine inches in height; the mantle to tie closely around the neck with purple cords and red tassels.
    B. TEMPLAR CAP: The Templar cap shall follow the design and specifications of the style worn by the Sovereign Great Priories, three inches in depth and very slightly flared at the top.
    1. For all members of the Order below the rank of Past Grand Commander:
    The cap shall be of bright red velvet (or silk) and the cross displayed on the front of the cap shall be appropriate to rank -- red Passion Cross for members below the rank of Commander; red Passion Cross with gold rays for Commanders and Past Commanders; and red Templar Cross for all Grand Officers and Past Grand Officers entitled to permanent rank.

    2. For Past Grand Commanders:
    The cap shall be of purple velvet (or silk) with purple Templar Cross.

    3. For all Ranks:
    The Cross shall be two inches high.

    C. COMMANDERY BADGE: The distinctive badge of a Constituent Commandery may be worn on the right breast of the mantle. The badge will be no less than five inches or more than eight inches high. The badge of the Commandery shall be superimposed upon the Malta Cross, or the Malta Cross shall be incorporated within the Commandery badge. The design shall be approved by the Grand Commandery Committee on Jewels and Uniforms. No other ornamentation or Templar jewels or recognitions shall be worn on the mantle.
    D. SWORD AND SCABBARD: The sword and scabbard shall conform to the regulations of the Grand Encampment.
    E. SWORD SLING: The sword shall be suspended, when required to be worn, on a sling to be worn over the right shoulder, of black leather one and one-half inches wide, of tailored or adjustable length according to the height of the Sir Knight, to terminate in two straps with snaps to fasten to the two upper rings of the scabbard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  10. Ashlar

    Ashlar Registered User

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    And there it is , now you just need to talk the Sir Knights in your Commandery to switch to caps and mantles . It took us a couple of years to make the change because some of the old heads wanted to continue wearing uniforms . We waited until we had enough younger , newer members to come in so we could out vote the older members .
     
  11. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    This would, it would seem, open the door to some new possibilities.
     
  12. David Melear

    David Melear Right Eminent Grand Commander Premium Member

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    Just a quick note before you call me an old man, I am 42 years old.

    I hope you are right, in my experience it has not worked. I am a member of 4 Commanderies, 2 wear class A uniforms, and 2 wear caps and mantles. Two of the Commanderies are in small cities 100,000 + people, one wears the class A, and one wears the cap and mantles. The one that wears the class A uniform is much more successful with younger people that the one that wears caps and mantles. As a matter of fact in the Commandery that wears the caps and mantles the younger members are trying to get the older members to switch to the class A uniform. This Commandery has had caps and mantles for over twenty years. The other two Commanderies are in small towns neither are very successful, but the uniform has nothing to do with their problems.
    Also in small Commanderies the uniform is not always important, I have inspected many people who have regular suites on instead of the uniform and I have not said a thing. Most of the Grand Officers feel the same way.
    Before you start to say I don’t want to see change, please remember I like the cap and mantle and wear it at every meeting of the other two Commanderies. I also voted to make it an official uniform.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that if the class A uniform with I bought for $150.00, I have suits more expensive than that, is too expensive, than why would you want to buy and cap and mantle with is around $200.00 or more, depending on the quality of the mantle. I agree that the chapeau is dated, but when we voted to change the hat several years ago it was defeated, remember we need your help to make change too, if you will get involved it think you will see many of us are trying to work within the system to change it.
    Please don't take this the wrong way, we need your help, you don’t have to wear a uniform to vote at Grand Commandery.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  13. davidterrell80

    davidterrell80 Past Master Premium Member

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    I did join Chapter and Council in the Fort Worth area. When inquiring about the KT, about which I was truly interested, I was visited by a committee of five Knights, who told me that because of my religious affiliation (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)), I would probably "not be comfortable joining" their organization.

    I complied and have not shed a tear. I have to admit that the expectations of many in Chapter and Council, and my wearying of making delicate excuses about not petitioning KT, led to my abandoning those meetings, as well.

    David
    PM Smithfield 455
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  14. Raymond Walters

    Raymond Walters Premium Member

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    You raise an interesting point. I can only respond as to why I, as an individual chose not to join Knights Templar.

    For me, an appendant organization that requires a petitioner to be of a particular religious faith seems contrary to Masonic principles regarding the Brotherhood of MAN. It has never made sense to me, and strange as it may sound, it still doesn't. Just my opinion on the topic...
     
  15. vanderson78102

    vanderson78102 Registered User

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    I can't speak for anyone else, but for me it has been a matter of expense. I just don't make that kind of money. What with initiation fees, dues, and the uniform, I've been told it can get expensive fast.
     
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  16. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    One minute I read that to be a Templar Knight one must profess a belief in the Christian Religion. I suppose that pretty well means you have to be a Christian. Then I read that you must sign a declaration that he acknowledges the Doctrine of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. You can be Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or whatever and acknowledge the existence of the doctrine. Still again, I read that it is open only to Royal Arch Masons who promise to defend the Christian faith. Here again, you can be Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and be willing to defend the existence of the Christian faith much like the United States defends Israel and the existence of the Jewish faith without being a Jewish state.

    So, which is it?
     
  17. David Melear

    David Melear Right Eminent Grand Commander Premium Member

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    The petition reads "that he is a firm believer in the Christian Religion", it also reads "promises to conform to the ancient usages and customs of the Order." On the back of the petition is reads "and no Mason, who is a believer in the Christian religion, should be satisfied until he has received this, the capstone, of the York Rite."

    There is nothing about the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the Royal Order of Scotland, which is sponsored by the Scottish Rite, that requires members to be a Trinitarian Christian by faith.

    You do pledge to defend the Christian faith in the Order of the Temple.
     
  18. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    Bro. David,

    Thank you for the clarification. It would seem that the lengthy verbiage would indicate that you would have to be a Christian to receive the Templar Degree. I personally don't have a problem with it as it is clear up front but, I can see how others would given the tenants of the Blue Lodge which only requires a belief in a Supreme Being without specifics as to a particular faith. I would suppose it is because you are moving out of the Old Testament and embracing elements of the New Testament.

    Please correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation.
     
  19. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    Just to update and perhaps resurrect the thread, I joined the York Rite this past summer and had the Order of the Temple conferred this past September. I offer the following observations:

    Our York Rite Bodies where I live are perhaps somewhat unique in that the the membership is really getting up there. The Companion who conferred the my Mark Master degree was 93 years old and he did it from memory! He told me afterward that he became a York Rite mason in 1954. I told him that I could barely focus in 1954. Our Prelate in the commandery is about to turn 90. These guys are still pretty frisky and know their work. However, they are ready to pass things along to those younger but at the same time they do not want to see their York Rite cease to exist. We have some issues to deal with regarding recruiting. If we were more active we could probably recruit more. However, since most of the guys are somewhat older, it is hard to be as "active" as some other commanderies. Amarillo to the north is pretty active in drill. I don't see that happening here for quite a while. The only marching I personally was ever exposed to was when I was a little kid and my mother told me to go to bed. When I said I didn't want to I heard "March!" Those skills don't seem to transfer over to what is needed in the commandery drill and ceremony. In essence, we need younger guys to breathe new life in the group. The new guys are hard to get interested as they seem to view the York Rite not doing anything and depending upon how young that person may be, they may have a difficult time with the older guys. But, we are working on it. (Me personally, I have a blast with those guys)

    I have taken a slightly different view than what I previously posted regarding uniforms. The black six button uniforms are quite impressive especially in a group and when worn properly. I still have no love for nor do I posses a usable chapeau at this time; incredibly expensive for no more than you use it. The sword belts are not for everyone. They look great IF you have the proper build and are wearing them correctly. Otherwise they can assume varying degrees of disaster. I have taken a liking to the black uniform with the sword sling underneath the jacket and only the sword being visible along with the appropriate jewels. As one person stated in a letter to the editor in the September 2012 issue of the Knight Templar magazine, "Compared with the timeless quality and simplicity of the Masonic apron, the uniform seems very, very outdated. I’d especially ditch the chapeau. It costs hundreds of dollars, it looks like something from a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, and it’s uncomfortable." I can't argue the point. I understand that there has been talk of a white garrison cap as an option to perhaps replace the chapeau however, there doesn't seem to be enough interest or votes or whatever to make it happen. (Just to replace ostrich feathers alone is an outrageous expense. There is noting worse than wearing a chapeau that was passed on in a commandery with the felt wearing off and molting feathers.) I personally would advocate letting the Knights of Columbus press on with the chapeau and we move toward a more universally attractive and appealing look. If the object is to retain the military look then do so with a look that attracts rather than repels prospective members.

    I much prefer this
    [​IMG]
    (Change the band and cross from gold to silver as needed. Perhaps the black band for Sir Knights, silver for officers and gold for the Commander and Past Commanders.)

    To this
    [​IMG]

    As far as the cap and mantle and mantle is concerned, it looks good. However, to look GREAT requires a really good quality mantle and the proper attire underneath which would mean a dark suit and tie. You are now back to the dark suit thing and really good quality mantles are not cheap either. As someone mentioned somewhere else, doing the sword moves in a mantle can be problematic.
    [​IMG]

    We need to ask ourselves if the uniform policy and expense is keeping good people away from York Rite Masonry. We need to look at these issues from the point of view as to what is best for the York Rite as a whole. For example, if someone were offering resistance to changing the chapeau based on the fact that so many already have a chapeau, that is not viewing the issue from the point of view as to what is best for the York Rite. Tradition is not always a good argument either. The army needs rifles to fight but, do you want them to still use muskets since that is what they started fighting with in the Revolutionary War? Do you think a Knight Templar from the Crusades if given the choice would want to fight with a sword or modern rifle? What is boils down to is that we need to do a better job at balancing tradition and practicality.

    We also need to take an observant look as to what is going on with the Scottish Rite in regard to the recent increase in dues and expenses. I predict that it will have a chilling effect on new membership and perhaps relegate it to only those that have the necessary disposable income and then later become the "country club" of Freemasonry.

    All of that being said, I don't want to sound as if I am complaining. I am simply offering observations based upon my initial perceptions and what I have seen since. After all, if the reason you became a York Rite mason was for the dress, you became one for the wrong reasons. If one is letting the dress keep you from becoming a York Rite Mason then maybe one is overlooking what it means to be a York Rite Mason.

    While I have some issues with the commandery uniform, I did not let it get in the way of becoming a York Rite Mason and specifically a Knight Templar. However, if we were to get up to speed with some of the issues facing each of us such as time well spent in our lodges, chapters, councils and commanderies while maintaining a reasonable minimal expense, perhaps we could see a greater growth in our fraternity.
     
  20. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    That's just messed up. I hope all turned out for the best!
     

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