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. KSigMason

    KSigMason Traveling Templar Site Benefactor

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    This is occurring in my York Rite bodies. Many of the older ones are "retiring" from performing, but still assist and mentor as much as they can.

    Agreed. I've been working on getting the York Rite more publicity in the Boise area by promoting events in Lodge and other meetings.

    Agreed.

    I agreed there needs to be some reform to our uniform.

    To some, I'm sure it is keeping them away.

    My bodies just passed resolutions to pass an increase in all of our dues. We changed it from a set amount to "Per Capita from the 3 Grand bodies + $25 for each body + any change in the cost of living index (may go up or down)" This year it comes to around $140 total.
     
  2. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    The reason I haven't joined the York Rite at this time are two-fold. First and foremost is expense. I want to go through the York Rite degrees but at this time just simply can't afford it. It isn't so much the degree fees and dues as it is the cost of buying a whole uniform vs. simply buying the prayer cap in the Scottish Rite. Also, the other problem is distance. The closest York Rite bodies are about a 45-minute drive away. If there was something closer I might be a bit more inclined to join. Which brings me to another question, which is once I joined what would it take to get a Chapter, Council, and Commandery established in my hometown?

    What I am planning on doing is taking it slow and going through it one degree at a time, maybe do the first degrees and then wait a while to move on. Suggestions in that area?
     
    Morris likes this.
  3. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I'm a member of the York Rite, but not really active in it. When it comes to the Commandry specifically I must admit that the uniforms is part of what would hold me back. Not only because of the cost, but also just the looks of it. Without offending anyone I must say that I didn't join masonry to parade and do fancy uniforms. I like to dress nice in suits or a tux for stated meetings and special occasions, but uniforms like that doesn't do it for me.
     
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  4. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    I would think in a group, they uniforms do look nice, but in keeping with the Knights Templar context, the mantle and cap would make me feel more involved. Can't really give much more input than that, except the feathers look... overstated. hah
     
  5. CajunTinMan

    CajunTinMan Registered User

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    I must disagree. It is no more unMasonic then deciding which Great Light to display in which jurisdiction. What is wrong with Brothers further sharing the bonds of their common faith? We are all Brothers on the Masonic level. But we also share certain commonalities with other Brethren and I only see this as strengthening Masonry.
     
  6. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I wish you didn't have to be Christian to join the commandery. There's a rich history and tradition attached to the Templar order that I'd love to be a part of.
     
  7. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Caveat: the opinions expressed here are one Freemason's view of one Masonic community. No member of any appendant body was harmed during these observations.


    I think the problem here is basically twofold; The first is the religious requirement in very diverse community. We have three other VSLs available as needs be, and have used them all.

    The other thing that hurts York recruitment here is the Big Pink Castle.

    The Scottish Rite Temple is right next door, in your face every time you leave the lodge building. "Everyone" in lodge is an SR Mason, while many are York Rite (most of those SR also). The Temple has dormitories, so that during the reunions, everyone has a place to sleep. It also has an amazing, century-old theatre to perform the degrees upon. Hundreds attend.

    York has local meetings, but conferrals are 60 miles down the road and over several weekends. They're held in a lodgeroom, and they don't fill that with members.

    [rant]And I have to say it; I don't think the realtor jackets, or that uniform, help the cause. Depending on the jurisdiction, or even the individual, the uniforms can look like Salvationists, Civil War re-enactors, or Victorian zombies. What it doesn't look like is anything remotely resembling a tie to the Order of the Temple.[/rant]
     
  8. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree, those coats are hideous and the templar uniforms are goofy and expensive. I'd prefer to go cap n' mantle or black aprons.

    Another big problem I see with Yorkrite is the number of degrees involved. While there aren't as many degrees as their are in SR (if I understand correctly) there just doesn't seem to be much interest in getting enough people dedicated to learning it all. Those one day festivals are few and far in between and the candidate doesn't actually learn anything during them either.
     
  9. KSigMason

    KSigMason Traveling Templar Site Benefactor

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    When worn properly they look impressive, but they can restrict movements. I do like the Cap and Mantle, but it makes sword work very difficult as I recently found out.

    I'm not a fan of the festivals and until we can fully change it I'm implementing Days of Instruction to help new candidates better learn everything there is to know with the York Rite degrees.
     
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  10. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Part of the problem there is that the sword-work comes from the same time as the uniforms; it's 19th-century military manual-of-arms, and does not reflect an ancient chivalric Order. If Commanderies worked entirely in surcoats, with a "knight's sword," there would be considerably less swishing about, and more attention to the purpose of the work.
     
  11. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    The Commandery without Christ is pretty much the Order of Knight Masons, they also don't have the uniform requirements.

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  12. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    San Antonio does do festival's but the local York Rite bodies do put on the individual degrees. The issue comes down to time and commitment, the SR doesn't require the time as the York Rite does, and really, the three bodies of the York Rite (not including the blue lodge) mimic the blue lodge, both in form, and expected time invested. A lot of men don't want that. Typical example is a man will run off join the Scottish Rite, then years later will join the York Rite. This is actually backwards as the Chapter and Council degrees finish out the story told to you in the blue lodge, and make the Master Mason's degree that much more special. The other misconception is that to finish the York Rite one needs to be a member of the Commandery, which is false. The orders of the Temple are not directly linked to the chapter and council. The Order allows for a Christian mason to reflect on their Masonic journey as a Christian, this doesn't mean that to "finish" the York Rite you have to join the Commandery.

    While I adore the Scottish Rite, and have found days of enjoyment in it, really to complete your journey as a Freemason, you need to go through Chapter and Council. In my opinion, next to the Order of the Temple, the Royal Arch Degree is by far one of the most impressive in open membership Freemasonry. A man is seriously robbing himself of a wonderful experience by not taking the degrees of the York Rite.

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  13. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    Perhaps we need to assign a mentor to each candidate much like we assign an instructor in the Blue Lodge. While there is not memory work, a briefing before the degree as to the intended lesson and a debriefing after the degree/order to discuss the lessons and how it manifested itself in the degree and any subtleties that may have been missed might be worthwhile.

    For me personally, the Order of the Temple was second only to Baptism. It is a VERY impressive undertaking.

    The York Rite of Freemasonry, which many take to include the three degrees of the Blue or Craft Lodge, involves a good deal of its symbolism with the Hiramic Legend and King Solomon’s Temple. The degrees are not conferred in the order in which the historical events they depict occurred. HERE is a list of the degrees in chronological order – which may help to put them into perspective and demonstrate the necessity of receiving all of them in order to obtain a complete picture.

    I agree the uniforms need to be updated, revised, whatever but, that is proving to be a monumental undertaking. It seems the "old guard" for lack of a better term, is clinging to the previous traditions of the Order and has yet to acquiesce to the modern day obstacles and concerns of prospective members and that is keeping many from taking a second look at the Commandery. If we were to ditch the Naval style uniform, I would be inclined to go with a HiGH quality mantle and dark suit or aternatively black pants, tie, black vest and a baldric to carry the sword and that is it. Wear the medals on the suit or vest. Not sure about wearing them on the mantel. No cap; that belongs to the Scottish Rite, in my view. It would have the look of a modern "Knight".

    I think one reason the Naval uniforms prevail is the drill & ceremony associated with the Knights Templar. I have mixed feelings about drill. However, I could get much more excited about doing what the Levant Preceptory does than drill.

    More Levant Preceptory
    Traveling Templar
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  14. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    So is the idea of the cap and mantle catching on? I like the idea if it's carried out well!
     
  15. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    In most Commandery's it is the standard uniform, some of the old guys will bring out the Navy/Pirate uniform. The common belief is that one of the put-offs of joining the Commandery is the purchase of the uniform and of a sword. So most Commandery's have their swords they lend out and moved to the Cap and Mantle which is far cheaper than the Navy/Pirate Uniform.

    I will say that the sword work is tricky. Being an active member of the Order of St. Thomas of Acon, the mantle and sword work can be tricky. I nearly put a hole in my mantle the first time I attempted to draw my sword. ;)

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  16. SSG_Morrison

    SSG_Morrison Registered User

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    The fact that the Fraternity has many more followers than real leaders is part of the issue, and then followed by disappointment when they do join the York Rite magnifies this. York Rite is supposed to be the surviving Order of The Knights Templar. The history books have built the reputation of the Great Secretive Order of the best of the best, but in actuality 90% of its members are ignorant to the history of The Order that they are members of, nor do they care to know. It's just one more block to check on the Masonic ladder and one more title to add.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  17. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    To answer the OP's question: because even though I was an Episcopalian altar boy (we call em acolytes) and was raised in the Christian tradition, many years within books have made me as much Deist as Christian. And though I have been assured that my views do not preclude me from the order, I hesitate to do so.

    Could I make an oath to defend Christianity above all other religions? Yes, without reservation. It was the first of the great books I read.

    But for me it is the first among equals, not the only path.

    So I am cautious.

    Whats more, I am already in Patrol at my local Shrine. If I am to march, it will take a strong argument that my shoe leather is better spent in something other than the cause of crippled children.
     
    Morris likes this.
  18. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Thank you Brother Hatley for sharing your heart-felt reasoning on this subject. You are truly a good mason and a good brother.

    Were that all masons be this in touch with the obligations they took and their moral view.
     
  19. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    Brother, thank you for your warm words. It makes me want very much to live up to your good opinion of me, sir.

    I am certainly not ruling out the order though, and Ive been nudged numerous times. Well see.
     
  20. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Same here, and I was attending Roman Catholic school. By the time I was twelve I was pretty sure I could perform a Mass...


    My hat's off to you, Brother Michael. You've picked your fight and stuck with it, instead of pushing on for another lapel pin. Though when you find the time and inclination, I'll admit that receiving the Orders can be a beautiful thing.
     

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