3 Black Balls Vs 1 Black Ball

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by Tx4ever, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Tx4ever

    Tx4ever Registered User

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    Im interested in your thoughts please.
     
  2. RTidwell

    RTidwell Registered User

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    Does not apply to me. My home lodge uses cubes.

    The law book is clear on what results depending on the number of rejection votes.

    My question is, do you in fact perform a Masonic offense by asking for more of a particular color when all have been used. Kind of a trick question there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Registered User

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    I personally think the whole system surrounding the selection of new members needs an overhaul.
     
  4. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    There should be enough of both colors in the ballot box for each member present. In other words, if there are 18 members present, there should be 18 white and 18 black that can be used.
     
  5. RTidwell

    RTidwell Registered User

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    That is true but when you have a large number of brothers present for voting is it practical or wise to hold a reserve amount in a separate container? Say you have 50 brothers show up you would need 100 balls. Most ballot boxes I have seen are unable to hold that many ball waiting to be cast.
     
  6. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    They had a good presentation on Balloting at last year's JW Retreat. They covered this.
     
  7. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Do tell...
     
  8. RTidwell

    RTidwell Registered User

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    I haven't been to a Wardens Retreat in 5 years. So I don't know what they covered or didn't.
     
  9. Tx4ever

    Tx4ever Registered User

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    Im sorry that i was not clear in my question, Let me try this again... How about only one Black Cube {Vote} to reject an applicant for the degrees, or do you prefer the way it is now.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Registered User

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    Well, for one, I think the crack-down on information seems...strange. Members are not allowed to talk to each other about petitioners or share information, as I understand it. If one member has negative information about a petitioner, then, the way I understand it, they're allowed to vote against him, but that's it; they can't share that information with other members of the lodge. Likewise, the investigation commitee's reports are rather lacking in information. They're either favorable or unfavorable. I have to be honest, I wouldn't vote in any other election with so little information, not even school board or HOA elections. Why should I have to vote on whether to accept someone into my most trusted circle of friends with so little information?

    You could argue that I have the opportunity to be on the investigating committee myself and ask my questions, but there are a couple problems with that. For one, it's not feasible for me to be on every investigating committee. Likewise, it's hard to really get to know someone during an interrogation session, or even over the course of a few meals at the lodge.

    This is what would make more sense to me. For one, I think a petitioner should have to know at least two members of the lodge well in order to petition. Second, these two (or more) men should have the opportunity to address the lodge during the meeting the petition is read and the brethren should have the chance to ask these brothers questions about the petitioner to find areas that the investigating committee might want to check out or ask about during the investigation, so that the investigation is both more efficient and more meaningful, and also to get insights about the petitioner that might not be readily apparent. Then, investigative committees should, for one, give their report themselves, and, two, give a real report, letting the brethren know exactly what they found out that might be useful in making a voting decision. The brethren should also have the opportunity to ask them questions, as well. Then, finally, the candidate should be balloted on. This is one area where I think we do things right. I wouldn’t personally change any of our balloting procedures, although I do think the number of black balls or cubes required to reject should be up to the lodge to decide and specify in their by-laws. I also think that they should only reject the candidate from that lodge for a time, and not from every lodge.

    My reasoning for all of this is based on my ideas of the lodge as a fraternity. I’ve read a lot and heard a lot from various brothers who like the current system because they feel it prevents one grouchy brother in a lodge from screwing a petitioner out of membership in said lodge because he had a grudge against him or he had a toothache that day or whatever. In my opinion, if peace and harmony are to truly prevail in a lodge and the spirit of fraternity be maintained, there has to be some freedom for brethren to reject candidates they’re simply not comfortable with, whether they have a good reason for their discomfort or not. That’s why I think rejection should only be rejection from that specific lodge and not from the fraternity as a whole. There ought to be a mechanism to say to a petitioner, you’re a great guy, but we think you’d be a better fit at a different lodge. In order to know if a candidate is a good fit or not, however, two things are necessary: A) someone at the lodge has to have more than a passing acquaintance with the petitioner, and B) people with information about the petitioner have to have a legal means of sharing it with their lesser-informed brethren in an open and accountable way.

    I’m not saying my idea is perfect. Tweaking would be necessary to fit individual situations. For instance, in my part of Houston, lodges are a dime a dozen and I could have joined any of 10 lodges as easily as the one I did join. If the lodges in my area were to choose to reject with only one black ball, I don’t think that would be terribly burdensome on petitioners. However, in rural areas where lodges are more spaced out, you might have to go up to three black balls to reject in order to be fair to petitioners and ensure similar accessibility.

    Anyway, since you asked, those are my ideas.
     
  11. David Duke

    David Duke Premium Member

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    I agree with a lot of what you are suggesting but the part about rejecting from just the one lodge and different standards for lodges in the same jurisdiction in my opinion wouldn't work.

    As far as rejecting from one lodge and not another if the second lodge accepts then that brother has the right to visit the rejecting lodge at anytime (in the correct degree) this could cause a bit of disharmony. The different standards would simply create mass confusion.
     
  12. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    I do agree there should be more information available on a candidate when we vote on them. I believe the rule you are speaking of concerns electioneering. For example, a brother has an issue with a candidate, so he gets a couple of other brothers to come visit for the purpose of black balling the candidate all because of his personal feelings. I do agree with the rule barring electioneering, because I know of a few bad examples where it has kept good men out for someone's personal bias.

    Now with that being said, I do think there should be an opportunity for open discussion in the lodge. We opening discuss every other item we vote on, we should discuss candidates too. It's always possible that a member might have some information about the candidate that had not come up in the investigation. I think adding some procedures internally in the lodge to their investigation team's process could help some here.

    As for the number of Black Balls, I like the 3 balls, because I have seen cases where someone might be upset about something else, and might cast a black ball because his feelings are hurt. Or for that matter, a single black ball or cube, might be cast by accident by a member not paying the attention he should to what he picks up. I believe that is the whole reason for switch from black balls to cubes, is to try to prevent accidents.
     
  13. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    That's my only real beef with the current investigation/voting process, a lack of discussion at the time of vote, and careful investigations by the committee. I think perhaps some IC's are lax for want of members, and don't guard the West Gate quite as well as they should.
     
  14. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    I agree that discussion should be allowed. Come on - we discuss everything else in lodge, why not the people joing us?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Registered User

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    This is exactly what I was talking about, though. Why would a petitioner want to belong to the same lodge as someone who dislikes him enough to organize a posse just to keep him out? And, from a fraternal perspective, at least in my opinion, that brother was there first, and if he doesn't want the petitioner in his lodge, whether his feelings on the matter are justified or not, I think he ought to have some freedom to say, please try a different lodge, especially in an urban situation where there are so many lodges to choose from.

    I do concede Bro. Duke's point that with visitation rights, this is all kind of a wash. I am probably biased from my own experience, as I myself do not visit other lodges all that often, whereas I know some Masons visit other lodges more frequently than they visit their home lodge.
     
  16. RTidwell

    RTidwell Registered User

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    I think that there should be some discussion about the candidate however it should be limited. We do not want to cross the bounds of privacy and intrude on a persons life. Also would we want to cross some of those lessons taught us? What would you say if someone approached you before or after your initiation and said "hey I heard about ... during your ballot". Harmful or not I just really don't like discussion about me in public when I am not there to defend myself or my actions.
     
  17. Hippie19950

    Hippie19950 Premium Member

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    I have already come across the issue of one Lodge accepting when another didn't. The problem was that the Petitioner had stepped on some toes in that area. Though he had lived in that area ALL his life, and he had family who were Brothers, a group had gathered in order to keep the younger one from joining. He Petitioned another Lodge, and was warmly accepted, and from what I've seen of him and his Lodge, he has made a fine Mason, and is well accepted by the Brethren there. The other Lodge whose members had voted for him were all fine. The Brethren who voted against him, still have a sour taste about them, and always will. They have done it to others as well... This is why we are to vote from OUR heart...
     
  18. tom268

    tom268 Registered User

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    What is the argument in not discussing a petitioner? I can't understand that. That could mean, letting the lodge run into it's demise with eyes wide open. Why should that happen?
    In my jurisdiction, a petitioner has contact with a lodge, or with one brother, for about a year. After that, he may ask for a petion. When he has sent in his petition, the name of the petitioner is published in the lodge building, and sometimes in the masonic magazine (members only) so that brothers of neigboring lodges may come up with their knowledge of that petitioner.

    After all this, we have the ballot.
     
  19. Tx4ever

    Tx4ever Registered User

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    From the Grand Masters Conference in Corpus on sat ,this will be the GM"s Resolution this year.{Going to 1 black ball/cube}
     
  20. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    We can discuss him informally outside of lodge, and within the lodge we read off the investigative committees report on the candidate, but in the actual lodge meeting there isn't any discussion on the floor regarding the candidate. If I haven't made it to the lodge in awhile but happen to be at that business meeting, I may not know the candidate, etc, and frankly the investigative committee reports don't tell you a whole lot. You end up placing a lot of faith in the committee.
     

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