Chamber of Reflection

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by relapse98, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. relapse98

    relapse98 Registered User

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    Our lodge has had what what we have referred to as a Chamber of Reflection for going on a year now. We have various decorations in it, quite the improvement from our old preparation room which is where the extra stuff, old linens, boxes, chairs were stored in addition to sometimes being used for preparation. We've heard that the Grand master may soon be outlawing Chambers of Reflection and based on that we have removed some of our items. I personally think what we are doing there added to the meaning of a degree, especially the Entered Apprentice, for the new brother. I won't go into it all publicly but never once have I thought we weren't doing anything masonic.

    I'd like to see the Law changed so that we could have a Chamber of Reflection still and do at least some of the things we were previously doing. But I'm not sure how to put that into writing. Help? In fact, I'm really not sure the Law is where it should go, it may be better suited for the Committee on Changes?
     
  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    The GM addressed the COR during the conference in Waco a few weeks ago. He didn't express that he was against the concept however his concern was that people were adopting practices and props that weren't approved by the GL. So I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't start cracking down on them.

    That being said, I will be following this very closely as I'd love to see a new resolution that'd allow us to start using them without any problems. I have no clue how to write or submit new resolutions though.
     
  3. relapse98

    relapse98 Registered User

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    I agree that it should be codified somehow, I just don't know where to start. Ours resembles some of what you find when you google it, with much of the same items.

    Yep, it seems to add to the degree for the new brother. I just don't know who to pester first, Commitee on Masonic Education and Service, Committee on Changes, or just propose some sort Law change.
     
  4. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    Most of your past Masters should be familiar with how to make resolutions for Grand Lodge and word it correctly. It would be interesting to see one that could spur the debate on some of the traditional aspects we don't see worked over here.

    The one thing I'd have to warn against however is presently doing anything not approved by the committee of work. That can lead your lodge into some major trouble very quickly.
     
  5. ni3f

    ni3f Registered User

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    In Washington, DC we have a lodge, La France, which conducts the first three degrees in accordance with the Scottish Rite blue lodge ritual. This is done with the full blessing of the DC GL. I've been to that lodge and can tell you that it is *very* interesting. I think you would have to go to Etoile Polaire in New Orleans to see anything like this in the US.

    I think our GLs should consider authorizing one such lodge or so in every jurisdiction -- for pedagogical purposes. If one lodge is so authorized, it doesn't threaten uniformity and is a very instructional variation to the "Webb work" which is characteristic of most Anglo-American lodges.

    I appreciate that GLs want to control the work -- they should! But it is "kosher" to have a variation if it has their approval up front.


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  6. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    In Los Angeles metro Vallee de France conducts its first degrees in impressive style, conducts its meetings in French. Their 2nd and 3rd degrees are translations of California ritual into French.

    I think exhibition degrees should be encouraged. If the exemplar is already a Master mason then there is no problem with making Masons clandestinely.

    I think that's floating point not binary. I think GL should set the standard and lodges should teach to that standard. But I also think variations should not be viewed as a problem. Consider that any mistake in ritual is a variation from the standard. Yeah, too technical. I would not mind insertions during degrees. Maybe stop the action in a third degree while a brother sings "Nearer my God To Thee" or something like that. Then resume the action per the standard ritual.

    I suggest that if it is done before the degree starts or after the degree ends then it should be outside of the authority of GL to decide. A chamber or reflection happens before the candidate comes through the door. As such it is an event that takes place before the degree ritual starts and is thus outside of what I view as the bounds of GL authority.

    Consider a tradition many lodges follow. After the lecture but before the closing the newly obligated brother is presented with books that will give him perspective about the degree he just went though. I've seen Freemasonry for Dummies presented after first degrees, a GL published booklet after second degrees, the Bible after third degrees. I've seen presentations on masonic protocol, Bible presentation lectures traditional to that one lodge. All after the lecture before the closing. I've even seen a "knife and fork lecture" at refreshment after a closing. How was that any different from a chamber of reflection before the opening?
     
  7. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    As for whether it's "outside the authority of Grand Lodge to decide" because it happens before or after Lodge is at labor, I submit that in many many states Grand Lodge prohibits the use of alcohol anywhere in the Temple, before, during, or after labor. So clearly they can control such behavior if they choose. In my Lodge, before the First Degree, we present the candidate with a S&C stamped penny (in the preparation room) with the comment that there is something on there he may soon need to know. After the second degree, we present the brother with "The Wages of a Fellowcraft," glass vials containing corn, wine, and oil, and explain their symbolism as Masonic Education. After the third degree, we present a Lodge patent and a lapel pin. However, I'm quite certain if GL told us to stop doing any or all of those, we'd have to comply.
     
  8. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    "I suggest that if it is done before the degree starts or after the degree ends then it should be outside of the authority of GL to decide. A chamber or reflection happens before the candidate comes through the door. As such it is an event that takes place before the degree ritual starts and is thus outside of what I view as the bounds of GL authority."

    I assure you the Grand Lodge of Texas does not share your view of the bounds of their authority.
     
  9. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Decisions and edicts of the outgoing GM come up for ratification at GL. If some GM in one of my jurisdictions banned Chamber of Reflection I'd be at GL to vote against ratifying such a decision and might get in line to speak against it on the floor. Should such a ban be ratified and added to the code I'd have to live by it. GL is a republic and that's how republics work.

    If no mention is made of Chamber of Reflection in the book of constitutions and bylaws then it's allowed. This is a basic point of Masonic jurisprudence - That which is not forbidden is allowed.
     
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    If I happen to see the GM of Texas again I'll be sure to inform him of this. I'm sure that'd go over well. :laugh:
     
  11. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    "If no mention is made of Chamber of Reflection in the book of constitutions and bylaws then it's allowed. This is a basic point of Masonic jurisprudence - That which is not forbidden is allowed. "

    Now, I mean this in the most affectionate, fraternal way, but that's the silliest idea I've ever heard. By that reasoning, it would be legal to video the entire Master's degree, since the laws don't mention video. But besides that, the laws do in fact say that "No ritual other than that promulgated by this Grand Lodge shall be taught or used in this jurisdiction." And just for the sake of thoroughness, the laws also forbid "side degrees."
     
  12. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    MOTC:

    Bring it up for vote.

    Spell it out.

    Add it to the Constitution.


    Kind of quesy over quasi issues.

    Just my thoughts.

    Personally, I'd welcome the change were it voted in by Grand Lodge members.

    Who are Grand Lodge members. That B us brethren, statewide.
     
  13. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    Let me describe what my lodge does, without going into anything esoteric.

    A man is told to present himself at a particular time. When he arrives, he finds only the Master of Ceremonies waiting for him, who escorts him into a small chamber, perhaps ten feet square, furnished only with a chair and a table, and lit only by a candle. On the opposite wall is the door to the Lodgeroom. The master of ceremonies helps the candidate with some preliminary preparations, and leaves the candidate alone with his thoughts and enters the lodge. After a few minutes, the Master of Ceremonies returns, with the Senior Deacon, who speaks earnestly to the candidate about the experience he is embarking upon, including these statements:

    "Free Masonry is far removed from all that is trivial, selfish and ungodly. its ceremonies are by no means of a light or trifling character, but are of profound significance and deep solemnity. They have existed without material changes from remote antiquity. Its structure rests upon the indestructible foundation of the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man and the Immortality of the Soul."

    "Our ancient and honorable fraternity welcomes to its doors, and admits to its privileges, worthy men of all faiths and creeds who posses the indispensable qualifications. Freemasonry is, in one of its major aspects, a beautiful and profound system of morality, veiled in allegories and illustrated by symbols."

    " Its grand purposes are, to diffuse light, to banish ignorance, to promote peace and happiness among mankind; to relieve distress; to protect the widows and orphans of our brethren; to inculcate a wider knowledge concerning the existence of the Grand Architect of the Universe, and of the arts and sciences connected with His Divine laws. In fine, the design is to make its members wiser, freer, better, and consequently happier men."

    "These purposes are accomplished by means of a series of moral instructions taught, according to ancient usage, by allegories, symbols, types, figures and lectures...As a preparation for the Mystic Rites into which you are about to enter, you are asked to divest your mind and conscience of all mental prejudices and superfluities incident to a material or worldly life, and remember that selfish aims vanities, if present, are not in keeping with the reverential spirit which a true seeker of Divine Light and wisdom must manifest when he enters upon the true path of initiation."

    The Senior Deacon then slowly and solemnly completes the preparations of the candidate, telling the candidate that each step has an esoteric meaning that will be explained after the candidate has become a mason. He then leaves the candidate in the care of the Master of Ceremonies, who helps the candidate to "initiate" the ceremony.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  14. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    The explanation is good (though I'm not sure I would have written all of it down, but that's another topic), however if you guys put him in a room that is designated as a Chamber of Reflection and therefore also has the traditional symbols, mirrors, skull etc. then that is presently not accepted by the GLoTX and you can get in trouble for it.
    Likewise if you read something different to an EA than what is in the monitor, then you are not following the official work, and you can get in trouble for that.

    Not saying that I don't agree or like with what you guys are doing, but presently the Committee on Work is very strict about what they will allow.
     
  15. catsale

    catsale Registered User

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    So is something they could bring up for a vote at a future grand lodge meeting to resolve? If so, does anyone that is intending to visit the grand lodge annual meeting this year plant to bring this up? Or is this strictly a decision by whoever is the current grand master?
     
  16. JonBoy

    JonBoy Premium Member

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    Many masons consider the COR clandestine. And believe it should be outlawed as for myself I don't know


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  17. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Anyone who wants to use CoR may be unhappy with the GM's edict banning the practice so yes it would need to be brought up at annual GL.

    So far none have mentioned it. It could be done via the legislation process. In most states there's a ratification vote on GM decisions and it could be overturned at that point. I haven't checked if Texas has that ratification process. This year in Florida a GM edict was overturned by their ratification process so it happens - The Florida situation was much more clear than an issue of ritual details so the example is to compare processes not issues.

    As the current GM already issues his edict that would be subsequent GMs. If you want to use CoR in you lodge hoping to luck out that a future GM overturns the precedent is a very low percentage shot.
     
  18. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Yes, we do.
     
  19. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    In NM (and I believe some other Jurisdictions) the only actual "members" of the Grand Lodge are the Masters and Wardens, as they are the only ones in the Lodge with a vote at GL.
     
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I've also seen JW, SW and WM called delegates and PMs called members or permanent members. As a PM in 2 jurisdictions I can write and sign papers that get presented as legislation on the GL floor. Whether PMs have a vote varies jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In one of mine I would share a vote with all other PMs from my lodge who show up (no rules on how to handle disagreements). In the other one the only way I get to vote is if one of the pedestal officers is not there and I'm the one who gets the proxy paperwork. In some jurisdictions all of jurisdiction lodges get a vote.

    As to Chamber of Reflection - When it comes to a vote I suggest you vote based on what the CoR is supposed to be not on the erroneous way it was done. If you've ever seen a bible presentation done at the end of a Master Mason degree you know that additional material can be added during specific break points in the ritual or before opening or after closing. Please see the CoR as such an addition because jurisdictions that still use it have it complete before the opening starts. Please don't see the error of how it was added and then vote against the CoR in general because of that error. My opinion.
     

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