For Discussion.....

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Wingnut, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    From the August 1960 issue of the Philalethes

    Masonic Snobs



    by BLISS KELLY, M.P.S. (Okla.)



    IN A MASONIC LODGE all ranks are leveled and all distinctions donnish The general and the private are equals within the sacred walls of the Lodge, and the laborer, the professor, the mechanic and the industrialist, the common man and the famous meet upon that level which only Masons can truly understand.



    Masonry has prided itself, that it regards no man for his worldly wealth or honors and that it is the internal and not the external qualifications of a man which should recommend him to be made a Mason.



    These principles are impressed upon every candidate many times as he passes through the ritual of the degrees. If any one thing may be said to be stressed more than any other it is this insistence upon equality. It is also said that every man should be accorded that respect which is due him because of his achievements, but no true Mason expects anything more than respect from other Masons.



    Why, then, are there some Blue Lodges which require all officers to appear at all communications dressed in formal clothing? Does this tend to promote the idea of equality? Does it create a desire to attend Lodge on the part of those who do not have (or want) formal attire? Or, does it make him feel out of place or on a lower level than those who strut in tuxedos?



    When an officer of such a Lodge is asked such questions he explains formal dress adds dignity and impressiveness to the ritualistic work and proceedings of the Lodge.



    This may be true but what kind of dignity? The stonemason who observes the judges of a supreme court, clothed in black robes and sitting in high-backed chairs upon elevated benches, is impressed with the dignity of the court. But is there any equality there? These judges have the power to take away his property, his Rife, his children even his life.



    There are those who would go to the other extreme. Recently, on a hot summer day, an Entered Apprentice degree was being conferred by a team without coats and a man who presided in the East wearing a battered straw hat and a wad of tobacco in his cheek, with no tie and his shirt unbuttoned at the neck. The candidate was not impressed; in fact, he never returned to receive the other degrees.



    Contrasting this was a Master Mason degree conferred in a country Lodge which had the ancient pot-bellied stove for heat no carpets and painted boxes for pedestals and an altar. Yet, the proceedings were highly dignified. The team was composed of two farmers, one merchant, a lawyer, a rural mail carrier, a teacher and a certificate teacher of the work. It was impossible to determine, from appearances or actions, the occupations of any of them: The rural mail carrier, a teacher and Master: The candidate was almost overwhelmed with the great lessons of the degree, expressing a desire to begin working in the Lodge as soon as he could prepare himself.



    Then there are those Lodges whose members seem to think they are superior in some way to members of other Lodges, and want to convert their meeting places into country clubs or town clubs, hoping to attract "high class" men as members. Is this Masonry, or merely a means of indirectly soliciting members? Can one Masonic Lodge be "better" or more "high class" than any other?



    These are challenging questions in this fast-changing world, and merit serious discussion. Many believe that the attitude of the Masonic Fraternity should change to meet these conditions; that the mere recital of ritual is not attractive enough to bring rank-and-file members to Lodge meetings, and insist that something more must be offered.



    Fraternization with other members at Lodge meetings, usually mentioned as a central attraction, has little to offer. The active workers and officers are too busy for anything more than friendly greetings and the others are mostly old men whose minds dwell in the past. What is there to do besides sit in uncomfortable chairs and watch incompetent degree teams stumble and falter in conferring the work?



    Most Lodges have tried socials and evenings of entertainment for members and their families. Attendance is seldom good, and so very few of these are planned.



    Some Lodges are now planning to build recreation and entertainment facilities around a centrally located Lodge hall. Some plan to add a golf course, swimming pool and other facilities where members and their families may enjoy themselves or the families can amuse themselves while members are attending Lodge meetings.



    What would be the cost of all these things, and how high would dues and assessments have to be to pay for all this? Would this attract the well-to-do who could afford such luxuries and drive away the common man?



    Wouldn't this make greater Masonic snobs out of the members of such Lodges?



    After all, Masonry must be kept upon the level of equality and Masons must meet upon that level: otherwise, it will deteriorate into a social fraternity and lose its identity as Masonry, ancient and unchanging.



    True Masonry needs nothing more than its landmarks and its ritual to make it attractive to every good man, when it is properly viewed. The difficulty seems to be that we expect Masonry to be all things to all men. It was never intended to be that.



    When Masonry has conferred its degrees and taught its members the sublime principles for which it stands, it has laid that foundation upon which to build a righteous life, and its work is finished. From there on, it is up to the individual members to practice brotherly love, relief and truth, acting upon the plumb of rectitude, meeting upon the level of equality and parting upon the square of virtue and morality.



    In that case there can be no Masonic snobs.



    Words to live by: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.



    Please remember: if you would like to participate in the latest Masonic Monday Question, please go to http://www.lodgebuilder.org and click on the Lodge Education forum. When you have an answer send it to masonicmonday@gmail.com the Masonic Monday Question for the week of 04/20/09 is: What is the meaning of the phrase – The Apocalypse of Freemasonry?



    More Light – Mehr Licht ©, Masonic Matters © and T.F.S. ©, are sent out by Email at no charge to anyone who would like to receive them. If you enjoy these publications please share them with others. To subscribe to any one or all of these publications just send an E-mail to erhmasonic@gmail.com with Subscribe in the subject line and you will be added to the list to receive the publications.



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    With “Brotherly Loveâ€,

    Ed Halpaus

    ______________________________________

    andddddd GO!
     
  2. RJS

    RJS Guest

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    Thanks for sharing!
     
  3. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Superb!
     
  4. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

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    Masonic Snobs...


    A very interesting read, indeed.

    It maybe just a case of perception. I would like to know how many "Texas Masons" have traveled to other jurisdictions throughout the United States and other countries that think other Lodges come off as snobbish?

    Just so some may know there is an opinion out in the rest of the world that American Masonry is "Too Cheap". Any thoughts?
     
  5. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

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    I travel in many other Grand Jurisdictions.. ! evertime I walked to the door I was received as a Mason... ! have been to lodges in three foreign countries.. ! only in Canada where the language was different did I have to pay close attention.. ! but about half of them spoke english and I stayed by one of them all night.. ? funny thing they all wanted to know if I had a horse..?

    Couple of places I was invited to stay at their home when I came back in town.. ! they enjoyed talking Masonary and always wanted to know about Texas Masonary
     
  6. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    What I found most interesting is this subject comes up quite often, but this article was written by an Okie Mason!
     
  7. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

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    When I wrote that maybe this was a point of perspective, I should have been more succinct. So I will clarify here: The above statement should read: Why, then, do most Blue Lodges… Because in most, (excluding a few jurisdictions) Blue Lodges require formal attire and the brethren to be “properly attired” in suits. I would advise visiting brethren that if you don’t want to embarrass yourself you may want to take the above under consideration.

    Another item to note, some of these lodges do not allow (proxy) officers for any degrees. How quaint is that? I know if that were the requirement here, there would some lodges that would have to close their doors.

    What kind of dignity? The kind of dignity that should be reflective of their offices. Just because an officer may be attired (whether in a more colorful apron) than others doesn’t mean that he is any better man and I would certainly hope that I would be treated justly, whether it be a Supreme Court justice or the Worshipful Master of my lodge. They both sit before us as men with due respect for the office. I believe that this environment would be called “decorum”.

    There are many individuals (in the world) that think we (here in the U.S.) sell Freemasonry too cheap. I’ll not comment on this as I would to hear the opinions of others.

    I’ll also concur with Bro. Jebeling that I too have always been treated with the utmost respect and honors. I did not however wear blue jeans and cowboy boots…

    I guess this and “How can he be a Mason, he doesn’t have the same grip and due guard as me”, will be the mysteries we eventually find for ourselves…
     
  8. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    This is a great read. Really shines light on something that I am on the fence on.
     
  9. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    I wear a coat and tie out of respect for the Craft and the brethren present. Same reason I wouldn't be caught dead wearing shorts and a t-shirt to a wedding or funeral, or church (if I ever went...).:cool:
     
  10. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    Interesting discussion. I have to admit Im on the fence on this one. I have only walked into the Dallas Scottish Rite building ONCE not wearing a suit and tie. And that was for our education classes and I was coming from work. There is something about that building that, to me, requires a suit.

    Most of the lodges around here you catch some good natured ribbing if you show up in a coat even with jeans and boots on. (This is Texas after all, everyone wears boots dont they?) But this may be something I start doing more and more esp if I get into the chairs.

    Just to pose another interesting twist on this... Do the lodges that dress up with tux or even suits have a more presentable lodge room than lodges that say are country lodges? Are the lodge rooms just as fancy as the dress? Are they better because they have brand new fancy collars and big new shiny officer bling? Does the lodge reflect on the dress or does the dress explain the lodge? (it makes sense to me in my head, but its been a long day lol)
     
  11. nick1368

    nick1368 Registered User

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    Interesting read...thanks for sharing
     
  12. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    I thing that the lodge and the dress go hand in hand. If you have enough pride in what you are doing to wear a suit, you'll probably take more pride in taking care of your lodge.
     

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