Grand Lodge directive to violate Masonic Law

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by Todd M. Stewart, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. Todd M. Stewart

    Todd M. Stewart Premium Member

    I am a sad and disappointed Mason this morning. Last evening, a friend of mine was Raised and I was forced to leave the meeting in order not to violate my solemn Obligation. The Iowa Grand Lodge recently announced that Lodges would once again be able to conduct degrees following a 'modified' ritual. One aspect of this was that the Candidate/brother was not to be guided due to the need for social distancing. As a result of this, the Candidate/brother was also not to be hoodwinked. This is in direct violation of our obligation in which we promise and swear to not reveal the secrets of a Master Mason 'Except it be to him or them, to whom they of right belong.' I arrived at Lodge and sat for opening, and came to realize that I could not in good conscience take part in this ritual. Once Lodge was open, I addressed myself to the Worshipful Master and Lodge. I spoke my concerns and informed them that I would not remain in Lodge and asked that my statement be read into the minutes of the meeting. I exited the Lodge room, offered my apologies to my friend and went home. What think ye my brothers? Should we or should we not suspend all degree work until such time as we can do so without violating our Obligation? Are we that desperate to gain new members that we should be willing to throw hundreds of years of history and tradition away?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
  2. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

    You followed your conscience and I can't say I disagree with you or would have behaved differently. If the degree can not be put on correctly due to safety concerns, then the prudent course should be to postpone it.

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  3. Scoops

    Scoops Registered User

    I don't disagree that you should follow your conscience.

    I would also like to add for information for those who are interested in the differences between jurisdictions that here in UGLE-land, using Emulation ritual, we only hoodwink the candidate in the first degree.
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  4. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

    I totally agree. But it's a fight, that we are witnessing here in southern Illinois. Our grand master states that the WM that obligates wear a mask, gloves, and that the bible is wrapped in Saran Wrap. And that the SD also wear gloves. But we have district deputies that refuse to reinforce these rules, because our state isn't on lockdown.
    I had a brain stem stroke back in may, and my immune system is shot. With other lodges not enforcing the mask rule, I can not and will not risk my health to be involved in any degree work. Now, my lodge will hold a1st degree in a couple weeks, all are welcome to attend, my lodge has set it's own rule of wearing a mask. If you don't have one, one will be provided for you. If you refuse, you are asked to leave. With 70% of our craft being over 65 you would think you would look out for your older brethren.
  5. Todd M. Stewart

    Todd M. Stewart Premium Member

    Thank you brother. I agree completely we do need to be very conscientious of protecting our older brethren. I believe our lodge does a very good job of that. That said, protection should not come at the cost of a core Masonic Law. We protect each other by finding some way to do it safely and not violate Masonic Law, or delaying all degree work until it's safe. I cannot countenance abandoning our Obligation.
  6. Todd M. Stewart

    Todd M. Stewart Premium Member

    I know something of the Emulation Lodge, but not familiar with the differences in ritual. I do know I've had to do a lot of re-learning just moving from the Nebraska Jurisdiction to Iowa. I am only now just scratching the surface of the period following the unification of the Ancients and Moderns, formation of the Lodge of Reconciliation, and Lodge of Emulation 10 years following. I could live to 200 and not feel my study of the fraternity complete.
  7. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

    Perhaps the issue is the definition of the “secrets of a Master Mason.”

    The candidate is already listening, and perceiving where he is being conducted.

    Are signs being given in a manner in which he can see them?
  8. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    Key question for me, and reflecting and influenced by the obligation in our ritual. If he sees them before obligated, I would decline to participate too.
  9. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

    In my lodge, the 2nd degree candidates are only partially hoodwinked and the 3rd not at all.

    While the candidates are in the temple but not yet taught the secrets, no degree signs are used but rather the sign of fidelity. Once the candidates have been taught the degree signs they are then used by all the officers.
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  10. A Brother of Brothers

    A Brother of Brothers Registered User

    Brother... You did exactly what you were obligated to do as I would have done the same. If the Entering, Passing and Raising are going to be this way, then yes it should be suspended until this pandemic is over. No Candidate should be robbed of their true initiation and of the symbolism on entering the mysteries of freemasonry. I Hope and Pray that in the near future that Brothers take their Oaths and Obligations seriously with strict trials and due examinations of themselves as if it were the first and last time for them Entering with one distinct knock that can only be heard and not seen. Peace and Blessings to all the Brothers who Respect and take the Obligations and Mysteries of Freemasonry Seriously!

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