Grand Lodge of Texas Codebook

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by Blake Bowden, Aug 9, 2009.

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Should the Grand Lodge of Texas publish an "Official" Codebook?

  1. Yes

    98 vote(s)
    53.3%
  2. No

    69 vote(s)
    37.5%
  3. Undecided

    17 vote(s)
    9.2%
  1. mch4970

    mch4970 Premium Member

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    The heart of the issue is if it would hurt Masonry or help it. Isn't one of the principles of Masonry about brotherly friendship? How is a candidate suppose to fold himself into a group of men when he can simply memorize the book and come back to take his proficiency? It's part of the mystery, and frankly, rather enjoyable.

    I can think of all sorts of excuses for candidates, as a general rule, to have the book, but none of them seem to ultimately benefit Freemasonry.

    I can see lots of great people that can do lots of great things, and be great for Freemasonry. But if they cannot or will not spend the time with a brother to learn the material, perhaps, Masonry isn't for them. I don't know. Is that too harsh?

    Now, MMs owning the book is a completely separate idea.
     
  2. mark!

    mark! Guest

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    I'm in agreement with you, and I feel that a MM should be able to own the book as a study aid OUTSIDE of ALL LODGE WORKS. I've visited a lodge to see wardens holding the book reading from it, very discouraging. I made a recommendation to them after that and things changed for the better after I left that lodge, I only hope they still follow my advice.

    The young unmolded EA's we get need to come to lodge, or meet up with brothers at places to learn the work. That helped me bond SO much. I learned more about Masonry, and more about myself in those sittings.
     
  3. johncjr60

    johncjr60 Registered User

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    I was raised in a Lodge in Alaska where as soon as you take your first degree your assigned coach will start teaching you how to read the code book for that degree. I can say that with the hours I work I would never have been able to learn it all mouth to ear. I was able to teach myself and progressed through the degrees a whole lot easier and still retain my Alaska work now that I am a member of a lodge here in Texas. I still work a lot of hours and haven't been able to learn Texas work. If I had a code book I would be able to teach myself like I did in Alaska. The code book if written correctly is written so that it you will not know what it says unless you be a Mason. We recently started conducting stated meetings on the first degree, at the descresion of the Master because it was thought that If we did it may help us to retain new members. Its the time that mouth to ear takes that could make a new candidate loose intrest not the fact that they don't feel like part of the Lodge. Its a new time and younger men have to invest more time in working to support a family. I think its time for a code book. And, just so everyone knows, even though I had a code book, my experience going through the degrees was as wonder an experience as I've ever had. I love Masonary but there is a way to change with the times without giving away secerts or watering down our work. I am how ever, against being able to use the code book during degrees or anytime lodge work is being conducted. They should be only for learning and helping during training.

    John Connelly
    Howe Lodge #430
    Howe Tx.
     
  4. johncjr60

    johncjr60 Registered User

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    Just a continuation from my last post. I still had to find time to meet with my coach.
     
  5. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    To level set:
    * nobody has EVER suggested using the code book as a replacement for mouth to ear. Despite the strawman arguements that try to say thats whats wrong with the code books.
    * if we are all on the level, treat each other on the square, trust each other and are brothers... why do we need a law book that takes 12 lawyers to read and understand? why do people try to get around the minutia of the wording of the law instead of working with the intention of the law?
     
  6. traveller

    traveller Registered User

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    Maybe publish the official "code of responsibilities and obligations.."
     
  7. traveller

    traveller Registered User

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    Masonry is not a secret. And, there is no secret in Masonry. Members hold meetings in a Lodge and all its activities are publicly known. Had Masonry been a secret, it would not have spread since the time of King Solomon. That is my humble opinion.
     
  8. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    I see 56 yes votes but no thoughts posted. Folks are voting yes and not using the code books. Folks are voting no and using the code books.

    This is still a very unsolved issue ... especially in our individual minds. There are logical reasons to take either side of the issue. Looks like the use of code books mirrors life itself. This is a perplexing but interesting situation. Especially since the only folks who would be affected (after receiving the degrees) would be the ritualists. I guess that ninty percent of all the MMs in good standing don't touch the esoteric work after achieving the MM degrees.

    I suspect this topic will be with us a very long time.
     
  9. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    That's a problem right there. If you are correct, that means that only 10% of our membership are carrying the full load of not only conferring all of the Degrees, but also teaching the work to all of the incoming Brethren. C'mon, the rest of you- we need your help!
     
  10. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    That being said, I am PROUD to be a 10%'er!!
     
  11. Wyatt

    Wyatt Registered User

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    I think it's a good idea, but only for master masons. If we give it to the candidates they will use it as a crutch and not learn the work the proper way
     
  12. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    That one does sting Brother Bill but I would propose it is even lower than 10%. I mean the average lodge has about 10% of their membership that actively shows up to lodge and of that 10% I would say at best half or 5% could teach candidates Q&A and confer every degree.
    A mason not concerned with ritual work to me is like a carpenter not concerned with using a tape measure or a computer programmer not wanting to use their mouse. In the world of making good men better there are no better tools or useful maxims than inculcated into every masonic degreee.
    Please do not take this post wrong either, I do not believe that a good mason has to be a ritualist but I do believe there is advantages to repeatedly hammering the teachings into yourself.
     
  13. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    You're probably right, Puss Boy, er, TIGER! :wink:
     
  14. Timothy Fleischer

    Timothy Fleischer Registered User

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    NO.
    Masonry is not intended for everyone. Nor is it meant to be easy. The work is a struggle because it MEANS SOMETHING.
    An official codebook would be a violation of our most sacred trust.
    Some brothers look at the difficulty of the work in this way: we are trying to keep good men out of Masonry.

    I look at the difficulty of memorization in this manner: we are trying to make good men BETTER. For any one who struggles with the work, there are numerous brothers who will be happy to spend hours and hours going over the work. Handing a candidate a book, even when written in "super secret cypher" that can be cracked by a third grader, and saying "Here you go...." is more akin to throwing a candidate to the sharks than taking the time to actually teach the candidate his work.

    If the Grand Lodge ever approves a cypher book, it will be mark the inevitable decline of Masonry as we now know it. That slope is one that will eventually allow us to begin actively recruiting brothers, to begin ignoring the investigation process, to being ignoring the ALL and other programs, etc. etc.

    Masonry is NOT easy. Otherwise, we would be Lions, or Rotarians. That is not a knock against either of those institutions. I am a Rotarian, as well. But the men and women I know there are not my brothers.

    Let's not cheapen Masonry in any way.

    Tim Fleischer
     
  15. davidterrell80

    davidterrell80 Past Master Premium Member

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    I think Arizona handles a cypher/clear text well. I have one by special dispensation. For me. I'm glad I was not exposed to one until after I was raised.

    But what are the "secrets of Freemasonry". Everything in the ritual is searchable on the internet. I prefer to keep the ceremonies "confidential" and I protect the modes of recognition.

    If a prospective brother, a good man, was having sincere doubts about joining for religious reasons, I'd be inclined to answer questions sincerely and circumspectly; without using exact verbiage.

    I like this Brother's thought.

    We should refrain...
     
  16. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    GLoTx has approved the use of code books, but with very special qualifications. Not on lodge property and not with candidates.

    I think the use of the books is good for advanced masons that are tweaking their memorization for A certificates. There are very few brothers willing to sit with you to go through 3 degrees, 3 lectures, opening and closing 4 lodges, trial lectures, and tilers oath. There are even fewer with the knowledge. This is where I think the book is useful.

    The problem is in the fact that the books are incorrect. If the Education Committee published them they would be better. They will never be perfect. Even the monitors explanation of the apron has two errors.
     
  17. bgs942

    bgs942 Premium Member

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    I guess these little books are something that has always been around but looked on as "taboo". After I was raised my Uncle gave me a box containing my Grandfather's Masonic "stuff" which included a code book from 1941. Myself being a visual learner it was very hard for me learning the work in the age old manner. I have learned that all Masons know about them and a majority own one but do not discuss them. I have to say I am on the side that since they exist there would be a benefit $$$ to GL and be correct in content if an "official" copy was published. Just my €£¥^}]. ;-)
     
  18. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    BINGO! In a period where the Grand Lodge is hunting for funds, why wouldn't it publish and sell an official guide to memory. The little books are everywhere. They aren't going away. The Grand Lodge has accepted them under certain circumstances. Why don't they cash in on them instead of raising per capital again?
     
  19. RAY

    RAY Registered User

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    Until a couple of years ago code books were a Masonic offense to possess period. Our Grand Lodge knowing many Master Masons had these books took a vote to make it legal but with restrictions. I personally voted against it but it passed. As expected this was immediately abused and many books have been observed on lodge property and many candidate soon had knowledge of there existence and possession soon followed. When I joined Masonry no candidate ever had knowledge of such a book This site seems to be obsessed with discussions on these code books and the possibility of Grand Lodge Publications. This is not going to happen as I see it and the cost versus sales would prohibit the Grand Lodge from publishing it. We no longer have the Monitor in hard back due to cost and publication which are sold to our Lodges and our Texas Mason publication has been reduced in number due to cost. Many candidates visit this site and see Master Mason discussions about subjects they had no knowledge of and shouldn't have and once the seed is planted these books will and have shown up in vast numbers among our candidates. Once you take away the hands on mouth to ear method you remove fellowship and what real masonry is about. If I had a choice every post on this subject would be removed included this one. Spending more time in lodge with your Brothers would be the correct learning method and strengthen the Masonic Family.
     
  20. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    Not sure when you joined, but I doubt that "no candidate" had ever heard of a code book. I joined in 1990 and I knew of them. I actually knew that my grandfather had one back in the 1960s. Before becoming a mason I had inherited a family copy from the 40s. The books have been around for a long time. The discussions about their legalization and printing have been around for just as long. It is not a new concept brought around by this forum. I'm also not sure why a profit would not be made publishing and selling them. The writing would be done on volunteer time as is almost everything in masonry. Someone publishes the books now, I don't think they are doing it for a loss. Why shouldn't we, the Grand Lodge of Texas, make the profit?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011

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