Investigations: Gaurding the West Gate

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by RedTemplar, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    Should there be a standardized procedure for investigating petitioners?

    At what point does an investigation become a nosy inquiry?

    Have you ever heard a statement similar to this: "Oh, you don't have to investigate this boy, I've known him and his daddy for years".

    How about this one: "I know he ain't no account, but, if we sign off on Bro. Jim's boy as being unfavorable, it would kill him. And anyway, just look what Bro. Jim Has done for this lodge."

    And this one: "Yes, Billy, we know that you're president of the bank, but just how much money do you make?"

    Yes, I the above may sound extreme, but what does make for a good investigation? What procedure would adequately apply to everyone?

    Have you ever signed off or voted to accept a petitioner you wouldn't trust being around your daughter?

    I believe this is an issue that lodges in general have not paid enough attention to.

    What say the craft?
     
  2. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Brother Tom, I defer to you.

    In short our standard needs to be improved not just for gaurding the gate but to also get to know the cadidate. Find out what he can bring the Lodge.
     
  3. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    Ill fall back on my usual statement: We need to be guarding the West Gate closely. We dont need members we need Masons. At a minimum a criminal background check, offenders database check and verifying the candidates signers should be done. Most of that can be done for little to no cost just a few minutes on the net.

    I agree with Josh that we need to get to know our petitioners better! A guy in my shop is petitioning PHA. He and I had a long talk one day about that... Two take aways I got were (1) they require petitioners to go to classes BEFORE they can petition to explain what masonry is etc. There is a fee for this, at least at the lodge he was petitioning. (2) PHA puts greater value on Masonry and charges accordingly. If it was cheap and easy everyone would be one! (topic for another rant lol)
     
  4. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    I think was should be more selective and dig deeper. I think the three doing the investigation should have no prior knowlege of the candidate, call every signer and recommender and really get to know the guy. I know of guys who are Masons that I would not deem "favorable". Maybe I am letting personal feelings influence me or being to critical, but it seems that in some of these the internal qualifications were overlooked and in some the external qualifications (money, popularity, etc.) overuled the internal.
     
  5. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Good post.

    I think that there should be a standard template (and much more in-depth than what GL provides). It should present several open ended questions, which will take improvisation on the part of the investigator. I ask questions such as:

    What do you know about Masonry?

    What do you hope to get from Masonry?

    What can you contribute to Masonry?

    What are your interests/hobbies?

    What does 'tolerance' mean to you?

    ...and so forth.

    Depending on the answers given, I'll ask another series of questions, until I am satisfied. Seems to work pretty well.
     
  6. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    We also meet a candidate at his house for a reason when you walk in the house your eyes need to be peeled for obivous red flags and if you see one do not hesitate and ask about it in one way oe another. For instance if there is religous paraphernalia all over the house then the tolerance question needs to be more specific in that are they tolerant of others believes, if you ask they will tell you in one way or another if you are listening. Say that you walk into a guys house and you see the confederate flag this is definitley not a reason to black ball someone but after a few questions there could be a real good reason or an awesome history buff that was made for Masonry but you will never know if you do not ASK.
     
  7. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    No kidding, a couple of years ago I went on an investigation and the man had a reb flag hanging on his living room wall. He told about his 'southern pride' and explained he wasn't a racist. So proud of his heritage he had hung the flag upside down.

    I just thought that was funny. Needless to say the ballot was not clear.
     
  8. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    Committee reporting? since we cant campaign etc, how does the committee report things that arent on the report? Ive never heard of a report coming back bad, and have only seen or heard of a few blackballs and never one rejected...

    I have to admit, I havent been on any investigation committees so Im curious how the bad vibes/feelings etc get communicated if at all.
     
  9. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    The investigator simply checks the "unfavorable" section on the investigation report, and it is read at the stated meeting. The brothers will usually drop a black cube it the petitioner has at least one unfavorable report.
     
  10. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    The investigation com. can talk amongst themselves on their findings but not to influence voting and as far as canvansing publicly that is a violation but if you tell the investigation committe something you know in private so they can look into it, that is not a violation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  11. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    Do they, or should they have to justify the unfavorable?
     
  12. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Well this is an area of misconcetption. I have been told you can't tell anyone because it could be taken as compaigning good or bad. I would like more ruling on this. I can't find this anywhere in the Law. Only a loose area about campaining but I guess that can be interprited many ways. What are others views on the actual LAW?

    GLofTX Law Article 505

    24. Directly or indirectly solicit or procure the vote of a
    Mason or campaign for the election of a Mason or otherwise
    electioneer for any Mason, in any location where
    Masons assemble, including, without limitation, in a
    Lodge, a Lodgeroom, the Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge
    building, or any other such location or facility.

    If this is true how do people campaign for Grand South?
     
  13. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    See, to me that seems like we are hog tying the investigation and in some cases maybe hurting the petitioner. Voicing concerns may clear up concerns about a candidate. I can see the reverse of it thought and I do imagine some peoples feelings get hurt if a candidate they endorsed is rejected.

    Which gets back to the original problem, we dont know our petitioners! I recall several times being asked who it was we were voting on because nobody knew what the person looked like.
     
  14. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Well for one, this is an area of GL that you want vauge. It is the desire of GL to prohibit the campainging for or against an individual to recieve the degrees. BUT, you want to allow for 'wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more'.

    As for the Grand South, they go to every Masonic meeting in Texas they can and get to.
     
  15. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Pretty sure this doesn't apply to petitions.
     
  16. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Yeah I'm still looking. Its the whole "Its not all in the Law book" that gets me. I forget we have bilaws, monitors, Andersons Old Charges, etc. That govern us. Let me know if anyone else finds this.
     
  17. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Candidates are 'elected to receive the degrees' (pg 94 of the Monitor).

    The language of the law does not distinguish between election to the degrees, election to lodge office, or public office. So it must be taken to mean any effort to sway a vote Masonic or public.
     
  18. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    as to the Grand South, all Ive ever seen is someone interested in being voted to the South coming to a MWSA or Lodge meeting and being introduced with a comment about "Bro is also being voted on for the Grand South at the next Communication" and leaving it at that.
     
  19. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    The LAW is very ambiguous as to the Investigation Committee:

    Art. 412. Committee: Duties and Report. The investigation by the committee shall include: the moral character and reputation of the petitioner, facts relating to jurisdiction, physical qualifications, and all other matters the Lodge is called upon to pass in balloting on petitioner. A face-to-face interview between each Investigation Committee member and the petitioner is required on all petitions for the Mysteries and Advancement, except on approval by the Worshipful Master. (Revised 1990)

    Before a ballot can be taken a signed report of each of the three members of the committee shall be attached to the petition and read to the Lodge; each of which reports shall cover all matters referenced in this Article and in Form No. 28. If the Master of the Lodge is a member of the committee before his installation he may continue to serve thereon. (Revised 2003)
     
  20. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    I know where you are going, Sirius, but the law Owls quoted specifically says "for the election of a Mason..."

    This doesn't apply here, since a candidate is not a "mason."

    What does apply is this:

    "17. Canvass publicly for or against the admission of a candidate
    into Masonry."

    That too, has a catch, which is the word "publicly." It says nothing of "privately," which is a one on one conversation.
     

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