Look at the Instruction First.....

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by owls84, Jun 30, 2010.

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See Instructions on First Post.

  1. Senior Warden

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Junior Warden

    9.5%
  3. Senior Deacon

    4.8%
  4. Junior Deacon

    19.0%
  5. Secretary

    4.8%
  6. Treasurer

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Master of Ceremonies

    9.5%
  8. Steward (Junior or Senior)

    33.3%
  9. Tyler

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Other: (Marshall, Chaplin, etc.)

    19.0%
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  1. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    This is more or less just for my information thread. I would like to know if you are a new Mason (Raised in the last 2 years) please put any officer position you will hold in the 2010 - 2011 Masonic Year. If you hold multiple positions at multiple Lodges list your highest ranking office.
     
  2. Bro Mike

    Bro Mike Registered User

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    I will be going in as the Senior Steward for the upcoming year.
     
  3. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    I find this alarming. We had a member from the GL LAMP (Lodge Assistance Mentor Program) Committee and he said that more and more you are seeing NEW Master masons being faced with leading the Lodge. It used to be a 10+ year journey and it is now an on average 4 years to the east in Texas Masonry (His figures). I wonder if this is healthy. I have seen "Past Masters" tear a Lodge apart because they were not ready to handle the title.

    Do you think it is good to have a Master Mason placed in the east in less than 4 years after becoming a Master Mason? Does this tend to "water down" the Past Master title? Would the Lodge benefit more to have a Past Master serve rather than filling a chair?
     
  4. Bro Mike

    Bro Mike Registered User

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    My lodge is big enough that it ends up being a 6+ year trip to the East once a guy decides/is asked to get in the line. We seem to only lose one or two guys in the line in any given year. We also have members who join one of the nearby country lodges and go through the line there. I have seen it work very well both ways.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  5. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Owls.

    Ouch! No, 4 years can't be nearly long enough as an average. Even for an exceptionally dedicated and talented Brother, I reckon 4 years is very quick, and I share your alarm at the idea of this being the average.

    Over here, we're certainly averaging shorter than it used to be, but not so drastically as you. I don't have comprehensive figures to hand, but from personal observation I reckon the average over here is currently around 7 years. And I'm hoping it doesn't get any shorter!

    Yes! Here it's not unusual for a PM to go round again, if the Lodge is short of able and willing junior Brethren. Is it strange for PMs to do that over there?

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  6. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    In a active growing lodge you wont need to have PMs back in the line... Our PMs brag that they have never had to sit in a chair twice...

    Average in our lodge is about 6 years from raising to the East IF you get in the line straight away.
     
  7. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    No, Not sure and yes.

    I agree.

    I don't think it is fair to the young brother or to the lodge, but in small lodges (like mine) it seems pretty common.
     
  8. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    I think it all varies from person to person and from Lodge to Lodge. Some Lodges don't have trouble filling chairs due to their activity, while others may suffer from a year or two from weak or poor leadership due to unforeseen circumstances. I've seen some young brothers that look strong but get hit through no fault of their own by something they had no control and have a bad year and it takes it toll on the Lodge. On the other hand, there are young brothers who come in and are looked to as a leader early on.
     
  9. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    I keep seeing that some Lodges can't fill the chairs. My question though is what good is it that everyone gets a turn at being a WM. Could 3 or 4 Brothers that are Past Masters not just rotate until the others are worthy of the honor. I equate this to the Golden Trowel at many Lodges I have seen. It is bestowed on the next guy in line. It just seems the title Past Master has become just that, a title with no honor. With a little time everyone in the Lodge can become one.

    One of the things I have learned is that not all people are made to lead and all leaders must follow first. I think this should be a 7 - 10 year journey. It should be one that takes a long time and you are faced with various responsibilities every year. You should be critiqued as you go and awarded as necessary. It shouldn't matter how long you have been a Mason but who is best for the Lodge as a whole. We are all Master Masons and it should be ok for a Brother to walk up and say "I just don't think you are as ready as the next guy." Since I have been made a Master Mason I have seen several people that did not move on in a line up, two of them Senior Wardens. Problem is they should have never made it that far to begin with.
     
  10. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    My feeling are you cannot fight fate. All things happen for a reason and chance is a name for your dog. But this is coming from a 4 year old MM who just happen to trip his way to the East. This honor is not something I sought out nor ever saw myself doing but more so I never like to back down from a challenge and when my lodge called for my assistance I gave it wholeheartedly and will continue this as long as I am needed and wanted. :) I think most young guys get sucked in the line up as I did and allot of them are the worse of for it. I know I would have been without the great group of guys I came to know during this time. So I say work with what we got with a smile and ensure justice is on our side.
     
  11. Ashton Lawson

    Ashton Lawson Premium Member

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    Brother owls84,
    I am probably a good example of what you are looking to uncover in terms of young Masons being tasked with leadership roles they may not be ready for. My signature demonstrates the short period of time I have been a Mason, yet I was asked to take the Junior Warden role this year, and am currently serving in that chair at the age of 31. We are not a small town lodge, and we have a lot of active participation in our lodge, so there were plenty of other longer serving brothers to look to as possible leaders before me. When I was asked to take this role I was shocked beyond belief as I did not think I was ready to take on such a heavy burden of responsibility, but both the WM & SW that selected me and the active Past Master's of our lodge disagreed with me. They felt that I was ready, and ensured me I would have their support in any way I needed.

    In my non-lodge life I am an Operations Manager at a mid-sized company and have run a small business and a non-profit org. I have experience preparing tax and compliance filings, and I have a strong accounting and business management background to pull from. Thanks to this I am prepared for the financial, administrative, and business functions of assisting with and eventually running a lodge; though there are subtle nuances I am currently learning that are different in complying with Grand Lodge rules.

    In my lodge life as a Mason, I learned and self-examined the Trial Lecture proficiency for each degree within 2 weeks of each degree. I am proficient to open and close a lodge in all 3 degrees, including Double Orders, and O/C a Lodge of Sorrow. I instruct our candidates in all 3 Trial Lectures during 3 floor schools a week, and I am currently learning to confer each of the 3 degrees. My personal goal is to obtain an "A" Certificate from the C.O.W. before the 2010-11 Masonic year ends. I present a lesson of my own writing on Masonry or a Short Talk bulletin at our Stated meetings, when requested by the WM. I read Masonic materials and books daily, and I am quickly gathering a nice collection of digital and printed books by greats such as Claudy and Lightfoot. I have read the entirety of the current version of the Grand Lodge of TX Laws, and completed the L.I.F.E. program entitled "Preparing to be Junior Warden." I will also be attending the Warden's Retreat coming up in August at Grand Lodge.

    All of the above said, I still think I could have used and wish I'd had a few years as a Master Mason before being asked to take any chair inside the door. There are things that one can only learn by observation and experience that prepare him for leadership roles, and not having had the benefit of time to be exposed to these things, I firmly believe I am at a disadvantage in comparison to those who have.

    That said, the situation being what it is, I am doing my absolute best to gain whatever experience I can get in order to serve the lodge to the best of my ability in this role.

    -SS
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  12. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    These are great points and you are truly the exception to the rule. I am not saying it can't happen but why do we do this to ourselves. As you state, even after all this preparation and lessons how can one be ready without life lessons, or in this case Masonic Lessons? I just see the power of a past master as being one that is so great with the voting ability at Grand Lodge and the ability to submit resolutions to Grand Lodge. The way this man votes no longer affects one lodge it affects over 800 Lodges with over 90,000 men as members that must conform to the majority of the vote. That when placed in perspective is a HUGE responsibility and one that should not be given to the next guy inline unless he can accept that responsibility.

    Rhit- Since you and I know each other personally and I know your situation, I know that you are ready (or I wouldn't have supported you). But since I have been a member here at MoTx (pretty much since day one) I have the privilege of going back over 2 years of opinions and stuff I have said. What better opportunity can a man have than a written record of your beliefs? I get to go back every know and then and I see how much I have changed, for the better I think, and it gives me hope of what I can become in another 2, 6, 10, 20 years.

    I look at this the same way a lot of Brothers overseas looks at our Scottish Rite Degrees. Here I can pay a fee sit in a room for a day and that makes me a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason. I have heard stories where it is a life long journey elsewhere. I just wonder if our titles and awards have been watered down.

    Am I the only one that feels this way? Or has anyone else witnessed people as WM that had absolutely NO business in that seat? If not then why do we do this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  13. Ashton Lawson

    Ashton Lawson Premium Member

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    We do it, because as a nation and a people, our collective conscience has been dramatically diminished since our founding. Our collective patience is terribly short, and our collective desire for instant gratification is wildly out of control. As the collective conscience has diminished, all aspects of our society have been diminished, notably including our appreciation and respect for the value of earned reward and natural authority.

    One of the principle beauties of freedom is that it gives total latitude to persons who hold a high level of morality, and thus high conscience. When the collective conscience of a society is diminished, there is no alternative to enforcing high morality than through increased tyranny in the manner of heavier handed laws. With increased laws comes increased enforcement, and as enforcement is increased a people's respect for natural authority becomes diminished due to the pressure they feel from unnatural authority in the form of heavy-handed government. As the laws continue to increase, freedom decreases, and people lose sight of the purpose of laws in the first place, which are to establish and uphold the accepted standards or collective conscience of society. We have become a society who no longer upholds its own standards of morality, has lost its conscience, and instead relies on tyranny and law enforcement to set the standards of moral authority. Anything within these boundaries becomes acceptable, and respect for self-driven morality loses meaning. As it loses meaning, appreciation and respect for naturally earned authority no longer holds much meaning, and public perception of high morality becomes skewed to mean nothing more than "law-abiding."

    A people with a strong conscience inherently know right from wrong, and with or without laws they will respect the natural order of things and maintain themselves as productive "law-abiding" citizens. When this collective conscience is diminished, the inherent ability to differentiate between right and wrong begins to fade away, and those who subscribe to a higher system of values are no longer respected and elevated, but cast down and made light of. This happens because it is an unwelcome reflection of the shortcomings of the collective conscience itself. When those who would (due to their high conscience and high morality) naturally be in authority are no longer respected and elevated to their rightful place as leaders, we look instead to leaders who fit our diminished standard of leadership, which is simply law-abiding members who stay within the boundaries of the tyranny of laws that we have struck up to stand in the place of morality and conscience.

    A society with a diminished conscience no longer has the ability to recognize the priceless value of persons who abide a standard of high morality and high conscience. We look to the WWII Generation and inherently realize they are among the Greatest Generations of Americans, but we collectively lack the will and conscience to understand why they earned that title, and thus pursue our own modern great society molded after theirs. Theirs was a society with a remarkable height of collective conscience, and great leaders and men and women of integrity were produced by the millions as a result of this high level of morality and collective conscience. Ours is a society with few, if any of their qualities, and as such the collective conscience is in the sewer.

    Society today has a greatly diminished collective conscience, and as a result it produces from its loins too few men who possess a high conscience and high degree of inherent natural morality. Thus, to the downfall of us all, including in our own lodges, there are very few natural leaders among us to be elevated into their naturally earned places of authority. Men of this type do not typically seek out high office, rather they are elevated to these offices by those who recognize, respect, and appreciate the value of their existence. Sadly, one of the most devastating outcomes of a dimished collective conscience is the inability of the collective to even recognize men of high conscience and high morality among us. Instead we are content to be lead by leaders with little natural or earned ability with whom we have a few things in common, as it gives us the ability to ignore our own shortcomings, and thus justify our own low standards of conscience and morality. A diminished collective conscience, even in our lodges, makes it easier to keep the bar low because a diminished conscience is one that doesn't appreciate the value of hard work, earned reward, and delayed gratification.

    Unless there is a dramatic increase in the collective conscience of society, our lodge membership roles will continue to decrease, and the inherent natural qualities of the men in our lodges will continue to follow...

    Sorry for the long winded response...but it is a topic that is near to my heart, and one that genuinely disturbs me as a man, as a father, as a Mason.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  14. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Wicked awesome post Brother Ashton, I could not agree more on your stance of collective conscience in America and also IMO across the world and although we may have collective momentary lapses of reason (as we are now) they are usually short lived and necessary, can't have the yin without the yang. In these moments are when the great ones come along and pull us up collectively by the boot straps. This is why masonry is so crucial to us as humans in that it embodies the lessons of collective power through the conscience. Our collective conscience could us a sponge bath of hope, an I.V. of faith with a prescription of charity.
     
  15. Ashton Lawson

    Ashton Lawson Premium Member

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    I think I'll start a thread in the Main forum using that post as a topic. I don't want to derail this one.
     
  16. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    my bad. i put last year's position.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2010
  17. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    I find myself in a very similiar situation as Brother Ashton. Having been raised this past Nov, I am a new Brother which many in my Lodge tend to forget. I advanced quickly through my degree work standing my Master's proficiency less then 3 months after my initiation. Since becoming a Master, I asked our then WM about establishing a work night, which we now have every Wednesday. Since we've started our work nights, we even have brothers from other Lodges showing up for them. As our saying goes, we work what needs to be worked. Usually we are able to practice a performing a degree, practice questions and answers in at least one degree, and practice on normal lodge ritual such as opening and closing. Since our work night have begun, we now have half a dozen new brothers studying for certificates for this October. I have put forward other ideas such as the Lodge going on a monthly visitation to another Lodge in our District. It's become quite a joy seeing how the Lodges difference from each other and our own. It has also sparked other ideas that we are adding to our own this year.

    Like Brother Ashton, I did not seek the Junior Warden's chair, and there were other brothers who had more experience in the Lodge then I had. At the beginning of the year, it was mentioned that I might start at Junior Deacon. Since then I have conferred 3 degrees and taken a role in every degree we have performed and have even been called on by other Lodges when they have need help with a degree. I've been taken under the wing of a couple of our PM's. Then about 2 months ago, we had a Called meeting are were very thin that night. Having sat in different chairs for meetings for absent officers, I jokingly asked the WM and SW which chair they wanted me in that night. After a quick conference, they told me to take the South because that's where I was going to be next year. So starting that night, they began preparing me for the South this year. And I made sure that since they put their faith in me for the job, I did all I could to prepare for the honor they felt I was worthy.

    So as I stated previously, it all depends on the person. Some people slide into leadership positions quite naturally. Some people are never wish to lead and shouldn't be forced into doing so. Right now, my Lodge is sent to go after a Vanguard Award, something we've only come close to once. This year, we will make it, because we have the right person leading us from the East, and he has the right people under him to support him. Oh and Brother Ashton, I look forward to meeting you at the Retreat in August.
     
  18. barryguitar

    barryguitar Registered User

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    I too was raised just this year in April and was made Senior Steward for the current year. I have made myself available to the officers in line and hope to continue my progression to the East. I like Dave in Waco consider myself to be motivated, and am doing the work required. We have several new masons who bring to the table a high degree of motivation. We have a L.I.F.E. program that I am enjoying quite a-lot, as it gives those of us who are in line the opportunity to begin to schedule the upcoming year with the goal in mind of becoming a Vanguard lodge., an honor our lodge has never enjoyed.

    I would like to say that I have witnessed older Masters who were not proficient at opening and closing lodge, or conferring degrees.
    Age or time as a Mason doesn't seem to matter. There is no reason why a man can not become proficient in ritual quickly. The nature of the craft itself allows the cream to rise to the top and hopefully the adept and the natural leaders will progress.

    Metropolitan is a very large lodge in numbers but few are continually active. I hope to continue to serve however I can best be used.

    It is better to promote a new mason who wants Quality than it is to promote someone who is not proficient, and is being given the chair for his years of faithful dues paying.
     
  19. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Locking the thread. This post pertained to the 2010/2011 masonic year, which we are now past.
     
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