Obscure yet interesting aspects of "Masonic Law" - Need some ideas

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by Ol Kev, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    Brothers,

    Just got installed as Junior Warden in my lodge. I want to pursue topics for discussion in our newsletter and stated meetings for the upcoming year that concern some of the lesser known but interesting aspects of masonic law in Texas and I need some ideas. I need at least 12 topics of interest to explore.

    Who wants to kick start this thing? :blink:
    THANKS IN ADVANCE
     
  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't offer much myself...but as the JW of my lodge I'll be keeping an eye on this thread as well.
     
  3. brother josh

    brother josh Registered User

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    Do they allow alcohol not in lodge but at refreshment in ky they do not and I have a feeling it sadly might be keeping the younger crowd from joining especially when all the other organizations allow it just wondering


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  4. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    The Law Book is dry... read them more interesting articles on things like the Moon's Place in Masonic History....

    THE MOON IN MASONIC HISTORY
    There is no more spectacular reminder of our Masonic historical and ritualistic heritage than the moon at its height of fullness. While astronomers view the moon with the analytical eye of science, the moon has been a focal point for cultures around the world throughout history and has inspired music, poetry and religion alike. However, for Masons, and particularly Vermont Masons, the moon has not just been a symbolic light in our ritualistic teaching but also a literal light to our brethren of long ago. It thus behooves us to take a moment to remember the moon and its long association with the Craft and its origins. Our direct Masonic tradition regarding the moon begins with the ancient Hebrews. In Genesis 1:14-19, we are told that on the fourth day of creation, "God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night." Despite the specific prohibitions against lunar worship in Deuteronomy and the Book of Kings, the moon was still regarded as a strong symbol of permanence and regularity associated with its usage to measure the passage of time. In fact, the monthly offerings to the moon found in Numbers 28: 11-15 are still read in some Jewish synagogues.
    It is from the medieval European science of Alchemy that the first uses of the moon in the graphic and ritualistic manner that Masons are accustomed to derive their meaning. The Alchemists were a group of mystics who first appeared in the 12th century and were the forerunners of our modern chemists. They believed that with the proper mixture of chemicals and methods base metals such as iron and lead could be turned into gold and silver. Beyond this however, the Alchemists were true philosophers who used symbols and drawings extensively in their teachings and who insisted on strict secrecy from their initiates. Much of the graphic symbolism used in Masonry,such as images of the plumb, square, level, rough ashlar and perfect ashlar, was taken from Alchemical texts.
    To the Alchemists, the moon was a symbol of the metal silver and was used to depict that substance in the obscure writings which transmitted their secret formulae. One of the most prevalent images used by the Alchemists was the stylized drawing of the sun and the moon with human faces. These images are now associated with the Masonic tracing boards of England and monitors of such American Masonic ritualists as Jeremy Cross, who lectured in the lodges of Vermont in 1815. It is in the Craft Ritual and the structure of the Masonic lodge itself that we must bring together all of the foregoing elements to give a true picture of the use of the moon in Masonry.
    In modern American ritual the primary reference to the moon is as the second of the "Lesser lights," of Masonry. This modem usage follows from the early 18th century English ritual reference to the Three lights of the Lodge being the "Sun, Moon and MasterMason." In addition to these "moveable lights," there were also in these early English Lodge rooms three "fixed lights," which are described by some Masonic historians as three windows in the lodge room "to light men to, at and from their work." These three windows were later replaced with three candles located at the East, South and West corners of the lodge and situated before the Master, Junior Warden and Senior Warden, respectively. The reference to the Sun, Moon and Master of the Lodge as the three lesser lights of Masonry and their particular association with these three burning tapers and the associated officers was developed by the so-called Antient Grand Lodge which was active in England from the mid to late 18th century. The Antients, who apparently consisted of Masons hailing from Scotland and Ireland, were at odds with another faction of Masons in England, the so-called "Premier Grand Lodge." The ritual of the Premier Grand Lodge only referred to three "great" lights without the Antients' reference to the "lesser" lights. The fact that the Antients held to the above interpretation of the three lesser lights was particularly significant for American Masonry as was their use of deacons in their degree work, as we shall see. In the modern American Webb work ritual, the moon is referred to in the First Degree as one of the three lesser or moveable lights and is identified as the biblical ruler of the night and as a reference of regularity for the conduct of the Master of the Lodge. In the higher symbolism of the lodge, the moon has always been particularly identified with the Senior Warden in the West, thus following the Egyp- tian tradition associating the moon with this direction. This reference also corresponds to the recitation of the Senior Warden's duties in the lodge . Some Masonic philosophers have found this to be a fitting parallel for as the light of the moon is a mere reflection of the greater light of the sun, so the Senior Warden, the officer associated with the Doric pillar of Strength, is intended to be a reflection of the "light" of the Worshipful Master who is associated with the Ionic pillar of Wisdom. It is thus particularly significant that the messenger of the Senior Warden within the lodge is the Junior Deacon who, as his jewel, wears the square and compasses enclosing the moon.
     
  5. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    Well, I know it's dry. That's why I was asking for obscure yet interesting. The Masonic Law angle ties into the duties of the Junior Warden. That's why I was wanting to explore that topic.

    That's a good article though that can go elsewhere in the newsletter. THANKS!
     
  6. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

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    You might examine the controversies surrounding the Grand Orient of France and the National Grand Lodge of France (I believe it's referred to as the GLNF due to the vagaries of the French tongue).

    You might also examine the recent issues surrounding the Grand Lodge of West Virginia from a few years back or the situation between the Imperial Shrine of North America and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.

    Please note that I'm not suggesting you stir things up to create disharmony in the Lodge. I simply feel that these sorts of topics might help Brothers view the things going around in modern Masonic jurisprudence.

    TU
     
  7. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    How about discussing PHA recognition? There are charts of states that have it and states that don't but the story does not stop there.

    Plenty of states have incomplete lists of jurisdictions they recognize. Since recognition has to be mutual to visit a tiled lodge meeting (Your jurisdiction needs to recognize for you to be allowed to present yourself. Their jurisdiction needs to recognize to be allowed to let you in) there are numerous recognition situations that are incomplete. California has a list of PHA jurisdictions that have granted mutual recognition and another list of PHA jurisdictions that have not answered yet. Plus there are jurisdictions missing from California's list.

    There are states that solve the problem by issuing blanket recognition. It works in one direction but recognition has to be mutual. If all jurisdictions used blanket recognition it would work everywhere.

    The next level is exceptions to what recognition usually means. Recognition usually includes visitation and allows dual affiliation as long as both jurisdictions allow dual affiliation. Texas is an example of a jurisdiction that does not allow visitation. California is an example of the jurisdiction that does not allow dual affiliation.

    Some of these issues have higher priority than others but our house will not be in complete fellowship until they all are.
     
  8. Tx4ever

    Tx4ever Registered User

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    Title III .Art. 383 Is interesting, My understanding is A visitor from any other jurisdiction , can be excluded from a meeting at the objection of 3 members and made to the WM.
     
  9. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    A topic of current interest is Chamber of Reflection. It has been banned in Texas this year. Why did that happen and what lesson is there to be learned?

    What should not be the cause is any concept that Chamber of Reflection is not a part of Masonry. It is and has been in some jurisdictions since before the first lodge was chartered in Texas. If is lost to Texas ritual and that's a different status.

    What should be the cause is how it was used by the lodge that tried it. Candidates not obligated were taken straight from the CoR into a tiled lodge without being received in ancient form.

    The lesson to be learned is if they had paid attention to what is ritual and what is not, to what is allowed in ritual and what is not, to points in the ritual where free form activities are allowed and when they are not they should not have encountered any problems. Know your ritual my brothers! More particularly know what it *means*.

    There are lodges that have activities before the opening starts. Had the CoR been conducted and completed before opening it would be had no clash and should not have been a problem. Ah the word "should" appears here. Grand Masters can issue edicts that they should not have and Grand Lodge can pass legislation that they should not have. But this is not such a situation.

    There are lodges that have activities after the closing completes. I've been to a lodge that had a recited "Third and a half degree" or "Knife and fork degree" that was really a non-ritual skit put on by the brothers for fun. It was at refreshment after a third degree had been conferred. A bit of levity makes sense after such a solemn ceremony.

    There are lodges that insert a Bible presentation after the ritual of the third degree has completed (post-lecture) but before the closing ceremony begins. there are multiple versions of Bible presentations going around. I very much like the poem used by at least one Texas lodge.

    Knowing the story told in the ritual, what the ritual means, and acting appropriately at times there is a break in the action makes all the difference. Had that been done this year we might not yet have heard about CoR except in books.
     
  10. Ol Kev

    Ol Kev Registered User

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    This is the kind of stuff I'm looking for - thanks


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  11. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

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    As I was given to understand (and I don't have my Law Book close at hand), such objection places the matter at the discretion of the Master.

    Again, my understanding; not a GM ruling or anything like that.

    TU
     
  12. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

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    I have a question regarding this, due to a comment made to me several years ago by a Brother.

    This particular Mason was a member of a Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas, which, at that point, did not recognize the regularity of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas (recognition of regularity has since been made, although visitation has yet to be granted). He was (and probably still is) also a member of a Lodge in a grand jurisdiction where recognition of and visitation rights with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge had been made.

    His contention was that, as his out-of-Texas Grand Lodge had visitation rights with Prince Hall Lodges in that geographic region (and, thus, with Prince Hall Lodges in Texas), that he had the right to visit Prince Hall Lodges in Texas.

    While I figure he was probably technically correct, it makes me wonder about how such a visit would have been (or would still be) received.

    By the way, I do very much agree with your assertion that our Fraternity cannot be complete so long as we countenance any form of discrimination against our fellow Regular Masons (please note, I don't place all, or even most of the, blame on "mainstream" (read, "white") Grand Lodges; I'm well aware from my discussions with both ""mainstream" and Prince Hall Masons that the discrimination is not now, nor has it ever been, purely one-sided).

    Thoughts? Opinions? Snide remarks?

    TU
     
  13. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    This has been brought up before, and if I'm not mistaken, when he is in Texas he falls under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Texas, regardless of affiliation.
     
  14. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    You might want to look at it again, Bro. Tony:

    Art. 383. (419). Visitors Excluded: When.
    A visitor, who is not a member in good standing of a Lodge working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas, may be excluded on the objection of a member of the Lodge at the discretion of the Worshipful Master. When three members make the objection, such visitor must be excluded.​ (italics mine)
     
  15. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

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    Aha. You are right, sir. Thank you for correcting, in the most gentle manner, my error.

    Always trust a Lodge Secretary to know best. :001_cool:

    TU
     
  16. Tx4ever

    Tx4ever Registered User

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    I don't think so, just like you brother I may be wrong.
     
  17. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    When we are dual members we need to follow the rules of all of the jurisdictions we are members of. Rules tend to be restrictions more often than allowances but they are often mixtures of both.

    As an X mason he could visit because the agreement between those two jurisdictions allow that. As a Texas Mason he can not visit because the agreement between those two jurisdictions do not allow that. To me the sum of two rules is the maximum restriction so to me he can not visit. Incidentally this is why until today I have been in a delaying state before petitioning any Texas lodge - As a California and Illinois Mason both of my jurisdictions allowed me to visit PHA lodges.
     
  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    When you are outside of a lodge facility in Texas both regular jurisdictions have authority as far as territory goes. I even figure that to charter a new lodge they should really get approval from each other, though I doubt either will object as that's what GLs are supposed to do. When I read the recognition document that topic was not mentioned.

    When you are in a tiled meeting, the rules of that lodge's jurisdiction apply. When you're in a tiled meeting of a GLofTX lodge the rules of the GLofTX not the MWPHAGLofTX apply. When you're in a tiled meeting of a MWPHAGLofTX the rules of the MWPHAGLofTX not the GLofTX apply you. This principle applies for any pair of GLs.

    When you are a member of GLofTX then the rules of GLofTX not of MWPHAGLofTX apply to you. When you are a member of MWPHAGLofTX then the rules of MWPHAGLofTX not of GLofTX apply to you. This principle applies for any pair of GLs.

    Those two principles combine when you're a member of one jurisdiction visiting a lodge of another. As there's no visitation in Texas currently the combination should not happen but you can fill any pair of GLs in those blanks.

    The fun comes in when there are visitors from more than one jurisdiction. What do you do when the host recognizes the GL of another jurisdiction but your own GL does not? Many GLs have a rule like "when visiting act like the locals" to handle such a case. Some GLs don't.

    An example from several years ago - Arizona GL had the PHA GL grand line in attendance as usual. Arizona GL invited the GM of Alabama. When the GM of Alabama arrived and saw the PHA brothers he turned around and left. Apparently when he got back to Alabama he asked for the "when visiting act like the locals" rule to be passed. A couple of years later I was at an Illinois GL meeting. As usual the entire PHA GL grand line was in attendance. The GM of Alabama was there to give a keynote speech. This time he saw the PHA brothers and didn't leave. Clearly Alabama now has the "when visiting act like the locals" rule now.

    Does GLofTX recognize PHA in a lot of states? If they do there's another fun point. Is the recognition document the same for all of them or is it just standard everywhere else? Where ever it's standard GLofTX members can visit when they are in that state.

    Applying the "when visiting act like the locals" you could visit a GLofCA lodge and another visitor could be from MWPHAGLofTX. There would you be able to stay? You would if texas has the "when visiting act like the locals" rule.
     
  19. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Leaving PHA out of the equation for a moment, I can say that if you, a member of GLIL and GLCA were in NM, and were "called on the carpet" for something un-Masonic (outside of a tyled Lodge) you would be subject to GLNM law. I, as an NM Mason living in CA, am subject to GLCA law whether I'm in a tyled Lodge or not.

    So, returning to our original question, a Freemason in the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas can not attend a PHA Lodge, even if his home GL is in full recognition. As I posted earlier, this has come up before (I asked if I could visit a PHA Lodge in TX at least a year ago) and Brother Stewart broke out the law book. It's not so much a case of "when in Rome," though that's good rule to go by.
     
  20. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Admittedly, this works the other way, too. Just because a TX Mason comes to NM, that doesn't mean he can visit a PHA Lodge, though the case you mentioned where Grand Officers were present at a Grand Lodge might be allowed (what a sticky wicket!).
    I may find myself in a situation soon where I will no longer be able to attend a meeting of the Eastern Star....
     

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