Side (Fun) Degrees

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by bupton52, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. bupton52

    bupton52 Moderator Premium Member

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    What are some of the side degrees you guys have? Has anyone ever heard of the Yellow Dog degree?
     
  2. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    We have the Order of the White Buffalo here in Oklahoma, but it's not a "fun" degree.


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  3. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    One of the oldest Articles in the GLoTX Law Book:

    Art. 16. Side Degrees. “Side degrees” are prohibited by this Grand Lodge.
     
  4. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Is the Tx rule limited to conferral in the jurisdiction vice membership in such degrees? I'm aware of a number of TX Masons, including a PGM, quite involved in the Order of the Bath and Cork.
     
  5. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I don't know if it qualifies as a side degree, but the "Rusty Nail" degree, is somewhat fun. Some lodges invite members who have not participated in meetings for some time, and are "rusty", are invited to the lodge. A ceremony is performed to help rusty Masons brush up on their knowledge.
     
  6. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I believe that the Order of the Bath & Cork is considered an appendant order, as opposed to a side degree.
     
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  7. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    How is "side degree" defined, as opposed to concordant or appendant?


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  8. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I consider side degrees as degrees set up entirely for fun. Two of the four "degrees" you take when you join our past masters association come to mind. Most are designed to foster good natured "you got me" moments. They usually have a very minimal lifetime membership fee which goes to one of the Masonic charities. We have a Red Republican degree and an Order of the Cord (I think it was called) which come to mind. Both are designed to teach a sitting WM to laugh at himself and not be too full of himself. The Confidence Degree isn't a funny degree but is designed to teach sitting WMs to trust those who have gone before him.
     
  9. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    As I understand it, unauthorized degrees or rituals in the blue Lodge would be "side degrees". Those done under the auspices of the Scottish or York Rites, the Shrine, or any other organization not officially connected to a Grand Lodge would be considered "concordant" or "appendant".
     
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    So the Order of Bunker Hill that gets put on occasionally at blue lodges in Illinois (maybe elsewhere) would be out, but the Royal Order of Scotland that gets put on occasionally at Scottish Rite in California (maybe elsewhere) would be okay.

    I take it side degrees can potentially grow in popularity until they become an appendent body so the policy in Texas is they should go through the process to get appendent body status. Makes sense to me. I've seen a few orders get voted on in the years I've attended my various GLs.
     
  11. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Some years back, during a "side degree" in a GLoNY Lodge, the candidate was accidentally shot & killed. The widow sued the Lodge and GL over it. Sorry, but IMHO, there is no place for grabass in a Masonic Lodge. We have other venues for that, for those who like it.
     
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  12. MBC

    MBC Twice Registered User Premium Member

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    Ah Bro. Bill, I heard of it before but I don't realize that is a side degree.
    Thanks for the info.
     
  13. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    I'd heard of that as well. My understanding was that it was a "club" formed inside the lodge a la KSA (though completely unsanctioned) and the incident occurred during the initiation. Stupid.


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  14. phulseapple

    phulseapple Premium Member

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    It was actually a Fellowcraft club.
     
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  15. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    Shootings and other issues aside, I'm curious as to what am edict against side or "fun"'degrees really means. If it means not doing them in the lodge room while the lodge is at labor, it seems reasonable to me. As long as there is a clear separation between what is sanctioned ritual and what is not, I can't see the harm (as long as it is safe). I suppose a GL may want to make it even clearer by requiring that the word "degree" not be used to avoid any confusion.


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  16. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

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    My understanding of the GL Law in Texas is that "side degrees" are not allowed to be conferred in Texas by regular Masons, but it is not illegal for a Texas Mason to receive such a degree from a source in another State, so long as the "side degree" does not attempt to disabuse him of the regularity of his Masonic membership.

    So, if a group within the Grand Lodge of Colorado (for example) offered the "Order of the Orange Parka", allowing a Mason to become a "Brother Kenny", and said Degree was conferred outside of Texas, a Texas Mason could participate and receive the Degree, but he could not further confer it within Texas without approval by the Grand Lodge of Texas of the Order.

    TU
     
  17. marty15chris

    marty15chris Premium Member

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    I'm sorry but I just don't understand the need for "side" degrees. There are enough degrees separate from the " blue lodge" as it is. I am still working on learning and giving all I can to the first 3.



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  18. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    Most of the "fun" degrees don't take anything away from the Blue Lodge. They don't hold regular meetings (most are conferred maybe once a year usually in connection with a gathering), have too much prescribed ritual, or are even considered real bodies. They usually have about a $5-10 lifetime membership, money which goes to charity or covers the cost of the meal to go along with the night.

    Now if you want to talk about appendant bodies taking time and resources away from the Blue Lodge, yes, there are dozens. The fun degrees don't fall into that category. They are just a chance for a night of fellowship and have a laugh.
     
  19. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    They are not about a need. They are about a desire for variety.

    When blue lodge in the US dropped regular table lodges with festive board that made blue lodge meetings solemn with insufficient festivity mixed in. As a result fun groups started appearing such as one-time fun "degree" presentations and the Shrine.
     
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  20. marty15chris

    marty15chris Premium Member

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    I understand why side degrees have come about. But it sounds more to me that blue lodges have gotten, for lack of a better phrase, lazy. If they were to put on the festive boards and such then maybe brothers wouldn't feel the need for side degrees.




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