Study on the present conditions of Freemasonry in the world.

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by vinceatwork, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    Doug, this is great. Thank you very much.
    for No. 1, I have the figures from another source (for California as well). No. 8 - Family dinner, should I read once a month? and 2 Lodge Meetings monthly? No. 13 - can you find out what these fees are for non life members? No. 34 - you are correct: my question refers to brethren that leave Masonry.
     
  2. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    My personal view

    1. Total number of members in your Grand Jurisdiction - Are the numbers up or down? (As compared to 10 years ago). A: See MSANA report

    2. On the whole, do you feel the lodges in your jurisdiction are prospering or declining? A: See MSANA report

    3. What are the causes of this prosperity, or decline? A: Likely the same reasons as other GL's

    4. Which segments of the population/professions constitute the membership in your area? A: It is unclear what "segments of the population" means. If it means professions, this is unknown, as the statistics are not kept by the GL. Additionally, it is not clear if trades are included in the word "professions." I individually know tattoo artists, military members, lawyers, bankers, doctors, a rocket scientist, retirees; production line supervisor; flower grower.

    5. What is the average age now found among the members? Is the age average now changed (up or down) as compared to the past? A: Refer to GL. It is not thought that there would be historical information.

    6. What is the average membership size of your Lodges? A: Refer to GL


    7. What percentage of the membership is usually present at the lodge meetings? A: Unknown by GL.

    8. How often do members meet, in lodge or socially, each month? A: Varies with lodge

    9. Do your lodges meet in the summer months? A: Varies with lodge

    10. With the exception of members who can not attend the meetings, due to illness or distance, what remedies or sanctions are enforced against the defaulting members (e.g. complaint, summons to appear and to justify their absence, expulsion or other ....); how common are these cases? A: It is unclear what "defaulting members" means. If this refers to Masonic Complaints, refer to GL Code, available in Amazon

    11. Are the temple’s building generally the property of the lodge, co-owned with other lodges, or rented from others (commercial enterprise)? A: Varies with lodges.

    12. Are the membership fees sufficient to pay for the maintenance of the Temple, or are some of the Temple facilities rented to the public, to balance income and expenses? A: In Salt Lake City proper, no. Refer to individual lodges

    13. What is the average cost of admission (Initiation), and the annual fees (proportionally to the the average daily earning from employment in your country)? Are there additional fees charged for each degree? A: Varies with lodge. Each lodge sets own fees. The average daily earning in the US is unknown. The requester would have this information and it is inappropriate to ask others to determine that information.

    14. What are the most common reasons today in your Grand Jurisdiction that entice a petitioner to join a Lodge? A: Unknown. Refer to petitioners. It is likely the same across the US

    15. Must the Petitioner be known to one or more members of the Lodge? A: Yes.

    16. What investigations about the Applicant for membership are conducted by the lodge after receiving an application for membership – how thorough are these investigations? A: Varies with Lodge. See also http://www.wasatchlodge.org/wp-content/petition.pdf

    17. Is it usual for an Applicant to be rejected - What are usually the reasons for rejection? A: Refer to the Code on discussion of rejections. GL does not keep statistics on how many are rejected.

    18. How does an Apprentice qualify for the next level; and the Fellow-craft for the Master's degree? How long does it take for these qualification as a rule? A: Refer to Code. GL does not have information on a rule as to how long it takes.

    19. Is a Candidate required to present in lodge one or more Papers (Lectures) to qualify for the next level? A: No. Refer to Code

    20. Are apprentices permitted to speak in Lodge? A: If the degree is open on the appropriate degree, yes

    21. Is the belief in a “Creator” an indispensable condition for the admission of an applicant? A: See sample petition http://www.wasatchlodge.org/wp-content/petition.pdf

    22. Are any believers of other (not mainstream) faiths excluded from membership? It what is meant by mainstream faiths. A: See petition http://www.wasatchlodge.org/wp-content/petition.pdf

    23. Is the belief that the Scriptures (of any religion) constitute the will of God - a determining factor for the approval of an applicant? A: See petition http://www.wasatchlodge.org/wp-content/petition.pdf

    24. Universality. - for example: Would a just, righteous and reputable North American Indian (true believer in its traditional spirituality) be admitted in a lodge of your Grand Jurisdiction? - such an Indian having no Bible or equivalent Holy Scriptures, but his spirituality and his faithfulness is represented by the Eagle Feather, holding which he swears and feels bound by it. You will find the reasons for this strange question here: http://www.freemasonryresearchforumqsa.com/the-eagle-feather.php
    A: See petition http://www.wasatchlodge.org/wp-content/petition.pdf

    25. Besides the Bible, what other holy writings are permitted to be displayed on the altar of the Lodges in your Grand Jurisdiction? A: It is unclear what "holy writings" means. The Koran, Vida; others; Refer to Grand Lodge for specifics.

    26. Except for the conferral of degrees (Rituals), what other activities are usually undertaken by the lodge? A: Varies with lodge. Recommend survey of lodges.

    27. What public activities for the benefit of the community do the lodges carry on? A: Various: Food banks, charitable donations; scholarships; sub for Santa. Recommend survey of lodges. The Masonic Foundation of Utah makes significant grants

    28. What is the perception of Freemasonry by the general public in your area? (City, State, Province or Country). A: In the view of Glen Cook: Many people have never heard of Freemasonry.

    29. Does the assertion: “Masonry is not only the most ancient, but the most moral human institution that ever existed” still sounds true to your members? A: Unknown. Glen Cook does not recollect having ever heard of that, and would disagree with it. Survey of members recommended.

    30. Does this assertion sound true to the general (profane) public in your area? A: Unknown, as have not surveyed them. Glen Cook suspects some would find it offensive, as it would indicate their religious faith was not moral.

    31. Is any activity of the lodge made public in the media? A: Yes

    32. Do lodges advertise in their website or in the media, to entice new candidates to join the lodge? (To join Freemasonry.) A: What does "advertise" mean? There are websites.

    33. After a Brother has completed his term as Master of the Lodge, does he keep his W. Bro. title, or is addressed simply as Brother? A: He retains Worshipful

    34. How common is the resignation of a brother? What are usually the reasons for resigning? A: It is unclear what is meant by resignation. Demit? Reunciation? No reasons are required for either.

    35. Is there any other information about the present practice of Masonry in your Grand Jurisdiction that would render this study more complete and useful? A: Refer to Code. Read the Communication reports. Do an internet search on Grand Lodge of Utah. Review the Lodge websites and FB pages. Review the history of Masonic discrimination against Latter-day Saintsnd the antipathy between the two organizations
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  3. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    Glen, I go by the assumption you are a member of a Lodge (or more than one); that you have been around Masonry for some time; that you are well-read in Masonic matters, and as such, you have some knowledge regarding the questions I ask. If a stranger and a Profane in the street were to ask you my questions - how would you answer him? In my neck of the woods, if you ask a lawyer "what time is it?" and he answers you, theoretically he is legally entitled to bill you for it. Now, if by the same theory your reluctance is motivated by fear of becoming in some way legally liable (under masonic laws or under that blessed protocol) in answering my questions, then I understand you; and I also understand how deeply troubling is our dedication to secrecy and protocol. I am not asking you to speak of policies and laws of your Grand Lodge, or to speak for it. Tell me, if you know it, how many time lodges in your area meet each month, generally; what are the fees for joining the lodge, generally; what activities do lodges carry on in your area, generally; how common is the sad occasion of a new member to undergo his initiation, and then never to return to lodge, and why, if any, generally; and so on. Glen, I am not asking for state secrets. My questionnaire may well be imperfect - but what is there to lose, and by whom, in answering those questions?

    Let me add: would you not want to know what practices have caused other lodges in other areas to fail and disappear; or to prosper? Would it not be prudent on the part of every lodge, and every Grand Lodge to acquire such knowledge? – and free of charge! However imperfect in the manner in which it was obtained, since I am not a lawyer, nor a professional pollster. However, Brother Glen, I wish a Merry Christmas to you too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  4. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    No, the attorneys in your area are not required to bill, even in theory. In fact, the CBA encourages pro bono.

    See the answers above, which point out some of the deficiencies in your questions and your lack of knowledge and experience in the GL system.

    Yes, you really are asking me to speak for my GL, you just don't understand that, and that is one of the problems in this enterprise.

    It is not a dedication to secrecy. It is an issue of protocol, agency and manners. I am a retired US Naval officer. I did not speak for the CINC. I spoke for my Command. I do not have permission to speak on some matters for the fraternity. It is also a matter of arrogance. We have pleny of Masons for a Minute who are happy to opine as to protocol, law, ritual and custom throughout the Masonic universe, including Mars. It would appear you don't really wish authoritative information. My reading is that you have a hobby horse, and you wish to fill the blanks on a spread sheet regardless of whether the information is valid. Really, you hadn't even bothered to look at the MSANA stats.

    We already have information on membership issues. You just seem unaware of it. There are so many papers on why the Craft is failing that seeking yet more personal views adds nothing. Much like the MSANA, you haven't bothered to research the topic. Read the Masonic Society, the Philalethes, Masonic Restoration Foundation, CGMNA reports, WCRMGL proceedings, regional Masonic conference proceedings, Shrine Membership Seminar, AASR publications, and more online comments than my system can generate.

    Nevertheless, as indicated, I've replied to your survey. You can now indicate that someone in Utah had never heard that Freemasonry was the best moral system ever.
     
  5. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    Thank you, Glen.
     
  6. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    I have to agree with a few others who have pointed out the flaws with your study. Aside from a high school level research paper, the methodology used here simply wouldn't hold up as a valid form of research. I'm not sure that any worthwhile data could be gathered, and it's validity is suspect at best. I think your intentions are noble, but I also think the results (if ever completed) would be so inaccurate that they would overshadow the purpose of the study. Realistically, several key factors are unknown:
    • Are respondents real Masons?
    • Are the questions being answered with factual data or opinion?
    • If factual data, can it be sourced and referenced?
    Additionally, many of the questions are inconsistent. One minute, you're asking for a single person to speak for an entire jurisdiction, the next, at the local lodge level, and the next on a personal level. This alone invalidates the study for all practical reasons because the demographic hasn't been zeroed in.

    Again, I will agree with others and say that it seems like you're trying to paint a picture with a snowblower. Restructure your questions. Refine your study. Redefine your purpose.
     
    Glen Cook likes this.
  7. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    If the question is: "how can Freemasonry survive?" then there are a number of options to consider:

    - A much smaller Freemasonry
    - Follow the practice of many Christian clergies: when you run out of men, admit women
    - Whether Freemasonry took a wrong turning in 1717 and has been selling an incomplete product
    - Whether the Judao-Christian symbolism of the ritual is really sufficiently universal
    - The Scottish tradition of Grand Lodge supporting but not ruling lodges
    - Whether the developer-builder model of Deity needs to be reworked in a culture of planetary stewardship
    - Whether inner/spiritual skills need to be taught in the lodge and competence demonstrated by EAs before passing
    - Whether competence in some of the 7 liberal arts and sciences is a precondition for raising
    - Whether existing MM would be grandfathered.
     
  8. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Very so brother, very so.
     
  9. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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  10. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    To Browncoat, James and whoever else may read this:

    As I promised to James yesterday, the following is the information I received from Masons in two jurisdictions, so far representing the most successful and the worse. I will at the end comment on your posts.

    Study on the present conditions of Freemasonry in the world.

    The purpose of this research is to form a snapshot of the Present Conditions of Masonry in the world,as compared to the past, and draw from it lessons that may help us Masons work to address present issues, recognize successes or failures, and find solutions for the better future of our Craft. The sources of the information I may receive will remain completely confidential. At the conclusion of this study I will disclose my findings, but not the sources, to all those who have contributed, and they will be free to use this information as they deem it proper.

    Information received from one European Jurisdiction [See Note 1 below]

    Questions:

    1. 1. Total number of members in your Grand Jurisdiction - Are the numbers up or down? (As compared to 10 - 20 years ago)
    A. 22,000 members, growing [16,000 in 204; 22,223 in 2014; in 834 lodges, of which 22 newly chartered in 2014]


    1. 2. On the whole, do you feel the lodges in your jurisdiction are prospering or declining?
    A. Prospering, but the education's level is mostly unsatisfactory


    1. 3. What are the causes of this prosperity, or decline?
    A. Many young people hope to find their values, because they are deluded by politics and religion.


    1. 4. Which segments of the population/professions constitute the membership in your area?
    A. Graduates, mid-class and professionals, some students. Few blue collars.


    1. 5. What is the average age now found among the members? Is the age average now changed (up or down) as compared to the past?
    A. Average 50 years old, moving toward 40


    1. 6. What is the average membership size of yourLodges?
    A. 25-30


    1. 7. What percentage of the membership is usually present at the lodge meetings?
    A. 50 - 60%


    1. 8. How often do members meet, in lodge or socially, each month?
    A. Twice a month as lodge.


    1. 9. Do your lodges meet in the summer months?
    A. Sometimes


    1. 10. With the exception of members who can not attend the meetings, due to illness or distance, what remedies or sanctions are enforced against the defaulting members (e.g. complaint, summons to appear and to justify their absence, expulsion or other ....); how common are these cases?
    A. Not very common. Often complaints, very rarely expulsion due to absences or misbehavior (these Brethren are urged to demit).


    1. 11. Are the temple’s building generally the property of the lodge, co-owned with other lodges, or rented from others (commercial enterprise)?
    A. In the biggest cities they are owned by a company controlled by Grande Lodge: in small towns they are rented.


    1. 12. Are the membership fees sufficient to pay for the maintenance of the Temple, or are some of the Temple facilities rented to the public, to balance income and expenses?
    A. They are sufficient; fully covered by membership fees.


    1. 13. What is the average cost of a) admission (Initiation), and b) the annual fees? Are there additional fees charged for c) each degree?
    A. a) 500 - 800 euro; b) 500 euro; c) yes, 250 - 270 euro


    1. 14. What are the most common reasons today in your Grand Jurisdiction that entice a petitioner to join a Lodge?
    A. Good reputation, good culture and interest in our traditions. Desire to become a better man, in every respect. The quest of spirituality, fee from dogmas, plays a significant role, too, even if not for the majority of petitioners.


    1. 15. Must the Petitioner be known to one or more members of the Lodge?
    A. Preferably yes, but not necessarily. A Brother must sign the petition, vouching for him. If unknown, the time for acceptance is longer. [See Note 1 below]


    1. 16. What investigations about the Applicant for membership are conducted by the lodge after receiving an application for membership – how thorough are these investigations?
    A. Usually, three Brethren have a chat with him, trying to understand the very reasons of his request, plus: Police report and investigations at his workplace, and within his family.


    1. 17. Are Applicants ever rejected - What are usually the reasons for rejection?
    A. Some 10% are rejecteddue to bad information from Brethren, for not believing in a supreme being. A petitioner is also rejected if he appears to be neither a free man nor of good report.


    1. 18. How does an Apprentice qualify for the next level; and the Fellow-craft for the Master's degree? How long does it take for these qualification as a rule?
    A. It depends on the lodge. Some lodges require his regular attendance, some others ask for a paper, too. Generallythe behavior of the Apprentice and Fellow in the Lodge and outside the Lodge is a factor. For the Fellows the quality of their Papers in the Lodge is also a factor. The elapse of time between each degree is one year, but in some lodges it is longer, typically 3 years from Apprentice to Fellow; 1 to 2 years from Fellow to Master.


    1. 19. Is a Candidate required to present in lodge one or more Papers (Lectures) to qualify for the next level? [See answer above]

    1. 20. Are apprenticespermittedto speakinLodge?
    A. Not at all. Unless asked by the W. M.


    1. 21. Is the belief in a “Creator” an indispensable condition for the admission of an applicant?
    A. Yes.


    1. 22. Are any believers of other (not mainstream) faiths excluded from membership?
    A. No.


    1. 23. Is the belief that the Scriptures (of any religion) constitute the will of God - a determining factor for the approval of an applicant?
    A. No. The sense of transcendence is sufficient.


    1. 24. Universality. – As an Example, would a just, righteous and reputable North American Indian (true believer in its traditional spirituality) be admitted in a lodge of your Grand Jurisdiction? - such an Indian having no Bible or equivalent Holy Scriptures, but his spirituality and his faithfulness is represented by the Eagle Feather, holding which he swears and feels bound by it. You will find the reasons for this strange question here: http://www.freemasonryresearchforumqsa.com/the-eagle-feather.php
    A. Yes


    1. 25. Besides the Bible, what other holy writings are permitted to be displayed on the altar of the Lodges in your Grand Jurisdiction?
    A. Those requested by the Brethren.


    1. 26. Except for the conferral of degrees (Rituals), what other activities are usually undertaken by the lodge?
    A. Discussion on lectures or papers on a wide variety of topics, except Politics and Religion, delivered by Brethren and candidates for advancement. All the Brethren (except Apprentices) are encouraged to participate in the discussion.


    1. 27. What public activities for the benefit of the community do the lodges carry on?
    A. Public meetings (conventions). Also, we do charity work both at the central level (GL) and at the local level, based on the economic capabilities of the lodges and of the regional district. We do help individuals and also have institutions for helping homeless and people in need.


    1. 28. What is the perception of Freemasonry by the general public in your area? (City, State, Province or Country)
    A. Bad, in times and the regions where the Catholic Church or political parties demonize Freemasonry as a secret society with ulterior purposes. But the GL is actively pursuing the goal to change this sentiment through transparency, good behavior and public activities.


    1. 29. Does the assertion: “Masonry is not only the most ancient, but the most moral human institution that ever existed” sounds true to your members? [Note: this question was not present in List of Questions when this study was initiated.]

    1. 30. Does this assertion sound true to the general (profane) public in your area? [Note: this question was not present in List of Questions when this study was initiated.]

    1. 31. Is any activity of the lodge made public in the media?
    A. Rarely.


    1. 32. Do lodges advertise in their website or in the media, to entice new candidates to join the lodge? (To join Freemasonry.)
    A. No the lodges, but the GL does.


    1. 33. After a Brother has completed his term as Master of the Lodge, does he keep his W. Bro. title, or is addressed simply as Brother?
    A. Simply as Brother.


    1. 34. How common is the resignation of a brother? What are usually the reasons for resigning?
    A - It is uncommon (2 to 3%). A Brother resigns if he did not find what he had sought. Some people look for political aid, some others for occult mental powers, others hope to facilitate their business.


    Is there any other information about the present practice of Masonry in your Grand Jurisdiction that would render this study more complete and useful? [None received.]


    NOTE 1: The information received from the second European Jurisdiction is in all aspects very much similar to the first reported above. Noteworthy in this jurisdiction are two lodges directly known to me (I have attended their meetings) of which in one the brethren usually regularly meet 8 - 9 times per month.

    NOTE 2: In this Jurisdiction the application for membership must also include the curriculum vitae of the Applicant; certificate of residence; Police clearance; a number of photos (this number varies depending on the place of residence); all the information, including the photo and the scheduled dates for the ballots (2 ballots are taken), is transmitted to the district and to GL; an office in charge of these matter then distributes this information to all lodges in the Jurisdiction. Many other steps follow, but for the purpose of this study, I put forward three most peculiar: 1) the first ballot is taken in lodge at the date announced in the circulation of information mentioned above; the second ballot is taken on the following regular meeting of the lodge. 2) Visitors can and must cast their ballots on the application. 3) In this Jurisdiction one is and can be a member of only one lodge. 4) The preparation (education) of a candidate is executed by weekly study sessions conducted by 3 M.M.s with the candidate, covering a large amount of material contained in books (not like our black booklets) issued by the GL, the Apprentice’s 195 pages long; the Craftsman’s 170 pages; the Master’s 270 pages.


    = = = = = = = = =


    Information received from one North-American Jurisdiction

    Questions:

    1. Total number of members in your Grand Jurisdiction - Are the numbers up or down? (As compared to 10 - 20 years ago)

    A. Our membership has been on a steady decline since 1960. Historically we have always had the second smallest Masonic membership in this Jurisdiction. This was in part due to its ethnic makeup, which precluded membership among Roman Catholic men. In 1960 we had 8,961 members, as at December 31, 2014 we had 2,842 members.


    2. On the whole, do you feel the lodges in your jurisdiction are prospering or declining?

    A. [See above]


    3. What are the causes of this prosperity, or decline?

    [See above]


    4. Which segments of the population/professions constitute the membership in your area?

    A. Unknown.


    5. What is the average age now found among the members? Is the age average now changed (up or down) as compared to the past?

    A. The average age is around 65 years.


    6. What is the average membership size of yourLodges?

    A. 72 members.


    7. What percentage of the membership is usually present at the lodge meetings?

    A. We tend to use the rule of thumb that 20% of the members are active and attend lodge. Of course this varies from lodge to lodge.


    8. How often do members meet, in lodge or socially, each month?

    A. Typically members meet once a month at lodge meetings. A few of our lodges have regular social events but they are not monthly.


    9. Do your lodges meet in the summer months?

    A. We have a couple of lodges that meet in the summer. The rest of the lodges recess for the summer months.


    10. With the exception of members who can not attend the meetings, due to illness or distance, what remedies or sanctions are enforced against the defaulting members (e.g. complaint, summons to appear and to justify their absence, expulsion or other ....); how common are these cases?

    A. None.


    11. Are the temple’s building generally the property of the lodge, co-owned with other lodges, or rented from others (commercial enterprise)?

    A. The bulk of our lodges own their building. There are four lodge buildings in the jurisdiction that house more than one lodge. (Three of these have two lodges using the building and in the case of the Masonic Temple in XXXXX there are six lodges that meet there.) There are at least four lodges that meet in a public type of building where they pay a rental fee.


    12. Are the membership fees sufficient to pay for the maintenance of the Temple, or are some of the Temple facilities rented to the public, to balance income and expenses?

    A. Generally speaking lodge dues are far too low in this jurisdiction. The Masonic Temple in XXXXXX has commercial properties on the ground floor of the building.


    13. What is the average cost of admission (Initiation), and the annual fees? Are there additional fees charged for each degree?

    A. Initiation fees range from $75.00 to $250.00. Annual dues range from around $60.00 to $150.00. There are no additional fees charged for each degree.


    14. What are the most common reasons today in your Grand Jurisdiction that entice a petitioner to join a Lodge?

    A. Unknown.


    15. Must the Petitioner be known to one or more members of the Lodge?

    A. No.


    16. What investigations about the Applicant for membership are conducted by the lodge after receiving an application for membership – how thorough are these investigations?

    A. A cursory investigation takes place.


    17. Are Applicants ever rejected - What are usually the reasons for rejection?

    A. Rejection of an applicant is a very rare occurrence in this jurisdiction.


    18. How does an Apprentice qualify for the next level; and the Fellow-craft for the Master's degree? How long does it take for these qualification as a rule?

    A. In this jurisdiction there is a proficiency requirement consisting of an examination and in some lodges reciting the obligation is also required. All of our lodges with the exception of one (my lodge, XXX No. X) employ the 3X3 rule, three degrees in three months. In my lodge there is a minimum of three months between degrees.


    19. Is a Candidate required to present in lodge one or more Papers (Lectures) to qualify for the next level?

    A. There is only one lodge in this jurisdiction that has that requirement and that is my lodge.


    20. Are apprentices permitted to speak in Lodge?

    A. In certain circumstances yes.


    21. Is the belief in a “Creator” an indispensable condition for the admission of an applicant?

    A. Yes.


    22. Are any believers of other (not mainstream) faiths excluded from membership?

    A. Not that I am aware of.


    23. Is the belief that the Scriptures (of any religion) constitute the will of God - a determining factor for the approval of an applicant?

    A. Generally speaking yes.


    24. Universality. – As an Example, would a just, righteous and reputable North American Indian (true believer in its traditional spirituality) be admitted in a lodge of your Grand Jurisdiction? - such an Indian having no Bible or equivalent Holy Scriptures, but his spirituality and his faithfulness is represented by the Eagle Feather, holding which he swears and feels bound by it. You will find the reasons for this strange question here: http://www.freemasonryresearchforumqsa.com/the-eagle-feather.php

    A. Good question. Not sure what the response would be in this jurisdiction.


    25. Besides the Bible, what other holy writings are permitted to be displayed on the altar of the Lodges in your Grand Jurisdiction?

    A. Besides the VOSL of the Jewish faith I am not sure that any other VOSLs are in use at the current time. We did have a Muslim member in my lodge but he has moved west. During his time in lodge the Koran was opened on the altar.


    26. Except for the conferral of degrees (Rituals), what other activities are usually undertaken by the lodge?

    A. Some of our lodges have been making an effort to include some form of Masonic education as part of their programming. In the case of my lodge and one other we hold a number of Agapes each year.


    27. What public activities for the benefit of the community do the lodges carry on?

    A. The primary activity in this Jurisdiction are [is] fund raising efforts for Camp Goodtime, a yearly weeklong camp for children afflicted with Cancer that is put on by the XXXX Cancer Society. This camp is fully funded by the Masons of XXXXX through our charitable arm the XXXX Masonic Charities and Housing.


    28. What is the perception of Freemasonry by the general public in your area? (City, State, Province or Country)

    A. Not sure that the general public is all that aware of Freemasonry in this Area and further to that not all that sure that they want to be. The general public really does not care as to whether we exist or not.


    29. Does the assertion: “Masonry is not only the most ancient, but the most moral human institution that ever existed” sounds true to your members? [Note: this question was not present in List of Questions when this study was initiated.]


    30. Does this assertion sound true to the general (profane) public in your area? [Note: this question was not present in List of Questions when this study was initiated.]


    31. Is any activity of the lodge made public in the media?

    A. On a very limited basis the answer is yes. Certainly the amount of press that Freemasonry receives is greatly diminished from what it was years ago.


    32. Do lodges advertise in their website or in the media, to entice new candidates to join the lodge? (To join Freemasonry.)

    A. Our Grand Lodge web site has a section on how to join as do the websites of the few lodges that utilize this technology. There are frequent inquiries to our webmaster from individuals who are interested in joining. Our webmaster forwards those inquiries to a lodge closest to the individual who has made the inquiry.


    33. After a Brother has completed his term as Master of the Lodge, does he keep his W. Bro. title, or is addressed simply as Brother?

    A. In this jurisdiction rank is retained at both the lodge and Grand Lodge level.


    34. How common is the resignation of a brother? What are usually the reasons for resigning?

    A. By resignation I assume that you are referring to taking a demit. In this jurisdiction we are seeing approximately 2.5% of our membership requesting and taking a demit each year. There has been a significant increase in the number yearly number of demits since 2007. Not sure why.


    Is there any other information about the present practice of Masonry in your Grand Jurisdiction that would render this study more complete and useful?

    A. I could go on for hours and hours on this subject. Certainly it is far too long to type out and I am not sure that I would want it recorded for posterity anyway. Freemasonry in this jurisdiction is in a great deal of trouble and over the next five years is going to be greatly diminished from what it is now with far fewer lodges.



    = = = = = = = =

    Now, if you really believe the information contained in the answers above is useless, because the method in obtaining it was designed in a high-school-like fashion, and faulty in innumerable ways, then smile amused in your doctoral satisfaction, keep what you know about these questions for yourself, and move on. But if, perchance, you feel any of this information could be useful to your Brethren and your Lodge, to stop the decline into irrelevance, or to prevent falling into it, by all means: make use of it, even if was collected by a third grade Masonic student, who knew not how professionally dress his questionnaire. After all, Browncoat, I did not propose myself to research and write a doctoral treatise, but just to take a “snapshot.”

    Too often ideas or initiatives proposed by others are dismissed a priori if they appear too ambitious, or lacking a certain degree of elegance, the measure of which rests usually in the eyes of the critic. Another often present reason for the dismissal of ideas and initiatives rests in the easy to take way out: why bother – it won’t work anyway – and do nothing.

    Those Brethren who answered my questions did not question my method. If you have any information regarding my questions for your area, what harm is there in sharing it with me? – After all, I am not asking you to speak for your Grand Lodge – but only for yourself. And if you really want to help: ask my questions to your Grand Secretary! You are allowed to – while, I am not.
     
  11. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    The only difference between opinion and fact is credibility.

    We have "snapshots" for the reasoning behind the decline of Freemasonry all over the place. Books have been written about the subject. Internet forums and blogs are littered with the same. We all pay a certain amount of lip service to those opinions, as many of us have seen those things happening right in front of us. However, at the end of the day, it's all gossip.

    A study points to factual information from which reasonable conclusions and hypotheses can be drawn. If the data is flawed, then so will the results be. That is why the data must be carefully cultivated and sourced so that it is known to be true. So that you can effectively remove the X Factor of opinion and inject a healthy dose of credibility. When a study like that is crafted on this subject, it will be a very useful tool. As I said, your intentions are noble. But this study has a long way to go before it's anything but just another opinion.
     
    Glen Cook likes this.
  12. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    How true, this lip service, and all that gossip. But you ask for facts, Browncoat: you must be from Missouri.

    Membership Report 2014 – U.S. - Missouri: 42,850 (2013) - 40,862 (2014) - 1,988 (decrease)

    Source: The Masonic Service Association of North America

    The information contained in the two examples I submitted yesterday comes directly from the Brethren the two respective Grand Lodges had appointed to answer my questions; and in the case of the European one, corroborated by the 2014 Grand Secretary’s report of that Grand Lodge.

    Other than that, I confess, I did not verified, or in any manner audit, their figures and statements, as I take them for educated and factual.

    I thank you for calling my effort “noble,” in contrast with our Brother from Utah, who questioned my motives, and suggested ulteriority.

    Utah: 1,935 (2013) – 1860 (2014) – 75 (loss) – The same source.

    Now, Browncoat, I will dance with you a while longer – but not too long, as there is a great deal of work I need to do, in order to reach the other 517 Jurisdictions (out of 583) I have not yet contacted. Which I can only do indirectly, or risk suspension or expulsion, as promised by my Grand Master.

    You say: “We have "snapshots" for the reasoning behind the decline of Freemasonry all over the place. Books have been written about the subject. Internet forums and blogs are littered with the same. We all pay a certain amount of lip service to those opinions, as many of us have seen those things happening right in front of us. However, at the end of the day, it's all gossip.”

    So, where do we go from here? Stop searching? Stand back and sit down – waiting for miracles? Do nothing?

    With my two examples yesterday I asked: is there anything useful in that information (be it factual or opinionated) that our lodges can use to reverse the downward trend and revive Masonry where it is dying, or prevent mistakes, where it is now prospering?

    And now I ask you, Browncoat: do you have any factual information, or if not factual, educated opinion, regarding the matters my questions seek to ascertain, that you can contribute to my study?

    As an inducement, I give the words of a Brother, who around 1810 wrote, and I quote (the translation):

    "One, who in viewing the deficiency in human relations, the perverseness, the corruption among men, drops his hands and complains of evil times, is no man. Just in this that you are capable of seeing men as deficient, lies upon you a holy calling to make them better. If everything was already what it ought to be, there would be no need of you in the world and you would as well have remained in the womb of nothingness. Rejoice that all is not yet as it ought to be, so that you may find work and can be useful toward something."
     
  13. flipster

    flipster Registered User

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    I attempted a paper in college, as I recall now, to see if GPA in each of 53 colleges were correlated to their ACT composites. I did a good study, plenty of letters and was disappointed to find out only 3 of the colleges required ACT, and none could supply composites. It was a good study, just not well thought out. You must know there are no average lodges. And the information, should you collect it all, and work through it, would be so vast as to not be cipherable. Your GL has told you how to proceed or not. We had a member a couple years back who argued that he should be able to purchase a read our Blue Book. He was told to write GL and purchase it. He did. We haven't seen him since. It's how it rolls sometimes.
     
  14. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    Hi to all, and happy New Year!

    I am in the process of sorting out and make some sense of the information so far received. I have no information at all for the jurisdictions of South America, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, the Baltic states, and Russia.

    Any help anyone can give me for these regions will be greatly appreciated.
     
  15. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Membership in Queensland has been dropping at 3% a year for some decades. I expect other states are the same.

    So the symptoms are well known:

    - aging membership
    - modest attendance rates
    - lack of applicants
    - loss of new initiates.

    The mechanisms are not hard to find:

    - repetition of boring ritual
    - Freemasonry being much more attractive from outside
    - brethren with little interest in deeper meanings.

    Causes are harder:

    - wrong turning in 1717
    - loss of Light from on high
    - format of Freemasonry being culturally narrow
    - high quality souls being directed into more productive uses.

    Fixes:

    - a rebranching from pre-1717 Masonry
    - shifting ritual into the cultural contexts preferred by the high quality souls
    - discovery and teaching of Masonic (spiritual) science.

    So far there is not a lot of interest.
     
  16. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    Thank you, James.

    Your information for Queensland is very similar to that of Victoria, North America, and England. Central America and Continental Europe offer a much prettier picture, the details of which I am now compiling.

    Personally, and independently of my study, I concur with what you have written, and in that sequence. Perhaps I am an optimist, but I like to believe there is hope your last line “So far there is not a lot of interest” may one day change.
     
  17. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    20 years ago I was shown a ritual architecture for Craft Masonry operating in a planetary context.

    Recently I have seen a few signs of discontent with craft lodge rituals but ways forward are not clear.

    Mainstream ritual typically is heavily Jewish and/or Christian and thereby tends to be Theist rather than Deist. There may be something to be learned from French forms of Masonry that do not reference Deity.
     
  18. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    There is, indeed, something to learn from our French brethren. I came across a week or two ago a presentation made by a French brother at an international gathering, where he explains the historical and political reasons of their deviation from the precepts imposed by UGLE, and their consequent alienation from it, and inviting those present to work on reconciliation and mutual recognition. I cannot put my hands on it right now, but I know I have saved it somewhere, intending to use it in my comments following the results of my study. I will post it here, when I find it.
     
  19. vinceatwork

    vinceatwork Registered User

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    February 29, 2016

    I have completed my Study, and it is now published here: http://www.freemasonryresearchforumqsa.com/conditions-of-freemasonry.php

    I express my sincere thanks to those of you who have taken the time to find and give me the information regarding your lodge or jurisdiction.

    fraternally, vinceatwork.
     
    Bloke and dfreybur like this.
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Good job and tenacity!
     

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