The future of Freemasonry???

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Mike Cameron, Jul 20, 2012.

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Should Freemasonry...

  1. Be adapted or changed by its members?

    6 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. Cause a worthy Brother to be changed or adapted?

    18 vote(s)
    75.0%
  1. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    What do you think about Freemasonry "Reformation"? Should we change Freemasonry to gain membership or should Freemasonry in its purest forms change its members?

    Please, understand that this is in regard to the fundamentals, works, and practices.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    All the changes to push for new membership seem to either fail or lower standards. Einstein said insanity was doing the same thing over and over while hoping for different results. I'm inclined to agree. ;)
     
  3. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I would like to pose the question in a different manner. We all agree that the numbers are bad, and that nearly all Grand Lodges are experiencing a decline in membership. Can Freemasonry adapt to the new realities of our society, and still keep true to our ancient landmarks? I believe we can. We can have more "openness" in Freemasonry, with open houses, and an expanded internet presence, and still be the same excellent fraternity, we always have been. There is no conflict! And there certainly is nothing to fear about modernizing our administrative procedures (relying less on the US Postal Service, and enabling men to pay their dues on-line,etc).
     
  4. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    What would an "open house" consist of? I am speaking more of the fundamentals for example dress codes, lodge room conduct, and work. I have been in some states that require that you only know the obligations in order to proceed to the next degree, and others that will take you from EA to MM in 6 weeks. I have seen people totally butcher their work and still be passed to the next degree. I felt a huge amount of accomplishment in nailing my work. Furthermore, my work means the world to me. I have actually left lodge having left some of my sense of accomplishment after watching an instructor almost complete the work for his student. All in the name of membership. True, we need members but Freemasonry shouldn't suffer for it. I'd rather see smaller memberships in true and pure Masonry than to see it diluted to make it avaliable to more people. Besides, who determines how many members we should have? What are the reasons behing the expected numbers? Are they fraternal or more dues related? Ok I'm off my soap box.
     
  5. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    I think Masonry has evolved over the years and will continue to do so if it chooses to survive. But I don't understand why we believe that the Fraternity changing and the improvements of its members are mutually exclusive.

    I would hazard that when Masonry was still meeting over taverns and rituals were two or three pages shorter....that Masonry still improved its members who actively sought such self improvement.

    I would also hazard that not all changes have been good, not all bad.

    I think we should love and cherish the Craft and serve the Craft to the best of our abilities and in doing so, the Craft will serve its members.
     
  6. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts holds a statewide "open house" at least once per year. Here is how it works:

    1- Every lodge in the state, is open on a Saturday morning from 0800am to 1pm. The lodge serves coffee and pastries and snacks. The lodge members conduct tours through the lodge building. Some have "Ben Franklin" impersonators, or other entertainment. The lodge distributes literature and pamphlets about Masonry. Some set up a TV, and show masonic videos. A stack of petitions is displayed, and the members answer questions about Masonry and how to petition.

    2- Massachusetts is a small state, and the Boston TV and newspapers are carried statewide. The Grand Lodge arranges publicity through the Boston media.

    3- The result of the state-wide open house, is that there are often many new petitions.

    The Grand Lodge of Maryland has picked up on this idea, and Maryland has a state-wide open house each year.

    Any individual lodge could host an open house, and get Masonry out into the "public eye", any time they wish.
     
  7. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    What ever happened to 2B1ASK1? Are we Brothers not the first line of defense against the wrong people becoming involved with our Fraternity? I mean, I have been approached by people that couldn't pay me to sign their petition but, an investigation committee would probably pass. I am all for educating people more about what Freemasonry is about but to use it as a way of gaining membership goes a bit far for me. I wanted to be a Freemason for years. Looking back now I believe that the day I was I intimated was just the right time. I spent years reading all I could find about Masonry and educating myself. Finally, I met and got to know a Mason who further educated me, decided that he thought I was (for lack of a better expression) worthy, then signed my petition. point being I spent years reading up on our organization but didn't take the initiative to seek out a lodge. In hindsight, I feel like when my heart was right is when the initiative came out. I think we are making it way to easy.
     
  8. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    I don't want to see the ritual work requirements in the state of Texas relaxed any. I do want to see visitation with PH made a reality. I judge issues individually.

    In my view we do need to adapt to the next generation by raising our visibility in new ways. In my opinion it is easy to basically say numbers don't matter, quality over quanity and that sort of thing, but in actuality it is reactive and not proactive. Reacting to our decline in numbers rather than getting out in front of it.

    If you take relaxing the ritual work or the standards off the table I think it puts words like "change" and "evolve" into a better context. In that light, yes, I absolutely think we need to change. Particularly in the area of socializing. There is a resistance to lodge being a "social club", but most lodges are anything but that. The ban on alchohol is one such area - our standards in Texas are a holdover from prohibition and don't make a whole lot of sense historically, for example. So is the complete lack of getting out into the world outside of the lodge building together...and I don't just mean things like cornerstones. But simple fraternalizing, together.

    Lots of areas where we could make positive additive changes rather than detrimental subtractive ones, in my view.

    I find myself coming around to the idea that appendant bodies work against the sort of thing Im getting at, but it is what it is and the genie is out of the bottle.
     
  9. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    I agree that there are probably many things we can do to adapt to the times. It is very important though not to compromise who and what Freemasonry is while doing so. Unfortunately, I feel like in many cases, we have done just that. I love and respect my Brother Masons greatly and it hurts my heart to walk out of the lodge after voting on degree work with my head hanging.
     
  10. jhale1158

    jhale1158 Registered User

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    I would do this: why not change both? Why can't we have the Purest Freemasons help to install new rules or guidelines to better ourselves as Freemasons; and why can't we just adapt things to where the Freemasons would appeal to more of today's younger and middle age population? I feel that If as masons we hold ourselves to a higher standard of living, and somehow make it more appealing to them, our numbers in membership would rise. Maybe our lodges need to be more community oriented? Not saying they aren't, but my lodge prides itself on making donations to specific organizations. I've been screaming CHANGE IT UP for a while now...
     
  11. MikeMay

    MikeMay Premium Member

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    Agreed. We cannot do these as "all or nothing" propositions.

    Bingo. You stated what I have been thinking. I don't want to see the ritual work relaxed. I learned a lot from mine and I wouldn't want to short change a future brother by changing the standards or relaxing the work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  12. kyfreemason357

    kyfreemason357 Registered User

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    Here in KY like others ours numbers are falling. We do not have one day festivals where take all 3 degrees and I'm very proud we don't. We also do not have a set ritual. Meaning while all the work is universally the same you may go to one lodge and see a particular part done different then you see in your usual home area. I'm proud we haven't changed on these two fronts. Also we still teach our EA and FC in code or mouth to ear at times. Again very proud we haven't relaxed our standards on the work. We are become very much more open and present to our communities and state as a whole.
     
  13. Eric Edwards

    Eric Edwards Registered User

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    I am still not yet a mason...I have to be able to afford the initial $500 and get one more reference but I think the blood vows should be changed like the U.G.L.E. did if that has not already happened in Texas. I think also if the bloody vows make a ea uncomfortable on a religious basis there should be a vow he can take without violating his conscious. I also think a person should be able to visit one actual meeting prior to joining. If the vows are symbolic I think that should be stated and explained as to why these vows were originally made. I am sure that the vows when originally made
    were deadly serious since running your mouth could result in a brother being killed. Is that correct?

    I think that their should be strictly christian lodges like in Sweden...at least as a christian I feel that
    would be cool.

    I am sure my views will be offensive to some sorry.

    I think Masonry needs a huge internet presence. I could definitely help that happen.

    Bro Blake has done a great thing with this site to increase your net presence.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  14. Spring TX MM

    Spring TX MM Premium Member

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    I think the answer is simple. Look at the busiest and most active lodges. Look around and you'll see that they all share things in common. They have websites that are updated regularly and Facebook pages that members actually post on. They hold events that their members enjoy attending and membership is on average, increasing. Just some examples: family day, BBQ and chili cook-offs, date night, poker night, education nights specific to each Degree that teaches deeper meaning of symbols or the work, Masonic game night such as Masonic jeopardy, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, my list can go on and on. With the exception of some of the older brethren in the Lodge, most brothers use smart phones or at least use the internet. There is an 80+ year old brother and WWII vet in my lodge and he's on all of our Facebook pages and he's an active member of the Lodge.

    The "fundamentals, works and practices" of Masonry are just fine and need no change. Its just the attitudes of some that need work and lodges need to catch up with the digital times. Well, that's my take on the subject.

    S&F
    Kyle
     
  15. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    Sounds like a visit to your lodge is in order Bro Kyle.

    Poker night.......:thumbup:

    I reckon my lodge lost a lot of that sort of just plain old getting together, period, because we haven't had a critical mass of folks < 70 for something like three decades. Been limping along from meeting to meeting for a full generation.

    I'm of a mentality that if you build it, they will come - but you can tell some of the brothers, while they dig my enthusiasm, figure me for the local Quixote. Showing results is the ticket.
     
  16. Spring TX MM

    Spring TX MM Premium Member

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    Good, I'll look forward to seeing you there brother Hatley!
     
  17. davidjones201

    davidjones201 Registered User

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    If we change, it should be to improve standards. Quality vs. quantity. I choose quality.
     
  18. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Indeed. I believe that if we first improve quality then quantity issue will resolve itself since it is no longer the focus.
     
  19. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I agree with cemb4y we can evolve with the times with changing the ancient landmarks. I am a young mason, only 26 and i know not one person who wants to join, because they either have no clue what it is or what its about, or theyve watched an anti masonic conspiracy video, which is in my opinion the biggest problem for freemasony, we as an organization need to be more vocal about our great order on the internet, even a PR representative so to speak, the internet can be the saviour or destroyer of freemasonry and i think its up to the new and younger generation to be the ones who bring freemasonry to the status it deserves in this world. The Grand Orient of France is very active in french society and theres no saying that Grand Lodges in Canada and the US can be the same way, and more than just an anonymous charity donation
     
  20. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Sorry in the first part i meant without changing the landmarks
     

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