What Other Fraternities Can Teach Freemasonry

Discussion in 'Masonic Blogs' started by Squire Bentley, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Squire Bentley

    Squire Bentley Premium Member

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  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    So our low dues are a financial burden?
     
  3. Squire Bentley

    Squire Bentley Premium Member

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    Yes. Many Lodges refuse to increase dues to a realistic level. Many Lodge Buildings are falling apart because there is no money to properly maintain them.

    But worst of all the lack of funds is limiting the programs that the Lodge can put on - educational and social.

    Why not sell alcohol after meetings? As far as intemperance is concerned that can be regulated by the Lodge. What is one of the duties of the Junior Warden?

    Why not rent the Lodge facilities - those Lodges that have a hall and a kitchen - for weddings, birthday and anniversary and retirement parties? The fact that alcohol cannot be served anywhere in the building, ever, is closing the door on Lodges raising additional monies to cover their costs of operation as many such parties won't rent without alcohol being available. Can't you just see a Lodge saying that we will rent you our facility for your wedding reception but you will not be able to toast the bride? Lodges that rent out their building for special occasions can require renters to provide a police detail.

    Why not allow a Las Vegas night on a non-meeting day as a way to raise funds?

    Do you know where all the celebrations that could be held in a Lodge building but because of the strict regulations of Lodges and Grand Lodges are going elsewhere - do you know who they are turning to? They are going to Knights of Columbus Halls. The Knights have no problem with all this. Or they go to the Moose or the Elks who have no problem handling this situation either.

    Our early ancestors met in taverns and the celebration of a Table Lodge commemorates that history. They met with food and drink being served every Communication. It seems to me that as time has gone by we have allowed sectarian religious orthodoxy to invade our Fraternity.

    Nobody I know is advocating that alcohol be served inside the Lodge Room of a tyled Communication. Before Lodge opens or preferably after it closes is what is being advocated, in the dining hall or other designated areas outside the Lodge Room itself.

    I think some Masons are tired of being treated like children, tired of Victorian morality being a part of the Fraternity and tired of being micro-managed.

    Brother Frederic L. Milliken
     
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  4. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    Actually...I am. The main reason is that our Lodge does partake in drinks after the meeting in a room just outside of the lodge room. We rent a room in the Scottish Rite building, so we can conclude our meeting and then move 5 feet outside the door and have some drinks. This is what we do after every meeting, and it is during this time that we have Masonic education and a discussion.
    While that is a definite improvement over what many other lodges must deal with, the problem is that it has interfered with the nature of the Masonic education. Because we are no longer in a tyled lodge, we cannot discuss a wide array of topics. Naturally, we could simply forego the wine and snacks and have the discussion in the lodge room, but most brothers don't want to go back to that. Having the ability the enjoy refreshments during the discussion would avoid that, however, I am not naïve enough to think that precautions wouldn't need to be taken to ensure that all voting be done prior so as not to interfere with good judgement.
     
  5. Squire Bentley

    Squire Bentley Premium Member

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    You can discuss most anything outside the tyled Lodge room that you could inside with the same group of Brothers as long as all present are Freemasons.

    What Lodge are you a member of, Brother? I would like to come visit you sometime.
     
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  6. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    That is a very good point, and perhaps more accurate. We often have visitors come for the discussions, which I guess is the real reason for the limited topics. I had previously been told that had I written a paper that could not be shared with non-Masons, it could be read in the meeting to ensure privacy, however, that was met with some sideways glances when the brethren realized they wouldn't be able to enjoy their refreshments. So, I guess it's really two different issues.

    Regarding our lodge, I am the Senior Warden of Lux Lodge #846 in San Diego, CA. We would be honored to have you as our guest.
     
  7. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    There's the issue that people don't value what comes cheap. This is one of many reasons Traditional Observance lodges thrive. They charge enough that they can afford activities.

    Care must be taken with the local laws. Selling alcohol requires careful licensing. Having a drink at an event is not the same thing.

    The Junior Warden duty to keep from excess does not appear in all of my jurisdictions.

    For a facility to be popular the building must be at least as nice as the other local buildings, preferably better. My mother lodge's building is so nice it's been used by TV shows and movies. It's easily rented out. But there's no way such a facility could be built by a single lodge now. Lodges that don't already own are far to fast to purchase a lesser building that eventually becomes a charge not an income source.

    All that in addition to rules about alcohol.

    Pennsylvania lodges used to hold bingo nights as fund raisers. Both local and GL laws have to allow.

    Having advocated above for allowing alcohol, I will point out my own opposite. The fact that Moose and Elks and American Legion hasd bars but Masons did not helped me chose to petition.

    Anyone who favors drinks at Table Lodge absolutely does advocate that alcohol be served inside the Lodge Room of a tyled Communication. A Table Lodge is definitely a tiled meeting. That's why it's called lodge. If it's not a meal within a tiled meeting, it's not a Table Lodge. That's why some lodges do Festive Board instead, which is not within a tiled meeting.

    I have voted for more liberal rules on alcohol. It's just not one of my hot button topics. Plus I have my own contradiction about it that the lack of a bar was an advantage when I petitioned.
     
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  8. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Squire Bentley - firstly let me say how much respect I have for you - I've been reading your posts for a very long time from T3P to here and beyond and very much appreciate your thoughts and efforts.

    However, I was once a fan of BroTim, but not so much now. He writes about Freemasonry like he's in the trenches - but as far as I know, he does not attend lodge. I doubt he's done a "do-guard" for a long time, much less a due guard. ("In meetings, the Order has jewels for the officers to wear. There are also do-guards and signs to observe")

    He writes from a very narrow Nth American view - and a myopic local view of even that. While he's right we manage Const. on a State by State rather than National basis, that's because how our peak bodies operate - because we choose too. Every candidate here is given a Const. and about 95% of our lodges here serve alcohol - all are free to do so, and if we have a liquor license, we can sell it, but its normally built into does, which again, here are much higher. The lodge I visited last night is $800 AUD per year - that's $625 per year in USD.

    The premise that we can learn from other fraternities is sound... but often what they did wrong rather than right.. but within Freemasonry itself, there are many other models employed and frankly, Nth American Freemasonry sometimes seems to treat its members like children rather than responsible men, BUT if that's how they want to run their Const, so be it, and while trying to ban alcohol here is inconceivable here (although a dry lodge is not because members of dry lodges have choosen not to consume alcohol)... if that's what local members want to do, then they should, and if lodges running in Const. who are dry want to drink, they need to campaign to change the rules with logic and until they do, work around them.

    And yes, almost every meeting we run a game of change to raise money for charity and our Grand Lodge once had poker machines (but there was very mixed feelings on them and they went for reasons unknown and before my time..). And we rent our halls - I look after 2 and have generated over $400K in external rent in recent years. Bro Tim's view comments on problems which are not unique, but are very locally based...

    And I hate the way almost everyone of his posts are accompanied by ads, and yes, we run annual table lodges where we drink in lodge. I hate that the sites he uses will not allow reproduction of material for other print masonic publications but direct people to simply use links.. back to those ad pages..

    I wish him well on his journey, but wonder if his new fraternity (which includes women, which is wonderful but his use of the word fraternal show a basic lack of understanding of the word and fraternalism) has over a million members in Nth America ?

    Now, I am not saying Freemasonry is not in trouble, and I am not saying everywhere could make changes and should strive for continuous improvement - but just once I would like to read Bro Tim write something current and which is promoted which is also positive about Freemasonry, like the beauty of our ceremonies, how employing their lessons can make us better men who in turn improve our communities, or simply that he's had a good time at lodge..

    Perhaps the above is not a very fraternal post - if so, just look at it as a misguided rant - probably a good way to deal with such material.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  9. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I completely misunderstood this then, I thought the article was implying that we were putting a financial burden on our members with our dues. Yes, I completely agree that our dues are too low and we should get rid of the prohibitions against alcohol.
     
  10. goomba

    goomba Neo-Antient Site Benefactor

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    Are there not too many well-meaning Brethren who are working overtime to make Freemasonry something other than Freemasonry? It was an unhappy day when some eager beaver conceived the idea that our Craft should adopt the methods of the service club, or the luncheon group, or the civic league, or the Playboy outfit. Whoever the eager beaver was, he lost sight of the fact that one of the reasons our Fraternity is prized so highly is that it does not operate like other organizations.
    - Dwight L. Smith, Whiter Are We Traveling

    Elks, Eagles, Freemasons, Woodmen, Oddfellows, Civitan, Lions Club, etc.

    Each of the above share many similarities. I would say they actually share all of the same things. They all are about bringing people together for the betterment of the world in some way. However, each has its place and purpose. Oh and yes each can and should look at the other for ideas and failures.

    How many Masonic Lodges focus on charity? Every single one I've ever been a member of has. Is this bad? No. But Freemasonry is not a charity. I have come to believe over the last two years that Freemasonry has an identity crisis. Instead of practicing what the fraternity actually is lodges tend to practice something between the Elks and Freemasonry. By doing this they fail and being good on either front.

    I love Freemasonry and I absolutely plan on being a member for the rest of my life. However, yesterday oddly enough, I contacted the Elks, Eagles, and Moose to taste a different flavor. If we try to make Freemasonry anything other than Freemasonry then it is not Freemasonry. Men can only get Freemasonry from Freemasons. Other organizations can teach the same lessons and use similar ritual. But they are not Freemasonry. So instead of offering men a poor substitute for the Elks, Eagles, or Moose we should offer them something completely different. That something is Freemasonry!
     
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  11. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >Freemasonry has an identity crisis.

    I think that started in 1717 when 4 lodges broke away from perhaps 50 other lodges to form a new Grand Lodge of London and Westminster. The new GL did not have a 3rd degree but it did have allegiance to the German king of Britain.
     
  12. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Like you have alliance to the German Queen of Australia ?
     
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  13. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >Like you have alliance to the German Queen of Australia ?

    I think after several centuries we can allow that naturalization has occurred.
     
  14. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    That means the Queen's Australian ?
    :)
     
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  15. Squire Bentley

    Squire Bentley Premium Member

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    Very much appreciate that we have been friends all these years. I used to be an angry Freemason. There were many abuses in some but not the majority of US Grand Lodges and I took up the cause of some abused Brothers. Now I have mellowed some and write more often about talented Freemasons - authors, artists and craftsmen.

    I think that if you were to live in Brother Tim's Jurisdiction you might become slightly jaded too. The GL of Florida not only does not recognize Prince Hall Freemasonry but it won't let any Mainstream Black Masons who come down from the North to winter in Florida inside their Lodge rooms (not all but most). Just a few years ago they went through a religious crisis where the GM sought to expel 2 Brothers for not belonging to one of the three Abrahamic religions.

    In addition Brother Tim has been muzzled by his Grand Lodge for years now. He cannot write or disseminate anything Masonic in the state of Florida.

    I would gather my beloved Brother that your Masonic experience has not brought you through Racism in Freemasonry. Or anti Semitism. Or a large contingent of the KKK in your Lodges.

    Put yourself in the other guys shoes.

    Yet I must say you are right. If the glass is always half empty then you grow into as un-Masonic a person as the people your are battling. I have learned that lesson. Tim will realize it in due time.

    But your Grand Lodge, my Brother, seems to be doing it up very proud. You have alcohol permitted in your Grand Lodges. And the way to get around selling it is to have a donation box. And you rent out your halls. Your Lodges sound as if they are financially stable. We still have Lodges in the USA that charge $50 dues per year. Many of these Lodges have a large population of retired Masons and every vote to increase dues is met by their majority vote wrath.

    In reality, all Masonry is local. Individual Lodges in order to survive must do many things right but the two most important are to Grow and to be financially stable. If you wither away into nothing you have not survived. Survival is of utmost importance to continue to practice and hand down Masonry.

    To grow you need to put on good ritual, to present an excellent Masonic experience and to be a Lodge that presents good Masonic programs - fraternal, social and educational.

    To be financially stable a Lodge must be run like a business and make a profit. It must take in sufficient revenue to provide all of the above. It's not just dues, but also being able to find economic gain from a building only used at the most 2xmonth unless it also houses the Concordant Bodies.

    Nobody here is talking about changing or fiddling with the ritual, virtues and morality of Masonry. What is being discussed is its presentation and the manner in which it is run.

    Many Lodges, sadly, are being run into the ground.
     
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  16. Squire Bentley

    Squire Bentley Premium Member

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    I couldn't agree more. Many Grand Lodges see the path to growth in community charitable works and the marketing of Masonry. But when you spend so much time on that you have much less time to actually do Masonry and do it well. Spending most of your time in marketing an inferior product only begets you a retention problem when what you preach is not what you practice. If you actually run a great financially stable Lodge with a super Masonic experience the Lodge will sell itself

    One of my mentors, Stephen DaFoe called the Service Club mentality -- Rotrary with Regalia.
     
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  17. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    There was a mistake in the OP, $800 AUD is about
    That post of Goomba's was excellent and worth being quoted.
     
  18. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    There were and are anythings to be angry about - but how to deal with that is to direct that passion in working for change, but we've come a long way since you and others used to write about Price Hall recognition - that's now more the norm than the exception and Nth American GLs who still do not recognize Prince Hall are out of step rather than keeping a status quo - it's great to hear our Texan Brethren have even made progress on this in the last 6 months...

    .

    I 100% agree and it's an important point, masonry is local, and even more, is about the group assembled under a single warrant, but the casual reader, even some masons themselves, do not recognise that is the case, prejudice based on skin colour or religion might happen in some places - but here, in Western Europe and now increasingly in the USA, it would be regarded as un-Masonic. Indeed, here, it would might even bring charges of un-Masonic behaviour and would have done so long ago... What happens in a specific jurisdiction in a State in Europe or in one of the American States is not Freemasonry universal.. that's lost on many people - and an aberration is represented is normal. Fortunately some of the more objectionable aberrations you've written on, esp recognition, have changed..

    I can put myself in the other man's shoes, but again, Bro Tim does not overtly write about the situation in Florida, but presents to non-Freemasons they problems he speaks of are universal. My GL is far from perfect, but things like renting our building occurs because local Freemasons took responsibility for the Craft and worked for it's betterment, but also realise, buildings actually have nothing to do with Freemasonry. They represent history, previous and current commitment, they might give us legitimacy and most importantly, the provide a cubby of fraternity, but they do not make or improve masons, but buildings can be used to bring them together in purpose, but, again, a tool for building fraternal relationships and they are not Masonry in itself.

    When people get dissonant here (and we don't have institutional racism or recognition problems and generally our GL does not treat us like children, and when it does, it comes off second best - changes people did not like to "streamline" the candidate process, including removing the need for references and he ballot, were defeated at 6:1) I always echo your words above, forget about GL, let's focus on making our lodge strong. While that is about creating successors, it is more about fraternity, if our members don't earn the title "brother" by acting as such to each other, the admission of candidates will be into a lodge which is much less than it should be..

    On a lighter aside, many of the first Lodges here were Irish and had traveling warrants - while Bro Dan O'Connel might have been for temperance, my general experience of the Irish (being the predominate type of ancestor I know about) is they like booze - dry Freemasonry would not fly in Australia :)

    Hopefully, one day, a Brother can sit next to Bro Tim in Florida and pour him a stiff drink.
     
  19. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    I have heard this same expression voiced by a Brother in my Commandery. I very much agree.
     
  20. Squire Bentley

    Squire Bentley Premium Member

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    Y'all have been so gracious to an old warrior like me. Problems, problems, problems are something I would like to get away from. Contentiousness is not good for the soul. There will always be problems. If you live by the sword, you shall die by the sword.

    So today and every day I try to recognize those talented Masons in the world. If you have not seen the video podcasts that I run please take a look:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqBnDASXDVKLe43Tp8ZfWqw/videos

    Peace and harmony to y'all.

    POTS,

    Frederic L. Milliken
     

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