What would you like to see changed in Masonry?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by cemab4y, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    What changes would you like to see in Craft Masonry (and the appendant bodies)? Here are some things I would like to see:

    1- Every lodge should be required to have a web site. Sites can be had for free, so there is no reason why every lodge should not have one!

    2- Every Grand Lodge should recognize Prince Hall Masonry.

    3- Every Grand Lodge should host a statewide Open House, similar to Massachusetts.

    4- Every state should have an official Masonic vehicle license plate, issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

    5- Every state Grand Lodge website, should have as a minimum:

    -Precise instructions on how to locate a lodge, and how to petition a lodge
    -A petition form, downloadable

    6- Every Grand Lodge should have a Liaison office- assisting and promoting Masonic youth groups. This office will provide guidance and assistance to lodges towards setting up and running Masonic youth Groups.

    7- Every lodge should have a "new Mason's program"- Each new mason should receive intense instruction in:

    -What it means to be a Mason
    -Introduction to the Appendant/Concordant bodies
    -How to participate in lodge meetings (how to introduce motions,etc)
    -Masonic etiquette
    -How to visit other lodges
    -How to tell your wife and family about Masonry
    -Masonic History

    8- Every Grand Lodge should provide for Masonic education, at the district level in the following:

    -Ritual Schools. Any Mason interested in learning ritual, can attend the schools, and be instructed in masonic ritual, and be given practices and rehearsals.

    -Leadership schools. Any Mason, prior to going through the chairs, and becoming a lodge officer, should receive intense instruction (at the district level), in how to run a lodge. Lessons in parliamentary procedure, lessons in how to run a non-profit organization, etc.

    9-Every lodge should host an annual "county fair", where all of the appendant/concordant bodies in the area would be invited in, on a Saturday. Each organization would set up a booth at the lodge hall. Masons (and the public) could attend the county fair, and learn about the appendant/concordant bodies, and the groups could distribute literature, and provide the attendees with application forms, and answer questions, etc.

    10- Every lodge should sponsor a "Masonic Square and Compasses Club". These clubs would meet outside the tyled lodge, and provide social activities, and dances, and barbecues,etc. There would be no degree work, nor any tyled meetings. Anyone interested in Masonry, can participate.

    11- We need to realize that Prohibition is over (See the 22d amendment). We are all adults, and it is about time, that we brought alcohol, back into our lodges. Nearly every masonic Grand Lodge in the world (except for the USA) permits alcoholic beverages to be served in the lodge for refreshment.

    These are just a few of the things I would like to see changed in Craft Masonry in the USA

    What would you like to see changed in Masonry?
     
    Bloke and jermy Bell like this.
  2. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    My only specific objection is that of state wide open house. We toyed around with the idea of having an open house here, but some of my older, more experience bretheren objected as apparently, in the past, there have been a group from a particular local church who have come to open houses, when we've had then, with the sole intent of hassling us and gathering information to 'use against us' and all that. Because we're devil worshippers, you know.

    So while I have no objection to state wide open houses in general, I don't think they should be mandated for every lodge. Suggested, sure, but mandated, I don't think is wise. Every lodge is in a unique set of circumstances that can't really be accurately judged at the state level.
     
  3. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I understand that there are people in your community, who are opposed to Masonry. There are "nut-cases" like that all over the USA. Nevertheless, The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, has two(2) state-wide open houses every year. Mass is a small state, and the Boston newspaper is read statewide, and the Boston TV/Radio is available statewide. EVERY lodge in the state has an open house, every October and April. Lodges are open to the public. Coffee and desserts are served. Some lodges get a "Ben Franklin" impersonator, or a fife-and-drum band. Most of the lodges, have clowns and entertainment for children, as well. The Eastern Star chapters, provide hosting and information for the ladies. Make no mistake, our northern brothers, do this activity, right!

    TVs are set up, and masonic videos are shown. Literature is passed out. Answers are given to all people who wish to learn about Masonry. Tours of the lodge buildings are given. Officers and members wear full regalia, aprons and collars.

    The result is that whole state, gets a new awareness of Masonry. Furthermore, lodges get a slew of petitions. Some lodges in Mass have a waiting list of men, waiting to get the degree work. Once men find out, that they must ask, and they will not get invited, they ask for a petition!

    In 2008, (last year for which statistics are available), the only USA Grand Lodges, which showed a net increase in membership, were the GLs of Delaware and Massachusetts. The state-wide open house, is a superb idea, and I want other Grand Lodges to give it serious consideration.

    "If you do nothing, you get nothing" - Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner.
     
  4. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    I'm not saying it shouldn't be considered. But in some communities, particularly in the Bible Belt, it could cause more harm to a particular lodge than good. I'm sure many lodges in many areas would benefit from it greatly. But other lodges, it could invite harassment, or potentially even vandalism of the lodge. That's why I don't think there are any blanket changes that could be provided for all lodges everywhere. What works for some doesn't work for others. Heck, that's why we have different types of lodges.

    I think a state wide open house in an of itself is a good idea. However, if implemented in Texas, I don't think every single lodge should be compelled to participate. It should be left to the discretion of the lodge itself.
     
  5. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I hear you. I have heard about these people who are convinced that Masonry is devil-worship, and all that crap. I am reading a book called "Unmasking Masonry's Idolatry" by John Otis. I once went to an anti-Masonic convention in St. Louis. They said that the Shriners set up the hospitals, so that they could have access to children for sexual abuse. They said that the Rainbow Girls are prostitutes for Masons. The bigger the lie, the more people want to believe it.

    A great benefit of having 51 Grand Lodges, is that we have 51 laboratories. Different Grand Lodges can have different activities, and experiment. If something works out, then others can latch on to the idea.

    Texas is not Massachusetts. What works in the Bay state, may not latch on as well in the Lone Star state.
     
  6. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    I would like Masons that have barely ever set foot into a real lodge, to start by doing that, before trying to change the world or stir up stuff.
     
  7. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    I also think in a state as culturally diverse as Texas, it can become difficult as well. I'm sure it's true to some extent in all states, but what works for an urban lodge in Austin, TX may not work for a lodge in Podunk, TX. The rural vs. urban culture can be quite contrasting at times, which makes these things even more difficult. What about spanish speaking lodges near the border? They have entirely different speed bumps than our predominately Caucasian lodge. (Resulted that way from demographics of the city itself.)

    I wasn't trying to shoot your idea down, brother. Not by any means, and in fact, before we talked about it in our stated meeting I was eager to have an open house for our lodge, and still am to some extent. But after talking it over with Past Masters of our lodge who've had actual experience doing it, they presented valid reasons why, for our lodge at least, it wasn't a good idea to repeat. It resulted in very few petitions for us, and a number of Sundays of televised sermons from a particular pastor bemoaning the evils of Masonry. :p

    Now, you probably wouldn't run into this issue nearly as much outside of the Bible Belt. Heck, even in a larger town, it wouldn't be as big a deal. But it comes up in small town Texas, and is arguably more trouble than it's worth.

    As an aside, I know I certainly fear lodge vandalism. We can't afford a big fancy security system, and if our lodge is broken into and destroyed, we would have a hard time recovering. Might start pushing our brothers to purchase those security doors spoken about in another thread.
     
  8. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    I think you have some very justified concerns Bro. Benton. But even in the Bible Belt, each small town is different. I agree that it should be suggested but not manditory. I know here in Texas there are towns that my show up for an open house with torch, then I know other towns that the lodges are already such a big part of the community an open house would be like most other events. So again, it goes back to a case by case basis.
     
  9. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    I would like to see us forbid the use of the words "fund raiser". Members should pay enough dues to meet the lodges expenses, with a comfortable margin. We shouldn't need to find ways to bring in outside money. Fund raisers almost always mean that the same people who are always active in the lodge are putting in even more time to maintain the lodge for the ones who never do anything.
     
  10. wagdaddy

    wagdaddy Registered User

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    Interesting point of view. Our lodge is very fortunate in that it is more than capable of supporting itself with dues. Fund raisers serve several functions other than raising funds for the lodge. It raises our profile in the community-few people really understand masons, what we do (philanthropy), and other aspects about our brotherhood. Many perceive we are a bunch of old men running around in white aprons. Fund raisers provide another avenue for brotherhood-the common goals bring us closer together. We often are frustrated at perceptions that are out there of our fraternity-fund raisers can assist in dispelling some of those perceptions. I myself do not adhere to the philosophy of keeping our activities "hidden" from the public. The rituals belong to us-but we as Masons serve all who are in need as our abilities will permit.
     
  11. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    We use our fund-raisers as fun raisers and have a good time doing them. We alos give out two Scholarships every year and use the fundraisers for those. We as a lodge function also help the Shrine "sportsmen" as workers for their hospital fund-raiser, its a lot of fun and we've met some really great guys doing this and had a good time too
     
  12. Bro. Keye

    Bro. Keye Registered User

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    I certainly agree with you about fund raisers. And the part about the same folks always doing the same " most of the work" is correct. My concern is that Grand Lodge goes up year after year and none of that money seems to come back. I believe that masonry in its purest form means contribution but with the average age of masons above 50 and 60 in many places the rates are killing memberships. The older many people get the more fixed their incomes are and we are pricing ourselves out of memberships. Donations are great but fund raisers are always going to be fundraisers and the most practical method or raising money in any size comunity. Question is what you do to give back and leave the masonic reputation. Remember that the wages of a mason are not paid in gold or silver but the grand lodges in alot of states son't see it that way.
     
  13. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    While it is quite true, that only a small percentage of your lodge membership, gets involved in fund-raisers; that does not men you should not have them. In any non-profit organization, you will have a portion of the membership doing the majority of the work, and the remainder constantly "bitching" about it. Just suck it up, and move on.

    Fund-raisers (Fish-fries, grapefruit sales, etc) do more than just raise funds, they get your lodge out into the public eye, and your lodge (and Masonry) gain "visibility". Some individuals think that fund-raisers are fun (myself included).

    No matter what state you are in, you should be demanding "accountability and transparency" from your Grand Lodge. Your Grand Lodge funds should be independently audited, at least annually, and the results make public.

    Dues rates have not kept up with inflation (in most cases). The dues at my lodge were about $25 a year in 1930, and today in 2011, they are $60. If dues had kept up with 1930 prices, our dues would be like $150 per year now. Nevertheless, I understand that for an older person, on a fixed income, that dues can be a strain.

    There are several ways to cope. Every lodge should have an "endowment fund", where funds can be deposited, and held on interest. As the compound interest adds up, the revenue could be plowed back into the lodge operating budget, and thence moderate dues increases in the out years.

    The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has a program, that if a 60-year old(or older) Mason can be the first-line signer on two petitions for men who are 30 years old or less, then the 60 year old man gets free dues for life. Kentucky gives free dues to all Masons who are 50 year members, for the remainder of their lives.

    I suggested that a lodge I attend, set up a "dues contingency fund". On each member's annual dues notice, there is a space on the form, where the Mason can contribute an amount of his choice. The funds collected go into a special account, and if a brother Masons needs financial assistance (due to unemployment, retirement,etc), the distressed brother's dues will be paid from that account.
     
  14. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    quote: I would like Masons that have barely ever set foot into a real lodge, to start by doing that, before trying to change the world or stir up stuff. end quote.

    I work 7pm to 7 am 7 days a week in Afghanistan, on a project that saves the lives of our troops. I analyze the circuits in the IEDs that are the biggest killer of American troops here. I attend Canada Lodge #1, twice a month. I also participate in their informal coffee breaks here. I am sorry that my work schedule here in the combat zone does not enable me to participate in Masonry as much you would like. I try.

    I have been a Mason for 28 years. I have attended lodges hundreds of times, over the decades. I have visited lodges in 13 states, Washington DC, and five(5) foreign countries. I have visited a lodge in Moscow. Russia (I speak Russian). I have visited a German-speaking lodge in Paris, France (I speak German). I have an extensive Masonic library, and I have written articles for the Masonic press (Scottish Rite Journal), and I have lectured on Masonry, to both Masonic, and non-Masonic audiences.

    The title of this thread is q: What would YOU like to see changed in Masonry? end. I am interested in finding out, what OTHER masons would like to see changed in the administrative and educational side of our Craft. The internet is ideal for idea exchange. I cannot effect change in my home lodges (KY and Mass), directly. But I can discourse with others, and build up a knowledge bank, that hopefully some men can use to effect changes, in their lodges.

    "The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love, is indifference." -Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel prize winner.
    "If you do nothing, you get nothing" - Aung San Suu Kyi. Under house arrest for 20 years, Nobel prize winner.
     
  15. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I would like for Masonry, to embrace the internet, and utilize the potential of this technology. My home lodge, does not even have an internet page. They are not convinced that one is necessary.

    My friend, Tim Bryce, wrote this article some years ago, and he has reposted it. I encourage all Masons to read this article,and consider it carefully.

    www.freemasoninformation.com/2011/01/freemasonry-and-the-internet
     
  16. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    One idea that I have been kicking around for some years: All Masons, and especially younger Masons, need to know that Masonic membership, requires more than just paying dues. All Masons should be contributing "sweat equity" to their lodges.

    Every lodge should be requiring each of their members to accept a "calling". That is, some tasking, outside of just paying dues. Here is how it can work:

    The lodge prepares a listing of what needs to be done in the lodge. This can be taskings like: Kitchen Crew, Cleanup Committee, Widow's service committee, youth organization liaison, building maintenance committee, etc. The list should be comprehensive, and cover every tasking in the lodge, and in all of your activities. The list must be "dynamic": older taskings can be deleted (snow shoveling can be dropped for the summer months, lawn mowing can be dropped for the winter months). Men can be matched to their skill set: Carpenters can serve on the building maintenance committee, IT guys can serve on the website committee,etc.

    The listing of callings must be posted on the lodge bulletin board. The listing must be published in your lodge newsletter, and on your lodge website. Vacancies must be announced in lodge meetings.

    Each Mason, and most especially your newest Masons, need to be presented with the listings. Tell him to select the assignment, that most fits his skills and interests. If there is no listing that appeals to him, tell him to come up with an assignment of his own. If he does not wish to take on an assignment right away, tell him, that is OK.

    The important thing, is to impress on all of the membership, that their talents are valuable to the lodge, and that their obligations to the lodge, do not end with the writing of an annual dues check. This is an important psychological point. Men are needed in the functioning of the lodge. And every Mason needs to have a sense of "participation". Some men are too shy or embarrassed to step up and volunteer. Not all of your membership is aware of the needs of the lodge.

    I think you will be surprised at the number of men, who step up to help. Your newer Masons will feel valuable and important to the lodge, from the beginning.

    ---------- Post added at 06:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:38 PM ----------

    One thing: The title of this thread is - What would YOU like to see changed in Masonry? The operative word is: YOU! The internet is ideal for idea and information exchange. We can hatch ideas, and massage them, and if possible, take some or all of them back to our lodges.

    Let's focus on the word: YOU!
     
    Bloke likes this.
  17. Nate C.

    Nate C. Registered User

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    I would like for the rules to allow Texas Masons to participate in local community parades representing their blue lodge. In other jurisdictions this is the norm and a good mechanism for enhancing the visibility of the lodge and its membership in the community. However, as I understand it, Texas blue lodges can't have a float or other organized presence in parades (fourth of July, homecoming, etc.).
     
  18. mrpesas

    mrpesas Registered User

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    I am but a humble petitioner, but I whole-heartedly agree with this statement. As a younger man (just turned 30) I grew up with the internet and I am more likely to "google" something than to look it up in a book. The reason I joined this forum was to learn more about Masonry. The little I have read indicates the Masonry is "aging-out" and desperately needs younger men like myself. The best way to reach a younger audience is to have great resources available on the internet. I actually found the forum from the App I downloaded to my phone first. This is how the world works now.

    The Lodge i am petitioning has a website, which was a great starting point for me. Otherwise, I really would not have been comfortable enough to seek out the lodge in person. The website answered some of the basic questions I had about meeting times, location, and such. The crucial element for me was the Contact Us email link. This allowed me to initiate a conversation with the lodge without actually knowing anyone at the lodge.
     
  19. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    You can- you just need a dispensation from the Grand Master. There's nothing to it- just have your Lodge Secretary write or email the Grand Secretary explaining what you wish to do & he'll forward your request to the GM.
     
  20. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    Our lodge is in parades all of the time. It is a great PR tool.
     

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