What would you like to see changed in the Masonic experience?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by cemab4y, Dec 11, 2010.

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  1. HumbleTXMason

    HumbleTXMason Premium Member

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  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll assume that there's some slight exaggeration here. You couldn't confer all three degrees on anyone in so short a time, let alone any side degrees.

    I disagree. He is a member of these forums, like yourself, and he is welcome to post his thoughts and opinions so long as he remains respectful.

    To be frank, the impression I've been getting is that you seem determined that something has to change and if someone doesn't want to drink that Kool-Aide then you don't want them on your thread. Change for the sake of change isn't progress, usually it's just so someone can have a program with their name slapped on it.

    I'm an exception then because I agree with him. While charitable and humanitarian activities are within the scope of Freemasonry, it begins and ends at the individual level. Freemasonry as an organization is not a charity and it wasn't designed to be one either. I can paint my dog white with black spots but that doesn't make him a Dalmatian, much like the list provided doesn't change what the craft was created do so (and should still be doing).

    More like 10.7 degrees an hour. Talk about an assembly line!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
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  3. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    Richard Dreyfuss has a political agenda. It is one that some of us would not agree with. How would you propose to teach young people about civics and government service without an ideological bias? We avoid political discussions because they tend to turn brother against brother. If Freemasonry were to lend its name to teaching an interpretation of the proper role of government with which I strongly disagree, that would be enough to drive me out of the fraternity.
     
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  4. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I like like the Dreyfuss Initiative and his general ideas. His political agenda is education and civil behavior. I think it's pretty obvious this country is going to hell in a hurry on both accounts. As a high school teacher, I see it every day. Kids know more about the latest inappropriate posting on social media than they do what's going on in their own communities.

    I believe Freemasonry as practiced in early America was pretty much in line with Dreyfuss' ideas. I don't see George Washington, Joseph Warren, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, etc. sitting around lodge meetings trying to find some ancient lost knowledge. They took the knowledge and ideals of Freemasonry and applied them to building better communities, and in turn, a nation. Masonic Lodges were the meeting place, and the ritual was the bond for them to come together. While not directly political in terms on "my candidate" vs. "your candidate" the ripples do fringe on politics.

    The goal of every local Masonic Lodge should be to foster discussion between educated and enlightened men on how they can make their communities a better place to live.
     
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  5. dalinkou

    dalinkou Premium Member

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    His initiation would have been interesting...something like "I don't know if there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster and I don't know if there is none...but hey, I'm in."

    Anyway, if you're about attracting a big name, what they think or believe doesn't matter.
     
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  6. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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  7. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Here is the absolute account of the initiation of Richard Dreyfuss into the Craft Lodge, and Scottish Rite (SJ) Masonry. I was PERSONALLY THERE, and I witnessed the entire event. This was not told to me by men I respect, nor did I get it off a website. I SAW IT ALL with my own two eyes.

    On June 10, 2011, at the Scottish Rite Building 2800 16th St NW WashDC, Academy-Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss was made a Master Mason, and a 32d SR Mason.

    see: http://dcsr.org

    I was preparing to leave for an overseas contract, and I was lucky enough to be in town, and I went to the ceremonies.

    Mr. Dreyfuss arrived about 0900am, and the crowd roared with applause! There was a prayer, led by a Rabbi, and the EA degree began immediately after. The candidate took the solemn oaths on the VSL (there were several VSL on the altar, including the Talmud, and the Book of Mormon). He was given the instructions of the EA. Then the altar was set for the FC, and the degree was conferred. Then the altar was set for the MM, and the degree was conferred. Applause after each degree.

    Then, the Craft lodge was dismissed, and all who were not SR Masons, withdrew. I showed my current dues card. The room was set for the beautiful SR degrees. The team conferred the 4th (Secret Master) degree. Bro.Dreyfuss took the solemn oath. Then the stage was set up for the 14th degree, and performed. Then the stage was set for the 18th degree, and performed, and then the stage was set for the 32d (Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret), and performed.

    By then it was around 1230pm, and the SR degree was concluded. Bro. Dreyfuss gave a short talk about the Dreyfuss Initiative, and the meeting was dismissed.

    I personally, shook his hand, and told him how much I enjoyed his performances. I told him I especially enjoyed "Mr. Holland's Opus", He remarked how much he enjoyed working on the film, and how it was such a great opportunity for an actor. I also told him, that we are all symbollically searching for the girl in the white T-Bird, he got a chuckle.

    Brother Dreyfuss joined Potomac Lodge #5, WashDC (see http://potomac5.org ). and the Washington DC Scottish Rite bodies, (see http://dcsr.org/bodies.php )

    Keep in mind that was almost four years ago, I cannot be certain if Bro. Dreyfuss is still a member of either this lodge or the WashDC Scottish Rite. He may have transferred to some other lodge or lodges, I simply do not know.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  8. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    Which account is correct? Were the degrees performed in full form or an abbreviated form as you indicated in your post today?

    In any case, I still do not see why making an agnostic a Mason is a reason to be thrilled and celebrated, but apparently you think it was a great day and that being an agnostic meets the requirement of belief in a Supreme Being.
     
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  9. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    In who does he place his trust?
     
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  10. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    ------------------------
    The account I posted on this forum, and the account I posted on masonforum.com are essentially the same. Brother Dreyfuss took the EA/FC/MM degrees in due and ancient form, according to the rituals of the Grand Lodge of WashDC. He did not receive the "stairwell" lecture, in the FC degree. The master of Potomac Lodge #5, and the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of DC were in attendance. I can only assume that everyone was satisfied with the Craft lodge degree conferrals.

    The point I was trying to make, is that Richard Dreyfuss was definitely made a Mason "at sight", as some people claim.

    The 4th,14th,18th,and 32d SR degrees were all presented in "abbreviated" form. The degrees were "communicated", and not "conferred".

    When the Rabbi introduced the candidate, the rabbi made reference to Mr. Dreyfuss' Jewish background. I had no reason to believe that Mr. Dreyfuss was not Jewish, and that he believed in the Deity. Mr. Dreyfus took his oaths on the VSL, so I naturally assumed that he believed in the sacredness of the holy book.

    I have no way of knowing the faith traditions and beliefs of any man, especially some Hollywood actor. I also assumed that Mr. Dreyfuss was investigated by Potomac Lodge #5, and that the committee was satisfied that he met the conditions for Masonry, and that his subsequent ballot was unanimous.

    I admit that Richard Dreyfuss is one of my favorite actors. He has been acting since he was a kid, and he is well-esteemed in his profession. I loved his performance in "American Graffiti". I saw "Mr. Hollands Opus", with a teacher, and we wept tears of joy. I admit to being "star struck", by this man. And I was thrilled to be present at his masonic initiation. When I was made a mason, at a small country lodge in Kentucky, I never dreamed that one day, I would be present at the initiation of one of the greatest actors of the century.

    I have sat in lodge with men who risked being sent to a concentration camp in Nazi-occupied France (at a German-speaking lodge in Paris), and I have sat in lodge with men who risked being sent to Siberia (At a lodge in Moscow, Russia). I consider being present at Brother Dreyfuss initiation to be the high point of my Masonic career.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  11. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Let's go ahead and discuss any topic or opinion or idea that we see fit, wide open!
     
  12. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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  13. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    (DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a fan of the New York Times, and I do not necessarily agree with their editorial policies. This link is presented for discussion purposes only) (ditto for the Florida paper as well)

    There is definitely a crisis in civics education in the USA. With all of the focus on English and Math skills declining, civics is getting left behind.

    Please see:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/education/05civics.html?_r=0

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/government-636474-bell-city.html

    PLEASE SEE: Especially the imbedded video!

    http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/...crisis-in-civics-notes-from-my-2013-dml-talk/

    Then tell me how US High School kids are doing on their "civic literacy"!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  14. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    I understand and accept that you would not have known his beliefs at the time of the ceremonies. But now faced with the knowledge that Dreyfuss publicly professes to be an agnostic do you believe that an avowed agnostic should be made a Mason? Do you believe that there is a distinction between agnostic and atheist as it pertains to the requirement for a belief in a Supreme Being?

    Also, since you were present what was his response when asked "In whom do you place your trust" in the EA degree, and what VSL did he choose to take his obligation on?

    Please give direct answers to the questions posed and refrain from your propensity to resort to circumlocution (hows that for a big word) when answering questions.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  15. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    What do consider to be the procedure for "making a Mason at sight"?

    Based on Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry it appears that was in fact what happened:

    OCCASIONAL LODGE

    A temporary Lodge con-voked by a Grand Master, as for the purpose of making Freemasons, after which the Lodge is dissolved. The phrase was first used by Anderson in the second edition of the Book of Constitutions, and is repeated by subsequent editors. To make a Freemason in an Occasional Lodge is equivalent to making him "at sight." But any Lodge, called temporarily by the Grand Master for a specific purpose and immediately afterward dissolved, is an Occasional Lodge. Its organization as to officers, and its regulations as to ritual, must be the same as in a permanent and properly warranted Lodge (see Sight, Making Freemasons at).

    SIGHT, MAKING MASONS AT

    The prerogative of the Grand Master to make Freemasons at sight is described as the eighth landmark of the Order. It is a technical term, which may be defined to be the power to initiate, pass, and raise candidates, by the Grand Master, in a Lodge of Emergency, or, as it is called in the Book of Constitutions, an Occasional Lodge, specially convened by him, and consisting of such Master Masons as he may call together for that purpose only; the Lodge ceasing to exist as soon as the initiation, passing, or raising has been accomplished, and the Brethren have been dismissed by the Grand Master.

    http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/mackeys_encyclopedia/s.htm

    I think you mean "stairway" or "staircase".
     
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  16. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    If you want to change the Masonic experience, then you best focus upon first practicing Masonry and not getting distracted by having the organization involved in things that are related but not directed toward Masonry's purpose. The Society as a whole doesn't even begin to do what it should be doing and instead redirects the attention of its members toward things that are "nice" but not its primary purpose. The presented opportunities for further distraction and the motivation for further distraction are evidence that some members still think the purpose is anything but what members should be focusing upon.

    The "basics" aren't even known much less understood. They are not running meetings or degrees. They re not minutes or treasury reports. They are not fundraising to compensate for low dues. They are not improving attendance or the "freemasonic" experience, not to be confused with the "Masonic" experience.

    None of these things are the basics of Masonry. None of these things contribute to making a good man better. The society as a whole has no clue how to do this, yet they fight vehemently to preserve codes that are the very thing that they need to pay attention to and follow to better the existing members.

    Go ahead and throw ideas at the wall or the fan or in the air. Until those ideas have anything to do with bettering the members of the organization directly, and making them into Builders, you're distracting them from Masonry's purpose.
     
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  17. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  18. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    ===========================
    (DISCLAIMER: I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of Potomac Lodge #5 (Washington DC), nor any lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Washington DC. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Washington DC Scottish Rite bodies. I am NOT an expert on the rules and regulations of any Masonic (or appendant) bodies in Washington DC).

    I am not an expert on the personal religious beliefs of any man, other than myself. In answer to your question, do I believe that an atheist and/or agnostic person should be made a Mason? The answer is a simple "no". I personally, do NOT REPEAT NOT believe that atheists/agnostics have a place in our Craft.

    In answer to your second question, do I believe that there is a distinction between an atheist and agnostic person, pertaining to the requirement. The answer here is "no". Neither an atheist nor an agnostic can answer (honestly) to the question, and meet the requirements for admission to the Craft. There IS a distinction between an atheist and an agnostic.

    Keep in mind, that this was 4 years ago, and I admit that I am "star-struck" by this academy-award winning actor. I believe that when asked in whom do you place your trust, that he answered "In God". I could be wrong. I am not trying to evade, just trying to answer truthfully. (Suggestion, you can possibly obtain the minutes of the meeting, and determine his answer from the official record)

    As to which VSL he actually placed his hands on, I simply do not have a clue. I was out in the audience some distance away. After the MM degree was concluded, and the meeting took a break to set up for the SR degrees, I strolled up on stage, to get a closer look at the altar. I remember seeing the Talmud, the Holy Qu'Ran, and the Book of Mormon. There were some other books there as well, but I do not remember what they were.

    I must say, that I am satisfied that Brother Dreyfuss completed the petitioning process successfully, at least according to the regulations of Potomac Lodge #5, and the Grand Lodge of WashDC. He must have petitioned, and been investigated, and then balloted on properly. As I stated, I am not an expert on the regulations of the GL of DC.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  19. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    --Here again, I was personally present when Brother Dreyfuss took the EA/FC/MM degrees. The Grand Lodge of DC (Here again, I am NOT an expert), sometimes permits its subordinate lodges to conduct a "one-day class". This is what happened in the Dreyfuss case (how is that for an irony!). Even though I am NOT an expert, It is inaccurate to claim that Richard Dreyfuss was made a mason "at sight". He observed the degree instructions, and took the solemn oaths of all three degrees. It is correct to say that he took the degrees in a "one-day class".

    And: In my lodge in Kentucky that lecture is called the "Stairwell Lecture", Other Grand Lodges and other lodges in KY may use "stairway/staircase". Brother Dreyfuss, definitely did NOT receive this lecture when he took the FC degree.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  20. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    --I am delighted to discuss new ideas and projects. The Shrine was a social club for over 50 years, before someone suggested that a hospital needed to be opened in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1922. I am sure that the hospital program "distracted" from the purposes of the Shrine. I am also certain that the thousands of children who have been treated in the hospitals are grateful for this distraction.

    In Kentucky, there was a Masonic orphan's home. The Grand Lodge determined that the need could be better served in other venues, so the orphan home program was discontinued.

    As we discussed previously, there are over 100 appendant/concordant bodies. (If you count the clandestine and international organizations). The wide majority of Masonically-affiliated charitable activities occur in the appendant/concordant bodies. (IMHO- This is by far the best way to administer and promote these programs).
     
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