"Because that's how this lodge does it"

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"Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby kimosabe » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:28 pm

To my mind, Ritual is something which is sacrosanct. Something mere mortals should not dare to tamper or tinker with. Something which gives a sense of history, belonging, depth, meaning....you get the picture. It's written in our little books and serves to globally bind us together through it's commonality and continuity.

So when a person (with many letters after their name and to whom 'Dark Blue' is just the tip of the iceberg) decides on their own merit that they want the members of 'their' lodge to do things their way and not as per the book, what does one do? I cannot find any mention in the BoC about individual lodges changing ritual to suit themselves or what can be presented in defence against those who do.

Has anybody ever encountered this and if so, what did you do or decide to not do?

I'm not talking about the differences between various types of ritual ie Emulation,Taylor's,West End,Universal etc or Provincialised modifications to the main rituals, but the further modifications to them by individuals in individual lodges, which results in "because this is the way we do it in this lodge", even though the changes are not a matter of semantics but factually incorrect.
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby eckywan2 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:30 am

We are having a huge problem with this right now in Edinburgh where a well known old lodge St Davids no 36 has been ruined by an experiment and office bearers parachuted in change procedures at the whim of someone somewhere ( probably Tonto) and don't even have committee meetings so its a different scenario up here
Och its 5 year trial is nearly over now what????
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby Trouillogan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:57 am

Tinkering with rituals usually leads to much acrimony, so beware!

Several years ago now, one of my lodges suffered all manner of disagreements on these lines and resulted in divisive arguments by long-serving members in front of bewildered new brethren. To solve the problem I set up a very small panel to investigate our historic ritual practices over the last 200 years and create the lodge's own printed hard-back ritual book complete with rubrics that leave virtually no wriggle room. It took some ten years but by insisting no other books would be allowed, the problem has been solved. There's full agreement, no arguments and harmony has been restored for the past 7 or 8 years. David H has his copy of the book. It has been worth it - possibly saved the lodge.
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby Richard George » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:18 am

Pretty much the only differences my mother lodge has from the book of Emulation is we say 3 short irregular steps (advancing) and describe how long each step is to be in the first degree, and in the third we always step with the left foot leading so the 'steps' are slightly different, and during the closing, the WM asks the SW "and has every brother had his due?" to which he receives the reply "to the best of my Masonic knowledge and belief, WM, he has". The rational for the first is that the candidate has some idea of how big a step he has to take, in the second case so that it's always "step off with the left foot" and in the last, to ensure the SW has done the job ("after having seen... ") .
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby eric384 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:41 am

I don't see why you can't have some wriggle room. We have a couple of variations in our third degree emblems which everyone is happy about (given instead of the Tracing Board).
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby Trouillogan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:29 pm

eric384 wrote:I don't see why you can't have some wriggle room. We have a couple of variations in our third degree emblems which everyone is happy about (given instead of the Tracing Board).

We've several members who 'float' in from other areas and it was just that causing the problems by insisting their way was the right one. So we decided to stop that kind of drift. Everyone now knows exactly what to do, when and how, as well as why. We don't have the problem now, so it has worked for us.
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby eric384 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:46 pm

Scottish Lodges don't seem to have as many joining members (affiliates), so we don't have much of a problem that way.
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby The Uninitiated » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:57 am

Surely it is these differences that make visiting more interesting?

For example, in my Mother Lodge, during the Opening, the SD/JD/IG answer their 'own' questions - which makes more sense to me than the book which says these bits should be done by the SW/JW
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby Dalkeith » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:34 pm

eric384 wrote:Scottish Lodges don't seem to have as many joining members (affiliates), so we don't have much of a problem that way.


Eric, that's probably spot on, I can't think of many affiliate members. And I enjoy visiting and seeing little differences, some I think are better and some I disagree with, but to me, that's a part of Freemasonry.


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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby MrBenn » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:58 pm

I thought that it was a fundamental point in UGLE masonry that ritual was a matter for each individual lodge?
Have I got that wrong?
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby Trouillogan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:18 pm

MrBenn wrote:I thought that it was a fundamental point in UGLE masonry that ritual was a matter for each individual lodge?
Have I got that wrong?

You are absolutely correct. Rule 155 in the UGLE Book of Constitutions was upheld by Grand Lodge in its debate in December 1926 to include ritual matters. I quote the relevant part of the rule:

"155. The members present at any Lodge duly summoned have an undoubted right to regulate their own proceedings, provided they are consistent with the general laws and regulations of the Craft".

The rule was introduced by the 1815 B of C quite deliberately.
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby wayne cowley » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:47 pm

Trouillogan wrote: Rule 155 in the UGLE Book of Constitutions was upheld by Grand Lodge in its debate in December 1926 to include ritual matters. I quote the relevant part of the rule:

"155. The members present at any Lodge duly summoned have an undoubted right to regulate their own proceedings, provided they are consistent with the general laws and regulations of the Craft".

The rule was introduced by the 1815 B of C quite deliberately.


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Re:

Postby eric384 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:29 pm

Dalkeith wrote:
eric384 wrote:Scottish Lodges don't seem to have as many joining members (affiliates), so we don't have much of a problem that way.


Eric, that's probably spot on, I can't think of many affiliate members. And I enjoy visiting and seeing little differences, some I think are better and some I disagree with, but to me, that's a part of Freemasonry.


I wouldn't say I disagree with the differences I see. They get me thinking about why they do it that way (or say it that way).
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Re: Re:

Postby Peter Taylor » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:54 pm

eric384 wrote:I wouldn't say I disagree with the differences I see. They get me thinking about why they do it that way (or say it that way).

The differences only reinforce how much I don't know!
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby MrBenn » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:16 pm

Trouillogan wrote:
MrBenn wrote:I thought that it was a fundamental point in UGLE masonry that ritual was a matter for each individual lodge?
Have I got that wrong?

You are absolutely correct. Rule 155 in the UGLE Book of Constitutions was upheld by Grand Lodge in its debate in December 1926 to include ritual matters. I quote the relevant part of the rule:

"155. The members present at any Lodge duly summoned have an undoubted right to regulate their own proceedings, provided they are consistent with the general laws and regulations of the Craft".

The rule was introduced by the 1815 B of C quite deliberately.



Thank you

In which case the various codified rituals are guidebooks only and not necessarily 'the last word'?


That doesn't obviously detract from the original poster's comment about PM's introducing a thing which passes into lodge history as WADITW
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby eckywan2 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:35 pm

Brethren I really enjoy the local differences ! Brought about often by not having ritual books and certainly never reading from them during degrees
and how these minor changes have come about.
Even now , tonight, I saw something for the first time after my, nearly 40 years in the craft.
I had decided at no notice to visit Lodge Caledonia No 392 and on arrival found a great number of brethren ,and our Provincial GM in attendance to give 50 years diplomas to 3 brethren of the lodge.
First of all an entered apprentice degree with a stand in candidate and very well worked.

And I thought this is a busy lodge why have an old PM stand in as candidate
then when he was to take his oath two other oldies joined him at alter and placed their hands on VSL
and it still didn't click with me
But then the master gave way, to an even older PM, who gave the obligation and was very emotional about it
At the end of it all the PGM presented the 50 year diplomas and it all made sense
50 years ago to the day these 3 were the candidates
and the PM re obligating then was the same man that obligated them as E A's when he was RWM 50 years previously!

I wondered how many changes they have seen over there 3 x 50 years
Well done to Bro Bobby Clark who was that master 50 years ago and did so well tonight
so an accumulated 200 plus year service ! between them !
Bobby is also well known as an Edinburgh Taxi driver who for years organised the Taxi day out to the seaside for our Sick Kids which event is still going strong hospital.


Not quite a change to ritual just showing how variations can be well worked and with good reason.
La plus ca change ....

fraternally as always
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby eckywan2 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:36 pm

ooops I forgot a word Exemplification insert it where you wish according to your local practice
yours aye
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby lew finnis » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:30 pm

When my Mother Lodge was founded, the Founders laid down which ritual was to be used and what variations on that they wanted. That hasn't stopped a few changes happening over the last 50 years, though. The Secretary has the 'Master Copy' of an Emulation Ritual with the Lodge's variations noted.
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby Trouillogan » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:27 am

That's absolutely fine, Lew, and is how it appears to be in many Lodges. All that's needed is that the members of the lodge are in agreement. However, on rare occasions, reaching or altering that agreement can be a bumpy ride!
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Re: "Because that's how this lodge does it"

Postby David H » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:28 am

Trouillogan wrote: David H has his copy of the book. It has been worth it - possibly saved the lodge.


I do indeed and it is something I treasure alongside many happy memories of the Lodge
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