1st degree morality conundrum.

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1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby kimosabe » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:09 pm

Just thought of a point for possible discussion.

It is often acknowledged that much ritual is learned and repeated without any comprehension, especially, though certainly not only, by those who pass through degrees like flour through a sieve. This is no fault of their own of course, but it is something that has occasionally entered my mind whenever I encounter someone who gains office and rank, without any real understanding of what happened for them to get there or whenever I discover a gaping hole in my own knowledge. I guess I attribute this to my 'issue' with ritual becoming the overbearing facet of what I see as a trilogy of things which make up Freemasonry; namely, Social, Charitable and Ritual, which I also believe should be placed in that order at all times but which aren't.

Here's some food for discussion. In the Passing questions , the candidates are said be, "just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgement and strict morals". Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby eric384 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:39 pm

Because no one is perfect.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby russellholland » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:10 pm

>Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?

Now you are only going to get into trouble if you start thinking about Freemasonry. You start by asking why the peculiar morality must be veiled from the brethren - as if it is too dangerous even for MMs.

Next you will be asking what a lodge of MMs should do when they all know the ritual and there are no candidates. After all there must be something to do in a lodge that extends from E to W and N to S and from the center/surface of the Earth to the Heavens.

God forbid you should ask why the Noah 3rd degree of 1723 only lasted 2 years before the Hiram degree.

Still if you are determined you may like to undertake the work of the FC - the hidden secrets of Nature and Science.

It took me 20 years even to understand what that meant. The high standard of (peculiar) morality is part of the entry price to the hidden secrets
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Mike Martin » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:03 am

kimosabe wrote:Here's some food for discussion. In the Passing questions , the candidates are said be, "just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgement and strict morals". Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?


I suppose they have joined a Fraternity which revolves around such concepts whether they "need" it or not!

However, the real problem is that you are looking at "today's" version of the Passing Questions which are a very abbreviated version of what Candidates were expected to know before they could be Passed or Raised in pre-20th Century times. I would recommend that you acquire a copy of the Lectures (Bill should be able to help) that explain the Degree Ceremonies and which used to be more commonly worked in Lodge (even the Emulation Lodge of Improvement) before English Freemasonry became about being a "Degree Factory" for its Candidates.

They are what the Master means when he says "These are the usual questions: I will put others if any Brother wishes me to do so" as a Candidate was expected to have studied the Lectures and be able to answer random questions from them as well as being able to recite their previous Obligation.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby gord_vokes » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:12 am

Mike Martin wrote:
kimosabe wrote:Here's some food for discussion. In the Passing questions , the candidates are said be, "just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgement and strict morals". Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?


I suppose they have joined a Fraternity which revolves around such concepts whether they "need" it or not!

However, the real problem is that you are looking at "today's" version of the Passing Questions which are a very abbreviated version of what Candidates were expected to know before they could be Passed or Raised in pre-20th Century times. I would recommend that you acquire a copy of the Lectures (Bill should be able to help) that explain the Degree Ceremonies and which used to be more commonly worked in Lodge (even the Emulation Lodge of Improvement) before English Freemasonry became about being a "Degree Factory" for its Candidates.

They are what the Master means when he says "These are the usual questions: I will put others if any Brother wishes me to do so" as a Candidate was expected to have studied the Lectures and be able to answer random questions from them as well as being able to recite their previous Obligation.


"The Lectures of the Three Degrees in Craft Freemasonry" ISBN-978 0 85318 203 0 Are one set of these Q&A Catechisms available. When I completed my year as Master I gifted a copy to each of the Lodge Brethren. Again in my year as DDGM I gifted all Brethren in my District a copy.

There are different renditions of the Lectures depending on which Work your Lodge does. The above Lectures are from ELOI, but since I've found the "Oxford" lectures the nicest. Indeed they are included in their Ritual book. Regardless knowing the Lectures will expand your appreciation of the Ritual and hence Freemasony. IMO

The Lectures, like the Ritual had an interesting history until circa 1819...."The M.W. Grand Master, the Duke of Sussex, stated that it was his opinion that so long as the Master of any Lodge observed exactly the Landmarks of the Craft he was at liberty to give the Lectures in the language best suited to the character of the Lodge over which he presided. (Freemasonry and its Etiquette; A. Lewis; 1919)
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby kimosabe » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:32 am

eric384 wrote:Because no one is perfect.


Riiight..... and so Freemasonry sets out to do what then? See, i'm not knocking Freemasonry as I quite enjoy it but I dislike circular dogma and vagueness, because there's no need for it and it's totally counter-productive.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby kimosabe » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:44 am

russellholland wrote:>Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?

Now you are only going to get into trouble if you start thinking about Freemasonry. You start by asking why the peculiar morality must be veiled from the brethren - as if it is too dangerous even for MMs.

Next you will be asking what a lodge of MMs should do when they all know the ritual and there are no candidates. After all there must be something to do in a lodge that extends from E to W and N to S and from the center/surface of the Earth to the Heavens.

God forbid you should ask why the Noah 3rd degree of 1723 only lasted 2 years before the Hiram degree.

Still if you are determined you may like to undertake the work of the FC - the hidden secrets of Nature and Science.

It took me 20 years even to understand what that meant. The high standard of (peculiar) morality is part of the entry price to the hidden secrets


"Hidden Secrets" you say? There are no hidden secrets in Freemasonry, at least none that cannot be easily found out. I think Freemasonry needs to stop acting like it's still the Dark Ages, get over itself in so many ways and enjoy being the social organisation which raises money for charity that it is.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Mike Martin » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:07 pm

kimosabe wrote:
eric384 wrote:Because no one is perfect.


Riiight..... and so Freemasonry sets out to do what then? See, i'm not knocking Freemasonry as I quite enjoy it but I dislike circular dogma and vagueness, because there's no need for it and it's totally counter-productive.


Freemasonry is a Fraternity that has lots of facets which many members choose to specialise in. Despite the fact that many people (both Freemasons and not) may claim many things about Freemasonry it itself, since time immemorial, has only claimed that it is the centre of union between good men and true, and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. . You may remember reading this phrase in the Book of Constitutions.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Stevecoath » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:25 pm

kimosabe wrote:"Hidden Secrets" you say? There are no hidden secrets in Freemasonry, at least none that cannot be easily found out. I think Freemasonry needs to stop acting like it's still the Dark Ages, get over itself in so many ways and enjoy being the social organisation which raises money for charity that it is.


I could not disagree more.

What you and most others mean by that statement is "I have found no hidden secrets".

If I wanted to belong to a social organization that just raised money for charity I would have joined Rotary.
When the aims and objects were being compiled charity did not refer to the act of giving money.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Trouillogan » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:37 pm

kimosabe wrote: Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?

That is just a starting point for selection of possible suitable candidates.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Trouillogan » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:50 pm

russellholland wrote:Still if you are determined you may like to undertake the work of the FC - the hidden secrets of Nature and Science.

The generally accepted term is 'hidden mysteries of nature and science'. 'Nature' in 18th century parlance (as well as today's) related readily to 'character', in particular one's own - i.e. 'know thyself'. 'Science' related to knowledge generally, rather than today's test tubes and pulley systems!

Also, when you see the word 'secret', think 'private'; just as a secretary handles the private matters of his/her employer.

Language across the centuries requires us to try to step into the shoes of those who originated the texts. A good etymological dictionary, or even better the full multi-volume OED in your local library, can be of great assistance in teasing out what was intended.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Trouillogan » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:56 pm

Mike Martin wrote:
kimosabe wrote:Here's some food for discussion. In the Passing questions , the candidates are said be, "just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgement and strict morals". Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?


I suppose they have joined a Fraternity which revolves around such concepts whether they "need" it or not!

However, the real problem is that you are looking at "today's" version of the Passing Questions which are a very abbreviated version of what Candidates were expected to know before they could be Passed or Raised in pre-20th Century times. I would recommend that you acquire a copy of the Lectures (Bill should be able to help) that explain the Degree Ceremonies and which used to be more commonly worked in Lodge (even the Emulation Lodge of Improvement) before English Freemasonry became about being a "Degree Factory" for its Candidates.

They are what the Master means when he says "These are the usual questions: I will put others if any Brother wishes me to do so" as a Candidate was expected to have studied the Lectures and be able to answer random questions from them as well as being able to recite their previous Obligation.

Even more illuminating than the ELoI or Stability 'lectures' is Knoop, Jones and Hamer's 'Early Masonic Catechisms, still available in second-hand form from Abe Books, Amazon and a few other book sources; possibly also on-line.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Mike Martin » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:19 pm

Trouillogan wrote:Even more illuminating than the ELoI or Stability 'lectures' is Knoop, Jones and Hamer's 'Early Masonic Catechisms, still available in second-hand form from Abe Books, Amazon and a few other book sources; possibly also on-line.

Sadly always just a bit too expensive for me to afford but I would love to add that work to my Library.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby russellholland » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:29 pm

kimosabe wrote:....There are no hidden secrets in Freemasonry, at least none that cannot be easily found out....


Then your task is very easy.

In my view Masonic Science has many aspects. One of the more important is how to manage the temple that extends from E to W and N to S and from the center of the Earth to the Heavens so that it is suitable for our work.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby russellholland » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:36 pm

Stevecoath wrote:...
What you and most others mean by that statement is "I have found no hidden secrets"....


Quite so. It takes much inner training to see what is hidden in plain view in Freemasonry.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby kimosabe » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:04 pm

Trouillogan wrote:
Mike Martin wrote:
kimosabe wrote:Here's some food for discussion. In the Passing questions , the candidates are said be, "just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgement and strict morals". Why would such a person, already being in possession of these excellent qualities, then require any further moral guidance or development?


I suppose they have joined a Fraternity which revolves around such concepts whether they "need" it or not!

However, the real problem is that you are looking at "today's" version of the Passing Questions which are a very abbreviated version of what Candidates were expected to know before they could be Passed or Raised in pre-20th Century times. I would recommend that you acquire a copy of the Lectures (Bill should be able to help) that explain the Degree Ceremonies and which used to be more commonly worked in Lodge (even the Emulation Lodge of Improvement) before English Freemasonry became about being a "Degree Factory" for its Candidates.

They are what the Master means when he says "These are the usual questions: I will put others if any Brother wishes me to do so" as a Candidate was expected to have studied the Lectures and be able to answer random questions from them as well as being able to recite their previous Obligation.

Even more illuminating than the ELoI or Stability 'lectures' is Knoop, Jones and Hamer's 'Early Masonic Catechisms, still available in second-hand form from Abe Books, Amazon and a few other book sources; possibly also on-line.


Thank you. I have for a long time felt that Masonry has in this sense lost it's roots and become a "degree factory", as you call it. I suppose this is me trying to find those roots again. Can you imagine what might happen if candidates were now expected to have that depth of knowledge? I certainly wouldn't be where I am.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby kimosabe » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:12 pm

russellholland wrote:
kimosabe wrote:....There are no hidden secrets in Freemasonry, at least none that cannot be easily found out....


Then your task is very easy.

In my view Masonic Science has many aspects. One of the more important is how to manage the temple that extends from E to W and N to S and from the center of the Earth to the Heavens so that it is suitable for our work.


What do you mean "manage the temple"?
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby Peter Taylor » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:10 pm

kimosabe wrote:What do you mean "manage the temple"?

Indeed you need to define what one means by "temple"?
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby russellholland » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:34 pm

In ancient times the English managed their part of the planetary temple. They straightened rivers, made landscape alignments, built layered hills, placed churches in straight lines across the landscape, built curious stone structures in particular places.

The principles of this are largely preserved in Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra.

Scotland has less obvious forms of this. For example the important sites on Iona are located to form the Tree of Life, and Rosslyn is carefully sited geographically.

And the same principles are applied at the micro level including within gardens and buildings.

The flow of prana/chi/od across the landscape is carefully managed not only horizontally but also vertically to promote the connections of Gaia to her brother planets.
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Re: 1st degree morality conundrum.

Postby kimosabe » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:54 pm

okay this just became far more esoteric than necessary.

It's really very simple. The meaning of life, is that it has no meaning; but it does have a function and that is to reproduce itself. How people choose to dress that up and over complicate it, is entirely upto them but none of it changes it's function or meaning. Stone circles, large buildings with pointy spires and coloured glass windows.... it's all the same thing.
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