Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Lay out any Complaints and suggestions so we can get to grips with them

Moderators: Peter Dowling, Peter Moir, MrBenn, Peter Taylor, JulesTheBit, middlepillar

Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby kimosabe » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:03 am

Culture and society has changed, so must Freemasonry if it wants to survive beyond being a niche hobby of ever decreasing numbers. My initial thoughts since rejoining:

Freemasonry holds that it's star character died 3,000 years after the universe was created, aka 'Anno Lucis'. This is further upheld by using and dating Anno Lucis (AL) to around just over 5,000 years ago. Outside of Freemasonry, bezerk creationists also accept this Biblical date and they are rightly being removed from mainstream culture, because they are fundamentally wrong. It's all about the 'light' of education, knowledge and the resulting wisdom from that. Is it wise to teach and enforce patently incorrect religious dogma ? If so, do you expect people to change their understanding of reality in this sense, to match that of Masonic teaching or vice versa?

Freemasonry excludes women, while modern western culture is doing all it can to do the exact opposite. Mixed lodges, Women's lodges and Men's lodges must be created. Why is this still being treated as an impossibility? Tradition! Dig your heels in all you want but that won't stop cultural norms from changing.

Theism is declining in direct proportion to greater access to information ie discovery, education and knowledge. Membership of all Masonic and related orders is decreasing too. Atheism and notheism is increasing. Coincidence? It's okay to use moral teachings from religious texts but there are other ways. Freemasonry does not require religious indoctrination in order to work and swearing oaths on religious texts is unnecessary and often hypocritical. It's like accepting small print which no normal person either could or would read, so why do it? A person can be good and do good things without religion. The Church is no longer the driving force behind our culture even if it still acts as if it is.

Openness. Many Masons regard this as causing the death of Freemasonry, while in fact the opposite is true. Remaining closed and unreachable, except when you know someone who can get you in, isn't a great marketing strategy. It wants to lure men and only men, by pretending that it possesses many great secrets, while also asking modern men to ignore the modern ability to find out several thousand answers in a fraction of a second, via a search engine on their phone,tablet or PC. Why aren't Masons more overtly present in everyday life? We have everyone from royalty down to vaguely employed men among our number and we achieve amazing things for good causes. Being closed is disingenuous because it raises suspicion and puts people off the idea of joining. It also feeds the bezerk conspiracy theories which eventually filter down to common knowledge.

Ritual. Is the ritual more important than the man himself? 'The rank is but the Guinea stamp, the man himself the gold.' Many fail to reach the chair because of the exactness of ritual. Conveying correct meaning is what should be important, not pedantic dogma but without the latter, the former cannot happen. Fair? Reasonable? Self-defeating?

Those were my thoughts while reflecting on recent events in my Masonic career. I look forward to your responses.

Kimosabe
kimosabe
LRUK Fellow
LRUK  Fellow
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:21 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:16 pm

>Is the ritual more important than the man himself?

Albert Mackey tells us that the ritual is the outer clothing of Masonry that perhaps adorns

Recently I have started to think about the extent to which we focus on learning the ritual rather than learning Masonry.

Who has the slightest interest in Masonic Science?

Who has made any attempt at all to recover the genuine secrets - as yet another generation of Masons dies without them?

And I wonder if the ritual is as effective as it was when I was initiated about 30 years ago. It does not seem to be. Is that why brethren drop out?

And the use of Old Testament passages in the ritual is an increasing embarrassment. For example the willingness of Abraham to cook his son for his god to eat is what makes the ground of our temples sacred. Personally I would not follow a god that wanted to me to barbecue my eldest child.

"Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me."
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby MrBenn » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:51 am

You would need to tell us a bit more about your frames of reference - as at first glance many of your assumptions are incorrect
"The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead."

mail me : mrbenn@lodgeroomuk.com
User avatar
MrBenn
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1271
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:43 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby Stevecoath » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:21 pm

In my view there is sometimes a wide gulf between "Learning" the ritual and "Understanding" ritual.
On occasions I have heard a mason described as an "excellent ritualist" simply because they can recite all the words in the right order without prompting.

I have sat and listened and thought, "you have no idea of the meaning behind the words you are saying".
Now one reason for this may be down to the decline of the Lodge of Instruction which now, in some cases, has become simply a Lodge of Rehearsal.
Both Emulation and Taylors working have published Lecture Books which contain a wealth of information but how many Masons even know these exist let alone have actually read them.
Or even more, how many Lodges carry out the Lectures at meetings. - I am aware of several that do but these are in the minority.

Freemasonry does contain many wonderful secrets but we as Masons let down our members because we have not bothered to learn those secrets for ourselves in order to pass them on or worse, when we do try we are blocked by other members whether in our own Lodges or all the way up to the upper echelons.

We rarely think, "What is best for the new Mason" instead it is "we must get some new members in or Lodge funds will have to go up".
We therefore bring a candidate into a Lodge where half the members cannot be bothered to attend, rush them through all three degrees in three consecutive meetings and then try to push them through the ladder and into the chair before they are ready because no one else wants to go around again.
And then we tell them that it is a great honour that the Lodge has voted them in as Master.

At this present moment there are too many Lodges and not enough members. Freemasonry MUST contract in order to grow or it will simply whither and die.
Otherwise in the year 2107 there will not be endless arguing about is this the right time to celebrate the 400th Year anniversary as Freemasonry will have gone the way of the dodo.
PM Edmonton Latymer Lodge 5026 UGLE (Hertfordshire); PZ Edmonton Latymer Chapter 5026
MM, Gladsmuir MMM 367; Gladsmuir RAM 367; Waltham Holy Cross A&AR 372; Blaise Pascal SRIA 70;
Jacques de Molay KT 670: Walnut Tree Conclave RCC 440;
Stevecoath
LRUK Supreme Member
LRUK Supreme Member
 
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:56 pm
Location: London

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby Trouillogan » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:35 pm

Stevecoath, you are so right. Thankfully there are more and more of us at the grass roots who know of this particular 'secret'. It is expounded in the Edinburgh Register House manuscript of 1696 in these words, as part of a dialogue concerning what makes a true and perfect Lodge:

Q: What makes a true and perfect lodge?
A: seven masters, five entered apprentices, A dayes Journey from a burroughs town without bark of dog or crow of cock.
Q: Does no less make a true and perfect lodge?
A: yes five masons and three entered appentices &c
Q: does no less.
A: The more the merrier the fewer the better chear

For me, the key is in the last. A small group is friendlier and you get to know each other better and quicker than in a larger group. In your own lodge, undoubtedly there are small groups of close friends. But that closeness does not spread to the larger Lodge as a whole.

Even in the nineteenth century, Lodges were of a dozen or two at the most. Since the first world war, individual Lodge populations have exploded, heralding desires for large premises. That habit has remained and now we are saddled with the expences of upkeep, being loth to shrug off the millstones of these now over large edifices. So, the fight for numbers is swamping the original fraternal objects of the institution. Yes, I would strongly advocate forward moves for Lodges to be far more selective in their membership and renting rooms for meetings, even factory estate units for some permanence. We have developed all these accoutrements in our Lodge rooms that are quite unnecessary for our work and take up space. I have attended many small Lodges in England and in Ireland where there is nothing but the essentials and the atmosphere is so friendly - quite different from larger units.

Our problem seems to stem from those inhabiting Provincial and Grand Lodge premises being unable to comprehend the basic almost autonomous nature of the Lodge unit. The pen - and many of them - could well hold the power to return the behemoth to its straight and undeviating course.

Any thoughts you may have, would be most welcome.
User avatar
Trouillogan
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:19 pm
Location: West Sussex, UK

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:30 am

>Our problem seems to stem from those inhabiting Provincial and Grand Lodge premises

I tend to think that one of the issues is the idea that Grand Lodges have sole dominion over their territory. In other areas of society we rather like some competition and variety.

But the real problems are much deeper. It is the end of an era and many forms have outlived their usefulness and need to be reinvented.

Masonry is no exception.
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby eckywan2 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:19 am

Ive really enjoyed this thread ! Especially the last two from Russ and Steve
and at risk of comparing with the mess politicians have made at home and abroad
we ned a Brexit moment Like the UL referendum ( followed by inaction) and Trumpland
I am a regular attender at Gl and often see disappointment of brethren who have come from all over the world to be in Edinburgh ,
and all the airts and pairts of Scotland just to see emailed minutes rubberstamped.
Sowhat can we do to have real people addressing these needs and there are plenty competent to so do without having to have some
old family title or rank aside from masonic experience.
Ok heres the bit that will upset some
203 years ago our craft was abused for religious and politics when England felt threatened by their wars with
America and France and banned Secret Societies , failed , and took over our craft declaring they were suddenly "Premier" over much older origins in Scotland and Ireland, and even America and France' to deter the Boston type happenings occurring again.
We need to move our GL's away from such politics and get back to teaching those basics mentioned above
That why I agree with Russ in his last 2 lines but how do we do it?
UDI for Scotland Aye but how to update the power houses of GLOS UGLE and the rest of the worlds craft?
eckywan2
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 909
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:59 pm
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby David H » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:38 pm

Trouillogan wrote:Our problem seems to stem from those inhabiting Provincial and Grand Lodge premises being unable to comprehend the basic almost autonomous nature of the Lodge unit. The pen - and many of them - could well hold the power to return the behemoth to its straight and undeviating course.


Spot on. But I fear it will come too late for many who see Lodges churning out Freemasons who are then seldom if ever seen again and have little or no real interest in learning about Freemasonry. Being cynical it can be seen that certainly benefits the finances of a lodge but does it do anything to nurture a feeling for the Craft in Initiates. Its interesting to read of long term Freemasons telling how long it took them to get into Freemasonry. Where I am currently located for a full blown step to be taken at virtually every meeting unless the candidate cannot make it due to work commitments or it is a scheduled business meeting. Here's a positive idea - when programmes are being finalised why not aim for 50/50 ritual/lectures or discussions.

Maybe it is time for a completely new approach less reliant upon paying for buildings which on a per capita basis are becoming increasingly more expensive for dwindling memberships to afford. At it's last meeting my UGLE approved what I consider to be swingeing increase of 17% in the subscribtion following a not dissimilar increase last year while at the same time "Investing" a substantial sum in becoming part of the Universities Scheme. Incidentally I have no objection in principal to that scheme but from much of what I have heard about it whether or not it will bring long term benefits is highly speculative - meanwhile can lodges really afford it?

Great thread but I wonder if the OP has stayed around to read it or was it simply intended by him to be a metaphorical stun grenade chucked into Lodgeroom?
S & F

David
User avatar
David H
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Out on a limb

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby Richard George » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:27 pm

David H wrote:Great thread but I wonder if the OP has stayed around to read it or was it simply intended by him to be a metaphorical stun grenade chucked into Lodgeroom?

His last visit was Nov 7.
Richard George
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 624
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:00 pm

One of the more subtle problems is that idea that the Creator is a builder-developer. Human builder-developers are often now seen mindlessly destructive of Nature.

The majority of the human race have agreed that the human race is the steward of the Earth. This has profound implications for active spirituality and for human relationship with Nature.

I suggest it is time for Masonic ritual to extend beyond the building of the soul (symbolised by KST) and into the management of the temple that extends from E to W and N to S and from the centre of the Earth to the Heavens.

This, I suggest, allows an answer to the question that is rarely asked: What is the work of a lodge of MM when all are proficient in the ritual and there are no candidates in sight?

Of course for this to be effective we would need to test that FC really do their work: study of the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science. At present this is extremely rare, and yet the accomplishment is quite explicit in the version of Retrospect that I have just learned. It is quite embarrassing to explain to non-Masons that Masons have ignored this since 1717.
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby eckywan2 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:07 am

Once again great posts from David up above the snow line and Russell too.
I've been at French lodges where candidate's don't just repeat answers parrot fashion , but submit and read a paper on how having joined the craft , and their specific lodge, has changed them, already, and thereafter such papers are published ( annually)
showing just the masonic education that is missing.
Ive also turned up at lodges and found they had no candidate and have given lectures on masonic / history, at no notice
( although I have 2 or 3 previous note usually in my case , in case )
How can we, from Lodgeroom help suggestions like David's and Russell's come about?

fraternally as alwys
eckywan2
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 909
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:59 pm
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:04 pm

>How can we, from Lodgeroom help suggestions like David's and Russell's come about?

This is quite difficult because the leaders of Freemasonry have apparently made no attempt to recover the genuine secrets. How then to overcome such administrative inertia?

It may be a time for a green fields regeneration of Masonry.

But first we need some brethren that actually practice Masonry as a science - speculation, hypothesis, experiment, deduction and use of the new knowledge.

Feng Shui is an example of a science used to manage a temple that extends from E to W etc.

The Kabbalah is another example of such a science.

Arguably Masonic Science as practiced in the 17th century included all that and more - hence the need to protect the knowledge under threat of severe penalties.

If we had perhaps 10 brethren actively practicing such science and meeting regularly then I have no doubt that Freemasonry could renew itself for the new cycle.
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby David H » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:05 am

russellholland wrote:It may be a time for a green fields regeneration of Masonry.



I agree but I simply can't see it happening. Here in the UK Freemasonry is governed by 3 distinctively different Grand Lodges.
S & F

David
User avatar
David H
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Out on a limb

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:30 am

By tradition only 7 MM are required to establish a new GL. What does recognition matter when generating a new form?
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby David H » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:30 am

russellholland wrote:By tradition only 7 MM are required to establish a new GL. What does recognition matter when generating a new form?


Yes of course but I mentioned the 3 UK Grand Lodges in the context of their diversity. As regards recognition (or effectively lack of it) that is certainly an interesting idea. I wonder how many folk would be inclined to take that route since it would put them beyond the pale as regards regular Freemasonry. I recall Trouillogan in a post on another thread citing the case of a very well respected Freemason author leaving UGLE to join Le Droit Humain falrly recently and indeed I am aware of a former senior member of the Sussex Province of UGLE who did the same several years ago but is now domiciled in France.

I am now permanently located in the Scottish Highlands and am surprised by the number of people I come across who were members of local lodges but who have withdrawn without actually resigning - they outnumber the number of folk who volunteer the information that they are subscribing members by at least 5 to 1. Maybe the "new form" already exists already - made up of disenchanted but committed Master Masons who are carrying out their own researches and studies assiduously without being in good standing and thus not attending meetings? It is late and it has been a rather long and taxing day so I hope this makes some sense.
S & F

David
User avatar
David H
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Out on a limb

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:13 am

David H wrote:Maybe the "new form" already exists already - made up of disenchanted but committed Master Masons who are carrying out their own researches .


There are two issues there:

- does the form already exist - perhaps not recognised?
- is there a group of suitable members - perhaps not recognised?

I have not seen signs of a new form. It might be possible in SRIA but my very limited contact with those in Australia has not been encouraging. Perhaps I should look at them again.

As for suitable Masons doing their own research, these are very rare in my part of the world. I wonder about deep green environmentalists as some of them may have advanced into the hidden mysteries of nature and science.

But on the positive side, I periodically understand a little more about the temple that extends from E to W etc. Some of that I learned while living in Forres in the Moray Firth.
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby admin » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:28 am

There have been two mjor surges of Masonic Membership 1919 / 1920 and 1946 / 1947 these lasted about 30 to 40 years.

Now Modern Freemasonry started with about 60 to 70 individuals in a London Pub.

We now have some say 6 million worldwide. Not what I would call a disaster.

Just keep being Freemasons of quality and it will be just fine. Re inventing the wheel I do not think is any answer.
Bill McElligott [PPGASwdB - PPGASoj]
admin@lodgeroomstore.com - skype: lodgeroomint
The Masonic Brotherhood of The Blue Forget-Me-Not

http://lodgeroomstore.co.uk/sales/
http://masonicjewellerystore.com/sales/
http://masonicbookstore.co.uk/store/
http://sell-buy.net/info/
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 6907
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:36 pm
Location: Essex, England

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:43 am

admin wrote:.... Re inventing the wheel I do not think is any answer.


In my view the wheel was broken in 1717.
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby David H » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:54 am

admin wrote:
Just keep being Freemasons of quality and it will be just fine. Re inventing the wheel I do not think is any answer.


Very well said. Do you think you could get ""the powers that be" in GQS who are hell bent on "re branding" (otherwise known as dumbing down and worse) to understand that? IMO it should be all about quality (and to be clear I am not talking about any form of eliteism) NOT numbers.
S & F

David
User avatar
David H
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 387
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Out on a limb

Re: Freemasonry for the 21st century.

Postby russellholland » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:56 pm

David H wrote:.."the powers that be" in GQS who are hell bent on "re branding" (otherwise known as dumbing down and worse).. it should be all about quality...


There is generally a long term decline in English-speaking Freemasonry. If this were a commercial product then we would repackage and re-brand it and hope that it sold for a bit longer. Grand Lodges get in consultants to do this but it is a sign of a product at the end of its life. Re-branding does not keep the customers returning year after year. At best it picks up casual shoppers.

The usual option presented is to go for quality. But how is this to proceed?

Will putting up the price fix the quality of members?

And what are we to do with the current members?

Should we only take the new high quality candidates into new high quality lodges?

And what should we do with the Grand Lodges that have supervised the decline in quality?
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Next

Return to What can be done to Improve Freemasonry

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest