The future of Freemasonry?

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The future of Freemasonry?

Postby P471 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:20 pm

I read this piece earlier and wondered what people’s thoughts are about it?

https://edwardlord.org/2017/11/04/my-fi ... attitudes/
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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby JohnXRV » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:04 pm

P471 wrote:I read this piece earlier and wondered what people’s thoughts are about it?


Having just completed my first year and achieved my 2nd degree I am finding freemasonry immensely rewarding and a tiny bit frustrating.

I was immensely proud to be asked to do the working tools at the next initiation and then our installation. I felt humble and proud when brothers I had come to know in my short time of 6 months since my initiation were given offices and progressed in their masonic careers. My proposer became JW and my sponsor the Chair. I really felt camaraderie in that meeting that I have not felt before.

The frustrating bit is realising no matter how much ritual I do and how well, I will only progress based on the sequence of when I came into the lodge. I got quite annoyed about this and displayed some very unmasonic behaviour on the way home from a lodge just before our summer recess when it was suggested that my raising might be put back. I felt angry that my extra effort was not to be rewarded and if those in front of me do nothing they will still progress before me in sequence. This really got to me as it seemed unrealistic when compared to how we progress and advance in our careers and other community endeavours. But I spent the summer discussing the issue with other masons and resolved my internal conflict and returned in October for my 2nd much calmer and respectful that this is just how freemasonry works.

I have not encountered any prejudice towards brothers who have male partners or whom are single but then I don't know everyone's circumstances. If I am ever in a situation when I must stand by or offer assistance to a brother who is gay or single then my belief is that in being a mason I will treat him no different and apply myself to the task with equal vigour and fortitude.

This is a wonderful path to take up at the age of 52 and I look forward to many years of my masonic journey

John

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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby russellholland » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:54 pm

> I felt angry that my extra effort was not to be rewarded and if those in front of me do nothing they will still progress before me in sequence.

Is rapid progression through the human offices a priority for the GAOTU?
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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby JohnXRV » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:09 pm

russellholland wrote:> I felt angry that my extra effort was not to be rewarded and if those in front of me do nothing they will still progress before me in sequence.

Is rapid progression through the human offices a priority for the GAOTU?
No Russell it was a lack of understanding on my part and applying expectations from my life experience thus far and expecting the same of freemasonry

I now know it doesn't work like that

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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby russellholland » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:49 pm

It took me 20 years even to understand what is the work of the FC.
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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby Peter Taylor » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:26 am

russellholland wrote:It took me 20 years even to understand what is the work of the FC.

.... and you're still finding out!
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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby Dalkeith » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:52 pm

JohnXRV,

Am I reading your post correctly, That you have been a member of your lodge for 1 year, are now a FC, and that you actively get involved in ritual, where as others that joined before you, don't get involved?

That part I understand. Now you mention "will only progress in the sequence which you joined" I am guessing that others in your lodge who are also FC, joined your lodge before you and will become MM before you, but they do not get actively involved in ritual?

Could it be that you (like myself) really enjoy floor work, and that your fellow brethren do not feel that they want to or may be not comfortable doing ritual yet?

All I can say is that it is not a race, you have completed 2 degrees and only have 1 more to go to become a MM, of which there is no higher rank. I am sure that you will want to take an office at the soonest opportunity, and I feel that you may find that you could progress through the offices faster than the brethren that will reach MM before you, as the case may be that they do not want to do ritual, and therefore do not wish to take up an office at all.

As I tell everyone that joins my lodge; its a marathon, not a sprint, and everyone will reach where they want to be in a time that suits them.

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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby JohnXRV » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:46 pm

Dalkeith wrote:JohnXRV,
As I tell everyone that joins my lodge; its a marathon, not a sprint, and everyone will reach where they want to be in a time that suits them.


Hi Jim

Yes you understand me correctly. I was trying to articulate my own experience with regard to the topic.

Before I joined I knew not what to expect and neither was I told by anyone prior to my initiation. I had some idea that it would be like a gentleman's club with us sitting around talking about masonry in a convivial atmosphere. In fact that's the impression I got from the UGLE website!

But after my initiation I realised it was nothing like that. There was the lodge then the festive board and then home. I was given the questions to prepare for my 2nd and when I and any other EAs were kicked out during higher degrees we sat with the lodge mentor or other senior member and were asked if we had any questions. As all we experienced was the opening and closing in the 1st degree and any initiation it was no surprise that we very rarely did have any! Visiting other lodges showed me that their behaviour was closer to my expectations with us staying behind and talking over drinks in a lounge bar and I could stay in freemasonry if I found a lodge like these.

Then I was asked to do the 1st degree working tools for an initiation and then the installation of the new WM. "At last" I thought "now I'm doing some proper freemasonry ". Another EA did them for another initiation and we have a healthy rivalry in who can do it with the least prompting, if any.

And then an EA had his 2nd and then stopped attending lodge meetings. He doesn't do any ritual. But he's before me in line for his 3rd. And when it was mentioned that my 2nd might be put back that was the point I might have given up which is the relevance to the topic.

For me I am a chartered professional and to progress takes study and practice. I expected freemasonry to be the same but it isn't and that's when my frustration about not knowing this and not having it explained became critical I looked into changing lodges. Friends in other lodges told me how they progress quicker and I felt "right then I'll move". The Sky TV series showed an EA coming back for his 2nd really quickly so I thought that was the norm and my lodge were wrong.

Luckily for me it was then summer recess and I went to the Widows Sons rally. There I had the whole weekend to be among masons, ask my questions and find out more about it.

And I was told it was not a race and because of where I was and whom I was with I became contented with that reality and returned for my 2nd in a peaceful state of mind happy to be back in my lodge.

But it could have been so different if I had been on my own during recess and decided not to go back or apply to change lodge. Fortunately that didn't happen. And the initiation I did my WT at, that candidate has not returned and left the lodge. He was 26.

I don't think it is right to expect newly joined freemasons to try and begin their journey under their own steam. If they are not properly supported they will commence their own research via the Internet and learn everything in one go. And the Internet is out there with all the answers so there are no secrets because it can all be found. So why will they stay and become the future of freemasonry? For me it is the ritual and the pride in doing it well in my lodge with people I now consider my friends. For others who reach a crossroads of doubt I don't know what their answer will be.

I was fortunate I went to a bike rally with lots of time to discuss my concerns with more experienced masons to help me get over my doubt and keep me on my journey.

John

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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby Dalkeith » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:28 pm

John,

I am very glad to hear that you stuck with it, and have now seen a little more "light" and I an sure there will be a lot more to come. I have friends that are in lodges down south that meet 4 times a year, and I can se from that point of view that it can take a very long time to progress. however, my lodge (like a lot in Scotland) meet twice a month from October to May, and some even continue throughout the summer months, so progression through the degrees can be quite swift in some cases.

I can see both Pros' and Cons to this, yes the brother gets to progress up to MM quickly which as we all know, makes visiting lodges a lot easier and you do not have to leave meetings to sit around. But also I think that sometimes, the candidate doesn't have enough time in each "rank" to appreciate the differences and the way to progress. And I am speaking from my personal experience, I progressed quickly, and I am now in office in my lodge, but I am also still learning and seeing more light in all 3 degrees.

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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby JohnXRV » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:52 pm

Thanks Jim

My lodge meets once a month for 9 months so deducting installation and the Christmas lecture that is 7 opportunities for degree ceremonies

My 3rd is pencilled in for June which will be 21 months since my initiation

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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby Dalkeith » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:15 pm

John, out of curiosity, where is your lodge?


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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby Trouillogan » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:20 pm

JohnXRV wrote:
Dalkeith wrote:JohnXRV,
As I tell everyone that joins my lodge; its a marathon, not a sprint, and everyone will reach where they want to be in a time that suits them.

If they are not properly supported they will commence their own research via the Internet and learn everything in one go. And the Internet is out there with all the answers so there are no secrets because it can all be found.
John

Well, not really. That is rather like saying you've read all about swimming, or driving a car and therefore you can swim or drive. I would posit that in order to become a knowledgeable Freemason you need be fully immersed. There are, of course, many who don't get that far on the journey and some who see it as just a social club. Which is fine if that's all they want. Even some expertise in delivering ritual to a high degree of accuracy soon becomes an empty skill, apart from a temporary sense of satisfaction in so doing, unless you also know how and why certain aspects came about and what are the inner meanings for you as an individual. There are several degrees in the Craft, as you already know, and each has great depth. There are many more beyond to help you on your journey. Take your time to dig and to absorb.

With every best wish for a fruitful Masonic career.
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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby JohnXRV » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:44 pm

Trouillogan wrote:With every best wish for a fruitful Masonic career.


Thanks Trouillogan

As I explained (poorly) I was responding to the original question with my own experience which was a dissonance between what I expected (gleaned from the UGLE website, the internet and a free copy of "Freemasonry Today") and what I experienced after my initiation.

I think my start in freemasonry would have been improved by:

- being told how long the lodge anticipated between my degrees and thus managing my expectations; I am by nature a voracious reader and whenever I begin a new pursuit or hobby I do go at it like a rabid dog at a dead horse. In fact after my 2nd the WM and JW told me not to read anything for a while !!
- pointing me towards resources I could use to research freemasonry appropriate to my degree; our lodge mentor did buy a copy of the 1st degree lectures and lends this to the EAs which was a good start but we each only had it for a short time (1 or 2 weeks) so I bought my own.
- allowing time to discuss freemasonry and the lectures so questions could be raise and answered in a more genial situation as only doing this when the EAs were booted out for 2nds and 3rds made us feel under pressure to come up with a question there and then

At least now I know when my 3rd should happen and between now and then I can do more ritual appropriate to my degree and continue my research studies. I do love my lodge and feel a lot of admiration and respect for the officers and senior masons and felt a true pride during installation when I saw friends receiving their appointments.

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John
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Re: The future of Freemasonry?

Postby Trouillogan » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:07 pm

Indeed, that is a common experience these days I'm afraid. Not much is imparted to candidates beyond matters connected with ritual performance. Quite probably because the lodge members themselves have been able to glean so little, with hardly any opportunity for the open discussion of masonic matters.

You say that you have been told when your next degree is to take place. It's actually for you to decide when you feel well enough informed to take that next step - not for you to be told by others! It's that aspect which tells me of a possible lack of knowledge or concern in your lodge. I'm not saying you shouldn't go forward. I'm simply saying that you should be regarded as the key decision maker in the process.

Here's a little litmus test you can use to find out if your members are what could be called 'thinking' masons: 'Why do we use a double knock to summon the Tyler?' See how many different answers you get from all the gold-braided dark blues. It will be interesting to see some of those responses here! (14)
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