howdy how – testing 123
Why Freemasonry? Why this institution?
Below are two competing institutions, with less time on track than Freemasonry, but that offer the same set of principals and ideas, so why not them? These other groups are service bodies that do a lot for their communities, and for their membership. They have similarities with Freemasonry, and are community minded, so why not them? What has been the drawing force in Freemasonry to keep us coming back?
Lions club members are men and women who strive to make a difference in their local community as well as communities worldwide. Their volunteer efforts go beyond the support of vision care, to addressing unmet health and education needs worldwide.
MembershipLions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas.
It goes on to say that it is an invitation only body.
Rotary club members are part of a diverse group of professional leaders working to address various communities and international service needs. Through community service and other means, Rotary club members help promote peace and understanding throughout the world. Our members are our most important asset. They are the force that allows Rotary to carry out its many humanitarian efforts and achieve its mission.
Membership levels in the US, according to their own publication, stand at 377,138 as of January 2007
So with just these two in mind, why Freemasonry, if these groups are “nearly identical” to it in what they represent? From the surface, they are non denominational and do not espouse a need for a belief in the Divine, which means they are more secular, but is that why we are Freemasons? Their membership levels are not nearly as high, and I doubt they reach the volume of charity Freemasonry proclaims ($4 million ever day) with our apendant bodies Shrine hospitals.
So why Freemasonry?
Reprinted From FreemasonInformation.com
by:. Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”
Masonic Service Association of North America
We have discussed Masonic membership trends on more than one occasion in the past. Some Masons believe our decline was inevitable as membership was over inflated following WW II and that a decline was well overdue. This has led to several experimental programs, such as the “fast track” one-day class, which is still considered controversial in many Masonic circles, and lowering the age requirement to 18. Even with these inventions, our numbers continue to dwindle.
The decline in membership is having a ripple affect throughout the fraternity, including the allied and appendant bodies of Freemasonry. As a small example, in my area alone, the number of chapters of the OES and High 12 have diminished sharply, Jobs Daughters and DeMolay have closed their doors, and all of the Rites and Shrine organizations have reported significant losses. I recently heard from a Michigan Shriner who reported his temple’s membership had declined by 800 members over the last two years. Many other jurisdictions are reporting similar declines in membership.
So, as membership in the Craft Lodges decline, so goes the allied and appendant bodies who recruit Freemasons for their orders, which is why the Shrine waived the requirement to be a Scottish or York Rite Mason prior to becoming a Shriner. The Scottish and York Rites are still reeling from this decision. Further, rumors abound that the Shrine will someday create a new class of Shriner thereby allowing non-Masons to join their organization. Regardless, knowing their survival depends on the Craft Lodges, these bodies have begun to take a more proactive approach to working with Grand Lodges; perhaps too “proactive.”
Some Grand Lodges are beginning to feel the squeeze of the allied and appendant bodies, particularly the Scottish Rite who uses their coveted 33rd degree as an incentive to cooperate with Scottish Rite policy. As one Past Grand Master recently lamented to me, “As long as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General is allowed to run our Grand Lodge, and we have Grand Masters looking for a white hat, they will listen to whatever he wants, and we will have censorship of everything that would limit his influence. His exact words are, ‘Grand Masters Govern for one year, I Govern forever. I am the Grand Lodge.'”
Such words are disturbing to Masonic purists who believe the dog should wag the tail and not the other way around. It is also rumored that the Scottish Rite is heavily involved in establishing policy for the Conference of North American Grand Masters. But the Scottish Rite is not alone in terms of accusations of meddling as the Shrine in some jurisdictions is viewed as flexing its muscles now and then. Whether these accusations are true or not is immaterial, a perception is emerging among Masons that the Grand Lodges are beginning to dance to someone else’s tune. And why not? Since the survival of the allied and appendant bodies depends on the Grand Lodges, why wouldn’t they want to take control, particularly when Grand Lodges are ambivalent when it comes to membership?
Masons elect Grand Masters on the belief they will provide unbiased leadership. They want people who will focus on the problems and opportunities confronting the Craft Lodges, such as membership. They do not want leaders who are easily influenced and manipulated by others, be it a Masonic body or otherwise. We most definitely do not need the meddling of Masonic lobbyists.
One last note on membership; I do not believe our problem with the decline of membership can be solved on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis; that it must be solved in a uniform manner throughout the fraternity. A uniform policy on membership, public relations, etc. will greatly facilitate getting the word out to the fine young men out there who yearn for what Freemasonry has to offer, yet know nothing about it. Currently, the only way this can happen in North America, is through the Conference of Grand Masters, but if this is indeed controlled by the Scottish Rite, perhaps we should clear it with them first.
Keep the Faith.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:
Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.
Copyright © 2007 by Tim Bryce.
Article reprinted with permission of the author and www.FreemasonInformation.com
Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.
Ran into this Blog today from a brother in Texas, newly raised, and awaiting to pass.
He gives a great first person analysis of the degrees, and how he came to be receiving them.
If your on-line, I definitely recommend looking him up.
The Burning Taper, who has done a great job of keeping on the subject, yesterday posted a distancing press release found on the Scottish Rite message boards, but it looks like word in the press now is that the partnership for “no money” may be going to court.
The Star-Gazette.com, out of Elmira New York, Frank Cicci Jr‘s (the former owner of the nascent Rite-Mobile) hometown, is reporting yesterday that Cicci is “seeking to put veteran Jay Sauter in his No. 34 Chevy after alleging that Conz and Scottish Rite have defaulted on their contract with his team to run the full Busch Series schedule.”
Further the article said:
The Frank Cicci Racing statement said Cicci has retained legal council against BC Motorsports and Brian Conz for default and non-payment according to the terms of a binding contract that commits them to a 35 NASCAR Busch Series race schedule with Frank Cicci Racing.
It went on to say that
“Conz’s Web site now shows no affiliation with Frank Cicci Racing other than a few pictures of the car from the original D.C. appearance.”
but as of minutes ago, the Conz site is just 404 (not found).
So much for doing things on the square.
Like the brother at the Burning Taper said, “not all press is good press, and something like this makes All of Freemasonry look bad”. Just like the question of membership, as a body, who really is watching our West Gate? Maybe the Rite forgets exactly what Pike even said…
But that which is the greatest battle, and in which the truest honor and most real success are to be won, is that which our intellect and reason and moral sense, our spiritual natures, fight against our sensual appetites and evil passions, our earthly and material or animal nature. Therein only are the true glories of heroism to be won, there only the successes that entitle us to triumphs.
Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
32nd degree, the Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
Earlier this month, I was nominated to the Chairman position of Masonic Formation Committee in my lodge. I’ll talk a little about Masonic Formation in another post, but suffice it to be defined as an initiative by my states Grand Lodge to certify members (after going to one day classes) to become formation “officers”, whose jobs it becomes to help lead key initiatives within our lodges. These initives range from mentorships, education, investigations, and so on.
Its a great idea, and I’m all about it. But what I am finding is that it is making me extremely BUSY! So with that said, I present to you, those brothers in ear shot of the lodge, our first “official” education event, with a guest lecturer, that is Free and Open to the public.
The ad here is going in a local college paper, the Daily Sundial, next week.
Details to the event, if anyone is interested in going, are:
Masonic Education Forum A free and open to the public event March 3rd, 2007 At 7pm
A Journey through The Art of Rhetoric
We all know politicians and others study persuasiveness, but for the general public?
How does one “craft” an effective persuasive piece? How does one effectively “deliver” it? How relevant is understanding the art of rhetoric in today’s world? How important is it for the speaker?…for the listener?
Join us for a light seasonal buffet as Worshipful. Mark R. Sandstrom, professional Pastor and Masonic District Inspector (and former Grand Chaplain) Free and Accepted Masons of California, leads a stimulating, non-sectarian discussion covering the many facets of the art of persuasive, emotion invoking presentations
The Boulevard Masonic Center
Hollywood Masonic Lodge
19626 Ventura Blvd.,
Tarzana, CA 91356
RSVP to 818 564 6355 or
I will be on hand, as will my brothers, to answer any questions you may have about the lecture, Freemasonry, or anything else.
Now I need to start working on my letter for the lodge publication…