MASONIC Digest Thursday, 14 Nov 1991 Volume 3 : Issue 4 Today's Topics: Administrivia Maso

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MASONIC Digest Thursday, 14 Nov 1991 Volume 3 : Issue 4 Today's Topics: Administrivia Masonic BBS? Re: Esotericism & York vs. Scottish Rites (2 responses) Alex and Colin are Brothers in more ways than one! Notes from a disatisfied Brother (Burke/Trei) Introductions: Isaac A. Soussis Craig Gilmore William Lane Robert Leavitt Send all submissions and requests to MASONIC digest is moderated. Please remember: THIS IS A PUBLIC FORUM: YOU MUST ASSUME THAT MANY READERS ARE NON-MASONS. Please include a relevant subject line. If you require anonymity, say so at the top of your message (and give a nom-de-net). All contributions remain the property (copyright 1991), and responsibility of the authors. My own comments remain mine (Copyright 1991 Peter Trei), and represent only my views at the time of posting - not neccesarily those of my employer, or of any Grand Lodge. Back issues are available, as are a couple standard pamphlets. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Peter Trei Date: 7 Nov 1991 Subject: Administrivia. Sorry for the delay - initially there wasn't enough material, and then I wanted to include Bro. Burke's letters. A few points: 1. PLEASE give an informative Subject: line. When I get a message titled "Re: Masonic Digest, Vol. 3, Number 3." it doesnt really help. (I've been adding them, but I'd rather people appeared under their own headings). 2. PLEASE indicate if a post is for the digest, or if it is just a letter to me. It's often difficult to tell if an intro is for the digest or not, and I won't publish them unless I'm sure (on the chance that the person wants anonymity). 3. I need material, so don't hesitate to post. pt ------------------------------ From: Peter Trei Date: 7 Nov 1991 Subject: Masonic BBS I recently came across this in an article in dc.general listing local BBS's: Hiram's Oasis 703 938-4990 Fairfx/Vienn 9600 HST DS - V.32 10-03 Info for and about Freemasons and Shriners I haven't tried it yet. Anyone in the DC area want to give it a shot? Peter ------------------------------ From: Peter Trei Subject: Re: Esotericism & York vs. Scottish Rites Date: Tue Oct 22 14:10:55 1991 In digest v03n003 writes: > I have a few questions that might be answered by those Masons on > this list: > > My interest in Masonry comes first from ancestry (my grandfather > was 32 degree in the Scottish Rite, as is my uncle), and secondly from > my occult interests. I'm primarily interested in the esoteric side of > Masonry, i.e. the rituals, the philosophy, etc. The impression that I > get from the digest is that U.S. Masonry is mostly a charitable > organization, and though I know that I'll get out of Masonry what I > put into it, I'm concerned that I'll be alone in my endeavors. Does > this make sense? > All lodges spend a great deal of their time performing ritual - I'd say that of the time I spend in meetings, at least 2/3 is spent in one form of formalized activity or another. (The rest is the mundane business of running a society.) This makes us (from what I hear) *far* more ritualisticly inclined than Rotary or the JayCees, or even the Elks or Kiwanees. However, if you are expecting required spiritual and mental exercises akin to the OTO, you will be dissapointed. Candidates are required to memorize certain passages as they pass through the degrees. However, once they pass the third degree, there are no more required activities (other than keeping up with dues :-). Many Masons are content to stop at this point, sit on the sidelines at meetings, enjoy the fellowship, and work on charitable activities. This is perfectly OK. But (personal opinion) they are only getting a part of Masonry. Others get more into the ritual. As one moves through the ranks of the line officers, you are required to learn progressively more complex lectures to give the candidates. As you do so, you may find that Masonry has depths you never saw at the beginning. There is a good deal of spiritual value in Masonry, but you have to look for it; it won't be thrust in your face. You will also have to look for Masons interested in this aspect, many aren't. > The second question is much more straight-forward. What are the > differences between Scottish Rite and York Rite? I know that the York > Rite has fewer degrees than Scottish Rite, but that's about it. Can > the answer to this question be given to non-Masons? (Not knowing the > secrets means not knowing what can and cannot be answered) I'm not the best person to answer this; I've gone through part of the York Rite (as far as Royal Arch), but I haven't touched the Scottish Rite (yet). In a nutshell, they are separate organizations open to Master Masons which extend and expand on the lessons of the first three "blue lodge" degrees. Many Masons join both organizations. (Some of the upper degrees in the York Rite are open only to Christians). -peter ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 10 Nov 91 22:37:09 EST From: pro-angmar! (Steven Mesnick) Subject: Re: Esotericism & York vs. Scottish Rites In response to the poster who asked about esotericism and the differences between Scottish and York Rite.... Apparently in prior centuries there was, especially on the Continent, some mutual interest between Freemasonry and esoteric/hermetic sciences such as Alchemy, Kabbalah, Tarot, Astrology, etc. etc. Although one can still find references and readings on such subjects, I think I can safely say that that is not to be found to any extent in modern Masonry (at least in the USA, at any rate). That sort of stuff is dealt with in more expressly-mystical organizations like the Rosicrucians, the Golden Dawn, and so on. On the other hand, Masons are a diverse group, and you will find Masons who are interested in researching such things -- I am one. As for the nature of Masonic ritual, that of course will not be discussed here. Regarding the differences between Scottish and York Rites...Perhaps I should explain for non-Masons. When you become a Mason you receive three degrees in separate ceremonies: you are a Master Mason after the third. You cannot go "higher" than this degree, but you can go "further", as it were. You can join either (or both) of two bodies called the Scottish or York Rites. The Scottish Rite has 29 degrees beyond the 3rd (hence "a 32nd degree Mason"). The York Rite has fewer degrees and does not number them. Each Rite is subdivided into groups of degrees: Scottish Rite, depending on where you are, includes the Lodge of Perfection, Princes of Jerusalem, Knights of the Rose-Croix [not to be confused with the Rosicrucians], Council of Kadosh, and Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret. (These high-sounding names derive from rites originating in France -- not Scotland -- in the 17th-18th cent.). York Rite includes the Chapter of the Royal Arch, Council of Royal and Select Masters, and Knights Templars. York Rite degrees are provided by lodges of the Rite, which work quite similarly to Blue Lodges (the basic 3-degree lodges mentioned above). Scottish Rite meetings are larger and tend to be presented in a more elaborate, perhaps more "theatrical" manner. Steve Mesnick, 32' and RAM ------------------------------ From: SOUSSIS@MCCLB0.MED.NYU.EDU Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1991 17:31 EDT Subject: Introduction Thanks for including me in the list. But I am wondering how you would know about my interest in Free-Masonry? I am a Master-Mason member of Plato Lodge No 1129 of NY in Manhattan and I am looking forward interestings discusions. Isaac A. Soussis [PT: You must have posted something to Usenet in the past six months ] [ or so mentioning the word "mason". BTW, my mother lodge is ] [ Courland-Centennial #763, also in Manhattan. ] ------------------------------ From: Craig Gilmore Subject: About time for my intro... Date: Tue, 29 Oct 91 15:20:49 PST Peter, Thought that I might include an introduction of myself, as I read those of other brethren. My name is Craig Gilmore and I am Junior Past Master of Liberty Lodge #299 under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of California. I am also a member of Carey B. Wilson Lodge #67 under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Arizona. I am also a member in Howard Chapter #14 Royal Arch Masons, San Jose Council #20 Cryptic Masons, and San Jose Commandery #10 of Knights Templar. I am also a past council member for Bethel #233 Job's Daughters. I make no secret that I am a Mason. I am proud of that fact. I am also glad that I was able to serve my lodge by sitting in the east for the 1990 year. I look forward to the discussions, in this forum, about Masonry and it's offshoots. Craig Gilmore. ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 30 Oct 91 18:24 PST Subject: Alex and Colin are brothers in more ways than one! From: (Alex Hart) P.T: what would ever give you the idea that Colin and I were related? :-) The name or something ? Actually he IS my brother in both senses ! I remember when, last year the M.W. Grand Master of B.C. was paying an official visit to our district, I introduced Colin(at that time just an E.A.) to the G.M and others in lodge as "MY BROTHER". As we are identical twins it did get a good laugh. Alex ------------------------------ From: (William Lane) Date: 29 Oct 1991 15:31 EST Subject: Introduction Dear Peter, Thank you for sending the recent copy of the Masonic Digest. I would like to be added to your mailing list. I am a Past Master of Reynoldsburg Lodge #340 in Ohio and Past President of the 14th District Masonic Officers Association. Also I'm presently the Associate Worthy Patron (same as the Senior Warden in Lodge) in Eugenie Chapter #507, Order of Eastern Star. Some comments to: Peter, this year will go fast, so start planning for next year, Good Luck! Dave Brown, don't wait too long to take the plunge, you will not be alone in your endeavors as Masonry is world wide and I have attended Lodge meetings in many States, England, and in Tokyo Japan. Laurie Alden, <> the main difference between Rainbow and Job's Daughters is that the member must have some kind of a tie to one who has been or is a member of a Masonic Lodge. The Masonic tie extends from her father, step father, grandfather, uncle, etc. She must have a "small" Masonic tie a Master Mason. My daughter is a Past Honor Queen of the Bethel sponsored by my Lodge. There are around 7 Bethels in the area here and only one active Rainbow Assembly in the surounding 30 mile area. I've been associated with girls in both organizations and there is a common bond between everyone. Jim Park, good luck on your year in the East. I know what you mean about attending GL and the installation of a Grand Master, as I've been to the last 14 sessions and installations in Ohio. It is also nice when the wives and famlies can attent the installation, is the installation in Penna. opened or closed. Having been an officer in Chandler Lodge #227, Reading, Penna. and having a brother in law who is a PM in York Penna. we have had many a good Masonic conversations about closed installations as well as the differences between the two states. I'm a missed placed Penna. native from a few miles north of Pittsburg, ie. Warren, Penna. Fraternally yours, Bill (Home address on request) ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 8 Nov 91 12:13:28 EST From: pro-angmar! (Don Belanger) Subject: Introduction. Hello Peter, my name is Don Belanger. I am the Senior Steward at Ocean Lodge in Winthrop, MA and also The Junior Deacon at Mt. Scopus Lodge in Malden. I am also a Scotish Rite, and Aleppo Noble. I would like to receive the masonic digest that my brothers in the lodge have spoken about with great enthusiasm. my address here is pro-angmar! ProLine: juggler@pro-angmar Internet: pro-angmar! or UUCP: uunet!alfalfa!pro-angmar!juggler ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 9 Nov 91 23:39:37 EST From: pro-angmar! (Robert Leavitt) Subject: Introduction Dear Peter, Forgive me for not introducing myself before. my name is Wor. Bob Leavitt (presiding marshal of Ocean Lodge, Winthrop, Ma.) I wanted to let you that I enjoy the "Digest" and find it to be very informative.If I can help in any way please let me know. Best wishes and continued success with the Digest. Fraternally Yours, Wor. Bob (gopher) Leavitt ProLine: gopher@pro-angmar Internet: pro-angmar! UUCP: uunet!alfalfa!pro-angmar!gopher ------------------------------ From: Peter Trei Subject: Notes from a disatisfied Brother. I have a set of scripts which automatically scan most of the Usenet newsgroups each day, looking for messages containing the string "mason". References to these messages go into a file, which is then culled of references likely to be uninteresting; for example, when the only "mason" is in the string "Thomason" or "George Mason University". (This is how I initially identified many of the people on this mailing list). Last week, I got a hit in the group soc.culture.african.american. A thread was underway identifying organisations claimed to be racist (both black and white). A posted that the Freemasonry was one such organisation, and I responded with an (I hope) informed rebuttal. With his permission, I am publishing our corrospondance. This was personal email, so I was perhaps a little less diplomatic than I would be in a public forum. Mr. Burke sent me the following letter: ------------------------------ start enclosure 1 ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 7 Nov 91 13:21:57 PST From: tekbspa!burke@uunet.UU.NET (Jim Burke) Subject: Re: Masonry. Hi, Peter. As a matter of fact, I was raised in 1982 at Wyandotte Lodge #170 in Michigan. At that time, I was able to overlook the problems that now concern me. For the past couple of years I've struggled with the decision as to whether to pay my dues each December. I resolved to visit several lodges in California, which I have done, and I've found their attitudes and practices to be essentially the same, so I've not bothered to demit. I've come to the decision that I can't in good concience continue membership and I plan to write a letter to the secretary at the end of this year when my dues are once again due. I don't do this lightly. I'm not even sure if there is a gracefull way to terminate my membership, and I have no intention of ever violating my obligations in any event. But, I can't continue to be a party to things I find fundamentally objectionable, and I don't see these ever changing. It isn't a personal crusade or anything, it's just a gut thing I have to do. For me it is even more than the racial thing. My wife made an attempt to become involved in the Eastern Star but they turned out to be little more than a group of little old ladies who cooked and served for the men at dinners. Aside from all the platitudes about how important the E.S. were, this was the real role they played. There is absolutely no possibility that she can be a Mason and I find this to be objectionable on moral grounds. While I was assured, even as an Entered Apprentice, that nothing in my obligation would conflict to my duties to myself, family, God, etc., I now find this not to be the case. I do not feel comfortable being a member of a "secret" group in which my wife is not welcome. It places a barrier between us that does not need to be there. The racial thing is also important to me as a matter of principle. Thanks for writing, though, it gave me a chance to explain myself in more detail so that you can understand why I wrote the things I wrote. Jim Burke ------------------------------ end enclosure 1 ------------------------------ I responded with: ------------------------------ start enclosure 2----------------------------- To: Subject: Masonry. Date: Fri, 08 Nov 91 16:40:18 -0500 Jim: I'm very sorry to hear that Masonry has turned sour for you. We all change as time goes by, and some things that were once good will, with time, become intolerable to us. Men and women of good will can agree to disagree on what is tolerable. [paragraph describing the digest deleted] Personally, I feel that you are doing us a disservice in claiming that Masonry has a color bar; there is certainly no official one, and unofficial ones are rapidly falling. We are (as I said) behind the times in integration, but making progress. I have sat with blacks in lodge both in New York (where I was raised), and in Massachusetts, where I now live. (Mass. also has a black PDDGM). My own lodge will be initiating a black on Tuesday. Many GLs are recognizing their co-located Prince Hall Grand Lodges. Freemasonry in other parts of the world is largely integrated - as you will find if you ever visit a lodge in the Caribbean. The gender bar is much older and basic, and is in every regular jurisdictions landmarks. I can't help you there. My wife is supportive of my membership (but has zero interest in getting involved with OES). We both feel that it's possible to have man-space and women-space without it being an automatically incorrect situation. But if you can't, you can't. fraternally, Bro. Peter Trei PS: This is a longshot. Have you ever looked into Co-Masonry, or the "liberal" lodges under the Grand Orient of France? They both permit female membership. (Of course, they are unrecognized by the regular lodges). PT. ------------------------------ end enclosure 2 ------------------------------ to which he responded: ------------------------------ start enclosure 3 ---------------------------- Date: Mon, 11 Nov 91 08:54:17 PST From: tekbspa!burke@uunet.UU.NET (Jim Burke) Subject: Re: Masonry. Hi again. I'm sorry you feel as you do, that I am doing a disservice to Masonry by making an issue of the racial barrier. Perhaps you are correct in saying that a few lodges with progressive members have admitted black members. In the past 9 years my lodge had turned down both of the black candidates it had considered. Here in California, the lodges I have visited have no black members, although I don't know what their voting record is. I agree it is not a formalized thing, but the de facto standard is that if you are black, you have very little chance of gaining membership. I do not think that having "man space" and "woman space" is automatically incorrect. I do think that the principles put forth by masonry are applicable to men and women, and the fact that Masonry has it's "secret" side makes it an issue for me and my family. It may not be so for others. No, I've never looked into Grand Orient lodges. I have heard of them but I've never known anyone involved. Thanks for your interest, though, and I hope you didn't take anything I said as being personally offensive. Jim Burke ------------------------------ end enclosure 3 ------------------------------ This is my response: Jim: Thanks for letting me publish your letters. I was feeling a little peeved because Masonry in many parts of the country is trying to get away from the racist past, and you seemed to be ignoring this and (I'm sure with no malicious intent) spreading disinformation about the Craft. No personal offense was taken. By the way, Wilder Lodge (where I am Senior Warden) initiated our first black member on Tuesday, in an excellent ritual with no difficulties whatsoever. fraternally, Bro. Peter Trei ------------------------------ The problems Jim raises echo a debate which occurred over the gender bar in the early issues of the Digest (back issues are available). I'd like to hear from others on the mailing list on these subjects. ------------------------------ End of MASONIC Digest *********************


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