MASONIC Digest Friday, 21 Feb 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 3 Today's Topics: Administrivia (Peter

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MASONIC Digest Friday, 21 Feb 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 3 Today's Topics: Administrivia (Peter Trei) Rainbow (Ruth Alleman) FAQ stuff (RCC, and Anti-Masonic Party) (Robert Siegfried) Non-Masons and Masonic Rings. (Robert Siegfried, Stuart Lewis) VSL for Witches (Robert Siegfried, Stuart Lewis) Application procedures (Stuart Lewis, Ken Flowers) Re: Revolutionary War anecdote. (Stuart Lewis) Masonry in Upstate NY, and how do I become one? (Ed Greenberg) What is Masonry, anyway? (anonymous) Re: Status of OTO. (Max Delysid, Chuck Grandgent, Tim Maroney) Re: Quaker Masons (Stuart Lewis) Re: Mormons and Masons (Ken Flowers) Cambridge area lunch (Ken Flowers) Re: How does Masonry change you? (William Lane) ====================================================================== From: Peter Trei Subject: Administrivia. V04N002 had a gratifyingly large response, so I can send v04n003 out promptly. Following some helpful suggestions from Ken Flowers (, I'm changing my response structure slightly. As moderator, I have a privileged position in that I can respond to articles simultaneously with their appearence. I've freely execised this privilege up to now. Ken has pointed out that this tends to stifle comments from other list members. In future, I'll try to comment in the next issue, same as everyone else, and restrict my in-issue comments to minimal facts for the purpose of reducing duplicate responses. Two of the responses included in this issue originally contained chunks from ritual - nothing which is formally secret, but verbatim nonetheless. I've paraphrased these. I feel very uncomfortable having actual ritual (however innoccuous) appear in the digest. How do other Masons feel about this? ====================================================================== From: (Ruth Alleman) Subject: Rainbow Date: Thu, 13 Feb 92 17:31:12 CST Dear Peter, I, too, would like to help out with any Rainbow FAQ's you may get. But now I'd like to address Laurie and any other Rainbow Girls and supporters. The Grand Assembly in the State of Louisiana has been given an "ultimatum" of sorts from Supreme Assembly to either get the active roster up to 200 by June or July or lose the state charter. I have found that in Louisiana there are more past Grand Officers at Grand Assembly than active girls. I also find that the state leaders are all WELL OVER 50 years old and don't relate well to the young girls they deal with. So the question is, what is state enrollment in Rainbow in your area? What kinds of activities do you feel help hold interest? Our state leaders do not allow many of the suggestions that assembly leaders want to do. I think at present there are only 10 assemblies in the state with only 50 members combined (if that many). I'd hate to see Rainbow fold up in La. but the state leaders have just driven it down. Just so you know, I was a member for as long as possible in Rainbow. I was Grand Recorder, and a member of the Grand Cross of Color Degree Team. I also got my majority at Grand Assembly. I found Rainbow boring at times but wonderful too. I also found, and still find, that it is a very cliqueish group, especially the Past Grand Officers Association of Louisiana. That group (PGOAL) is the group really interested in Rainbow and they often want to run it all. Does any one out there have any suggestions on how to get more girls interested, and hold their interest? Ruth Howe Alleman ====================================================================== From: Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1992 22:27 EST Subject: FAQ stuff (RCC, and Anti-Masonic Party) > RCC position >[PT: Can you find the "official" position, with chapter & verse? ] The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of New York asks candidates if they believe in a Supreme Being. It does NOT ask about affiliation, and I know many Catholic Masons. I will check Masonic Law in New York, and see if I can find Chapter and Verse. [ PT: What is "chapter & verse" from the Catholic side? Can you find the] [ relevent Canon Law? ] >[PT: The Anti-Masonic Party seems to have been directly inspired by the] >[Morgan Affair. ] If I remember from my reading of my father's Master's thesis, there was a direct connection. W.'.Robert Siegfried Master 1986-7 Victoria Seagate Lodge No. 1037 F&AM Brooklyn, NY 11234 ====================================================================== From: Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1992 22:27 EST Subject: Non-Masons and Masonic Rings. >>[Dean, a non-Mason, wants to wear his late Father's and Grandfather's ] >>[Masonic rings, which are the only tokens he has from them. ] >[PT reluctantly agrees that honoring forebears should be override ] >[Masonic ettiquette for a non-Mason, and warns of consequences and ] >[responsibilities which go with publicly wearing Masonic symbols ] There is another concern. While a Mason has an obligation to hold a Masonic intercourse (conversation that includes the exchange of information that constitutes Masonic secrets), not all Masons approach someone else of whom they are unsure as carefully as they should. Naturally, anyone wearing the Square and Compasses should be taken as honorable enough to stop a careless Brother, but this can be potentially embarrassing to the Brother. Remember, Masonry is not what we practice in the Lodge room but how we conduct ourselves after we leave it. W.'.Robert Siegfried Master 1986-7 Victoria Seagate Lodge No. 1037 F&AM Brooklyn, NY 11234 ====================================================================== Date: Fri, 14 Feb 92 09:46:19 pst From: (Stuart Lewis) Subject: Non-Masons and Masonic Rings. >>[Dean, a non-Mason, wants to wear his late Father's and Grandfather's ] >>[Masonic rings, which are the only tokens he has from them. ] Absolutely forbidden. Period. The wearing of Masonic jewelry is a privilege accorded only those who have attained the degree of Master Mason. I, for one, *would* be upset at someone wearing any Masonic jewelry not entitled to. This would be a false pretense by the wearer. It implies and understanding and aknowledgement of our principles and teachings, something worked for, studied, accepted. Not only that, but it could cause real embarrasment to him and any- one querying the wearer concerning Masonic subjects. If Dean, "doesn't have the time to get involved...", he already fails Masonic understanding. If he wants, "to remember his dad", he should respect what his dad did to attain the priveledge of wearing that ring, put it in a small display case, and put it on the mantle. I, for one, would (*will*) forbid my sons from wearing any Masonic regalia unless they earn that right. I'd bet dollars to donuts, Dean's dad would feel the same way. Stuart Lewis P.M. King Soloman #60, F&AM P.H.P Robert B. Palmer #46, RAM ====================================================================== From: Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1992 22:27 EST Subject: VSLs for witches. [ (B.A. Davis-Howe) suggests that Wiccans could ] [use their "Book of Shadows", open to the "The Charge of the Goddess." ] While I assume that Witches accept the existence of a Supreme Being (and therefore eligible for membership) and that this is their Volume of Sacred Law, an Old Testament MUST be included and any Lodge with Christian Brethren must include a New Testament as well. Also, a Lodge must open the Bible to particular Chapters corresponding to particular Degrees (Peter, please mention them if you feel it is not a Masonic secret). In either case, the book would sit next to the Bible on the altar or bound together in the same volume. And again, this is how it is handled in New York; other Grand Jurisdiction may do things differently. W.'.Robert Siegfried Master 1986-7 Victoria Seagate Lodge No. 1037 F&AM Brooklyn, NY 11234 ====================================================================== Date: Fri, 14 Feb 92 09:46:19 pst From: (Stuart Lewis) Subject: VSL for Witches (B.A. Davis-Howe) writes: > In the last digest, there was some discussion of approriate VSL's >for non-Christians. Speaking as a non-Mason, going only by what I >saw in those notes and the name, "Volume of the Sacred Law", I would >say that it would be appropriate for a Witch to use his _Book of >Shadows_ (a notebook containing that Witch's ritual practice) open to >"The Charge of the Goddess" (the closest thing to a creed Witches will >ever have, Gods willing). ^********** >I hope this is helpful, Yes, it's helpful. It tells me that witches cannot become Masons. It tells me that you don't believe in one, singular, supreme God. Therefore you, and others of your belief, cannot be Masons. Besides, having something "close to a creed" is not good enough. Your last statement sounds like you are apologizing even for having that much! Let me enlighten you with an excerpt from the Charge for the Entered Apprentice (1st) Degree [non-secret]: [ PT: I'm eliding this section. It discusses how a Mason should regard ] [ the VSL, and what can be learned from it. It repeatedly mentions ] [ "God", "His name", "Him", and "His", all in the masculine singular. ] Stuart Lewis P.M. King Soloman #60, F&AM P.H.P Robert B. Palmer #46, RAM ====================================================================== Date: Fri, 14 Feb 92 09:46:19 pst From: (Stuart Lewis) Subject: How does one become a Mason? >[ (Paul Clark) asks ] >[What is the mechanism by which one becomes a Mason? ] >[To what responsibilties does it bind you? ] >[How did list members decide to become Masons? ] I was going to just mail a reply directly to Paul, but maybe others would be interested..... One becomes a Mason by petitioning a lodge, voluntarily, of his own free will and accord. Mason's are forbidden to solicit membership into the fraternity. [I've heard a lot of commentary on this fact, but my own dad said it best: "We're a class act. They can come to us." (!)alright dad] Generally, this is accomplished through a friend or aquantance who is a member. Barring this, a simple phone call to a local lodge (most have answering machines) will get the ball rolling. If your local lodge does not have an answering machine, a call to one of the large, staffed lodges (i.e., a Scottish Rite temple should produce results. Upon receipt of a petition, the lodge master will appoint 3 brothers to an investigating committee. The chairman of the committe will contact the petitioner and schedule a time to come to his home and talk to him and his spouse about the fraternity, answer questions, check him out, etc. Neighbors and employers may also be contacted. (Oh, almost forgot, the petition must include a check in the amount of the initiation fees - varys from each lodge; generally from $100 (very low) to $500) [ PT: It would be interesting to compare fees in different places; at ] [ my lodge, annual dues are $60, and initiation is $120 (including first] [ year dues). $500 seems VERY high). ] After the committee has done it's thing, they report to the lodge, either favorable or unfavorable, and a secret ballot is taken by the lodge members based upon the report. If accepted, the petitioner will be notified and a date set for initiation and he is on his way. With respect to obligations and duties...... that's a tough one. There are so many qualities to which Masons strive. I could write volumes on this, but let me take a few of the non-secret text from some of our work.... [ PT: Once again, I'm eliding the ritual quotations. In this case, I'm ] [ replacing it with a quote on the identical topic from a pamphlet put ] [ out by the United Grand Lodge of England. ] [ ] [ The Three Great Principles: ] [ For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles: ] [ ] [ Brotherly Love ] [ Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the ] [ opinions of others and behave with kindness and ] [ understanding to his fellow creatures. ] [ ] [ Relief ] [ Freemasons are taught to practise charity, and to care, not ] [ only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, ] [ both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and ] [ works as individuals. ] [ ] [ Truth ] [ Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards ] [ and aiming to achieve them in their own lives. ] [ ] [ Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of ] [ achieving higher standards in life. ] As I said, I could write volumes, but that's a start. Stuart Lewis P.M. King Soloman #60, F&AM P.H.P Robert B. Palmer #46, RAM ====================================================================== From: Date: Fri, 14 Feb 92 14:29:23 -0500 Subject: Application procedures >[replying to ] First, you need to ask a Mason to join. In many cases the first response will be a quizzical shock. You see, its not something you get asked every day, and some people never, so the procedure is not too well known by everyone. This person will usually be your sponsor. The first thing your potential sponsor will do is ask himself a question: 'Is this person suitable for my lodge?' The answer should always be the same as to the question 'Would I be happy sitting next to this person in lodge?' Basically if you are a decent, upright individual, the answer will be yes. Your potential sponsor should then make sure you have a belief in Deity, that you are asking to join out of your own free will and accord, and that you know a little bit about what you are asking to do. Not knowing exactly what to do, your sponsor will then call up the Master of his lodge, which is exactly the right thing to do, and get a petition process started. This will usually happen very quickly so be prepared to meet with the Master, your sponsor and possibly others to fill out an application. The application asks for some personal data, questions about your belief in God, why you asked to join, and if you have ever made application in the past, etc., and also the names of a few people who will vouch for your character. It helps the process if they are Masons. You will pay an application fee at this time and at each of you degrees (timing and amount depend on the jurisdiction) that is relatively small, but also include your dues for the year. The reason this happens quickly is so that your application can be read (presented) in the next lodge meeting. After you petition is read in lodge, the Master assigns a committee to evaluate your suitability for joining the lodge. The members of the committee will all meet with you and may also check some of your references. (that's why it helps if they are Masons, they won't think it too weird.) This process sounds scarier than it really is. The committee just wants to answer the same question that your sponsor asked himself, 'Would I be happy sitting next to this person in lodge?' The committee prepares a report that is given in lodge. The report is never more than a simple thumbs up or down. (I've never seen a bad report. You can be fairly certain that if your sponsor is willing to sponsor you, you will pass the committee reports.) Based only on the reading of your application, any personal knowledge of you, and the committee report the lodge votes on your application. If the vote is favorable you are in. (Again don't panic about this vote, people don't vote against you unless they have a really good reason.) The next step is to take your degrees, of which there are three, and you have to take them at three different lodge meetings. Altogether the process from asking to becoming a Master Mason takes at very least 4 months+, two of which are nerve wracking, the other two very much fun. After you join you can give as much time to Masonry as you desire. The more you put into it the more you get out of it. > I'd enjoy hearing accounts from Masons on how they came to enter > all this comes down to wondering what the basis is for deciding > whether an individual and Masonry are appropriate for one another. > Thanks! > > -Paul Clark I think I went through the same decision process as you did. It felt like choosing to confess a religeous faith. It is not a decision of the same magnitude, so don't let it worry you so much. What Masonry is is a Fraternity filled with fellowship, charity, and tradition. Its biggest benefit is getting to know a group of men of like mind and character as yourself, who are always ready to be your friend and brother. Brother really does describe it here. It is like joining a family. You may not always get along with all your brothers, but you will always stand with them, and they with you, as a friend regardless of anything. Ken Flowers Norfolk Lodge A.F.&A.M. Needham, MA ====================================================================== Date: Fri, 14 Feb 92 09:46:19 pst From: (Stuart Lewis) Subject: Re: Revolutionary War anecdote. *Paul also included a story, some of which is below, that I want to comment on... > The stranger was armed (as was Gilbert), and by his clothes was a >soldier in the Loyalist Army- a redcoat. For a moment the two faced >each other warily, wondering what would happen. > Then Gilbert noticed that the stranger was wearing a Masonic >ring. He immediately gave a Masonic sign, which was immediately >returned. The two shook hands and departed in peace- rebel and >redcoat, but both Masons. > >-Paul Clark Sorry Paul. Not very likely - at least not as told. It's my understanding that the English do not wear Masonic jewelry outside the lodge room. I've been told this by various sources who have traveled to England and visited with English Masons. One, in fact, who is a member of my lodge brought back an English Masonic ring - just a smooth, oval, blue stone. When you push on it just right, it rotates the stone to reveal the square & compasses underneath. That is pretty standard in England. Masonic membership is treated *very* secretive in public there. Except of course for public ceremonies such as the laying of cornerstones. That's not to say the story didn't happen close to that. One or the other may have "gotten the drop" on the other which elicited a response recognizable as Masonic in origin. There are many, many stories of Masonic recognition and cooperation during the Revolutionary War. For example, when Washington's men overran a town so quickly that they found a lodge room with all the paraphenalia in place - candles still burning. Washington had his men gather every- thing up and sent a courier under a flag of truce through the British lines to return all of it. Stuart Lewis P.M. King Soloman #60, F&AM P.H.P Robert B. Palmer #46, RAM ====================================================================== From: (Ed Greenberg) Subject: Masonry in Upstate NY, and how do I become one? Date: Fri, 14 Feb 92 12:18:42 PST [Feel free to post this to the digest, answer it yourself, or just tell me to wait for the FAQ.] I've been receiving the Masonic Digest for a few issues now, and I've decided to stick my toe in the water with a question or two: My first exposure to real live Masons was in college in (where else?) upstate New York. I am a radio ham, and there were a number of Masons who were also hams. Through these connections, we chose to have our yearly radio club dinner at the Masonic Hall in town (this was Oswego, NY, for those interseted.) One of the things that I noted were that the identifiable Masons were the people who I looked up to the most. The ones that were always there for the radio club or for a ham who needed some help with his equipment, etc. Fine folks. Had I been a resident of the town, I might have looked into what Masonry was, how compatible it is with Judaism, etc. As a student, I did not do so. I want to go on record as hoping for an FAQ list promptly. One question I have is that of the relationship between Masonry and Upstate New York. That's one of my favorite areas, and even now, ten years after moving to California, I'm interested in it's history and mores. [ PT: could you expand on this question? It's rather opaque as it ] [ stands. ] As to my general interest in Masonry, and whether I might be compatible with it, should I just go up to my local Masonic Hall and ask somebody who they are and what the stand for, or is the process more complicated. [ PT: I hope this is answered adequately elsewhere in this issue. ] -edg PS, since sombody WILL ask, the people in Oswego that I knew were John Stone (W2PGS) and John Krause (WB2HWW) and this was in '76 and '77. ====================================================================== Subject: What is Masonry, anyway? Date: Fri Feb 14 15:01:31 1992 From: yet another anonymous... This is a personal question, not directed at the digest. If you want to quote the answer in the digest, please leave me anonymous. I have no antipathy to Masons and Masonry, and don't want anyone inadvertantly upset by the following question upset with me... I'm just curious: I know a little about Masonry, from descriptions in various books, but I don't understand what the basic point of it is. Is it a social club, like Rotary or Lions, or does it have a religious or spiritual basis, like Wicca or Christianity? Some writers treat it as if the ritual is the important thing, and that the point is to provide a replacement for the long-lost tribal structure humanity evolved with... others hint at gnostic secrets. Based on what I know you must have made a commitment before joining, so any such knowledge is unlikely. Since this commitment was been made on the basis of public knowledge, answering this question must be possible... So, why did you join? Why did you become a Mason? What is Masonry about? ====================================================================== From: Max Delysid ( Subject: OTO documents... After reading the letter in the recent issue from an excellent companion of mine in the north, i was reminded that I had promised these files to you . here they are: oto.txt - a contemporary introductory letter to interested parties. otohistory.txt - a contemporary essay on the roots and pupose of OTO and: oto1917.txt - a constitution from 1917 Therein are some strange things! Of course you (as orthodox masons) could not associate in a Masonic way from the phrasing and insinuations of the 1917 document, however - recent leadership has shied away from the statements of giving 'Masonic' Degrees and has adopted the posture that our degrees are BASED on Masonic thought. Does this let you out of your III* obligations? The rituals >have< been rewritten since the 1917 document, so the degrees that are passed today are not the same that were passed then... who knows>? It is good to have a forum to share these ideas!! (and I am interested in back issues and related files, a list?) [ PT: Thanks for the documents. Are you willing to send them out ] [ generally? ] ====================================================================== From: (Chuck Grandgent) Subject: Re: Status of OTO. Date: Thu, 13 Feb 92 14:56:26 EDT In the Masonic Digest I just got it says: >[ PT: The OTO is not on the list of organizations recognized as ] >[ "Masonic" by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (the only list I have ] >[ access to, but I expect it's the same for others). ] Would it be possible to post the list of organizations, or could I ask you about specific organizations if this is not possible. Thanks ! [ PT: Since anyone with a Constitutions can give the same answer, I ] [ will respond in full. ] [ ] [ Section 700 of The Consitutions and Regulations of the Most ] [ Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the ] [ Commonwealth of Massachusetts (thats a mouthful! :-) lists the groups ] [ which are recognized as regular and duly constituted Masonic Bodies. ] [ ] [ The language of the Section goes on for nearly a page, listing all] [ the levels of organization in each group, but it boils down to: ] [ ] [ * Other recognized Grand Lodges, and the lodges under them. ] [ * The York Rite. ] [ * The Scottish Rite. ] [ * The Shrine. ] [ ] [ Section 701 says: ] [ ] [ SPURIOUS MASONRY ] [ "Any Mason in this jurisdiction who shall confer, communicate, or] [ sell, or shall assist in or be an accessory to the conferring, ] [ communicating, or selling, or shall solicit any one to receive or ] [ apply for any degree called, claimed, or represented to Masonic, not ] [ herinbefore recognized or admitted, may be expelled from all the ] [ rights and privileges of Masonry." ] [ ] [ I'm trying to get (if such a thing exists), a list of "spurious" ] [ organizations. ] Chuck Grandgent, K1OM PictureTel Corporation Peabody, Massachusetts Voice: 508 977 8314 ====================================================================== Date: Tue, 18 Feb 92 17:29:15 PST From: (Tim Maroney) Subject: Re: Status of OTO. Hi, Peter. This one's for the list. You asked if the O.T.O. claims to make Masons. It did during the first two decades of this century, but has now ceased doing so, presumably to avoid the obstacle of being declared irregular. On the other hand, if you look at Francis King's collection of their initiation rituals, they do in fact confer Masonic titles and degrees to their candidates. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that this would be a barrier to Masonic contact. Do you mean that Masons are required to shun O.T.O. members? I had some Masonic friends when I was a member of the Order, and though they knew my status, this never came up. I would consider it to be rather harsh and dogmatic to decree a complete lack of contact with irregular Masonic orders. Tim [ PT: If I'm barred from Masonic contact with someone, it simply means ] [ that I cannot discuss Masonic secrets with him any more than I could ] [ with a layman, and I cannot attend non-public meetings of a spurious ] [ organization. In all non-Masonic contexts it's inoperative. ]


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