Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saving Freemasonry: Self-Reliance

The quote below was taken from Chris Hodapp’s Blog Freemasons for Dummies. It’s an idea by a young Freemason about how to save Freemasonry. I agree with most of what he says but believe that he’s a bit too Pollyanna-ish in his view of the present Masonic system in the United States. At Halcyon Lodge we have all the things that he concludes are important to the future of the Craft, and we’ve had them for almost a decade. Yes, they work great! To keep them we had to divorce the Grand Lodge of Ohio. It was the best decision we ever made.

Perhaps the new young Freemasons should read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance? When you are self-reliant you can succeed at anything. The Founding Fathers of the United States were entirely self-reliant, and many of them were Freemasons. Freemasons need to learn how to be self-reliant again.

Another awesome essay on how to save Freemasonry is Rich Graeter’s Reform Freemasonry!

"I read a lot of blogs, articles and books on Freemasonry. I see brothers concerned with the state of Freemasonry. Some are concerned with quantity and some are concerned with quality. Both groups are only trying to do what they feel is best. On one end, you have the “mason in a day” approach and on the other end you have the Traditional Observance Lodge movement. There are also some of us, probably most of us, who like the materials we have been given by our Grand Lodges and just want our brothers to use them. Just use them. That’s all. Get rid of the short forms, only do one degree per man at a time, enforce memory work, have a list of articles from the Grand Lodge to be read at each meeting on the hidden mysteries of Freemasonry, allow the consumption of alcohol after the meeting in the lodge and that’s it. No need to start new lodges. No need to force a dress code. Freemasonry can be done in casual clothes, too, if the ritual is spot on. It is all a matter of preference, not divine law. Just make a few, simple changes to the ones we have and we will REALLY see an improvement. Put more Masonry in Masons. If this plan is adopted and enforced by the Grand Lodges, we will maintain unity and quality AND…I think we will start to see some numbers again."

"My generation wants the old school brotherhood, the fun and the fraternity. We want the brandy and cigars. We also want the esoteric stuff. We want to earn it. We want the rituals. We want the Jedi, the Hogwarts. There is no need for a new book or anything fancy. Just put what I have suggested into motion and viola, our Craft is back on track. It has to start at the top and from the grassroots."

"Young Freemasons have to do their part. Hang in there with your lodge. Don’t start a new one. Start living these reforms. Be patient and loving to your older brothers. Show some respect. They kept it alive this long when our fathers wouldn’t join. Eventually, we will outlive the naysayers and we will be Freemasonry. Just maintain quality and wait. It will be our Masonic conspiracy."


Chris Hodapp said...

Except that, as long as you remain outside the regular grand lodge system, your members can't visit other Masons anywhere else in the world. Do you explain that to your new members when they petition?

Self-centered self-reliance is fine, but isn't this supposed to be a wider fraternity than just one lonely blue lodge in Cleveland?

Just askin'

Chris Hodapp said...

And by the way, the words were not written by me, but by Brother Matt Johnson at his blog How To Save Freemasonry.

Halcyon Lodge 498 said...

Most of our new members come from the "regular" Grand Lodge system and, like us, left for good reason.

Since when is self-preservation considered self-centered? If we had remained in the so-called "regular" system we would have went bankrupt and lost our temple like the Scottish Rite in Cleveland did this year.

We don't have a problem with "regular" Freemasonry. Our problem is with a Grand Lodge that lacks the common sense to understand what it takes to run a 30,000 sq./ft. historical building. It's none of their business who we rent our real estate to, or whether or not we allow alcohol at weddings and other events.

We also have a problem with Masons like you who purposefully only tell one side of the story. We tried for several years to get the Grand Lodge to work with us instead of against us. In the end it was their insane demands that caused us to leave.

Blaming us for the problem is like blaming Ma and Pa Kettle for the collapse of Wall Street. We had no control of anything until we left the Grand Lodge system.

Once upon a time you said to prove to you that there was a better way. Well, we don't have a better way to make Freemasons but we do have a much better way to run a lodge, and the results are obvious. Our building is being restored thanks to better business practices and a little common sense. If you were true to your word then maybe you should tell the real story of what happened in Cleveland, and the successful turnaround that was a result of it.