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Old 12-15-2012, 09:47   #1
jakebrake
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ran across this in another forum...uhhhhh.

it appears that an edict has come down from the grand lodge of florida....

we all took an oath. we swore to believe in a higher power...

is your higher power good enough? there is a link to the actual letter. i'll include that as well.

this is unmasonic, and moves us in the wrong direction, in my belief. i do not subscribe to the religions in question. however...

http://therelevantmason.blogspot.com...master-of.html

http://emlc.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/FL-Grand-Master_s-Ruling-and-Decision-No-3-Religion.png


and you guys thought this would be a slow day in the lodge.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:40   #2
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My Brother,

First of all you should not pass judgment on another jurisdiction's Grand Master.

Secondly, Masons don't take "oaths" they take Obligations. We also never swore in that obligation that we believed in a higher power. I don't know about your jurisdiction, but a candidate for Masonry here must profess believe in the one ever-living and true god, and also must profess belief in the immortality of the soul and resurrection of the body. This must professed before they are a "Brother" - and before they are even eligible to take the obligation. The requirement that you believe in a "higher power" is nonsense, and it isn't what the ancient landmarks say or what your own petition probably says. Each candidate must take his obligation upon the Volume of Sacred Law ("VSL") of his belief. Many of the religions named by MW Aladro are incompatible with Freemasonry, and others do not have a VSL.

I've been following this situation since it started, and I have discussed this issue with district instructors, and numerous past district deputy grand masters. I'd like to just start with Odinism. Contrary to your first impressions, it has nothing to do with the god Odin. Odinism is a form of Germanic neopaganism that believes in many gods, many races of gods, and that inanimate objects possess souls. This religion is INCOMPATIBLE with Freemasonry as a whole. While other religions such as Wicca and Gnosticism may be viable options for Masonry, the problem still exists that no VSL exists for these religions.

Agnostics usually question the existence of God, so they're out.

Gnostics - I disagree with this one as there are Christian Gnostics, but it will be flushed out in the jurisprudence committee next Grand Lodge.

Pagans/Wiccans? - NO VSL. How can a pagan who doesn't believe in Christianity at all....obligate himself upon a Bible? HE CAN'T! It's backwards and wrong, and thus until the wiccan movement can prove it believes in the existence of one ever-living and true god, the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, and get a VSL, then unfortunately they will not be able to become a Mason.

Also just before anyone starts the whole "WHITE CHRISTIANS ONLY" thing that everyone has been screaming about the GM's ruling....you should know that the GM is a Cuban born native spanish speaking Catholic. He isn't exactly Mr. WASP.

If you ask me, the guy who started all this is to blame. If he didn't like what the GM said, he should have kept his mouth shut and waited until MW Aladro was out of office. But no, he decided to get in the Grand Master's face, question the Grand Master's interpretation of the Digest (GM is only person in my jurisdiction qualified to interpret it), and then fight with the GM. By doing this, rather than keeping his mouth shut like our Pagan Brothers do (our lodge has a few Pagans...they just keep their mouth shut), he started a crapstorm that hurt him and all his other fellow pagans. He did more damage to his own cause than the Grand Master did IMO.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:54   #3
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Also just to give you some ideas...we aren't the only GL that does something like this. I wouldn't be surprised if your own code had similar provisions like the ones below:

This is from the Grand Lodge of California's Code - as you can see it clearly lists acceptable VSL's and beliefs.

Quote:
23030. RACE AND RELIGION NOT A CONDITION.
Racial or ethnic background, color of skin, or religious belief, except for the requirement of a belief in a Supreme Being, shall not be considered either for membership or visitation.

and

26295. ALTERNATE HOLY WRITINGS.
A candidate for the degrees in Masonry may select alternate Holy Writings on which he will be obligated, but only under the following circumstances:
A. If a man does not wish to be obligated on the Holy Bible, he must select alternate Holy Writings from a list promulgated from time to time by the Grand Master of the Holy Writings of those recognized religions whose theology is not inconsistent with a belief in a Supreme Being and a future existence. The Grand Master's list shall at all times include the al-Kitab al-Aqdas of Bahaism, the Tripitaka of Buddhism, the Analects of Confucianism, the Vedas of Hinduism, the Koran of Islam, the Tanach of Judaism, the Koji-ki of Shintoism, the Adi Granth of Sikhism, the Tao-te Ching of Taoism and the Zend Avesta of Zoroastrianism. In selecting alternate Holy Writings, the man must state that the book chosen is the Holy Writings of his religious faith.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:57   #4
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and, i can honestly say, that if i see an edict from my grand lodge, i will be ending my journey right then and there.

as a christian, my job is not to put your god through a test to see if he is worthy.

as a brother , it is my responsibility NOT to. as far as passing judgement on a r.w.g.m., he has just alienated a brother by his statement of masonic trial. if he speaks for you, that's fine. he will surely not speak for me.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:55   #5
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Originally Posted by jakebrake View Post
and, i can honestly say, that if i see an edict from my grand lodge, i will be ending my journey right then and there.

as a christian, my job is not to put your god through a test to see if he is worthy.

as a brother , it is my responsibility NOT to. as far as passing judgement on a r.w.g.m., he has just alienated a brother by his statement of masonic trial. if he speaks for you, that's fine. he will surely not speak for me.
I find it very difficult to believe that your sentiments are in amity with the sentiments of your Grand Lodge. I know we have a few Brothers here from PA, and maybe they can chime in.

To your statement that it is not your job to put the candidate's god through a test...do you understand that it is a requirement that all Masons believe in one god? Or do you just have no respect for the institution and the ancient landmarks? The very first question on my GL's petition DIRECTLY questions the petitioner's beliefs in one true and ever living god. We also question the nature of a man's belief before we initiate him...so I would say that it very much matters what a man's beliefs are and they should be questioned.

Do you think polytheists and Odinists should be initiated? Odinists believe in a race of Gods, and believe that inanimate objects have souls. I just want to be clear on Odinists alone...I'm not saying agnostics/gnostics/wiccans, but merely Odinists...do you or do you not think their beliefs are compatible with Freemasonry?
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Old 12-17-2012, 15:14   #6
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perhaps it's my ignorance, or the way that the question was posed to me. i was asked if i believed in God. i do. perhaps my God is not the God that the bretheren in my lodge believe in.(i believe in the triune god) i respect that. if a belief in judeo-christian religion is the only way to be, then that should be explained up front. and that surely was not how it was explained to me.

my problem, is that this becomes the (i hate to use this overused phrase...but...) slippery slope.

at what point does a sikh, or a muslim (i have a muslim in my lodge) become disqualified? this is the issue i take. it is a fraternity these men may have been part of for years. many may have given more to the lodge than could ever be asked of them. i cannot bring myself to embrace the idea of shunning a brother that has given me guidance.

if it is a (again...lack of a better phrase) deal-breaker that these men belong to a religion that isn't fitting, this should have been dealt with at inquiry. not when a man may have dedicated years to the fraternity. possibly having served as an appointed or elected chair.

just my viewpoint. you don't agree, and i respect that.
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Old 12-17-2012, 17:37   #7
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Intersting but sad, no one man needs to be a professed "Christan" to be a Mason, but need only to profess in a GOD, and no man has the right to question him on it,, the chamge I see among Lodges now a days makes me glad I with drew, the teachings are changing to fit the new world views and that isn't or wasn't the way
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Old 12-17-2012, 17:56   #8
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Intersting but sad, no one man needs to be a professed "Christan" to be a Mason, but need only to profess in a GOD, and no man has the right to question him on it,, the chamge I see among Lodges now a days makes me glad I with drew, the teachings are changing to fit the new world views and that isn't or wasn't the way
Did you even read the edict? Nobody says you must be a Christian. We have a Muslim Past Master at my lodge, and I have personally met Rosicrucians, Hindus, Kabbalists, and many Jews who are Brothers. Nobody is going after them or questioning their beliefs. Anything you read about this edict being "Christian only" is either a lie or your own ignorance. This edict merely bans those religions which are either 1) polytheistic and therefor incompatible with the ancient landmarks; or 2) so undefined that those religions do not offer a valid Volume of Sacred Law upon which the candidates can be obligated.

Again, what book does a Wiccan take the obligation on? The Bible?! They don't even believe in the Bible, so how can they be obligated upon it? That is the problem with these fringe "religions" and it is the reason why the Grand Master had to issue this edict. This (IMO) could easily be solved if the Investigation Committees did their job and asked the candidate:

"What religious book do you plan to take your obligation on?"

Then the lodge would immediately know whether the person's belief system was compatible with Freemasonry.
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Old 12-17-2012, 18:24   #9
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I think that it is interesting that a club which is dying on the vine in terms of membership, would promulgate and enforce such exclusionary dogma.

"There are fewer Masons today — by nearly a million — than there were in 1941 as the country came out of the Great Depression, says Richard Fletcher, executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America. There are an estimated 3 million members worldwide and 1.5 million in the USA, he says, compared with more than 4 million members in the USA in 1959."
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Old 12-17-2012, 19:11   #10
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I think that it is interesting that a club which is dying on the vine in terms of membership, would promulgate and enforce such exclusionary dogma.

"There are fewer Masons today — by nearly a million — than there were in 1941 as the country came out of the Great Depression, says Richard Fletcher, executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America. There are an estimated 3 million members worldwide and 1.5 million in the USA, he says, compared with more than 4 million members in the USA in 1959."
The requirements haven't changed, but what has are the world around us and the people in it. As technology advances, lodge meetings and fraternal events are replaced with facebook, tweeting, and other things such as HDTV, on demand movies, and the internet. The desire and need to go out and socialize have diminished since the times when Masonry flourished.

As for the people, some of them don't hold the same beliefs they used to. We are, as a nation, declining in our commitment to religious beliefs. Deity is being shunned in our government and our public schools. It is not surprising that less men today are attracted toward a fraternity that is based upon the Brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God. If you don't even really believe in God, or you find yourself indifferent to the subject, then you probably won't seek out an organization that requires you believe in a Supreme Being and take an obligation upon your faith's holy book.

Our fraternity is doing the exact same thing it's been doing since the days of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. The same requirements apply today as they did then, you must believe in one ever-living and true god, be a man, freeborn, of lawful age, and well recommended.

As for the dying numbers thing, it is my personal belief that I would rather fewer Brothers, but more quality Brothers. We as Masons should not accept just anyone who comes to our doors. We are forbidden from recruiting because the man must come to us. We cannot force people to join, nor would we attempt to. My lodge dues are only $200/year...if they made it $1000/year I would still pay to make up for the smaller numbers. But, I will say, as an officer of my lodge, we have seen a resurgence in membership among the youth. I'm 26 years old and I'm not the youngest. Our youngest officer just turned 21 yesterday. We initiate men under 30 on a pretty regular basis down here. Just some thoughts regarding your post.
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Old 12-18-2012, 00:22   #11
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My lodge dues are $50.00 a year. If they raised it past $100.00 a year, they can pound sand. Being a Mason is not about paying your dues. My lodge is not a money making venture like I'm embarrassed to admit some are.
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Old 12-18-2012, 16:31   #12
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My lodge dues are $50.00 a year. If they raised it past $100.00 a year, they can pound sand. Being a Mason is not about paying your dues. My lodge is not a money making venture like I'm embarrassed to admit some are.
and my lodge isn't either. here in the states, they are amazingly low in comparison to some of the lodges overseas. i see those bretheren making that commitment as very serious. we always hear how america is the richest country in the world. to compare what we pay, i see it as a pittance. still, we have brothers in our lodge that can't pay dues (loss of a job, older and on fixed income). know what? we step up to the plate for them. and are happy to see those brothers. that's part of what freemasonry symbolizes to me.

our new w.m. was installed last night. he wants to make our lodge more of a force for giving back to the community. more inclusive of our families (as in, not just a banquet, but maybe a summer break get together. this type of thinking i think will attract new members.

i heard the "dying on the vine" statement. when i was visited, we discussed this. my wife belongs to the coast guard auxilliary. they are having the same issue. the power squadron charter i belonged to folded because none of the new members wanted to get involved, and new membership was faltering. ask the local lions club, or moose lodge, or kiwanis. same issue. because the world has changed. and a sense of civic duty, or fraternity, or giving back in any way aren't "me and my instant gratification" enough, and that's sad. if more people paid attention, or even bothered to look at a world past their own front door, who knows? maybe ranks would swell faster than anyone could imagine.

freemasonry will not die. despite every rumor, mistruth, and distortion.

my issue was what i explained.

and, Hyksos, i appreciate your debate, opinion, and candor. and i gladly say to you...Brother. you are truly wise. i respect you.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:11   #13
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and my lodge isn't either. here in the states, they are amazingly low in comparison to some of the lodges overseas. i see those bretheren making that commitment as very serious. we always hear how america is the richest country in the world. to compare what we pay, i see it as a pittance. still, we have brothers in our lodge that can't pay dues (loss of a job, older and on fixed income). know what? we step up to the plate for them. and are happy to see those brothers. that's part of what freemasonry symbolizes to me.

our new w.m. was installed last night. he wants to make our lodge more of a force for giving back to the community. more inclusive of our families (as in, not just a banquet, but maybe a summer break get together. this type of thinking i think will attract new members.

i heard the "dying on the vine" statement. when i was visited, we discussed this. my wife belongs to the coast guard auxilliary. they are having the same issue. the power squadron charter i belonged to folded because none of the new members wanted to get involved, and new membership was faltering. ask the local lions club, or moose lodge, or kiwanis. same issue. because the world has changed. and a sense of civic duty, or fraternity, or giving back in any way aren't "me and my instant gratification" enough, and that's sad. if more people paid attention, or even bothered to look at a world past their own front door, who knows? maybe ranks would swell faster than anyone could imagine.

freemasonry will not die. despite every rumor, mistruth, and distortion.

my issue was what i explained.

and, Hyksos, i appreciate your debate, opinion, and candor. and i gladly say to you...Brother. you are truly wise. i respect you.
Thank you Brother Jake. I hope you understand that I wasn't trying to be too confrontational with you, but I wasn't sure about your exact stance. I too am a member on another forum and saw the same postings. Some people on that forum even went so far as to call my Grand Lodge a "racist, dictatorial, KKK-infested, Christian only, good ol' boys club." This man was a Prince Hall Mason...but still, that's a pretty ignorant statement to make. My only point was that our Grand Master made this edict because the lodges were not doing their job.

This Edict will be reviewed by the Grand Lodge Jurisprudence Committee at the next Grand Lodge session in May and it may be struck down. Or, the new Grand Master may issue a contradictory edict which would then force the Jurisprudence committee to rule.

IMO - as I said earlier - this edict merely excludes those religions that are incompatible with Masonry on their face because they are polytheistic, OR, it excludes religions which cannot produce a valid Volume of Sacred Law upon which the candidate may take his obligation.

It should be noted though, for all those on-lookers, that it is my understanding that all 51 Grand Lodges in the USA (50 states + DC) require that the HOLY BIBLE be present on the altar at all times. While a candidate may have his VSL placed ON TOP of the Bible for his obligation, it is against the rules anywhere in this nation for the bible to be removed from the altar in lieu of another VSL. The other VSL will be placed on top of the Bible for the Obligation, and then removed.
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Old 12-19-2012, 15:56   #14
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I had heard that about the bible before.

For what it's worth, I personally couldn't care less what God you believe in or what political party you side with.
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Old 12-21-2012, 17:09   #15
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I had heard that about the bible before.

For what it's worth, I personally couldn't care less what God you believe in or what political party you side with.
i'm right there with you, Brother.

it's funny that Hyksos mentioned aprince hall brother viewing us in that respect. at our consistory this year, the S.G.I.G. George M Calloway 33 degree of Prince Hall Philadelphia was present. he was raised as a master in 1956. (back then, prince hall was viewed as "Irregular".) he contacted Samuel Williamson (at the time, G.M. of the R.W.G.L.of Pa). the two men met, aware of the situation, but, arranged for the order of the DeMolay and the Knight of Pythagoras to meet in Elizabethtown, Pa.

fast forward to 1995, when the G.L. of pa, and Prince Hall of Pa decided they would like to recognize each other. and, june 11 1997, the Grand Lodge of England approved the recognition of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Oct. 27 of this year is the first time that all of us got toghether for the first time.

not a lot of dry eyes to be found that day.

if i can ever find a link to the story, i will joyfully post it for all to see.


brotherhood can cross many boundaries. i was honored to see that bridge gapped.
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