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104 MM degrees at once

Discussion in 'Freemason's Lodge' started by Chuck66, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. Chuck66

    Chuck66 Traveling Man

    1,654
    1
    Mar 10, 2004
    East TN
    So........not that I'm a fan of one-day-conferrals, but I did manage to get volunteered to help out with one yesterday.

    In Abingdon, VA, we did a one-day for 104 people all at one time. I've never even been involved with such an event before, and don't think I want to do another one either. But, I have to say, it's really something to see 104 at once. I hear this is unusually large. We expected 50-60, and got way more than bargained for.

    Anyone else done one of these? How big?

    What does everyone think of the one-day-conferral concept? I'm not too fond of it. I saw a lot of guys not really getting much at all from what was done yesterday. It's likely that many will probably never show up in a lodge again, and may not even pay their dues. But, the grand lodge is happy, I guess. They made a fistful of money, and our lodge did manage to clear up 6 of our 16 outstanding candidates, who have been in varying states of progress, some of them for more than 10 years.
     
  2. Kimelac

    Kimelac Bada Bing! CLM

    424
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    Dec 16, 2003
    fughedaboutit
    I helped out yesterday in Alexandria. We had about 150.

    In the morning, I heard people mention that this was good because membership is down, by the time it was over there were no new members, but rather 150 new brothers.

    If they don't make it to lodge again, or fail to pay their dues, or have any other problems it's not their fault. It's the fault of their new family. They are your brothers. Help them as you obligated yourself to do, if it was your biological brother, you'd kick his ass to get to lodge, do the same for these new guys.

    If not because they don't know anything as of yet, then do it because YOU said you would. (remember your 3d degree obligation?)
     


  3. zoyter2

    zoyter2 Yeah, so what?

    4,697
    5
    Jun 25, 2002
    Anniston, Alabama
    I think that once, not all that long ago, Masons were respected as some of the finest folks in the community, even by those who were not familiar with Masonry.

    There was somewhat of a mystique to the Fraternity, and having the Lambskin was not only to possess an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason, but also know as the mark of a man who was somehow "above" the average guy.

    I also think that these "one day man to Mason" classes are among some of the reasons that Masonry has lost a lot of it's respect from the community at large.

    I know that you get some of these guys who will stick around, but I question how many of them would stick around anyway.

    We have to ask ourselves why we are doing this. Have we become "just another group of guys"? Why not even have a ritual? Why not just pay a fee, and you"re in?

    Is it to gain numbers? Quantity does not count for much if EVERYONE can spend a few hours and claim to be a MM.

    Is to get money? Is this all Masonry has become to us? Something that has to be fed? If so, maybe our numbers SHOULD dwindle and die, claiming only the most faithful among it's final members.

    I had a guy some up this crap to me more eloquently than I ever could. I asked him if he had ever had any interest in Masonry. He replied "Oh, I did the whole Masonry thing one weekend. I did not really see the point in most of it."

    Yeah, If I had my way, this would never happen.
     
  4. Chuck66

    Chuck66 Traveling Man

    1,654
    1
    Mar 10, 2004
    East TN
     
  5. Kimelac

    Kimelac Bada Bing! CLM

    424
    0
    Dec 16, 2003
    fughedaboutit
  6. jetboatdriver

    jetboatdriver CLM

    150
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    Nov 11, 2005
    TEXAS
    Not a fan of one days
    Certainly not a fan of 100+, unless you had about 500 people there working the degrees.
    Glad TX does not do them. There was an experiment with them a few years ago, but they are gone.

    I agree those of you in VA have your work cut out for you to keep your new relatives out of trouble, not bringing a bad name to Masonry and showing up at Lodge to grow in Masonry now that the seed it planted.
     
  7. RED64CJ5

    RED64CJ5

    1,987
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    Jul 7, 2003
    I think degrees in a day are bad news.

    What has Masonry become if all you need is to pay dues and go through a little mass-ceremony?

    As a young Mason (under 40), I find this practice will eventually lead to the demise of this great order.
     
  8. zoyter2

    zoyter2 Yeah, so what?

    4,697
    5
    Jun 25, 2002
    Anniston, Alabama

    Maybe not. Take every chance to speak against this practice. I believe more Brothers are against these than for them.
     
  9. RED64CJ5

    RED64CJ5

    1,987
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    Jul 7, 2003
    That's exactly what I do -- speak out against this practice of "easy degree" conferrals.

    It makes me wonder what kind of people think the strength of Masonry is in numbers. No offense to those who have gotten a one day degree and moved on to learn the work and be a true brother, but a lot of the one-dayers are card carriers / dues payers only.

    Is that what we want? To be another "club" where you pay dues and get a card?

    GlockTalk is probably not the venue for me to vent on this subject. That's why I have taken this up with all my Grand Lodge officers when the opportunity arises.
     
  10. Chuck66

    Chuck66 Traveling Man

    1,654
    1
    Mar 10, 2004
    East TN
    Well, actually, I think this particular forum is specifically designed just for that purpose. :wavey:

    Of course, you likely are preaching to the choir. I'm thinking that the one I did on Saturday will be my first and last. We pitched it to our long-languishing EAs and FCs as an opportunity to get it done. 6 of 18 bit, the other 12 said no thanks, either because they swear they'll do it old school eventually, and some just because of the expense of paying for all 3 degrees (even if you've paid for and received them previously) and 1st year's dues. Pretty pricey for our guys, over $250.

    So, anyway, now that we've done it, and everyone who was interested took advantage, I'd say we won't see much more interest in it should it come up again next year. Those of us who participated felt that it was lacking. None of us had done a one-day before, but we were willing to give it a go. We all remain unconvinced that it is a good thing over all. Can't say we didn't try it, and some good came of it, if our newly raised brethern will appear in the lodge (1 already has, at practice last night), but I think it was a one-time shot for us.
     
  11. jbirds1210

    jbirds1210 Willwork4ammo

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    Feb 10, 2006
    Texas City, Texas
    +1. I am glad it is not a practice in Texas.
     
  12. jetboatdriver

    jetboatdriver CLM

    150
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    Nov 11, 2005
    TEXAS
    +10,000
     
  13. machinisttx

    machinisttx

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    Jun 23, 2007
    North TX
    You may or may not remember me telling you this, but when I joined one of the questions I asked was about the one day "Blue Lightning". I was happy to hear that they were not offered, as I wanted to do it the old fashioned way.

    IMO, they cheat both parties. When something is earned, it has value. When it's freely given without regard to effort, it does not possess any value to the recipient in the majority of cases. The forms, ceremonies, symbols, etc. all are meant to cause the wheels of a man's mind to being turning, to seek more than just a title and a ring, more even than a man can accomplish in a lifetime of devoted study.

    If, at some point, my lodge does offer the one day option, I will demit and either find another lodge or give it up entirely. I understand that some folks have a shortage of time, however I think it is a rare person who cannot spare 4-5 hours a month to learn. If they aren't willing to put in the time, they won't get much out of it and the meanings are lost, the Fraternity whithers away.
     
  14. nationwide

    nationwide

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    May 10, 2002
    Having completed my third degree today, I can only say "WTF?!?!?!" :wow:

    No way I'd want to participate in that, as a candidate or participating in the work.
     
  15. mmsig229

    mmsig229

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    Jan 26, 2003
    Ohio
    I couldn't disagree more with the notion that a one day Mason is any less that anyone else. You're made a Mason in your heart, not in a building. My entire officer line (except for the JD) is made up of one day Masons. Ohio has been doing this for years and a study had found that one day Masons are not found to be any less active, or drop out with any greater regularity than the others. I know of many current Masters (including myself) that went through the one day class. If one of these Brethren would like to experience the long way, I let them be an exemplar candidate for a practice. This topic has been beaten to death here before, and always ends up bad. Good day to all my Brethren, no matter how you were raised.
     
  16. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo

    4,576
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    Feb 28, 2006
    Texas
    I don't think the "one day" conferral makes a Brother any less of a Mason.. my fault with the system is not with the BROTHER.. rather with the SYSTEM. I think the new Brother is being cheated in some of the beauty of the degrees.

    I did a "one day" York Rite Festival. I remember nothing, nada, zero of the modes of recognition. I only know the lessons of the degrees because I have sense read and re-read them.

    Contrast this to my EA, FC, and MM degrees which took me a couple of months each and many hours of one on one practice with my instructor and it's not even in the same league from an experience standpoint. Having a respected brother deposit so much time and knowledge into a younger brother is a special thing and the relationship lasts forever. I guarantee if you ask any brother who instructed them.. they can tell you. I can't even tell you who conferred any of my YR degrees.

    So you see, I dislike these because of what we are taking away from the new brothers..not what they are taking from "us".
     
  17. mmsig229

    mmsig229

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    Jan 26, 2003
    Ohio
    The chicken or the egg???The one day classes were a result of what the new Brethren wanted. The beauty of the Degrees can be seen as an exemplar, or from the body of the Lodge. What worked 50 years ago, will not work today. Feel free to do things exactly the way they were done then, and I guarantee that you'll be sitting in an empty Lodge room a few years from now without even enough Brethren to open.
     
  18. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo

    4,576
    0
    Feb 28, 2006
    Texas
    I agree that is what some brethren wanted. Given the easy road, some will inevitably chose it.

    I agree that the manifestations of the degrees should be seen in the body of the lodge. I do believe, however, that the catechism educates and re-enforces the lessons to the brethren.

    I respectfully disagree. There are things that worked 50 years ago which won't work today, and there are things that worked 200 years ago that work today.

    This is simply not the case in my lodge. We are a lodge of roughly 200 brethren. The day I was initiated (only 4 years ago), I was one of 6 EA's done back to back to back. All 6 of us were raised as Master Masons and passed long form examinations. I was the *oldest* at 35. We have a degree nearly every week in my lodge, and the majority of brethren are in their 20's and 30's. I simply do not find what you describe to be accurate.

    Again, what I find unsavory about the "all the way in one day" system is NOT the brethren it produces, but what we are robbing from those brethren. I do not think they are lesser Mason's. However, I think having someone you respect invest so much time in you makes you understand the SERVICE aspect of the fraternity and commit yourself to that same service to other brethren.

    I believe that Lodges are failing due to many circumstances; migration of the younger demographic away from rural areas, the number of other factors competing for a prospective brothers attention, busy family schedules, etc. I don't believe (nor has it been my experience) that requiring a brother to complete the degrees and associated work has been a factor.

    So, I respect your opinion that the "blue lightning" systems are a viable tool for your Grand Lodge. But I completely disagree, and think you may well be out of line in saying

    "Feel free to do things exactly the way they were done then, and I guarantee that you'll be sitting in an empty Lodge room a few years from now without even enough Brethren to open."

    May peace and harmony prevail,

    Marco
     
  19. zoyter2

    zoyter2 Yeah, so what?

    4,697
    5
    Jun 25, 2002
    Anniston, Alabama
    There is truth in what you are saying. In Alabama we are down to <30K Brothers for the first time in history. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that losing 1000 Brothers a year will end Masonry if we don't do things differently.

    I know in many states around ours, MarcoPolo's experiences as to the amount of new brothers is NOT common. Masonry is slowly dying off in my area.

    One of the things that CAN change is how we promote Masonry. We are planning a fund raiser, not for US, but for a local children's charity. We intend to put Masonry in the forefront of the public's eye once again. We are going to a local event (Octoberfest) and will hand out pamphlets and bottles of water.

    In the past, Masons have been very hesitant in discussing Masonry among the profain, and this must change. We must take every opportunity to recruit new blood. Sure, we cannot ask, but we can tell good men "If you EVER wish to become a part of our Fraternity, just ask me....that's all you have to do".

    I don't like the idea of having the Fraternity with no more requirements than $50 and a free day. I know we have gained some good Brothers from this, no doubt, but generally speaking, we only value the things for which we have to work in order to gain.

    There has to be some middle ground somewhere.
     
  20. mmsig229

    mmsig229

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    Jan 26, 2003
    Ohio
    Like I stated earlier, the one day classes have been very succesful in Ohio. The members of these classes have gone on to be officers and done a really good job with the ritual in my opinion. We have one of the smallest Lodges in our district but do tremendous things in the community. We've had several presentations this year about Masonry which were open to the public, along with blood drives, participation in parades, and serving food at city functions. We also anticipate receiving the Grand Masters Award at Grand Lodge this November. There are specific criteria involved with this award regarding membership, ritual, community involvement, and charity. Less than 10% of the Lodges last year achieved this. Not too bad for a Lodge where all but one progressive line officer attended the one day class. What takes place in the Lodge room is only a small part of what Freemasonry is about.