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Showing content with the highest reputation since 22/02/19 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Hi and welcome. I'd like to suggest that you avoid reading books on Freemasonry; they contain lots of spoilers which will take the edge off your initiation. I made that mistake and regretted it. You can read the information, and watch the videos, on the Grand Lodge website at https://www.ugle.org.uk/ , although I personally think that there are too many spoilers even there! The best way to find about Freemasonry, and whether it and you suit each other, is to talk to local members. I should point out, though, that the more you put into Freemasonry, the more you get out of it. While many members are happy to just sit back and watch the various ceremonies, you'll enjoy it far more if you take an active part, working your way through the various offices and up to the Master's Chair. Taking part in the ceremonies, especially as Master, can give your self-confidence a tremendous boost.
  2. 3 points
    I like the Scottish system that you do Mark in your craft lodge. Most lodges have one or two Mark degrees per year. No separate governing body and no other regalia therefore preventing unnecessary cost. I’d like to see HRA done in craft lodges in England as a “special meeting” when there’s a candidate. I don’t see the need for separate governing bodies. I’d keep all the other side orders separate.
  3. 3 points
    In 2019 Freemasons’ Hall London will once again be joining a host of important and historic buildings in London that are opening their doors to the public as part of the annual Open House weekend. This year FMH will be open on both days - Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September. As well as the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through the building and see the parts that others do not see there will also be the following activities: · Lodge Room tours · Children’s Trail · Lego Make and Take · Freemasons in regalia in the Grand Temple · Tea and Coffee for guests · An MCF stand with large teddy for raffle prize More information on the buildings taking part will be available from the Open House website (https://openhouselondon.org.uk/ ) from 20 August 2019.
  4. 3 points
    That's an absolute disgrace! Those brethren that push him to lie should be kicked out right away. I would report that immediately to the Provincial Secretary and if he does nothing than escalate. Did you raise your objections in open lodge? You can still report that by the way
  5. 2 points
    I think MrSifter has got it about right. I’d like to see the Mark in its proper place, between Passing and Raising, followed by HRA, all in the the Craft lodge. I’m rather pleased that the other orders are not in the vice-like and stifling grip of UGLE.
  6. 2 points
    I defo wouldn't want to try and "bring them in" as I don't see it as really practical and I also feel that doing so would add credence to their "legendary histories". I would, however, like to see a proper education given to Freemasons about their actual origins so that they can make their own informed decision about whether they want to get involved with them.
  7. 2 points
    Also, don't make the common error of buying things with the S&C containing the letter 'G'. Irish, Scots, Americans and some others uses that symbol quite legitimately but for an English Freemason it has no meaning. I would, however, advise waiting a while before getting items of this kind. About the only thing that a cautious Freemason might wear in public would be the little blue forget-me-not emblem (tip: research its origin). Rings and so on can be seen as a bit 'showy' and in some settings, particularly business, could easily be misinterpreted.
  8. 2 points
    If you are still a subscribing member (which you say you are), why not contact your lodge almoner? Just because you've not attended, doesn't mean you can't call on the lodge for assistance. I assume you are aware this is a UK forum?
  9. 2 points
    And the same invitation applies to you MrSifter - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised; I don't (nor, I suspect, does Jon) hear any such discussions here - and we're both in positions where we would hear of such. I can think of only one lodge in the Province where such talk may occur. I guess it does help when pretty much every member of the Province knows the PGM (he's also GSupt), Deputies, etc personally as between them they attend all Installations, and quite a few ordinary meetings. We are very much a 'family' Province.
  10. 2 points
    Yes, I think that's a pretty good analysis. UGLE only has to look at Whites or the Athenaeum to see how exclusivity works. Not that Freemasonry is a club; it's just the exclusive aspect and that is attractive to the kind who would be acceptable members. A sort of reverse Groucho Marx idea!
  11. 2 points
    That may be your opinion (about Grand Lodge) and you're entitled to it but I can tell you based on my own interactions with friends and acquaintances who are staff and officers of UGLE that when we talk about such things, and we do a lot, not one of them has ever said we need more Masons regardless of quality. Even the statement that started this topic which is an official pronouncement of Grand Lodge does not support your contention. It may be that because you're pretty new to Freemasonry that you don't realise that English Freemasonry was very much in the "public eye" from its very beginnings and even more so following the foundation of the Grand Lodge in 1717 and that it ONLY fell from public view during the second world war. Prior to that people didn't believe mad conspiracy stories about what was a very open and public organisation and had been for over 200 years and this is what UGLE is trying to combat. Any complaints that you have about how a Province deals with its recruitment have to be laid at the door of that Province because each of them is free to find its own way of doing things and they invariably do. I often poke fun at Provinces when giving presentations by pointing out that "the 47 Provinces plus London are very adept at finding 30 plus different ways of doing the same job or implementing the same initiative". Grand Lodge's direction ends with the Provincial Grand Master as he is the Grand Lodge Officer who takes it into his own Province where everyone does what he says. The same is true of private Lodges, they decide who they wish to accept into membership no one else does it for them and definitely not UGLE. I would also point out that Grand Lodge has made great progress since it first gave (back in the late 1980s) the instruction to drop the unnecessary and excessive secrecy employed by some of our brethren since the 1940s. You won't realise but we used to see evidence of the damage that had been done to the Craft on the first iteration of this very Forum, back in 2000, fighting (and it was fighting which is why the Forum Rules were devised) with those who had no idea what Freemasonry was but believing the most ridiculous trash being spouted on telly, newspapers and the newly burgeoning Internet about us.
  12. 2 points
    Ironically that is the point of the statement from Grand Lodge. Although Grand Lodge and Provinces are making great efforts to get the public profile of Freemasonry back to where it was before WWII it still remains the duty of individual Lodges to ensure that they are not Initiating Candidates who are not going to be a good fit for Freemasonry.
  13. 2 points
    We tend to stop wearing them once Provincial rank is gained, simply so they can be recirculated to newer PMs and to save the cost of buying additional ones.
  14. 2 points
    The shortest toasting I've seen is in our Mark lodge, some of the members of which (not me) are so senior that no-one dares to argue. We do the Queen and the GM, then the WM and the Visitors. The WM is toasted by saying "The Master" and any response longer than "Ta" is considered too long. Visitors are told that they may respond if they wish but they'll never be invited back. There is no fire at all and the whole lot gets done in 5 minutes.
  15. 2 points
    Regardless of what you do thereafter, I'd recommend sitting after the loyal toast in respect of the monarch.
  16. 1 point
    New one on me, too. Contemplate the Level!
  17. 1 point
    Also, by the way, avoid any books by American authors. Freemasonry in the US, while based on the same principles, has many differences to the way we do things in England.
  18. 1 point
    If you're intent on reading before your Initiation you should avoid ANY books that claim to be about philosophy/belief/explanation of Freemasonry as those written by Freemasons assume an audience of Freemasons so start with you already knowing the content of at least the degree ceremonies and those written by non-Masons are just guess work and so real chocolate teapot territory. ALSO beware books that loads of non-Masons tell you to read so all the Dan Brown and Bob Lomas stuff because again your Masonic BS filter does not work until you have actually been through the degrees and are able to spot the made-up stuff. There are some very good books about the development of Freemasonry in England and if you look in the books section you'll find a few reviewed there.
  19. 1 point
    Point them at their own advertising on their website regarding club & community accounts ...
  20. 1 point
    Bank staff can go to prison if they don't follow AML [money laundering] processes - hardly surprising they're 'obsessed' about getting it right
  21. 1 point
    Yup - you've no idea of the hassle I had getting the yearbook to be the correct colour - even though there is a Pantone number for Cambridge Blue. Nice story though.
  22. 1 point
    I have to say that I prefer our English pick-and-mix arrangement, with pre-qualifications, to a regimented order. We can select to our individual tastes and needs, as they develop over the years. Of course, it's the way I'm used to, so won't suit everyone.
  23. 1 point
    As to the forget-me-not, there have been many stories about its origin and use, including the ridiculous idea that German Freemasons used it for recognition during the horrific period from 1933 to 1945. Here is the paper by Alain Bernheim, highly respected Masonic researcher and international concert pianist, who was himself interred under the nazi regime. It's a lengthy and detailed paper but worth reading to get the truth: http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/bernheim3.html
  24. 1 point
    And Scientific No.88 and Isaac Newton 859 in Cambridge too......
  25. 1 point
    I'm putting this here so it doesn't get lost, sometimes research gets lost or forgotten:Excellent question.Quote:Originally Posted by geronimo Very interesting, Mike. Now, Tony Blair is alleged to be a 33rd degree Mason and a member of the Studholme lodge, (frequented by Alistair Crowley, founder of the OTO.)The facts, for you right now.Tony Blair is not a Freemason and even if he had been there is no doubt that he wouldn't be now as (I'm sure you know this) he very publically converted to catholicism at the hand of the Pope.However neither he or Crowley were members of the Studholme Lodge. Crowley mainly because he was never a member of any Lodges under the UGLE.The bit about Blair would only be an obvious fabrication to a Freemason, let me explain.The person who came up with that little gem chose Studholme Lodge because it was in fact the Lodge that Winston Churchill was Initiated into in 1901. Unfortunately what that person didn't know was that Studholme Lodge No.1591 changed its name in 1959 as it amalgamated with another Lodge and became United Studholme Lodge. That Lodge amalgamated again in 1976 and today it is called United Studholme Alliance Lodge No.1591. So if the person knew what they were talking about (rather than making it up) they would, at least, have said he was a member of the Studholme Alliance Lodge or if they really knew anything the United Studholme Alliance Lodge which it would have to have been.
  26. 1 point
    Ha ha that's better. You'll see that this is a bit more refined compared to other arenas as it's actually based in England. Have a look around and feel free to start topics, ask questions and generally get involved.
  27. 1 point
    Welcome to the forum. Bearing in mind your other post, it would be a good idea to introduce yourself here; your general background and your freemasonry to date.
  28. 1 point
    It's up to your own personal choice really, personally I find S&C gloves a bit tacky. I do wear a ring though.
  29. 1 point
    The only 'jewelry' I wear are cufflinks (Provincial Steward), and sometimes a tie clip. EDIT: and only when attending a masonic meeting!! RE: gloves .. it's personal preference; I got a pair with S&C on (free) when I purchase my latest regalia set, but the rest are plain white.
  30. 1 point
  31. 1 point
    Wow, so like a "tribute" Lodge in effect. Well I do hope that the Goose and Gridiron Lodge No. 1717 is a great success.
  32. 1 point
    Sentience, Come to Cambridge for a visit sometime, either Sontaran, David or myself can arrange a Lodge meeting. We are a good bunch, the Province is small and happy and you'll enjoy it S&F Jon
  33. 1 point
    I think you have missed the point!? Mr Sifter was not stating that they should be good ritualists, he did say that anyone who has reached and progressed through the Chair should at least be able to perform basic ritual to a high standard. I cannot see that this is wrong, I have always said ritual is only part of Freemasonry but surely we have to expect a minimum of effort and quality? There will always be exceptions especially members who have dyslexia or maybe learning difficulties, we should all be ready to jump in and help, however I have seen far too often recently Masons reaching the Chair and then have done absolutely nothing to justify the Lodge members selecting them to be Master! We all need to push ourselves to be the best we can possibly be, if we do this no one has the right to complain.
  34. 1 point
    There lies the problem. You are assessing a Brother's worth on his ability to deliver ritual. We are not an amateur dramatic society. I judge a Brother on whether or not he is just and upright, i don't give a damn whether or not he can memorise the ritual.
  35. 1 point
    That's exactly my point. I wrote about the principle of "exclusivity" a while ago in another post and that's the logic by joining any kind of particular group. I am firmly convinced that UGLE is using advertising techniques to recruit more members. From a professional point of view, it is very easy to recognise the patterns of modernisation, visual identity, and rebranding. These marketing strategies, are used to promote a product, in this case the product being Freemasonry. This a wrong approach in my opinion, firstly because we are talking about something that is above the mundane aspects of life and it should be treated in a different manner, and secondly is wrong from a professional point of view. In purely marketing terminology, in order to increase demand the product needs to be desirable and selective. As I said in another post, psychologically, people want to belong to something exclusive, not to something where everybody else belongs to. Everybody wants to be part of an elite. For the top notch products, you don't see advertising. They don't need to and also because they know that advertising the product means to cheapen it. This is called the luxury strategy, which aims at creating highest brand value by leveraging all intangible elements of singularity. Instead, UGLE decided to go for the fashion strategy where those intangible elements of singularity do not count; fashion sells by being fashionable, which is to say, a very perishable value. That's why you see the new re-branding campaign. In marketing I would compare Freemasonry to luxury, not fashion. Want to increase demand? You need to use the anti-laws i.e. forget about positions, luxury is not comparative; make it difficult for clients to buy; the role of advertising is not to sell; do not sell; do not hire consultants; do not test; do not look for consensus; do not sell openly. I very much believe that is what Freemasonry has been doing so far and that's why we have survived through the ages. Now they are changing the cards, and what will come will not be very good, in my opinion.
  36. 1 point
    I fully understand the concern but it's not a numbers game. As Bootlebuck says it: 'has to be quality over quantity'. If new members don't engage and commit, they will, understandably, leave and not recommend others to enjoy what we have to offer. As I've said elsewhere, I've instituted the interviewing of proposers, to see how well they know the person they are recommending. Further, directing the attention of all members new and second-hand to the information resource 'Solomon' to help them understand what and why we do what we do. All this is fairly recent so I don't expect to see much result for a while. In the forty years that I've been in this part of the country I'm experiencing many lodges large and small. The large ones in multi-occupancy masonic centres are forever bemoaning their reduction in numbers and the increasing accommodation costs. The smaller ones of less than a couple of dozen members are happy to keep to that level, have inexpensive village halls in which to meet, dine at local hostelries and have a family atmosphere absent in the larger lodges. A number of lodges, large and small, formed soon after great conflicts, may have outlived their purpose and struggle from year to year. The struggling usually brings unhappiness, so why carry on being unhappy? In fact, during recent years we have seen a thinning out of lodges that have failed to adapt to their changing circumstances. Two of my lodges have been going for over 200 years apiece and another is approaching 150 years and they have survived by adaptation. When I look around, survivors evidently do so by adapting. I also see once-populous lodges where the 'old guard' has made the lodge unattractive to younger prospective members. They will close, they know it - but not this month! The lesson I draw is to keep select, keep the numbers small, foster a genuine and caring family atmosphere, rent your own meeting place and keep costs down by avoiding the need for licensed and inspected catering facilities.
  37. 1 point
    I’m curious to know how UGLE define “unsuitable people”. I also find the gender neutral phrasing strange. Regardless, overt atheists, those with criminal records etc. are obviously “unsuitable” men but how far do you extend the term? My London lodge always manages to get candidates and all are what, prima facie, would be deemed good candidates. We’ve had barristers, taxi drivers, doctors, lorry drivers, former headmasters, IT consultants, magicians, pilots and all manner of professional men join in the last decade. Sadly our success and retention rate isn’t good and greater than 50% were ultimately “unsuitable”. One chap turned up roaring drunk for his initiation (I don’t think we should have done the ceremony) and failed to turn up for his passing, we never heard from him again and he ended up being excluded. Another joined (a salesman) and said all the right things at the enquiry. “Father in law was a Freemason, wife hugely supportive, plenty of free time, want to better myself as a person, love meeting new people”, and the list went on. It became clear he was only there to network for business opportunities. After two years and realising there was no financial gain, we never saw him again. The former headmaster told us at his enquiry he’d always wanted to join, loved the idea of LoI, learning ritual and also being a concert pianist was a “perfectionist”. He received an outstanding initiation in the December, attended the installation in March, then we never heard from him again. He completely ignored all attempts at contact then wrote to us about one year later saying he’d “lost his faith in God” and resigned. All of the above were known men to their proposer and seconder. Our current Master has been absolutely fantastic and was a UGLE referral, unknown to everyone. On the flip side we had another referral circa 2009 and we never saw him again after his raising. After nearly twenty years in the Craft I can’t say (in general terms) with any confidence who I know is suitable and who isn’t. I doubt UGLE could provide any further direction on that either, making their statement above both vacuous and otiose.
  38. 1 point
    Indeed and absolutely correct. How many actually know of the existence of b.ugle.org.uk? Not very many, I'm sure; I still come across even lodge mentors who have not heard of the Solomon knowledge resource. When faced with two options: 1. a willing and totally unknown candidate, perhaps originating from the provincial office, and 2. no other prospect of a degree 'ceremony' on the horizon, which is the lodge committee likely to choose? Answers on a postage stamp! For many years now, the system has been pushing the importance of a numbers game; it will take time to calm that down. Faced with that pressure from above as well as more unknowns from the Universities Scheme, I had a modicum of success in filtering out undesirables by trying to instill the need for each proposer to get to know the potential applicant over a period by informal meetings in public venues - think, interviewing the proposer! We find that unsuitable candidates are not prepared to wait a few months (i.e. those who are not prepared to wait are almost by definition unsuitable). Further, making sure the proposer is fully aware of his rule 171 responsibility tends cool his fervour and concentrate his mind on realities! Remembering that we are discouraged from soliciting new members, we need to turn our attention to the education of members old and new alike into the meanings and attributes of freemasonry. That way, good retention is achieved and a willingness to become involved. One aim being the attraction of suitable members through a common interest and desire to progress. /falls noisily off soap box!
  39. 1 point
    Thanks God they finally realise that! In my province it was all about increasing membership no matter the quality of the candidates.
  40. 1 point
    And I also apologise - I wan't actually making any point about jewels returning to the lodge .. I'm all for that - even though I'm no longer allowed to wear mine, I'm hanging on to it (with the lodge's knowledge) in the hope that it'll go to one of my sons. I'd add that it is a bit of an unusual jewel in that the original recipient proposed the next into masonry .. this has been repeated 4 times, with the last two being my late father and me. My father handed it back specifically so it could be presented to me. (The lodge then sprung a surprise; they presented him with a replacement jewel). It's worth observing at this point that I've just been given a lodge jewel from a PM who resigned (there was some disagreement in which the lodge found ourselves in the middle between him and a member of another lodge) to return to the lodge. What I was really 'commenting' on (badly it would appear ) was the bit about the ongoing misrepresentation that Provincial Officers are not permitted to wear PM jewels (not something you said I admit). It's something that keeps being quoted - but completely without foundation. Like I said, the only PMs not permitted to wear them are Grand Officers; as far as Provincial Officers are concerned, it's only local protocol that dictates one way or the other - and that can be different from Province to Province (or District to District).
  41. 1 point
    At no point did I say that it was 'personal property' - unless of course you purchased it (which I did). The problem is the statement that Provincial Officers cannot wear them (not true); it's local protocol that dictates whether they can/do. If a PM is presented with a jewel by the lodge by way of saying thank you, what does it say to the recipient if, because the Province then rewards him, the lodge appears to say "OK we'll have it back now"? If he relinquishes his membership, fine, but if he is still a subscribing member, isn't it a bit like saying "you're no longer important to us"? If he offers to hand it back, OK, but wasn't it presented to him to look after until he dies?
  42. 1 point
    Standards of behavior are not in themselves morals, although our morality may be reflected in and by such standards. I agree that vandalism is vandalism, but does an increase in vandalism move the boundary of morality? I don't believe it does. If a refusal to obey standards does lead to a decline in morality, where does that leave someone like Bootlbuck1, who, when asked to adhere to a certain standard of dress (no jeans), refuses to do so? I have no doubt that Bb1 is a man of exceptional morality. He choose, on this point, to flout the rules, but it did not affect his or our morality. Remember, someone who joins masonry with a less than good standard of morals is soon found out, and often the result is that he leaves or his morality improves. I know that does not apply to everyone, but I believe masonry has a way to deal with those who do not conform. I notice this is my third post on the subject and, since it appears to be generating more heat than light, it is my last. Just as a parting shot, my ritual in a certain place describes Brethren as being of "...good morals, great skill, true and trusty...". Note "good" morals. Not "perfect" or "excellent" or "exceptional", just "good". If we required perfect morals we would, firstly, have precious few members, and, secondly, they would not be able to make any improvement.
  43. 1 point
    For the sake of harmony, it is prudent to avoid religion and politics on social occasions. I struggle to understand how freemasons can avoid discussion about moral behaviour given the nature of the organisation. How to square diametrically opposed views of moral right is a challenge for a morally based organisation.
  44. 1 point
    Dear Brother, you are a Mason and nobody can take that from you for as long as you shall live. You must appreciate that lodges differ from one another and what may be a perfect fit for you may not be for others. Pay your dues and if you are not "feeling" the brotherhood, move to another Lodge where you feel more at 'home'. Don't let one experience paint a picture of a broken brotherhood. Freemasonry is alive and well.
  45. 1 point
    I too would like to welcome you to the forum.
  46. 1 point
    Welcome aboard. Sadly, it is quite rare to come across Freemasons from the Middle East nowadays :(
  47. 1 point
    Trouillogan (01/11/2016)There is actually no point in arguing with those kinds of masonophobic conspiracy theorists; they don't want to hear that their dyed-in-the-wool ideas won't stand up to authentic examination. Generally they only want to confirm their ideas with others of like mentality. Let them chatter among themselves and just walk away.I agree but there is a problem that their numbers are growing. Also, I'm sure some of the claims they make on those forums would open the forums up to prosecution as they accuse our organisation of many awful things.
  48. 1 point
    There is actually no point in arguing with those kinds of masonophobic conspiracy theorists; they don't want to hear that their dyed-in-the-wool ideas won't stand up to authentic examination. Generally they only want to confirm their ideas with others of like mentality. Let them chatter among themselves and just walk away.
  49. 1 point
    I would like to welcome you to the forum.Hope you enjoy your membership to the forum.
  50. 1 point
    I think alot of these rumors stem from the conspiracy theorists. There are other notable politicians also linked to Masonry, namely James Callaghan....Ken Clarke and Enoch Powell......purely on the grounds that they have attended Bilderberg conferences
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