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Mike Martin

Increase in Unsuitable Candidates

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27 minutes ago, WalterMGTOW said:

I don't know how many non-members have commented here, but as an interested outsider, I can offer my thoughts.

My interest is partly in the exclusivity. If I wanted to join an organisation that accepted just anyone, then FM wouldn't necessarily stand out from the crowd. I would've joined years ago had it not been for a rather rogue-ish element that deterred me, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that thought. Having read what I could about FM, in my mind's eye I had a view of what to expect & it was not met. Perhaps it was just that particular lodge, perhaps I had built up an exaggerated expectation, but something didn't tally so I waited.

I have put a lot of time into preparing myself, not just for membership but for doing it the right way, and I don't want the experience cheapened by people who value the organisation for the wrong reasons, or because they don't fully understand the nature of initiation & the role that the Mystery School plays in that.

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.

 

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6 hours ago, nymaso3 said:

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.

 

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!

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On 6/3/2019 at 7:48 PM, DavidGoode said:

@Trouillogan, I know what it would take, but I also know it will never happen, for the reasons you outline in your opening three paragraphs. What it would take is this, for UGLE to abandon the exoteric and divisive "honours" system and embrace some of the orders beyond Craft and RA. Mark, RAM, and A&AR would be a start.

It's a pipe dream, I know, but that would be a radical move which would bear fruit.

 

David,

 

I agree with what what you say about “honours” and personally find them abhorrent. It really brings the worst out in a lot of people. I also fail to see how it is an “honour” when just about everyone gets them on time served. 

 

That aside, I’m not sure how ditching the “honours” system and embracing the side orders would make any impact? Curious to understand your thinking here. 

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9 minutes ago, MrSifter said:

That aside, I’m not sure how ditching the “honours” system and embracing the side orders would make any impact? Curious to understand your thinking here. 

My thinking is quite simple: the exoteric honours system has (I believe) become so prominent to make up for a lack of any meaningful esoteric content. How different might English Freemasonry feel if everyone wore the same plain white apron in Craft lodges, an ordinary companion's apron in the RA, with a clear pathway from Craft to Royal Arch to the 18th Degree of the Ancient & Accepted Rite, the Rose Croix, for example.

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56 minutes ago, DavidGoode said:

My thinking is quite simple: the exoteric honours system has (I believe) become so prominent to make up for a lack of any meaningful esoteric content. How different might English Freemasonry feel if everyone wore the same plain white apron in Craft lodges, an ordinary companion's apron in the RA, with a clear pathway from Craft to Royal Arch to the 18th Degree of the Ancient & Accepted Rite, the Rose Croix, for example.

 

I agree on the aprons and actually suggested plain white aprons for everyone on this very board a number of years ago. It did not go down well. 

 

I lived in NYC for one year and over there the brethren wear plain white aprons (PMs get a square and compasses with the sun in the centre on theirs) and I always felt that was a nice touch. My mother lodge is in Scotland and the Scotch get by just fine without an honours system. 

 

I’m in HRA (I also did my Mark in my mother lodge as is the Scotch custom) but I’m not too sure UGLE should be actively pushing the side orders. They’re great for really passionate and time rich brethren but not for the majority in my view. Admittedly I don’t know what the solution is on the esoteric side but then, perhaps the definition of that word applies.

 

 

Edited by MrSifter

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19 hours ago, MrSifter said:

 

I agree with what what you say about “honours” and personally find them abhorrent. It really brings the worst out in a lot of people. I also fail to see how it is an “honour” when just about everyone gets them on time served. 

 

Not under MetGL in London, they don't. Nowadays there's an elaborate points system for assessing 'worthiness' and if you don't get enough points you don't get LGR. The criteria for SLGR are even more stringent. In practice, a Secretary will send a brother's CV to the VO, and he will say whether it's worth proceeding with the application.

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4 hours ago, mindmagic said:

Not under MetGL in London, they don't. Nowadays there's an elaborate points system for assessing 'worthiness' and if you don't get enough points you don't get LGR. The criteria for SLGR are even more stringent. In practice, a Secretary will send a brother's CV to the VO, and he will say whether it's worth proceeding with the application.

Beat me to it.

Details here: 

 

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Same goes here; you might now still get Provincial Rank for having gone through the chair, but unless you've worked for it, it'll be a token award. And if you want to be recommended for Grand Rank, serious hard work is required(!) - in Cambs, though, the last has always been the case - with one appointment a year, not just anybody gets one!

Edited by Sontaran

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8 hours ago, mindmagic said:

Not under MetGL in London, they don't. Nowadays there's an elaborate points system for assessing 'worthiness' and if you don't get enough points you don't get LGR. The criteria for SLGR are even more stringent. In practice, a Secretary will send a brother's CV to the VO, and he will say whether it's worth proceeding with the application.

 

I think that’s pretty fanciful to be honest and as a London Freemason it’s certainly not what I see. It’s rare being in any lodge where a PM five years plus out of the Chair doesn’t have the “honour” of LGR. 

 

Invariably the PM will have filled two (possibly three) offices in that period so they get the adequate number of points to qualify for “honours.” How poor they’ve been in those offices or how little they’ve contributed to the wider Craft don’t seem to impact the award.

 

I think we need to face facts that the LGR “honour” is worthless other than to the regalia manufacturers. At least they get a nice day out at the investiture I suppose. 

 

I do accept that nowadays SLGR and Grand Rank are much harder to attain. Personally I wish more brethren put as much effort into their ritual as they do into chasing “honours.” I’m jaundiced by it all but I’ve had my fill of GP meetings and festive boards where it’s all a lot of people can talk about. I really don’t care if they’re  in “twenty units” and attended over one hundred meetings last year, and certainly not if they can’t even do the most basic of ritual to a high standard. 

Edited by MrSifter

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Not being a London mason in that system, I cannot comment but out here in the weeds, one of my led discussion sessions entitled 'Fifty Shades of Blue' seems to go down fairly well, dealing with the inconsistencies and divisiveness of the 'system'.

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On 08/06/2019 at 18:26, MrSifter said:

 

, and certainly not if they can’t even do the most basic of ritual to a high standard. 

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.

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1 hour ago, yorksmason said:

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.

Totally agree. Our Almoner is not, by his own admission, a ritualist (although he's not bad by any means), but as an Almoner(!) - I couldn't ask for a better one. His predecessor, who was also my IPM first time round was definitely not a good ritualist! - but again, as an Almoner he was outstanding. His predecessor however, was both a ritualist and an outstanding Almoner - he later became Inspector General for a (at the time) new District.

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2 hours ago, yorksmason said:

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.

I couldn't agree more.  It is not given to many that skill of not only memorising but meaningful delivery of our ritual for the benefit of candidates in the several degrees.  Far more important, in my view, is the desire and progress in living according to the precepts laid down in the VSL and emphasised throughout our rituals.  A lodge Master has much to do and if his forte lies elsewhere than in ritualistic matters, then he need only delegate work to those who enjoy and have the skills to inculcate those precepts upon candidates.

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16 hours ago, yorksmason said:

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.

 

Actually the problem lies in your selective quoting and virtue signalling. 

 

I can only wonder at what your motivations were for ignoring:

Invariably the PM will have filled two (possibly three) offices in that period so they get the adequate number of points to qualify for “honours.” How poor they’ve been in those offices or how little they’ve contributed to the wider Craft don’t seem to impact the award.

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19 hours ago, yorksmason said:

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.

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.

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No I don't think he has.

This is a thread about 'ranks', and it's generally accepted that to receive Grand Rank or high Provincial office you have to have put in serious work to be recommended, so where does that leave those who can't learn ritual to save their life, but have put in the effort everywhere else to the extent that they merit that recommendation EXCEPT for the fact that they haven't gone through the chair because of that inability to learn or retain the ritual? - especially when you take into account that only PMs are eligible for recommendation. Are you going to penalise them by saying 'minimum of effort and quality'? (long sentence - sorry!) Or are you going to support and get them through the chair to ensure they get the recognition they deserve?

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4 hours ago, Sontaran said:

No I don't think he has.

This is a thread about 'ranks', and it's generally accepted that to receive Grand Rank or high Provincial office you have to have put in serious work to be recommended, so where does that leave those who can't learn ritual to save their life, but have put in the effort everywhere else to the extent that they merit that recommendation EXCEPT for the fact that they haven't gone through the chair because of that inability to learn or retain the ritual? - especially when you take into account that only PMs are eligible for recommendation. Are you going to penalise them by saying 'minimum of effort and quality'? (long sentence - sorry!) Or are you going to support and get them through the chair to ensure they get the recognition they deserve?

 

1. It is not a thread about ranks. The thread is actually about “unsuitable candidates”, whatever that nebulous term means. The “honours” discussion is a side issue (rabbit hole!).

 

2. I don’t agree that to receive LGR you have to “put in serious work.” The fact there’s barely a PM five year plus out of the Chair in London without LGR is a testament to how difficult it is to get this “honour.” I say that as someone that has visited dozens of London lodges where dark blue nearly always outnumbers light blue. I’d be pretty confident in saying  I’ve never attended a lodge where light blue was the majority. 

 

3. Can you or yorksmason point to one post where I said that only those who are highly proficient at ritual should be able to go through the Chair or be the only ones eligible for “honours?”

 

4. What is this “recognition they deserve” you speak of? I thought yorksmason had a window into their souls and was able to judge them on how “just and upright” they are?

 

As an aside, we lost one old PM who never had honours because he’d never joined HRA. He felt quite put out by it. It was all very sad as he’d been a wonderful lodge member, served in multiple offices and been a very attentive Almoner. It turned out he was cast aside by our glorious rulers because anyone that’s not in HRA isn’t good enough in their view. 

 

I could then go on at length about some quite appalling PMs utterly desperate for LGR that do a mix of secretary/mentor/almoner/treasurer to a very poor standard for a couple of years each, join HRA with no intention of attending or progressing but just so they achieve the adequate number of points for a dark blue apron. 

 

I’d end the rank/honours system tomorrow. It’s not only unnecessary, it’s unmasonic and brings out the absolute worst in a lot of men. 

Edited by MrSifter

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38 minutes ago, Sontaran said:

Are you going to penalise them by saying 'minimum of effort and quality'? (long sentence - sorry!) Or are you going to support and get them through the chair to ensure they get the recognition they deserve?

Or go ahead and recognise their contribution anyway. I can think of several brothers in our Province with dark blue rosettes on their aprons. 

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59 minutes ago, Sontaran said:

- especially when you take into account that only PMs are eligible for recommendation.

Note that you do not need to be awarded Provincial Honors. A MM has has been outstanding for many many years can be promoted to a Past Provincial Grand Pursuivant with rosettes on his apron. Very rare but can be.

Sorry, didn't see the post above before I posted my comments

Edited by lewis

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3 hours ago, DavidGoode said:

Or go ahead and recognise their contribution anyway. I can think of several brothers in our Province with dark blue rosettes on their aprons. 

I get that David, but there is a limit to the rank MMs will be appointed to.

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Agreed it wasn't about rank, but it has moved on to the subject - and I never mentioned LGR; I said 'high (read: senior) Provincial rank' - I'd include SLGR in that. So are you telling me that SLGR and the more senior of the Provincial offices don't require a) a Past Mastership and b) a considerable background of work - masonic or community? And so far as Grand Rank is concerned, you HAVE to be a PM to qualify for recommendation (Rule 9/19).

What I asked is - if you have a brother who, for whatever reason, struggles with the ritual but is deserving of recognition above a token appointment, are you really going to penalise him by not supporting him through the chair and making him eligible for the most senior appointments? I'm sure we all know a number of MMs who have worked their b**** off for the members (and/or the community) who deserve a decent rank (ignoring the idea of getting rid for the sake of the argument), but are 'stuck' with a relatively lowly one purely because they've not gone through the chair? - I can personally think of at least 2 in my own lodge - we've tried to persuade them to go through precisely for so they become eligible for the recognition they deserve (but without success). They hold the same rank as others I can think of who have done b****r all!

Edited by Sontaran

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4 hours ago, lewis said:

Note that you do not need to be awarded Provincial Honors. A MM has has been outstanding for many many years can be promoted to a Past Provincial Grand Pursuivant with rosettes on his apron. Very rare but can be.

Sorry, didn't see the post above before I posted my comments

If you re-read, you should see that I was talking about recommendation to Grand Rank or the more senior Provincial Ranks. It varies with the Province, but MMs are 'restricted' to the junior appointments ('junior' being defined by the Province); for your Province you imply it's PPGPurs; in Cambs it's PPJGD and below; I don't know of any MMs higher than that.

Edited by Sontaran

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1 minute ago, Sontaran said:

To be fair, it has moved on to 'rank' - and I never mentioned LGR; I said 'high (read: senior) Provincial rank' - I'd include SLGR in that. So are you telling me that SLGR and the more senior of the Provincial offices don't require a) a Past Mastership and b) a considerable background of work - masonic or community? And so far as Grand Rank is concerned, you HAVE to be a PM to qualify for recommendation (Rule 9/19).

What I asked is - if you have a brother who, for whatever reason, struggles with the ritual but is deserving of recognition above a token appointment, are you really going to penalise him by not supporting him through the chair and making him eligible for the most senior positions? I'm sure we all know a number of MMs who have worked their b**** off for the members (and/or the community) who deserve a decent rank (ignoring the idea of getting rid for the sake of the argument), but are 'stuck' with a relatively lowly one purely because they've not gone through the chair? - I can personally think of at least 2 in my own lodge - we've tried to persuade them to go through precisely for so they become eligible for the recognition they deserve (but without success). They hold the same rank as others I can think of who have done b****r all!

 

I’ll take that as you withdrawing your outrageous smear against me. Hopefully yorksmason does likewise.

 

I’m all for supporting any brother through the Chair that’s prepared to do his absolute best and am consistently on record as saying that’s what we should all do if it is what the brother wants to do. I’ve had no higher honour than being installed in the Chair of King Solomon of my craft lodge, it is one of the highlights of my life and I’d love every brother to experience it  

 

To answer your last point, I don’t think “rank” or “honours” (whatever term applies) should exist at all. Human beings being what they are, it’ll always be open to abuses and perverse qualifying criteria. If it didn’t exist we wouldn’t have these embarrassing discussions on here, in GP meetings and every festive board. It’s bread and circuses and I actually find it quite disturbing that so many people (despite the inevitable protestations) are utterly obsessed “being eligible for senior positions” as you euphemistically put it.

 

 

 

 

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Here, the Honours system has been based on attendance both at meetings and the FB, Offices held after the chair, ritual delivery and charitable activities/additional work for the Province.  Hit all the criteria and you'll get Active rank.  Don't and you will get a Past Rank.  Be really not up to the mark and you'll get nothing.

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What smear? - you were the one who said .. and I quote " and certainly not if they can’t even do the most basic of ritual to a high standard. " - I disagreed (to an extent) - that's not a smear!

Oh, and I actually agree with your observations about 'honours' or 'rank', but we have to accept that they're here to stay - I did say 'ignoring ..etc'! (and if you ask David Goode, you'll find I'm not moaning because of being overlooked!)

Edited by Sontaran

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