#51  
Old 03-19-2010, 08:35 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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I'm married, so I guess that rules me out, too.
Yeah. SmithWife is jealous of my time away from the family, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
  #52  
Old 03-19-2010, 08:42 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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I'm married, so I guess that rules me out, too.
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Originally Posted by Billdo View Post
You mention that you were initiated into a series of degrees of Masonry, and that there are more to come.

Other than having different initiation ceremonies as you discuss, can you explain the both ceremonial and practical differences between the degrees. Are there reasons why one would get one or more of them and not the others? Do they entitle you to different things? Are there separate requirements for each?
Master Mason is the highest degree one can attain as a Mason. The additional degrees are attained through the appendant bodies like the Shrine, York Rite and etc. I'll answer in more detail in a couple hours when I'm in front of my PC. I'm on my iPhone at the moment.
  #53  
Old 03-19-2010, 08:49 AM
Perciful Perciful is offline
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How come a Catholic can not become a free mason? Do you need to be an athiest to belong? I have a friend who is a Christian that goes on and on about how evil free masonry is. That the Third Temple is being rebuilt by the masons and it will be the end of the world etc. I shut her off at this point.

I always thought it was a mens club similiar to the Knights Of Columbus? A place for guys to do guy stuff. Secret rituals and rites and rings?
  #54  
Old 03-19-2010, 08:51 AM
Tom Scud Tom Scud is offline
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So what's the average age in your lodge, or in your Order as a whole if you have some sense of it? I mostly know about the Elks, and they are worried about the fact that they're trending older and older as time goes on.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:53 AM
dhkendall dhkendall is offline
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OK, enough with the penny-ante questions, somethign we all want to know:

Why the secrets? I doubt (though honestly I wouldn't be surprised if I was wrong) that Masons, for example, have secret government access, or own all the world's gold or something like that, but why do they even have secrets from us "normals" then? I would think that a lot of the bad rep that Masons get would be cleared up if they were just open about what the secrets were, especially if they don't have any meaning to us. I'm sure that for most people, the word "Mason" = "secrets", not "fraternity" or "philanthropy", or "community involvement", but "secrets".

(Interestingly, the Google ad that comes up for this thread is "Freemasony Warning:
Do Not Join The Freemasons Until You've Seen This...
www. SecretsofMasons. com" I like the humour in the Google ad placement on some of these threads, adds to my Dope enjoyment ... )
  #56  
Old 03-19-2010, 09:24 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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How come a Catholic can not become a free mason? Do you need to be an athiest to belong?
The Catholic Church has a long-standing grudge against Masonry. Masonry has no bone to pick with Rome. A Catholic can become a Mason, but might get in trouble with the Church.

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I have a friend who is a Christian that goes on and on about how evil free masonry is. That the Third Temple is being rebuilt by the masons and it will be the end of the world etc. I shut her off at this point.
Being part of something some people do not like is part of the fun.

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I always thought it was a mens club similiar to the Knights Of Columbus? A place for guys to do guy stuff. Secret rituals and rites and rings?
The Knights is (are?) a copy of Masonry designed to let good Catholic men do secret handshakes without endangering their souls.
  #57  
Old 03-19-2010, 09:56 AM
dhkendall dhkendall is offline
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The Catholic Church has a long-standing grudge against Masonry. Masonry has no bone to pick with Rome. A Catholic can become a Mason, but might get in trouble with the Church.

The Knights is (are?) a copy of Masonry designed to let good Catholic men do secret handshakes without endangering their souls.
OK, so *why* does the Vatican not like the Masons? Surely they don't decreee they don't like something for absolutely no reason and not based on facts?

OK, I couldn't type that with a straight face.
  #58  
Old 03-19-2010, 10:45 AM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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Are you familiar with the Mormon temple ceremonies?

How much of this does it appear was stolen from Masonry? According to my research, Joseph Smith was a Mason, as were most of the original founders of the LDS church. Just curious if you were aware of the similarities... and does that mean anything to the Masons?
  #59  
Old 03-19-2010, 10:56 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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Also a lot of the 'Work' of the BPO Moose lodges were based on Masonry. At some point we asked them to find their own ritual.
  #60  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:25 AM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is offline
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Indeed, I cannot argue with your reasoning. In any event, it's mostly a symbolic requirement to remind us that we must invest our time to the fraternity.
"Mostly," perhaps, but what about someone who was born into slavery? Would he be denied membership? It does still happen in today's world.
  #61  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:41 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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You mention that you were initiated into a series of degrees of Masonry, and that there are more to come.

Other than having different initiation ceremonies as you discuss, can you explain the both ceremonial and practical differences between the degrees. Are there reasons why one would get one or more of them and not the others? Do they entitle you to different things? Are there separate requirements for each?
Once you complete the first Degree (Entered Apprentice) you are a Mason, but you may only attend Lodges opened on the First Degree. It is my understanding that most of the activity of the Lodge is conducted while opened on the Third Degree (Master Mason), so you would have to leave the Lodge room and wait downstairs or something while that business was attended to. I went through the degrees with 7 other guys, and one of them had to drop out after the First Degree because he had just opened a resteraunt and could not commit the time to taking the additional degrees. He's planning on resuming in May, though. I can't think of any practical reason why someone wouldn't want to complete all three degrees, though. The degree work is sort of fun, and gives you a couple months to get to know your fellow canditates, with whom you will likely form Masonic bonds. I've begun forging good friendships with a couple of the guys from my class already (gone out for beers, lunch, etc).


The first Degree is in essence an introduction to Masonry. You are given the secret word and handshake of the Entered Apprentice and can participate in a Lodge opened on that degree. In the EA oath, you promise to keep the secrets of Masonry. Lastly, you may travel to other Lodges (opened on the first Degree), but must be accompanied by a Master Mason. The second Degree, Fellowcraft, confers additional words, handshakes, and elements in the oath. You are entitled to attend Lodge opened on the second Degree, and visit other Lodges on that degree, if accompanied by a Master Mason. A Master Mason has been entrusted with all the secrets of Masonry and can travel to any Lodge freely (as long as the Master Mason in question has a current dues card and isn't under suspension from the Fraternity). A Master Mason can sit in on the Degree rituals of an Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft or Master Mason.

I think of the first two Degrees as mile markers on the way to the third, but as you see they can be destinations in and of themselves.

Less quantifyable, but equally important, is that the ceremonies themselves become more elaborate, longer and more solemn/serious from first to third.
  #62  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:42 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Welcome to the club Brother Winston Smith!
Thank you, Brother Paul! I hope I am representing the Craft well herein.
  #63  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:48 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Is it true that all the secrets are in books that anyone can buy at a Masonic bookstore or a public library.
Yes, all the secret information conferred to me in the course of my Masonic initiation ceremonies is available in bookstores, libraries, and on line. The thing is, the secrets are meaningless if you aren't a Mason. The secrets are only meaningful within the context of the Fraternity and the rituals in which they are conferred. I don't think it's really a big deal, though, because it is highly unlikely a non-Mason could "fake" his way into a Lodge, and even if he did, what he found there would be meaningless to him, lacking the context & perspective on an actual initiate.
  #64  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:49 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Did you get to meet Steve Gutenberg?
I did! He presided over my first Degree! (Just kidding)

No. I have never met Steve Gutenberg, but I loved Police Academy.
  #65  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:52 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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In the famous Kipling story ("The Man Who Would Be King"). the newspaper man is relaying a message from Daniel Dravott, to Peachy Carnahan.
He is asked to identify himself-and he replies "for the sake of the widow's son"-is this a Masonic identification?
Those words are meaningful to me, but not in the context presented. I've never read much Kipling, but 10 seconds on a search engine reveal he was a Mason. Perhaps he wanted to suggest a taste of Masonic authenticity without revealing too much. I don't know.
  #66  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:54 AM
fluiddruid fluiddruid is offline
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Not to hijack Winston's thread, but you might be happy with Rotary. (I'm no longer a member. I just didn't have the time I felt I should commit to it.) We had a lot of women (including me) in our chapter.
I've looked into the Rotary but they meet during the work day for some reason. Ah well.

As I don't mean to hijack the thread either, I'll ask another question:

How do you feel about excluding women from being Masons? Do you predict that Masons allowing women is in the foreseeable future?

Last edited by fluiddruid; 03-19-2010 at 11:55 AM.
  #67  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:00 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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How come a Catholic can not become a free mason? Do you need to be an athiest to belong? I have a friend who is a Christian that goes on and on about how evil free masonry is. That the Third Temple is being rebuilt by the masons and it will be the end of the world etc. I shut her off at this point.

I always thought it was a mens club similiar to the Knights Of Columbus? A place for guys to do guy stuff. Secret rituals and rites and rings?
I'm Catholic, and I'm a Mason. I'd rather not speculate about why the Holy See villifies Masons, since I don't want my personal opinion being misconstrued as Masonic canon, and I don't want this thread to become contentious. I can say, however, that nothing about being a Mason interferes with my being a Catholic, nor detracts from it in any way. As a matter of fact, being a Mason could very possibly make me a better Catholic.
You cannot be a Mason if you are an athiest.
So do I.
The Third Temple being built is allegory for self-improvement.
Yes, it is in some ways similar to the KoC.
  #68  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:04 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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So what's the average age in your lodge, or in your Order as a whole if you have some sense of it? I mostly know about the Elks, and they are worried about the fact that they're trending older and older as time goes on.
I'm in a young Lodge - the average is 43. I think.

My town is big on social clubs, though, and is rife with them. Every neighborhood has a club, and there are a handful of clubs even more secretive and exclusive than the Masons. There's one club in town called "The 100 Club". They have exactly 100 members. No more, no less. The waiting list to join is over 20 years long, as you have to wait for someone to die to get his seat & key. It's costly to join, too, and the one-time initiation fee makes you a life member.
  #69  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:13 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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OK, enough with the penny-ante questions, somethign we all want to know:

Why the secrets? I doubt (though honestly I wouldn't be surprised if I was wrong) that Masons, for example, have secret government access, or own all the world's gold or something like that, but why do they even have secrets from us "normals" then? I would think that a lot of the bad rep that Masons get would be cleared up if they were just open about what the secrets were, especially if they don't have any meaning to us. I'm sure that for most people, the word "Mason" = "secrets", not "fraternity" or "philanthropy", or "community involvement", but "secrets".

(Interestingly, the Google ad that comes up for this thread is "Freemasony Warning:
Do Not Join The Freemasons Until You've Seen This...
www. SecretsofMasons. com" I like the humour in the Google ad placement on some of these threads, adds to my Dope enjoyment ... )
Because it's fun to have secrets that make the "normals" quake in dread.

A few minutes with a search engine will reveal that at this point it's pretty clear the Masonic secrets have all been revealed and don't amount to much more than a few words and special handshakes, and I think any Mason you meet will tell you pretty much everything you'd care to know about the Fraternity (short of those words and handshakes).
  #70  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:20 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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About how long does it take to go from new member to Master Mason?

I'm curious because I recently googled an old (former) friend who I parted company with about 9 years ago. At that time he was an avowed Atheist and had serious issues getting any time away from home (due to wife pressure). Now I see that he's a Master Mason, and an officer of his order, among other things. Honestly, I was rather shocked to see that, but I have to admit that I very much respect that accomplishment on his part.
  #71  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:56 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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"Mostly," perhaps, but what about someone who was born into slavery? Would he be denied membership? It does still happen in today's world.
Hmm. I'm in uncharted territory here, but I'll say: No. I don't think he would be denied membership if he had "cast off his bonds". I think the original context of the words free-born is germane here. Back when the rituals were written, a man was either a slave, or a free-born man - if you were a slave, you stayed that way.

Like I said, the operative use of the words in today's ceremony are to confer the importance of actually having time to devote for the fraternity.

I don't think it should be interpreted as approving of the practice of slavery.
  #72  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:08 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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How do you feel about excluding women from being Masons? Do you predict that Masons allowing women is in the foreseeable future?
I don't think it's a problem. I mean, it's a Fraternity. By definition it's an organization for men. Just like on the college campus: Fraternities for the men, Sororities for the women. I'm sure there's plenty of social clubs out there that wouldn't allow me - a white, Christian male, but I don't begrudge them that.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:13 PM
dhkendall dhkendall is offline
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Once you complete the first Degree (Entered Apprentice) you are a Mason, but you may only attend Lodges opened on the First Degree. It is my understanding that most of the activity of the Lodge is conducted while opened on the Third Degree (Master Mason), so you would have to leave the Lodge room and wait downstairs or something while that business was attended to.
*has an epiphany* Is this where the phrase "giving somoene the third degree" comes from?

I remember last year when one of the local Mason chapters asked my Toastmasters group to come and give a presentation about public speaking to them, some members including myself got together to go out there, but it never happened,a s we went to the main lodge in the city (one that Toastmasters are familiar with, as another club meets there as well) instead of a smaller suburban lodge. They understood. But what reminded me was that we were told that we'd have to wait outside the room for part of the meeting while they do secret Mason things.

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Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
Because it's fun to have secrets that make the "normals" quake in dread.

A few minutes with a search engine will reveal that at this point it's pretty clear the Masonic secrets have all been revealed and don't amount to much more than a few words and special handshakes, and I think any Mason you meet will tell you pretty much everything you'd care to know about the Fraternity (short of those words and handshakes).
Bah, that's not what I care about. If those "secrets" are out on the web and in bookstores, then they're not really "secret" now, are they? No, I mean something that is truly a Masonic secret, like your plot for world domination, where you're hiding Elvis, or at least a good chicken tandoori recipe.
  #74  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:36 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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About how long does it take to go from new member to Master Mason?

I'm curious because I recently googled an old (former) friend who I parted company with about 9 years ago. At that time he was an avowed Atheist and had serious issues getting any time away from home (due to wife pressure). Now I see that he's a Master Mason, and an officer of his order, among other things. Honestly, I was rather shocked to see that, but I have to admit that I very much respect that accomplishment on his part.
It took about two months for me. It is possible to do all three Degrees in a single day, but the officers of my Lodge all told me I'll have more fun and learn more by goign the traditional route.
  #75  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:38 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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Why dodging the mormon parallel question? (Post #58.)

Missed it or missed it on purpose?
  #76  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:39 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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*has an epiphany* Is this where the phrase "giving somoene the third degree" comes from?
Yes (or so I'm told).


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Originally Posted by dhkendall View Post
I remember last year when one of the local Mason chapters asked my Toastmasters group to come and give a presentation about public speaking to them, some members including myself got together to go out there, but it never happened,a s we went to the main lodge in the city (one that Toastmasters are familiar with, as another club meets there as well) instead of a smaller suburban lodge. They understood. But what reminded me was that we were told that we'd have to wait outside the room for part of the meeting while they do secret Mason things.
They were probably opening the Lodge, which is a private ritual.

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Originally Posted by dhkendall View Post
Bah, that's not what I care about. If those "secrets" are out on the web and in bookstores, then they're not really "secret" now, are they? No, I mean something that is truly a Masonic secret, like your plot for world domination, where you're hiding Elvis, or at least a good chicken tandoori recipe.
You're exactly correct - our Masonic "secrets" aren't really secret at all.
  #77  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:40 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on March 16, was previously passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on 2/16 and was initiated an Entered Apprentice on 1/19. I have been invited to 'join the line' in the fall, meaning I will become an officer of the Lodge and may some day work my way up to Worshipful Master of my Blue Lodge (Grand Poobah).
Honest question; you guys are just joking around with those titles, right?
  #78  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:42 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Why dodging the mormon parallel question? (Post #58.)

Missed it or missed it on purpose?
My apologies. I thought that Paul in Qatar had responded, and I have never even heard of it (the mormon parallel). I figured you'd gotten a fair response and did not mean to slight you.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:55 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Honest question; you guys are just joking around with those titles, right?
Well, yes and no. I mean, the titles, vestments, rituals and so on are taken very seriously within the context of the Fraternity, because these are the things that make us Masons. The guy that runs the Lodge (the Grand Poobah) is referred to as "Worshipful Master", or "Worshipful" if you're into the whole brevity thing. I felt a little awkward at first, calling the guy "Worshipful", but I got used to it pretty quick, and learning the funny vagaries of protocol and stuff is part of the fun of being a Mason. It's meant to be an enjoyable experience.

All the traditions of the Fraternity are communicated by practice - I'm learning the rituals and protocol of Masonry, and some day, when the current crop of senior Lodge officers dies, I'll be the teacher passing on the traditions of the Fraternity to new Masons. So, it's a pretty important responsibility to learn the rituals and protocols, but at the same time, we all recognize that some of it is pretty silly.

Does that make sense?
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:22 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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My apologies. I thought that Paul in Qatar had responded, and I have never even heard of it (the mormon parallel). I figured you'd gotten a fair response and did not mean to slight you.
I didn't see how Paul in Qatar's response had anything to do with my question. I provided a link above so you can see what the mormon temple rituals are like and can more accurately compare.

Full Disclosure: I'm an exmormon but have never been to the mormon temple. There's a lot of discussion ongoing on the exmo boards in regard to the Masonic connection to mormonism, which is why I'm following this thread.
  #81  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:27 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Out of curiosity, how do they feel about atheists?
(speaking of the Elks here, not the Masons, as this question was directed to me)
Joining requires that you be a U.S. citizen and affirm a belief in God. There is no restriction on that belief. My Lodge has active Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and many that I'm not sure of (because it's none of my business). I know of Mormon and Muslim Elks as well, although not in my Lodge. But not atheists.

Frankly, this is one of the things that bothers me about the Elks. There is nothing overtly religious about the organization at all. It isn't affiliated with any church in any way, yet we have to turn away potential members because of their religious beliefs. Our big causes as an organization are taking care of veterans and kids (last time I checked, the U.S. Government was the only organization in America that gave out more scholarship money than the Elks). Our state organization has a marvelous program that buys emergency room equipment for rural hospitals.

The Elks have no membership prohibition based on race, gender, sexual preference, income level, or any other common basis for discrimination except this. If you don't believe in God, you can't help us with our charitable works.

I shouldn't say any more, though, because I'm posting under my real name, and I am currently the Exalted Ruler of my Lodge.
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:32 PM
Perciful Perciful is offline
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Well, yes and no. I mean, the titles,
Does that make sense?
Thanks for answering my questions. I have always wondered but have never known a mason enough to ask. My upstairs neighbor is a mason because he has the decal on his car and one of my doctors recently told me he joined.

I am still curious about the third temple connection. I saw some of the temple building being built on Utube. What is supposed to happen once it is built? If it is not a secret I would like to know. I have heard so many things about the end of the world or a global government?
  #83  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:47 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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I didn't see how Paul in Qatar's response had anything to do with my question. I provided a link above so you can see what the mormon temple rituals are like and can more accurately compare.

Full Disclosure: I'm an exmormon but have never been to the mormon temple. There's a lot of discussion ongoing on the exmo boards in regard to the Masonic connection to mormonism, which is why I'm following this thread.
Huh. Well, a second apology, then. I quickly scanned the page you linked, then looked at Joe Smith's wikipedia entry to only to learn that he was a Mason. I don't know this for a fact, but it seems reasonable that he would take Masonic ritual and mold it into Mormon ritual. I'll look more closely at the linked page over the weekend and if I come up with a more informed response I'll provide it.
  #84  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:49 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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(speaking of the Elks here, not the Masons, as this question was directed to me)
Joining requires that you be a U.S. citizen and affirm a belief in God. There is no restriction on that belief. My Lodge has active Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and many that I'm not sure of (because it's none of my business). I know of Mormon and Muslim Elks as well, although not in my Lodge. But not atheists.

Frankly, this is one of the things that bothers me about the Elks. There is nothing overtly religious about the organization at all. It isn't affiliated with any church in any way, yet we have to turn away potential members because of their religious beliefs. Our big causes as an organization are taking care of veterans and kids (last time I checked, the U.S. Government was the only organization in America that gave out more scholarship money than the Elks). Our state organization has a marvelous program that buys emergency room equipment for rural hospitals.

The Elks have no membership prohibition based on race, gender, sexual preference, income level, or any other common basis for discrimination except this. If you don't believe in God, you can't help us with our charitable works.

I shouldn't say any more, though, because I'm posting under my real name, and I am currently the Exalted Ruler of my Lodge.
[Hijacking my own thread]

Hey Gary,

I noticed just this morning that there's an Elks Lodge in my town. How do I go about joining, and how much can I expect to pay for yearly dues?

[/Hijack]
  #85  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:51 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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Thanks, Winston! Take your time. I don't have much to do with the computer after 5:00 on Fridays, so I'll catch you on Monday. Enjoy your weekend.

If you have time or the inclination to do a little more research, google about Joseph Smith's death. There is some controversy that, as he was shot out of a window of the Carthage IL jail, he allegedly gave a Masonic code/signal/cry for help to whatever Masonic brethren might have been willing to help him out. Nobody did, IIRC, because they were lynching the guy for boffing teenaged girls.
  #86  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:58 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Thanks for answering my questions. I have always wondered but have never known a mason enough to ask. My upstairs neighbor is a mason because he has the decal on his car and one of my doctors recently told me he joined.

I am still curious about the third temple connection. I saw some of the temple building being built on Utube. What is supposed to happen once it is built? If it is not a secret I would like to know. I have heard so many things about the end of the world or a global government?
Building the Temple is allegory for self-improvement and character-building. The Temple is never finished because self-improvement is a life-long endeavor.

I don't think the Masons are interested in creating a world or global government. Discussion of politics is not allowed in Lodge, because it could disrupt the harmony of the Lodge. The other topics not allowed to be discussed in Lodge are religion and business/business ventures.
  #87  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:58 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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Among the requirements to join are being a man, free-born, over 21, of good character, and belief in a higher power.
Do these restrictions bother you at all? Is it part of the appeal? Is it something that you view as something to put up with, to join? Basically, do you view the restritions as good, bad or indifferent?
  #88  
Old 03-19-2010, 03:04 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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[Hijacking my own thread]

Hey Gary,

I noticed just this morning that there's an Elks Lodge in my town. How do I go about joining, and how much can I expect to pay for yearly dues?

[/Hijack]
The process is easiest if you happen to know a member. If you don't, just stop by the Lodge sometime when it's open and ask about it. If it has a bar (as many of them do), you can typically find someone who will admit you as a guest, and there is almost always a stack of membership applications on the bar.

You could also PM me and let me know what town you're in. I can look up the Lodge number by ZIP code and see if I know anyone there.

Yearly dues vary from Lodge to Lodge. Ours is $80/year. The ones that have golf courses, tennis courts, and so on can be a fair amount higher. Some of the smaller Lodges are less. Incidentally, being an Elk is really handy if you travel around the country much. At least half the Lodges have free overnight camping for members with RVs. Most are parking lots, but some are full-fledged campsites with hookups.
  #89  
Old 03-19-2010, 03:15 PM
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I have at least one ancestor who was a Mason 100 years ago. Confirmation of this, and knowing which of his ancestors were Masons would be useful to me as a genealogist. Do the Masons preserve old membership records, and if so is there any way I could access those of my ancestor(s)?
  #90  
Old 03-19-2010, 03:19 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Do these restrictions bother you at all? Is it part of the appeal? Is it something that you view as something to put up with, to join? Basically, do you view the restritions as good, bad or indifferent?
Like any other club, the requirements to join are part of what defines the Fraternity. The idea of joining a club like this is to enjoy the society of people like yourself, and I'm pleased that I was able to meet the membership criteria. Like I said before, there are plenty of organizations out there that I can't join because I don't meet their membership criteria, but I don't begrudge them that.

So, I wouldn't go so far as to say I find it to be part of the appeal, but I certainly don't have a problem with it.
  #91  
Old 03-19-2010, 03:21 PM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
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Do all the guys in there actually know masonry?
  #92  
Old 03-19-2010, 03:21 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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The process is easiest if you happen to know a member. If you don't, just stop by the Lodge sometime when it's open and ask about it. If it has a bar (as many of them do), you can typically find someone who will admit you as a guest, and there is almost always a stack of membership applications on the bar.

You could also PM me and let me know what town you're in. I can look up the Lodge number by ZIP code and see if I know anyone there.

Yearly dues vary from Lodge to Lodge. Ours is $80/year. The ones that have golf courses, tennis courts, and so on can be a fair amount higher. Some of the smaller Lodges are less. Incidentally, being an Elk is really handy if you travel around the country much. At least half the Lodges have free overnight camping for members with RVs. Most are parking lots, but some are full-fledged campsites with hookups.
Thanks for the info. I'll ask around the Lodge and I bet I'll find an Elk.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:25 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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I have at least one ancestor who was a Mason 100 years ago. Confirmation of this, and knowing which of his ancestors were Masons would be useful to me as a genealogist. Do the Masons preserve old membership records, and if so is there any way I could access those of my ancestor(s)?
Yes, Masons keep records of their members, including name, date and place of birth, dates and places of Masonic Degrees, and (if applicable) date of death. There may be additional information, as well, though I'm not sure.

I don't know that the information is available to non-Masons, though. You'd have to find out which Lodge your ancestor was a member of, and if it is still open you might contact the Lodge Historian or Lodge Secretary.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:26 PM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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Do all the guys in there actually know masonry?
We know the names and use of many of the tools of operative masonry, such as the trowel, plum and square, as they are symbolic of certain Masonic concepts.

Last edited by Winston Smith; 03-19-2010 at 03:27 PM.
  #95  
Old 03-19-2010, 03:52 PM
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Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Wait, free-born? Really? I know that's just a relic, but Masonry is an international organization, and slavery and indentured servitude do still exist in the world. Would someone really be disqualified based on their legal status at birth? That's pretty offensive.
It's not just that - my husband was denied membershp in the Masons years ago because he was born with a birth defect (this was not a matter of just one Lodge rejecting him - he sought membership multiple times in multiple states). I'd like to think they've become more enlightened.

Then, when we got married, as part of our marriage vows we both promised never to join an organization that wouldn't accept the other - so he stopped looking to join the Masons and I never joined the 99's. No, we don't consider auxillaries "good enough". But that's us - obviously other people arrange their lives differently.

My paternal grandmother was part of Eastern Star at one point - at least, that's my assumption based on some of the personal effects I inherited from her. Always did feel somewhat awkward to have in possession materials from a secret society of which I was not a member, yet I never could bring myself to toss them, either, or give them away. I suppose it's vaguely naughty or something, although as mentioned the secrets are pretty much not very secret these days.

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I reckon the Eastern Star has the same requirement for belief that the Masons do.
According to what I inherited from grandma, yes, Eastern Star also has that requirement. I should also point out that those books and things are more than 50 years old, so it's possible they've changed, but...

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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
Might you be thinking of the Elks? We've been admitting women for a while now, but people are just starting to notice. I'm just finishing up my term as Exalted Ruler in my Lodge, and three of my officers are women. Next year, we're adding another.
Really? A fraternal organization both my husband and I can join as a couple? Are you interested in starting an "Ask the Elk member" thread?

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Originally Posted by ivan astikov View Post
Don't you wear trendy robes and sashes, and have funky jewelery?
Well, if the Masons aren't doing that you could always join the Neo-Pagan crowd - our robes and jewelry definitely tend toward funky (when we're not skyclad). Of course, we're a problem for the atheists, too, as we believe in multiple higher powers.
  #96  
Old 03-19-2010, 04:21 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Really? A fraternal organization both my husband and I can join as a couple? Are you interested in starting an "Ask the Elk member" thread?
Sure. Here you go. Now I can stop hijacking Winston's thread.

Incidentally, if there are members of any other fraternal organizations that would like to start an "Ask the..." thread, go for it.

Last edited by Gary Robson; 03-19-2010 at 04:22 PM.
  #97  
Old 03-19-2010, 09:56 PM
moonstarssun moonstarssun is offline
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When I was in college, I briefly dated a guy who told me he was a 32nd degree mason. He was 24, and said that it was unusual for someone his age to achieve that level. He was very secretive about all of it, so I was never sure whether he was just trying to impress me or if he honestly couldn't say anything.

So, is it possible for someone that young to be that high in the order (is that what it's called?)?
  #98  
Old 03-19-2010, 10:07 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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I didn't see how Paul in Qatar's response had anything to do with my question. I provided a link above so you can see what the mormon temple rituals are like and can more accurately compare.

Full Disclosure: I'm an exmormon but have never been to the mormon temple. There's a lot of discussion ongoing on the exmo boards in regard to the Masonic connection to mormonism, which is why I'm following this thread.
Kindly forgive me. People who join the Masons are the sort of people who like to join things. As a result, parts of the ritual of the Moose, several early labor unions, the Klu Klux Klan, the Mormon Church and certainly other groups were based on Masonic ritual. As I said, at some point we asked the Moose (Mooses? Mice?) to cut it out and they did.
  #99  
Old 03-19-2010, 10:11 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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When I was in college, I briefly dated a guy who told me he was a 32nd degree mason. He was 24, and said that it was unusual for someone his age to achieve that level. He was very secretive about all of it, so I was never sure whether he was just trying to impress me or if he honestly couldn't say anything.

So, is it possible for someone that young to be that high in the order (is that what it's called?)?
The 32nd Degree is given by the York Rite and Scottish Rite. It take a weekend to attend the ceremonies to be awarded the degree. No big deal. The 33rd Degree is only given for a lifetime of service to the Craft. It is a big deal.

No man is more Mason than one who holds the 3rd Degree (Master Mason) the other stuff is just for funnies. Oddly the York and Scottish Rites are America-mostly groups, so their degrees are just sort of made-up add ons.
  #100  
Old 03-20-2010, 12:50 PM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is offline
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It's not just that - my husband was denied membershp in the Masons years ago because he was born with a birth defect (this was not a matter of just one Lodge rejecting him - he sought membership multiple times in multiple states). I'd like to think they've become more enlightened.
Have they? It sounds like it from what Winston said, but I'd like to know more about this. When did it change? What was the reasoning for the original rule and what was the reason for the change?
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