I am a young Mason who came to Freemasonry in search of truth. I originally joined through the male-only jurisdiction and now find myself in a Co-Masonic Lodge.
Whilst I was disappointed by several things in the male-only craft, I still respected the Spirit of the Rules of the Grand Lodge by not attending a Co-Masonic Body, even though this was what I really wanted to do.
After about 10 years, I gained clearance from my Lodge( I resigned), I then visited a Co-Masonic Body, and found in it, all the things I was orgininally seeking....
Had I known of Co-Freemasonry when I petitioned, I would have pursued my affiliation there....
I will not attend a male-only Lodge now(even though my first Lodges were of that obedience) as I consider myself to be a Co-mason. Whilst the UGL's of the Male only craft insist that there be no 'communication' between our different masonic schools, I will respect this...
To Bretheren who are thinking of visiting a Co-Masonic Lodge be assured of a hearty masonic welcome there, but, I commend to your consideration the duty if not the obligation you have chosen to undertake with your own Lodge....
I am having this conflict now. My girlfriend is joining a women-only order, but they admit husbands for the Initiation. If she has her Initiation after November 23 (when I have mine), I know I will be very tempted to go.
My first instinct is to be loyal to the Rules and to my order. But the ladies of the w/o-lodge say that they have had many male visitors from the Grand Lodge, in secrecy of course. My morals are weakened by the easy excuse, "someone else did it first". On the other hand, they will likely be strengthened by speaking the Obligations when the time come.
At the end of the day, I think I will want to return the trust and be true to my word. Although it saddens me that we (those in UGLE/amity) can't be more accepting of different Masonic paths.
Sometimes Freemasons accuse me/insinuate that I am the type of person who would not obey the rules. Nothing could be further from the truth, indeed some of my complaints are that existing rules and not complied with or enforced.
Anyway, my point, if you are going to join an organisation where you don't think that you can comply with the rules with an easy heart then you really should be looking into your heart and asking whether that organisation is for you. There are after all other branches of Freemasonry.
I know that I have written this a little harshly, but you still have the chance to find a fraternity where you would not have this moral dilema.
It is only a moral dilemma if viewed as such, and as you are aware, for some of us there is no moral dilemma whatsoever, only an interpretation of a rule by some made by other men at a late date.
Personally, I undoubtedly would not have visited an initiation of a friend at a LDH meeting as an EA. As a PM, however, I not only have no qualms, but actually find that it does not lead to a contravention of any obligation - and unlike some other male craft member visitors, I actually sign the visitation book.
If we followed Stewart's reasoning I feel we would still have black slaves, hang people for stealing loaves etc. These were all Rules which were once part of the Body of Laws and generally accepted but which some people considered to be morally wrong and campaigned to change, in those cases with some success. Wilberforce didn't opt out of British Society and move overseas, he stayed and at great personal cost campaigned and worked with others from within to eventually abolish Slavery in the UK and its then Empire.
Let me use an example for my own life. I was against the now abolished Poll Tax. I took part in a peaceful protest march against it in Brighton where I then lived and burned my Registration Form with many others there. However, knowing the punishment I would suffer in a heavy fine or even prison and having to pay the Poll Tax anyway, I paid up totally against my will and grudgingly. In the end both the Poll Tax and its author became history. Another example. Yesterday I was driving on a perfectly clear road. The car was quite capable of a higher speed and I would have been happy to drive at such at that time and place but the limit was 50 MPH. I obeyed it not because I agreed with it but because of the speed cameras and the fine and penalty points ignoring it would have incurred.
So too with the Rules mentioned. I obey them out of the fear of the consequencies although I personally find them morally objectionable. I do NOT agree to them and hope one day that they may be relaxed or even abolished. If I left because of them then those who favour the status quo would have gained a small victory and rejoice that an opponent had gone.
To my mind as long as one is at ease with the majority of the Rules and Principles of a Body, be it a Religion, Political Party, Organisation, Employer, Club, etc then that is reasonable. It is when one finds that one is at variance with the greater part or with some key tenet, then one has to consider resignation therefrom.
Finally, I salute the moral courage of JMD on this matter. He was severely traduced on another Forum for this but thankfully the person doing so is barred "sine die" from this Forum and I trust that JMD will be treated with respect here, even by those who disagree with him on this issue.
Last Edit: Mar 29, 2005 10:00:47 GMT by taylorsman
Please forgive me, all that I can say in my defense is that having never been formally initiated into anything during this incarnation (except for being a bouncer if that counts), I can only view this issue from the outside.
But if the rules are now hindering in our rapidly changing world, or in other cases that I know of don't reflect reality, then why not change the rules/clarify them so that progress can be made? But that is another thread.
To paraphrase the moderator on another forum about two years ago now, which some of you may remember, when I was questioning why the BoC rules did not match the way Committees operated in practice, he said something to the effect that "if we (Freemasons) can't abide by our own rules how can we expect the public to trust us". He mentioned something about possibly proposing a change to the BoC but I don't think that happened.
To evolve, or even keep your relative place in the scheme of things, you need to adapt to changing times. And that takes a lot of inner courage.
I guess what I am saying here is that the rules need to reflect the reality. Otherwise the rules have no meaning.
Widening this question slightly but I can see echoes of the "Nuremberg Dilemma". Is it right to follow a Rule, Law, or Order when one feels in one's own mind that it is wrong or clashes with one's personal moral code?
Of course the Rules regarding Intervisitation, whether to an "Irregular" male only Lodge e.g. Grand Orient of France, or a mixed Co-masonic Lodge cannot be compared to the actions and policies of the Third Reich, but can and have put Brethren into a moral dilemma. I am sure that there are many such as myself who do NOT agree with this particular Rule but obey only out of fear of the consequencies if discovered breaking it. A few others such as JMD follow their own guidance and their personal conscience and I salute them for their Moral Courage.
Now some would from their safe fortresses on the moral high ground attack those who do not accept such a Rule and will mouth comfortable platitudes "You joined up so you must willingly agree to ALL the Rules". To me this is rubbish and the mentality of the anthill. Firstly, most do NOT know all the Rules and Regulations before being Initiated , some know nothing at all far less that there are other versions of Freemasonry and that some do not recognise each other. Secondly, if people take an "all or nothing" attitude then nothing would ever change. Quitting only preserves the status quo and many great reforms have been achieved in many fields by those who stayed in and fought their corner. Ted Heath would have been delighted if Margaret Thatcher had quit over his policies in 1974, Old Labour would have been equally happy if a young MP called Tony Blair elected in 1983 had subseqently left Parliament in 1987 or 1992 and followed his wife in a successful career as a Barrister.
I again make the comparison with the RC who uses Contraception. They disagree with one tenet of their Church's teachings but accept and obey all others such as Transubstantiation, Auricular Confession, the Role and Status of Mary, Compulsory Attendance at Sunday Mass etc. Are they any less a Roman Catholic, should they leave their church over one rule? I think not.
omni: In my Lodge the Secretary is a hugh bully along with control issues. if anyone even asks a question he files masonic charges against them. He controls members mostly because they are afraid of him.
Apr 16, 2018 1:07:49 GMT
The Ancient: To omni: Grow some balls, that lodge is yours as well as every member in that lodge. If you are right, its not your problem. Nobody likes the ugliness of masonic charges. Light will always illuminate darkness, don't be afraid, be a better man.
May 27, 2018 15:37:09 GMT
The Ancient: Oh, I am a new member and just wanted to say hi...
May 27, 2018 15:39:10 GMT