Monday, August 07, 2006

UGLA's childish statements

I was reading a page, written by the new "UGLA", that has been getting some press in the blogs lately, at http://www.modernfreemasons.org/choices.htm and I feel a need to respond to it:
‘Antient’ Freemasonry is the most common form of Freemasonry found throughout the United States. It is a social fraternity composed primarily of men aged sixty-five and older that collects monies for its various charities.

I am twenty five years old. I have rarely if ever seen our Blue Lodge collect monies for "various charities."
It is perhaps most easily identified by Shriners wearing their red rhinestone covered fez's collecting money at intersections. In many areas of the country it is divided along racial lines with African American Freemasons not being recognized as legitimate Masons.

I have never seen anyone wear a red fez in my Blue Lodge. The Shrine Club is an appendant body, which should stand on its own merits and have its own identity. "In many areas of the country" is misleading. There are a few of the southern states that are not yet racially integrated, but the majority of Grand Lodges in the U.S. are racially integrated. I have in fact sat in Lodge with racially diverse Brethren, and I am in one of the "whitest" towns in the country.
Its membership is predominantly protestant in religious orientation, and in some areas of the country it is relatively intolerant of other faiths.

I missed the memo on this one. I am a Mormon, and an unusual one at that. I heard that Masonry makes no requirement of a Man's religious faith except that he have belief in a Supreme Being. I have never seen this violated, and in fact, I do not even know the specific denomination or creed of most of my Lodge Brethren. I only assume they are mostly Christian because we are in a place where most people are Christians. On the other hand, I also assume that there are more non-Christians in Masonry in Oregon proportionally than other groups, because we are more welcoming and tolerant of people of other faiths.

'Antient' Freemasonry has many appendant bodies such as the York and Scottish Rites, and others too numerous to mention. Many of these are by invitation only and usually require that you have a lengthy list of Masonic titles associated with your name before being invited into membership.

Yes, we have appendant bodies, and some of them have prerequisites, and some of them are invitational. However, the prerequisites are in terms of degrees attained and service rendered to the fraternity, not Masonic titles.
Joining 'Antient' Freemasonry is much easier than either Co-Masonry or 'Modern' Freemasonry. Many of the 'Antient' Grand Lodges hold "All the way in a day classes" where you can join in the morning and be a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason by the end of the day. If you are looking for a unique and inexpensive social club you may want to consider learning more about 'Antient' Freemasonry.

I abhor the idea of one day classes, and give my condolances to the brethren who have to put up with them, and those who pass through them. I consider Masonry far more than a social club. And, I see it as entirely un-Masonic to advertise it as a social club and refer people to a list of Lodges as has been done on this site. The UGLA seems not to be demonstrating brotherly love, but rather, childish bitterness or vengeance towards the Brethren of a fraternity that has obviously offended them in some way. They must not even care about recognition, or they would not be characterizing traditional Freemasonry in such a poor manner. Fortunately, the type of boys who would schism from the fraternity instead of seeking to make it better
are exactly the type we don't need in our ranks. We're looking for Masons, who are interested in working stones and making them fit for the builder's use. If the stone was already perfect, there would be no need for workmen in the quarries.

I am proud to be a Mason, and I feel honored to be currently going through the York Rite. I am part of an ancient heritage, and although there is much error and poor judgment in the way Freemasonry is handled, yet there are many things perfect. I want to improve the Fraternity, and that starts by helping our Brethren to improve themselves in Masonry.

I hope the UGLA does succeed in some measure. Having competition out there will be good for Masonry in the United States. It may give us strengthened motivation to step up to the challenge and be good and true ancient Masons.

10 comments:

Abu Sahajj said...

Ahlan,

What do you think of Islam? Are you aware of Freemasonry in Islam?

wasalaam.

Timothy Bonney said...

I agree with your analysis. While I'm not as young as you are, I'm 42 and far from 65.

My lodge is nothing like what they are describing.

Tubulcain420 said...

people speak from experiences as do you all. I've run into all kinds of slanderous and back stabbing masons, especially my beloved commandery guys. I could not believe the vile.
While I'm glad your lodges don't collect monies for charities, my did not either, but also refused to do any charities. Everybody's experiences are different, and I've known a many good mason to just leave in frustration and never return. From what I can tell, the majority of UGLA men have had only bad experiences and no future betterment in their geographic reason. We have all heard before change from within, but as long as appointments instaed of real elections take place, things may never change. Plus there is an air of infallability by GL systems, so to acknowledge something is wrong and needs changed, might never happen. It is also easy to sit back and take pot shots at men who have been wronged masonically where zero repercussions happened to the wrong doers. Myself and some of my closest brother went through years of character assassinations by 33rd's and KYCH's and not one GL or DDGM attempted to stop the slander. My situation is just one of many. We as masons need to try to heal our brothers who have been wronged, not pile on like their individual mason systems they left. Remember Paul Revere, Washington, Jefferson, etc. were men who had a problem with their present day system and broke away to start a change, and thank TGAOTU that they did. Did we not fight a war in 1776 not to be ruled by the british? And who do we as masons answer to today? UGLE?
So why should american masons adhere to british masonic law, what was the war for? Americans are good enough to function without UGLE?
Brothers have been wronged, hurt and maligned, it takes time to heal, and we all are rough ashlars working toward betterment.
Also, there must be a grain of truth to some of what they say, or membership and activeness would not be at the level it is?
I'm just an interested brother in the idea of level masonry, where Titles from scottish rite and york rite mean nothing and universal brotherhood means everything.
And until the 38 GL's take a stand against the GL's that refuse to recognize Prince Halls, All GL's are in violation UGLE's laws of recognition.

Jeff said...

So perhaps UGLA sounds childish because... they are a child. ;-)

Ok, I get what you're saying. I still think there's something to be said about not being out for revenge. The UGLA should simply strive to be Good Masons and examples to us all, and impress the socks off of us. That would be ideal.

I agree, that reform sometimes doesn't work, and reorganization or protestantism (not of the religious sense) is necessary in order to move forward. But, the neat thing about Masonry is it seems like it is possible to protest and still be a team player. It is basically within the Masonic ideals to do so.

I suspend my judgment on UGLA, but caution you, my brethren, not to step over a political boundary in the Grand Lodge relationship structures that you aren't willing and committed to stepping over.

If we hold up the ideals, and teach them and promote them, then in due time, all Masons should be in agreement on this sort of issue.

I think UGLA's situation is no less respectable than the 12 or so GL's who are still racially segregated. Each group represents Freemasons with issues that need resolving.

The rest of us need to start recognizing Masons based on their Masonry, and not on what we think other GL's will think of us for doing so.

Darren Simpson said...

RE: UGLA's "Childish" Statements

My unfortunate experience with the blue lodge that I was raised in was that I saw "all" of what has been described by members of the UGLA. It is great that these practices are not across the board and many can count themselves fortunate not to have to bear witness to these behaviors.

Many; however, have borne witness to these acts and while the problem is not in all lodges...it is widespread.

The UGLA's statements are far from childish. Thinking that just because something isn't happening in your neck of the woods that it must not be happening... That's "childish". Perhaps a better term would be "naive".

Hey! Folks are not having their hands chopped off for theft over here, but it is still an undeniable practice in some countries.

The one day, "get your degree" fast-track plan IS a practice in "some" lodges. Back-stabbing and out-right fraud is a practice in "some" lodges. Believe it or not... men with greedy natures do occasionally get voted to positions of power.

Hey! No fraternity is perfect. But they can try to become more perfect that what they are.

So, the UGLA are just a bunch of disaffected masons with sour grapes. Take a look at the many blogs that post discourses between blue lodge apologists and UGLA apologists. There has been much rhetoric and vitriolic comments and accusations made. This is a rift that needs to be healed in the hearts and intellects of both sides.

So, my view of the Blue Lodge...It's great for some people. It would be great if they would fix the issues that exist in some lodges and start building their membership again. It holds no promise of enlightenment to me. Just my opinion.

My view of the UGLA is that it goes back to the essence of what existed before the 1920's "mass-edit" that occurred at the behest of the UGLE. This is what I was looking for originally when I joined the Blue Lodge. This is what I found when I demitted and joined the UGLA. What the Blue lodge does and practices is fine and good.

I don't believe that the UGLA is "out-to-get" the Blue Lodge. There are a lot of bloggers that have simply been posting what has come out in the news regarding alledged mis-steps of the Shrine and some blue lodges. Many folks attached to the blue lodge have made their claims of what they "think" the UGLA really is. All I can say is that the UGLA practices an open door policy regarding their holdings and charities. The Grand Lodge holds NO overage of funds from the regular lodges. After all operating expenses are paid, the excess is returned to the contributing lodges. All expenses are detailed and available to ANY UGLA mason.

I think it's best to let those in the Blue Lodge continue their course, while those in the UGLA continue their course. Diversity is the spice of life. Time will tell the truth of intentions. At their present growth rate, though...the UGLA appears to be in for the long haul.

Thank you for your comment and opinion,

S&F,
Darren Simpson

Darren Simpson said...

RE: JEFF'S SECOND COMMENT

Very good outlook on the subject. Thanks.

Darren Simpson

Jeff said...

Darren,

Also I think it is important to recognize the that the Brotherhood of Man is taught in Lodge. That is why I am not so picky about calling an UGLA member a Brother. I just know I cannot communicate with them Masonically (e.g. converse on tyled subjects.) because I am under an obligation that prohibits that. They are no less worthy a person for it, but I see it more like conversing with an Odd Fellow or an Elk, except with a few more things in common.

Tubulcain420 said...

A UGLA mason will have the opportunity to become a mason via red or blue three degrees.
Most ugla men have already been raised, some may even have more masonic knowlege than you or I, s not calling him a brother and not discussing tyles things, they know and have experienced?
I would gladly call them brother and if my GL tries to say I can't, well, I don't take demands well.
I'm a fre born man of good rapport, men are made masons in their hearts first, the lodge is superficail if we are talking about Universal Brotherhhod under the all seeing eye of Deity.
or brotherhood under the laws of our GL's.
which seems more true to the betterment of all mankind?

Darren Simpson said...

Jeff,

I agree with you and you are right to keep that obligation. The UGLA does not do the "recognition" thing. Perhaps someday, all brothers will be able to come together in warmth of brotherhood.

Thanks for the kind comments!

Darren

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