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Sep. 17th, 2006

I spent Friday night and Saturday at a masonic leadership training conference out in Front Royal.  We discussed a number of (to me) interesting topics, most of which had to do specifically with being a masonic lodge officer.  Some of the concepts were applicable to non-masonic leadership, and even into normal everyday life.

One of the interesting things about this particular conference is that the leaderdship of the Grand Lodge, who were moderating the discussions or presenting the topics, are all what I would consider to be very successful people.  They are leaders in their communities and in their professions.  They have proven themselves time and time again to be resourceful, intelligent, competent individuals.  When they describe an outlook on life, it pays to listen - they've obviously got somthing right.

It became even more interesting when I heard these successful people quoting even more successful people, and echo thoughts I've held privately for many years.

* Every problem has a solution.
* If you achieve all your goals, you've set your aim too low.
* It's not enough to know how to do something.  You need to know why, in order to be truely successful at it.

It was very humbling, and very uplifting, to be in the company of so many good men.  At first I felt...  separate.  I didn't know most of the people there.  None of the other line officers from my lodge were there, only one past master and two honorary members who were there representing their mother lodge.  I hadn't had any opportunities to really get to know any of the Grand Lodge officers, or any members of other lodges.  A couple of people recognized me from times we've met briefly in the past, but it wasn't until Saturday morning and afternoon during the counterpart sessions (where lodge officers met with their grand lodge counterparts) when I really got comfortable there.  I really feel like I was able to connect with some of the officers of other lodges, and in particular with the Grand Junior Deacon, who will (in theory) be the Grand Master in 2011, when I will (in theory) be the Master of my lodge.

It's good to feel welcome in the company of such august men.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC)
Hey, and you could get in on the ground floor of a centuries-old conspiracy! Let us know when you get to be an Illuminatus, yeah?

Seriously, social networking is a damn good thing. Are you allowed to talk in general, vague terms about the types of professions represented in your lodge?
Sep. 18th, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
I can talk in very specific terms about the types of professions represented in my lodge. We have lawyers, doctors, architects, auto mechanics, students, business owners, software engineers, retired civilians, retired military, active duty military (enlisted and officer), civil service government employees, caterers, retail sales assistants... We have members from all walks of life.
Sep. 18th, 2006 02:07 pm (UTC)
My husband's grandfather was a very active Mason, who I believe was of quite high degree in his lodge at the time of his death, so it's always interested me how the lodges aren't just near massive power hubs like DC -- this was in East Bumfuck, Iowa. It's cool that yours in particular manages to catch a really wide spectrum of society and allow networking among people who otherwise mightn't see each other out of their societally-ordained roles.

Does yours have an Eastern Star women's thingy attached? Doug's late grandmother was big into the whole Eastern Star thing as well.
Sep. 18th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm a member of Federal Lodge #1, and there is an associated Federal Chapter of Eastern Star. Some of the members of my lodge (and their wives) are very active in the Eastern Star.

Is that something you and Doug have been interested in?
Sep. 18th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
I'm actually kind of interested in it as a social phenomenon at the mo. The art school has me teaching sociology again this semester (they hired a poet... I wonder if they also get their hair cut at the plumber's), and we're talking about family and kin groups, and thus naturally the concept of "families of choice." I pointed out that this isn't new -- people used to just randomly take in orphans, as in Dickens and Anne of Green Gables -- and related it to gay culture and to Rent as well. It strikes me that in some ways a Masonic lodge is kind of like that: you are pledging allegiance to a group of people and calling them "brothers," yes? And you aren't literally passing on genes through the group, but you're passing on memes (in the true sense of particular transmissible ideas, not LJ quizzes): the outlook you described that every problem has a solution, for example. You're passing on mental genetics.

Do you find you consciously think of your lodge brothers as family, or like family?
Sep. 18th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
My family isn't very close, socially, so my response to your question wouldn't necessarily convey the same meaning as your response to the same question.

Freemasonry is often referred to as a fraternity (indeed, the world's oldest fraternity.) Some of my lodge brothers are acquaintances, some are friends, some are more like family. I don't find myself consciously thinking of them as family, at least not without being prompted to do so.

Certainly, mental genetics do get passed to new members of a lodge. During our meetings, we do at times have intellectual discussions about a variety of topics, specifically excluding religion and politics as permitted topics of conversation - and those, because of their divisive nature.

Sep. 18th, 2006 01:53 am (UTC)
How does one go about joining the Masons? My grandfather was a 32nd Degree Mason, unfortunately, I never got around to asking him about it.
Sep. 18th, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
"To be one, ask one." The process is thus:
1) Ask. You'll never be invited to become a mason. You should ask someone in your area, though. I can help you find a lodge near you, but unless you live in NoVA/DC/MD you wouldn't be able to join my lodge.
2) Visit a local lodge. If you know a Mason who lives near you, visit his! If not, you can contact a local lodge and they'd be happy to let you visit.
3) Fill out a petition. It's basically an application. You usually have to include some form of application fee / degree fee / first years dues, which are returned if you aren't accepted.
4) Wait. The lodge will act on your petition, and will probably assign an investigating committee of 3 Masons to interview you, and make sure you'd be a good addition to their lodge. Basically they'll want to know that you are a man of good character, and are able to support yourself and (if applicable) your family.
5) Wait again. The lodge will review the investigation reports, then vote on you.
6) While waiting in steps 4 and 5, feel free to visit the lodge and attend lodge functions that are open to non-masons.

(Your grandfather was in the Scottish Rite, btw, which is one of the appendant bodies of freemasonry. The core of freemasonry is the Blue Lodge, which has only 3 degrees - Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master. Master Mason is the highest degree in freemasonry, all the others are.. how to put it... "extra".)

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Galen Wolffit

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