Sunday, January 18, 2009


I often work with a traveling degree team that performs the Master Mason Degree. In my years working with the team I noticed that we keep going to the same lodges over and over. While I understand many lodges have reached the point where they no longer have the man power to perform this degree or have not built back up to such a level I also feel many lodges simply don't try. It becomes all too easy to have a degree team come in or to farm candidates out to other lodges. One of these most frequented lodges has brought in many new candidates in the past few years and has developed a officer line. As we all know, if you don't perform a degree, you don't learn it. Therefore all they are doing by constantly using a degree team is developing an officer line that only knows the first two degrees.

There are strong lodges and weak lodges in every district and it is not uncommon for neighboring lodges to assist eachother. I think it is far more useful for a lodge to bring in the help needed to perform the degree than to outsource it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Now that most lodges have their new officers installed it is time to get down to business again. Which of course means performing degree work for this years candidates. Along with this of course comes the visit by the purple people. I remember when I was a junior officer this was a big deal and I remember how everyone got so nervous about it. Now as "veteran" officer I realize it is really nothing at all but a formality that is required once a year by the Grand Lodge. I am also willing to bet that the DD will be more nervous about doing the inspection than the lodge will be about doing the degree. Our Grand Lodge is now pushing for that on inspection nights, all officers should be in their installed positions and that work should be performed by members of that lodge only, no outside help. While I realize that lodges should be graded by the work that they perform and not by some outside ringers brought in that night, I also see the other side of this.

What gets lost in all of this is that the degrees are all about the candidates and if the degrees are done much better with outside help so be it. Why should Grand Lodge prove their point at the expense of the candidates, most lodges know where they stand on the quality of their degree work and often take steps to make up for their inadequacies by moving officers around and supplementing with outside help.

I would like to take this one step further and I will propose this to our district that at the end of the inspection period that the scores given to each lodge should be presented at the Blue Lodge Council. Are we not grown men ? Did not most of us go to college and see our grades posted ? There is no greater motivator than peer pressure. How would you like to be the lodge in your district with the lowest score ? Perhaps it is time for a merger if you always are. And you can bet the strong lodges would work hard for the perfect score.