Why Freemasonry Should Change With The Times

Is something wrong with Freemasonry? Should it undergo changes? These questions have become common as Freemasons struggle to explain the decline in membership amidst the mounting pressure to modernize the order.

Should Freemasonry Change?

Asserting the necessity for change implies something is broken but nothing is necessarily broken, the order is simply dated and needs to make changes to adapt the modern world.

A great deal of Freemasons reject the notion of change and want to preserve the traditions of Freemasonry. I find this problematic not simply because some of those traditions are regarded as prejudicial in modern times, but also because it’s a counterproductive attitude to have when seeking growth and stability.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Change

From gradual changes to the Old Charges, shift from operative to speculative masonry, the formal establishment of Masonry, the spread of Grand Lodges, countless changes of content and structure in degrees and rituals, the establishment of branches such as the Scottish Rite and York Rite, to Albert Pike’s revisions of the Scottish Rite. The history of Freemasonry is full of changes that benefited and even sparked resurgences of the order. Those changes are proof that positive outcomes are possible with adaptation. In my opinion, it’s all but counterproductive to fear and reject change when historically, it has worked.

The Loss Of Interest

                        The graph above displays the loss of interest in Freemasonry over time.

 

 

 

 

 

The loss of interest is reflected in the decline of membership that is echoed by various orders and institutions. This indicates a cultural change has caused these declines and therefore, only by adapting to these cultural changes could these declines be potentially reversed.

There are those who claim the order experiences periodic rises and falls and therefore, its decline is of no concern as it will presumably rise again. That’s a misleading and speculative claim, not to mention that it doesn’t explain the declines corresponding in other orders that weren’t corresponding in previous times. There is also the fact that this decline has lasted longer than any of the former periodic declines.

Here is a great article discussing some of the misunderstandings in regard to the membership statistics and what they could imply.

There are many cultural changes and Masonic regulations that could be the cause of these declines or at the very least, aren’t helping the growth of Freemasonry. For example, the general loss of religion, the exclusion of women from Blue Lodge and its extended branches such as the Scottish Rite and York Rite, its exclusion of homosexuals in areas such as Tennessee and Georgia, it’s exclusion of nontheists, its separation of regular Freemasonry from Prince Hall Masonry, etc.

Losing Our Religion


Religion is declining while secularism is rising
. It’s only a matter of time before nontheists outnumber theists. By excluding them, it does Freemasonry no good.

Freemasons of former times believed nontheists incapable of relating to or appreciating its allegories, which incorporate religious concepts and allegories, to convey esoteric truths. Furthermore, Masons of old felt nontheists incapable of understanding the moral ramifications of its teachings. This presumption is outdated and false. A nontheist can appreciate the morality, philosophy, history, allegory, esotericism, and theological motifs of Freemasonry as well as any theist.

Women & Freemasonry

“The Freemasons’ attitude towards women seems extraordinarily out of date. They are outstandingly kind to their wives and to their female employees, who are far less likely to encounter harassment or disrespect from Freemasons than from many employers or higher business executives. But the Freemasons not merely exclude women from their own ranks but also refuse to have any dealings with any other society that accepts women.” – pg. 292 of The Freemasons, Jasper Ridley

There’s a lot of disingenuous placation regarding the admission of women into Freemasonry. For example, women are not able to join the regular Blue Lodge of Freemasonry and thereafter, branches such as the York or Scottish Rite. Instead, it essentially relegates them to side branches that are often perceived to be watered-down branches of Freemasonry. These branches aren’t regarded as the equivalent or counterpart to regular Blue Lodge Freemasonry, nor do they contain the same level of substance. Despite what any Masons claims, it not the same thing and never will be.

It would do a great deal of good if women were allowed in all branches of Freemasonry, meaning regular and officially recognized branches of Freemasonry, not simply side orders. There are many great and intellectual women who would do wonderfully in the York or Scottish Rite but are unable to due to these constraints.

The main issue with the admission of women into these regular bodies of Freemasonry is its opposition by Freemasons themselves. Freemasons, especially older Masons, will conjure an endless stream of irrational excuses and pseudo-arguments with hints of prejudice to prevent anyone from making progress in this area.

“Perhaps it is a sound instinct of self-preservation which makes the Freemasons exclude women; for by the year 2030, if not earlier, no one will believe that a society which excludes women, and consists solely of old and middle-aged men, can possibly exercise any influence in political or public life, either for good or for evil.” pg. 293, The Freemasons, Jasper Ridley

Interestingly, other groups have found a lot of success in allowing and encouraging the admission of women. Lions Club International is the perfect example.

“Lions Club International reported 20,000 new members last year after decades of decline. It has 1.35 million worldwide, says spokesman Dane La Joye.

Reaching out to women has been key, La Joye says. “Women are the fastest-growing segment of our membership today,” he says.” — USA Today

Lions Clubs International has experienced a gradual decline in interest that is echoed by other orders and societies. However, it also experiences dramatic upticks of interest that are NOT seen in other orders and has more general interest. For this reason, other orders should consider following the exemplary nature of Lions Club as its appeal to women has clearly shown a difference in membership, interest, and the general acceptance of people.


Homosexuality & Freemasonry

While the Grand Lodge of Tennessee and Georgia have decided to enact Masonic laws to forbid homosexuals from Freemasonry, most Grand Lodges do NOT support this decision and have urged both Grand Lodges to lift the ban on homosexuality. However, this ( as well as many other things ) affirms the outdated nature of the order and its dogmatic behavior.

The following quotation on the matter from an NPR article about this ruling is precisely what I’m referring to as “dogmatic” behavior in the order.

“Cook suspects that the debate in Tennessee will hinge less on sympathetic appeals and more on whether a ban goes against the founding principles of Freemasonry.” – NPR ( For Freemasons, Is Banning Gays Or Being Gay Un-Masonic? )

It’s my simple assertion that dated ‘traditions’ or ‘principles’ of the order are holding it back, and if by viewing the abandonment of them as a ‘compromise’ of the order, it only serves as an expose of prejudice or at the very least, lack of critical thought.

Race & Freemasonry

Race in Freemasonry is complicated. While most Freemasons aren’t racist and welcome men of any color to their lodges, there are areas that won’t. This has been admitted and discussed in many posts that are inquiring about Freemasonry, all of which are generally viewed as unfortunate.

The problem is obvious. There are men of differing races that want to join regular Blue Lodge Freemasonry and not the ‘relegated’ Prince Hall Freemasonry. However, because of various stigmas and issues, it makes the endeavor of conjoining problematic.

There will no tradition of PH or BL Freemasonry if Freemasonry does not survive. It’s in their best interest to preserve Freemasonry itself than to allow it to dwindle into darkness by separating variations of the order. If Freemasonry unites many of its variations and branches, it will do a great deal of good for the order and consolidate its sense of strength and membership.

Skull and Bones suffered similar reactions to their lack of diversity and progression. However, Skull and Bones decided to make some changes and have experienced positive results. Freemasons should not fear those type of changes as the pattern emerging is that making these type of changes has resulted positively.

Stop Blaming Millennials

Ironically, many older Freemasons often blame the decline in Freemasonry on Millennials despite the fact that the decline in Masonic membership started before the Millenials were even born. There are also claims that the Millennial Masons are just too lazy and expect the degrees, rituals, and relative literature to be simplified to accommodate their needs. In truth, it was in the early and mid 90’s that most of the simplification of the craft occurred. For example, the abandoning of Morales & Dogma for A Bridge to Light with the admission that Morales & Dogma is a “tough” read and that “The vast majority of today’s candidates neither enjoy nor comprehend”, its complexity. (Rex R. Hutchens, A Bridge to Light, Introduction To The Revised Edition )

I’m a Millennial and I’ve read both Morales & Dogma and A Bridge to Light countless times. I don’t feel that Morales & Dogma is a tough read nor did I find it difficult to understand the Latin, Hebrew, Greek, or Egyptian references. In fact, Millennials are far better equipped to understand these references than past generations considering that we’ve grown up during the age of the internet and are incredibly used to researching things online at the click of a button.

A Bridge to Light is a simplified and more politically correct version of Morales & Dogma which is ironic since two major complaints against Millennial Masons are that we’re supposedly expecting simplification and political correctness.  On the contrary, we want the depth of old.

I believe Morales & Dogma was and still is better at expressing and alluding to the meaning and historical narratives that the degrees are based on. Morales & Dogma does avoid the admission of particular things but is more forward and outright, whereas A Bridge to Light dances around particular subjects, such as that of the Tetramorph by alluding to it but not discussing it in detail.

 Transparency

The only major shift in modern Masonry is the move toward more transparency. This is a great thing and I commend those who worked to push that to the forefront of Masonic matters. If anything, this is at least one fairly recent change that adapts well to modern culture.

Transparency is not only a principle but an obligation of Freemasonry.

“Rather than being a secret society, Freemasonry is a revealer of secrets.” — pg. 1, A Bridge To Light, Rex R. Hutchens

An Uncomfortable Truth

The perception that Freemasonry is failing has done a lot of damage alone and regardless of where you stand, doing nothing about it will only allow that perception to inform reality and therefore, allow it to continue growing. The only answer is to create positive changes that will stimulate the growth of the order and break that stigma.

An important thing to understand is that saying Freemasons should fully accept women, any race, and any sexual orientation to all of its branches and bodies is only a radical idea to Freemasons. To most of our modern society, these ideas aren’t the least radical, which shows just how dated and behind Freemason has become. If Freemasons are so concerned with preserving tradition then they should preserve its tradition of progressive principles, which it was founded upon.

American Trust In Media At All Time Low

Recently, I asserted that the U.S. political ruling class are losing their ideological stranglehold over the masses. Now, there’s some evidence to back that claim. American trust in media is at an all-time low and that can only be the result of the blatant and outright reckless media bias, censorship, and controlled interest of the media that’s continually being exposed, especially amidst the 2016 election.

“WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

Americans' Trust in the Mass Media

Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.

Republicans Fuel Drop in Media Trust

While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.

Trust in Mass Media, by Party

Democrats’ and independents’ trust in the media has declined only marginally, with 51% of Democrats (compared with 55% last year) and 30% of independents (versus 33% last year) expressing trust. Over the past 20 years, Democrats have generally expressed more trust than Republicans in the media, although in 2000, the two parties were most closely aligned, with 53% of Democrats and 47% of Republicans professing trust.

Trust in Mass Media Falls Across Age Groups

Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they trust the media, but trust has declined among both age groups this year. Currently, 26% of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36% last year) and 38% of those aged 50 and older (down from 45%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.

Trust in Mass Media, by Age

In 2001, younger Americans (55%) were more likely than older Americans (50%) to express trust and confidence in mass media. This gap emerged again in 2005 when 53% of 18- to 49-year-olds had trust and 45% of those 50 and older expressed the same sentiment. Yet in the past decade, older Americans have mostly had more confidence than younger Americans, and this year, the gap between these age groups is 12 points. And 2016 marks the first time that confidence among older Americans has dropped below 40% in polling since 2001.

Bottom Line

The divisive presidential election this year may be corroding Americans’ trust and confidence in the media, particularly among Republicans who may believe the “mainstream media” are too hyperfocused on every controversial statement or policy proposal from Trump while devoting far less attention to controversies surrounding the Clinton campaign. However, the slide in media trust has been happening for the past decade. Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.

With the explosion of the mass media in recent years, especially the prevalence of blogs, vlogs and social media, perhaps Americans decry lower standards for journalism. When opinion-driven writing becomes something like the norm, Americans may be wary of placing trust on the work of media institutions that have less rigorous reporting criteria than in the past. On the other hand, as blogs and social media “mature,” they may improve in the American public’s eyes. This could, in turn, elevate Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media as a whole.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.”  

Art Swift at Gallup 

Guccifer 2.0 Leaks DNC ‘Pay-To-Play’ Donor List

“After addressing a cybersecuirty conference in London, notorious hacker ‘Guccifer’ shared over 500Mb of documentsdetailing 100,000 DNC donors contact info and donations. A large number of the largest donors received senior diplomatic or political positions following thge donations, ranging from UK Ambassador to Assistant Attorney General. The DNC released a statement pre-emptively claiming that this was the work of Russia (and reigniting Trump’s links to Putin).

Probably just coincidence…

Source: Magafeed.com

The dcoments contained detailed lists of 100,000 alledged donors, addresses, and phone numbers, and well as amounts donated…

Source: imgur

Here is the first cut of the alleged major donors on the leaked documents and the positions they received (via Magafeed.com)

  • #1 Matthew Berzun … Ambassador to UK
  • #2 Julius Genachowski … Former chairman to FCC
  • #3 Frank Sanchez…. Under secretary of commerce
  • #8 Kirk Wagner… Ambassador to Singapore
  • #9 Alan Solomont … Ambassador to Spain
  • #11 John Roos… Ambassador to Japan
  • #12 Nicole Avant… Ambassador to Bahamas
  • #13 Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe … Ambassador to the UN
  • #16 Steve Westly – CFO of California
  • #17 Don Beyer – Ambassador to Switzerland
  • #21 Don Gips – Ambassador to South Africa
  • #22 Howard Gutman – Ambassador to Belgium
  • #24 Cynthia Stroum – Ambassador to Luxembourg
  • #27 Mark Gilbert – Ambassador to New Zealand
  • #31 Norm Eisen – Ambassador to Czech Republic
  • #37 Bruce Oreck – Ambassador to Finland
  • #43 Tony West – deputy Attorney General
  • #45 Bill Kennard – Ambassador to EU

 

The DNC responded to the latest hack claim Tuesday through its Interim Chair Donna Brazile, who stated that the“DNC is the victim of a crime,” which she blamed on “Russian state-sponsored agents,” while also cautioning that the hacked documents were still being authenticated by the DNC legal team, as “it is common for Russian hackers to forge documents.” DNC pre-emptively published a statement in an attempt to change the narrative…

 https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/775806762490343424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Once again blaming Russia (and Trump)… As RT reports, it’s not the first time that the name of Vladimir Putin has been brought up in the US presidential campaign, but this time the US president used this “argument” while openly campaigning for Clinton against Trump. The situation has become “really ludicrous and it borders on the ridiculous,” believes Gregory R. Copley, editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs.”

Read More At Zerohedge.com 

U.S. political ruling class losing their ideological stranglehold amidst 2016 election

It’s business as usual in the states but the sheer audacity of these media outlets, politicians, and campaign staffers have shattered the perceivable semblance of the political arena.

From the various scandals of Hillary Clinton and her careless disregard of protocol to the general absurdity and disorder of Trump, it’s an endless circus.

There is a theory that Clinton is using Trump as a plant to win the presidency, which isn’t as fringe and conspiratorial as one might think or it could be that Trump was unwittingly propped into position. This would explain why Trump sort of undercuts and alienates himself in varied ways. If so, it’s reminiscence of the 2004 election, in which the  Bonesman John Kerry lost to fellow Bonesman George W. Bush.

Speaking of the Bush family, Jeb Bush has suggested himself that such a conspiracy exists.

Is Trump a pawn or participant or is it possible that Trump turns out to be a great disruptor as he’s made out to be? It’s too early to judge but connections between the Trump and Clinton family don’t inspire confidence. Regardless, the current state of politics is bad.  They are losing their grip and the people are, too. We’re getting out of touch with reality and this could be taken advantage of by foreign nations in terms of infiltration and ideological subversion.

Losing Control 

The Clinton campaign is misguided and threatens the fabric of American politics on either side of the spectrum. Her speech against the ‘Alt-Right’ and direct mention of Alex Jones is an example of how much ideological control has been lost due to their sheer inability to control perception.

Her smear campaign against Trump has failed. They tried to associate him with conspiratorial truther types but this backfired. The alt-right and alternative media find this recognition legitimizing. It provides them with more exposure and ideological control.  This is either a bad thing, in which the whole political realm descends into conspiratorial narratives or this could open the door to alternative thought and free us from the legacy system.  Things are different now, though.

The media bias and censorship of the 2008 election was blown off for the most part but it’s different this time. Alt-movements and media have gained an unprecedented level of traction and are beginning to win the war of perception and dissolve the ideological subversion of the political class.

The upper echelon of the U.S. political arena is destroying its internal and international integrity.

I don’t care for the political elite class. I don’t care for their agenda and their problematic political philosophies. However, I find their stupidity and ineptitude a major problem with  national security. It is troubling for the U.S., foreign entities can act on that weakness.

If Trump is the disruptor, the Andrew Jackson of his day, then I hope he sets fire to the fields of bureaucracy to expose these  gangs of snakes and rid us of this drama. I am doubtful but shaking things up could be what American needs. I just fear that we’re veering down a bad path, in which there is no real semblance of order and directive. I don’t want things to spiral into an overwhelming battle of narratives in which no one truly understands what’s going on.

Vladimir Putin on DNC leaks: ‘Does it even matter who hacked this data?’

“Vladimir Putin said the hacking of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails and documents was a service to the public, but denied U.S. accusations that Russia’s government had anything to do with it.

“Listen, does it even matter who hacked this data?’’ Putin said in an interview at the Pacific port city of Vladivostok on Thursday. “The important thing is the content that was given to the public.’’

U.S. officials blame hackers guided by the Russian government for the attacks on DNC servers earlier this year that resulted in WikiLeaks publishing about 20,000 private emails just before Hillary Clinton’s nominating convention in July. The documents showed attempts by party officials to undermine her chief Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, and led to the resignation of the head of the DNC, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.” – Read More At Bloomberg