Thursday, February 28, 2008

A template for attracting new Masons?

The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is well known as being one the most "aggressive" marketers of Freemasonry. They've run advertisements locally, and created "recruitment" videos that end up on YouTube.

They've also, apparently, mastered the art of press releases for local lodges to use. I think I've figured out their template. Wonder if it actually works?

Have a snappy headline, such as "Learn about the Masons."

Paragraph 1: Announce a local open house.

Paragraph 2: Tell readers there will be refreshments. Mmm, cookies! Appeal to the stomach and to the desire to get something for nothing.

Paragraph 3: Mention the Grand Lodge, like that means anything to the reader. It's a weak use of the propaganda technique known as "Appeal to Authority." Add in how many members there are, shooting for the "Bandwagon" effect.

Paragraph 4: Combine the propaganda technique of "Appeal to Authority" with "Beautiful People," and invoke the names of famous dead Freemasons, being sure to list only Caucasian ones, even during Black History Month.

Paragraph 5: Brag about the amount of money "the Masons" give to charity each day. Inflate the amount and make it sound like all Masons are involved in this Masonic giveaway that's really a Shriner, not a Masonic, thing, blending the propaganda techniques of "Half-Truth" and "Intentional Vagueness."

Paragraph 6: Brag about more charity work the Masons do.

Paragraph 7: Brag about even more charity work the Masons do. I guess devoting three paragraphs to talking about charity is a use of the "Repetition" technique.

Paragraph 8: Mention "the children," a tangential use of the "Flag-Waving" technique, since children are "America's future."

Paragraph 9: Tell who your target market is, and throw in a few "Virtue Words" for good measure.

Paragraph 10: Provide a link to even more exciting "information."

While I admit the news article/press release is well-written, I think it's a terrible marketing piece. What are they selling? Why should I want it?

An old marketing rule-of-thumb is this: "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Tell me the benefits, not the features.

Invoking the Founding Fathers has little effect on today's consumers, other than maybe using George Washington's image to sell furniture and automobiles at Presidents Day sales.

Telling how much charity work you do doesn't impress anyone. If you're of a charitable nature, you've got a zillion other ways to donate your money to good causes. Churches, youth organizations you know something about, environmental causes — you can even just sign a form at work and have a portion of your income donated to the generic United Way.

Nothing in this "news story" would create a desire in me — nor in very many other men, I suspect — to learn more about Freemasonry. Nothing in this story would make me want to go to their open house, even if I lived just down the block.

Would it you?

Is this all Freemasonry is? Is this the image we've decided to present to the public? Freemasonry wasn't even in the charity business when Washington and Franklin were alive. Is this all we've become?

Where's the sizzle in this story? What in it inspires the reader to want to become a Mason?

Link: Wikipedia article on propaganda techniques

Image: An old Russian propaganda poster, just 'cause it's interesting artwork

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  1. No this is not all Freemasonry is or should be. But try to do anything significant in your community without a base of Masons to support you.

    I challenge all of you Masons who refuse to recruit to open your check books and each write a check for at least $100,000 to support the upkeep of your lodge, lodge activities, Masonic education, and community outreach.

    Otherwise shut up and wither away.

  2. Widow's Son,

    You are right on the button here. This is a problem throughout Masonry: the Blue Lodge does not do a good job of explaining itself to the general public; the Rites do not do a good job of explaining themselves to Master Masons, and so on.

    I think that some of the problem here has to do with the esoteric nature of Freemasonry. At its heart, Freemasonry is an initiatic tradition with a significant amount of esoteric content. The younger (or, at least, newer) people coming in to Masonry (judging from the people who've been petitioning for membership in Central Florida) are very interested in the esoteric wisdom of Freemasonry. However, many of our brethren seem to have let this aspect of Masonry become a bit rusty through disuse.

    I am all for open houses and letting people know that Freemasonry still exists (as I mention on the first four downloadable papers on this site: However, in stating to the world who we are, we need to remember our esoteric roots, and to recommit ourselves to exploring and applying our esoteric symbolism.

  3. Widow's Son,

    In response to your ex parte post about the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and their recuirtment tactics, I have a question. How do you know that Grand Lodge is responsible for that press release?

    On March 8th every Lodge in Massachusetts is going to be (or is supposed to be) open to the public. We, as Massachusetts Freemasons, host these open houses twice per year. It gives the public, whether insterested in becoming involved in Freemasonry or just curious about what goes on within the Lodges, an opertunity to ask questions and get answers. In past these events have been highly successful; at least at my Lodge they have been. That being said, it seems unlikely to me that Grand Lodge would single out one particular Lodge and publish a press release in a local paper. It seems more likely to me, that members of Tahattawan Lodge contacted the local press themselves as an attempt to promote the event and generate interest. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with the open houses or publizing them in local papers. That's not to say that I agree with all of the recruitment tactics of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, but that's a topic for a different time.

    Don't take my comment the wrong way. This isn't to say that your post is tripe or meaningless, you make some good points. However, what is missing from your post is any proof that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was even made aware that this article was going to be published, much less released it themselves.

  4. I did not know Lodges acted without first getting permission from the Grand Lodge?
    That is one important lesson I have been reading about here on the net. So, I could see why WS assumed the Grand Lodge checked off on it.

    Masons do not move without orders or first asking permission, because we are Free Masons for Gods sake!

    cehawkes1, when trying to do the things you challenge masons to do, if you apparently do not ask permission and get approval to upkeep the Lodge, support masonic education and attempt to raise up the community and safe keep the future of the facility from the Grand Lodge, you get punished and attacked.

    So, I advise masons to continue with what you have been doing, and do not, I say do not, attempt to save your temples or "change" anything.
    if it is not broken, do not fix it

    that is the mantra and since freemasonry if so pure, it could never be broken, so quit looking for fixes.

    Remember, it is about quantity,
    not quality......
    open houses, one day classes, marketing ploys,etc......

  5. WS,
    If they advertised that modern Masonry was anything more than a charitable social club, they would likely be guilty of false advertising.

  6. Widows Son,
    This is brilliant! As a writer of press releases, I will use your analysis for my own template! Let me suggest that all the promotion of charity be labelled the "Tom Sawyer Effect." The press release is probably a trial balloon to see if anyone calls or shows up.
    Great work!

  7. Ya' know, I would think by now that all of these folks with a deep, abiding hatred of mainstream Freemasonry would have set up their own anti-mainstream blog and forum. Maybe even a couple of them. Like some nice, open forum on the GOofUS website, or maybe on the Masonic High Council of Alabama's (or whatever it's called these days). Some place where they can vent their spleen, raise hell, slander Masonic authors and administrators with their pet names of hatred, all the while hiding behind their multiple screen names and alter-egos.

    Why, to hear the way they tell it, there must be simply OOODLES of Masonic malcontents just waiting for such a open forum to pitch its tent. Sort of a Democratic Underground-like site where they can all go and cry and whine and piss and moan and make their plans for vengeance against Shriners, Brent Morris, the Scottish Rite, the Grand Masters of Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, both Carolinas, the Dummies books, NASCAR, lodge chaplains who let the word "Jesus" slip out during prayers, new Masons who ask how to wear their rings, and whoever else the "enemy" of the day is. They could even set up a "Five Minute Hate" section, and they could elect a new enemy to be the daily Goldstein. They could flack their websites and self-published manifestos and their brand spankin' new Grand Lodges. Really, it would be a great source for anyone who wants to see the difference between mainstream Freemasonry and this alternative Neo-Masonry that, from what its three adherents tout on a regular basis, is apparently sweeping the nation like a big Hoover vacuum.

    And then maybe, just maybe, they'll have so much fun and so much success they'll have no further reason to hang out with the rest of us - which, I was under the impression, they don't really want to do anyway. Shoot, I would think that they'd be sooo busy with new interest and new recruits swooping in like hungry mosquitos at a Boy Scout camp they wouldn't know what to do.

    Whaddya say, Jeff and Brandon and David? Maybe you could announce it with a press release.

  8. Several states in the US have "open house" days, as do lodges in some EU countries.

    In Conn, lodges may contact their local newspapers, radio stations, etc. Those of you who believe in konspiracy theories (2BC) will crow otherwise, but most lodges do not have any marching orders; they typically have a few of the old-timers talk to whatever local reporter happens to show up - or more likely, to call.

    I have given interviews to several different publication (does this make me an old timer now?), and somehow managed to keep the focus off the charity angle. However, I want to stress that I believe that it's difficult to explain to the general public what it is that we do without sounding "woo-woo" or New Age-y.

    Sandy, the press release is not a trial balloon. Several Grand Lodges have been sponsoring public awareness days for some years now. Often, you can find that a lodge in your city will be open to the public, and will have members on hand to talk to visitors about pretty much any aspect of Freemasonry, from the history of the building to the esoterica to, yes, the charity thing.

    And for what it's worth, men come to the fraternity for a variety of reasons; our fraternity does sponsor a lot of charitable works. So? I can think of a few brothers who came in because they wanted to "give back to the community" and afterwards discovered that there was so much more.

    the daily Goldstein

    I think that would be a fantastic name for a new blog!

  9. uhmmmm.... steak....

    Spot on here. Change starts at home, and I don' t mean the lodges. The individual masons need to be the sizzle, and I don't think many are out there these days doing what they need to do.

    Its great that there is a punch and cookie open house, but so what. I've been to them, even took my own cookie monster children, and at the end, it was a pretty uninspiring presentation. No sizzle.

    I don't want it to sound negative, but really, the members of the lodge need to step up and engage the community and do something interesting. Stir the pot a little. Hell, have an all you can eat sushi bar while we talk about the influence of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy and the early church.

    It takes some imaginative guts to do something different, and I have yet to see something REALLY dynamic and exciting being done. I think most lodges avoid the controversy because it alienates people who "disagree" or don't like it because it's not how it was done before.

    Pretty soon, it won't matter. There won't be anyone left to do it differently, there just won't be anyone else left.

  10. It's very difficult for the public to understand what Freemasonry is all about since we really don't know how to explain it. How do I explain that being a Mason has made me a better Husband, Father, friend and employee? They may think they could find the same thing in some of their Faith organizations. How do I tell them of the life long friendships that I have developed in lodge? They probably have friends like that. How do I explain the tools I received that has helped me build a strong moral compass? they probably think their church will do that. How do I tell them of the lasting support of a Masonic Brother? They may have several family members they can call on. Maybe all we have to seperate us are the tangibles like donations and community service. Maybe all we can offer is the same positive avenues under one roof with support for our fellow man. I can't explain how I feel when I attend any lodge meeting but I know I feel recharged for several days to weeks afterward. My wife says it seems to recharge my batteries. As far as the MA press release, we haven't been doing this very long so we obviously aren't very good at it. Even today most Masons including MA can't truely explain what Freemasonry is.

  11. Is it really that difficult?

    Apparently so. Right here on the Taper we see arguments by people who have their own ideas of what Freemasonry is or should be. We have people who belittle the charities and the fish-fries, believing them to be inconsequential - yet this completely ignores the brothers who don't care (or don't know) about esotericism - yet who still manage to be good, caring, and spiritually deep.

    A knowledge of alchemy is all well and good, but sometimes it's nice to have a brother simply give you a pat on the back when you're having a hard time. I think that some of us forget that's part of Masonry, too.

    Some of us also act as if the Masonry practiced in our own area is the only Masonry. This leads some of us to be, shall we say, overly cynical, while others are disbelieving. Masonry, despite being a world-wide fraternity is very parochial. I've been reading the stories from people who do nothing but rant about how bad Masonry is in Georgia and several other states. Unfortunately, it's completely colored your perceptions to where you fail to see that in other areas, Masonry seems to be completely different.

    So, yes - apparently, it really is that difficult to describe Masonry. We can't even talk about it amongst ourselves without devolving into name-calling, insults, and paranoia.

  12. Just because I am paranoid does not mean that they are not out to get me.

    On a serious note: Perhaps that is the answer. Masonry is all of those things. True, there are some rites that are quite esoteric by its very nature (Memphis-Misraim, RER), there are others that are not so overt. There are also several ways that a lodge can be. Masonry is esoteric, it is social, it is a lot of things. None of which preclude the other.


  13. Masonry is not the "Boy Scouts", yet far to many think it is. The rituals mean more than community, yet many ignore their true meanings and think its all about the men's club, it's not.
    Stop the needless recruiting and allow freemasonry find itself again.

  14. What happened to the "favourable opinion of some other mason in your life" as involved in the petition (at least that's how it's put here) My interest came from my own eyes, watching the men in my life as i grew up, father, uncles, elders, friends, pastors, in good bad and ugly situation, and how they handled it, and why they did it the ways they did........maybe mine is the exception anymore, but I can hope to lend that same image to others.

  15. In reference to the first two paragraphs of Bro. Tom's comment:
    This highlights a big problem with the Craft today. Increasingly, there seem to be two factions within the Lodges: those who favor the esoteric aspect and those who are there for the purely social and fraternal aspect. Both views are, in my opinion, equally valid, as Masonry is subjective. The conflict arises, however, when either faction tries to get in the way of the other. If all involved would apply a bit of the "cement of brotherly love and affection" and allow each Brother to pursue his own journey, perhaps there would be less griping and bad feelings here and elsewhere.

  16. How did we (as Masons) become so divided?

    We have a brotherhood problem. Grand Masters continue to expell/suspend brothers without trial or due process. Recently, even a Past Grand Master was expelled.

    What impact do these types of injustices have on the meaning of "Masonic Brotherhood"?

    The numbers of discontented brothers rise every year and new Grand Lodges are beginning to appear.

    Mainstreamers are quick to avoid dealing with these issues and instead prefer to attack those who are frustrated with the mainstream system. Until they wake-up and realize that they are a part of the problem and not the solution then nothing will change.

  17. Masonry is not the "Boy Scouts", yet far to many think it is.


    As somebody serves to prove my point by way of example...

    Over the last few years at Friendship Lodge, I've seen several WMs, each with his own perspective on Freemasonry. One was very dedicated to community service. One would have turned the lodge into a restaurant. One enjoyed the long socials after the meetings. One focused on better ritual. One concentrated on the lodge building.

    Amazingly, all of these were good Masters, and nobody complained that what they were doing wasn't Masonry. True, not all of these efforts appealed to everyone. So? Everyone pitched in because they knew that at some point they would get to be involved with something that they liked better.

    We have a brotherhood problem.

    No, you have a brotherhood problem. Freemasonry is doing very well in Friendship Lodge, thank you for asking. Again, don't assume that the issues that you've encountered are universal.

  18. Tom,

    Reality check dude!

    If you have several GL's making brothers angry then it quickly becomes a problem for all concerned.

    You too are experiencing the effects of a brotherhood problem. The posts on this blog relfect the very real nature of the problem. To be in denial is human but not constructive.

    New lodges are being formed outside of your system by brothers from your system. That should tell you something.

  19. Br. Tom, I think its a forest for the trees issue. Individually, some lodges are probably flourishing, but some may also be divisive. part of any problems lies in the inability to concisely say what Freemasonry is. Is it all of the things you described, or is it non of them? It starts at the local and the global level (forest and trees). I think were all on the same page, where some are experiencing prosperity, but others are not. But because there isn't smoke in your lodge doesn't mean that there is a burning problem in others, and if one part is on fire, it will likely, at some point, impact the others. To use the forest for trees metaphor, if half of the forest burns to the ground, it has a huge impact on the rest of the ecosystem, less habitat, less diversity, and a greater risk of erosion and landscape denuding. So it is a problem that will affect all of us at some point.

  20. Mainstream Masonry's problem is like many American corporations that became so bloated and big they lost their direction and became out-dated and could not compete any longer. Mainstream Masonry has done the same. Let me jog your memory.

    The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) at one time the second largest company in the world with over 4000 locations.

    General Motors (GM) at one time the largest corporation in the world. LOST ITS NUMBER SALES POSITION TO TOYOTA

    S.S. Kresge (K-Mart) once the largest discount chain. WENT BANKRUPT

    W.T. Grant The largest 25 cent stores. GONE

    Freemasonry has lost half its membership. Many beautiful temples have been demolished, or have decayed because of the decline in membership since 1961.
    Masonry NEVER addressed the decline during the 60's, 70's, 80's, and not until the late 90's did mainstream Masonry begin to address the problem. Still not even half of the lodges have a website. The out-dated ways of the 50's and 60's won't attract new members and until mainstream Masonry wakes up the decline will continue.

  21. MT - three lodges in three different states does not constitute a firestorm, at least, not to my way of thinking. I also want to add that as far as I know, we aren't experiencing the same kind of discontent up in my neck of the woods. New England, New York and New Jersey is really the only area that I'm familiar with, although none of my friends in Cali have reported stirrings of revolution, either.

    Are there issues with some GLs and their officers? Of course - there have been since 1718. Let me remind you that it took only 20 or 25 years after the first GL was formed in 1717 before other lodges began to split off and form their own.

    It might be more beneficial to look at the factors that allow things to get out of control in the various US states. In the Northeast, PMs do not get an automatic vote in GL sessions. It seems to me that this creates more "turnover" at the sessions, with more opportunity to change things (presumably for the better).

    I know that several southern states grant PMs permanent voting rights, which could - in my opinion - create an environment in which the status quo could be maintained for years. I can't imagine that a bunch of PMs would be likely to vote themselves from having a say...

    There may not be an easy resolution to some of these issues. But again, I'm going to stress that the problems that you seem to be having are not universal. The US states are pretty well firewalled - as is obvious when looking at the PH recognition maps. An issue in one state may not affect Masons in neighboring states, simply because their underlying laws and regulations have created a different environment.

  22. Br. Tom, I hear you and respect your knowledge.

    Perhaps my words were to terse, a fire storm is is not. It is the beginnings of a smoldering ember that could conflagrate into a larger brush fire. Is it true for every lodge? No, but if one lodge fails, and then another, at what point do we say that there is a problem? We can already chart a 20% reduction per decade in the last 50 years, equating out to more than almost 3 million members who have left the ranks, either by attrition or lack of interest.

    I agree that there are firewalls that keep discontent from spreading, but like any symbiotic system, if one parts feels the effects, its likely that the other parts will feel it, even if its further down the line.

    The point of this conversation is based on what the Taper originally wrote, which was the same old press release advertising the same old event. Something any of can relate to, as our own lodges have done the same. Does it work? Possibly to come extent, but the original proposition is does it work well. Is it selling the steak or the sizzle. Irregardless of what others are saying, on their own beliefs, or on the holes of what ever grandiose plans of Grand Lodges, the sizzle comes from us. Its our efforts that make that sizzle, and opening packages of cookie wrappers and pouring punch is not the way to do it.

    And these “changes” don’t take any GL edicts or mandates. All it takes are brothers open to doing something different and stepping up to do it. I think that’s more the problem than not. No one wants to do something different.

    And in the end, it will have effects elsewhere, at least more effect then serving half a pack of Chips Ahoy and Tropicana Fruit Punch. If it sounds sarcastic, it is in some ways. I just don’t think it sends a good strong message of brotherly love, relief, or truth.

  23. If anyone wants to understand how to build a growing and thriving Masonic lodge all they have to do is look to Halcyon. These brothers have taken a failing lodge with a run down temple and reinvigorated through imagination, ingenuity and lots of hard work.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Sorry Jeff, I for one, and am among MANY, that do not consider what the men that left Halcyon lodge had or have ANYTHING to do with real masonry. I do NOT recommend their course of action anything but a fancy way of quitting Freemasonry.

    Just my opinion, mind you, but it seems to be one widely held.

    However, in keeping with the original intention of our erstwhile host, cut and paste PR fluff has very little useful purpose. That written, ANYTHING that puts a good face on Freemasonry has value, given that 90% of the public has no clue about freemasonry... much as evinced by Ms. Frost and her incessant sniping at Freemasons.

    Even a clock is right twice a day, so I have to give her SOME credit for her articles, but like that clock, the rest of the time she is not on target. Its easy to throw stones, many here do nothing but...

    It is not essential TO Freemasonry that we have a good name with the public, but it is a good thing if you are not arrogant about freemasonry and its proven value to society.

    The reason for this is that if people do not know who we are, what we do, why we do it, they cannot form a good opinion of us and decide to join. And if men do not decide to join, then there is no purpose for the craft.

    I know it is the position of some here that there is no purpose for contemporary masonry, and they argue that freemasonry must be changed in their image to save it, Jeff and Tom are two of them.

    As a very active Freemason who is very happy with his grand lodge and is NOT seeing the problems a minority of masons are having with THEIR freemasonry, I resent the tarring of all masons as this, that or the other bad thing.

    You guys can have your angst, nurture it close and make it your lives, as you clearly do... I think in many ways, that YOU are the problem, not freemasonry. But I have not lived your freemasonry, I have not been kicked out of masonry, nor committed very public masonic seppuku.

    I guess if I had been, I would be as negative to anything regular freemasonry says or does... but then, I will never commit masonic seppuku or be summarily kicked out of Freemasonry.

    As Sammuel Goldwyn is reported to have said: Any publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.

    Even the incessant negativity of Ms. Frost is valuable, because it gets people looking at Freemasonry, and when they see that we are not the demons she paints us, they may decide to join, or at least not to carry the naysayers water for them.

    Be well.

  26. Hey theron
    how about the cliff notes..
    you are more long winded than ed king.

    a whole lot of words, but no meaning.

    steak vs. sizzle again..

  27. I know it is the position of some here that there is no purpose for contemporary masonry, and they argue that freemasonry must be changed in their image to save it, Jeff and Tom are two of them.

    ::blink blink::

    Umm... how's that, again?

  28. HE'S BACK!!!

    After an extended hiatus from the Burning Taper I am pleased to announce the return of the infamous Theron Dunn (a.k.a. There Undone).

    When asked how he spent his time away from the BT, Bro. Theron replied, "Just the regular routine, keeping my nose up the butt of my GL as much as possible, looking for aliens disguised as irregular Masons on websites and in Lodges across the country, and of course reporting my findings to the "Men in Black". Also, I have been consuming as much red fatty meat and high starch/fried foods as I could get my hands on to keep my cholesterol level high and my waist line round so when I whine and cry like the girly man I am, I continue to look the part."

    We look forward to the highly pompous and unbearably arrogant BS Bro. Theron tends to lend to the mix on the BT.

    Let me say on a personal note, welcome back Bro., things just haven't quite been the same without you!

  29. Well, its quite nice to see that the level of masonry is still down to its usual low low level here, with T. Dunce and SQ chiming in with personal attacks rather than dealing with anything, oh, intellectual at all...

    you guys... why do you continue to pretend to be masons like this? You certainly learned nothing at the altar, that's clear.

    A wise man once said Intelligent mminds discuss philosophy, mediocre minds discuss, politics, and tiny minds discuss other people.

    Nice going you guys, proving the saying is true. You really can't stand insightful, incisive commentary, can you? Pearls before swine, is, I believe, the appropos comment regarding your typically negative and unmasonic commentary.

    Now, anyone want to actually discuss, oh, I don't know, the SUBJECT AT HAND? Or are you incapable of anything other than personal attacks?


  30. Mr. Dunn,

    Let he who is blameless cast the first stone.

    By simply deleting your most scathing comments, tossing up your hands and declaring "There, Undone" certainly does NOT constitute a moral high ground for you to stand.

    Oh, forgive me but you don't always delete every little nasty now do you:

    "I know it is the position of some here that there is no purpose for contemporary masonry, and they argue that freemasonry must be changed in their image to save it, Jeff and Tom are two of them."

    Extremely enlightening. Your intellectual acumen it truly astounding.

    So I guess we can expect to be regaled with the old tired rhetoric , "My GL said it, I believe it, end of discussion".

    As I said before, Welcome back, the Taper just hasn't been the same with out you!

  31. Brother Done,

    Imagine there's no Heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    - John Lennon

  32. Brother Dunn on the Masonic Travelers blog felt the need to "attack" the Burning Taper, who apparently has a kindred spirit in the Masonic Traveler, by name calling and blog defamation.

    Brother Dunn has seem to become that which he hates so much. Instead of discussing the issues, you attacked The Burning Taper by using your immature nickname for the blog which you despise.

    So, please continue to point fingers at others, and continue to display the hypocracy that we continue to point out.

    Thank you for that display of hypocracy. When an individual tries to claim others do wrong, when they themself do the same thing, are devoid of a mirror.

    I know you are not allowed to make innovations to your masonry, but try to incorporate a mirrir into your personal Lodge as a working tool for you.

    MIRROR: a working tool to be able to see the progress or lack of progress you are making on your ashlar.

    Stop your incessant tirades against The Burning Taper.
    Stop attacking The Burning Taper on other blogs instead of discussing the topics at hand.

    You are what you are complaining about here.


  33. I haven't attacked this "forum". I have noted what is patently obvious, it has become a haven for those that have nothing useful to say about Freemasonry... Tom, SQ and The Dunce are all living breathing proof that some men learn nothing at the altar of freemasonry. The Dunce proves his name is correct every time he posts, and Tom, you haven't had anything useful to say in... well, years.

    Attacking me for loving my freemasonry, for being honest, and noting that MY GL is not experiencing that which you guy claim is met with nothing but the same spew and personal attacks I get from the Antimasonic crowd... almost word for word.

    You can't refute my words, so you attack the messenger. How childish and antimasonic.

    As for attacking this blog, I did no such thing. I did note that it is a haven for those that have nothing to offer but incessant negativity and carping and gnashing of teeth.

    I did not attack anyone... and why is it that you guys seem to see anyone that dares to disagree as personally attacking? I love my freemasonry, its good, and pleasant, I learn a lot from it, and it makes a great and positive effect on my life.

    I only wish YOU got half as much pleasure from the craft as I did, maybe then you guys wouldn't be so negative about everything.

    But you don't and apparently can't, and are left doing nothing but attacking people. Its sad, but it definitely shows that the "Halcyon" boys and the GOoUSA folks really AREN'T masonic after all...

    sad though...

  34. "Tom, you haven't had anything useful to say in... well, years."

    As apposed to your mindless rote rhetoric Mr. Dunn, clearly you make my point for me, thank you.

    Have things gotten so boring for you dancing in your red poppy field of Mainstream Masonry that you felt the need come back to the BT to try to get your message out to a boarder audience?

    Incidentally, should you happen to say something "useful" it would be helpful for you to indicate which side of your mouth it comes from, it would make the interpretation much easier for us simple minded folk.

    Welcome Back!

  35. Seeing as there is precious little masonic going on here, as SQ just demonstrated, you can now bid me adieu.

    I will spend my time where masonry is actually demonstrated and practiced.

  36. Theron,

    Real Free-Masonry is being practiced here by real Free-Thinking men who refuse to sacrifice their moral integrity to the mindless whims of Grand Masters and supposed 33rds.

    These Masons expect real justifications for the actions of their leaders, not just "do it because I say so, and I'm the Grand Master."

    The days of Grand Masters issuing mindless edicts to support their over-blown egos are over. They must now justify their actions or be called into account for them.

    No longer will unjustified suspensions and expulsions without due process be tolerated. All of these self-serving and immoral actions will be brought to light and questioned in an open forum.

    The days of brown-nosing your way to the top of the Masonic ladder are drawing to a close.

  37. Enough is enough…

    Ok, enough of this. Both sides. If truly this is a Masonic inspired forum then this is not the way to represent Masonry. Disagreement is one thing but reason is the temple in which we practice. As this dialogue continues the reason seems to have flown from all involved.

    To assume the ills of Modern Freemasonry rests solely at the feet of the Grand Lodges and their leadership smacks the face the work our brothers have done before us. Degrading that work and insulting anyone based on those blind opinions is wrong minded. Each of us, as participating members of our lodges have a say in what ever our leadership does, only its our choice to say it or not. The institutions we inherit from those who have come before us is what it is, always a work in progress just as each of us are the imperfect ashlars, always shaping until the time we are called to the celestial lodge. But as t is forever imperfect, WE need to keep working at it, not bantering on who’s hitting to hard, or whose chips are flying to far.

    Halcyon is going through its own battle. The brothers there who feel ousted can pursue the necessary courses, through Freemasonry or through the legal courts, but it was a change in direction that their present day participating leadership felt was necessary. It was action. It was change.

    So, individually, like any system, if you don’t like the way it works then change it, from within or without. Just stop throwing stones and slurs, its juvenile and does nothing but build animosity, barriers, and resentment. There are systems in place to check the powers, exercise them. Vote, participate, write laws, and become engaged. Venting on the sidelines only builds frustration for everyone. Remember the allegory of the beehive, unless you contribute, you are as worthless as a drone. So contribute. Do something. Effect change.

    Sure, this is a blog, a third wave medium of opinion and commentary, but it is still a progressive means to influence opinion and moderate perceptions. Banter like this polarizes and alienates everyone. Is that the goal here?

    I know this will single me out, and probably stir some resentment towards me, but enough is enough. Change is good but anarchy is not. Revolution can be good, but it also hurts people too. As Free-Masons or Freemasons we are still BROTHERS, and should act like BROTHERS, which includes a level of civility and decorum. We don’t have to like one another or agree, but like any civil conversation, there needs to be a degree of respect, otherwise, its still just sideline banter that is as useful as the position it’s being delivered from.

  38. Brothers, this makes me think of something Seth noted on creativity. A punch in the nose is still a creative dynamic. Positive can come from both negative and positive catalyst

  39. Sorry I missed this one. That's what I get for being gone for a couple of months or so. Looked like quite the toss-up! Sadly, we will never see this type of excellent entertainment here again. It's about the best stuff on the blog!


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