Small Lodges

Don’s Diary

The ritual tells us Freemasonry is a science. Indeed it says it is a progressive science. So you would expect senior Freemasons to be able to be far more scientific in their analysis than ordinary old masons that read and write Devotion News, (never good enough to be republished in Australia but it is overseas!). Perhaps they are – I will let you decide.

Science demands that there can be replication of outcomes given the same inputs. Science requires the skill of measurement. So of course Freemasonry has the characteristics of a science – we can replicate the square, this involving measurement, the upright structures, the level and so on. Lack of an ability to replicate is one of the problems that I have with euthanasia: any form of it. You will recall the cubit, a unit of measurement, is mentioned in the construction of The Temple. So where is there any evidence of scientific method in a recent article on the closure of small lodges?

It is proposed that small lodges or those with low attendances be closed. Only seven petitioners are needed to Consecrate a lodge, the ritual instructing us that seven makes a lodge perfect, a small number by any lodge standards – is such a lodge going to suffer infanticide? Many lodges have low attendances because a lot of their members, often long term members, are too old or infirm to now attend, or their convenient meeting places have been taken away by what would seem to be misguided Masonic economic rationalists. Do we loose them to Freemasonry or cull them, often away from their Mother Lodge if expedient, to the Vestibule (grātiās to Dante) aka the Lodge of Transition No 0? And what about country lodges: do we close them too if they cannot muster the magic number that the alchemists of Freemasonry may determine? Or do we create more centralization which seems to quickly result in fewer Freemasons attending and candidates joining? It all seems to reflect a disposition that the State is more important than the people.

We have heard the euphemisms used by various professions. Vets “put an animal down”, employers “let somebody go” and undertakers say people “die with dignity” and so on. A masonic undertaker will want small and struggling lodges to close with dignity and often advance unsupported general propositions that it is better to have fewer lodges with greater numbers. Some “yard-sticks” based on guesswork with no statistical evidence will be presented to justify the proposed euthanasia. In the article, how does he guarantee greater numbers? – well, the article does not say. By closing small lodges, how many Freemasons do we loose in the process? – again, no figure is quoted. And what is evidenced to show a projected increase in the number of candidates? – again the article is silent. Logically, how do we take the presented argument seriously!

There were some valid suggestions in the article to improve a lodge. Why cannot these be adopted by small lodges to help make them to be more viable? Many are exactly the measures and more that we have adopted in Lodge Devotion.

I have been a member of a big lodge and I am now a member of a small lodge by choice with abundant brotherly love, relief and truth. I am happier now as is everybody that joined with me. None of us came in as “undertakers” – we have the youngest average in the Constitution, Master Masons in every progressive office except one, we have raised substantial amounts for charity, we have a young joining member and a young Candidate for the year 2008. The article hardly contains a convincing argument to close down the like of us down. Yet the negative tones are hardly good for morale and a distraction.

What all lodges need is a “critical mass” with which to operate and its size varies from lodge to lodge. The structure of Freemasonry needs to serve the members and prospective members. We need leaders who can think logically and positively. We do need an improved “product”, something to replace that which served Freemasons and the community in the 1920s- early 1930s, I argue to be “the Golden Years”. I will have more to say on this shortly in a series of articles and I would appreciate your views.

Happy New Year to all.