Examinations of Visitors
I'm wondering what your experiences have been before a Committee of Examination, when you've visited a Lodge where you're not known, whether in your own or in another jurisdiction.
I've had plenty of experiences in which the Examiner(s) used the process to demonstrate their own expertise, so I'd know just how doggone much they knew.
One particular experience occurred years ago, when I was to be the speaker (on Shriner's Hospitals) at a Lodge in my own jurisdiction, albeit about an hour's drive or so from my home Lodge. After darn near conferring all three Degrees for my curmudgeonly Examiner, I said something like the following:
"Brother (and I will call you Brother, because I'm satisfied that you are, indeed a Master Mason), I'm obviously not as well-versed in Freemasonry as you are, although I am currently serving my Lodge as SW. In that capacity, I regularly attend the School of Instruction, where they exemplify the Examination of a Visitor twice each year. At the School, they teach us that the purpose of a Committee of Examination is to admit worthy Brethren to the Lodge, rather than to keep them out.
If you're still not satisfied, I suspect the best thing for me to do is to take my materials (at that time, a 16mm film projector, canisters of film and handouts) back down the four flights of stairs I had to climb to get up here, and head home. Of course, your Lodge will not have a program tonight, and I'll have to submit a report to the Potentate that I was unable to present the program, because I was also unable to prove myself worthy of admission to your Lodge. The Potentate may well feel compelled to then discuss the situation with the Grand Master."
I was immediately admitted, but the whole process has remained with me through the years. Guess I showed up too early, and gave a geezer too much time to get his rocks off by jerking my cable tow.
I've had the scene repeated, although not to such an extreme.
At least I learned a lesson from it, and have always kept it top of mind when conducting examinations.
What's been your experience in this regard?
Best fraternal regards,
WM Lodge Ad Lucem No. 812
There were several responses - this was the best...
In PA, we call the Charter a Warrant of Constitution. The Warrant must be on display for all to see any time the Lodge is in session. The Lodge cannot be opened without it.
One of my friends was visiting a Lodge in Scotland, and remembering his training to look for the Warrant or Charter when entering any Lodge, he rose to ask the WM about it. As he stood and threw the sign (we also don't use due guards in PA, so that drew some funny looks), the WM stopped him in his tracks before he could utter a syllable, saying, "Who dares interrupt the harmony of this Lodge?"
Of course, they knew who he was, and had prior knowledge of his visit (but then, so should he have known they were a legit Lodge). At any rate, my buddy explained that he had been taught never to sit in a Lodge where the Warrant was not on display.
The WM then took out what appeared to be an extremely worn leather billfold. He took out a folded piece of parchment, and carefully unfolded it, saying to my friend, "This document, by my reckoning has not been out of its case in more than two hundred years. I hope this will satisfy the Bro. from Pennsylvania."
Despite my Bro's careful examination of the Lodge room, he was unable to find a trap door in the floor, under which he might hide himself and his embarrassment, lol.
I guess sometimes it pays to just do as the Romans do
The Source of the above was not noted in Devotion News.