Page 9 - Montana Freemason Magazine March 2014
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Montana Freemason                March 2014	                                  Volume 90 Number 1
Lodges, working without right, authority the arts and sciences, and support the progress of
or legitimate descent; the other is a man humanity. In short, Masons bridge the gap, and join
“made a Mason” on such a clandestine body.” in mutual dialog.
-Short Talk Bulletin, 1935, published by the
MSA.                                                   When we discuss the relationship of two bodies,
                                                       one of which sprang from the other in a parent and
Clandestinism and “irregular Masonry” are child relationship, and in which the child declares
sometimes used interchangeably, and in some its emancipation of its father and mother in the
jurisdictions irregular Masonry refers to those various Grand Lodges, we should do so with the
who practice the tenets of Masonry, to include the sort of mutual respect that engenders not only peace
structure of degrees, rituals, and all that entails, and harmony for the sake of such, which instead
but essentially being illegal and outside the pale, often ends up freezing all dialog in an artificial
(and quite possibly subject to prosecution for using standstill for the sake of “not rocking the boat,” but
emblems copyrighted by Grand Lodges or for styling for the sake of advancement. Do we ever really like
or otherwise presenting themselves as regular) to hear what another person is saying if it feels like
though members may in fact feel themselves to be the entire affair is an attack on us? Do they, in turn?
                                                       Discussions like this are rarely easy in the short
Clandestine Masons are reviled more especially run. Leaving the nest is sometimes a bit traumatic,
because they will introduce non-Masonic elements, being described as abrupt or unanticipated. But, as
and the members may even be misled into believing I stated at the beginning of the article, we should
that they possess authentic Masonic degrees from see the signs along the way and prepare ourselves
a legitimate Masonic body. If the Shrine be not professionally for the kind of discussions we need to
Clandestine (or irregular) Masonry, and if it is not have. If we don’t, we sincerely risk the opportunity
subordinate to Masonic Grand Lodges, the natural to show both organizations running parallel outfits
position is, the Shrine is not a Masonic organization. in mutual admiration, without attachments, at the
This means that if it styles itself as a Masonic sake of being “right.” We present ourselves to the
organization, it may open itself up to charges of world at large as unwilling to practice on ourselves
irregularity or clandestinism, and if it does not style our great principles, especially that important
itself as a Masonic organization, then it does not declaration made at the opening of lodge, reminding
need a Masonic pre-requisite for membership.           us that we came here to subdue our passions, and
                                                       improve ourselves in Masonry.
Why does this matter to Masons within the
state of Montana? I would hesitantly offer that, It isn’t even a matter of if it’s good or bad for the
beyond the scope of Masonic jurisprudence, there Shrine to have a Masonic membership requirement.
is an argument of far greater importance when it It very well may be in their best interest to do away
comes to defining the relationship between the with the requirement. The big issue is the toll it’s
Shrine and Masonic Grand Lodges, and it is this: taking on our Grand Jurisdictions: the negative
amicability. One definition of amicable has it actions taken toward members and officers. It’s
thusly: “(of relations between people) having a putting both organizations in jeopardy. We have a
spirit of friendliness; without serious disagreement responsibility to behave appropriately - what we put
or rancor.” If you have to ask why being able to get out there for the world to see adds or detracts to
along with people of different countries, sects, and their perception of us.
opinions, is vital to Freemasonry, then I would
submit that you may not have a grasp of the simple The issue isn’t one of whether it’s good or bad
fundamentals of the fraternity.                        that the Shrine does or doesn’t have a Masonic
                                                       requirement; the principle issue is how embarrassing
Because men may choose to apply the tools it is to watch grown men in leadership positions
taught them in Freemasonry, men may see other stomp their feet and throw ego-based hissy fits.
human beings (not just men) as themselves: they FYI - there is a common perception, very widely
cross political boundaries and seek the common held, that it’s why all of our organizations are in
denominator of shared humanity when in times of membership trouble.
war; they value liberty of conscience, and especially
the freedom to practice - or not practice - any To be sure, the Shrine does offer something,
religious faith they may choose, and share a bench the Children’s Hospitals. And there are some
with men whose concept of a Deity may be radically Freemasons who exemplify the fraternity with their
different than their own; they seek to promote membership and association with the Shrine. TPhageere9
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