Enjoying Masonic Connections

Tonight I visited the sister lodge of Morningside Lodge which meets in Morningside’s lodge building, Landmark Lodge. I feel very lucky as the Master of Morningside that we have another lodge meeting in our facilities. It allows both lodges opportunities for fraternal connection. Each lodge has its own membership and character, both good lodges.

One of the advantages of two lodges in the same building is that we get to maintain one excellent Masonic facility with maintaining lodges that meet on different nights and not losing their distinctiveness. At times I’ve had Masons ask me why lodges that meet in the same don’t merge. There are very good reasons for lodges to not merge. 

Lodges have different personalities. More lodges mean more people have opportunities to participate in the leadership of a lodge. More lodges mean more nights where Masons can choose to meet. So different lodges accomadate different schedules for different groups of Masons. When you merge lodges you lose a night that Masons meet. You lose a slate of officers. And, you use the personality of one of the lodges.

It was good to visit Landmark tonight and I appreciate the dedicated work of Landmark’s Worshipful Master George Harrison, a good Mason and a good friend.

Visiting other lodges is just another one of the enjoyable things about being a Mason! In my next post I’ll talk about the fun of visiting lodges in other Grand jurisidictions.

Timothy Bonney, PM, WM – Morningside Lodge No. 615 A.F.&A.M.


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A Brother in Distress

Here is a link to an article on Freemasons for Dummies about a brother who is seeking the help of the fraternity in a time of great distress. If I find tangible ways that I can offer assistance I will pass that on to you.


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Reviving My Blog

I used to blog about Freemasonry a good bit but got too busy with both the pursuit of Freemasonry and personal and professional life changes to keep it up. I am reviving this blog and hope to become a regular poster again to Freemasonry Resources.

I may do a little spring cleaning of a few old entries as I see fit and will be making I hope at least weekly posts to the blog. But much of the material I will leave for information purposes.

Timothy Bonney, PM, WM

Morningside Lodge No. 615 A.F.&A.M. Sioux City, Iowa

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A Gathering of Brothers

This past week was the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. It had been a couple of years since I had been able to attend an entire Grand Lodge meeting.

Certainly there was the usual legislation and election of Grand Lodge officers. We saw one slate of very fine brethren step aside for another group of fine men who will take the reigns of the Grand Lodge for the next year.

But what I most enjoyed about Grand Lodge this time around was the seeing of friends and brothers I’d not been able to see in a while. It was a lot of fun to catch up, to talk about the fraternity and to share about what is going on around the state in Masonry.

One of the big items of discussion was the idea that maybe we should return to the memorized proficiency lecture (known as the posting lecture in Iowa) which had been abandoned quite a few years ago for other kinds of means of educating brethren.

Part of me missed the “old way” of bringing new members into the lodge. I really enjoyed memorizing the proficiency lecture because I enjoyed the time of mentoring and sharing with the brother who taught me the ritual.

Ultimately though it was the learning and mentoring that was the most important part and not just memorization.

The vote to return the old proficiency failed in part because the body seemed to accept the argument that it is the experience of learning and mentoring that is most important and not rote memorization. Ultimately I believe that decision was the right one. (Not without mixed feelings and nostalgia for the past.)

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Christianity and Masonic Conspiracy?

Why is it that Christians seem to get so easily sucked into Masonic conspiracy theories?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a practicing Christian myself. But as I travel around the internet I find it is committed Christians who seem to be most sucked into wild non-historic and even totally implausible theories about Freemasonry.

Among Christians they seem to fall into two categories of conspiracy theories:

1.  Freemasonry some how controls the world, or the US government, or financial institutions wielding great secret power.

Any of you who have ever been at a lodge meeting when some crusty old Past Master argues against raising the dues from $65 to $75 per year because of the burden $10 a year (two to three cups of coffee at Starbucks) would put on members of the Craft knows that this idea is just plain silly.

Masons are no wealthier than anyone else. We don’t have the national treasure. If we’d not be selling off old Masonic buildings in need of repair.

2. Freemasonry is anti-Christian, or Freemasonry promotes all religions as equal/the same, or Freemasonry is occult or even its own religion.

Again, anyone who regular attends lodge meetings knows that we encourage men to follow their own faith in God but we never tell them either that one faith or another is better, equal, or anything else. We don’t comment on other people’s faith. It isn’t our place to do so. We do not discuss our religious faith or politics in lodge.

Most of the symbolism in Masonic ritual comes from the Old Testament because it relates to stories around the building of King Solomon’s temple.

But most Freemasons in the US are Christians and claim some branch of the Christian faith. Many lodges have clergy who are active members and see no issue with Freemasonry and their ordination vows.

So why all the conspiracy theories among some Christians? I still struggle with an answer for that. But at least part of it seems to me that many people are intrigue with conspiracy, mystery, and secrecy. So they’d rather believe something wild and silly about Freemasonry than know the mundane truth that we are a very old fraternity dedicated to teaching good men to be better men through friendship, morality, and brotherly love.

That isn’t as exciting as black helicopters. But it is a lot more valuable and useful to men and to our community. (Hey, would you pass me my secret decoder ring? I just got a coded message from the emperor of the world.)

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Progress in Freemasonry

Since I have been away from blogging about Freemasonry I’d like to share some impressions as to where I see the Craft going in the last few years.

My blogging stopped about the time Specialis Procer Lodge No. 678 was being chartered. Specialis Procer was the first lodge in Iowa to seek to follow a European Concept or Traditional Masonic approach to Freemasonry in Iowa.  In the past four years there have been other new lodges chartered some of which are attempted to recapture some facet of traditional Masonry in the Blue lodge.

At the same time I have seen several Masonic education groups, clubs, or gathering come along which show that there is a growing interest among Iowa Masons in a deeper understanding of Freemasonry, its teachings, philosophy, ritual, and symbols.  

In the past four years I have also seen a continued rise in the number of younger men who are starting their Masonic journey as well as well informed men in different generations who want to be a part of the Masonic fraternity.  This reminds me that some thirteen years ago when I became a Freemason many people who pronouncing doom on the Craft because of the statistics related to the decline in membership do to our aging roll of members.  

I am now as convinced as I ever have been that the many many members the Craft took in during the boom years of the 1940s and 1950s was an aberration and not the usual course of Freemasonry.  Because we took so many men in during a time when fraternalism was a popular fad, we have moved to a more “normal” state of affairs now.  Freemasonry historically has been a fraternity that was more interested in quality than simple quantity.  I believe in many circles we are returning to that viewpoint.  

On a personal note, during my time away from blogging I made a couple of job related moves.  I now reside in Sioux City, Iowa.  Sioux City is a community with a strong Masonic presence and a lot of good Masonic fellowship.  I am now an active member of Morningside Lodge No. 615 and was most recently honored to be elected Junior Warden for the coming lodge year.  I am also slowly but surely connecting to other Masonic bodies that I have been affiliated with in Des Moines and elsewhere.  

One of the values of being a Mason is that you are never far from friends and brothers who you can get to know as you travel and move from place to place.  Joining a lodge in my area has always been a fast way to make some new friends and connect to the community I’m living in.

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CBS Morning News Report on Freemasonry

A good short look at Freemasonry. It is well worth watching!

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December 13, 2013 · 7:52 pm