Thursday, 9 June 2016

9th June 2016 - Lazy Journalism and Conspiracies

Thought for the day :"Even Gaffa tape can't fix stupid - but it can muffle the sound"

Yesterday, Rebecca, a web-based "investigative" website with TV style documentaries decided to post what they consider to be the definitive list of everything Masonic in Wales. This was interestingly entitled "The anatomy of freemasonry in one Country"  It seems that the investigative journalist who goes by the name of  Paddy French in the videos, couldn't do any better than to get a copy of the 1996 North Wales and 2000 South Wales provincial books and copy all the details into a list of lodges and named persons..

Must have taken some time - but what a useless waste of time!!  In my own Lodge St Teilo 4755 in Llanelli, of the list of 33 people (out of 67 members), 4 are members, 16 are dead, 10 are resigned and two in nursing homes and one I have never heard of!! If this is meant to be breaking news it really lacks any real import..

The author makes a great deal about the fact that he has asked the "Masons" for a copy of their provincial directory and strangely, he has been told that they have no interest in giving a copy to someone who has the specific agenda that they have .....  Seems legit to me - however of course the conspiracy theories mean that this is another example of the evils of a secret society..
I will be the first to say that there are a few bad eggs in any organisation - the test of the organisation is how you deal with these and how you try to remove them in order to ensure that the reputation of the organisation fairly reflects the nature and ethos that is tries to aspire to. Freemasonry does its best to ensure that those with criminal or social crimes should not join, and each candidate is vouched for by a proposer and seconder, details of the candidate are circulated throughout the membership, and if from another area, to the area where he lives. A candidate has to sign to say that he has no convictions - and naturally there are no means for this organisation to check the veracity of this any more than anyone else could - however - we endeavour to be upstanding members of society and to "practice outside the Lodge what we learn inside the lodge" - and the ceremonial is based entirely upon moral improvement. But a great myth is that you have to be invited. You can apply to the Masonic Website and say you are interested and someone will come and chat with you. The Americans sum it up with a bumper sticker which says "2B1 Ask 1". And we have two members who applied with no previous contact with members..

Freemasonry has never pretended that it can make good men. It does aspire to make good men better.
There are still individuals who fail. There are individuals who are more conscious of their position within the hierarchy, and yes there is a hierarchy within the organisation and there are those who have petty jealousies, throw their teddies and moan - normally within the organisation. There are others who think that they should get something out of their membership other than the enjoyment of belonging... they normally leave when they discover that there is no magic wand for social or financial advancement...

As it says in the Order of Athelstan, a section based upon a very old piece of craft ritual known as the "walking Charge" ..
Your particular reasons for becoming a member of this Grand and Noble Order are known only to yourself. It may have been the prompting of idle curiosity or it may have been for material reasons; that being true, be at once undeceived for Freemasonry offers no pecuniary benefits to any of its Initiates.  

There are those who are concerned that Freemasons promise to support each other and keep their secrets thus forming the conspiracies...  However,the first promise a Freemason makes that relates to this is where a candidate agrees to "keep his lawful secrets as my own" - the issue is Lawful.
It goes further, in saying (in good old poetic terms) "My breast shall be the sacred repository of his secrets... " it then specifically outlines that the following are an exception to this ..  "Murder, Treason, Felony, and all other offences contrary to the Laws of God, and the Ordinances of the realm being at all times most especially excepted..."  Excepted and not Accepted. There is nothing forced or implied to suggest that any Freemason would "cover up" for another. If someone does - it is because of their personal character not their membership...

Add to this the fact that any discussion of religious or political matters is forbidden in the Lodge or in the dining halls and there is every opportunity for a social hobby and not something dark and sinister.

So, back to this issue about why the directory is so far out of date.. It seems to me to be simple laziness. A quick look on Ebay shows hundreds of people selling off old masonic regalia. Many of these are from families wondering what to do with the mountain of strange clothing in the cupboard following the passing of a family member. Why not buy an old apron for £10, and contact the seller and say - by the way - were there any books with it that you want to get rid of? I am sure that I could find several in a few days.

Or simpler - do a quick google search on any one of the lodge names in that directory ...
I found this with a couple of seconds - you can clearly identify at least one person who is named - and that is on a masonic website .. St Teilo Lodge 

So, rant over - I have just completed my last Ceremony of the year and can rest until the installation in September when I will put my successor into the Chair....  I have no sinister purpose - and very little time it must be said !! But I enjoy it and commend it to any who may be interested.

Oh - there are two lies involved in Freemasonry - The first is in the initiation ceremony where the candidate is told "I must inform you that Freemasonry is Free..."  nope - it is quite expensive. Not expensive as joining a Golf Club - but it will take a penny or two...

The second is that "It is only a couple of nights a year!!"  Nope - it creeps up on you until your diary might just be filled with meetings and Orders.. And that is another reason why there is very little time to try and form a conspiracy - there are not enough hours in the day ...

150th anniversary of Aberstwyth Lodge 1072

So, last day of Home Alone today.. Family back from Crete and Sister across from the USA. Will be able to have some home cooked meals again now instead of dining out every day....


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