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deletedMay 11, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey
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The day you put vaccine restrictions on Brothers attending Lodge is the day you have slammed another door on the survival of Freemasonry.

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Agreed.

Sort of.

I think that would be the day that we would see new Lodges, outside of the current government of Freemasonry starting.

I don't personally see Freemasonry going away. I could however envision a day when the system of governance that Freemasonry has used since 1717 go away, if enough bad decisions were made.

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May 11, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

WB Joseph, thank you for asking that good question – I see you’re looking to increase the ability for Brothers to be able to visit other Lodges. And that’s great.

And I will admit, most of us, in general, have been less sick than they’ve been in a LONG time. I know of a few members of the OES that have enjoyed a healthy winter, since they’ve not been meeting in person. And they have noted that usually, over the course of a winter, at least one or two show up to a meeting with a bad cold, instead of staying home, and the next meeting two weeks later, more than half of those who attended the previous meeting are sick. The Brothers and OES sisters didn’t have to deal with that this past winter.

I know, right now, there’s a lot of restrictions as to what our Lodges can do if they’re meeting in person right now. In fact, I will be Chehalis Lodge’s “COVID cop” for tomorrow night’s Stated Communication. It seems onerous, but at the same time, if we don’t do that, and a member shows up, gets COVID and racks up a hefty hospital bill or even passes away from the COVID, that Lodge might end up getting sued. It’s one of the nasty aspects of today’s society. And believe me, it CAN happen. My home Lodge got sued by an adjacent business over some damage incurred from a heater issue in our Lodge building, and it took a lot of work from a lot of Brothers and lawyers to get it settled. It’s not something your lodge needs to deal with.

A lot of this has to do with the Government edicts. Most of our restrictions are based on what the State’s laying down. As soon as those are relaxed, our Lodge restrictions will follow.

Patience...

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The difference between the example you list, and a brother coming to lodge is that no one put a gun to that brother's head to attend. Susceptible to illness? Stay home.

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OK, in my view, what you have said here is the vital thing.

Not just for now, but forever.

If you are sick, stay home, don't go to Lodge. Your buddy doesn't want to get the flu because you insist on going to Lodge while sick.

I don't think that this is just how it should be during this time of Covid, but it should be like this always.

And, if you have some kind of medical condition where getting a common sickness could do you real harm, then please don't put yourself at risk by coming to Lodge. It just isn't worth the risk.

But the great thing is that we can accommodate this, through hybrid meetings moving forward. If someone is sick so can't attend in person, they can attend virtually. It just seems like a perfect solution to this issue to me.

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Here's my take on the lessening of sickness due to some of the precautions.

I do imagine that the masks do some good, indoors, in a group. I don't imagine that they are somehow super effective, it's not like they are medical stuff, they are just cheapo cloth. But, as I say, I imagine they do some good.

So, in the future, even when no longer required, I figure I'm going to be wearing one on airplanes. I always seem to catch some bug whenever I fly, so maybe that will help.

That's to the good.

But, there is also bad.

My wife lost her grandmother this year. Not due to covid, rather to a cancer that she didn't know she had. The trouble was, she had been basically locked in her house, for most of a year, out of covid concerns. She was spry until the very end, and she liked going places, but she wasn't able to go places. So her quality of life was greatly lessened, and of course, for what was, in the end, no reason.

I guess that the point I'm trying to make here is that balance is good. We've learned some things that might help us in the future. I've also learned however that there are real consequences to decisions made out of an overabundance of caution.

In my view, we all need to figure out that balance for ourselves.

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To answer your specific question, I do think that some Lodges do have restrictions beyond those from the Grand Master. Restrictions imposed by whomever owns the building that they meet in.

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The opening of Lodges slowly I can understand, but if you can't even hand a bottled water to a thirsty Brother, what's the harm. Food I can understand, a little. Yes, we can move to a restuarant, but most of ours still have seating restrictions. It has been proven scientifically that transfering if infection through cooked food is microscopic. Yet, we cannot feed our Brothers belly . It's filling his soul is what is most important. The dinning before the meeting is where 90% of Masonry takes place, ritual is satisfaction of a job well done, business side,well let's say it....boring. Masonic education is a highlight, but sharing a meal and Lively conversation is what binds the bricks of Brotherhood.

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I agree, the meal is a superb focus for fellowship and Brotherhood.

I don't know about your Lodge, they all are different of course, but I've also seen Lodges struggle with meals. Two of those struggles that stand out in my mind have been:

-When a Lodge doesn't really have anyone who likes to cook or can cook. Meals can get mighty bad in that situation.

-I've also seen a great Mason drop out of Masonry because of the meals. What happened, was he is a professional cook, the Lodge liked his cooking, so guilted him into doing all the cooking, all the time. He did it for maybe a year before he dropped out.

If I might, I wonder if I can bother you with a question:

For Lodges that struggle with the meals, for one of the reasons above, or some other reason, can you see it being better for the Lodge to move its meals to a restaurant? Or should a Lodge continue to keep the meals in house?

I'm honestly curious to get people's thoughts about that.

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May 11, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

We're allowed to open, masks are still required in lodge. Meal service is OK, but it has to be boxed/individually portioned and can't be buffet style as we usually would have done.

Is it OK? I really don't know. GM's gonna do what the GM's gotta do. I don't envy him his job this past year or even now, because the social division outside the lodge is outrageous and sometimes creeps into lodge. The "masonic thaw" and the changing rules are inevitably all about how different people have different takes on coronavirus as a threat. My lodge has all opinions ranging from people staying away when others go maskless, even after vaccination, all the way up to "coronavirus is a hoax". This means that in a sense, it doesn't really matter what the GM does, the decision will be controversial and uncomfortable for some. At the phase of the pandemic where the virus slows & stops killing, the social division that pre-existed & was worsened by the virus is going to be the next danger because harmony is supposed to be the strength & support. There's going to be a lasting legacy of this past year.

So our current impediments aren't a major restriction, but the grumbling they cause is something of an issue. Grumbling myself here for just a moment, I do think it's remarkable how brothers will endure labor & discomfort for charity & the betterment of the community, but when asked to wear a mask they complain and act exasperated.

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I too am extremely concerned about the divisions of the profane world creeping into our Lodges. I hope that we are able to overcome that once things return to normal.

I think though that the widely divergent views our Brothers hold about the virus, even at the two extremes, are understandable. The government has not been truthful about the virus since day one. Some of that came about because of lack of knowledge, but some of it came about through intentional lies. When the story continually changes, who is anyone to believe?

Here in Washington for example, the rules for re-opening from our Governor seem to be in a continual state of flux. How can anyone plan for anything, or believe anything, when the rules continually change, seemingly on a whim?

So, I can't fault any of our Brothers, for whatever they might believe about the virus.

In my view, we can find a balance. We can find a balance where those who are confident and comfortable (through vaccination or whatever else) can get back to normal, while those who are concerned (perhaps because of underlying conditions) can remain away for now.

The only harm I think we could do is if we were to use peer pressure to push people back to Lodge who didn't feel comfortable with it.

My hometown Lodge voted, and they voted to remain virtual for now. I guess I understand that, because I consider myself to be one of the young guys in the Lodge. Underlying conditions seem to be an issue with the vast majority of the membership.

My home Lodge however made the opposite decision, and they are meeting in person.

The other thing we can do I think, is get a bit creative. We know now that there is just about zippo chance of catching the virus in a truly outdoor environment, so why not, for example, move the Charter and do some Degrees outside?

All in all though, I think what you point out is most important. We will be back in our Lodges soon, and when we are, we need to be united in the grand design of Masonry.

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May 11, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

As the sitting Master of my lodge I chose not to rush toward in person meetings for a couple of reasons. We weren’t going to be able to do more than what we were already doing on Zoom and I wasn’t willing to risk even one brother getting sick to satisfy those that have thought we should never have stopped meeting. The loss of a brother, or a member of his family, because we rushed to meet in lodge would be more than I could bear. I do miss the warm smiles, firm handshakes and the pat on the back when meeting and embracing a brother. I miss breaking bread and the lively conversations over a meal. I miss conducting the ritual. I think the GM may have rushed his decision to quiet an ever increasing cachophony of those who wanted to be meeting in person. I think the GM made the decision so GL could hold its Annual Communications with less controversy.

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I don't believe that our Grand Master made his decision to lessen controversy over the upcoming Annual Communication. I believe that he made it due to changing requirements from the State. I know that it is something that he has agonised over his entire term.

But I certainly would not question your decision to continue meeting virtually for now. As I mentioned above, two of my own Lodges have taken completely opposite approaches to this. But they are both quite a lot different from each other. In one, I think of myself as the young healthy guy. In the other, I think of myself as one of the old guys. That radical difference in relative ages of the active membership, and levels of health, makes the decisions that those two Lodges made quite understandable in my mind.

I'm rather a firm believer that locally made decisions, based on the unique facts on the ground, are generally best.

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At this point, everyone that is eligible to be a mason is eligible to get the vaccination. Those that have made the conscious decision not to get vaccinated do so willing to accept whatever risks that entails. The vaccine is widely available and easy to get, in fact, the state is starting to beg people to get the shots in some areas. Here in Kitsap, all clinics offering the vaccine no longer require appointments, just walk up and get a shot.

At this stage, there is NO reason not to be able to attend lodge, without masks or social distancing, for those who wish to. If there are brothers that are still squeamish about being around other adults, then don't go to lodge.

As far as dining is concerned, just follow state guidelines, they aren't much worse than what restaurants were required to do pre-covid. If choosing to go find a restaurant within your community, I am certain you'd be able to find one that offered accommodations within a banquet room where seating restrictions could be managed for the brothers that decide to show up. I know in my little town I can think of several places that could handle it, and welcome the business.

Of course, the current GL edicts make going back to lodge as onerous as humanly possible. Requiring the lodge to assign a "mask nazi"? Really? We're stooping to Stasi police tactics to inform on our own brothers now? How about requiring everyone to inform on everyone else, North Korean style? Assign one in ten brothers to secretly spy on everyone. Everyone knows there are spies, but they don't know who, so they have to treat everyone as a spy. That's sure to bring our brothers together in harmony. M&T excepted indeed.

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I've got to say that I really like the restaurant idea. Not because of the virus, but in general.

I value Lodge meals as ways of building fellowship, and I believe that the better the meal is, the better the fellowship will be. Restaurants seem much more suited to this than Lodges, in most cases, in my opinion.

I find it rather funny that many Lodges that struggle with meals still resist the restaurant idea, even though Lodges met in restaurants/taverns and the like for hundreds of years.

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This makes so much sense. I have prepared meals for my Lodges for years and my wife and I did small event catering for a period. It is still a lot of work no matter how you slice it. A lot of Lodges have that one person who can spend the time to make it happen. It becomes a chore for that person. You can try and form a "meal committee" ( another committee - how Masonic) you can execute the meals with good planning. But it still becomes a chore foe the individuals involved . I am going to try burgers and brats next meeting and see if that works out, but I can see a restaurant meal in the future for sure so that all Brothers have an equal chance for that fellowship we desire and look for.

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I am taking a very unusual step here in posting this. I am being critical of and offering my opinion on the Grand Lodge positions, activities and non response to our current situation. In Oregon we can meet with the usual social distancing and masks by order of the GM. No food service or degree work. Even no outside degree work. Even though the Grand Lodge can still hold their annual fund raising golf tournament, that is different that degree work apparently.

We have heard nothing from Grand Lodge since February 9 when the last restrictions and new degree edicts were issued. E mails to Grand Lodge and officers are not returned or answered or acknowledged. Only some veiled verbal communications from DDs that leave us with more unanswered questions. We have 3 waiting for EA degrees and 1 for a Fellowcraft. They have been waiting over 15 months for some kind of movement on their degree progress. We have no answers for them. If we cannot bring in new members then lets just shut the doors because we are doing nothing to stem this rapid decline in membership. Lodges should also be concerned with how we can keep current members engaged so we don't have such a huge dependence on getting new faces in the West gate, which has proven problematic at best.

We had an outside meal last night and had about 10 Brothers there. I set it all up and went and got the catering and did the clean up with a couple of Brothers helping. I don't know if I have that in me for every meeting and may go the food establishment next time.

I realize that my comments are going to be controversial and will no doubt in end up at the Grand Lodge of Oregon. The lack of communication about the situation and the non response to members concerns, e mails not acknowledged and all to me is disrespectful to the Brothers. I may not agree with your position and rules, but I do have a right to express my concerns and we can certainly have a conversation in a civil manner about it if Grand Lodge were truly concerned with its constituent Lodges.

Grand Lodge restricts activities, but offers no support or dialog about how to keep current members engaged, how to keep the waiting prospects engaged and how we get back to the shaky position we were at before covid, and when this possibly could happen.

I am approaching the end of my active Masonic career. I have accomplished most of my Masonic goals. I was able to use my skill sets to get my two Lodges in better condition as far as their buildings and finances go. I will finish out my year as Warden and Master, and my term on the Temple Building company. My wife is retiring next year and we have ghost towns to see, rivers to fish and National Parks to explore and an Arizona winter to enjoy. I was hoping that my Lodges would have a group of 30 to 40 year olds ready to take over and bring the Fraternity into the future, because we are missing the youth engagement big time and that will be the downfall of the Fraternity. But I don't see those 30 to 40 year old's out there looking to join. The 4 we have waiting now are all between the ages of 28 and 45. But we keep telling them that due to political pressures we are unable to advance their Masonic careers.

Please accept my input and positions as my opinion and observations. I want nothing but the best for the Craft and my Brothers. Being a Mason for 39 years at 63 years old is an honor and I want nothing more than to hand the reins off to some excited young men to take the Craft into the next challenging 20 year span.

Fraternally...

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Sorry to hear that brother. Shows that as much (or more) care is needed in who is elected to positions of leadership.

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In Washington we need to ensure that the Elected positions are such that people can do them while being either retired or employed. We need to ensure that they are something that people can afford to do.

What I'm saying is that before we can chose to elect a good man for the job, we have to ensure that we have a pool of good candidates. To do that, we have to ensure that people can do the job. We are there now. Out of your 4 elected officers (not counting the GS) three are still working. I'm not sure that we were always there. There certainly seemed to be a tradition of various meetings and such during working hours. All of that has been changing, and I think that will in time, increase the number of men who make themselves available.

Outside of Washington, I should point out that actual contested elections, such as Washington has for JGW each year, are not necessarily the norm. As I understand it, in many GL's it is more of an appointment followed by a rubber stamp election process.

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Most Grand Lodge line positions are determined years in advance as we all know. There is very little new ideas or freshness brought in each year. If Masonry is to survive and advance we need to figure out ways to get 40 year olds who are still working into the line. We desperately need those youthful ideas. Kind of like our own national political scene, I am tired of seeing 70 plus year old guys making decisions that affect the national interests.

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May 11, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

WB Dale:

I’m a member of your FB group, “Northwest Masonic Discussion,” and I’ve been watching some of the goings-on in your Jurisdiction, and have seen some of the issues your Jurisdiction has had. Every once in a while I’ve added some input as a visitor from Washington State, with some examples of what our Jurisdiction is doing. (I’m on FB under my middle names, Morris Montgomery.)

I appreciate your doing the same thing on this forum.

In Washington State, our Grand Master has been continuously issuing edicts and updates, and also holding regular forums on Zoom, roughly once a month. These forums have been very well-attended, and last as long as the Brothers have questions. The Grand Master and the Grand Secretary make absolute certain that all Brothers present have no more questions before signing off. I must say that as I type this, our current Grand Master in Washington may very well be the most accessible Grand Master in the history of our Jurisdiction, with his predecessor close behind. It’s likely that our next Grand Master might overtake him in accessibility, but either way, it demonstrates something positive that has come out of this tribulation. It is something that all of our elected officers have taken in to serious consideration for the long term, and as the Chairman of our Long-Range Planning committee, I have had no issue bringing this to the forefront with our other committee chairmen. Our Grand Lodge leadership will be working with the Lodges over the next several months in assisting them in incorporating the new developments in their Lodges.

That being said, I know you have some good Brothers down there in Oregon. I also know you have a good future Grand Master in Greg Jenkins, who is a member of one of our Lodges in Washington and has shown himself to be an excellent leader. I’ve known him for many years. Both Cameron and I are looking forward to their year as Grand Masters of neighboring Jurisdictions.

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The accessibility of the Washington Grand officers is amazing and welcome. I tread easy in this situation speaking my mind since I do not have that feeling of stability and open reception with our Grand line in Oregon. I too am looking forward to Greg Jenkins term as Grand Master, I have been pleased with that selection since he started the line.

Despite being able to meet in somewhat an open fashion now, our Lodges are still constricted by not being able to perform degrees. We open, conduct business, give out a 50 year pin occasionally, put the Lodge at ease and listen to the dissent of the Brothers on this matter. The younger members if and when present are not interested in going down some rabbit hole about how it was done 30 years ago and how we should still be doing in that way. Bringing in and advancing Brothers through the degrees was a good 40% or more of a Lodges activities.

The current restrictions and edicts in Oregon applied without explanation or any guidance are causing disharmony in the Lodges. This has to stop and we need to get back to making Masons. We need to take a long range planning look at Lodge operations and see how this all ties together. Such a long range planning process takes a couple of years to generate and then continual revisiting and revision of the plan. In my opinion, I have seen nothing come out of Oregon's Long Range Planning Committee pretty much ever. It is the usual suspects involved, placed there depending on your connection level to the Grand line.

I have offered to serve on that committee over many years and have never even been contacted. I get it, I speak my mind but after having been a business executive and owner you have to be able to speak your mind and even if in disagreement you still need to have that conversation. Otherwise, those wishing to be heard have to go outside of official channels to be included in the discussions.

I too was one of those 120 day start to finish Masons. I had good mentors and coaches that took the time to explain the lessons of the degrees as they went. Slowing down the degrees could have some benefit, IF there is a dedicated educational process and pathway for the degree Brothers other than sitting on the sidelines and listening to the older guys complain about how the Blue Lodge treats Eastern Star.

When our Grand Lodge finally decides we can have degrees again even outside, we will have started the path to restoring harmony in the Lodge, bringing creditability back to the process of growing our Lodges. I see all this " It's a new start" talk going on. Is there a plan for this "new start" ? How is this "new start" going to play out ?

We won't get the guidance or help from Grand Lodge so we will go it on our own as will every other Lodge, thereby creating more differences in how it is done. I look forward to the day when we can sit in Lodge again and not have to deal with the dissention and disagreements I have seen over the last year, the disharmony and continual movement away from Masonic education and activities due to the government restrictions our that leaders are so fond of.

This " new start" has to have some element of repairing the damage done to the Craft over the last year and to expect that we can just reach over and flip the switch on the ' new start" and go right back to the ways we were, will just get us back to the same level of regular dysfunction we all ready were at before the complications of government and covid were added to the mix.

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I can't comment on what might be happening with your Grand Lodge, but I do have some general thoughts that I'd like to share.

I think that the pandemic brought some systemic problems within the craft into focus. A couple of those come to my mind now. Mentioning them won't help the current situation you face, but it might help in the future.

In the United States, we seem to generally push guys through the Degrees very quickly, and I think that speed has become the expected norm.

But I know that in some other countries (and some Lodges here, we have one in Washington) the Degrees are slowed way down. A year minimum between the Degrees is not uncommon as I understand it. For contrast, I think I received mine, and proved up on the MM in about 4 months, maybe a bit less than that.

I think that the speed may well have been an error. That maybe it would be better if we slowed things down in the future, to ensure that a man truly understood the Degree he received, before conferring the next on him.

Of course that does nothing to help the current situation, but I think it is something worth thinking about for the future.

As a part of that though, I think that we need, for want of a better term, study groups. Maybe book clubs, dinner groups with Masonic papers presented, things of that sort. To keep men engaged between their degrees, but to keep men engaged with Freemasonry no matter where they are on their journey.

To be honest, I think that the success of this little community over its short lifespan rather proves that Freemasonry is crying out for forums in which Masonry can be discussed.

A Governor may be able to shut down a Lodge by fiat, but he or she can't really shut down the little Masonic book club that gathers on someone's back porch once or twice a month.

Again, I know that this does nothing to help the current situation, but I think it is rather a direction we should be headed towards.

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May 11, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

We had our first in-person Stated Meeting in 14 months last week and while it was not the same it felt good to be back in our lodge room together. Yes, there were restrictions and yes some chose not to attend but for the first time in a very long time we got to dress as Masons and to look at each other as Masons in our lodge room. It was a start; it was a new start down a "new" path.

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I am with you MW.

When I Opened Chehalis Lodge a couple or so months back, it was certainly different. There were very few of us in the room, the ritual didn't flow right due to lack of real practice in so long, and due to internet issues, the virtual part of the meeting was an ongoing disaster.

But when I left, I felt great! It was superb to be in Lodge, with men I admire once again. I was actually rather struck by how wonderful it felt.

It is excellent to be getting back to it.

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May 11, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

Idaho Lodges have been open since September of last year. We have had social distancing, masks and extra cleaning. To this date I do not know of any "spreader" events and brothers that are not comfortable attending are in no way made to feel pressured. The Lodge of which I am WM has not had dinners until last month (May). It went well and was well attended. I believe that this is a issue for each Lodge or Jurisdiction to open how and when they are comfortable. Idaho is not Washington and vica versa, just information for my Washington Brothers. Feel free to contact me if you need ideas.

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I think what you say about not putting pressure on those who aren't comfortable attending is spot on.

We should be able to open for those who feel confident doing so, and still allow those who do not to stay home without feeling badly about doing so. I think in that way, we best meet the needs of everyone.

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We're meeting this Thrusday. Since we are renters, we have to follow the policy of the owners which is slightly more restrictive than GL. I'll see who besides the Secretary needs to be Pro-Tem.

Medical professionals can't yet attend meetings since they get exposed to the virus often, so we'll see you that limits as well.

Since bleach is an active ingredient, I've stated that we'll be in casual dress. I would hate to see someone suit or tux reuined.

We purchased paper aprons if anyone needs to use one. Don't see the need to wash our loaners.

With all the limits, I'm still looking forward to seeing my Brothers.

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I've got to say that I love your idea of buying paper aprons for those who might need one.

To be honest, loaner aprons have always terrorized me. My theory is that old fellows accidentally pee on them, and young fellows accidentally pee on them and then blame it on the old fellows. Seen way too many odd stains on our Lodge loaners through the years. ;-)

Maybe I'm a weirdo, I'm certainly willing to admit it, but my fear of the loaners has been with me since the start. I seem to recall ordering myself my own white leather apron to wear while still an EA.

Of course, then I got elected JGW and discovered that all of our elected GL officer aprons are loaner aprons. So, I've been stuck for a few years now.

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So would some one who lives with a medical professional then not be able to attend meetings ? If your Lodge feels there is that much risk that you need to go to those measures then I think you need to reconsider even meeting at all.

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That was not our decision. Because of weekly exposure the current instruction does not allow anyone exposed within 14 days to attend, even if precautions are taken.

Only one active member is currently affected in my Lodge. And this stops him from attending the GL as well.

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May 12, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

I do not believe in top down edicts in any form. The choice to assume risk lies with the individual. No one is forced to attend a gathering. Those who choose to attend do so at their own risk and can take what measures they personally deem appropriate. These mandates and dictates from the governor and grand master are not good in any way. We are not children or half wits to need a mommy to tell us what is safe or not. I know the science and I am not afraid.

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Very much agreed. These edicts and cessation of degree work has done more damage to Freemasonry in the last 14 months than all the other problems we have and are facing over the last 10 years. Blind obedience to illegal orders is not a good thing. The argument of the financial liability from a possible covid infection from a Masonic gathering is also a denial of science. Proving a connection from a Masonic event that would somehow convince a CIVIL judge or jury there was a direct responsibility or connection to that Masonic event is damn near impossible.

Contrary to the narrative a lot of Grand Lodges are putting forth, Grand Lodges can easily exist without constituent Lodges since there is a real disparity between the wealth and asset bases of Grand Lodges and the constituent local level Lodges. The legal separations between such would easily protect Grand Lodges from any perceived legal threats so that

argument holds no water.

The false narratives and numbers used by governments to perpetuate the controls are flawed in many ways. Being connected to the medical and emergency services field I have first hand knowledge of how that works. I can make my own decisions about how to behave in these situations. To apply these onerous restrictions based upon politically generated data and "guidelines" is slowly hammering the nails in local level Freemasonry coffin that much faster.

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author

Given the perspective you are sharing here, I wanted to let you know that I just dropped a question in today's Live Open Thread that I think you will find to be of interest. Please check it out, and if you feel compelled, give us your thoughts about it.

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The Grand of Oregon has issued its new edict, which is the first communication from them about anything in 3 months. Link to edict https://www.masonic-oregon.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/5.17.2021_Edict_GM-McGuyer.pdf

The Grand Lodge of Oregon has now chosen to treat Masons differently based upon a medical status and vaccination status. This is no big surprise, but the wording and manipulative form is surprising. We no longer meet on the level in Oregon. Grand Lodge has injected politics into the Lodge room and is separating Masons based upon its political views. The heavy hand with which the GL has chosen to deal with this is going to further erode the harmony that has effectively vanished from our Lodge rooms as Brothers disagree on the impact this will have on constituent Lodges.

There is currently much disharmony in our Redmond Oregon Lodge around these issues and the impact Grand Lodges decisions is having on how we do degrees and operate our Lodges. This edict in less than 24 hours has already caused disagreements and dissent. Grand Lodges non communication at all levels unless it is to issue restrictive edicts has not helped.

As a Mason of 39 years who was raised from the horizontal by my father ( WB Donald Wiley, PM, Past Secretary Holbrook Lodge # 30) in 1984 I have become too emotionally involved in this issue and for my own health need to step back from active involvement. I had already been looking at my exit / slow down strategy for some time and had anticipated doing my year as Master next year and then being on one committee and hopefully doing degrees after that.

I will not be doing my year as Master because I simply cannot enforce what I feel are illegal and discriminatory orders, nor will I tolerate the division of Masons in any form based upon any status. Grand Lodge of Oregon has chosen to divide the members in response to a control pattern by political groups. You can attend Lodge, degrees and other functions but you will be treated differently that anybody who has been vaccinated. The implication of consent and assent by silence is one of the oldest manipulative tricks in the book and for Grand Lodge to utilize such tactics in its governance shows a lack of Masonic respect for its members. Just another way to weed out members who disagree with the leaders.

Masonry is a group of men and my opinions are one of many. It will be absolutely no loss to either of my Lodges when I choose to step back and not be involved in leadership or other active Lodge roles anymore. Masonry was there a long time before me and will be around a while longer, although with the declining membership numbers in Oregon who knows how long that will be for.

The culture of a group is set by its leaders, and Masonry has spoken that this culture of discrimination and difference in members is how Oregon Masonry will operate in the future. I have beat medical illness's a hell of a lot worse that covid in the past 10 years, and will likely face those same issues again in the next 10 years. Oregon Masonry will be just fine without me, and for my own emotional health I have to move away from a group who's culture and dogma I now disagree with. I realize my opinions are strong as presented and would ask that they be respected and not flamed.

Life is too short to live and operate in an environment of disharmony and dissent. The Freemasonry I grew up in and that grew to be a huge part of my life is no more and will not return. Life moves on and so do I . So Mote it Be.

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>>"I realize my opinions are strong as presented and would ask that they be >>respected and not flamed."

Worry not Brother, Emeth is not Facebook. All who participate here are respectful, and no one does any trolling or flaming.

While I can not comment on what is happening within your Grand Lodge, please know that you will always have Brothers and an online Masonic home here.

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