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Is there a way to tell if these subjects are limited to masons only? If they are, can a disclaimer be placed that it's ok to discuss esoteric or not?

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I am sorry, but there is not a way to ensure that only Masons are here. Looking at the stats for this week, the discussion topics are now going out to about 350 people. Additional people read them on the web, this week that is averaging somewhere between 4 and 500 people.

The Sunday posts reach a lot more.

But unfortunately there is no way to ensure that all are Masons.

In my opinion, anyone who wasn't a Mason would likely find our discussions too strange and too dull to actually want to read them, but that is not an assurance.

That said, in my view the only things that are out of bounds here are the modes of recognition, the forms of initiation, and the content of our obligations.

I don't believe discussion of this part of the EA Lecture to be out of bounds, or even close to out of bounds, by Washington's Masonic Law or Traditions, provided that the answer to the question doesn't include a mode of recognition, or if it does, that mode is implied or substituted with *'s or something instead of written out.

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May 14, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

Outside of the Lecture, no one ever explained the meaning of these symbols to me. My new Brothers were more interested in bellying up to the festive board. I learned them for myself in later discussions and self-education. How do we use our symbols for education of the candidate? We explain what our journey is about--from "good" to "better." How do we become "better?" By divesting ourselves of "vices and superfluities of Life."

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I didn't get any other explanations from those two Brothers, just this one, but the important thing was that it taught me to look behind the veil that is mentioned in the very definition of Masonry, but so often not considered.

Since that time I have tried to do something similar with the Candidates I see receiving their Degrees. I don't know if it has an impact on them like it had on me, but surely it must from time to time.

You mention the Brothers running off to the Festive Board instead of talking with you. That is I think clearly an error on the Lodge's part.

A couple other errors I frequently see are:

-When the Degree is over and the WM starts looking around the room to decide who will be the new Mason's mentor, or calls for volunteers.

The Master should have had this worked out well in advance. To not do so is a serious failure on his part. Worse is when he asks for volunteers, and no one jumps up quickly to volunteer. That sends a very strong message to the Candidate that no one in the room actually cares about him. It is shameful, and when it happens, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

-When, like is often the case with the EA Lecture, the new Mason is sat in a chair in front of the man performing the lecture, and all the other men are sitting on the sidelines or in their positions, leaving the new Mason all alone. We ought not pull a single chair out there. We ought to pull at least three. Put the Master on one side of our new Mason, his mentor on the other.

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“When, like is often the case with the EA Lecture, the new Mason is sat in a chair in front of the man performing the lecture, and all the other men are sitting on the sidelines or in their positions, leaving the new Mason all alone. We ought not pull a single chair out there. We ought to pull at least three. Put the Master on one side of our new Mason, his mentor on the other.”

This is a great idea – in my area, we pull up two. One for the new EA, and one for the Senior Deacon who conducted him. If there’s any other EA’s present, they get a chair as well. I remember giving the EA lecture to multiple EA’s, even if we conferred the degree on only one that evening.

I hadn’t thought about the new Mentor being there instead of the Deacon. The reason why I usually do that as the Deacon is because after the lecture, I then take the new EA west of the Altar for the Charge, and the new instructions by the WM from the East. I then escort the new EA to his Mentor on the sidelines. But that’s one way of many that’s effective.

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OK, here I go...

>>“I will now explain the perfect points of your entrance. Every Mason has four, which are the >>Gutural, Pectoral, Manual and the Pedal, and which are…”

We can recognize a Mason, through his behaviors as driven by his beliefs. That is why these are referred to as the 'perfect points of your entrance.'

'The Gutural' refers to What We Say.

In other words, how we communicate, and the way in which we communicate. To a lesser extent probably what we communicate about as well. Unfortunately, some Masons prove, most every day, that they are Masons in name only, through what they say about others and the hateful language they use.

'The Pectoral' refers to What We Believe.

To steal a phrase from our Founding Fathers that I used in our discussion yesterday, do we believe "that all men are created equal, with certain unalienable rights"? Do we believe that all Masons are Brothers under the Fatherhood of God? Do we believe in Faith, Hope, Charity, Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth? If we do believe these things, then it is very likely that we are Masons, in our hearts, the only true test of a Mason.

'The Manual' refers to What We Do.

Does our hand reach out to strike our wife in anger? If it does, we have not become a Mason, no matter what any 'dues card' might say. Does our hand reach out to help if we see a defenseless child in need, or an old woman in fear? If it does, then we are likely true Masons, even if we haven't paid dues in years.

'The Pedal' refers to Where We Go.

Do we go to Lodge to learn to divest ourselves of the vices of life as Tig mentioned earlier? Do we go to our Brothers home to enjoy spending time with the man we call such? Do we visit our sick Brother in the hospital? Attend his funeral? If so, we likely understand Freemasonry, and have taken it into our hearts. Do we join in the looting of a store in downtown Seattle or Portland, in order to steal, giving lip service to the language of protest in order to justify our actions? If so, then clearly we are a common thief, and not a Freemason.

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May 15, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

This topic brings to mind a broader outlook:

Not only concerning the Perfect points, and the Cardinal Virtues that they represent, but also other factors mentioned in that Lecture.

I received this lecture from a classic, old-time Past Master who I had known since I was in my early teens. He gave the lecture well. That being said, it was still like drinking from a fire hose, and unfortunately, like VWB Tig, there wasn’t hardly any expounding on these subjects since then, in any of the Lodges where I had watched or participated in this degree. The same thing applies to the Charges. I think if a Worshipful Master decided to dedicate his year in Masonic Education to just the Charges alone, he wouldn’t run out of material before his term was up. If his Lodge met twice a month, he could include the EA lecture. And this still leaves out the other two lectures! But then, the next WM could cover them, etc. And if you add the other methods of education, you would indeed have way more than enough material to keep everyone occupied for a LONG time.

As you said, there is NO excuse for a lack of Masonic Education in our Stated Communications. And if there were ‘classes’ or one-on-one instruction in between the meetings, I think our Brethren would greatly benefit. You’d get better membership retention and involvement, and it would snowball upwards from there.

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