"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eblen's Cave Degree 2008 Report

Not long ago, I posted an announcement of Union Lodge No. 38's annual Eblen's Cave Degree. I have never attended this event myself, but at face value, I believed the concept was an interesting one—presentation of a different state's Master Mason ritual each year by degree teams that traveled from around the country.

On Friday night August 15, a North Carolina EA Degree was exemplified by Creasy Proctor Lodge #679 on Steven Matthews. According to the Cave degree website, 166 Masons, representing 77 Lodges, 15 States, Ontario Canada and England attended.

On Saturday, a Georgia Master Mason Degree was conferred by Pickens Star Lodge #220, of Jasper GA on William Gary Boyes.

I received the following note from an Indiana brother this evening who attended Georgia's presentation. Some 250 Masons, representing 96 Lodges, 14 States, Ontario Canada and England were present to witness their "performance."

It speaks for itself.

Hi, Chris

Back from the Cave Degree in TN... this was my third year, and it's generally been a wonderful time. This year left me with a _really_ bad taste in my mouth.

In short, the Degree Team from Georgia put on the most banal, disgusting Parody of the MM that I've seen in all my 26 years as a Mason. If I had been Raised with such Tomfoolery, I'd never have set foot in a Lodge again. Period.

If I were their GM, I'd jerk their Charter so fast, they'd find their butts spin-driven into the ground. But apparently, GA is a _very_ different place than Indiana. . . If (as it's reasonable to assume) a Degree Team invited to another Jurisdiction is putting on their most solemn, refined Work, GA insulted every Brother in attendance. I'd heard that GA was "a little rough" on their Candidates. I don't even want to think about how bad it would get, if they weren't on their "best behaviour". :/

The Three Ruffians were literally transformed into the Three Stooges. "Nyuk. Nyuks", noogies, head-slapping, eye-poking, pratfalling fools. (Jubelum was actually wearing a black, bowl-cut Moe wig, to make the slapstick all the clearer.)

If that wasn't bad enough, the Graveside Prayer turned into a 25-minute Sermon, calling Jesus down to Bless us, our Children, our Grandchildren... and damn the Unbelievers into the Firey Pit for Eternity if they don't see Jesus (mentioned at least 25 times) as Lord and Master of all. I was half-expecting the guy to pull out a basket of snakes from under his Apron, and start handing them around.

It was so bad, that most of us who hadn't escaped beforehand were in slack-jawed Shock by the end, and the Cave emptied in record time. . . I haven't begun to chip at the Iceberg. IN and TN are fairly distinct in our Working... yet our Bro. down there was just as apalled as I was. Rewording the Obligation (to explain that "Clandestine" means "Prince Hall" in modern English) really riled me.

I'm sorry to have bothered you with this... but I don't know anyone who's Travelled as you have. Their disgusting, juvenile performance has left me a little wounded . . . I've never seen anything so utterly Unmasonic as what was pulled on us last Saturday . I know it's not the Norm... but have you ever seen anything similar ?

No, I haven't. And I hope I don't.


  1. I wish I could say that I was surprised. I was passed at this event in 2006. Overall it was a decent experience, but I can say I never heard the "N" word used so much in my life.

    The Jesus prayers got old fast.

    At least these are real "regular" Freemasons right?


  2. Honestly, I am not surprised either. I am a California Mason that has been transplanted to Georgia, and when I saw a Georgia third degree I was a bit taken aback as well. It wasn't quite as bad as described here, but there was a great deal of horseplay and tomfoolery. In fact, the candidate was almost injured. Not only that, but the ruffians could barely keep a straight face as they performed there parts. All in all, very unbecoming of our Craft.


  3. I don't get it. Considering the solemnity of the moment, how can this horseplay advance the message?

    Don't get me wrong, in asides, I've seen quiet humorous tidbits that do not detract from the ceremony (papers produced by the ruffians at a certain point and comments made at the door by the 12 craftsmen).

    If the "n" word is a disparaging remark toward African-Americans, I'm not sure that I want to be associated with these men, much less call them "brother".

  4. Sad.

    I don't understand why it can't be done straight, without all the accreted crap that is found nowhere in the official ritual, but continues to be faithfully repeated because "we've always done it that way".

  5. OFGS.

    I'm with Scout: MM degrees can be prone to certain shenanigans, and it's possible to have some low-key humor that doesn't detract from the experience, although I prefer to save that for business meetings.

    I try to remind the brethren: "You may have seen 100 degrees, but this candidate is only going to be I, P, and R just once."

    Showing up in costume is one thing. Some harmless wordplay is one thing. Dressing and acting like Moe, Larry, and Curly is going way beyond the line, and there is no excuse for turning a solemn degree ceremony into a farce.

  6. I was unaware that Gerorgia Masons practiced this type of degree and in this manner. I am not shocked however, since Kentucky is infamous for doing the exact same thing. I have bee to a Kentucky MM degree and when I got my visitors apron there was blood splatter on it. The candidate was trussed up in a straight jacket and the ritual work, if you could call it that was atrocious and college fraternity like. Another vote for uniform degree work from this Brother!

    Grand Lodge of Virginia

  7. Uniform degree work is not needed in order to stop this kind of thing from happening. England doesn't have a uniform ritual, and you rarely if ever hear of anything this despicable happening in their work.

    American Freemasons need to put a stop to this juvenile behavior in their own lodges and in their own jurisdictions by refusing to countenance it any longer, and Grand Lodges need to start pulling charters of lodges and suspending brethren who persist in condoning it.

  8. That's because, Curmudgeon, the format of the 3rd Degree in England is entirely different than in the United States. It is a monologue; the WM (or his designate) assisted by the Wardens at two appropriate moments).

    I will be conferring the degree (actually, it looks like I'm doing half of the entire thing) on a friend whose petition I signed some months ago in a little over a week.


  9. I've been trying to tell you guys for years that Georgia Masonry wasn't Masonry at all, but no one would listen. What kind of Masonry expels Master Masons without charges or trial?

    I'm glad that other Masons are finally being able to witness what we had to put up with for years.

    If you want to experience the full picture of Masonry in Georgia you need to visit some of the rural north Georgia lodges where you can also pick-up a free KKK t-shirt out of the truck of someone's car.

    I hate to to say it but I told you so all along. Ed King's MasonicInfo.com is just a cover-up for this type of behavior by Masons in Georgia. King is a liar, a racist and a fraud.

  10. What this has to do with Ed King, I have no idea, "Howard."

    That you have troubles in some Georgia lodges, no one will deny—not even your own Dr. Moriarty, Brother Ed King. Is it widespread? Only Georgia Masons can say. But it takes Georgia Masons to rise up and say enough is enough concerning this kind of behavior and put a stop to it. Stop blaming your troubles on external forces. Demand better leadership, and hold the existing leadership to a higher standard. If somebody is selling Ku Klux Klan t-shirts in the parking lot, put him up on charges. If the Grand Master looks the other way (and I'm not saying he does, because I don't know), demand the next three men in the grand line publicly state where they stand on racism and Freemasonry. Make them say it or write it, and hold them to it, politely and within the rules, but DO IT. Take control of your lodges and your grand lodges and rat out the guys who think it's a whites only club.

    The only thing I DO know is that you cannot change one single thing by resigning or getting expelled.

    More to the point, take your ad hominem rants to your own playground. Or is labeling Ed King "a liar, a racist and a fraud" just more of that better, "traditional cosmopolitan" Freemasonry you're supposedly practicing?


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