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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Laudable Pursuit

If you've never read it and are struggling with rejuvenating a faltering or troubled lodge, check out "Laudable Pursuit" by the Knights of the North HERE.  It's hard to believe that this has been out for a dozen years now, and yet plenty of Masons have still never run across it before. The online version is free for anyone, and there's a Lulu hard copy booklet available at cost, as well. It could probably use some updating in some areas, but it still holds up today because, sadly, so many items discussed in it have not changed in over a decade.

It was never thought to be a silver bullet for lodge problems. Rather, it was supposed to be the starting point for Masons to examine their lodge and find answers of their own to create a better experience for their members. The Knights were a collection of about a dozen Masons from Indiana and other states, as well as Canada. There were lodge Masters, rank and file Masons, and even a Past Grand Master involved, and it started life as an online forum discussion over two booklets originally written by Dwight Smith in the early 1960s. It was cobbled together from everyone's responses, given an introduction and a conclusion, and posted online anonymously - as self preservation against some who wanted us all suspended if they found us. Since that time, it has mostly lost its original reputation as heresy. Many of the ideas contained in it have become plans of grand masters, motivated rule changes across the country, and helped along lodge rejuvenation efforts. It helped to shape ideas that became a part of the philosophy behind the Masonic Restoration Foundation. Some of the "Knights" went on to write books, form new lodges, and even became the core founders of the Masonic Society. 
All of that came about starting with this single document.


  1. Re-reading the document, after so many years, I think there are just a few of the original recommendations that are GRAND SLAMS. Four (4) of them really:

    8. Raise our dues and petition fees to a level reasonable enough....

    1. EAs and FCs should be allowed into our business meetings. They have been since the fraternity began, in every corner of the globe except in the US after the 1840's. (It is US Masonry that created an innovation in the body of Freemasonry. It's time we stopped it.)

    12. Slow down, not speed up our degree process.
    [This becomes possible once we allow EA's to participate!]

    7. Repeal the prohibition of alcohol for renters of Lodge buildings and at Masonic banquets. We teach Temperance, not Abstinence.

    13. The internet is making the Masonic world smaller on a daily basis . . . multiple Grand Lodges within the same jurisdictions will be common in the future. That situation already exits in the US with Prince Hall recognition. The same should be true in foreign jurisdictions where multiple, regular Grand Lodges stubbornly shun each other.

    I consider these to be the most potent of the recommendations. Some of them are EASY to do.... some of them are harder. Raising dues, for example, is as hard as you want to make it. But there is no doubt that the craft would benefit greatly by having fewer lodges on the brink of financial ruin!

  2. One of the first 3 books on Freemasonry I read as a Freemason ... Freemasons for Dummies was first, Observing The Craft second, and A Laudable Pursuit, 3rd. These 3 books have formulated my thought process of being an Observant Mason from the very beginning, and at the same time gave me a great dose of frustration when I see otherwise. Masonic Education is more important than ever - seemingly the Craft is becoming indistinguishable from the other fantastic and charitable Fraternities that exist today.

  3. This week I hope to make a 2-axis chart of the recommendations of the Laudable Pursuit:

    Ease of Execution vs. Benefits obtained.

    I'm thinking of just making 4 quadrants... so there won't be an undue focus on trying to perfectly rank each recommendation, in order, for each axis.

    All I want to do is divide the list in half two times:

    Which recommendations are the EASIEST... which means the one's remaining are the hardest.

    Then compare this two-way split with the division of the same list based on which ones would provide the greatest benefit.


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