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


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


From the Kansas Freemasons. H/T to Michael Halleran.


  1. Better these brothers are there, dressed as they are, than not at all. This isn't 1960 anymore and different sartorial standards are in effect. For my part, my lodge is largely blue collar and you seldom see suits in there, and only the occasional necktie. Many Masons come to lodge straight from their jobs in chemical plants or driving trucks, or other pursuits, and the options are show up as-is or not at all, and so we tend to be quite casual. But guess what? We're brothers, love one another, and will do anything for one another, and I'd rather that than feeling like I'm in some sort of biweekly fashion contest.

    Patrick T. Heffernan, PM
    Anson Jones Lodge #1416
    Friendswood, TX

  2. Is this picture meant to be ironic? Are those fluorescent bulbs in a lodge room? Are they standing in the East of an actual lodge room? Look at the clutter on the wall behind them. That looks more like a clubhouse than a Masonic lodge.

    A group of ritual geniuses can do ritual in any situation, no matter how conducive the atmosphere is to the solemnity of Masonic ritual. But neophytes need help. They need proper lighting, dignified furnishings, and a clean, uncluttered space in which to receive the degrees from the Craft.

    Freemasonry is not a PTA meeting, nor is it a hangout space, nor is it an Elks, Rotarian, Kiwanis or any other type of club. It is a ritually charged discipline that teaches a profound moral and mental technique for improving a man's soul. Lodge shouldn't look or feel like other social environments in a man's life, except perhaps church (and then only slightly). Men should dress as if they are going somewhere very special, or else it won't be very special.

    My lodge has blue collar guys as well, and some their leave their suits at the lodge building so that they can dress appropriately when lodge opens. The expectation is set that we will dress like gentlemen, and nobody wants to let their brothers down in this regard.

    Ripped-open jeans, and t-shirts emblazoned with a logo are not suitable for lodge. They are too profane. Freemasonry is not profane. It just isn't. If men want to gather for profane reasons, that's fine, but it's not Freemasonry. It's not a space for "regular guys" because when inside a tyled lodge with the three great lights lit, none of us are "regular guys". We are initiates in the greatest fraternity and initiatory system in the world, and we should govern ourselves accordingly. What would MW Jewel P. Lightfoot say about this?

    Jeremy A. Gross, PM
    Samuel Crocker Lawrence Lodge AF & AM
    Medford, MA

  3. What is the problem with asking someone to show respect to the lodge and there brothers by dressing in a suit. We have had brothers who come straight from working their blue collar jobs and they find the five minutes to change their clothes whether it is a quick stop at home or ducking into the bathroom when they first arrive.

    Michael Sahovey
    Liberty Lodge
    Beverly, MA

  4. As a relatively new Mason, I'm confused. I've embraced the formal dress of my Lodge and view it as the outward reminder of a level of respect and dignity accorded to the craft and to my brothers. What precisely is gained by holding a Lodge up to ridicule if they fail to embrace these outward reminders? Is there something at stake that I'm missing that warrants this? After all the photo is taken from the website of an active Lodge.

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  6. I think it's a sign of respect to your brethren to dress nice, and it doesn't take all that long to throw on a button shirt and jeans that are at least clean and don't have holes in them.

    I don't judge how others appear when they come to lodge for the reasons offered, and have come in jeans and a t-shirt (without a logo, mind you) for expediency. Do we really want to have a group that serves an expedient membership? It's more a matter of respecting oneself than it is about respecting one's brethren at any rate. I don't know, I'm just not sure requiring no standards is helping either the entering brethren or the lodges. I'm not sure that's showing brotherly love to require nothing of the members to join. It feels like not keeping score for a baseball game so everyone can win. If it's played like that, there is no game.

    Kevin Noel Olson
    PM-Butte Lodge #22-A.F.&A.M. Grand Lodge of Montana

  7. The great thing about our fraternity is that each lodge has it own flavor. My lodge my look casual when you see us at our regular lodge meeting. I promise you at district or grand lodge they are dressed to the nines.

    Thomas George
    Carrollton Lodge#134
    Carrollton, KY

  8. Maybe it's me, but I don't see any context for this. While they are obviously dressed for, well, for something Masonic, I can't tell what that is.

    The background does appear to be a lodge room, decorated in 1960s ersatz paneling. But are they participating in a degree? We have a portion in our MM degree in which guys could be dressed in raggy -looking clothing (although out lodge uses costumes). Perhaps this is the Craftsmen team.

    One of the great things that I've discovered about the Fraternity is that we do things differently all over the US and Canada, even from lodge to lodge, never mind state to state.

  9. Any help with the source or context of the original posting of this picture? A link to the original would be helpful.

    Ricky Stevens
    Ebenezer #76
    Senatobia, Mississippi

  10. I find more troubling the fact that someone decided to publicly ridicule our own Brothers with a tired internet meme. These are real men and Masons being mocked here. Surely we, of all men, ought to have the decency not to fall into the trap of making sport of those we do not know personally for a laugh or because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

    Do you want a strict dress code at Lodge? Then pass it through a vote, and when a Brother slips, whisper counsel. If you have not the fortitude to do that, then remain silent. The Great Internet Shame Machine should not be our first step, our last step, or any of the steps in the middle. We're better than that, aren't we?

    Jeff Prewitt
    Washington Meredith #355
    Brownsville, KY

    (My views do not necessarily represent those of my Lodge, my Grand Lodge, or of any other person or organization.)

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  12. Brothers, remember, "It is the internal, not the external qualifications" that we are concerned with. So your Lodge has a strict dress code? Good for you. Not all Lodges do. Some are more concerned with members attending than they are with what they wear.

    I personally prefer to wear a suit, or at least slacks and a polo, but we have members who do not have time to even go home before they come to Lodge, and wear what they wore to work. A Lodge in my district has members that take their boots off in the anteroom so they don't track mud and other substances from their farms into the Lodge Room.

    You think it's a lack of respect? It may be, but who are we to judge them?

    That's just my opinion.

    David Merckle
    Junior Deacon
    La Fayette Lodge #79
    Zanesville, Ohio

  13. Here is the link to the source image: http://www.flatgap616.com/index.php?p=2_7

    It appears to be after their FC degree.

  14. David,
    I knew someone would eventually say this. I'm sorry, but the external is a reflection of the internal. My lodge when I joined had no dress code, but I was told to dress as I would for church, something I would have done regardless of being told. Some things we shouldn't have to be told. Dress is a form of respect, and we are more than just some run of the mill club. The fraternity has standards of conduct, and that ought to extend to our appearance.

  15. Without context this picture means very little. Perhaps these brothers were at Lodge on a weekend doing maintenance or were there for ritual work off hours. I think conducting yourself modestly during our stated meetings should be our goal but I question putting these men up for ridicule. That to me seems unnecessary and inharmonious. Perhaps an email could have been sent to that particular lodge questioning the attire, doing all this in a masonic fashion.

    Context is everything and we have no context for this picture.

  16. I actually had an argument several years ago with a brother who was angry that his Master had turned him away from participating in a Masonic funeral service for showing up in shorts and a golf shirt. We're supposed to have respect for the institution, and not lower it to the most common level. The most misused term in Masonry is that it is "internal, not the external qualifications of a man that Masonry regards." That is an excuse for slovenliness.

  17. Chris, this was obviously after a Fellow Craft degree, from the appearance of the aprons.

  18. While I may think better dress than this should be a part of the Lodge experience, publicly ridiculing Brothers over something like this is, in my opinion, unMasonic.

    Michael H. Duminiak

  19. The appearance of the apron may differ from Jurisdiction to Jurisdiction. In Ohio, the apron is in the form of a triangle in another degree.

  20. Brethren,

    I took a look at their lodge's website and it is very clear that this particular lodge has an anything goes standard. Many of us are judging these members by the standards of our own Lodges, Grand Lodges, and what *we* expect. We are looking at this as an excuse for slovenliness, when in fact it is well within their standards. We need to remember that each and every jurisdiction is unique, that they all have their own standards and rules and that our standards and rules do not apply there. Many of us want to elevate Freemasonry, but we are calling these brethren to account publicly, not privately and that goes against the things that I was taught in Freemasonry from my first night as a Master Mason. The Closing Charge of a Lodge in PA includes the following:

    "And remember also, that around this Altar you have solemnly and repeatedly promised to befriend and relieve, with unhesitating cordiality, so far as shall be in your power every Brother who shall need your) assistance; that you have promised to remind him, in the most tender manner, of his failings, and aid his reformation; to vindicate his character when wrongfully traduced; and to suggest in his behalf the most candid, favorable, and palliating circumstances, even when his conduct is justly reprehensible if you faithfully observe these duties, the world will observe how Freemasons love one another; in obedience to the will of GOD."

    Before you condemn publicly, please stop and think of this charge. For right now, there does not seem to be a lot of love in this particular thread.



  21. My lodge as many is a combination of blue collar and white collar professionals, we do not all show up in a suit and tie, however torn jeans and t-shirts are not allowed. Clean it up brothers show respect for yourselves as well as the lodge you belong to. Showing up to work on the lodge would allow you to wear the apparel shown but for degree work please show some respect for the institution you have been ask to participate in.

    Kenneth Haas
    Weston Lodge #76
    Littleton, CO.

  22. Interesting...
    Apparently the fraternity has now evolved from an organization with egalitarian views into one more concerned with the external rather than the internal value of its voteries...

    Its wonderful that the traditional teaching have created such elitist

  23. Wow... Just WOW. I understand that not every Lodge has a strict dress code, but torn, white jeans?

    Methinks the WM needs a talking-to.

    Bro. Brian Crowder

    Wasatch Lodge #1
    Argenta Lodge #3
    El Kalah Shriners

    F&AM of Utah

  24. It is the internal and not the external qualifications.....

  25. I am unsure how things work in other Grand Jurisdictions. In Texas lodges we initiate, pass and raise brothers one at a time. On a few occasions we have had 2 brothers that were initiated on the same day and their lectures given together. That being said, it seems unlikely they were all just passed together. Maybe they just finished doing community service together and wanted a picture of their Fellowcrafts.

    We encourage brothers to dress nicely when attending lodge, but teach them that it is the internal and not the external qualifications that are most important. We had a brother that was 102 years old and wore shorts to lodge during the summer. Not even the most uptight Masters said anything about his apparel. Freemasonry as a whole is shrinking in numbers. That lodge appears to be doing something right if they have 8 Fellowcrafts. Another important thing we try to teach our new brothers is to never “defame the good name” of a brother neither before his face nor on the internet.

    Greggory Graham, SW
    San Angelo Lodge #570
    San Angelo, Tx

  26. One has to have "pride in themselves" and it shows when one dresses accordingly to the situation. Freemasonry is NOT a boys club, but a Fraternity made up of good men with good values.....and they include the way that a man presents himself. This is NOT a good representation for Freemasonry.
    @Evil....Freemasonry is "time immemorial", not related to 1960, so that is insequential to the picture.
    I'm sure, that if these GENTLEMEN were going out to a nice restaurant, their dress apparel would be very upper class.

    These GENTLEMEN, Freemasons or not, would not get past the NE Entrance.

  27. The meme is unfortunate. Did someone steal it from the Flatgap Lodge #616 webpage? We as Masons should follow copyright laws.
    I encourage everyone to examine their entire webpage. Appears to be an active and vibrant lodge.
    We all come from different communities. And each lodge has its own Grand Lodge and Master and do not answer to us.


    I only speak for myself

    Lee Love JS
    Cataract #2
    Minneapolis, MN

  28. I am a member of a "Blue Collar" lodge, and jeans are the norm for business meetings. For degree work the expectation is still officers in tuxes or dark suits.

    What surprised me going to their website is that the officers were dressed in jeans and T-shirts for degree work and apparently jeans for installation of officers.

    That said, as webmaster and trestle board editor of our lodge, they seem an active vibrant lodge.

    Rich Pratt
    Senior Steward
    Golden Ark #595
    Taylor, MI

  29. Holding these Brothers up to ridicule makes me as or more uncomfortable than their attire.

  30. Good comments, Brethren.

    We American Freemasons enjoy a large amount of personal freedom and creativity regarding what we wear to Lodge which varies according to the dictates of our own individual Grand Jurisdictions.

    I am reminded we do not have One Central Governing Grand Lodge like our good Brothers in London, England. In England, it is common to see many of our British Brethren wearing their (good looking) Standard Formal Masonic Suit of Black Jacket and Grey Stripe Trousers, to most Masonic meetings. Interestingly, some of our American Masonic leaders and members have adopted this British Masonic form of dress wear.

    The general rule of thumb for American Masonic Leaders to follow regarding what their membership may be allowed to wear to Lodge can be summarized by asking the following two questions: 1. Does the Brother wear clothing that distracts from the dignity and harmony of the Lodge procedures and those involved? If the answer is yes, the Brother must not be allowed to enter Lodge by action of the Tyler.

    2. Does the Brother wear clothing to Lodge which distracts from the SOLEMNITY of being "Properly Clothed" as ordered by the Worshipful Master? If the answer is yes, the Brother must not be allowed to enter Lodge by action of the Tyler. :)

    Irenic Conclave#121,OSM,
    London, England.

  31. I can't say I approve of that attire but I'm not going to judge my brothers for their appearance.

    Garden City Lodge, Newtonville

  32. I would hope that their ritual work is better than their dress code. These may be good brothers, but in my opinion we need to hold our selves to a higher standard. These fellowcraft do not know better and I wonder if the Masters standing behind them do. What we teach is to perfect our ashlar. That should reflect on our exoteric as well as our esoteric work.

  33. In Brazil, we have a dress code which is followed by almost everyone. But in exceptional cases, such as police officer, emergency or long hours work or an physician, are allowed to attend the Lodge without wearing a black suit, black pants, black shoes, black socks, a plain white dress shirt, and black/white/red tie (depending the masonic rite). Instead, they have a black gown (used by the deacons and some other officers during the degree work) which covers from neck to the heels, plus the masonic apron. Because I am scientist, I used this resource several times. This gown is not allowed for "Magnum" meetings (degree work and formal receptions). This suggestion may keep the dignity of the members and the Lodge in the square. Finally, if they were able to attend the Lodge and they have passion for this fraternity, I think we should excuse some of this dressing at this particular time point.


    David Kasahara, PhD, MM
    Washington Lodge #3, Willinston, Vermont
    St' John Lodge (B), Boston MA


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