Here’s the first of our last two essays about the future of Illinois Capitular Freemasonry, based on some observations from Texan Brother Lance Kennedy’s, “10 Propositions for Texan Freemasonry.” You can read his whole article here.
Brother Kennedy’s ninth essay, “Remove the Dying Appendages,” is sure to be controversial. His take is that our appendant Bodies are draining away the life from our Blue Lodge (though he also graciously saves the York and Scottish Rites). No more Demolay, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow Girls, Eastern Star and Shrine. Presumably, he probably disagrees with the many sub- and invitation-only Bodies as well.
Do I agree? No. The Youth Groups especially provide opportunities for young men and women to become diverse, empowered, and inspiring leaders. In fact, I daresay that our Masonic Youth are overall better at many aspects of Freemasonry — ritual, passion, leadership — that the vast majority of Masons I know. I can’t comment much on the Eastern Star or White Shrine; I’m not active there. The Shrine
I can’t comment much on the Eastern Star or White Shrine; I’m not active there. The Shrine seems to have a loyal following and does offer some aspects — are they Freemasonry? I don’t know, really — that other Bodies sometimes even try to emulate (charity, fellowship). I’ve found much satisfaction in our many York Rite sub-Bodies: York Rite College, Knight Masons, AMD, Royal Order of Scotland, etc. They all serve a purpose and, yes, they maybe do take away a few fellas from the Lodge experience, but, as our Grand Master says, every Mason will find the place he calls home.
I guess I would say, join and be active only in those organizations that you feel comfortable committing to. Yes, they do need dues-paying only members, but at some point, members who aren’t active stop paying dues and then the Body spends energy and resources chasing down dues that are likely never to be paid. Our appendant bodies — especially the Youth Groups — are something that should not go away. Lodge (and Chapter!) is important, yes. Commit to the Masonic way of life and you will never go wrong. But don’t overcommit Companions.