Letter of the month: April 2003
From: "JEFF SLESSOR" <>
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2003 12:08:30 -0400
Subject: Masonry Question
I had already submitted my Petition for Degrees when I read with
great horror your article on the one day classes. I became very
concerned that members of the Lodge I was attempting to join would view
me with contempt and resentment because of the fact that I was planning
to attend the Grand Master's Class in Detroit. One of my sponsors and
my mentor at the class was the Worshipfull Master of my lodge. He
assured me that there would be no such ill feelings within the
I understand and respect your views on the subject. I am a ham radio
operator, and recently the F.C.C. eased the Morse code requirements for
the Extra Class license ( the "Master Mason Degree" of amateur radio
licenses ). This caused quite a stir in the ham community and many "old
time" hams viewed the new Extra Class operators with disdain, referring
to them as "Extra-Lites" and other such titles. The change in the law
was made in an attempt to bolster the number of participants in a hobby
that has seen declining interest of late. I can't help but see the
parallel with the Craft.
After over a year of operating activity with the new reduced code
speed proficiency requirements, I think there are few, if any, who know
or care which operators are "real" Extras and which are "Extra-Lites".
The vast majority of hams are just happy to have new radio friends to
share the hobby with.
On April 5th, 2003 the Grand Lodge of Michigan raised over 500 new
Master Masons including myself and three others in my Lodge. The
Brothers in my Lodge have embraced us with open arms and warmly welcomed
us to the Craft. Many are working with me now to help teach me some of
what I may have missed by attending the all day class. And I am eager
to learn and grateful to them for their help. I hope to one day become
an officer of the Lodge, and maybe even a Master someday. In any event,
I will be the best Mason that I can and will always endeavor to be
someone my fellow Brothers can always count on and be proud to know.
I am sorry that you think less of me for Attending the Grand Masters
Class. I hope that one day I will earn your respect and the respect of
others who feel as you do. My appetite for knowledge about Freemasonry
is seemingly insatiable, and your website has been instrumental in
providing me with the resources to satisfy this hunger. For that I
Sincerely and Fraternally yours,
Jeffrey M. Slessor
Plymouth Rock Lodge #47
To: "JEFF SLESSOR" <KC8NRP@msn.com>
Subject: Re: Masonry Question
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Sat, 19 Apr 2003 12:08:30 EDT."
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 12:04:47 -0400
Dear Bro. Jeff,
I think you misunderstand. I don't view you with contempt. Rather,
I think you have had your pocket picked. You have been charged for a
sirloin steak dinner and been served a Big Mac instead.
You have been swindled. You had the opportunity to receive a
once-in-a-lifetime personal initiatory experience, presented to you
personally by men who knew you and would be your lifetime friends.
Instead, you and 499 others watched a show on a stage from a seat in the
If you don't mind, that is your business. Since I feel morally
connected with the people who have swindled you, I do mind.
Your ham experience is not analagous. Nobody gets into ham radio for
the pleasure of learning the license material. You learn the license
material to enable you to participate in the activity. In Masonry, the
pleasure of getting to know members of your lodge during the months of
preparing for and passing through the degrees is an integral part of the
pleasure and learning experience. And the pressure and practice and
opportunity for the lodge members to prepare and present the degrees is
a challenging and unifying experience for the lodge, making it more fit
for all its other activities.
I am glad that your lodge is now providing you, perhaps, with a
remedial version of what you could have had in the first place. I
sincerely hope it goes well, and I welcome you into the Craft with open
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