[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: April 2003

From: "JEFF SLESSOR" <>
To: <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2003 12:08:30 -0400
Subject: Masonry Question

Mr. Dryfoos,

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 Lodge.

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 thank you.

I remain,
Sincerely and Fraternally yours,
Jeffrey M. Slessor
Master Mason
Plymouth Rock Lodge #47
Plymouth, MI


From: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
Message-Id: <200304211604.MAA00895@thelonious.mit.edu>
To: "JEFF SLESSOR" <KC8NRP@msn.com>
Subject: Re: Masonry Question
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Sat, 19 Apr 2003 12:08:30 EDT."
             <BAY4-DAV6DgI6bXmdMJ0000058c@hotmail.com> 
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 audience.

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 arms.


+---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA (PM)
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142  | Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, MA (PM)
|                                 | Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge, MIT, MA
|  "A Page About Freemasonry"     | Internet Lodge #9659, E. Lancs UGLE   
|  http://mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/ | 32~; MPS; B'hood o/t Blue Forget-Me-Not 
|                                 | RWG Rep.GL Russia near GL Massachusetts 
| "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
|  whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|  or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."
+===========================================================================

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