[Square & Compasses]    

Letter of the month: November 2006

Subject: RE: Question re Freemasonry
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 13:38:54 -0500
Message-ID: <F96A56E8488A1C4F997983B01F1CE21F5D5BD4@TCCEML01.gbrownc.on.ca>
From: "Wayne Nicholson" <wnichols@georgebrown.ca>
To: "A Page About Freemasonry" <masonry-ask@mit.edu>


This is a letter written in the aspiration of being invited to join the great brotherhood that is called Freemasonry and ask if there is a brother that would help.

I developed this aspiration to join the Freemasons after I had met a Freemason brother from a lodge in Toronto. This Freemason brother had inspired me to emulate the principles of Freemasonry which develops the full potential of true citizenship in today's society.

The freemason brother that I had met supported my wish to join Freemasonry but the brother pointed out that the processes involved in becoming a freemason was spoken and that this would be problematic as I am deaf. I use sign language as a primary means of communication on a daily basis. I am a professor at the George Brown College for three programs. This shows that although, I use sign language as my primary means of communication, I am rather able to communicate in English through written and typed methods of communication via computers, internet and writing.

Suggestions were made that I would look for a sign language interpreter that was also a freemason that would be able to convey the spoken English into sign language the processes involved in the freemasonry. To date, this search has been unsuccessful. Another discussion ensued and it was also suggested that I would try to search for a freemason brother who knew sign language and would be able to elucidate the process of becoming a Freemason by using sign language.

I would like to know if there is a freemason brother in your lodge that is able to use sign language and support my aspiration to join the great brother hood of Freemasonry.

Thank you,

Wayne Nicholson
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 16:33:06 -0500
From: A Page About Freemasonry <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
To: Wayne Nicholson <wnichols@georgebrown.ca>
Subject: RE: Question re Freemasonry

Dear Mr. Nicholson,

I received a similar question just a week or so back, and have not yet heard back from the gentleman who inquired as to whether my advice yielded any useful result. So I will try to advise you similarly, and if you meet with success, I hope you will inform me.

This website you have reached, A Page About Freemasonry, is an un-official site run by a single Mason. I do not represent any grand lodge nor any resource group in Masonry that might address your need. All I can suggest is that you contact the Grand Lodge of Ontario, and ask them whether they can offer any resource at the grand lodge level, or whether they know if there are signing members in any of the many of their subordinate lodges in Toronto and environs. Since I reside in the Boston Massachusetts area, my knowledge of Toronto-area lodges is quite limited.

If there is not already a list of available Mason signers at the GL of Ontario offices, I sincerely hope you will follow up on your desire to join, and encourage them, and contact as many area lodges as you can find, and discuss the matter with their members. The primary mode of instruction into Masonry is spoken -- a series of ritualized, memorized lectures, using a specialized terminology in part. While written and typed communication modes are used as in any organization, these lectures are at the heart of the Masonic experience. This means that a Mason who signs, even fluently, would have to do special preparation to provide a coherent and meaningful experience to a deaf candidate. That's an effort that at least a few lodges, especially in a large metropolitan area, should arrange to provide.

I hope you will continue to pursue this matter, and will keep me apprised of your efforts. You can find links to many lodges, and to all of the Canadian Grand Lodges, from the "Links" section of my website.

best wishes,

-- Gary L. Dryfoos
A Page About Freemasonry
now at http://MasonryPage.org/

[Brothers: If you have any information about sign-language interpreters in lodge, or any arrangements for presenting the degrees for the hearing impaired, please let me know. If you have specific information that could assist Mr. Nicholson in his efforts, please reply to him and copy me as well.]

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