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Toronto Society for Masonic Research
Lodge Renewal Reading List
1. Six Valuable Insights and Perspectives
Freemasonry in the eighteenth century was a radical movement, often standing against abuses of power on the part of the Establishment. Its development and growth were a vital part of the Age of Enlightenment.
Freemasons belong to an organisation which ought to be dedicated to self-knowledge, the nature of being, love, tolerance, the brotherhood of man, liberty of conscience and, yes, perhaps a brush with the Deity on the way. But we have become bogged down in systems resembling officialdom, obsession with promotion to higher rank, discussions about precedence, confused notions about God, the relative merits of this or that dining venue and the parrotting, without meaning, of what is in itself a very meaningful ritual. (2 pages)
Something is wrong with Anglo Saxon freemasonry. ... they rush the poor candidate through the three degrees without giving him any time to pause and contemplate what it all means. ... This is not freemasonry as it should be practised, ...
Anglo Saxon masonry has strayed from its original purpose and no longer teaches its candidates the fundamental truths which underpin the Craft. ... Educating our members about the purpose of masonry should be a priority regardless of whether or not they wish to deepen their understanding of it, ... having an understanding of any degree they have taken before allowing them to progress further.
I strongly believe that the way forward for Anglo-Saxon Masonry is for its members to be encouraged positively to talk about the rituals. There are many men who would join us if they only realised what Freemasonry was really about, and it is up to us to tell them. Our teachings contain universal truths which need to be promulgated to all those who are interested. The days of reserving knowledge for the benefit of a few are over. (5 pages)
An initial, crucial and valid distinction must to be drawn between Freemasonry as a social institution with a structured organisational hierarchy & rules, premises, etc., and Freemasonry as a body of moral values & ideational aspirations that our members adhere to and try to practice. My focus will be on the latter! ...
In the 19th and 20th centuries English Freemasonry may have become far too much enslaved in outward forms. Has our Freemasonry become "a body without a soul", perhaps? Organisational entropy lurks! Recommended - a return to a more 18th century approach of daring to speculate so that our members really can study "the Liberal Arts and Sciences" and fathom "the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science" as indeed we are specifically enjoined to attempt daily (First and Second Degree respectively). (61 slides)
Masons are not visible in the daily life of their communities. Their identity is frequently misunderstood and misrepresented in the press and by religious critics. There is little reserve of positive memories of Masonic activity remaining in our communities. Within eye and ear range of the public, Masons have failed to perform what they profess; consequently, they have lost their significance within the context of community. (20 pages) mp3 (34 minutes)
I shall propose no bright new ideas - not one. All I am going to advocate is that Freemasonry remain Freemasonry; and if we have strayed from the traditional path, we had better be moving back to the main line while there is yet time to restore the prestige and respect, the loyalty and devotion that once was ours.
The mere fact that men do not comprehend its purpose does not mean that Freemasonry has no purpose, nor that its purpose is outmoded - it only means that the stones are not being well hewn and squared in the quarries where they are raised. Freemasonry has not been tried in the balance and found wanting: it has been found difficult and not tried. (41 pages)
2. Four Lodge Renewal Models
2.4 The Continental European Model -- Philosophy and Practice.
3. North American Lodge Revitalization Links: