Saturday, May 14, 2016

Freemasonry And The Rude Intrusion Of The Modern World

Nothing irritates me more than having a cell phone go off during lodge.  When I was Master of my lodge, I reminded everyone before the meeting to turn them off, but inevitably, there was one that failed to do so.  That's common now, and even with the reminders, I've heard them go off during degree work, I've heard them go off during public installations, during the Annual Grand Lodge Convocation (which will cost you a $20 donation to the Masonic Charitable Fund in Illinois--which, by the way, I think is a great idea).  I've even seen Masons checking their email, texting, and playing games during lodge meetings--if you're going to do that, then why are you there?

Sadly, a phone rang at full volume during a Masonic Funeral Rite I attended not long ago--that's one of the most important rituals we do for the family of a departed Brother.  To say it was embarrassing for every Mason there is an understatement--and I'd be willing to bet that Mason with the phone never carries it during a Funeral service again.   But it's too late--as they say, you can't unring a bell.  The moment is forever lost.  The one thing that family is likely to remember about that ceremony was the phone ringing in the middle of it.

There is nothing that ruins the solemnity of the Craft so quickly as this annoying intrusion from the modern world--and it happens all too often.  We're supposed to care about this ritual, and Masons spend hours learning it and practicing it.  It's a beautiful part of our history and traditions.  And lets not forget that these degree rituals are supposed to leave a lasting impact on our candidates.  Would it be such a bad thing to leave your phone in the car if you can't seem to remember to turn it off?  What are we talking about--maybe an hour or two at the most?  

It wasn't that many years ago when we had no cell phones, and people actually survived!  Nobody is more addicted to the internet than I am, but I've taken to leaving that phone in the car.  It's too easy to forget to turn them off, or think you've got it off, only to learn when it rings that it's not.  But it's about time Masonic Lodges started getting serious about dealing with this rude intrusion into the beautiful traditions of Craft Masonry.

~Todd E. Creason

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