Monday, February 6, 2012
Electronic Devices in Lodge?
This was the name of the title on the most recent Masonic Services Association that I received today. It specifically dealt with the increasing use of electronic devices within the Lodge room. I have personally felt that to have a personal device in use within the Lodge untyles the Lodge, and defeats the purpose of solemn and sublime contemplation. How can I be reflective of my inner self when I am indulging and inundating my profane self with the mental distractions of everyday life? In my humble opinion, I don't believe Masonic work can be optimally done under such conditions, although I am sure that there are many who would disagree with me on this topic.
To formally address this issue, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts sent a communication to other Grand Lodges explaining, "Not only for the annoyance of the phone ringing, but also, the member answering and talking during the meetings. Some are constantly texting or reading email. Also, the use of the camera or video to record the meeting or degree work. We have some Lodge officers who have written the ritual into their phones and use them as teleprompters during degree work."
As reported by the MSA, the Grand Master of Massachusetts, the Most Worshipful Brother Richard J. Stewart, issued the following edict on September 14, 2011:
"All cell phones carried into a Lodge room must either be turned off of silenced prior to entering the Lodge room.
The Master will announce prior to opening that all cell phones and other electronic devices are to be shut off or silenced.
If an emergency call is received while the Lodge is in session, the Brother must not answer the call within the Lodge room. He must exit the Lodge room according to proper Masonic protocol and respond to the call outside the Lodge room area.
If a cell phone rings within a Tyled Lodge, the Master will instruct the Lodge Marshal to escort the Brother from the room. Re-admittance of the Brother to the Lodge will be at the discretion of the Master.
Use of cell phones or other devices for texting, audio recording, video recording, or photography within a Tyled Lodge is strictly forbidden, except as has been previously approved for photography. Any reported infraction of this rule is subject to reprimand, suspension, or expulsion from Freemasonry."
I personally applaud the efforts of this Grand Master, although, as I said previously, I am sure there will be a sincere contingency that will disagree with this same sentiment. It will be curious to see what affects the advent of convenient electronic devices will bring upon the governing of both the Lodge room, and the Craft as a whole.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Joseph Warren-Gothic Lodge No. 934