Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NEW BOOK RELEASE! Building Free Men - Uncommonly Freeing Masonic Education - Volume 8

Good Day My Fellow Travelers,

Here's a link to my new book, "Building Free Men - Uncommonly Freeing Masonic Education - Volume 8", that was published on July 14, 2014. 


Fraternally and Sincerely,

Bro. John S. Nagy
Building Better Builders Series Author


Tampa Bay, Florida - July 2014

Masonic Light is near impossible to obtain if you don't know where to look. In “Building Free Men”, Volume 8 of the “Building Better Builders” series of Uncommon Masonic Education books, Dr. Nagy shares twelve jammed-packed chapters filled with insights and information designed to help you to train yourself toward recognizing when you are faced with a growth opportunity, help you understand what you can do to be a Better man and help you take more effective actions in dealing with Brothers and yourself on a day to day basis. Masons on the Masonic path will glean tremendous Insights into what they can do to Better their options, choices and abilities, in these respects. Dr. Nagy’s book contains:
  • The True Purposes behind Proficiencies.
  • What it actually takes to Cultivate Free Men.
  • Exploration into the roots, histories, backgrounds, and meanings you won’t normally hear about some important Words & Phrases used within the Organization of Free & Accepted Masons.  Words & Phrases like: “Freemason”, "Free Mason", “Freeborn”, “Freestone”, “Acceptance”, “Admittance”, “Scholarship”, “Operative”, “Speculative” and “The Word”.
  • Critical connections, ideas and concepts that help you better Recognize, Understand and Apply this information toward Bettering yourself and supporting others toward this same end.
And, as usual, Insights and Light on the Challenges that all Brothers face in Cultivating a better Understanding of the Craft overall. Thought-provoking development questions and exercises designed to stir and support your Skills and Masonic Transformations. Invaluable fodder for Masonic Discourse between Brothers within the Lodge and without. Assorted Masonic Ciphers and other information intended to challenge, delight and support the concepts Masons need in their Work. And much more... Dr. Nagy provides you with yet another interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking guide to improve, strengthen and support your Masonic awareness and clarity. He shares key information and insights that will help you better understand how facets of Blue Lodge Ritual fit together to help you in all your present and future Building efforts.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BUILDING FREE MEN (Chapter IV): Accepting & Admitting Our Differences

Accepting & Admitting Our Differences
One of the most Unfortunate Aspects of the Craft is that what has been Lost is Nowhere Understood, is Wholly Misunderstood and is not even Missed.
Just as the meaning behind the word “Free” has been both misunderstood and misapplied within the Fraternity for over three centuries, the meaning behind the words, “Accepted” and “Admitted” have been erroneously communicated to all those so Initiated.
It wasn’t until I was in the Organization for several years that the phrase “first prepared in my heart to be made a Mason” began to catch my attention.  It was often misquoted by well-meaning Brothers who eagerly communicated that they were made a Mason in their heart first.  It caught my attention enough over the years to earn a permanent position in my ready to comment list.
It’s not that I personally don’t believe that men weren’t being Made Masons in their heart first and perhaps foremost.  It’s because I have a clear understanding what a Mason is for me.  My understanding was driven home as a result of some investigation into the background of the word, “Accepted”, that occurred recently.  What I found was both enlightening and disturbing.
Just as many others before me, I have been told repeatedly that the word “Accepted” refers only to the “Speculative” Brothers within the Craft.  This is based upon the mistaken belief that the Craft phrase, “Free and Accepted” referred to the “Operative and Speculative” members respectively.  Numerous writers over the last three hundred years have drawn this conclusion, trying to make sense of something that was not well understood. Reviewing available resources though shows that this interpretation is not the case and that such conjectures are both erroneous and wrong.
There are countless sources of Light on this matter of which I shall only mention four.  Brother Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry has been a favorite starting point for many of my Masonic Quests.  In this tome he is credited with writing under the heading, “Accepted”, the following:
Accepted. A term in Freemasonry which is synonymous with "initiated" or "received into the society… …The word accepted, however, as a synonym of initiated, has now become obsolete [underline added]."[1]
Furthermore, in other parts of his “Lexicon of Freemasonry” and “Encyclopedia of Freemasonry”, he is credited with the following entries:
“Make.To make Masons’ is a very ancient term, used in the oldest charges extant, as synonymous with the verb ‘initiate’.” [2]
“Make. ‘To make Masons’ is a very ancient term; used in the oldest charges extant as synonymous with the verb to initiate or receive into the Fraternity. It is found in the Landsdowne MS., whose date is 1560. ‘These be all the charges .... read at the making of a Mason.’” [3]
It’s clear from several sources that the words, “Accepted”, “Initiated”, “Received”, and “Entered” were at one time synonymous for non-members who were joining the Organization of Masons.  It is most unfortunate that this clarity was not available to many writers who concluded differently.
An example is provided by Brother Mackey:
 Accepted”: “The modern idea of an accepted Mason is that he is one distinguished from a purely operative or stone-mason, who has not been admitted to the freedom of the company; an idea evidently intended to be conveyed by the use of the word in the Charges of 1722, already quoted.”
However, when one examines the 1721 through 1723 General Regulations in total[4], it becomes apparent that the words, “Make, Made or Enter’d” in contrast with the word “Admitted” have entirely different meaning and direction.  Furthermore, none of them have anything to do with new members being distinguished from Operative members. 
Moreover, the word, “Made” was at one time synonymous with the words, “Enter’d”, “Accepted”, and “Initiated”.  The word, “Admitted” was applied strictly to those Brothers who have already been “Accepted”, as in, those members who have already “joined” the Society of Masons.  Hence, existing members of the Society, whether they were Apprentices, Fellows or Masters, who joined specific Society Lodges, were referred to as “Admitted” members. Those “Entering” the Society in general, as in, “becoming members of the Society”, were referred to as, “Enter’d”, “Made”, and “Initiated”, regardless of their intentions to learn or not learn the Operative aspects of the Craft once they join. 
Acceptance into the Society was not limited to Apprentices only.  Just as Apprentices, Journeyman (Fellow Craft) and Masters who were not members of the Society were also Accepted first into it and then Admitted into Lodges as members.
There are many Masonic historians and authors who have written similar supporting thoughts on the word, “Accepted” being applied only to the Speculative members Entering the Fraternity.  One such author was Edward Conder Junior.  In his book, “Records of the Hole Crafte and Fellowship of Masons” (1894), he continually uses the word, “Accepted” to refer to the Speculative members only.  In doing so, he misinterprets John Aubrey’s handwritten note[5] to mean there was a convention of Speculative Masons rather than a convention for newly Initiated Members. His misunderstanding of the words, “Accepted”, “Admitted” and “Admission” plagues his book and his conclusions.
Once you understand the intended original meanings and uses of the word, “Accepted” in contrast with the word, “Admitted”, you recognize that his conclusions are incorrect[6].   As many authors and historians have done before and after him, they assumed that “Free Masons” were Operative and “Accepted Masons” were Speculative.  This was not true then and is still not true now.
The Light provided to us by knowing that the words, “Made; Initiated; Received; Enter’d; Accepted” were at one time synonymous for “men joining the Society” opens up a whole different understanding of our Fraternity.  In specific, one of the much quoted Ancient Landmarks that is recognized and honored within many Jurisdictions becomes clearly understood.  This group of Landmarks was provided in writing to the Fraternity by Bro. Anderson around the time of the founding of the Grand Lodge Era; not all jurisdictions recognize them.  The Landmark in question though refers to the exclusive right or privilege of the Grand Master of any Recognized Grand Lodge “to make masons at sight[7], [8]. 
This Landmark is reasonable and understandable when one considers that a previous Landmark[9] provides for prerogatives that naturally dovetail into this one.  The Grand Master, by virtue of his position, has the authority to dictate when and where men can be Initiated by others, or using the ancient now obsolete meaning of the word, “made masons”.  This authority naturally extends to him, by virtue of being part of the Craft.
Finding Acceptance
Troubles arise though for members of the Craft who take the Words, “Made”, “Initiated”, and “Accepted”, out of context.  In the context of the original sourced, “to be made a mason” meant “to join the society and become a member”.  Such members are called “Accepted” masons as in “Initiated”.  
Taken out of context, “to be made a mason” leads members to believe that they are actual “Free Masons”. This action confuses unknowing Brothers.  There is a huge difference between being Initiated into the Society, thus becoming one of its members and being thought of or referred to as something other than a newly Enter’d Mason.  To be Made a Mason, does not mean that you are qualified to do Masonry, and more especially “Free Masonry”.  It merely means that you are only a newly Initiated member of the Society – An Accepted Mason! A Member.
Additionally, when you have done nothing further to Improve yourself in the Art and Science of Masonry[10], you’ve done nothing to transform yourself from a Good man to a Better man.  Moreover, referring to yourself as a “Free Mason[11]”, as it was originally meant centuries ago, and believing and acting as if you are anything other than an “Accepted” Mason, misleads yourself and all others who desire the Betterment that Free Masonry exemplifies. 
Points to Perpend
1)  What are your thoughts as to the difference between Accepted and Admitted Masons?
2)  How different is the current Craft understanding of the words focused upon herein from that of years past?
3)  What impact would Better Understanding these differences have upon present and future Brother Development?

(SOURCE: Building Free Men - Uncommonly Freeing Masonic Education)

[1] Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.
[2] Mackey’s Lexicon of Freemasonry
[3] Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.
[4]  Excerpts from General Regulations highlight the use of the words, Make, Made, Admitted, and Enter’d:
   IV. No Lodge shall make more than Five new Brethren at one Time, …
     V. No man can be made or admitted a Member of a particular Lodge, …
   VI. But no man can enter’d a Brother in any particular Lodge, or admitted to be a Member thereof, …
VIII. No set or Number of Brethren shall withdraw or separate themselves from the Lodge in which they  were made Brethren, or were afterwards admitted Members, …
XIII. At the said Quarterly Communication all Masters that concern the Fraternity in general, or particular Lodges, or single Brethren, are quietly, sedately and maturely to be discoursed and transacted; Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow-Craft only here, unless by a Dispensation. … Here also the Master or the Wardens of each particular Lodge shall bring and produce a List of such Members as have been made or even admitted in their particular Lodges since the last Communication of the Grand Lodge.
XXV. The Masters of Lodges shall each appoint one experienced and discreet Fellow-Craft of his Lodge, to compose a Committee, consisting of one from every Lodge, who shall meet to receive, in a convenient Apartment, every Person that brings a Ticket, and shall have Power to discourse him, if they think fit, in order to admit him or debar him, as they shall see cause; Provided they send no Man away before they have acquainted all the Brethren within Doors with the Reasons thereof, to avoid Mistakes, that so no true Brother may be debarr'd, nor a false Brother, or more Pretender, admitted. This Committee must meet very early on St. John's Day at the Place, even before any Person come with  Tickets.
[5] John Aubrey, the author of The Natural History of Wiltshire, next claims our attention, chiefly from the fact that he is one of the few authorities quoted when an endeavour is made to prove that Sir Christopher Wren was a member of the Fraternity.   In the Bodleian Library, Oxford, there is the MS. of Aubrey's History, dated 1686, and on the reverse of folio 72 of this MS. is the following note in Aubrey's handwriting :—
“1691   Mdm this day [May the i8th being Monday after Rogation Sunday] is a great convention at St. Pauls Church of the fraternity, of the free  Accepted Masons; where Sir Christopher Wren is to be adopted a Brother: and Sir Henry Goodric . . . of ye Tower and divers [diverse] others. – There have been kings that have been of this Sodalitie*.”
   In this case Aubrey has himself erased the word free, and substituted accepted, to denote the Speculative Masons.
* Author’s Note: a sodality is a form of the "Universal Church" expressed in specialized, task-oriented form.
[6] At this date, and extending from the early days of architectural development, there was a peculiar esoteric division in the communities of masons, which at times admitted persons, in no way operatively connected with their craft, into fellowship with them when they met for the purposes of speculative masonry, and these persons who were so admitted were termed Accepted Masons, perhaps at first to distinguish them from the Operative or Free-Mason.
But as time went on the two words became synonymous, and at length were used conjointly to distinguish the strictly speculative from the operative masons.
Having obtained this evidence as to the value and intention of the words "Accepted Mason," it will now be my purpose to show in what way the London Company of Masons was connected with the Society of Free and Accepted or Speculative Masons.
[7] Anderson’s Ancient Landmarks; #8. The prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons at sight.
[8] Please note that this does not say, “make a freemason at sight”, which makes sense since he is making an “Accepted Mason” not a “Free Mason”.
[9] Anderson’s Ancient Landmarks; #4. The government of the fraternity by a presiding officer called a Grand Master, who is elected from the body of tile craft.; #5. The prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the craft, wheresoever and whensoever held.; #6. The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensations for conferring degrees at irregular times.; #7.  The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensation for opening and holding lodges.
[10] other than memorizing things that you do not understand with no intention to understand
[11] Literally, “Masterful Builder”