Every now and then we receive a request from a Master Mason for information about affiliating with the lodge as a dual or plural member. (Dual members hold membership in an out-of-state lodge. Plural members hold membership in another Ohio lodge.)
These brethren are motivated by their perception of the lodge as being one that can add to their masonic experience in positive ways. Sometimes (but not very often) these perceptions are inaccurate, i.e., that "we do no business in meetings," that "we are an 'education lodge'," that "we use a different ritual" or incorporate ritual components "not allowed in other lodges."
Arts & Sciences Lodge is chartered by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio, and cheerfully complies with the Code for the Government of Lodges, the edicts and decisions of the Grand Master, and all other requirements of masonic lodges generally. All ritual work we do is in compliance with the ritual. If we do something differently than your own lodge, it is because we have studied the ritual and are either following its requirements or learned that flexibility is permitted in a particular area.
We are not an "education lodge" in the way that phrase is commonly understood. An "education lodge," I have been been confidently informed on more than one occasion, are those in which the LEO presents some paper at every meeting. Sometimes painfully so. Often as an afterthought.
So what is our lodge, exactly?
The question is answered in our vision statement: "As a lodge we are but one among equals. We carry the same charter, work the same ritual, practice the same principles. We strive for excellence in all we do." It is that last sentence where we try to focus our efforts.
In terms of education, this means we explore masonic education through disucssion so that we may each improve in the practice of applied masonry.
Our idea is that masonry left at the lodge hall is no masonry at all, and that masons, like all men, really only learn by doing. While listening is important, and can be entertaining, it is not ultimately enough. God gave us a brain, and the use of human intellect is the only means by which the human race has ever advanced.
Master Masons wishing to affiliate with Arts & Sciences Lodge will, therefore, not find their experience useful if they come merely to listen. Everyone is a student, but all must likewise be teachers. As our vision statement says, "An essential requirement for membership is the cultivation of a curious and receptive mind."
We go over all of this with our petitioners and candidates as they proceed though the School for the Profane and the Lodges of Instruction for Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts, and Master Masons. We want affiliating Master Masons to have these tools as well, and the following is suggested as a basic reading list. These should be read before submitting an application for membership, after which an affiliating Master Mason should coordinate with the Lodge Education Officer to attend the Lodge of Instruction for Master Masons.
Statement of Principles
What a Lodge Can Truly Be - Part 1
What a Lodge Can Truly Be - Part 2
Introduction to Freemasonry