Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880-1930 by Lynn Dumenil

By Lynn Dumenil

Because the usa moved from Victorian values to these of recent consumerism, the non secular component to Freemasonry used to be more and more displaced by way of a mundane ideology of provider (like that of industrial clubs), and the Freemasons' psychology of asylum from the aggressive international gave method to the purpose of excellent fellowship" inside of it. This research not just illuminates this approach yet clarifies the overlooked subject of fraternal orders and enriches our realizing of key elements of yankee cultural switch.

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6 The desire to make the ceremony more impressive was a crucial factor in the innovations, but frequent references to how much costumes and other elaborations revived interest and improved attendance suggests more mundane purposes operating in ritual modification. In 1896, a full-page ad by the M. C. Lilley Company in the Masonic Chronicle outlined the connection between costumes and lodge prosperity: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE WORK OF THE LODGE DONE IN APPROPRIATE ROBES? If you have seen it you know how much the use of Robes beautifies the work.

Its sur­ vival becomes an end in itself. Goal displacement is expressed by increased bureaucratization, formalization, and conserva­ tism. This process was evident in nineteenth-century Masonry. Temple- and home-building projects, for example, were un­ dertaken as much to establish monuments to Masonry as to house lodges and provide charity. In this period, moreover, Grand Lodges were extending their power over local lodges, demanding uniformity in ritual, work, and adherence to laws and regulations.

Organizations are usually estab­ lished to accomplish certain goals or provide specific services. Frequendy, however, the association becomes sidetracked, either because the original goal was accomplished or because the problems changed. In addition, it appears that through time, a major concern of voluntary-association officials becomes the aggrandizement and perpetuation of the organization. Its sur­ vival becomes an end in itself. Goal displacement is expressed by increased bureaucratization, formalization, and conserva­ tism.

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