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(1) Halls or meeting places of local branches of Masons and other secret socs.; (2) groups of persons composing such branches; (3) fraternal orders or secret socs.

Modern lodges have no hist. connection with secret socs. of ancient times or of primitive, savage tribes. They are gen. patterned after Freemasonry.*

Common to all fraternal orders properly designated as lodges: (1) ritual: dialog, pantomime, and play acting to illustrate importance and teachings of the order; (2) ritualistic initiation, almost always religious or semireligious, and usually including 1 or more of the following: prayers, Scripture readings, lessons inculcating some moral principle, an altar, chaplain, and oaths in which God is invoked as witness; (3) aims: moral and spiritual advancement and mutual aid, the latter sometimes in sick benefits and death benefits. Many lodges use a burial ritual in which the hope of a blessed hereafter is offered on basis of good moral ideals and conduct.

Am. has been a fertile field for lodges; several thousand were organized in the eighties and nineties of the 19th c., each with its own ritual and most with some insurance feature. Many lodges ignored mortality tables, defaulted on payments, and passed out of existence; losses ran into billions of dollars.

Ritualistic features of men's lodges are losing drawing power because of a soc. tendency toward ready-made entertainment and emphasis on family activities. Women's organizations still tend strongly toward ceremony and ritualism. Some local lodges have instituted memberships without initiation, but this is discouraged by the governing bodies and often forbidden by lodge statute.

To provide information, literature, and advice concerning fraternal organizations, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod maintains a Commission on Fraternal Organizations and has engaged the services of a full-time ex. secy. Objectives of the Commission include meeting and negotiating with officials of fraternal organizations in hope of having removed from their rituals and philos. all things that are contrary to the Gospel or that require compromise of Christian convictions. The Commission also is working in the field of audio-visual aids and issues releases on fraternal organizations. TG, PHL

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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