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Tell me about the Tyler.

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posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 04:21 PM
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A topic came up last week that got me thinking about the Tyler. "Protecting the lodge from eavesdroppers and cowans", as I've read in the past is pretty lean. I take it that this position is the first line of defense to keeping what goes on in lodge secret. I have questions though.

How did this position begin? How has it changed over the years?

How is a person chosen for this? What is the term?

What falls under the purview of the Tyler?

If this person is posted outside of the lodge, how does the member participate in the lodge?

Is there any ceremony that the Tyler participates in?

I'll have more later but this is a beginning.




posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:46 PM
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Disclaimer: I am not a Mason, and therefore can not say for certainty the info is correct, but I've checked it against various other probably credible sources and it seems to match up.



Originally posted by intrepid.

How did this position begin? How has it changed over the years?

Tylers probably came from the old ways of StoneMasons. It used to be the apprentices would guard the outside of the places where the masters were performing trade discussions.

Historically, Tylers were the "Garders" or "Doorkeepers" of lodge meetings. Back at the beginning, they pretty much got the lodge in order.
This constituted drawing the Lodge ( this was replaced by Tracing Boards later.) sending out summons to members about meetings, keeping lists of members of the Lodge. and he'd have been in charge of handing out the lodge regalia.
They would also be the ones who tiled the lodge, probably where the name came from.

Over the years, changes like tracing boards, phones, email, and the like have kinda of lessened the duties of the Tyler.
From what I understand, they still provide refreshments, keep the Lodge in order, and keep the outsiders out.




How is a person chosen for this? What is the term?



"BRO.TYLERS should always be chosen from those who have the greatest knowledge and hold the highest rank,"

-Taken from a French Article from 1828

It used to be that Tylers could be an entered Apprentice, and not necessarily have to belong to any Lodge. However, that changed after the Premier Grand Lodge in London formed, where it was decided they would need to be a Master Mason.
Generally they are appointed by the Worshipful Master or elected by the Lodge members.



What falls under the purview of the Tyler?


The Tyler makes sure the Masons attending the Lodge Meeting are clean, greets them upon entering, provides food and drinks, and takes care of the upkeep of the Lodge's Furniture.



If this person is posted outside of the lodge, how does the member participate in the lodge?


Dunno for sure. Tylers can be members of other Lodges, however, so they may be Tyler of one Lodge, and Attend Meetings at another.



Is there any ceremony that the Tyler participates in?


Not any I was able to find reference to. Best I can offer you here is the Tyler's Oath.
www.themasonictrowel.com...


Think I got some of that right, anyway.

This was one article I particularly found informative: www.masonicsites.org...



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 06:00 PM
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First I think this is going to vary depending on the lodge and the level of formality. I'd say my lodge is about medium in terms of size and the level of formality we observe (some members wear tuxes and others wear jeans/tshirts).

On the question of the origins of the position its a good question. I think masonic lore would tell us that its born from the time when masons had to meet in valleys and someone had to look out to make sure no one was coming. Totally off the top of my head though. I have no idea about that one.

How is a person chosen for this? What is the term?

In the case of my lodge its done on the basis of whoever wants it - usually a PM or older member who doesn't necessarily need/want to see everything going on in the lodge. The Tyler office is held for year, and is sworn in with the rest of the officers.

What falls under the purview of the Tyler?

Basically monitoring the rest of the lodge building when everyone else is inside the lodge room. I'm not sure how seriously ours take this, as when I have left lodge in the middle of a meeting before I often found them smoking outside the building or reading the newspaper (some security
)

They also act as a way to formally introduce late brethren, opening the door and announcing them and asking the WM for permission to let them in after lodge is open. Finally, the notify the lodge whenever a candidate is in waiting.

If this person is posted outside of the lodge, how does the member participate in the lodge?

Occasionally, and this seems to be up to the Tyler themselves in the case of my lodge, we just open the door where the tyler is supposed to be after we formally open the lodge. He just pulls up a chair to the door and sits in the doorway holding the sword to the side, unless we have candidates in waiting - then we always keep the door shut.

Is there any ceremony that the Tyler participates in?

If there is a ballot, the Tyler participates. Someone is selected to be the Tyler after they vote and stand outside the door while the Tyler votes. We also have a closing ceremony benediction after the formal closing of the lodge, where the Tyler is invited in. At that point the lodge is officially closed, though.

Frankly the role is largely ceremonial. Anyone who was determined to get in would be able to without a problem. In fact last year we had a very friendly older gentlemen who was very dedicated to the lodge and acted as Tyler in a wheel chair. Unfortunately for the lodge, he has passed on to the grand lodge above, but he was a good Tyler while he was still with us!


[edit on 3-10-2008 by LowLevelMason]



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 07:43 PM
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Hi Intrepid


Originally posted by intrepid
A topic came up last week that got me thinking about the Tyler. "Protecting the lodge from eavesdroppers and cowans", as I've read in the past is pretty lean. I take it that this position is the first line of defense to keeping what goes on in lodge secret. I have questions though.


Sure. And you've had some good answers already, but let me add an English perspective.


How did this position begin? How has it changed over the years?

Runespider has given such a good answer there's little I can add, except to say that, in line with many masonic positions the duties have become ceremonialized* over the years. It does vary from lodge to lodge though.


How is a person chosen for this? What is the term?

In England you will find "professional" Tylers - they may tyle for 10 or more lodges (as well as side orders) and tend to either be paid or get a free meal at the least.

However these days it is becoming harder and harder to find someone to sit outside the door of the lodge for up to two hours with relatively little interaction. Some brothers actually like to do this, but in my lodge for example when the Tyler retired it became a "progressive" office falling immediately after the IPM. At least that's fair and spreads the load.


What falls under the purview of the Tyler?

In practical terms ensuring the lodge is set up properly before the meeting and that everything is put away again afterwards. Preparing the candidates is a key function - get this wrong and the ceremony's in big trouble. Checking to make sure only masons are admitted is the traditional and probably most important role.

And of course someone has to feed and look after the goat.


If this person is posted outside of the lodge, how does the member participate in the lodge?

The Tyler himself does play a key part in all ceremonies, but it is true that long expanses of time are spent twiddling the thumbs. The door at my lodge has a small window but you could only see half the action and couldn't see the Master at all. Its a real bummer when they all start laughing and you can't tell why



Is there any ceremony that the Tyler participates in?

As above, all of them. In addition sometimes the Tyler has an enhanced role at the Closing, and then of course there's the Tyler's Toast, delivered at the close of the Festive Board. The words vary slightly from lodge to lodge, but here's the one I learned for your interest:

"To all poor and distressed freemasons, wheresoe'er dispersed o'er the face of earth and water. Wishing them a speedy relief from all their wants and a safe return to their native land if they so desire it."


I'll have more later but this is a beginning.

Get your hands on a copy of Bernard Jones "Freemason's Guide and Compendium". It has a huge amount of information about freemasonry and will tell you quite a bit about the Tyler and the history of the role.

(* is that really a word? I've been living in the US too long
)



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:03 PM
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Does the Tyler still carry a sword, Trinityman? If so, does he get to take it home?



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:09 PM
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Sometimes I ponder how different the US ceremonies are from the UK. While the Tyler does actually play a role in all of the ceremonies to some extent, its very minor in our case (knocking on the door in opening/closing, minor enough it didn't occur to me to mention it). Ours helps prepare the candidates too, but always has help from the stewards and senior deacon.

He does get that sword though..however its a bit old, I'm not sure it would do much damage unless you just hit someone on the head with it because its so heavy.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:32 PM
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I used to attend a lodge in the Dallas area where the Tyler's job was critical. Lots of cops were members, and since you cannot bring a weapon into the lodge, they all took off their shootin irons in a foyer. The tyler had to watch all their guns to make sure no one stole their piece while the lodge was meeting!

Tyler probably comes from Medieval french, "Taille" which means to cut; i.e., guy with a sword.

I have been to several lodges located in the heart of larger American cities, in what was once the business district but has since become a crime-ridden no man's land. In places like that, the task of tyler is becoming really about security again.

In my small town lodge the tyler is also a handyman, and custodian of the building, so he's there a lot. He is one of the most senior members, having been there for decades. Rotating the job between himself and several other old veterans. Generally, he is only outside during the secret parts of the lodge meeting. Once it degenerates to the business meeting, he usually opens the outer door so he can listen in to procedings.

Our lodge ceremony actually has a place for this, as one of the things done at the close of the meetings is that the Master sends a messenger to see that the door is properly guarded---which is how the meeting started anyway. Once the door is closed again, the closing ceremonies may commence.

The tyler is also charged with sorting out "cowans and eavesdroppers." He is the first person you'd be directed to, if you present yourself as a mason wanting to visit a lodge. There are others of course, but your request to be admitted as a brother usually starts there. He also often has a spare apron, in case your forgot . . . . his job is to see that all masons are properly attired.

But his job is also to detect outsiders wanting to impersonate masons. We had a fair amount of this, usually thrillseekers or antimasons with a hidden camera, etc.

As a side note, our handyman tyler put in a new floor in the lodge room, and got really sick of jokes about our "tile-er."

all the best.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:33 PM
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our tyler is a past master and he has been the tyler for the last two years. His main reason for doing this as far as I can see is so that when we take up the collection for the childrens home, he can scurry outside and act as if he has no idea what is going on. He is a nice old guy, and we kind of joke about cornering him before he gets a chance to evade. His sword is an old civil war replica. Not sharp and as said before, probably better to hit with than stab. More symbolic than protective in my opinion.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:37 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
But his job is also to detect outsiders wanting to impersonate masons. We had a fair amount of this, usually thrillseekers or antimasons with a hidden camera, etc.


Can you say more about this? I find it fascinating that it would be something that occurred that much. Were they faking dues cards? Usually the lack of a dues card stops most of those types...which they could of course fake, but most don't care enough to bother. Or so I thought.

And.. a hidden camera? Really? Good thing they didn't get in, they would have known what a waste of money that was



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 08:46 PM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft


As a side note, our handyman tyler put in a new floor in the lodge room, and got really sick of jokes about our "tile-er."

all the best.


nice. We have a guy in our lodge who lays tile. I will nominate him for the Tylers position based on this information in the insuing year.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 09:07 PM
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Originally posted by Cadbury
Does the Tyler still carry a sword, Trinityman? If so, does he get to take it home?


Absolutely. I had a nice big curved scimitar-type thingy. About a sharp as a blunt banana unfortunately, but I could still do some damage to a cowan if I approached him from behind with a bit of a run up.
Never got to take it home though


Unusually, our Inner Guard has a sword as well, more of a rapier but definately more dangerous as Signs in all degrees are given with the sword in the right hand. Once the IG actually flicked his specs right across the lodge room as he was Signing. Could have had his eye out, but the correct masonic response of course was for the entire meeting to dissolve in uncontrollable laughter.

Masons



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by LowLevelMason

Can you say more about this? I find it fascinating that it would be something that occurred that much. Were they faking dues cards? Usually the lack of a dues card stops most of those types...which they could of course fake, but most don't care enough to bother. Or so I thought.



I have never carried a dues card, since I have worked for antimasons. The financial community is biased against masons because of conspiracy theories about how they own the world. I also don't wear jewelry or have decals on my car. call me old school.

I can remember seeing two incedents, and hearing of a 3rd. Young men who'd read what the "ritual exposed!" stuff on some antimason website. They memorized "the oath" off the back of some lodge monitor, and thought they'd get a free pass to the country club.

Of course the "real" passwords/codes are not the ones published on websites. each time, the cowans burst into tears and started begging for mercy when someone asked them to set the lodge furniture for given ceremony, and of course they had no clue, not being masons.

Probably didn't help that some of the guys in the outer room were saying things like "tie them up, and we'll bring in the goat! Bwa ha ha ha."

The guy with the camera was a college student doing a film project, I heard. He was wearing a really ugly jacket with a button camera. Somebody made a JOKE about frisking the guy, because he looked like a reporter. He instantly fessed up, and started begging for mercy.

All that was ever done is the cops were called. I've never heard of a lodge pressing charges. I think the worshipful master may have called the university where the young spielberg was from, and registered a complaint. But that's it. no fallout. The ones I was involved in, the WM would not even let us threaten to have their bank accounts frozen and and their grades changed at school before we fed them to the reptilians.

For some reason, they always expect masons to slice them up with the tyler's sword. Not that anyone ever had threatened such. I mean, ours looked like excalibur, but was about as sharp as my gramma's walking stick. Of course, the dude holding it is mad as hell at you for lying, and has a little blue felt necklace with a little golden sword dangling from it, and a very fancy apron. whith a hundred angry men behind him.

But hey, its the masons who are liars and deceivers, right?

.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 10:12 PM
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My answers essentially match those above. In our neck of the woods, the Tyler is an appointed position, lasting one year, appointed by the newly elected Worshipful Master. He's responsible for the setting-up of the lodge room prior to the meetings, but in our case doesn't do candidate prep. (That falls under the purvey of the Master of Ceremonies who guards the inner door.) And when a ballot is being cast on a candidate, after all the other members have voted, the Junior Deacon relieves the Tyler and he is informed of the matter at hand and allowed his vote. He isn't responsible for food or refreshment (that goes to the Junior and Senior Stewards).

Actually, if nobody minds, I'd like to list the offices of my lodge, and see how it compares with other areas. (I know Pennsylvania uses Pursuivants, for instance...)

In my lodge the breakdown is essentially as follows:


  • Worshipful Master (annually elected)
  • Senior Warden (annually elected)
  • Junior Warden (annually elected)
  • Senior Deacon (annually appointed by the WM, usually last year's JD)
  • Junior Deacon (annually appointed by the WM)
  • Senior Steward (annually appointed by the WM, usually last year's JS)
  • Junior Steward (annually appointed by the WM)
  • Marshal (annually appointed by the WM)
  • Master of Ceremonies (annually appointed by the WM)
  • Treasurer (annually elected, usually a long-term job)
  • Secretary (annually elected, usually a long-term job)
  • Chaplain (annually appointed by the WM)
  • Tiler (annually appointed by the WM)

Some lodges apparently have Organists or other musical accompaniment, (there's an old gent in my Scottish Rite lodge that does old standards on piano before meetings, and accompanies us on a verse & chorus of "God Bless America"), and as a Grand Lodge title, there's an official Photographer.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 10:17 PM
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reply to post by dr_strangecraft
 


Wow, thanks for the response. I must say you go to a far more interesting lodge than any I've been to! The tyler in yours has much more fun!

I've seen anti-masons try to get in before, but its only been maybe two times over the years...and they couldn't get past "whats your lodge name and number" before even asking for a dues card. Both actually ran out of the lodge, like we were going to attack them or something.

And yes, you are old fashioned
I've seen some brethren that go..shall we say...all out out their masonic fashion items. Rings, necklaces, bumper stickers, belt buckles, ties. I'm not quite into wearing everything masonic, but I do have a ring and pin. I don't think anyone has ever noticed either except a handful of times.

One slightly off topic question - why no dues card? You could just put it in the back of your wallet, then no one would see it when you took your wallet out unless you wanted them to. Seems like it would make it easier for you when you go visit other lodges, especially since I thought most grand lodges required it to ensure the visiting member was paid up on dues and wasn't expelled for non-payment and thus could not be visiting.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 11:56 PM
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I frequently end up paying for lunch, and have to use an access card at work. People are frequently quite rude and will ask about ANYTHING they happen to see. And honestly, some of them would like to report to higher ups that you are ACLU, NRA, Masonic, a condom user, whatever. It can be insanely competitive.

I have one in my car glove box. (grand lodge card, not a condom). I used to travel a lot by car, and would take photos of any lodge buildings or architecture I passed; which in middle america is quite a bit.

I am so old school that I think that no one should accept lodge cards. If I'm a mason, then my word is my bond. If I say I'm paid up, you can bank on it brother. And if I've just been mugged, you will still know I'm a mason because I can tell you what makes me one.

In my opinion, a dues card is carries no more weight than masonic jewelry or decals (which are popular with certain ethnic groups as decorative art). There are old farts with a lodge card that don't know east from west, and could not open a lodge in any form. Are they REALLY masons? Am I, without a coin in my pocket, or a card in my hand?

It's not the card or the bling that makes me a mason.

.



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 12:06 AM
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[edit post to remove factual errrors by dr. S. sorry about that; I strive for accuracy]

[edit on 4-10-2008 by dr_strangecraft]



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 12:08 PM
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Originally posted by JoshNorton
In our neck of the woods, the Tyler is an appointed position, lasting one year, appointed by the newly elected Worshipful Master.


Same up here.


He's responsible for the setting-up of the lodge room prior to the meetings, but in our case doesn't do candidate prep.


Our Tyler's do not set up the lodge, this usually falls to whoever shows up first.

Candidate preperation is performed by the Masters of Ceremonies.


And when a ballot is being cast on a candidate, after all the other members have voted, the Junior Deacon relieves the Tyler and he is informed of the matter at hand and allowed his vote. He isn't responsible for food or refreshment (that goes to the Junior and Senior Stewards).


Same here but our Stewards only help with clean-up of the kitchen, we actually have a dedicated staff of Brothers who prepare our collations.


Actually, if nobody minds, I'd like to list the offices of my lodge, and see how it compares with other areas...



  • Worshipful Master (annually elected)
  • Senior Warden (annually elected)
  • Junior Warden (annually elected)
  • Senior Deacon (annually appointed by the WM, last year's JD)
  • Junior Deacon (annually appointed by the WM, last year's SMC)
  • Senior Steward (annually appointed by the WM, last year's JS)
  • Junior Steward (annually appointed by the WM, last year's Marshal)
  • Marshal (annually appointed by the WM, last year's Chaplain)
  • Senior Master of Master of Ceremonies (annually appointed by the WM, last years JMC)
  • Junior Master of Ceremonies (annually appointed by the WM, last year's SS)
  • Treasurer (annually elected, usually a long-term job)
  • Secretary (annually elected, usually a long-term job)
  • Chaplain (annually appointed by the WM, first position you are typically appointed to in your embarkation through the 'chairs')
  • Tyler (annually appointed by the WM)
  • Historian (annually appointed by the WM and typically held by a PM as a long term position)
  • Organist (annually appointed, usually long-term job)


Our Tyler is a Past Master who is Tyler for three other lodges as well. He receives a stipend of $25 from each lodge and also enjoys a hot meal 4 nights a week. Our Tyler, Stanley, is so old we joke he raised King Solomon, but he knows everyone and there is no way a non-Mason is getting past him and his tetanus riddled sword.



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 04:15 PM
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Here in MA, pretty much the same as above with a few exceptions;

* Worshipful Master (annually elected)
* Senior Warden (annually elected)
* Junior Warden (annually elected)
* Senior Deacon (annually appointed by the WM, last year's JD)
* Junior Deacon (annually appointed by the WM, last year's SW)
* Senior Steward (annually appointed by the WM, last year's JS)
* Junior Steward (annually appointed by the WM, last year's IS)
* Inside Sentinel (annually appointed by the WM)
* Marshal (annually appointed by the WM, last year's Master)
* Ritualist (annually appointed by the WM)
* Treasurer (annually elected, usually a long-term job)
* Secretary (annually elected, usually a long-term job)
* Chaplain (annually appointed by the WM)
* Tyler (annually appointed by the WM)
* Organist (annually appointed, usually long-term job)

That's our breakdown



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 12:02 PM
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The tyler in the lodge i used to attend would go into the bar and watch the football or soccer as you may call it in the states. He was always late when needed and you could hear him running to do his job
It always brought a smile from the attending members but some of the Provincial members would frown upon it.



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by JoshNorton
Actually, if nobody minds, I'd like to list the offices of my lodge, and see how it compares with other areas. (I know Pennsylvania uses Pursuivants, for instance...)


Things are a little different in England. In order of precedence:


  • The Master
  • Senior Warden
  • Junior Warden
  • Immediate Past Master**
  • Chaplain*
  • Treasurer*
  • Secretary*
  • Director of Ceremonies*
  • Almoner*
  • Charity Steward*
  • Senior Deacon
  • Junior Deacon
  • Assistant Director of Ceremonies*
  • Organist*
  • Assistant Secretary
  • Inner Guard
  • Tyler*

    * These offices are typically taken by Past Masters and as such are not part of the progression towards the East

    ** The IPM is technically not an Officer of the Lodge, but still holds precedence in that de facto position




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