The Misuse/Use of “Hazing” in Masonic Ritual
I attended a Masonic conference where the use of what some Masonic presenters termed “hazing” was illustrated from European rituals and from the Masonic rituals of old manuscripts. There was a question as to what the reason was for having activities resembling “hazing” in Masonic ritual, and why were they so prevalent in the past, and still more popular outside the USA? These Masonic presenters, who are the top Masonic scholars in American Masonry (I shall not name them, as they were simply doing their job as good scholars: speculating on things, that is), seemed themselves puzzled over the inclusion of the “hazing” elements of the ritual. They spoke at length about how these kinds of activities had been abused in the past, how certain Masons had not the good sense to exercise their restraint and good judgement when performing these parts of the ritual.
That is true: Masons have certainly committed a host of terrible blunders. Masons in the past who did not understand these components of the ritual, or perhaps felt mean-spirited, turned such elements of our beautiful and meticulously designed Masonic ritual into just that—hazing. Those sorts of practices absolutely must go, and they have caused much confusion surrounding these aspects of the ritual. Hazing has no place in Masonic ritual, and the term itself should be extirpated from the lexicon of Freemasonry.
Back where I used to live, where I entered into Freemasonry, there was such a clamor over the use of the Chamber of Reflec