J. Sumulong Mem. No. 169
Mandaluyong City No. 277
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WHITE OR BLACK BALL
by VW Greg Mendoza, Researcher/Compiler
An excerpt from "Reflection on Masonic Values" by VW Mabini G. Hernandez, PDDGM
Posted on July 2006, Issue No. 5 of RIVER DELTA
Every time before we ballot a candidate for admission into the Fraternity, we hear the following charge from the Worshipful Master to wit:
"One of your important privileges as a Mason is that of accepting or rejecting all who may apply for the degree or for membership. I wish to impress upon your mind the immense power for good or evil with which are entrusted. The white ball, secretly cast by you, signifies your approbation of any candidate who may apply, while the black one, when cast by you, signifies that the candidate is unworthy for some reasons known to you and will have the same effect as through each member of this Lodge were to cast one of them. Hence, how important it is that you should be extremely careful in depositing your ballot, always remembering that white balls elect and black reject. The ballot, my brother, is inviolably secret, and you are cautioned that to discus or make known your ballot is one of the greatest of Masonic offences. The ballot is never the proper place to exhibit petty spite toward any individual within or without the lodge, and the ceremony attending the casting of a ballot is equivalent to a sacred promise to cast it in accordance with your obligation." (Edict No. 83, August 24, 1984, Puno)
Whenever present, it is a Master Mason's duty, obligation and responsibility to cast his ballots on the basis of: (1) the recommendation of the Investigating Committee; (2) personal circumstances of petitioner as read; (3) a brother's personal knowledge of petitioner's merits, character, background, nature of his work, past records, deficiencies, and unworthiness; and (4) information received and verified as to petitioner's failure to meet the needed requirements.
A brother's ballot, white or black, has to be respected and honored. Respected for it is a brother's personal choice. Honored because it reflects his wisdom. Whether a white ball or a black ball, however, care has to be observed and exercised. With either, we accept or reject a worthy or unworthy petitioner.
We have to prevent the advent of circumstances, when a petitioner who is unworthy, is admitted due to "palakasan" (pull/influence), or rejected because petitioner was vouched by a brother or clique who does not see eye to eye with another. It is condemnable and unmasonic to deprive a petitioner who is worthy of membership simply because of the undoings or misdoings of brothers who vouched for the said petitioner.
A white ball cast in favor of a deserving and worthy petitioner enriches, while a black ball protects and saves the lodge and the fraternity from an unworthy one. But ballots decided on the basis of whims, caprices, prejudices, jests, or vindictiveness leads to and indicates sterility of the mind and heart.
As a brother stands under the due guard and sign of a master mason before the open Volume of the Sacred Laws, the square and compass on the Altar, to drop his ballot for or against the admission of a petitioner, the brother must remember that in his fingertips is the future of a prospective brother or an unwanted man. While we take extra care in dropping a white ball, we should observe caution that a personal history of petitioner.
Let us observe and obey the admonition and injunction of the Worshipful Master:
"Remember that white balls elect and black balls reject. Be careful how you vote".
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