On Sponsorship

by Sabazius

1 November 2000 e.v.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Every man and woman that is of full age, free, and of good report, has an indefeasible right to the III°
—Liber LII.

The above quote appears to ensure universal access to the Man of Earth degrees of our Order, but on closer examination, it includes a number of conditions. Men and women are not “free” if they are incapable of travelling to one of our Lodges to be initiated, or if they are incapable of voluntarily taking and keeping a binding oath to the Order. Men and women are not “of full age” if they are too young to participate in our Mysteries with the full legal rights of a citizen of their country. Men and woman are not “of good report” if the Order has determined that they are of “bad report,” or if they cannot find two members in good standing willing to vouch for them.

Your sponsorship is your solemn attestation of an individual’s good report. Therefore, before you sign your name in sponsorship of a candidate, it is your duty and responsibility to verify with the Master of your Oasis that Grand Lodge has not recorded the candidate as being of bad report. But further, as you may have read in Liber CI (Twelfth House), “it is incumbent upon the honour of every Brother not to abuse [the privileges of membership], and the sponsors of any Brother who does so, as well as he himself, will be held strictly to account by the Grand Tribunal.” Members who sponsor a candidate who then abuses the privileges of membership are partly answerable for his transgressions, and they partake of his dishonor. The Grand Tribunal can suspend, or even revoke, any member’s privileges of sponsorship if it determines that these privileges have been used recklessly. Therefore, it is your additional responsibility as sponsor to familiarize yourself with the background, character, sense of honor, and mental and emotional stability of the candidates you sponsor. Do not allow sympathy, personal affection, pressure from others, or idealism to cloud your judgment.

When sponsoring candidates for full membership in our Order, who are to become Men and Brothers, or Women and Sisters, consider whether they are truly worthy of your fraternal trust, and the fraternal trust of all your sworn Brothers and Sisters in the Order. Consider whether they are worthy to be admitted into our homes, our temples, and our lives; for once they are sworn to us, we are all sworn to them.

When sponsoring candidates for higher degrees, consider whether they have taken their oaths and obligations seriously. Consider also whether they have comported themselves as befitting true Brothers and Sisters of their degree. If they have not yet learned the lessons of their own degree, how shall they learn the lessons of higher degrees?

The candidate for Minerval, on the other hand, is a stranger, who is to become our welcome guest. It would be dereliction of our First Duty to admit a known thief or murderer or psychopath unquestioned and unguarded into our Camp; but it would be contrary to the law of hospitality to refuse a guest because we do not know him well enough to determine whether he will become a worthy Brother. The Grand Tribunal will be more lenient with the sponsors of a Minerval who violates the privileges of membership than with the sponsors of a Man and Brother who does the same, because the privileges of Minerval membership are not as extensive as those of full membership. Therefore, as a prospective sponsor, you should verify with the Master of your Oasis that your Minerval candidates have never been expelled from the Order or placed on bad report. You should carefully review their completed application forms, and you should communicate with them and do your best to assess their general character and mental stability; but the standards applied need not be so strict as those applicable to candidates for higher degrees.

The duties of sponsorship, however, do not end with the placement of your signature on an application form. As a sponsor in our Order, you are not placed in the position of superior, or spiritual teacher, as is done in certain other societies. Nevertheless, your honor within the Order will be magnified or diminished according to the quality of the deeds of those you sponsor within their degree. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you as a sponsor to assist the initiates you sponsor in learning the catechisms and oaths of their degrees, to see that they are provided with Grand Lodge’s latest study materials, to encourage them to participate in the activities of their Local Body, and to educate them – by example – in the Way of Fraternity.

Love is the law, love under will.