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How do i become a Mason??

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posted on Jul, 31 2005 @ 02:41 AM
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When I first became interested in Freemasonry, I called the lodge and asked them if I could come over one day to meet some of the brothers and ask some questions. They invited me over for their stated dinner. This was my first opportunity to ask questions, and I did. I also left the lodge that night with a petition.

For the interview, I had both brothers come to my home. We could've done the interview anywhere, but I am very proud of my little condo so I didn't mind them coming over and seeing how I live. From the very beginning, I wanted my future brothers to know me well so as to feel comfortable accepting me as a brother.




posted on Jul, 31 2005 @ 05:20 AM
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Originally posted by JustMe74

Originally posted by No1tovote4
Smaller Lodges usually will charge more so that they can meet their expenses such as rent and phone, etc.


That's interesting. I'm not sure if my lodge would be considered "large" or "small". In this area (Cincinnati area) we have literally dozens of lodges in the surrounding areas (southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana). This particular lodge has about 170 members.


Our Lodge is actually the largest in the area, however 170 members would actually be considered quite small, IMO. When approximately 10% (and that is being genorous) are active (in blue lodge) members.



posted on Jul, 31 2005 @ 02:02 PM
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Originally posted by No1tovote4
Our Lodge is actually the largest in the area, however 170 members would actually be considered quite small, IMO. When approximately 10% (and that is being genorous) are active (in blue lodge) members.


I think that when it comes to a lodge's active members, 10% of all members is probably the average in American lodges. That is why I like Traditional Observance lodges, they make consistent attendance mandatory.



posted on Jul, 31 2005 @ 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by sebatwerk
[I think that when it comes to a lodge's active members, 10% of all members is probably the average in American lodges. That is why I like Traditional Observance lodges, they make consistent attendance mandatory.


Indeed. There is a definite trend toward the idea of the Traditional Observance Lodge. My Lodge in particular expects a minimum of an 80% attendence rate. As this is the case, we are not even fifty members and plan to keep it that way. All you Brothers out there in Lodges with 150+ members.....imagine if you knew everyone in your Lodge well? It's amazing.

I'm not braggin', jus' sayin.



posted on Aug, 1 2005 @ 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by HeirX

Originally posted by sebatwerk
[I think that when it comes to a lodge's active members, 10% of all members is probably the average in American lodges. That is why I like Traditional Observance lodges, they make consistent attendance mandatory.


Indeed. There is a definite trend toward the idea of the Traditional Observance Lodge. My Lodge in particular expects a minimum of an 80% attendence rate. As this is the case, we are not even fifty members and plan to keep it that way. All you Brothers out there in Lodges with 150+ members.....imagine if you knew everyone in your Lodge well? It's amazing.

I'm not braggin', jus' sayin.


It would be interesting as we have more than 700 members! We wouldn't be able to fit them into the Blue Lodge room if you had to have 80% attendance.

I haven't heard of Traditional Observanse lodges. I will have to look into that and see if we have any in Colorado, it might be interesting enough to have a dual membership.



posted on Aug, 1 2005 @ 01:55 PM
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2 B 1 Ask 1.

The masonic world is no different that other organizations
here in the US of A. My questimate is still 4 - 7% of the
members show at any given meeting.

Air conditioning, fat fried chips and TV is the downfall of
this great nation. Think about it! Do away with all three
and BONG!.....no more fat kids, no more fat people, no
more acting out what is seen on TV and a down fall of the
prescription drug companies because most of our ills would
be gone. The doctors could still treat common colds however,
with the same rememdy that has worked for years - chicken
soup.

Ed



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by HeirX

Originally posted by sebatwerk
[I think that when it comes to a lodge's active members, 10% of all members is probably the average in American lodges. That is why I like Traditional Observance lodges, they make consistent attendance mandatory.


Indeed. There is a definite trend toward the idea of the Traditional Observance Lodge. My Lodge in particular expects a minimum of an 80% attendence rate. As this is the case, we are not even fifty members and plan to keep it that way. All you Brothers out there in Lodges with 150+ members.....imagine if you knew everyone in your Lodge well? It's amazing.

I'm not braggin', jus' sayin.


Okay, I've thought a little more about the Traditional Observance Lodge idea. Although they clearly would have their place, in our current Lodge setting we have men that might be unable to make our meetings that are active in other ways. We have a Investigation Committee that is made up of both members that come to lodge and those that cannot. We have visitation teams that visit sick and distressed members or those who are out of contact with the Lodge, that is also made up of members that are active in Lodge and those that cannot make it. Amazingly, we have one gentleman that was active at the start that got a job on meeting nights yet he has contributed more than some of the men that sit in on every meeting in time and in membership. His actions in the community keep our lodge in the front of many men's minds who later ask to be members.

People can contribute in differing ways at differing times. Those that began as truly active may end up getting a job that conflicts with the Masonic schedule but be able to contribute in other places.

If we went to clearly Traditional I wouldn't have to attend meetings at all as the distance to the Lodge from my house if past that of the Traditional Cable Tow distances that were required in the past.



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by No1tovote4
Okay, I've thought a little more about the Traditional Observance Lodge idea. Although they clearly would have their place, in our current Lodge setting we have men that might be unable to make our meetings that are active in other ways. We have a Investigation Committee that is made up of both members that come to lodge and those that cannot. We have visitation teams that visit sick and distressed members or those who are out of contact with the Lodge, that is also made up of members that are active in Lodge and those that cannot make it. Amazingly, we have one gentleman that was active at the start that got a job on meeting nights yet he has contributed more than some of the men that sit in on every meeting in time and in membership. His actions in the community keep our lodge in the front of many men's minds who later ask to be members.


The TO principle is definitely not for all masons, probably not even most. But there definitely IS a significant number of masons who want to practice Freemasonry as it was done in the past, and not as it is done now. This involves MANY things, not just mandatory attendance. Meetings are more solemn, quiet, dim lights, they make use of the Chamber of reflection before initiation, they use tracing board lectures to teach symbols, they require more time between degrees and they also require A LOT more study and written essays to advance through degrees.

It's a concept that I, personally, am very supportive of. Other masons would not be comfortable with this. I think that in a few years we will see more TO lodges open up as the idea catches on, and then we will have both TO lodges and regular blue lodges. Sounds fine to me


df1

posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 01:17 PM
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Does a Traditional Observance Lodge allow the discussion of politics or the serving of alcohol?

It seems that they should.



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 01:50 PM
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I do understand why it would be irksome that only a small percentage show up to meetings on a regular basis.

However, doesn't this in some ways "separate the wheat from the chaff"? Meaning that brothers (like Sebatwerk) who are willing to faithfully attend because they feel it is important to do so, that it demonstrates commitment to the organization and its principles, that it keeps the "bond" fresh in one's mind while prompting a sense of activity... well, doesn't this in itself usually indicate who is serious about their association and who perhaps is not?

I also know there are extenuating circumstances sometimes so I don't mean for this comment to turn into a debate about all the reasons people may not be able to attend, such as job conflicts, family drama, whatever. I know people experience temporary setbacks, distractions, etc. But I'm talking long-term inactivity. I mean the guys who join and then maybe go to a meeting once a year, if that. I think making it mandatory for those types to attend is perhaps not the best way to go if we are talking about quality here, not just driving numbers.

Look at how many people sleep in church, but they feel attendance is mandatory. Are they really getting anything out of it?

And which would you rather have: a highly-trained positively-motivated all-volunteer military... or a bunch of guys who can hardly remember what they learned in Basic and don't want to be there anyway but they were drafted and have no choice? I realize this is not the same thing, however, volunteers are generally better suited to complete a task because they WANT to do it, not because they feel compelled to do it.

I personally think the lack of attendance/dwindling numbers in membership comes from a lack of zeal. I am in my thirties and if/when I speak to someone about the subject, this generation seems to have no use for it, as they don't see the purpose in it. They are too caught up in other things that seem to have higher priority.

I would love to see the organization find a way to highlight its ability to remain relevant in a changing culture. The principles of Freemasonry are timeless; indeed, it is a veritable treasure chest containing the gems of morality which have been refined in the fire of human experience over centuries. It would be a shame to see this slip away due to member apathy or the inability to appeal to the younger generation because the organization seems "dated" and irrelevant, which could be seen as one step away from obsolescence. I, for one, do not wish to see this occur.

Suggestions?



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by Stegosaur
However, doesn't this in some ways "separate the wheat from the chaff"? Meaning that brothers (like Sebatwerk) who are willing to faithfully attend because they feel it is important to do so, that it demonstrates commitment to the organization and its principles, that it keeps the "bond" fresh in one's mind while prompting a sense of activity... well, doesn't this in itself usually indicate who is serious about their association and who perhaps is not?


It ABSOLUTELY does. Freemasonry, being an all-volunteer organization, definitely separates the Freemasons from the "McMasons", even though it's understandable that some would not be able to make it to lodge because of certain conflicts.

That being said, I'd like to make it know that if someone TRULY wants to attend lodge, they will make time for it regardless. From time to time something may come up that doesn't allow a mason to make it to lodge but, generally, it wouldn't be much of a problem if it was truly important to the mason to make it to lodge. There are very few people in this world who cannot make time for what is truly important to them.



And which would you rather have: a highly-trained positively-motivated all-volunteer military... or a bunch of guys who can hardly remember what they learned in Basic and don't want to be there anyway but they were drafted and have no choice?


I absolutely agree with your statement and, obviously, nobody wants to be in lodge with someone who doesn't want to be there. Traditional Observance lodges are, in a sense, lodges for those that are truly serious about Freemasonry. If you cannot commit yourself, you shouldnt join a TO lodge. There are more than enough regular lodges to join otherwise.



I personally think the lack of attendance/dwindling numbers in membership comes from a lack of zeal. I am in my thirties and if/when I speak to someone about the subject, this generation seems to have no use for it, as they don't see the purpose in it. They are too caught up in other things that seem to have higher priority.


There have been MANY theories regarding this issue, but keep in mind that there was a BOOM in fraternal societies right after ww2. Freemasonry's ranks swelled like crazy then. Just like the stock market goes through corrections whenever there is inflation in price, so does membership in Freemasonry go through a correction whenever there is a boom in new initiates. Is this what Freemasonry is going through?

Keep in mind, also, that there is poor attendance at lodges nowadays because there are so MANY lodges left over from this boom. As lodges begin to close because of poor attendance, attendance will (hopefully) come back up to a more normal number for the remaining lodges.



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 03:03 PM
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Originally posted by sebatwerk
Traditional Observance lodges are, in a sense, lodges for those that are truly serious about Freemasonry. If you cannot commit yourself, you shouldnt join a TO lodge. There are more than enough regular lodges to join otherwise.

(snip)

There have been MANY theories regarding this issue, but keep in mind that there was a BOOM in fraternal societies right after ww2. Freemasonry's ranks swelled like crazy then.

(snip)

Keep in mind, also, that there is poor attendance at lodges nowadays because there are so MANY lodges left over from this boom. As lodges begin to close because of poor attendance, attendance will (hopefully) come back up to a more normal number for the remaining lodges.



For starters:
So, from your perspective, do you think it would be a smart move to condense the number of Lodges to a more efficient number, while at the same time encouraging "active, serious, motivated members" to join a TO lodge, if they feel they could commit to it?

I wanted to make sure I was correctly interpreting what you wrote.




I think it's a very logical solution, especially if there are lodges everywhere with only a few active members in them. I suppose driving a little longer to get to a meeting or ceremony with other "committed" brothers would certainly be worth the effort, considering the increased potential for effective results.

So a TO lodge is to Freemasonry as RATS is to ATS... would you say that is a fair analogy? Only those willing to put in the time, effort and consistency of quality in their contributions would be suitable for such membership?

(Forgive me if I must reduce it to a level that I can relate to, since I am not in the organization and am lacking in firsthand experience with the whole lodge structure concept in general.)

While I do not wish to imply that these would be "the Elite" of Freemasonry, it would seem that they would naturally be "set apart" by their own actions because they chose to hold themselves to a higher standard and perhaps may achieve their goals in a more efficient and effective manner. I think this could definitely be an asset to the organization overall, however, would it subtly promote an unspoken sense of division within the ranks? Such as "Oh yeah, that Seb, he thinks he's superior just because he's TO and sooooo committed to the cause..." as they roll their eyes.

You know what I am trying to say, how even those who share a common bond can get petty over perceptions like that, even if those assumptions are erroneous and inflated. While I definitely see the value in TO, I also see the potential for internal strife due to basic human nature.



Again, your suggestions are welcome.



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 03:04 PM
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Originally posted by Stegosaur
I do understand why it would be irksome that only a small percentage show up to meetings on a regular basis.


Well when you consider that everything is put to a vote, if people aren't showing up, then it doesn't allow for a true consensus view on a certain issue, for one thing.


However, doesn't this in some ways "separate the wheat from the chaff"? Meaning that brothers (like Sebatwerk) who are willing to faithfully attend because they feel it is important to do so, that it demonstrates commitment to the organization and its principles, that it keeps the "bond" fresh in one's mind while prompting a sense of activity... well, doesn't this in itself usually indicate who is serious about their association and who perhaps is not?

I also know there are extenuating circumstances sometimes so I don't mean for this comment to turn into a debate about all the reasons people may not be able to attend, such as job conflicts, family drama, whatever. I know people experience temporary setbacks, distractions, etc. But I'm talking long-term inactivity. I mean the guys who join and then maybe go to a meeting once a year, if that. I think making it mandatory for those types to attend is perhaps not the best way to go if we are talking about quality here, not just driving numbers.


Of course. But should those who shirk their "responsibilities" to the lodge be afforded the same rights, priveledges and honors (even an equal say in lodge business) than those who don't even bother to attend meetings? I don't see this as being fair to the hardworking Masons who make an effort to better their lodge and the fraternity as a whole. As has been said, things come up; life happens; but all in all the ones who are making the effort carry all the others, and to me it just doesn't seem fair. When I am made a Mason, I intend to put in the time and effort to do what I can to help the fraternity be all it can be in this day and age. Awareness is the key, methinks.


Look at how many people sleep in church, but they feel attendance is mandatory. Are they really getting anything out of it?


Certainly not.


And which would you rather have: a highly-trained positively-motivated all-volunteer military... or a bunch of guys who can hardly remember what they learned in Basic and don't want to be there anyway but they were drafted and have no choice? I realize this is not the same thing, however, volunteers are generally better suited to complete a task because they WANT to do it, not because they feel compelled to do it.


Absolutely. I think this is a big reason why Freemasonry has the 2B1 Ask1 policy. The candidates are expected to join of their own free will and accord, and I think that makes all the difference. Are there those who simply give lip service so they can wear a nifty ring? Surely. But I think the majority of men who join Masonry do it for the right reasons, and certainly those particular reasons are amplified and justified once initiation, passing, and raising has been accomplished.


I would love to see the organization find a way to highlight its ability to remain relevant in a changing culture. The principles of Freemasonry are timeless; indeed, it is a veritable treasure chest containing the gems of morality which have been refined in the fire of human experience over centuries. It would be a shame to see this slip away due to member apathy or the inability to appeal to the younger generation because the organization seems "dated" and irrelevant, which could be seen as one step away from obsolescence. I, for one, do not wish to see this occur.

Suggestions?


Again, I think awareness is the key. Most people I know think of Masonry (if they even know what I'm talking about when I bring it up) as an old men's club. The younger guys see it as pointless, like you said. I think Masonry needs its younger members to get out and be seen and put a fresh face on the fraternity; keep doing what they have always done, but use the influence of the new generation to attract those younger members. Just for starters.


[edit on 8/3/05 by The Axeman]



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by Stegosaur
So, from your perspective, do you think it would be a smart move to condense the number of Lodges to a more efficient number, while at the same time encouraging "active, serious, motivated members" to join a TO lodge, if they feel they could commit to it?

I wanted to make sure I was correctly interpreting what you wrote.


I do think it would be smart to condense lodges. Right now, there are 4 lodges in my district. They are each no more than 10 miles away from each other. Out of those, only my lodge and another one have enough officers who show up on a regular basis to confer degrees! If we put these 4 lodge into 2, or even 1, we would have all the dedicated masons from those lodges working for the benefit of one lodge, which would be great!

As for TO lodges, they are only for masons who want to practice Freemasonry in a certain, more traditional, way. Masons who join for the fraternal aspect of Freemasonry, and not for the esoteric, symbolic, spiritual reasons should not join a TO lodge.

TO promotes actually LEARNING about Freemasonry and its symbols and principles. MANY masons have little or no interest in this, especially in the US. They might as well have joined Elks, Moose or any other fraternal organization with little history and shallow lessons.



I think this could definitely be an asset to the organization overall, however, would it subtly promote an unspoken sense of division within the ranks? Such as "Oh yeah, that Seb, he thinks he's superior just because he's TO and sooooo committed to the cause..." as they roll their eyes.


I think everybody respects a mason who knows Freemasonry well. TO lodges aren't exclusive, they are open to anyone who is willing to make the commitment. For this reason, I don't think anybody would act smug towards TO masons, because they themselves could join a TO lodge if they were willing to make the effort.



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 04:00 PM
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Originally posted by The Axeman

Originally posted by Stegosaur
I do understand why it would be irksome that only a small percentage show up to meetings on a regular basis.


Well when you consider that everything is put to a vote, if people aren't showing up, then it doesn't allow for a true consensus view on a certain issue, for one thing.


Well, no. But we don't kick our fellow Americans out of the country for not exercising their right to vote or not showing up to city council meetings either. If they choose not to be a part of the process, while still remaining a member of the organization/city/nation, then they shouldn't complain about the way things are going. Right? To me, if issues in a lodge are settled in much the same way, then those who don't show up to have their voice heard should understand that they chose to remain passive.


But should those who shirk their "responsibilities" to the lodge be afforded the same rights, priveledges and honors (even an equal say in lodge business) than those who don't even bother to attend meetings? I don't see this as being fair to the hardworking Masons who make an effort to better their lodge and the fraternity as a whole. As has been said, things come up; life happens; but all in all the ones who are making the effort carry all the others, and to me it just doesn't seem fair.


You're right, it hardly seems fair. However, the organization does not currently feel that this is a burden or obstacle to the viability of the cause as a whole, or I assume they would do something about it. As I am able to compare it to a the current system of government here in the States, there are plenty of people who receive financial assistance (directly funded by tax dollars) and do not bother to vote, go to meetings/rallies/voter education drives, etc, all the while complaining about the state of affairs here. But we allow them to do just that because they are our fellow Americans, right? They can remain passive and are not only afforded the same rights and privileges as those that are active, but those members that are active are actually supporting them and ensuring that they have those rights and privileges, while they are not even exercising their right to be involved in the decision-making process! What gives? Does this make sense? Is this system, no matter where it is found --- politically or socially--- ultimately destined for failure by its very design?

(This is really no different from a lazy tyrannical monarchy that lives off the sweat of peasants and contributes nothing in return, but again, that's just my opinion.)

I do realize Freemasonry is not America. My point is: what level of "burden" resulting from its non-contributing members is acceptable for an organization to bear? Is Freemasonry beginning to buckle under the sheer weight of its overextended, inefficient and redundant infrastructure? Is it adequately evolving and adapting to its own needs, as well as balancing that with the changing needs of the society it serves?

I'm not bashing here, I'm trying to get to the root of the problem in order to find a valid solution.



I think Masonry needs its younger members to get out and be seen and put a fresh face on the fraternity; keep doing what they have always done, but use the influence of the new generation to attract those younger members. Just for starters.



I would love to know the stats on just how many members under age 40 the organization actually has. The "chicken-or-the-egg" problem that I am seeing here is that there are so FEW younger members to begin with, that their presence out and about in the world practically goes unnoticed, and therefore the chances of them networking with a suitable number of younger candidates is sorely handicapped because one person can only do so much, especially when recruitment is not the modus operandi.

So what to do? Ambition and a proactive nature don't seem to be valued much in society anymore (or there would naturally be more of it, but that's just my opinion), which is what is required in that whole "2-B-1-Ask-1" process. It seems to me that if you wear your ring around these days, you get more strange looks from conspiracy theorists and fundamentalists than you would anyone asking you how to become a Mason.

I am curious as to what others think spawned the explosion of membership after WWII. There may be an answer to this dilemma in dissecting that phenomenon. Was it the War itself? Was it the advent of the subsequent Cold War?

I would like to discuss this.



posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 04:54 PM
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Originally posted by Stegosaur
I would love to know the stats on just how many members under age 40 the organization actually has. The "chicken-or-the-egg" problem that I am seeing here is that there are so FEW younger members to begin with, that their presence out and about in the world practically goes unnoticed, and therefore the chances of them networking with a suitable number of younger candidates is sorely handicapped because one person can only do so much, especially when recruitment is not the modus operandi.


You'd be surprised... I was surprised. There's a lot more younger (under 40) members in Freemasonry than it seems, simply because there are SO MANY older men in it. For example, my lodge alone is probably 50% under 40. Out of the active members, that jumps to more than 75%.

When I took my Scottish Rite degrees, most of the 30 candidates were under 40. When my group of friends found out I became a mason, four IMMEDIATELY asked me how to join, several more asked me later on, and so far 3 of those have become masons. The childhood friends who I once considered brothers are now truly BROTHERS.



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