Few younger masons

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by kastonw, May 10, 2014.

  1. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

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    Obviously, I don't know your way of talking to people about it, but I've seen a lot of people start out with something along the lines of: "Let me explain how everything you know is wrong."

    This is how it starts off in a confrontational manner and that immediately puts people on the defensive and makes them dig in with what they "know to be true".

    As Bro. Book mentioned earlier, it's important to "walk the talk". I have listened to many ignorant people spout off about our Craft without knowing I was a Mason (I mean....I guess they missed the ring). After they had their chance to rant, I gently mention my Masonic affiliation and will usually pick one small thing to start by correcting (generally, I pick the smallest, least consequential thing to correct: "You said we had black cloths on our Altars, but most of the Lodges I know that use altar covers use white ones."). It becomes a shock to their system to know they've been spouting off around someone who actually knows what they're talking about and isn't yelling/screaming/accusing about it.

    It's generally amazing from there how many people ask questions and want to know the truth. I've helped several people seek out the Fraternity this way. Most people actually realize that the conspiracy theories are crap, but they don't hear anybody else answering their questions, so what choice do they have. In the absence of the truth, they will accept whatever interesting story they hear. It also, frankly, doesn't help when our Brethren answer any question with: "I can't tell you about that". It's especially idiotic for us to respond so when they ask questions about things that are not secret signs, passes, tokens, obligations, etc. (I've actually heard the question "Why do you call him the 'Worshipful Master'?" answered with, "We don't talk about that.".......it's hugely frustrating).

    TU
     
  2. sjwb

    sjwb Registered User

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    I wonder whether it might be easier in the US (where most of these posts seem to be from?) because the path from EA to MM is so rapid? In my lodge it is a minimum 9 months from EA to FC and then another year at least before MM and then 2 years before moving on to the Mark. More attractive if the progression is seen as rapid. The youngest in our lodge is 40.


    Steve
     
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  3. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

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    There is something to this, I think. In the Grand Lodge of Texas, a man only has to wait two weeks between Degrees (although, in all fairness, he must recite his work in a Lodge meeting before receiving the next Degree). I do sometimes wonder if returning to the days when there was a real waiting period between the Degrees isn't a bad idea.

    My understanding is that, in many countries outside of the U.S., there are longer waiting periods (in some cases, more than a year). I don't know if that's the right idea, but I'm not sure that 2 weeks is right either.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that there were 21 days between my EA and FC and only 6 days between my FC and MM (at that point, in 1998, the waiting period between Degrees had been completely eliminated). I do think this has something to do with the idea that EA and FC Lodges in Texas don't actually do anything except create new EA's and FC's (and examine those who have learned their work, of course).

    I don't know. Just postulating today.

    TU
     
  4. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    In Tennessee, the waiting period is 28 days, based on the lunar month. It doesn't matter if you are some kind of savant who could turn in the lecture 30 seconds after hearing it the first time, you still must wait 28 days. Here, you don't have to turn it in before an open Lodge. You can, but it's most commonly done in front of a committee of 3 proficiency card holders.

    As for bringing in younger members, I am all for it ... but not at the expense of making Masonry something that it is not. We shouldn't change to fit modern young people. Either they want to be Masons, or they don't. What I like about Masonry is it is essentially the same as it was 300 years ago.

    When people ask me what Masons do, the best answer to me is that we don't "do" anything except fellowship with like-minded people and carry on centuries old ritual and tradition. That's what I love about it. I am constantly "doing" other things, and when I go to Lodge, I can just decompress. My favorite line is "this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue" because that's what Lodge is to me, a retreat. I'm not thinking about work; I'm not busied in world concerns; I'm not listening to my wife nag; I'm not answering 47 texts. When the Lodge is tiled, there is nothing outside that door that matters.

    Masonry to me is an escape. I realize most young people don't yet understand that concept yet, but they will. I'm not old; I'm 42. I am old enough to love the beauty of not having to by hyper stimulated every hour of the day.

    Masonry won't die without young people. Perhaps the numbers will continue to drop, but that's OK. I'd rather have a small group of men who want to practice the Masonry of our ancestors than alter the craft to hit some kind of quota.
     
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  5. Backwoodslion

    Backwoodslion Registered User

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    Beautiful man beautiful. Well said.
     
  6. sjwb

    sjwb Registered User

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    The short gaps is obviously convenient and for impatient people like me seems very attractive but the longer period gives you time to learn about each of the degrees. I think it is more than a memory test but I am just an EA and only know the system here so am not really in a position to know what is best. The wait is good for me because it makes me confront and deal with my impatience and I am really enjoying the longer journey and the incremental revelations that accompany it. When I am raised I hope to visit in the US and see first hand how things work there.


    Steve
     
  7. sjwb

    sjwb Registered User

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    ...and I agree that major changes just to accommodate younger members is not the way to go, but while the fundamentals may not have changed for 300 years the great wonder of FM is that there is such difference and diversity across the globe while the core values are retained. This month I will have visited 4 lodges in my town all of which use different rituals, dress differently, use different symbols but are all the same at heart. Extraordinary and wonderful!


    Steve
     
  8. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    This is great to hear. If we don't attract young members then the Brotherhood will die out, literally.
     
  9. mrpierce17

    mrpierce17 KOP Council director / Lodge instructor Premium Member

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    I am the youngest member of my lodge at 34 well 35 after 10/28 but we
    are small in numbers about 18 on our annual return of witch 7 of us who show up regularly the remainder don't come out because they are elderly I personally don't mind being around seasoned gentlemen who have been where I'm trying to get .We do have 2 awaiting initiation mid to late 40's
     
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  10. Jamarr/G\

    Jamarr/G\ Registered User

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    I am the youngest in my current lodge.
    County Line Lo. #68
    MWPHGLOTN
    Kenton,TN

    Was Raised at the age of 23. I'm now 24
     
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  11. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    Our entire progressive line is in their twenties, thirties, and early forties, with no past masters in any of the progressive chairs.
     
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  12. Derek Harvey

    Derek Harvey Registered User

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    I agree brother. I'm only an EA but I'm only 34. The youngest in my lodge I think.
     
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  13. MBC

    MBC Twice Registered User Premium Member

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    I'm in a universities scheme lodge, but I was initiated at 19 and now 20. I'm the youngest in my lodge.
     
  14. Morris

    Morris Premium Member

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    I would estimate the lodge I visit is around 80% 28-38 yr olds
     
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  15. phulseapple

    phulseapple Premium Member

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    My lodges used to confer 2 sets of degrees each year. We have changed this to one set over the entire masonic year (Sept - May here in NY) so instead of going from EA to MM in 10 weeks, it takes about 8 months of work . This work will now include presenting a paper on some portion of the degree they have just taken before advancing. Our 8 candidates who will be taking the EA on Nov 8 this year, will need to pick some piece of the degree to research and present on so that the lodge can see that the new members have some understanding of the degree beyond just rote memorization. Here in NY, the memorization is quite long and traces the degree from start to finish including the obligation.

    We also have been encouraging potential candidates to attend our pre-meeting dinners and other public functions prior to submitting their petitions. This way, they get to know the members of the lodge and see if it is a good fit. One gentleman who will be taking his EA on Nov. 8, 2014 has been visiting as a potential petitioner since March 2013 and has not missed a single opportunity to attend.
     
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  16. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Very encouraging to see all of these young Masons!
     
  17. rpbrown

    rpbrown Premium Member

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    We have several younger Masons in our lodge. Some even hold a chair. The problem is that being so young, they tend to not get involved as much, including coming to lodge, due to other things happening in their lives. Some are understandable such as school or work, however, there are some that have girlfriends that demand all of their time (ah, the spoils of youth), or other interests, to a point that they no longer attend stated meetings.
    As I will be moving to the east next year, I have some tough decisions to make as far as my line goes.
     
  18. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    The "graying" of Freemasonry, is a national phenomenon. ( I am former statistical data professional, US Bureau of the Census). Masonry experienced a huge growth in membership during WW2, and in the years immediately following. Our peak year of membership was in the early 1950's. We have been declining ever since. The "bubble" of WW2 Freemasons is approaching (and has reached, in some cases) the end of the average human life span. As these men pass to the celestial lodge, the age cohort will begin to drop. Or to say it another way: As the older masons die off, the average of the remaining Masons will be younger.

    I have discussed this phenomenon at length, on this board, and elsewhere. Most Masons are convinced that there is no problem, and that everything is fine. If we just go on like we always have in the past, then Masonry will be just fine. I feel that this is just "whistling past the graveyard".
     
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  19. kastonw

    kastonw Premium Member

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    If we keep going the way we are sooner or later there might not be any of us left
     
  20. Kyle Samuel

    Kyle Samuel Premium Member

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    I'm my process of becoming a mason, I am not one as of yet, I ask a lot of my co-workers if they knew any Freemason. There answers were either " No. What's a mason", "like a stone mason" or when they did know what was talking about it was " oh like the devil worshipers".. They are all my age give or take. I feel there should be more reaching out to the younger generation. Make them ,us ,aware of the great fraternity, brotherhood, known as freemasonry.
     

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