is freemasonry what you thought it would be when you first joined?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by • RM, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. • RM

    • RM Registered User

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    I'd say in some ways yes .. in other ways some improvements could be made. When speaking to a potential new candidate the question came up. Caught me a little by surprise.. thoughts ?
     
  2. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Not really. It was there, but buried in rubble. I had to look to other lodges for inspiration and then help create change from within my own.
     
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  3. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    It was reasonably good when I arrived in 1984 but much less so now.
     
  4. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I went in with a fairly open mind, not really knowing what to expect but I found the values expounded to be there.. and the fraternal aspect of my lodge was strong, so yes, by not having strong fixed expectations and a wiliness to walk away, it actually exceeded my expectations.. One of the problems with the Craft is you do not get to really try before you buy..
     
  5. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Nope. But it took me several years to first realize this and then several years more to finally figure out why the overwhelming hype doesn't come anywhere close to matching the reality.
    The reality of Freemasonry is brilliantly masked by three centuries of obfuscation that uses a barrage of romantic notions, wishful thinking and misleading words that even its most prominent and most learned members use, unaware themselves of the game a foot.

    Fortunately, the game is one of moral purpose and most members ignorantly stumble toward that end even when they make every effort to fight it.
     
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  6. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I expected better facilities, on point ritual, deep conversations, respectfully dressed, little to no banter, a meal not from a chain pizza place on paper plates, etc. The ingredients were there ritually, but it didn't click much until I had seen it again and after reading on it in literature. I always wonder, what if 50 years ago they weren't so concerned with keeping 4M members but more about quality and had actually raised dues in line with European lodges, kept their buildings nice and either classically old (not 70s engineering old) or up to date and modern what the fraternity in the U.S. would be like. They had a 50/50 choice there and chose the wrong 50. I think we are in the middle of the 'crisis' and small lodges will continue to close left and right. Eventually the 'larger' ones will close when people simply stop paying their dues due to lack of interest.

    I would imagine raising them too much now wouldn't help a whole heap since men that haven't been in lodge for 5, 10, 20 or 30 years (and they make up about 80% of lodge 'membership) would be angry about paying $300 a year with the expectation that lodge would still fail to deliver like it always has. Then, they'd simply stop paying and the lodge would be paying the tab. I think scrapping most lodges and just completely starting over is the best answer in many cases. Consolidating, which is unpopular I've seen on here before, but it'd allow for better growth as a lodge and a better experience keeping members engaged, not just paying dues so they get a Masonic funeral like that is going to matter to them once they are deceased. These lodges that have 150 members and 8-12 (4 of which actually pull the load as we discussed recently) show up regularly is absolutely ridiculous and really pointless. It becomes a burden on those active members killing their outlook on Masonry themselves.

    I think Masonry, hopefully, will settle in between 100K-250K members in the U.S. Members that want to be there and are active in lodge, ritually, educationally, community and socially among each other. This means a lot of lodges will close but the ones left standing will be as strong as ever with Masons that want to be there.
     
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  7. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I had 21st century Victorian in mind haha.
     
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  8. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I think there are some issues with the general state of the lodges and the organization as we've discussed many, many times on this board.

    But if we look at Freemasonry as a Craft, I'd to some extent say yes. The one thing that has surprised me a lot is how little of a "curriculum" there is. Which is probably natural, considering when things were developed. But it very much is a thing where you youself has to dig, seek, focus on something make it something for yourself. If you sit back and expect to become a better man just by going to lodge, then it'll never happen.
     
  9. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    Is freemasonry what I thought it would be?

    Yes and maybe even more.

    Im impressed by the work thats being done to try to fully understand what our ritual creators had in mind when the rituals was created and changed. The solem nature of the ritual work.

    The food has at times been "meeh" but that is due to things out of our control.
     
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  10. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    LOL!
     
  11. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Glad someone is.
     
  12. goomba

    goomba Neo-Antient Site Benefactor

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    No. I joined thinking it was just a social club that my grandfathers enjoyed. I stayed because it may be the best tool I've seen to unite men and better our minds. Our Craft is amazing beyond words.
     
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  13. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Frankly I didn't know what to expect. I assumed it would be mostly guys my age (58) or older and that the path to leadership would be a long and slow one, built on experience. I expected the Lodge room to be impressive as well as the rest of the facilities. I expected the meals to be on the order of "average banquet" meals. I also expected that there would be experienced brothers to lead me though the lessons in the degrees and onward. Finally I had the notion that how the Lodge was run was consistent over time.

    I found reality to match expectations in some areas and to be far from expectations in other areas.

    Things that aligned with my expectations:

    The average age was what I expected, HOWEVER the range was greater than expected ( see below)

    There were experienced Brothers who acted as Mentors and taught, explained, encouraged growth and guided me through my first year.

    Things that were different than my expectations:

    While the PLAN for the path to leadership would take some time, in reality those willing and able to advance are few and far between. 4 Months after my raising I was appointed Junior Deacon, 5 Months later I was appointed Senior Deacon, 1 year and 2 weeks after my Raising I was Elected Junior Warden.

    The Lodge room was once impressive but was suffering from many years of neglect. I learned that prior to the merging of two Lodges 2 years prior to my joining, the Lodge that owned the building was cash strapped and did not have the funds to keep up the building. The merger brought the needed funds, but the building required a lot of work before fixing up the Lodge room made sense. What I later found out the work on the building itself had been ongoing, all the stonework was repaired and re-pointed, the roof was replaced and the HVAC system replaced. Last summer the Lodge room was completely re-done and now looks the way I expected it to. This coming summer the kitchen and social hall will be refurbished and the entire place will be as I expected.

    I did NOT expect that the Senior and Junior Wardens elected at the first Stated Meeting I attended would both be under 26 years old. It was exciting to see young men stepping into leadership.

    I did not expect the food to be as good as it is at such a reasonable cost. When I was going through my Degrees we had a Brother who owned a catering business doing the food and it was "White Tablecloth Restaurant" quality for $10.00. The following year we had a group from a PMs church do the meals and while they were not "fancy" they were awesome PA Dutch style and delicious. From last year forward we have a Brother who is a Chef as Head Steward and we are back to the "White Tablecloth" type meals. All in all WAY better than my expectations.

    Finally the reality that the lodge experience is highly dependent on the Worshipful Master. While the "Line" had several meetings prior to last Masonic Year, and we all agreed on a path that we could carry through for the next several years, the WM went "off script" and frankly had us shaking our heads for much of last year. Hopefully with our current WM and myself plus the help of several Past Masters, we can get things back on track and provide a consistently good experience going forward.

    Sorry for the long winded reply!
     
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  14. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Nope-
    I thought it would be more collaborative however it seems that to get what I want from the craft I’m required to do this alone.
    Being involved with the lodge however I get to get out once every now and then and have a meal- the gents of my lodge are lovely guys and great to share a beer with however this is an added bonus but not why I came to the craft
     
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  15. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    I really don't see the humor in that response. And to think that they are from a published author that seems to have such a negative believe in the things that he wrote about.

    Brother David Hill
     
  16. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Notice that came from outside the states?
     
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  17. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I was at a 3rd degree practice last night. The DC and I were the only experienced brethren there. The new officers asked for more knowledge about Masonry - after I had pointed out several Egyptian aspects to our 3rd degree ritual.

    And the DC said that he needed instruction in the hidden mysteries of nature and science.

    In my experience such enthusiasm only lasts a few days.
     
  18. • RM

    • RM Registered User

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    You can only be enthusiastic if its available to you imo . I'm sure there plenty of brothers not getting enough light. And the spark goes out.
     
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  19. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I'm sorry...what???
     
  20. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Not your response though you joked about it but the one by Coach N.

    Brother David Hill
     

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