Minding the West Gate?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by JMartinez, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

    Brother Doug, I was not changing the subject, I replied directly to a comment that Brother Charles made. Period. Knee-jerk? Perhaps. While I agree the Gate has been left open to some degree, I felt it was an attack on all of the newer Masons.

    I agree that the lock-down Charles described is out of control. We have seen men here who's grandfathers were Masons, but because of this fear of being seen as "inviting," they never discussed Masonry with their sons and the Craft skipped a generation.

    You've made me out to be one of the hard-liners, and yet, we agree on the meaning of invitations. As I've said multiple times, I believe we should be able to discuss the Craft with any interested parties, and also raise the subject with men we feel would be a good fit.
  2. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

    I'd be curious to learn when the Fraternity went from being invitation only to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of today. We know for a historical fact that several prominent Masons were invited. Washington and Franklin for example.

    Seems to me that invitations aren't really outlawed per se, just members taking "of their own free will and accord" to the extreme.

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  3. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    Not all USA/Canada Grand Lodges forbid inviting good men to petition the Craft. And some Grand Lodges, permit Masons to inform men about the Craft. Virginia used to have a "You would make a good Mason", program, where Masons were encouraged to inform potential petitioners about the Craft, and how to petition.

    I have spent a great deal of time abroad (I am in Afghanistan now). Some, but not all, European Grand Lodges, permit and even encourage inviting good men to petition.

    And the "intensity" of the prohibition varies from state to state. Kentucky has "banned" the '2B1 ASK1' bumper sticker. I belonged to a lodge in New York State, and that lodge gave me a whole stack of '2B1 ASK1' bumper stickers!

    I knew a man from South Carolina, and he told me, that in South Carolina, all types of invitations or mentions are forbidden.

    Massachusetts has at least one state-wide open house each year. EVERY lodge in the state is open on a Saturday, and literature is distributed. The history of Freemasonry is discussed, some lodges set up TV sets and play videos with freemasonry themes. The procedure for petitioning is explained to any interested visitor.
    Raymond Walters likes this.
  4. hollywoodbwc

    hollywoodbwc Registered User

    Brother Charles,

    I'm a mason in South Carolina and even though we are not able to point blank ask men to be masons,, the 2B1ASK1 logo is encouraged here. There's even a 2BE1ASK page on our Grand Lodge webpage.
    Raymond Walters likes this.
  5. Levelhead

    Levelhead Premium Member

    It dont matter who you talk to, who express your feelings to about a new person petitioning to get in your lodge. Thats just in my opinion "making people aware of people coming towards the gate". I personally don't gossip about future people traveling towards the west gate because i subdue my passion to speak badly of anyone on general.

    The best way to guard your west gate is your actions upon the ballot box,

    Thats how I personally guard the west gate.
  6. SkiKing76

    SkiKing76 Registered User

    ....places soap box on floor and steps up....

    Different perspective. In college I joined a greek letter fraternity. At one point I was Rush Chair with the responsibility of getting in new members. We were a small house, no more than 25 members...so every body was vitally important to our survival. If a guy bailed or didn't get along with anyone it was very noticeable and had an impact on our activities and ability to participate in activities ( greek events like homecoming, volunteer events etc).

    I feel the best way to guard the west gate is something that I personally feel not every lodge does well. Having activities to be able to invite non members to, and getting to know them.

    This worked for us. Friends first, Brothers Second. We have started to do this and it is showing results. any one who is a potential candidate gets a feel for the brothers and the atmosphere. You can quickly gauge if they aren't into it and save some of the hassle if they go through the degrees and then bail.

    Had this happen at the college level. The guys who hung out with the active members alot are still the guys who are life long friends. The guys who were barely around are non existent.

    It was always bring a friend along to the BBQ we are having - it's a great low pressure situation. From there you get to know them, discuss the purpose and values, and what it is we do. We answer questions and plant the seed. Then the potential candidate understands that we won't be sending them an invite to join. Instead we get the question...."what do I have to do to join?"

    We recently did something to this extent - a Rush night, so to speak...and it worked very well.
  7. Levelhead

    Levelhead Premium Member

    I think you are talking about getting new people to approach the west gate. I think (correct me if im wrong) this thread is about guarding it from people approaching who are not worthy or Masonic material.
  8. SkiKing76

    SkiKing76 Registered User

    ....falls off soap box...breaks ankle.....

    No...I understand the thread...but that is my point...how do you guard the west gate? By knowing who is coming through it. You do that by spending time and introducing the person to the craft and the members first. Then you help them pass through.

    Even one of the guys who was part of my degree cycle....I don't think he really understood what was going to happen to him and what he was doing there. Never saw him again shortly after the third degree. It may be have been not what he was expecting, an immaturity thing etc. More time getting to know the brothers before hand would have either prevented him from entering or he may have waited a few years when, possibly, he would have been more prepared for the experience.

    To me the whole Idea that we don't recruit is kind of BS. What we do, if we are smart about is is subtle. We recruit and prepare with out it ever being mentioned or brought up. If your lodge is active and exciting and welcoming you will attract the right kind of people. You can also keep out those who are unworthy since you have spent time with them. Again I've been there. I have had to tell people this organization is not right for them and they will not be invited to join. But at the end of the day it made the organization stronger because of it.
  9. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    Wise words to heed, I agree completely.

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