Are we dying?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by owls84, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

    1,653
    9
    38
    I sit around some Lodges and it seems to be the thing to talk of "the good ole days". Then you hear how we are in trouble. I found this quote on a website I was reading.

    In his book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman quotes business organization consultant Michael Hammer:

    One thing that tells me a company is in trouble is when they tell me how good they were in the past. Same with countries. You don’t want to forget your identity. I am glad you were great in the 14th century, but that was then and this is now. When memories exceed dreams, the end is near.


    Sure makes you wonder doesn't it. Just thought I'd share.
     
  2. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    2,353
    25
    38
    wow, awesome.
     
  3. Raven

    Raven Registered User

    149
    1
    0
    According to most, our craft has been dying for decades. Our fraternity has endured prosperous as well as lean and meager times, including world wars, police actions, depression and cultural conflict. I feel in my heart that we absolutely must encourage our newest brothers from EA to MM and our inactive brothers to become active and to get "In Line"... It's the future of our craft. We must educate with encouragement and encourage with education. Become more active in your lodge, as in making yourselves available on study / floor school nights and not just for stated meetings. When a visitor drops in with curiosity or newly initiated EA, FC or MMs come to study, be there if nothing else than to welcome him. If a brother feels welcome and is a part of something that not only works, but works together, he will be back. If every brother devoted half of the time and effort to teaching a new brother what all MM's were taught, our craft would live forever... as intended.

    My 2 cents

     
  4. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    2,353
    25
    38
    i do think it's human nature to make yourself think that the past was so much more magically/meaningful.

    as i continue to age, i just find that the past is exactly the same as it now... human nature hasn't changed at all.

    the past is romanticized entirely too much.


    that being said, i still think that's a really wise thing:

     
  5. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,340
    1,134
    183
    Some Lodges are dying, and deserve to. They are not doing anything but sitting around, reading the minutes, and complaining that they are dying off- it's a self-fulfilling prophesy. Other Lodges are active & visible in their communities & adding younger Masons- they will, & deserve to, survive & prosper. It's entirely up to the membership of each Lodge as to which kind of Lodge they want to be. If they want to survive, they need to get to work & start doing the things thriving Lodges do- it ain't no secret.
     
  6. Zack

    Zack Registered User

    310
    132
    43
    Dying? No. Shrinking? Yes. Probably back to where Masonry should be. IMO, and we know what that's worth, the great influx of members that peaked in late 50's/early 60's, was an anomalie that was not the best thing that ever happened to the Fraternity. Matter of fact it was a calamity that we are paying for today. A false sense of security in that there would be an ever increasing expansion. Huge lodge buildings and GL's that are big holes that money is thrown into. Not to mention the mind-set changes that have led the institution in the wrong direction.

    I think we have enough members, too many lodges and not enough Masons. At least in my neck of the woods.

    My opinion only. Your mileage may vary.
     
  7. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    4,340
    1,134
    183
    So mote it be!
     
  8. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

    1,417
    9
    58
    dying? The Craft cannot die! The tenets of Freemasonry live in a realm were there is no time or beginnings or ends. The truths that it teaches may evolve into something different as we know it but the Craft will always be alive and well. When I hear this "dying" talk I always think of Fred G Sanford and his many heart attacks that never happened! "I'm coming Elizabeth, this is the big one" lol :)
     
  9. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

    1,653
    9
    38
    I totally agree Bro. Rhit. and Brother Bill. When I say "dying" it is focused more at the Lodges that do sit and talk of the past. Freemasonry itself is probably as strong as ever but the Lodges are dwendling. It is a rebirth of sort is what I am seeing. The age of Masonry is changing and we are seeing a focus move from the old to the new.
     
  10. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

    391
    30
    0
    Yes, the Masonry talked about by the standard "grumpy old Past Master" is dying. It is dying and will wither away soon. It should. Masonry is a progressive science. It grows and morphs as a reflection of its membership. It should. Within the degrees of the Craft we learn that for their to be growth, renewal and rebirth we must suffer a form of death. Why not apply the lessons of Masonry to Masonry itself.

    The Craft in America has spent too much pandering for membership and worrying little with the men who were already members. The days when a dues card was enough and the man didn't actually expect anything from the Fraternity except to belong are gone.

    The Craft is dying and will die completely if we don't wake up, fulfill our membership, and actually practiced Masonry within the walls of the lodge.
     
  11. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    1,137
    255
    103
    Masonry is undergoing many changes. I went to lodge last night (Cocoa Florida). The membership is old, I am 55 I was the 2d youngest man in the lodge. In 2008, out of 51 Grand Lodges in the USA, only Delaware and Massachusetts showed any increase in membership. When your average age is 68, and the human life span in 73, you are looking at the end of highway.

    Masonry does not have to die off, completely. Changes in our membership programs, bringing in new members, and better use of our available resources, can turn the situation around.
     
  12. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

    1,653
    9
    38
    I have spoke to the GL of TX on membership ages and 3 years ago the average age of a Mason in Texas was 68 which explains why my average age for Masons at Fort Worth 148 is 70. I am willing to bet it soon comes down. We have a huge influx of members under 40 (about 27 right now) that are going to be getting their Masters this year helping bring that number down.
     
  13. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

    198
    0
    0
    27? Wow!
     
  14. Hippie19950

    Hippie19950 Premium Member

    283
    1
    38
    I am a fairly new member in our Lodge, as well as Masonry in General, but not young. At least by some standards... I will be 59 in October, but feel much older, and that is due to those "Great Years of the Past". I am often told by folks around this County of the people and offerings of our Lodge in the past. I remember hearing a lot about it, and seeing some of that which was public. I also met many good men who were members of it. We had a Degree Team that would travel around to put on the 3 Degrees when asked to do so. They also held the classes, and offered to assist anyone who needed help in learning ANY of the work. Our Lodge was an active and large Lodge in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and into the 80's. What happened? Some died. Some lost interest. Some moved away, or to another Lodge. At one point, someone brought local politics into the Lodge, and drove many away. Then there was a disagreement between some of the members. This may be looked at as the death of a Lodge. Not by me!!! It was just a way to weed out those who were not dedicated to this Lodge anymore. A harsh outlook?? Maybe, but we have a small core group who comes every meeting, to every event, and to every practice now. We are the one's who come to Lodge, and make the decisions that are making us grow and move again. Was our Lodge to big? I don't think so, but it may not have had people who had the best interest in mind. We now have constant contact with the core group.Oh, and we are using some 21st Century technology, Internet, Cellphones, and..... TEXT MESSAGING!!! We have tried to get dues paying members to come visit with us, and to be active. They are not coming. Maybe feelings were hurt, maybe they never intended to do anything. We would love to have them come to Lodge, but there comes a time to divert that energy to something more promising. We have 3 new candidates. Two have been voted on, and the third coming up next month. Guess what?? We are going to put on these degrees with our own people!! Yeppers, we've been coming in once a week to study, and have a Brother from another Lodge who comes to lead us hen we are stuck. We have taken the mindset that we can do this, just as our past Brothers did. We have a finance committee now, and we have set some goals. if we can keep these goals in site, and continue to move toward them, we will again have a few dollars in the bank, and not have to worry when we have to send dues to GL. It doesn't actually take a BIG number to do this, it just takes a few dedicated folks who will not give up. Some of us are Vets, and have been through combat, and didn't learn how to give up. Some have had personal problems and had to seek help. This help teaches one how to recover, and not give up. Some are just plain hard headed, and don't know when to give up. I used to hear the WM say "Brothers, I don't know how much longer we can hang on.", but now, it's "Brothers, if you have someone in mind who might be interested in Masonry, make sure he knows we are here, we need the extra help for these projects". Most of all, I LOVE Masonry, and am STILL having fun with it !!!!!!!!!!!
     
  15. ddreader

    ddreader Premium Member Premium Member

    62
    0
    0
    :thumbup1:we need to give our brothers what they expected when they joined a fraternal organization. and that would be a fraternal organization that actually does something. this is a volunteer organization. and if your volunteers are not having fun they will not come back, or they will find a lodge that is fun. it is good to talk about doing this or doing that. but until someone does it your just waisting good air. education is a great way to get involvement. but how do you do it. other than memory work what have you giving them to learn, and what have you taught them. do you have any programs, or speakers come to your lodge. we have a lot of knowledgeable brothers who would do a program, our come and just speak but someone has to ask them, and then follow through with it. what do you do at your lodge to make it better? have you tried to do anything? if not why? you will find out that once you start it will get better. let the grumblers grumble. it gives them something to do. start off small. ask for help from the helpers. we all have a part in masonry. it takes all of us to make it work. some help, some watch, some come up with ideas etc.. it will take all of us to keep the future of masonry alive. but we must do our part. no matter how big our how small. put something into it and see what happens. do not worry about what that brother is doing for the lodge. put your energy into doing what you think will make your lodge better. and it will get better. but you will not know if you do not try. if you love masonry like i do. you will find out that as long as you do something you are making it better. and in the end thats what counts.
     
  16. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

    471
    3
    38
    I've always wondered if the formation of the first Grand Lodge wasn't a response to thinking "are we dying"?
     
  17. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

    1,417
    9
    58
    lol I have thought the exact same thing. I have read a book written in 1780 something and the author commented on how Masonry was on a decline not only in numbers but in quality??? I think it is just human nature that we think "we can fix it" but if you take a close look at Masonry you will see it is just doing its thang. I also see Masonry as a vast deep sea of lessons which will apply to anyones life and just because they no longer come around does not mean they gave up, maybe they learned the lesson they needed and now are applying those lessons in society making it better and the craft better as well. Just a thought because we are quick to think that everybody that is raised should be at lodge all the time but such is not the case neither do I know they will ever set foot in lodge again but this means they are no less of a Mason than any other. Masonry is not to interfere in family or work and most people life's now are left with rare moments of free time thus not allowing for much if any lodge time.
     
  18. Casey

    Casey Mandalorian Premium Member

    156
    2
    18
    It's a little off subject, but everywhere I've ever worked the "old timers" talked about the good ole' days. Every place, and you know what? I worked one place long enough to be classified as an "old timer", I knew people that worked there that complained during the time frame they were recalling.

    So it makes me believe that there are no "good ole days" the ones that complain today, complained back then too.
     
  19. Chuckfw

    Chuckfw Registered User

    11
    1
    1
    Most all fraternal organizations are "shrinking" in size from what they once were. Regardless of the many reasons offered, it's felt in Masonry, colleges and other social organizations. Sometimes, it's good to shrink back to a fewer "strong" members that take the teachings seriously rather than a lot of members that just went through the actions? Numbers isn't worth a lot if the true meaning is lost.
     
  20. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

    1,653
    9
    38
    I love this statement. This is a great way to think of this. Even during the "Good Ole Days" people were talking about the "Good Ole Days" Just like when we are all going to be sitting around the Lodge talking of our "Good Ole Days"
     

Share My Freemasonry