Decline in Freemasonry

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Travelling Man91, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. Travelling Man91

    Travelling Man91 Registered User

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    Do you think the internet and socail media has played a major part in the decline of our membership ? At anytime a potential candiate can at the press of a finger learn and read anything he wants about freemasonry (not just the ritual, but the problems that we try and fix behind the scenes without exposing to the public but some how always find it's way in a online article leaving a man saying I dont want to be apart of an organization like that ? Although it has opened many doors for education that we didnt once have.... What are your thoughts ?

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  2. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    My DGIW is on a big Facebook kick currently, he’s been getting huge results (like 30+ partitions IIRC) but and while there are many people willing to fill in the paperwork the questing of “are they Brother material?” Will take time to find out.
    I’m guessing that the core problem remains and that is, what will people find when they are admitted? Will they like what they find?
     
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  3. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I think it supports membership growth - you can read all you want about Freemasonry, the only way to know it is to live it and that starts by joining.

     
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  4. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Help me out: DGIW = ?
     
  5. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    District Grand Inspector of Workings ?
     
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  6. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    Membership was in a steep decline long before anyone had heard of "social media." Today, I think it's a mixed bag; people can find out enough to determine if they're interested, and find out how to become a Mason (in years past, many men waited and waited for someone to ask them to join) so that's good. They can also see Masons bickering, name-calling, and generally acting in a way that is not very inviting, so that's bad.
     
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  7. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    A wide range of social institutions are in decline - not having much to offer the current generation.
     
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  8. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Yep.
     
  9. LK600

    LK600 Premium Member

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    Admittedly personal thought here, but I think possibly the Freemasonry process continues to be set up to receive people who are eager to join with little needing to be done by the Craft itself whereas maybe people today are not so automatically attracted and are expecting more up front? Just a thought.
     
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    History matters. Our numbers grew out of line in the era of WW1 and WW2. We are currently right-sizing to our long term fraction of the population that we held before that.

    Brothers come to lodge for 50 years and see a trend for that entire time. They think that trend was always there and will always be there. Nope, not how history works. Our numbers move up and down across the centuries always centered around the same percentage of the population.

    History matters and 50 years is a blink of the eye. Perspective needs to be wider.

    Also notice that for decades the number of degrees has been increasing. We tend to be members for decades. Degrees are the "leading indicator". Membership count is the "trailing indicator". Focusing on membership numbers automatically loses the perspective that anything whatsoever might have changed in the last 2oish years. Guess what, a lot has changed in the last 2oish years. Some jurisdictions so much they have seen membership increase already.

    Okay, that said, plenty of lodges are dying. Given that plenty of lodges are so busy they can't keep up with their degree calendar I'm okay with lodges dying. That too is how it always worked before WW1! History matters. Perspective.

    Still, if you want to lament dropping numbers, my challenge to you is to do something about it. Go through line and go vote GL. Vote to drop the nonsense against invitations. Invite a few of the best men in the neighborhood near each lodge. Bingo. There is something real to be done about numbers. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Break through the encrusted resistance to improving our order through inviting a few of the best and brightest.
     
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  11. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    Sorry, but I strongly disagree. First, in regards to lodges dying. While I am okay with a decrease in the number of lodges, I'm not okay with what is causing it. Why do some lodges grow so fast? Why do some initiate 10 men a week? Do you really expect me to believe that 10 men a week found it in their heart the desire to improve themselves and already hold not only the intellect but also the germ of sincere morality necessary to become a Mason? And that those 10 men were dutifully investigated and their character was understood by the brethren making the vote? Absolutely not. And if you disagree, I'd then ask, how many 'no' votes did that lodge hand out?
    And that brings me to the next point; invitations are a terrible idea. If you just want to grow numbers, then, sure, it MIGHT accomplish that (although we've seen what happens in terms of retention to those men) but if you want to grow the fraternity, you need quality, not quantity. Inviting people only brings in people who are not interested enough to come to our door on their own. I have no desire to become the rotary club.
     
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  12. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I belong to a Scottish lodge where for years the Secretary lined up candidates so that every meeting was a degree. But many EAs did not return and many new MMs dropped out so that most offices were filled by PMs.

    Eventually the Sec decided that it was not a numbers game and that quality was also important.

    Membership continues to decline.
     
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  13. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Rather than not having much to offer, rather is it perhaps what they offer is no longer valued ?
     
  14. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >rather is it perhaps what they offer is no longer valued ?

    I have been speaking to long term Masons, and those I have asked agree that the ritual is not nearly as intense as it was when they were first active in Masonry.

    I suspect that the GAOTU is looking elsewhere.
     
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  15. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Where's the fun in agreeing. Even though we're taught to best agree.

    I don't get the leap of illogic here. The entire point of extending invitations is to invite the best and brightest.
     
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  16. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Sounds good to me!
     
  17. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Exactly, it's the other extreme of the ballot box exactly on that single line of logic. We want the best, nor perfect, but men fit to be Freemasons, and the best Freemasons are the best men, and often good leaders..
     
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  18. billyjfootball

    billyjfootball Registered User

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    It's a mixed bag. The internet is crazy. Some of the theories are nuts about us. In a lot of ways, it builds us up to this mythological beast. My brother was so passionate to learn about us and had an image in his head about what we are. All these esoteric thoughts banging around in his skull. He was disillusioned a bit. He told me, he's done because he attends enough "business meetings" with his job. It hurt. But I feel if the internet hadn't built things up so much, he would have been good. Or maybe it's his Lodge. I dont know. On the other hand, Freemasonry is the best thing I've ever done. It's truly made me a better man


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  19. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    You had me until right there. I like to think there's a reason for everything, even if it isn't obvious. I like to think the "no invitation" policy encourages us to be more as lodges and individuals so that we attract men to us.
     
  20. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Same here.
     

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