Is Masonry too cheap?

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by Brother Secretary, Nov 29, 2008.

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Would you have petitioned if dues were $200ish and degree fees were $400ish each?

Poll closed Dec 9, 2008.
  1. No, that's too expensive

    3 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. Yes

    5 vote(s)
    55.6%
  3. I'd have put off the decision until later in life

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  1. In 1919 when the Valley of Austin bought our current building from Ben Hur Shrine the dues were $15 per year. Adjusted for inflation to have the same buying power in 2007 that $15 had in 1919 lodge dues should be about $180.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2009
  2. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    yes way to cheap, but the trick is bringing it back up to par without everyone throwing their arms up and walking away. We @ 148 went from 60$ a year to $100 still way to low and 60+ of our 200+ have not paid since and are close to being suspended. Raising dues is a fine line if we as lodges could set 2 seperate dues rates for retired and unretired members it would answer all our woes. I have talked with many retired men who say they would pay a million ayear if tehy could afford it but the bottom line is they struggle now with fixed Social sec. incomes which have also not kept up so this leads us to a real issue we need to put our heads to gether and solve. The price of Masonry has to catch up. We are thinking in our lodge to raise dues every year by a samll perentage to keep up with inflation so there is no big hike every 5 or 10 years but we are still debating.
     
  3. my reply to that fixed income argument:

    1. pretty much everybody lives on a "fixed income" I know what's coming in on the 1st and 15th. It's not like I can go shake the money tree

    2. we are talking about retirement age Americans here and last I checked they were the most affluent demographic to have ever existed ever in human history.

    I recently read that the average starbucks customer spends six thousand dollars there annually. If someone chooses their cable bill, their cell phone bill, starbucks, or eating out four nights a year over the Craft, then obviously Freemasonry wasn't that important to them anyway.

    There is not a Secretary out there who would not move to remit the dues of a Brother truly in need. The actual hard cost to the lodge for doing that is only $14.25.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2008
  4. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    At the annual communication in 1847, the GL of TX passed a resolution that stated: “Resolved, That the Constituion of this Grand Lodge be so amended that hearafter it shall be the privilege of the Lodges “subordinate to this Grand Lodge” to fix the rate of fees for conferring the several Degrees of Masonry: Provided, that in no case shall the rates be established at a sum less than twenty dollars for conferring the first three Degrees.” Accounting for inflation since 1847, this comes out to $440.39 in 2007!

    Ive gotten so frustrated and been called some names that would have resulted in a fight a few years ago over dues/fees that Im taking a break from Blue Lodge for a bit.
     
  5. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    I think dues should be raised by a percentage a year until the required number is met. As for the fixed income, if Masonry is important to someone, they will find the money.
     
  6. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    $200 and $400 even today? That would literally kill many Lodges. I know there are many Brothers who are on a limited income.
     
  7. that's what they cost in pre-Morgan Affair Masonry in the US. That's what they cost at the turn of the last century. That's approximately what they cost in most jurisdictions around the world. If we hadn't had the WWII / boomer membership bubble because Brother Truman, PGM told a generation of young men in effect: you're going off to war & will likely die. Might as well die as a Master Mason, that's what they would cost now here.
     
  8. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    I know it sounds bad, but I think if the dues were that much, it would almost bring a sense of prestiege into the fraternity. Like staying at a 5 Star hotel vs. Budget Inn. I'm sure there are many out there who would like the outward appearance, but it would keep many potential candidates from knocking on that outer door. Back in the day, our Lodge (30) had many affluent businessmen, politicians, etc. In our minutes, there are instances where the Lodge gave money to another Brother if he came in need. Lets face it, Freemasonry in Texas isn't busting at the seams with new candidates. I think we need to focus on our public image, websites and having as much information out there for people. I visited many Texas Masonic Lodge websites, and you would be amazed how many of them offer nothing, absolutely nothing for non-Masons. I just see more important issues at hand than dues increased. We have to make Freemasonry attractive so that Men will take that first step.
     
  9. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Spot on.
     
  10. is it not already attractive? call me a traditionalist but in my humble opinion this sounds like the argument of "how do we bring Masonry in to the 21st century... how do we make it compete with 300 cable channels et cetera."

    I'm sorry and I don't mean to sound like a snob, but I don't wanna sit in lodge with some one who has to make a conscious decision: what's more important going to lodge or watching True Blood on HBO or Fantasy Football.
     
  11. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I concure that if Masonry is important enough for someone they will find away to pay, but there is a problem with that statement as well. A Brother on a TRUE fixed income one to old or disabled to work any longer is left to make some hard choices sometimes between that tank of gas to go visit family or maybe extra food even the choice of not buying medicine that week or pay dues. I can only imagine the sacrifices some of our Brothers have quitely made to pay dues. I have a Grandfather who makes these choices every year to pay his dues and as often as I asked to pay them he will not allow me saying it is his responsibilty to pay and if cannot afford it then he cannot be a Mason, he made mention of this to me when I told him we doubled our dues. To me men like that are who we need. So if you can work and have a functional back I will not hear you cannot afford dues, these people are the people I want out not Brothers you have been faithful to the frat for years and are now in need but to proud or responsible to ask for help. Putting myself in these old mens shoes I can understand why they do not want to ask for help on the dues for a number of reasons, they should be able to openly asked us for help but since they can't or will not I do not want to suspend them but there has to be away to raise the price on able members without hammering our older unable members.
     
  12. TexMass

    TexMass Registered User

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    I'm glad we don't confilct with the Cowboys game. Tough one. LOL

    I'm currently paying $95 in MA and $75 in TX and they both went up last year. Some lodges up here are in good financial shape and haven't gone up on their dues in many years. We have one lodge in our district that has dues set at $15/year with GL at $27/year but they have a few $100k in their account. My lodge up here is treading water year to year so it's been tough. We had 10 demitts last year becuase we upped our dues.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  13. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    No, in many areas Masonry is not attractive at all. Why join a Lodge that looks decrepit? Why join a Lodge that has no community involvement except for yearly fundraisers to keep their own lights on? Why join a Lodge that offers nothing for it's members other than one meeting once a month to pay bills? Those are the Lodges which will die off in 5-10 years. Complacency is what we need to put out to the pasture. We're Masons, so it's easy for use to overlook that, but you have to put yourself into a potential candidates shoes and ask yourself why you would take that first step.
     
  14. I agree with you there. I probably would not have joined such a lodge if I was told dues were $200 per year. I did visit several lodges before turning in a petition though.

    As I said in another post: membership is cyclical, populations and demographics shift, lodges will go dark, dues will go up.
     
  15. added to which I don't think devaluing our Masonry and keeping dues and degree fees half of what they should be be it because a segment of membership may have to decide between medicine & food or lodge dues, or because they remember buying a house for $18,000 and a new truck was $3800 is certainly not the way to fix the problem.

    Oh and if the former is the reason there is such resistance on an individual basis to a dues increase then we need to as Brothers obligated to him to remit his dues for him for a few years and assist him to where he's no longer is such position to where $200 annually is not a hardship.

    If a lodge is in such shape it should perhaps look at selling it's building, or going dark, or perhaps merging with another lodge.

    good article: http://www.scottishrite.org/web/journal-files/Issues/jul-aug06/jacobson.html
     
  16. eagle1966

    eagle1966 Guest

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    Bro Blake, when you say websites offer nothing for non masons, what do you suggest we put on a site for the non mason?
     
  17. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    back in the 18th and 19th centuries, when degree peddlers were common, they'd sometimes charge what was back then an average man's yearly salary (5 dollars) for a single degree.

    nowadays, is it too expensive? not really... 50 a year + if you can't pay at my lodge, i'm sure you can find help. what would a lodge do with more money, though? why would they need to have a surplus of money?

    as for if i would have petitioned: sure. 200 to me isn't much. but we have a lot of college kids come through and there would be no way for them to do it.
     
  18. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    What is Freemasonry Section
    This should be in depth and dispel any concerns a person may have. Search youtube for videos explaing Freemasonry. I use these:

    Video 1
    Video 2

    Steps and requirements to join


    Make it SIMPLE for people to take the first step. I would suggest:
    a. List your Lodge telephone number, address, email, etc.
    b. Downloading and filling out a petition can be intimidating, we allow them to download a contact sheet so someone from the Lodge can get ahold of THEM. You can find it here
    c. Please, if your Lodge has a phone number, get an answering machine.

    Implement the Grand Lodge of Texas lodge locator page on your website.

    Have a list of FAQ's

    Have a new website you've recently launched? Take a photo, write up a small article and submit it to your paper. That will get the word out. People cannot view your site if they have no idea how to access it.

    If possible, include photos from various events


    There are many Lodge websites out there which are fantastic if you're already a Mason, but offers very little to Non-Masons. You have to put yourself in their shoes. Say you were Joe Blow, didn't know a Mason in your area, but wanted to join a Lodge. How easy would it be for someone to contact your Lodge and get a reply? 12 Months ago, if you were Joe Blow in Gonzales, TX and didn't know a Mason, you probably wouldn't pursue petitioning. There was no Lodge website, no easy way to get in contact, no answering machine at the Lodge, etc. Fortunately Brother Joey and i have tried to reverse that trend. Now don't get me wrong, most Lodge website out there are fantastic and I'm by no means a website pro..lol
     
  19. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    just to play devils advocate...

    To what end do you want Masonry involved more in the community?
     
  20. scottmh59

    scottmh59 Registered User

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    Re: Is Masonry too cheep?

    :26:needs to go up
     

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