One Day Journey

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Nemesis242, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Nemesis242

    Nemesis242 Premium Member

    I understand some of the concerns that are being voiced over One Day Journeys, what is not being taken in consideration is the alarming rate of the loss of our Masonic Brothers. On Oct. 30, 2010 a massive recruitment was done in PA where an initiate could become a Master Mason, Receive 32 Degree, and become a Shriner all in one day, there was 1,937 Initiates. Sounds like a lot but there are more statistics that frighten me more. In 2009 alone, there was a total loss of 2,918 Brothers for various reasons (death, illness, etc.) and in 2010 a total gain of 449, the first membership growth in 50 years!! That's Frightening!! If these journeys are not taken there won't be anyone to pass the knowledge & skills on to cause not enough members are joining. I too just was Raised in a One Day Journey on 6-11-2011 but I have every intention of getting all knowledge & skills being offered to me. When I look at the other Brothers in my Lodge I see the past (meaning none of them are young) I myself am 47 years old and most of them are in their late 50's & 60's and retired. The younger crowd aren't interested in joining an that scares me. If someone else has some input on this I would love to read it. Please don't be too quick to judge. Good Luck Brothers!!
  2. nwendele

    nwendele Registered User

    I hate to hear that, and I know this has been discussed many times before. My lodge is in a town of less than 100,000 people, and I know we do at least 1 EA a week, and have over 350 members. We have a solid core of every age demographic. I hold nothing against ya'll for having to do this, I am sad to see it get to that point. Maybe letting it happen once will get in a core group of dynamic people who will grow masonry in your area. If changes are not made to fix the problems that caused this decline in the first place, nothing will get better.

    I am 32, and far from the youngest member of our lodge. I like history, the stability of tradition, and trying to be a better man. I knew masonry had something to do with all three of these. I tried it out and discovered so much more. What has been done to get the word out about what Masonry does in your area? If young men think Masonry is just and old mens club, I would think the lodges are not doing enough out in the community to change that perception.
  3. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    I used to work for the US Census Bureau (Statistical Data Collection). The demographic trends in Masonry, are frightening. In 2009 (Last year national statistics were available), of the 51 Grand Lodges listed, (This does not include Prince Hall), 48 Grand Lodges showed a net decrease in membership. When your average age is over 65, and the human life span is 73, you can see, that in 8 years, you are in real trouble.

    The trends can be reversed, if the lodges/Grand Lodges choose to turn it around!

    -Statewide open houses. Already Massachusetts and Maryland have a state wide open house. Every lodge in the state is open on a Saturday, and the event is announced on statewide media.

    -Increased internet presence. New York has precise instructions on how to locate and petition a lodge, and a downloadable petition form.

    -Recruiting! Every Mason should be able to invite good men, to join our fraternity. The states that have prohibitions against recruiting, are digging their own grave. Some states even forbid the " 2B1 ASK1" bumper sticker.

    You can go on whistling past the graveyard, or turn Masonry around.
  4. nwendele

    nwendele Registered User

    I posted what attracted me to Masonry. I will talk to some of the even younger brothers in our lodge to see what really brought them in. I strongly feel it can be turned around without such drastic measures as one day journeys. However, my lodge is in good shape, so it is a bit easier for me to say! Several older lodges around here have the same issues, but many younger Masons are joining and have plural memberships. It is a great temporary patch, but again, it has to be the local community to save each lodge. If the lodge is not known and respected (but not intimidated by!) by the local community, it will die.
  5. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

    Again I will voice that I am openly against the "One Day" formatted festivals, and especially the "At Sight" option. To me this cheapens the whole process and leaves me feeing dirty.

    This fraternity has lasted from the early ages in time not because we let "everyone" though the West Gate. Our rituals serve several purposes, first to teach the moral lessons by signs and words; secondly the proficiencies protect us from those who do not wish to "work" or put forth effort for something that in my opinion is Earned. The whole process is established based on experience, trial and error, and welcomed through it's doors the greatest men of all times.

    I suppose, point blank what I am trying to say is this. One Day Masons should be held accountable to the same standards as the status quo as far as proficiency. Get all of your degrees in one day, fine. However, you should still learn the work and be tested as everyone else otherwise no one is "equal". Equality is what makes this Ancient Fraternity unique, and worth while.

    Every organization witnesses some form of membership decline from time to time, it is a naturally occurring cycle. When there is a decline, there eventually is an increase. Time is the only variable.

    So may it also be noted, my opinions expressed are not meant to offend any of those contrary. These are simply my opinions. Those who have gone the one day route are indeed my equals as the Laws and Edicts state, I accept as required to do so. I am after all meeting and parting on the level...
  6. M.M.Wood

    M.M.Wood Registered User

    I would have to agree with Brother Stewart. I am also openly against the "One day" initiative. This really takes the journey out of things. I understand that we have a membership issue and can't say that I have an answer. I do however have some suggestions as to contributing factors. The men out there are not reaching out to the younger generation and letting them know that we are here to make them better. Also the generation these days have a lot of men out there that may not have not had a stable father figure in their life to guide them. I can honestly say that I am 33 years old and was raised by my mother. My parents divorced when I was 9 but my Dad was always there for me. Not in the capacity that he should have all the time but that is neither here nor there. I was attracted to Masonry out of curiosity and doing my own research. I have found since being raised that not all brother are as friendly, open and accepting of the younger generation. I feel like if you want to increase the numbers we need to spread the good word if you will. I am not implying that Lodges are not out there trying to increase membership but I think that actually talking to young guys and seeing what is on their mind would help get them interested. Sorry if I went on and on but I am passionate about the subject.
  7. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

    I can't honestly say that I am totally against "One-Day classes" but I would not want that for myself. In the course of the last few months as I embarked on this journey I thought that might be an option for me but as I travel more and receive more light I realize that the "normal" process is what makes this journey so special. I know that there a great many Brothers out there that were raised in these one-day classes and the Fraternity is better off having them. There is at least one of the more public figures in Masonry that was a part of a one-day class. His passion and knowledge of Masonry is as great as a person that went through the degrees the traditional way. If I would have gone through one would I have the same passion for Masonry as I do now? I would like to think so. I feel that if a person truly wants what this great Fraternity has to offer he will do the work regardless of whether he went the traditional way or the one-day way. Again, it would not be my choice but I can see how it might be for someone else.
  8. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    Some rural lodges in Texas, are surviving, only because some Masons hold plural memberships, and "commute" between the different lodges. This is a "ticking time bomb"! When these men with plural memberships, cease to participate in Masonry, throught retirement, transfer, resignations, or death, then ALL of the lodges where they hold memberships, will cease to function.

    Masonry can grow, and reverse the trends, and not necessarily have to rely on one-day classes.
  9. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    It's about quality of membership, not quantity. People keep mentioning declining membership as though it signals the end of masonry but I don't feel that's the case at all.

    Out of 1.937 candidates, I wonder how many of them will actually be active? I'm also curious how you are supposed to properly investigate so many potential members without compromising your west gate.

    I'm against this. I feel they cheapen the fraternity and do more harm than good. An active lodge shouldn't have trouble with membership if they are really out there in the public eye and involved with the community. That's my opinion though.

    I'm going to probably sound like an ogre here but I think there are a lot of lodges that should probably just consolidate. I could add more to that but I'm really treading carefully here!

    I agree masonry can grow and I believe in parts of the state it is growing, that certainly seems to be the case here. I don't believe there's any such thing as a 'quick fix' though, it'll take lots of activity and elbow grease.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  10. kwilbourn

    kwilbourn Registered User

    For me personally, I have found that I frequently enjoy life's journeys more than the destination. A one day class, or even a reduction in the proficiency requirements would remove some of that enjoyment for me. I am young in my journey, but hold the work I have done with my mentors in high regard; there are few experiences that can compare to the feeling of slowly weaving the lessons into the tapestry of your life while becoming closer to your Brothers.

    As others have mentioned, if you make 2,000 new Masons, but fail to engage and retain many of those men in Masonry it is a disservice to those men and the Fraternity.
  11. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

    I'm inclined to agree. Having been made a Master Mason very recently, it's still kind of ridiculous to me how many bodies are supported solely through plural memberships. As an outsider looking in, it's simply a bandage on a deep wound. It's kind of silly.
  12. cacarter

    cacarter Premium Member

    I don't like the idea of one day classes, but I can see why some Grand Lodges do them. I applaud you for not being satisfied with what was given to you so quickly, and wanting more light.

    I've heard that one of the biggest problems Texas, and I'm sure most states, has is the retention of candidates once they've been initiated as EAs. Either the lessons are too difficult, other constraints come up, or worse they get in and realize that masonry isn't what they thought it was and want nothing more to do with it. My concern is how many one day MM's get all of the light and then realize this isn't what they wanted. The more work I've put into something, the harder I find to give up on it.

    We could make the topic of rural lodges an entirely different thread.
  13. S.Courtemanche

    S.Courtemanche Premium Member

    Agreed 100%
  14. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    I don't feel masonry will ever die. The light can never be extinguished. Ideals are stronger than bullets or bricks. Sure, we may not be able to afford either but is that our quest?

    All said, brethren today have not been faced with the ultimate test of survival or betrayal. Or have we?

    There's so much to consider.
  15. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

    Re: you cannot destroy the strongman's goods...

    I do not think that it is SO selfish to expect that everyone be expected to Travel the same Journey. I have already stated that I accept the "One Day" Mason format, as long as those Brethren are held to the same exacting standards of proficiency. If we allow these Brothers to take a "One Day" festival, and not require them to learn the work then they IMO are not meeting upon the Level of Internal Qualifications with the thousands of other Brethren of this great and honorable Fraternity.

    Remember this phrase: "Meet upon the Level, Act upon the Plumb, and Part upon the Square"
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  16. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

    Amen Brother, well said!
  17. M.Prejean

    M.Prejean Registered User

    Well said indeed, Lastone!
    The heart of this matter seems to be the numbers. Being new to Masonry, please enlighten me. Has a consensus been reached that has declared our current membership to be the minimal or optimal? What makes us feel the need for constant growth? Again, I'm new, but has the fraternity financially extended itself to the point where we require the dues of a determined number of brothers? I hope not & doubt that's the case. I'd rather think that its our fear of losing our beloved fraternity through decline that has us willing to take what appear to me to be drastic measures.
    I'm a bit of an optimist and an accused dreamer, so take this for whatever its worth. I'm inclined to trust in the foundation of Freemasonry. It has shown a steady light and been a beacon throughout the ages. Lets not take down the West Gate just to oil the hinges.
  18. LCWebb

    LCWebb Premium Member

    Why is it necessary in a one day process to also become a shriner and 32 degree srm? I am very new to the Fraternity and while I plan on joining both shrine and Sr there is something to be said for the journey.
  19. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

    This basically creates a "ready made" Shriner. The Shrine requires that a petitioner not only be a Master Mason but also either a 32 degree SR Mason or Templar Knight of the YR. This smells to me of this exact process which Lodges in the past have been put in hauc over.
  20. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member


    Correction if I may, Bro. Stewart:

    Just a Master Mason; nothing more, nothing less is required. (And this too will change).

    I'm not trying to be a $mart a$$, I just thought you might want to know...
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011

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