Questioning My Decision to Become a Mason

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Hancock, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. Hancock

    Hancock Registered User

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    In less than a week I will be raised. I should be thrilled, but I'm not. What I have found at the lodge barely qualifies as a "Knife and Fork Lodge."



    It's been over a year since I petitioned. It took 4 months to assign an investigation committee. None of my references were contacted. The interview took five minutes: "Do you believe in God?"-"Yes." "Got a check for the initiation fee?"- "Well, yes, but I thought we should get to know each other first." "No, just give me the check, and I'll sign your petition." Somehow, I thought it would be more comprehensive.



    No mentor was assigned. I only had two phone numbers; one was always too busy to answer questions, and the other had no answers.



    The rituals were unimpressive-they knew about half of the ritual, required many prompts, and spoke as if they knew the words, but not the meanings. The EA and FC proficiency exams were akin to an open book test where you were encouraged to copy from each other. There is no MM exam. We have 80 members in the lodge; maybe 15 ever attend.



    I've asked about Masonic education in the lodge-short talks and reasearch papers- "We don't do that" is the answer. We eat, open, take care of business, close and go home. Other lodges in the area seem to be the same-I've asked. The person I went through the EA with showed up for initiation in cutoffs, tee shirt and no socks. The lodge was fine with this. He went through the degree wearing a shoe.



    I could give more examples, but from what I've read, my experience is not uncommon; you probably know what I'm talking about.



    I could really use some encouragement right about now.
     
  2. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    I can understand your frustration. My Mother Lodge didn’t fulfill my expectations so I visited another and discovered the Brethren that had literally been hidden from me. I still cherish that second lodge the most.
    Stay strong, true Masonry is within you.
     
  3. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I encourage you Brother.

    Your Lodge is *your* Lodge and they evolve through time and influence, both to strength and to weakness. Sounds like your Lodge is at an low ebb where it might fail.

    I would definitely get your MM Degree then go visiting to see if you can find a better lodge or like minded men. One influential and inspirational member can transform a lodge, but unfortunately the influence takes time, and even when a man sits as Master, sometimes they will discover they cannot change the status quo. Sometimes it is just better to find a better environment.

    Also remember this - even students at the worse University excel, because they realise that need to take control of their own destiny and not reply on others.

    Do your MM - then let's see if we cannot support you with some tools or resources to deepen your understanding of Freemasonry. I mainly did it on my own, but did have a great Proposer.. Did you have a Proposer or did you enter by another mechanism ?
     
  4. Hancock

    Hancock Registered User

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    Yes, my proposer and I have known each other for years, and worked on the same team in disaster response.
     
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  5. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    What the other brothers said, and you may also find your place in the appendant bodies.
     
  6. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    This is unfortunately so. However, wouldn't it be grand if everything we dreamed Masonry would be was found right in our BLs?
     
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  7. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Knee Jerk Reaction: "Welcome" to North American Freemasonry (U.S. specifically)...Jerk Reaction: Oh suck it up, that' s how it has always been.... Real Reaction: I feel you completely and have almost identical experiences.... Proper Reaction: Brother, I encourage those that recognize this problem to please make the proper changes needed for the survival of our great fraternity.
     
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  8. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    I don’t have an answer but that’s not, in my understanding what freemasonry should be-
    All I can recommend is finding a more appropriate lodge-
    It’s unrealistic to expect you to shoulder the weight of changing an entire lodge culture especially if it isn’t what the lodge wants nor would you as a soon to be raised mason know what changes are needed as you are inexperienced in all the politics and grand lodge blah blah that goes on.

    All lives end and this is true of lodges aswell
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
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  9. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >What I have found at the lodge barely qualifies as a "Knife and Fork Lodge.

    It seems that you will have to work to discover the real Freemasonry. Have you started the work of the FC - investigation into the hidden mysteries of nature and science. This work is open to all people of good will and you may need to look outside Masonry to get some assistance.
     
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  10. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    The above is good advice-


    The real secrets of freemasonry are not unique too freemasonry.
     
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  11. Okla. MM

    Okla. MM Registered User

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    I would definitely go ahead and be raised and then I would visit other lodges in your area to see if one meets your expectations of Masonry.
     
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  12. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    Your experience is unfortunately not unique. But you should know that the Freemasonry you are experiencing is not how it is found everywhere. You have a few options before you and a tough decision to make.

    1. You can decide that the Craft is not as advertised or that your Lodge is not what you want to be part of and that the best option for you is to just walk away. No shame. A lot of new Brothers take that path. Just look at the number of new members that don't renew after their first year.

    2. You can become just another warm body and dues paying member that doesn't take an active interest in their Lodge.

    3. You can decide that the Order is important enough that you want to make a difference and try to revitalize your Lodge. Expect resistance and phrases like, "We've never done it that way", or "We've always done it this way", or "Nobody wants to do that." And a host of many more reasons why any revitalization won't work.

    Best advice I can give, get into the line and become part of the group that makes the decisions. Without a doubt I can tell you that you are not alone and there are other Brothers in your Lodge that you likely haven't met that would love for someone to take the lead with a new perspective. Spend the time to become an expert in Masonic ritual and jurisprudence. Be the one that everyone goes to when they have questions. Find 6 other Brothers that want to make a difference and make a degree team to make sure the experience new members have is better than yours. Look into the Masonic Restoration Foundation and use any tools they may provide. You have options.

    I joined over 20 years in a small rural Lodge. The Brothers are some of the finest men it has been my privilege to know. But our ritual wasn't the greatest and our "Festive Board" was the usual boiled hotdogs on paper plates. Masonic education wasn't much focused on and our annual fish fry was far better attended than our stated communications. But I got into the line and spent that time learning every facet of every position on my way through until my time as WM. I brought back Table Lodges for the Feasts of the Holy Saints John. I worked to streamline the business of the tiled meetings so we could devote more time at each meeting to some form of Masonic education. More education and study groups began forming and we attracted a younger membership. I began associating with more and more like-minded Brothers who wanted the Craft we were promised and were willing to work to make it happen. And in 2006 was honored to be one of the 25 founding Brothers of Benjamin Franklin Lodge #83, a European Concept Lodge working in the Emulation Rite that is still going strong today and setting the example.

    Brother Hancock, maybe now you see why I was questioning the usefulness of programs like MERT in the other thread. We have enough work to do in our Craft Lodges to keep us busy for a long time. Don't make more work for yourself. So you decide what you want from Freemasonry and what you are willing to do for it. You can leave the Craft. You can run away to the appendant bodies like many Brothers and just be another name on the books that nobody sees. You can sit on the sidelines and kibbitz without actually trying to change anything. But maybe your perspective is just wrong. Maybe the G.A.O.T.U. put your Lodge in front of you in the condition it is to give you the opportunity to rise to the challenge and show what you can do.
     
  13. Pointwithinacircle3

    Pointwithinacircle3 Registered User

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    Pay close attention during the lecture and they will tell you what a lodge is.
     
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  14. Martlet

    Martlet Registered User

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  15. goomba

    goomba Neo-Antient Site Benefactor

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    Sorry for your lackluster journey brother. I digress being acting online and reading. If it wasn't for sites like this I would had stopped a long time ago.
     
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  16. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    It took me awhile to realize the same thing you just said.
     
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  17. Hancock

    Hancock Registered User

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    Brothers,



    I thank all of you for your advice. I will finish my MM in my current lodge, then search out a lodge where I can continue my education.



    I chose my current lodge because of a promise I made to my wife. Her father was a member of the lodge, her mother was the WM in OES, and she belonged to Job's Daughters. She had fond memories of that lodge.



    She passed away last year on my birthday, after a prolonged illness which left me no time to do anything but take care of her. This was known to the lodge after my initiation. Not one "brother" ever called to see how I was doing. Between my EA and FC I had a complete emotional meltdown-also known to the lodge. Again, not one person asked how I was doing. At this point I suspected that "brother" meant something different to them than it did to me.



    I will not base my opinion on one lodge, you folks on this forum have shown me that not all Masons are the same-I thank you for that. My current lodge is half an hour away. There is a much larger lodge 5 minutes away. Perhaps what I am searching for was in my backyard all along. If not, that's what highways are for.



    Some have suggested that I might try to reform my lodge, but I know I am not up to that task. That's like asking a soldier, fresh out of basic, to lead a company.



    I miss my Army brothers, and I miss Texas.



    Again, thank you.
     
  18. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Yeah, to leave and never look back.
    Life’s to short to waste on lip service lodges.
     
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  19. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Unless of cause you joined the craft to get that sort of administrative experience of trying to reform a lodge, for me it’s not the hill I want to die on, forgive the familiarity but no flipping way-
    I have had my own issues with my Masonic experience but I know that if I had hard times my brothers would offer relief, in fact they did, on several occasions- I never needed to accept it thankfully however the foundations are solid in that lodge.
     
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  20. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Brother Hancock, I am very sorry you had to experience, firstly, such a heartbreaking loss and secondly, such a weak showing of "brotherly love". I've witnessed similar situations. Not personally thank goodness but other brethren. Perhaps an 8th (and lost) art form added should be that of empathy. We may be the most seasoned, well spoken and well versed mason on the block with all the "light" in the world but then suddenly turn into a nine year old boy when it comes to facing grief with someone. That' s when you separate the men from the boys; when your brother is down and out, not always your memorization skills.
     
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