Why I Left Freemasonry

Discussion in 'Masonic Blogs' started by JJones, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    1,146
    622
    113
    Here's my latest video, hope you enjoy!

     
    EPurvis93, streeter, Bloke and 2 others like this.
  2. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    7,370
    3,341
    183
    Great! Glad that you decided to come back.
     
  3. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

    1,655
    1,561
    113
    Love it, Bro. Justin. It's hard to talk about these things without feeling like you're going to be criticized or worse yet, even disliked or outcasted but you're telling the truth my friend good stuff.
     
    Travelling Man91 and coachn like this.
  4. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    1,146
    622
    113
    Thanks! I got a little criticism for this one but "haters gonna hate".

    I can't please everybody so I'll just share what's on my heart at the time.
     
    Bill Lins, Warrior1256 and CLewey44 like this.
  5. LK600

    LK600 Premium Member

    654
    715
    113
    Yea, I saw that a little bit. That aside, again.. great video. All Valid.
     
  6. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    7,370
    3,341
    183
    Sounds good.
     
  7. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

    1,655
    1,561
    113
    Even on here, I see guys coming in very excited about joining. The "I just petitioned!" forums, the "Home interview tonight!", "EA degree tomorrow night!", "Master Mason Degree tonight!" and then that veil is fully uncovered and the zeal goes away. Some even start to complain(understandably so). It's like a walking up on a high budget movie set and seeing the front entrance of a beautiful mansion and then opening the front door and there is nothing really behind it but a few spot lights, a couple of crew members smoking cigarettes and a director's chair. We (Gen X, Millenials, whatever) have to change that or the fraternity will eventually fade away as it has over the last 50-60 years. Just as a caveat, I don't have a problem with "only" a million members or so in the U.S. but the problem is we are still dropping due to lack of change and finding that sweet spot; combination of strong membership with met expectations.
     
  8. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

    2,120
    2,103
    133
    Welcome to my world!
     
    Warrior1256 and JJones like this.
  9. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    7,370
    3,341
    183
    What???? Who in the world would give you flack coachn? Lol!
     
  10. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

    804
    653
    113
    Funny that you should mention this. I attended a Masonic education night last night at another lodge (a step in the right direction). I'd have to go to all the lodge website in my district to get exact figures, but I'd say that roughly a third to half of our lodges now do some sort of Masonic education/discussion on a regular basis. The topic last night was Freemasonry in Germany and the brother putting it on was a German Mason who has affiliated with the lodge conducting the education. It started off with a slideshow on the history, furniture, habits, and statistics of the lodges in Germany, and then went on to perform the first degree of the AFuAM ritual in English. Needless to say, it was amazing. But, apropos to this discussion, the brother mentioned that his lodge in Munich had dues to 45 Euros per month. In addition at the conclusion of the meeting, there is always a..."suggestion" to deposit some money for the poor, worthy, and distressed. It is customary to not hear the sound of metal, and the smallest folding bill is 5 Euros. The meet weekly, but I don't know if this is only done at stated meetings, so let's assume that brings the total to 50 Euros per month. In today's exchange rate, that's about $732 annually. In addition, each brother wears a tux to all functions and a top hat which he is expected to purchase himself. The time and financial commitment alone shows the seriousness of it. In addition, his Grand Lodge makes candidates wait a year before being initiated. Between the 2nd and 3rd degrees, they are required to visit at least 3 lodges which each need to be at least 50km away. Obviously, these things tend to discourage those who aren't serious about it. In addition, in Germany, Freemasonry is not overly well received, and as such, most Masons tend to be discreet about their affiliation. I could go on and on, but, getting to your 'only a million members portion', Germany's Masonic population makes up .012% of the total population. Doing some quick math, if the United States had this same level of participation, we'd be looking at a little less than 40k Masons in this country. To our minds, that is incredibly low, but it seems to be working for them pretty well.

    I too left Masonry for a number of years based on some of these same reasons. I came back (obviously), but the problems still remain. We are working hard to fix the problem, but I don't think it's realistic to keep the fraternity in a healthy state and the bloated numbers we've had in the past. I don't know what the ideal number of Masons is, but I don't think we've reached it yet. In other words, I think we still have lodges over populated by those who are doing more harm than good (even if that's just by doing nothing).
     
    Raymond Walters, CLewey44 and JJones like this.
  11. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

    1,655
    1,561
    113

    There are certainly lots of things to consider there. I think most people can afford $732 a year but who would with what many members get out of it at this time in the U.S. I don't mind if there were 40K Masons as long as we were gaining as many as we were losing, that may be the optimum number for sure. My biggest beef in lodge (before meetings and even after for the most part) is the lack of solemnity, lack of caring about knowing your lines if you're an officer, dressed down, no focus, no "God I'm dreading this" attitude and general pricks that are "brothers" in some lodges I know of. When we gather, to me, that short period of time you should treat each other with the respect that you would your own grandfather or father no matter the brother's degree, age, or whatever. Don't make wisecracks, smart a** remarks, never try to embarrass others, always focus on the labor of the evening, welcome visitors to each individuals best abilities. Look your best as if going to place of worship, a funeral or a wedding. Find your center and get something out of it other than voting to have a hot dog sale, pay the bills and repeating back last meetings minutes. Some things outside the box would be interesting.

    What if the states (U.S. GLs) created 12 or more mini degrees or Marks perhaps, that were short 5-15 minute rituals given each meeting. Have guys play the parts of (fill in any name from Masonry) and have a lesson along with them as we do our actual three degrees. They could cover areas of the first three degrees and fill in some gaps (Sounds a little Yorkish/Scottish Rite I Know). They would primarily get the gears turning in the member's heads, cause them to contemplate them if participating in them or observing maybe. Sounds ridiculous maybe but if serious members were paying those high dues, they would perhaps be more involved and volunteer to do the 'marks'. If 12-25 short degrees were written, lodges could select from them randomly and present the rituals at each meeting whether one or two meetings per month.
     
  12. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    4,403
    3,093
    133
    Who knows, but don't forget in 1945 the number of members of the Grand Lodge of Germany.

    My second lodge - you'd be spending over $1K per year,we wear dinner suits, make Bros wait 12 months etc etc... I think forget about what happens in a jurisdiction, if you're looking for success stories, look at individual lodges and how they retain initiates for more than a decade. That's where the answers lay..
     
  13. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

    1,749
    545
    113
    I was in the 30th today and commented to our District Grand Commander that no one knows what the ladder means. He agreed with that.

    So the ladder appears in the EA TB, in the 18th and in the 30th and still no one seems to know what it means - or more importantly, how to use it.

    Who is surprised that the brethren are leaving?
     
  14. goomba

    goomba Neo-Antient Site Benefactor

    679
    701
    143
    Brother Jones, I loved the video!

    While I didn't leave the fraternity for a while (18 months) I did stop attending lodge. I however never missed a York Rite meeting. The brothers in my Chapter, Council, and Commandery are fantastic! Never have I heard a bad word about anyone or anything. My first taste of Masonic Education was after my Royal Arch Degree. My current lodge however is great. The first time I visited it they talked about the Nine Muses and assisted a lodge in PR that was destroyed. By assisted I mean they sent a check of either 5 or 10 grand with a promise for more if needed.

    After listening to various videos from the Masonic Roundtable, I now believe them that our fraternity is not dying it is redefining.
     
    JJones and LK600 like this.
  15. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

    2,120
    2,103
    133
    LOL! You'd be amazed!
     
    Warrior1256 likes this.
  16. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

    804
    653
    113
    Agreed. And, I'm not so much trying to emulate the German (or any other district) model as much as I am pointing out that it is my belief that the large numbers that many Masons look back to and admire have led to our current system and it's downfalls whereas the small numbers of more dedicated individuals seen elsewhere is not the travesty that many here think it to be.
     
    Bloke likes this.
  17. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,935
    2,394
    133
    I suggest that the reason our order got our good reputation is what happened before the large numbers. I suggest the large numbers happened because of the prior good reputation. Having large numbers allowed the order to fund large charities and build large facilities, but having large numbers also changed the focus to social events. Fellowship is crucial but only part of our process.

    The reason I look to Germany's GL is they are invitational. They are small population bodies with elite membership. To me this is exactly how Masonry got its reputation in the first place. By inviting the best men within the cable tow of each lodge.

    Brothers who focus on membership numbers and large facilities naturally disagree with me very time I mention invitations. This is why that happens. No one now outside of Germany and other invitational jurisdictions have ever seen invitations at work. I've only seen it through transferred members. But I'm a history hobbyist and most are not.

    There's an added difference. In the invitational era lodges were small and short lived. Lodges were born, grew shrank, died. It's how our lodge numbers got to be as high as they are now. When we stopped inviting we also stopped chartering new lodges and letting old lodges die. Instead our lodges grew to be able to afford magnificent structures that we can no longer afford to maintain.
     
    Raymond Walters and Bloke like this.
  18. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

    804
    653
    113
    Are you sure that German lodges are invitational? That certainly isn't the information I've gathered.
     
  19. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

    804
    653
    113
    I apologize, apparently German lodges do allow for recruitment. I'm not a fan of it, but then again, I suppose that the 1 year waiting period to join helps to avoid people either being pressured into it by their friends or just joining on a lark.
     
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,935
    2,394
    133
    A German immigrant raised there ended up serving as a Grand Lodge officer in California while I was in the line in the late 1990s. It's how I first learned that Masonry was originally invitational and that some jurisdictions never did step away from that formational principle.
     

Share My Freemasonry