Why is it so hard to get Masons to join the Commandery?

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by David Melear, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. RyanC

    RyanC Registered User

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    Just like begin a Grand Lodge Officer they have their own style of Blazers too.
     
  2. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    I'll still participate just not as an officer.
     
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  3. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    And one can also say, if you insist on keeping the uniform, you accept that most young men won't want to participate.
     
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  4. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    That's fine. Young people today have too much of a sense of entitlement and getting their own way. Commanderies shouldn't have to cater to everyone's demands. It is a voluntary organization.
     
  5. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    Above is of course a valid statement, but I think it speaks to the core of the problem. Most young people don't see the point in the Commandery. It seems like an organization dedicated to marching and wearing silly uniforms. And not as the pinnacle of light that the York rite has to offer. I think that the reason most masons continue onwards to the YR is that there is good additional light and masonic knowledge to be found that builds well on what we've already had in blue lodge. However if all I find at the end of the rainbow are silly costumes that are expensive and people that want to march, it certainly isn't for me. Where's the study groups, the books and the light?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  6. RyanC

    RyanC Registered User

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    I think people today want more out of Freemasonry, I think those that are joining today are less entitled when it comes to light in Masonry than those in the past. They are going out of their way to find information that most never tried to learn or where never thought. I agree I'm looking too learn to improve myself through knowledge, I spent four years in the Marine Corp where I learned Drill,and drill has now to with self improvement.
     
  7. RyanC

    RyanC Registered User

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    USMC defines Close Order Drill as; The object of close order drill is to teach Marines by exercise to obey orders and to do so immediately in the correct way. Close order drill is one foundation of discipline and esprit de corps. Additionally, it is still one of the finest methods for developing confidence and troop leading abilities in our subordinate leaders

    I don't see anything masonic about that.
     
  8. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I agree with pretty much most of that. I am not a major Commandery cheerleader; never have been, never will be. I participate out of an obligation to the other YR bodies. I honestly don't see the Commandery as the top of YR light. It doesn't even stick to the basic Masonic story. Some guys love it above all other bodies. I don't care for the uniforms and drill, either, but like I said, if you want to participate, it's part of it. Heck, I am a Navy veteran; we didn't march! My favorite Commandery meetings are the ones where we open in short form. I consider the YR College much more prestigious than the Commandery.

    I wasn't really defending the Commandery earlier, and I certainly wasn't defending the uniforms. I don't know that I'd stoop to calling the uniforms silly. That's an opinion and not fact. They are/can be expensive. What I was defending is an organization not bending to people saying, "I'd join if you change to suit me."
     
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  9. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    We don't.
     
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't look at it that way, although I certainly see what you mean. If a Commandrie doesn't want to change their uniform in hopes of attracting younger members then they're completely in their right to do so. However, what if -existing- members dislike the uniforms? I think it's also within their rights to work towards change if they see fit.
     
  11. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    And that is something I can greatly respect. But think that the YR will face a challenge to a certain extend if they don't adapt in some ways. We all know that we've got less Masons to go around, and if the ones coming in don't find the present content that interesting they will not join.

    What YR has got going for it is the number of invitational bodies, where being part of the Commandery probably helps you get an invite, so people may still join due to that. Question then becomes if they as an organization are happy to be considered a necessary step to get to somewhere else. That'll keep you with dues paying members, but maybe not active ones.
     
  12. kastonw

    kastonw Premium Member

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    That's why I'm trying to get my uniform I would like to be a officer lol
     
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  13. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Perhaps it is a byproduct of me being asked to be an officer, but the uniforms seem less silly to me than they once did. I dunno, I guess they're growing on me or something. The cost really is a major drawback though.

    I wonder though, is the uniform actually something stopping new members from *joining*, or rather is it an obstacle to retaining membership? It doesn't seem to me that new members would point to the uniform as a reason not to join. Most complaints like that don't occur until they've already joined. After all, like most everybody says, you don't need the uniform to be a member or attend meetings, just to be an officer. So it seems to me this topic should be thought of two ways: 1) why is it hard to get new members? and 2) why can't we retain members?

    Both of these are lengthy topics, but as the title of this thread is "joining", I'll comment there.
    Did anyone read this month's KT magazine? In it, there was an article talking about membership retention and active participation between "festival"/"class" degrees/orders and individual conferral of degrees/orders. The article stated that there was markedly less participation in members who received orders via festival versus individual conferral. Stay with me here. I can't help but notice in my own Masonic career that I am much more invested in Blue Lodge, Chapter, and Council, than I am in the Commandery. The difference? I received all my blue, red, and purple (if you will) degrees right there in my own lodge/c&c. It really struck a chord and made an impact receiving my degrees first hand rather than be side-lined for the whole thing. Conversely, I received my orders from the side-line during a Commandery only class/festival (as my Commandery could not get together to put them on), with only very little participation granted me toward the very end. Don't get me wrong, the Commandery that put on the Orders did a superb job, but it's just not the same and I would be hard pressed to say that the Orders had much if any impact on me personally/emotionally the way the rest did.
    Now, my ultimate point: Is it possible that the majority of men are receiving their Chapter and Council degrees in festival/class format rather than individually, thus creating a slew of non-active c&c members? Once they see how little attention and care is given to them in the bodies leading up to the Commandery, why would they spend more money and commit time to something that they (might) perceive little value to them? Perhaps some investigation may be given to the local Chapters and Councils to see what their retention looks like. After all, just as the Blue Lodge is the fertile ground for new Royal Arch Masons, so is the Chapter the fertile ground for new Sir Knights. Men who only seek a title will get the orders then leave anyway, the ones who aren't only groping for titles, may just be disenchanted exactly how much more Light the YR provides.

    /EDIT: Thus I come back around to my arguments that, while festivals are seen as a necessity, they are, in the long run, a bad idea. ;)
     
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  14. kastonw

    kastonw Premium Member

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    I agree I received my Mark Masters degree in my lodge but the rest of my degrees were all done in a Festival I remember my Mark Masters degree very well I received a lot from it then to sit and watch the degrees be done one after another jammed into 1 or 2 days it's harder to remember it and it leaves you overwhelmed
     
  15. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm also in agreement on this. It's very unfortunate that more rural areas, such as my own, cannot confer YR degrees outside of festivals due to the large amount of manpower required. I went through a one day festival for ALL of my YR degrees and, until I saw them again years later, could not give you more than a few memorable details about the entire day. Festivals are like trying to drink water from a fire hose.
     
  16. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I agree on the festivals. We had our fall festival in November and brought in two new members. We have four coming through the first of the year that couldn't make the festival, so we will confer their degrees/orders at home. It has been 20+ years, but I remember very little about getting the degrees when I went through in a festival. It wasn't until I started working the degrees that I got the benefit, and I didn't appreciate the Order of the Temple until I was a "practice candidate" years after I actually received it.

    As for the uniforms, yes, once you become an officer, they seem less silly. Honestly, the whole reason I ever got on board the uniform train was because I missed a December meeting and found out the next day I was an officer for the following year!
     
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  17. cacarter

    cacarter Premium Member

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    Did the festivals, barely remember any of it. Became an officer in my Commandery two months after joining. Right after inspection was done, I quit. The uniform was not the reason I quit, I bought it except for the chapeau, sword, and belt which I borrowed from the dead mans closet. The reason I didn't stick around and advance was because I found zero value in my membership and participation. It seemed that commanderies were more worried about scores in drill, order of the temple, and inspection. I didn't join to compete in the Captain Crunch Mickey Mouse Marching games. My Commandery is nearly made up entirely of past commanders and/or past grand commanders or current grand officers, so everyone argues about who is right and each tries to have the last word. Meetings felt more like a stroking of egos than learning or doing anything of value. Every meeting I wanted to fall on my sword to end the misery. That's why I didn't stick around.
     
  18. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I just noticed this; sorry, I wasn't ignoring it.

    As to the question if existing members work to change the uniforms, I have no problem with that at all.
     
  19. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    I don't have a problem with the uniform, just the cost.
     
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  20. Morris

    Morris Premium Member

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    I think this is the basic issue. It's very hard to balance your work, school, kids gymnastics/youth baseball, blue lodge, your other blue lodge, oh and an appendant body.

    In a 20 workday month I average around:

    8 baseball practices
    8 night school classes
    4 gymnastics
    4 lodge visits
    1 scottish rite visit

    There is simply no time for anything else.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014

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