A fellow was directed to me some weeks ago who was interested in joining Freemasonry. I told him any time he wanted to chat, I’d be more than happy to do so.
He certainly is serious about it, as he’s been talking to members of a number of different Lodges and dropping by after their meetings to ask questions and sort of get to know people (he knows no Masons locally).
Finally, we had a chance to talk and he asked me what Lodge I’d recommend to him.
The first thing I told him was I wasn’t going to immediately shout “Join my Lodge!” because that’s probably the advice every other Mason gave to him. I asked him what he was looking for in the fraternity as Lodges have their own personalities and ways of doing things, such as different fees, different content to meetings and so on.
He admitted he had scoped out a Lodge and met with the brethren but then made a remarkable statement. There are quotation marks here but I’m paraphrasing:
“I don’t think I’m going to petition there. They were like a bunch of old ladies. After the meeting, all they were doing was complaining about this and that. I’m not really a negative person and I’m looking for something positive in my life.”
Lest you think the Lodge in question is full of Grumpy Old Past Masters™ it’s not. There’s a fairly large group of younger members who hang out after meetings.
The Lodge just unsold itself.
Freemasonry recognises negativity, but is a positive force in this world. It reminds each member that he carries with him negative traits, and it is those things that one must diligently measure and then lop off with accuracy using his Masonic working tools. Thus he becomes a better person and, by extension, the world around him become a little bit of a better place for all of us.
And while many Masons recognise there could be an improvement in some administrative aspects—and I’ve written about it here—we should also recognise that Freemasons are the face of Freemasonry to those outside the fraternity. What does it say to the outside world when all a Mason does is endlessly moan and whine, complain and criticise? Especially to a young seeker looking to decide to take the momentous step and become a brother among us on the path of life?
Men join Freemasonry because of “a favourable opinion, preconceived of the Order.” A grandfather or a friend is/was a Mason, and because someone admires the way he carried himself in life, they want to be a Mason. But you can flip the coin and find a truism, too. If that same Mason is not held in high regard, it reflects on all Masons, and what inducement is that for someone to wish to become a member?
I’ve said it before. Anti-Masons can never kill Freemasonry. All they can do is belch out the same foul air from the bowels of falsehood. They cannot win because the glowing light of truth wins in the end; Freemasonry is an institution for good, no matter how they may try to portray it otherwise. No, the only thing that can kill Freemasonry is Freemasons.
Even worse that the smell of the deceptive fables of the antis is the aroma of constant negativity from some of our own members.
The best that Freemasons can do is work to improve themselves and improve their Lodges. While doing so, they should bear in mind the Masonic virtue of prudence—if not silence—when non-Masons are present and trying to learn about our Craft.