The following was presented October 19, 2021, by Education Officer Joe West.
The Reasons Freemasonry Fails (Part 2)
I wish I didn’t have to continue this list, but after another frustrating Masonic experience I feel like this needs to be put out in the open.
1) Your Lodge gives members nothing of “value” for the time they give to it. Time is one of the most precious commodities in life, and people allocate it sparingly. By the time we take care of work, sleep, eating, hygiene, etc., little time is left in a day for anything else. And when someone gives you some of those scarce hours on any day, they will naturally expect some type of intangible “value” back from giving that time. No, it is not a straight up transaction or one-for-one kind of deal, but humans want value from their investment of time. Fail to give them anything in return for that and you shouldn’t wonder why they stop coming. Ask yourself this simple question — what value does my Lodge give to its members? If you are coming up blank, then you have the answer on why most seats are empty at the regular communication.
2) Your Lodge lacks original ideas and always resists any form of innovation. The old joke — “How many Mason’s does it take to change a light bulb? Ha my great-great-great grandpa installed that light bulb, I’ll be damned if we are going change it. ” If your Lodge is doing the same old thing year in and year out. If your Lodge refuses to do anything new because the older members are resistant to change (and no other good reason). If your Lodge gives members the same stale experience month after month, year after year. Well, if that is all true, then no wonder more demits show up in a year than petitions.
3) Your Lodge has become both a political thriller and sitcom. The only problem is your local Lodge is not “House of Cards” and no one wants to watch your crappy TV show. Fighting over stupid stuff and perpetuating needless internal political disputes is a sure-fire way to alienate anyone who wants to get involved and actually do something.
4) Your Lodge has become no different than the generic civic club down the street. Masonic ritual isn’t the end all and be all of Masonic existence but it is what makes our fraternity different than the phone book list of local civic organizations. If your Lodge functions more like one of those institutions and not a Masonic body, then no wonder men aren’t knocking on your door. What would attract them to your purely generic institution instead of one of the many others in town that might have more of an identity? Handing out a scholarship or giving a check to the local food bank is great, but if that’s how you give the public a taste of what Masons do then no wonder people confuse us with the Lions, Moose, and Red Cross.
5) Your Lodge doesn’t recruit. Ha! I got you with this one. I know what you were thinking. “We don’t recruit!!! (jurisdictional). ” No, I am not saying actively go out and pass out petitions or ask random guys if they want to join. That would be un-Masonic in most jurisdictions. But in order to get men interested in joining they need to at least 1) know your Lodge is active, 2) have some semblance of an idea how to contact it, 3) understand that membership is something that can be requested and is not predicated on something like being related to a Mason, and 4) have some idea of why they should give you a check for several hundred dollars to pay for initiation. If you can’t address these four basic things, no wonder it has been years since you last got a petition.