[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: July 2002

From: "Robert Schofield" <rschofield66@attbi.com>
To: <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Subject: Lodge Differences
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 00:06:13 -0400

I am a prospective candidate and have recently inquired about lodges in my area. I was given two contacts (there are 2 lodges in my city) by Ohio's Grand Lodge office; I called both and got answering machines at each. Of course, now I have petitions for both lodges.

What is the difference between lodges?

I don't personally know anyone in either lodge, but I don't wish to offend the other. Does it matter? Should I return one petition?

Thanks,
Bob


From: <dryfoo@MIT.EDU>
Message-Id: <200207251807.OAA09126@thelonious.mit.edu>
To: "Robert Schofield" <rschofield66@attbi.com>
Subject: Re: Lodge Differences
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Thu, 25 Jul 2002 00:06:13 EDT."
             <001601c23390$9dca8e40$94618318@ce1.client2.attbi.com> 
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 14:07:13 -0400

Dear Bob,

Call both back and leave a message that you would like to meet some members of the lodge before filling in a petition.

In your message, of course, leave a time to call when they can reach you, and not your answering machine. (You don't want to end up playing telephone tag.)

Try to meet with members of both lodges. Some differences between lodges could be:

  • When do they meet? It might turn out that one day of the week is better for you than the other.
  • What is the lodge membership? How many total members? How many active members attend most meetings? How old is most of the membership? If you are a younger man and most of the lodge is over 70, with no one your own age, would that be a drawback to you?
  • What kind of activities does the lodge have, besides meetings? Community service projects? Social events for members and wives, for families, for friends?
  • How often does the lodge bring in a candidate? Are the officers in good practice for doing the degree ceremonies?
  • What is the candidate supposed to learn between degrees? What kind of help will the lodge give him in learning that material? (Some lodges are strict about having the candidate learn the required material, which is all to your benefit. Other lodges are rather careless about it, and leave the new members to flounder, without having learned much about Masonry -- which is the whole point in joining, isn't it? Some lodges have good candidate instructors, and others just hope that one of the brothers might be available if the candidate remembers to call and ask.)
  • You can ask the members you speak with in each lodge why they think their lodge is a good one.

If you are too intimidated to ask all these questions, you could print out this letter and bring it along. Show it to them and ask them to read it aloud and talk about the questions and answers.

Oh, one more thing: if one of the lodges calls you back, and the other one doesn't, that would be a big clue right there, dontcha think? :-)

Best wishes, and be sure to let me know how things turn out!


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| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA (PM)
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|  whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|  or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."
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