Why did you become a Freemason?
From: Stephen C. Bair <SCBRoslyn@aol.com>Reply-To: SCBRoslyn@aol.com
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2006 01:50:49 EDT
Subject: Why I Joined Freemasonry
Why did I join Freemasonry?
What attracted me to Freemasonry?
What did Freemasonry offer me that I did not find in other societies?
I'm afraid if I were writing to Chris McNeil, I would have to say that
those are questions that I am pondering at this very moment as I
approach the conclusion of my first year in Freemasonry.
"...if I were responding to Chris McNeil, I would have to say that as of
now, I get absolutely nothing from Freemasonry."
I joined Freemasonry because of what was presented by the organization
itself as reasons to join; fraternity, camaraderie, and the idea of
"making good men better". I have to honestly say that I've found none
of that, to this point.
All it has been the entire time is meeting, degree work, meeting, degree
work, meeting, degree work, and so on. There has been almost no
socialization, no one ever sees anyone outside of these occasions,
nothing presented to me that makes me feel that I am surrounded by men
who, though they seem like they are good, are making themselves (and
myself) any better.
The meetings are inane, pointless, and involve nothing of an
intellectual or spiritual nature that help me to consider life or the
problems that we all deal with. They are usually centered around
someone talking about Freemasonry in other countries or profiles of
Freemasons from history. I was recruited to help with this degree work
that involves two more nights a month; one for rehearsal and one for the
ceremonies. This last aspect is completely uninteresting to me and
entirely too time-consuming. I couldn't care less how to hold the sword
correctly or what to say at a specific time, or anything like that.
None of this helps me gain further "light" as they always talk about,
make me a better person, or help me to become a better person.
In fact, I often walk away from these gatherings of usually more than
three hours any more saying to myself, "Wow, was that a colossal waste
of my time."
"No one ever calls... just to talk or do something outside of the
I mentioned these things, albeit in a kinder fashion, in passing one
night to one or two of my "brethren", who promptly turned around and
spread word of my "discontent" to others. Before I knew it, I was
surrounded by people who responded (in annoyed tones) by telling me that
if I thought we should have gatherings outside of the formal meetings
and ceremonies, I should be in charge of it or join other organizations
under the Mason umbrella that were more geared toward social and
informal gatherings. This was a complete cop-out on their part on two
levels. First, I feel that this is an aspect that should already be in
place, not generated by some new, inexperienced member.
Second, I'm not asking for a traumatic change in the "business as
usual", merely to augment it. After all, many of them have families and
outside responsibilities. But to make meetings and degree work their
whole reason for being and NEVER do anything outside of it doesn't make
much sense to me.
Additionally, this attitude completely contradicts what was presented to
me as a reason to join. I don't really know any of these guys. No one
ever calls or invites me to call them just to talk or do something
outside of the structured times.
Therefore, if I were responding to Chris McNeil, I would have to say
that as of now, I get absolutely nothing from Freemasonry.
There is, however, a small positive to my story. I'm transferring to
another lodge as of September to see if this is more of an indictment of
my present lodge than Freemasonry in general.
If it turns out that the problem is my current lodge, as is my hope, I
will willingly continue my journey in the order happily. If it turns
out that what I have been experiencing is the essence of what
Freemasonry is all about, I will quickly sour on it and leave.
Stephen C. Bair
From: A Page About Freemasonry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 06 Aug 2006 06:29:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Why I Joined Freemasonry
dear Bro. Bair,
Thank you for that very frank response and assessment of Masonry. I
hope you can inspire your lodge to change, or can find another lodge
more to your liking.
It isn't fun to read, but I do respect honest such forthright criticism,
and will put your letter up online. Maybe a number of Masons will see
their lodge in a new light and your words will incline them to some
changes in how they do things.
I've always seen our ritual as the foundation of the lodge; lodges that
neglect it will always wonder why nothing else they try stays in place.
But of course no one can live in a house that has only a foundation, as
your experiences clearly demonstrate.
fraternal best wishes,
-- Gary L. Dryfoos
A Page About Freemasonry
now at http://MasonryPage.org/
Up to "Why Did You Become...?" page.
Up to Freemasonry main page.