Tuesday, May 29, 2012

June Poll: Why Did You Become A Mason?

I'm taking a completely unscientific poll this month about why men join the fraternity. Be sure to take the poll in the right top of the blog and let me know. Feel free to comment further on your reasons here, especially if your vote falls into the "other" category.

Think about your "elevator pitch", the way you explain to a total stranger in 20 seconds what a Mason is—not some canned speech memorized from the back of a grand lodge brochure, and certainly not "a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," because that is a completely baffling phrase to someone who knows nothing about us. It's the job of all of us, every day, to live what we are taught, and to be someone's example of Freemasonry. So, tell someone why you joined, what makes you come back every Tuesday, why you give up your time and treasure to be a Mason.

Because that's what he really wants to know.

While I'm at it, thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog. I started it just over four years ago in May 2008, and today I see that there have been over 1,230,000 page views here since I began. That is staggering to me, and I am appreciative of the many notes, comments and kindnesses I have received because of it. I'll keep plugging away.

23 comments:

Paul Maglinger said...

I joined the Freemasons because my father was a Freemason. But I became a Freemason when I started getting involved in Lodge activities and became an officer. I'm proud to say that I'm now a Past Master of my Lodge and still involved. I didn't expect the payback I got from being an active member, but it is "priceless".

feraldb said...

Chris, Thank you for asking the question. The most basic reason that I became a Mason is very personal. When my father died suddenly several years ago, I was confronted by the question from the funeral director about pallbearers. I then remembered that my grandfather's pallbearers were from his local lodge--the same one as my Dad's. I said this to the funeral director and he said it would be taken care of. Later, six men that I did not know came to my Dad's funeral as pallbearers and did a wonderful job. After the service, when I tried to thank them, they all said that there was no need for thanks, they were "honored" to do this. Who were these people that I did not know that were honored to do this for a fellow Mason? As I reflected on this tragic, but important event in my life, I realized that I needed to know more about Freemasonry. I needed to know more about why my Father and Grandfather thought so highly of this brotherhood. Since joining my local lodge, my experiences in Freemasonry have have helped being me closer to my Father and Grandfather. I have also learned so much about history and tradition. I wish I know known all of this when my Father was alive!

Ferald Bryan
DeKalb, Illinois Lodge #144

kevinlswartz said...

God Bless Brother Chris. As long as you keep writing I'll keep reading.

Thomas said...

I became a mason with purpose to become a better man. A memorable scene from As Good as it Gets is in a restaurant in Baltimore, where Melvin has insulted Carol's dress and she insist that he gives her a compliment. He rambles about going to the psychiatrist and deciding to take his medication. She is pretty confused and asks him how that is a compliment. Melvin looks her straight in her face and says: "You made me want to be a better man!"

I see masonry as a twelve-step-program for men, who happens not to be an alcoholic, but still realize that he needs to confront his dark sides and work on his virtues. And as Melvin we don't change over night. But we do the walk and progress toward becomming the perfect ashlar. The social part is nice too, but it is not the issue in it self. I am a busy man and I didn't joint the lodge because. I was vores or lonely.


Thomas.

Harry Williams said...

Some might say my reason is family tradition, but I never knew either of my grandfathers, and while my father is a mason, it wasn't a central focus for him. I did join because I wanted to spend time with my father. I was in my mid-30s, and joining lodge and attending with him was a way to spend time with him, and learn who my father is. He no longer drives, and I now pick him up for each meeting and drive him there and back home. It's something we do together, even though I've done many other things in the fraternity now; spending as much or more time without him, but I still enjoy talking with him on the way to lodge.

Harry

Frank Kautz said...

While Charity might not have been my primary reason for joining, it was my secondary reason. I enjoyed the ability of our brethren pooling their money together to make our charity more useful.

Fraternally,

Frank

Unknown said...

"a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols" is a completely baffling phrase to someone who DOES know about us and HAS read Freemasons for Dummies!

...and don't get me started on the whole "it's not a secret society, it's a society with secrets" thing!

I joined Freemasonry because my father was a Mason, his father was a Mason, and so on all the way back to Scotland for hundreds of years or so. My son became a Mason for different reasons (at least he knew his Dad was a Mason, and didn't discover it from an old box of dues cards after his dad's funeral).

I'm still working on my elevator pitch: "We secretly rule the world. And we like pie."

Shawn Bell

Silver Cord said...

Because I felt like I have always been one.

Peter Blaikie said...

I became a mason because I found it to be a great group of brothers who welcomed me into a whole new way of really trying to be a better "me" while also awakening a new appreciation of history that I thought I left behind in my school days. Growing up in Charlestown MA, the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill, I was so surprised to find just how much Freemasonry was part of where I grew up. As a Roman Catholic, Freemasonry was never brought up and I have now started to delve back into history to really get more out of it and how the fraternity I know enjoy fits into this. The people I have met in the lodge have been great and I have found a place where great discussions can ensue without the typical landmines of religion and politics dropping in. I thoroughly enjoy going to the lodge and look forward to each meeting.

Peter Blaikie - King Soloman's Lodge AF&AM, Somerville, MA

sfpadgett said...

I became a Mason, as a family tradition. Both Great Grandfathers, Both grandfathers, father (many uncles / cousins). What has "kept" me is the Shriner's. I have served as Worshipful Master of my Lodge and Potentate of Yaarab Shrine. I joined when I was 21, Worshipful Master at 25, Potentate at 38, now I'm 54 and still active in the Shrine. Even at my "older" age, I still hear (We have ALWAYS done it this way, and WE have NEVER done it that way). these phrases should be "banned" in the Masonic community, there should be a valid REASON why something is done the way it is. (I'm not talking about changing the historical Masonic degrees's, just general operation of the Lodge functions / Shrine functions). We want new members, but so many times when we get new members the "older" members push them to the side and will not listein to new/different ideas.

John Ratcliff said...

My original motivation was to make new (quality) friends in the community.

John

The K.N.O. said...

I became a Mason after reading about philosophers and statesmen I admired and discovering many of them to be Masons. I had a friend who was a Mason, and after inquiring several times, I received a petition. I have served as WM of my Lodge and am currently the Lodge Organist.

Wayfaring Man said...

I kept encountering stories about Freemasonry in battle, and the extraordinary Masonic interventions that occurred as a result. I had to know....

My elevator pitch? "Come to the dark side: we have Sanka."

Halleran

masonicleader said...

Chris,
Last night we just began our Shrine Pinnacle Leader program for Shriners International and the subject of the presentation was "Start with Why," based on the book of the same name by Simon Sinek. His premise is that great organizations & leaders create a compelling statement of "why" they do what they do and use it to inspire others. As a part of the course we have asked the participants to write a compelling statement of why they became a Mason. Leaders need a solid set a values to earn respect and trust. Being able to explain "why" you do something is more inspiring that telling someone "what" you do.

Mike Clevenger
New England #4
Worthington Ohio

The K.N.O. said...

You guys get Sanka? How do you rate? ;.)

Ben said...

I know why, but I find it almost ineffable. I became a Mason because of a charity that was given to me in my sophomore year at college; I knew that I wanted to become part of that and "give back." Why I stay a Mason is what I ask myself each day; I do not mean that in a negative sense. I stay a Mason, I think, because it pushes me to be better than myself; it connects me to men I respect throughout history, and allows me to share something deeper than family with other good men. I have found God through Masonry; I think he found me to. :-)

THE LOW LIFE said...

As far as the “elevator pitch” is concerned I think that it is pretty easy to do. I believe that Masonry is just as, if not more, relevant and important than it has ever been. The 21st century has connected us all to the grid and offers little chance to disconnect. Our lives are filled with constant media bombardment and disposable products. The Craft offers refuge and solace from the constant onslaught of noise and chaos. It also offers men, young men in particular, a place of peace and a connection to men of a like mind that transcends time. Masonry is one of the last non-disposable things in the world.

I became a Mason for several reasons. The first is because I had a roommate who was born in Nicaragua. During the war a Mason from FL brought him and his family to the U.S., gave them a place to stay and helped them get on their feet. My roommate’s father is a Brother and had met the Brother from Miami once. After college my roommate Juan joined a Lodge here in NYC and I went with him. I was amazed as to how they seemed to help each other out. Secondly I was always interested in Benjamin Franklin. The more I read up on him and his contemporaries, the more everything pointed to the craft.

Bro. Isaac Ambrose Moore
Mariners Lodge No.67
F.& A.M.
New York City

Corky In Texas said...

I was talking to my son-in-law, one day, about twenty years ago, about getting ahead in this old world when it happened. My dad had been a Mason, my son was a Mason and my daughter had been treated for cerebral palsy for many years at the Shrine Hospital at no charge.
Anyway, I said, “Peter, why don’t you talk to my son John about joining the Masonic Lodge. They are a bunch of good guys and you will make a bunch of new friends.”
Peter looked at me for a minute, then pulled the big one on me. “I will if you will too.” He said. So a couple of months later, with me 64 years old, Peter and I went through the Entered Apprentice Degree the same night. Now at 84 I am still going strong.

John "Corky" Daut PM
Waller Masonic Lodge #808 Waller, Texas
pineilse@swbell.net
The Small Town Texas Masons E-magazine

Thomas R. Labagh said...

Many fine men gave of their time and talent to help me learn and grow as a ritualist and leader in my DeMolay Chapter. All of them were Masons. I joined to pay them back by continuing to work with DeMolay and also to learn more about the fraternity that I respected and admired.

Mediator said...

Short answer: Retired and wanted to give back to the Community, i.e. pay some rent for taking up space on earth. Also to make new friends, explore new ideas, and to have fun. To sit in boring meetings: NOT.

Traveling Bear said...

Great Poll! I always enjoy different Brothers' answers to that question. I also enjoy there answers, which are always different from the the first, to "why did you stay active?"

Michael S. Ratliff, DDofGM #3
Holbrook Lodge #30
Prospect Lodge #714

Stephen Vickers said...

I joined Freemasorny as a way to connect with my family heritage. My Grandfather and 2 great-grandfathers, great uncles and cousins are/were Hoosier Masons. I am the 13 Mastermason in 5 generations, with my mom's generation being skipped. We have/had 2 ladies in the star and one in Rainbow girls. I moved away to the hills of Arkansas and joined the lodge here but my heart is a Hoosier and love to talk about Arkansas vs. Indiana masonry with my grandfather.

Stephen Vickers
Ashley Lodge #66
Berryville Ar.

jonathan taylor said...

When I read my Grandfathers obituary in the paper I found out he was a mason. He was a GREAT man and I wanted to try to be like him. (My Father although a great man also, is not a mason.) While asking one of my bosses about masonry (I didn't know he was a mason either) I found out how to become one. "Ask one to be one" he said. So I asked to join not knowing the slightest bit about freemasonry. I just knew that it had to be a good organization for my Grandfather to be part of it. When I got initiated... WOW...To keep a long story short. I can't believe how large my family has become, and how many GREAT people are in it now. Not just fellow masons, but their families too! Masonry does not make a man good, but it does make good men great! Following the teachings and leaders in my lodge I have become a better husband, father and all around human being!

Thanks:
Jonathan Taylor
Browns Cross Roads Lodge #529
Abbeville, Al