Freemasonry has gotten a reputation as an organisation in decline. This is very much not true.
What is true, however, is that Freemasonry, along with every other fraternal club, saw huge booms in the twentieth century, and those boom times are gone. Frankly, those boom times were probably not that great for Freemasonry.
They drew the focus away from self-improvement and brotherhood, and into more publicly-focused areas. Rather than helping each other grow better, some even used the brotherhood to help each other grow richer. Charity became an industry, rather than a personal offer of relief.
When membership declined from these lofty heights, some Masonic lodges moved toward an any-and-all-comers view of membership. But Freemasonry is not for everyone. Sadly, it’s not even for most people. And joining a Masonic lodge when you shouldn’t isn’t good for you, your lodge, or freemasonry in general.
Here’s why you shouldn’t join Freemasonry.
If you’re looking for business contacts
I can’t say you won’t find them in a lodge. You can’t help meet potential business contacts when you meet new people. But frankly you’re probably not going to have much luck. Masons come from every walk of life. Going to a lodge for networking is like going to a football game for networking. No one is there to listen to your pitch.
There are networking benefits. If you meet a brother who is a mechanic, then you have a pretty good chance that he’ll give you a square deal (there’s no Masonic discount, sorry) and treat you right. Not because you’re both Masons, but because he’s probably just a good guy.
If you’re looking for help expanding your client base, however, look elsewhere.
If you’re just looking for a place to help the community
Masonry has been called the world’s greatest charity, and though we do affiliate ourselves with several charitable groups, and believe that relief is a core tenet of being a better man, Freemasonry isn’t a service club, it’s a brotherhood.
Raising money for good causes is a beautiful, noble thing. Plenty of Masonic Lodges that do this. But nowadays quiz nights, BBQs, St George lunches are more to keep a lodge’s doors open than for the community at large.
In all honesty, if your focus is on community service, there are clubs that just plainly do it better than we ever will.
If you’re looking for a social club
A good masonic lodge will have great fraternity, and that fraternity is part of a package of dedication, ritual, education, and self-discipline. Freemasons aren’t just friends, we’re brothers.
Members just looking for pals and drinking buddies, without being willing to give that extra part of themselves will ultimately find Freemasonry a very lonely, unfulfilling pursuit. It can be said of any group that you get what you give, and that’s especially true in Freemasonry.
If you’re looking for answers to Masonic Secrets
In the words of Giovanni Casanova:
Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose.
Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.
He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.
Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33
As a Freemason one can only aspire to Know, to Know what nobody can pass him, to Know what only he can sense, the glimpse of Divinity, the meaning of life and creation. And, if he is successful, he will understand that words can not convey this knowledge to anyone else, he can just help his brothers to make their journeys in order to aspire to sense, to perceive, to look. And then come to realize that this is the famous masonic secret!
When you should consider to join Freemasonry!
If you find yourself interested in not just friendship, but brotherhood; if you believe you need to improve yourself rather than just your community; if you believe that charity begins with a hand up, not a hand out, then absolutely knock on our doors. We’ll be there to answer.
Article by Bro. Wito Schouten
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