Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Lay out any Complaints and suggestions so we can get to grips with them

Moderators: Peter Dowling, Peter Moir, MrBenn, Peter Taylor, JulesTheBit, middlepillar

Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Sirius » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:42 am

I would be grateful if anyone could suggest a means to improve my experience of FM. I feel exceptionally disillusioned with freemasonry and considering leaving. However I do not know whether it is simply a bad experience and to persevere or if this is the case for Masonry as a whole. To give some background.

I am early 30s, a FC and have been within the fraternity for approx 2 years. Progression to MM this year.
My lodge demographic is heavily over 65. With the nearest to my age/ shared interests being 2-3 brethren aged 40-50.
Lodge members seek zero contact outside of the lodge. Initially I attended every LOI/R in good spirit of furthering Masonic knowledge and to better know brethren despite the vast age gaps and obvious difference is outside interests. Only 4 other members ever attended from a lodge of 35 members.
The young masons club for my province (joined to meet others like me) are “young” masons are generally 45+ and activities are geared towards that age group - poker night, debate team, brewery tours, or what amounts to drink up events away from/ sometimes with the wife. Not quite the sponsored skydiving, monument visiting, outdoor hiking excitement or the betterment that is advertised.
I joined another young masons club next to my province with younger demographic (all under 35) however the casual monthly social events are not so casual for me as they are quite a struggle to get to and from (due to living and working in my home province, 1.5 hour travel distance for a small amount of time such as after work beers is not really viable especially as I’m teetotal.) major events I am more likely to attend as it warrants the travel, however it is hard to build connections and friendships when there is not a regular rapport.
I have done a few visits to other lodges within my province with members of my Lodge, however only a few as generally lodge meeting times are not too friendly for 9-5 workers e.g start at 4.30. There is still usually a huge age gap and a struggle to find similar experiences.
For comparison, I am also in the TA and feel all that Masonry over promised and under delivered, is fulfilled there. Without constant bombardment from the management pushing for donations into a festival fund which is the sole overriding concern of our province - with little explanation to the newly initiated EA as to what charities we are supporting and why. I regularly take part in fundraisers with the TA and always happy to do so. They also run other team events which I gladly take part in.
Overall every piece of Masonic Education regarding symbolism and development has been self taught from a number of books or the new Solomon site. Despite being willing to become a better person and hunger for learning this is not on the agenda for my province.
If I was to sum up Freemasonry based on my experience, I would say it is an organisation that has an aged membership with some members confusing brotherly relief with self interest. Self interest in 1) rising up a hierarchy for status 2) one older brethren told me that most members stick around knowing they are soon to request assistance from the charity themselves.
I would suggest an equivalent amount of charitable activity and fellowship could be sought at a charity quiz/ disco night in a local public house and self development from a self help audio.

So is it something that I am doing wrong? My local centres or the fraternity as a whole? What would your recommendations be to improve my experience and stay within the fraternity or would it be best to cut my losses?

I will disclaim that this may not be the case for freemasonry as a whole and based entirely on my own opinions and experiences.
Sirius
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:35 pm

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Stevecoath » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:48 am

I think the first question you need to ask yourself is "What am I expecting out of Freemasonry?".
I have no idea what bought you to the Craft in the first place, whether it was a friend who introduced you to his Lodge or after study of Freemasonry you decided it was something that appealed to your own outlook on life.
Some people join in the belief that there are great secrets to be learned - which there are, however many members are not aware of what they are.
The true meaning of FM seems to only exist amongst certain members and certain Lodges.
The reason is nothing to do with it being jealously guarded but more that the great rank and file of members are not interested.
This leaves you with several choices.
1. Decide that, based upon your experience, Freemasonry is not for you and resign.
2. Remain a member, learn your ritual and be able to recite it parrot fashion without ever questioning why the words used were chosen or what the message is.
3. Visit other Lodges. They are not all the same, speak to other members. I can guarantee that what you want is out there. I take your point regarding start times but there are also those that meet later or meet on Saturdays.

You mention self taught development as if that is a negative. By studying even one book that is not a ritual book you already know more that a great number of members.

If you want to join Freemasonry just to talk in the bar and dine then there are Lodges for that.
If you want to learn ritual and deliver it in ceremonies without reading from the book then there are Lodges for that.
If you want to study ritual, hidden secrets and what is commonly referred to as esoteric work then yes, there are also Lodges for that.

But ultimately everything goes back to my opening question and the only person who can answer that is yourself.
PM Edmonton Latymer Lodge 5026 UGLE (Hertfordshire); PZ Edmonton Latymer Chapter 5026
MM, Gladsmuir MMM 367; WCN Gladsmuir RAM 367; Preceptory of Jacques de Molay KT 670; Waltham Holy Cross A&AR 372; Walnut Tree Conclave RCC 440; John Mortimer Council R&SM 247; Hertfordshire KTP 29; VII and ProvGTreasurer Blaise Pascal SRIA 70;
Stevecoath
LRUK Supreme Member
LRUK Supreme Member
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:56 pm
Location: London

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Sirius » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:16 pm

Thanks for replying Steve. I approached GL and they filtered me down to my local lodge.

I agree it’s not a bad thing to do self study and seek out knowledge but to be left entirely to ones own devices seems to defeat the object of joining the fraternity.

I came looking for fellowship with like minded people, sharing common interest in the symbolism of freemasonry and how this develops good men. I actually think the promotional booklet encouraging people to join best sums up why I joined:

“Freemasonry provides a unique environment for people from all backgrounds to learn skills, make lasting friendships, achieve their potential and above all have fun.”

For me and my experience I have not seen opportunity to do this nor where I can turn to in order to further seek it out.
Sirius
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:35 pm

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Stevecoath » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:06 pm

I joined like yourself - I wrote to Grand Lodge who put me in touch with my local Province, who in turn put me in touch with a Lodge.
However, at no time was their any emphasis on "is this the best Lodge for this individual?", it was more "what lodges need members".

Luckily I have met others in my masonic journey who have guided me and I try to do the same going forward.
If a candidate states he is looking for the spiritual or esoteric side of Freemasonry I am able to mentor them and point out the things that are "hidden in plain sight", but at the same time being aware that some of these things I am yet to discover myself.

In a way it is unfortunate that most of these teachings have been removed from the memory of Craft masonry only to exist in Orders beyond the Craft but there are several Craft Lodges where these are strongly emphasised.

In my case if I had just remained a member of my Lodge and restricted my circle to just those members it is doubtful I would still be a Freemason.
PM Edmonton Latymer Lodge 5026 UGLE (Hertfordshire); PZ Edmonton Latymer Chapter 5026
MM, Gladsmuir MMM 367; WCN Gladsmuir RAM 367; Preceptory of Jacques de Molay KT 670; Waltham Holy Cross A&AR 372; Walnut Tree Conclave RCC 440; John Mortimer Council R&SM 247; Hertfordshire KTP 29; VII and ProvGTreasurer Blaise Pascal SRIA 70;
Stevecoath
LRUK Supreme Member
LRUK Supreme Member
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:56 pm
Location: London

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Richard George » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:12 pm

Whilst you don't indicate where you are, it does seem from what you've said that the Province has failed you somewhat as they don't seem to have asked what your interests were when you joined and put you in touch with a lodge that suited you rather than 'who needs members'. I can assure you though, that that's not normally the case - nor is 4.30 a normal start time .. around here, 6.00 is the norm. Plus, quite often the apparent 'disinterest' is most evident amongst those members who have never joined Chapter, Mark, Rose Croix etc. - something you'll be able to investigate once you've been an MM for a month. You quite often find those who join other degrees/orders are much more involved. Whilst I don't have personal experience of it, from what I've heard, it sounds like SRIA could be a fit for you.

As far as the club aspect goes though, you perhaps need to consider offering to organise something for the club - you might be surprised at the take up. Remember that organising things often falls on just a couple of shoulders, and 'new blood, extra ideas' is normally welcomed; it perhaps just needs you to take the initiative.

Either way, I wouldn't make a rash decision and drop out at this point, as I've no doubt you'll find the 'missing pieces' once you've done your MM, although is does sound like you might need to do some offline research to find the aspect of Freemasonry that addresses the feeling of 'missing'.

Hope that makes sense.

And it's probably worth taking note of both Steve's and my signatures; you'll see that we've both ventured beyond the Craft.
Richard George
PAGDC (Craft), PProvGTreas (RAC), PPGIWks (Mark), ProvRAMGR, PProvHerald (KT), 30° (A&AR), BB (KTP), ProvConsTwr (ROS)
Craft: Granta 6179, Porta 9511, CIML 7429
RAC: Fidelity 441, Walden 1280, CIP 7429
Mark: York 334
KT: Arthur Dentith 434
A&AR: Octagon 1076, Iceni 1126, Cambs& Isle of Ely 1157
KTP: Clare 74
ROS: East Anglia
Richard George
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 784
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Trouillogan » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:12 pm

Yes, Sirius, from what you say, both Steve and Richard are giving you good advice. Grit your teeth, take the third step and go visiting. At a rough count, I'm in about six craft lodges and each is different from the others in many ways, age groups, interests, depth of masonic knowledge/interest or lack of same! In orders beyond the craft you will meet many who have the hunger you espouse. Those 'units' tend to be smaller than craft lodges and the members have joined them for very good personal reasons.

For many years our Grand Lodge has been concerned about numbers, not really having taken on board that, following each of the two world wars, there were huge increases in membership which, in the last twenty years or so have been tailing off to what used to be normal levels and naturally the provinces have followed their lead. This chasing after numbers with 'recruiting campaigns' has resulted in members being drafted in who really are not interested in Freemasonry very much. So you can understand how you have found it difficult to get much sense. So, you have quite rightly struck out to make your own researches. A lot of the newer, younger ones have left, leaving the old guard in situ, often staying out of habit, dare I say; that's why you are finding an age gap in some lodges.

If you strike out to other lodges and orders beyond the craft with care, you will eventually find what it is you are seeking. That aim is different for each one of us, so by visiting other lodges and talking to those wearing a Royal Arch breast jewel (you will be told about that at your third degree), you are more than likely going to find what you want. I only mention the Royal Arch because you will need to be a member of that so as to join some of the other orders. Not all have that requirement though.

Richard has mentioned the SRIA. That is not a masonic order but draws its membership from the craft. It deals with philosophic aspects of life, touching on astrology, alchemy and other such esoteric matters.

Here you will find a chart of some of the many orders beyond the craft:
https://www.diariomasonico.com/english/allied-masonic-degrees

I'm pretty sure it's on Solomon but the navigation there can be a little fiddly!

The Wiltshire provincial web site gives some more detailed information:

https://www.pglwilts.org.uk/about-us/masonic-orders-beyond-the-craft

One little problem you will tend to find is that some of these orders can have rather elderly members! That is because retired people have a bit more time to spend on these things - hence early start times. I would say that, for the time being (after your third) the Mark Degree and the Royal Arch should put you more at ease. Only the craft is governed by UGLE; other orders have their own governing bodies.

There are also masonic research lodges and that might interest you. If you send me a PM to say which part of the country you are in, I should be able to point you towards one or more of those in your locality.

Good luck with your searching and keep asking questions!
User avatar
Trouillogan
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 3154
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:19 pm
Location: West Sussex, UK

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Richard George » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:54 am

Trouillogan wrote:Richard has mentioned the SRIA. That is not a masonic order but draws its membership from the craft.

Good point; I forgot to mention that.
Richard George
PAGDC (Craft), PProvGTreas (RAC), PPGIWks (Mark), ProvRAMGR, PProvHerald (KT), 30° (A&AR), BB (KTP), ProvConsTwr (ROS)
Craft: Granta 6179, Porta 9511, CIML 7429
RAC: Fidelity 441, Walden 1280, CIP 7429
Mark: York 334
KT: Arthur Dentith 434
A&AR: Octagon 1076, Iceni 1126, Cambs& Isle of Ely 1157
KTP: Clare 74
ROS: East Anglia
Richard George
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 784
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby russellholland » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:12 am

Hi Sirius

In my view the tide is going out on a range of social institutions including Freemasonry. Freemasonry, many centuries ago, was much better than it is now. The mystique remains despite the outer form being largely social because the inner planes spiritual brotherhood is as real as ever.

Humans are called to fuller spiritual function and those that respond feel the need of companionship and guidance but the current social changes mean that many of us must largely make our own way in the outer world. In the inner worlds however can be found all that is needed by seekers that live an ethical life and look deeply into the hidden mysteries of nature and science.
russellholland
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:14 am

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby admin » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:35 pm

Stay Go its your choice.

I have met some of the most beautiful people the world could produce. I also have met some of the most annoying twits you could find.

In general I would say I will put up with the twits because I would not want, for one moment, the best Freemasonry can offer.

Maybe you could try changing the approach and ask what you can offer Freemasonry rather than what can Freemasonry offer you.

You say there are older members in your Lodge. I wonder how many live alone and only chance they get to chat to younger person for a short time before they go bacck to their one bed flat ? I just went on a Masonic Break with other Masons. Women whos Husbands have gone and Men who are Widowers. Some were frightened of going on the Holiday, they left the Holiday realising someone somewhere ctually cares they are still breathing.

I am being blunt because I want to get you to look from the other side.
Bill McElligott [PPGJW - PPGASoj]
admin@lodgeroomstore.com - skype: lodgeroomint
The Masonic Brotherhood of The Blue Forget-Me-Not

http://lodgeroomstore.co.uk/LRstore/
http://sell-buy.net/info/
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7003
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:36 pm
Location: Essex, England

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Richard George » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:35 pm

One of our members is also a member of the ROS PGL I belong to (he did propose me). He can barely walk as he has fractured vertebrae and, at the moment, they can't do anything as he also has a vitamin deficiency. Unless I take him, he can't get to meetings (he also struggles to get in the car). You've no idea how grateful he is that someone is willing to help with transport - and it leaves a warm feeling knowing that a 20 minute detour has made a difference to someone. The hour's drive has had revelations; I had no idea about some of the things he's done and I've learned things I never dreamt of.

You might find that one of your older members would welcome something similar.
Richard George
PAGDC (Craft), PProvGTreas (RAC), PPGIWks (Mark), ProvRAMGR, PProvHerald (KT), 30° (A&AR), BB (KTP), ProvConsTwr (ROS)
Craft: Granta 6179, Porta 9511, CIML 7429
RAC: Fidelity 441, Walden 1280, CIP 7429
Mark: York 334
KT: Arthur Dentith 434
A&AR: Octagon 1076, Iceni 1126, Cambs& Isle of Ely 1157
KTP: Clare 74
ROS: East Anglia
Richard George
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 784
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Trouillogan » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:22 pm

I can absolutely relate to what you say, Richard and can wholly confirm the two-way benefits.

Some few years ago I was in touch with a brother then in his late eighties about some historical masonic research. He happened to be the one time librarian and curator at Grand Lodge (GQS). What I learned from him is quite out of this world. In return I helped him with computer-related matters and with image enhancements, PowerPoints, booklets etc., you get the drift. He was able to point me to scarcely accessed (or even known about!) documents and manuscripts tucked away in the library, untouched since he was in charge there. He invited me to his 90th where I met a number of his colleagues, his family and other masonic and non-masonic friends, even though we lived at opposite ends of the country. Eventually, he was instrumental in my becoming a member of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge (the world's premier lodge of masonic research).

Being now an old fogey myself, I try to pass on those interests and attitudes to others who may have begun a similar path, with encouragement and, I hope, enthusiasm. What never ceases to amaze me is the common ground between those of disparate ages and outside concerns - the differences disappear during conversation and co-operation, it really does. Today, I learn much from the newer members about their expectations, their concerns and so on - none of which is new! The lessons of the past appear still to be applicable in essence to the times we are in today; we just need to look beyond some of the detail to the underlying supporting principles. Freemasonry continually evolves, ever remaining relevant.

Sirius, stick with it and it will help you through thick and thin!
User avatar
Trouillogan
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 3154
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:19 pm
Location: West Sussex, UK

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby David H » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:08 pm

Sirius wrote:I am early 30s, a FC and have been within the fraternity for approx 2 years. Progression to MM this year.
My lodge demographic is heavily over 65. With the nearest to my age/ shared interests being 2-3 brethren aged 40-50.
Lodge members seek zero contact outside of the lodge. Initially I attended every LOI/R in good spirit of furthering Masonic knowledge and to better know brethren despite the vast age gaps and obvious difference is outside interests. Only 4 other members ever attended from a lodge of 35 members.
The young masons club for my province (joined to meet others like me) are “young” masons are generally 45+ and activities are geared towards that age group - poker night, debate team, brewery tours, or what amounts to drink up events away from/ sometimes with the wife. Not quite the sponsored skydiving, monument visiting, outdoor hiking excitement or the betterment that is advertised.


I think this an extremely depressing post. Apart from the blatent ageism inherent in the post ;) I regret that you have been misled into imagining that Freemasonry is primarily concerned with "sponsored skydiving, monument visiting, outdoor hiking excitement or the betterment that is advertised." Thank goodness it isnt, albeit that the PGM of Sussex has recently been engaged in wing walking. I am completely against clubs for "young masons" and much prefer the "light blues" model which is not ageist. The news is that if you are careful and fortunate you too will be old one day. I enjoy meeting and spending time with people of all ages from 5 - 75. I am extremely proud of the activities of, amongst others The Holywell Club (dont worry the title refers to a lighthouse not a church) - https://holywellclub.org/. Good luck with your quest - you have done well to find this forum - there are some lovely folk here several of whom have helped me in many ways and are giving you some great advice.

At a Lodge level Freemasonry is not a social club - it is something immeasurably better and more rewarding than that. It is a broad church and means different things to different people. Some of the "marketing" in recent uears has IMO been misleading and misguided and I think to an extent you may be a victim of that. Go visiting! If your mother lodge doesn't cut the mustard get out and about and see what others have to offer (within the limitations mentioned above) BUT treasure your mother lodge - it is something special in Freemasonry. Sadly my own mother lodge was destroyed within a few years of my joining due to the actions of just one misguided man, resulting in it handing back its warrant which was the end of Freemasonry for many of its long term members. I was lucky - a very kind gentleman on this forum facilitated my joining what I termed my stepmother lodge. I am now permanently relocated over 600 miles away in the Scottish Highlands and regrettably no longer a member of my stepmother - but that is another story. I am still a subscribing member of a lodge but for a variety of reasons no longer go to meetings so I read about the Craft and think about what might have been.
Quo vadis, S & F

David
User avatar
David H
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 438
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Out on a limb

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby Trouillogan » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:47 pm

Sirius, I concur with everything that David says, especially his recommendation to 'go visiting'.

Unfortunately very few lodges of 'instruction' are anything but. They tend to be largely rehearsal sessions these days. Making contact with any of the several masonic research lodges may be to your liking in furtherance of masonic knowledge. However, you will find the memberships fairly advanced in years, because - and this is important - experience comes with age! Don't decry that; I have learned so much from my elders. Additionally, have you explored Solomon yet? (https://solomon.ugle.org.uk/) - it's a large store of pretty good masonic information at all levels.

All good wishes,
User avatar
Trouillogan
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
LRUK Grand Supreme Master
 
Posts: 3154
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:19 pm
Location: West Sussex, UK

Re: Should I stay or go? Convince me either way.

Postby admin » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:59 pm

Dont forget we have a large store of downloadable books and articles , link at the top of every page
Bill McElligott [PPGJW - PPGASoj]
admin@lodgeroomstore.com - skype: lodgeroomint
The Masonic Brotherhood of The Blue Forget-Me-Not

http://lodgeroomstore.co.uk/LRstore/
http://sell-buy.net/info/
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7003
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:36 pm
Location: Essex, England


Return to What can be done to Improve Freemasonry

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests