It’s always amazing to me how many people are interested in learning about Freemasonry… once they’ve actually heard about it. A lady this evening, for instance, said she’d never heard of the Craft until Dan Brown came out with his book and movie about Freemasonry. Now she’s interested enough to learn more because of the mystique that surrounds the order, and she’ll probably read these blogs because now she has actually met someone who is a Freemason.
I hope she finds these writings worthwhile, and that they inspire her to read and learn more. I hope she discovers what an exceptional organization it really is, and who knows, maybe her interest will inspire her husband to consider joining someday. I know I’m spinning a lot of “what ifs” out of next to nothing here, but I’m trying to make a point.
Keeping Freemasonry a secret doesn’t work if you’re trying to build membership
People can’t become Freemasons if they’ve never heard of the organization. They can’t join something nobody’s ever talked to them about. Freemasonry lost an entire generation of potential members because fathers in the fifties and sixties didn’t talk to their sons about the Craft. Freemasonry wasn’t discussed openly; it was a big secret. Those sons (and daughters) grew up without knowing about Freemasonry to any meaningful extent. Those boys turned into young men knowing only that Freemasonry was an organization their fathers belonged to, and that it wasn’t something for the cool, rebellious young men of the next generation to engage in.
Today, the subject of Freemasonry is fodder for countless conversations. Unfortunately, it’s not all good conversation, but at least it’s a starting point for people to talk about this fraternity. Freemasons today feel much freer to talk about the Craft with non-Masons, at least in my experience, and they do so.
Freemasons have spent many, many decades wallowing in self-pity about the declining numbers of Freemasons. When I joined 21 years ago, discussions about the state of the Craft were frequent… and frequently depressing. Dwindling membership was the number one topic of concern, and there was real fear (again, my opinion) that Freemasonry could disappear.
Given this state of the union, I was always dumbfounded that Freemasons in general wouldn’t talk about the fraternity to non-Masons. Perhaps it was my naïveté at the time that took me down the “wrong” path, but since day one I’ve never had a problem discussing the fraternity with anyone who has showed any interest.
Talk openly about Freemasonry and people will be interested
Frank, earnest discussion designed to inform and enlighten has always been my goal, because those who hate the Craft (and there are many who do) have had too free a hand in spreading their lies and innuendo about Freemasonry over the years. The Craft certainly doesn’t need me putting off someone who is genuinely interested in the fraternity by dissembling, or brushing aside their inquisitiveness with that age-old, so-called joke that has a brother saying to a questioner, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” Talk about lame, and talk about doing a disservice to Freemasonry.
So I will continue to talk freely and openly about Freemasonry to anyone who will listen, and I hope my brethren will do so as well. The cat is out of the bag in a big way, so we might as well capitalize on the interest and introduce a new generation of men to the Craft. That is the only way all the good that we do will survive for generations to come.