Freemasonry IS NOT For Everyone

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Todd E. Creason, 33°

Taken at the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C. (photo by Greg Knott)
Believe it or not, I don't carry petitions in my pocket. I don't walk around handing out petitions the same way banks walk around college campuses handing out credit card applications to students. I'm a quality over quantity guy. I'm looking for specific characteristics. I'm looking for men of good character. I'm looking for men with a desire and a capacity to learn. I'm looking for men who are trustworthy and personable. When I find that guy, that's when I might be inclined to bring up the subject of Freemasonry. I was told recently that makes me an elitist. I disagree. It makes me selective. 

Freemasonry has always been selective. Sometimes we forget that. We get all wrapped up in bringing in numbers, we forget there is a larger purpose. We're supposed to make good men better. Good men. The Fraternity has always looked for men of good report and well recommended. We're not looking for warm bodies, we're looking for men who want to grow--men who possess certain desirable traits.  We want a man that will not only benefit from Freemasonry, but will be a benefit to Freemasonry. 

I have an old friend who is angry with me. I've known him for decades--since we were kids. He was angry that a couple of our mutual friends have joined the Fraternity at my suggestion, but that I've never invited him to join. I decided to spare him my full reasoning and focus on the one thing that makes that impossible--he's an atheist. He just laughed and said that was no problem at all--he said he had no problem saying he believed in the existence of God. 

And that's exactly why I could never recommend him. 

So don't look for warm bodies to fill your rosters--that benefits nobody. What you should be looking for are men who would make good Masons.  When you start looking for those men, you might just be surprised at how many you'll find.


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and continues to be a regular contributor. He is also the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog, where he posts on a regular schedule on topics relating to Freemasonry.  He is the author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and currently serves as Secretary, and is also a member of Homer Lodge No. 199.  He is a member the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), the Ansar Shrine (IL), Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL), and a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research.  He was recently awarded the 2014 Illinois Secretary of the Year Award by the Illinois Masonic Secretaries Association.  You can contact him at:


  1. I'm not looking for any men to join, as it's not my place to ask people to join. Now, if they see me regularly writing about it on my social media, my blog or elsewhere or see my license plate/rings/pins and ask I'll gladly tell anyone about Freemasonry.

  2. I like your train of thought and beliefs. You are absolutely correct, not every man needs to be in freemasonry. Well said, Brother!

  3. I agree with you for the most part. The part I am questioning is you desire to ask/invite someone into the craft when I was taught that we should not invite anyone. Yes we can discuss how we enjoy the Craft to a person we think is worthy, but not actually ask them. I have been taught that it's important for a man to seek out Masonry first and that asking a man go join did not create that desire to join. Thanks.

  4. In Illinois we are permitted to invite somebody to join our Lodge. And we do with great regularity. That's changed just in the years since I became a Master Mason. That's how my two friends came to be Master Masons. Both of them are active in Lodge, and enjoy it a great deal. There's still a misconception that in order to be a Freemason you have to be asked. That whole 2B1ASK1 thing just hasn't reached them. So I think having that ability to invite somebody is a good thing. But as I said in my piece, I'm pretty selective.

    My friend didn't need my permission to petition a Lodge of course, he just wasn't getting my signature. He can petition with or without my consent. He was ticked off because I approached two other friends about joining, and they did, and I didn't approach him the same way. And as I said, knowing him as I do, I wouldn't recommend him.

    Now I've referred hundreds of men I don't know at all to Grand Lodges, Lodge Secretaries, and Military Lodges all over the world who have contacted me through the Midnight Freemasons and my other blog From Labor To Refreshment. I've been doing this for a long time--since about 2007. I don't have a problem doing that. It's up to those jurisdictions to determine if that individual meets the requirement for membership or not.

  5. In eleven years I have signed one Petition, and that was after several years of conversation.
    The American phenomenon of lodges with hundreds of members isn't doing the Craft any favours.

  6. I would be just as satisfied being with a lodge of 7 members who meet regularly in someone's basement as I would being a member of a lodge of 200 or more members as long as both lodges have members who are devoted to the Solomon oaths we have all taken.

  7. I some times wonder what our numbers were before the influx of World War I & World War II. Many of the buildings we are now having trouble maintaining were built in the 1920's after WWI.

  8. Thank you, American Farmer. I have been featuring the work of this photographer for many years. I hope he doesn't find out! :-)

  9. I agree, but Freemasonry in some places would die out completely without quantity to keep it going. For every 10 Freemasons I meet, I believe 2 might be classified as real Freemasons, the rest are along for the ride.

  10. So 80% of the Masons you know, out there representing our Craft, aren't "real Masons" and we wonder why we can't grow our Lodges . . . If you're just "keeping it going" with men that aren't good candidates, perhaps you should let it go. I've seen several Lodges come back from the brink of extinction. They didn't do it by lowering their standards. They did it by attracting good candidates who came in, got involved, and brought the Lodge back. I'm working on just such a Lodge right now. The last thing we're going to do is lower our standards. We'll close the doors before we do that.

  11. Quality over quantity always! We need men with heads over their shoulders.

  12. There are plenty of good men out there that, for some reason or another, will not be freemasons. It is not our job to usher in every good man we meet in order to boost our ranks. Keep it exclusive. Keep it close. Make good men WANT it. Make it exclusive enough that men are honored to be accepted. Make it enviable. Take good care of the ones that pass through the west gate. Treat them as real Brothers. Make them feel as if being accepted into the craft is an accomplishment - because it is.


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