by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR
Last week at the close of one of the Masonic bodies where I am a member a Brother stood up and gave us that ubiquitous reminder, "Don't forget... we need petitions."
I could make this a long article by listing the reasons I joined the fraternity. Among those would not be, "I joined so I could go out and get petitions."
Like everyone, I'm happy to see new members join any part of our Masonic family. To me, a new member means a new friend, a new opportunity to share all the aspects of Freemasonry, new support for our programs and services.
Unfortunately, when I hear, "Go out and get more petitions," it translates in my mind to "Get more dues, more donations, more money and more dishwashers for the kitchen crew — if they breathe, drag 'em in and sign 'em up."
A couple of days after that meeting I sat down to read one of my Dad's old Masonic magazines. It was from back in the "heyday" of Masonry. Back then, the fraternity was thriving. They had over twice the membership we have today; and according to the magazine, do you know what they needed?
Have I mentioned that's not why I joined the fraternity?
Seriously, it's not what I want to do as a part of Masonry. Even though it's legal to "ask" in my jurisdiction, I'm still more of a "2B1ASK1" kinda-guy.
I'm also not excited about advertising the fraternity or its related bodies. To me, the best way to get members is to demonstrate the worth of the Craft by our actions. We have to be active and visible in the community and attract existing members to other bodies by showing them that the meetings are interesting, exciting, educational and more than a droning of the minutes and routine business transactions.
It seems this is a popular point of view within the membership. I know because many times we discuss it ….while the Secretary drones on reading the minutes.
Bro. Steve Harrison, 33°, is Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Worshipful Master. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and a member and Past Dean of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother Harrison is a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog as well as several other Masonic publications. His latest book, Freemasons: Tales From the Craft & Freemasons at Oak Island. Both are available on amazon.com.
Thank you for your article. As usual, it was much enjoyed.ReplyDelete
In our lodge, we ask as a matter of the order of business whether there are any petitions, but we already know the answer. A man has to have visited with us for dinner several times over several months, having had coffee or meals with individual members multiple times before we will provide him with a petition.