Often while swiping through the conversations on Facebook and social media regarding Freemasonry there are numerous threads talking about the lodge dues. Too high, too low… When we advocate for higher dues, the argument is that we’re pricing good men out of the craft. When we price too low, we argue that the craft will surely die.
Arguments for both sides are many. Some argue that dues should remain low and that a lodge should off set costs by holding fundraisers. Others say that the public shouldn’t flip the bill for an organization's existence.
Others maintain that the cost to join has been kept the same over the years, which is why the big temples closed. While the cost of everything around us increased the dues stayed the same. Those who advocate for higher dues structures will point out the Freemasonry doesn't cost that much, in many cases yearly dues are less expensive than the monthly cost of a service a brother indulges in.
Recently, a brother posted something interesting on Facebook. He said, “Add up all your dues, divide by 365 to determine the cost of Masonry per day, post your results below!” Tons of people did this. I decided to take the data and determine the average. Out of fifty random responses, the average a man pays for membership in total for all the bodies he belongs to is about $1.12 a day. The highest amount a man paid per day was $5.38 per day, whilst the lowest was a mere $0.10 per day.
Compare these numbers with the average services or indulgences we pay for today:
Sunday Ticket: $269 per year, $0.73 per day
Cable in whole: $1,188.00 per year, $3.25 per day
Starbucks: $1300.00 per year (5 days a week), $5.00 per day (5 times a week)
Tobacco: $2,321 a year, $6.36 per day
Netflix: $100.00 per year, $0.27 per day
Hulu: $96.00 per year, $0.26 per day
Microsoft Office: $84.00 per year, $0.23 per day
Alcohol: $548 per year, $1.50 per day (2011 survey adjusted for CPI)
Fast Food: $2,619 per year, $7.17 per day (2011 survey)
Lottery Tickets: $52 per year, $0.14 per day (One ticket a week)
So I think this is an interesting and solid way to look at things. The fraternity surely needs the funds, there is a lot to pay for. Meals, per capita, buildings, maintenance etc. Look at the gym membership numbers alone. To quote WB:. Scott Dueball, "Shouldn't we at least value spiritual and mental health as much as our physical?" Surely Freemasonry is worth more than all the things in the above list, isn’t it? In fact, I’d say it's worth more than all these things combined! When you say that Freemasonry isn't worth $100 or more a year, you're directly saying that you value any one of those things listed above (or anything else you want to figure out the values for) more than Freemasonry. It's hard to see the value in Netflix or Hulu when you don't turn on the TV, the same could be said by not attending the lodge. Perhaps, it might be time to reevaluate things.