by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR
The Grand Lodge of Missouri has on occasion conducted surveys asking the Brothers, among other things, what they want from Masonry. It probably won't shock you to discover the number one thing on the list is "Masonic education."
So, hats off to the Grand Lodge of Missouri — it listened to the Brothers, went to work and came up with a Masonic education program. It works this way: On a regular basis the Grand Lodge sends an information packet to each Lodge Secretary. Included within that packet is a document containing a piece on Freemasonry. Then, at a stated meeting, the Secretary, Lodge Education Officer or any Brother can read the piece and perhaps conduct a discussion afterward. Note that the program also has the added advantage that Lodges across the state are all working on the same subject simultaneously.
There you go… Masonic education handed to you on a silver platter.
What more could you ask for?
I'll tell you exactly what: you could ask for the Lodges to make use of it. I attend my share of Lodge meetings. While "reliable sources" tell me there are some Lodges that do, I have never sat in a Lodge that uses the material.
So let's recap. The number one thing Brothers want is Masonic education; the Grand Lodge provides it; and (generalizing) the Brothers don't use it. It's a bit of a paradox, isn't it? Maybe the next survey should ask, "What do you really want?"
So, I have a suggestion. If you want Masonic education more than anything, appoint yourself your own personal education officer. Read, research, write, learn everything you can; but don't stop there. Make a commitment to take it to Lodge. It doesn't take much. Maybe start by reading an article from the Midnight Freemasons Blog, or maybe an excerpt from MNF founder Todd Creason's Famous American Freemasons book. (Modesty… ahem… prevents me from mentioning you could read something from one of my books). Likely as not, just a few minutes on a subject will spark a discussion. If my experience is any indication, your Brothers will thank you for doing it. Try it: just a few minutes of Masonic education can turn a mundane meeting into a memorable meeting.
If that works, take it a step further. Ask your Brothers to do the same. Maybe think about "upping your game" and turning it into a presentation. Take it to other lodges. Ask those Brothers to do the same.
In the words of that great litterbug Arlo Guthrie, "Let's start a movement." Before you know it, we might be swimming in Masonic education.
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.
There is a similar "paradox" happening in my lodge currently. In the year before I became WM the secretary send out a questionnaire asking the brethren what they wanted at meetings. Interesting speakers and education were two things they asked for, just coming to hear the minutes and the treasurer's report read was not enough to get them to come. So I took this as my marching orders in the upcoming year. I have lined up about a half dozen speakers and when we are not doing degree work I have worked at putting together a multi-media educational program for the meeting. The result, attendance going down. Brethren say the meeting is too long, I try to get it wrapped up in 90 minutes at the latest. This can be very frustrating for a younger WM trying to make small strides in bringing brethren back.ReplyDelete