The men being notified for suspension get a certified letter explaining what they owe and have a date about 40 days into the future as the dead line they need to pay by before the lodge votes to suspend them. Last year we had 27. This year, only 7. Of course we make all the contact we can, asking if it’s a financial burden or if they’re in a bad spot. Largely it just isn’t the case. It’s almost always “I have no interest.”
How do I know? Along with those notices I also send out a nice sheet that was made by our District Communications Officer. It’s a little survey. “Do you consider yourself to be an active Mason?”, “Why, Why not?”, “What could the lodge do more of to gain your involvement?”
The questions are easy. Along with the questions there is a little section to update their information e.g. address, phone, email. Last week I received the first response back after sending these out. This brother owed over $400 in past dues and we’d not seen him, well, since he was raised, about 30 years ago.
In the envelope was the survey form and the dues notice. His form came back to me with some very interesting points, things I had suspected for a long time but hadn’t actually seen confirmation of. In the note the brother said, “No, I am not an active Mason. In fact this is the first time in 30 years since being made a Master Mason that I’ve ever been contacted. I took the degrees at the request and pressure of my father, he died about 20 years ago. I have no intention of paying the dues. Please suspend me and take me off of your list.”
I read it and thought, “Well, that’s that.” I had suspected this happens more often than not—a brother brings his sons or vice versa into the lodge and the only reason they become Masons is because it’s a favor or they were pushed into it, all the while having no interest at all. Obviously it goes without saying that this isn’t good for the craft.
In the next month or so, I’m sure I’ll get one or two more responses whilst the rest simply won’t respond and I will appeal to the Grand Master to suspend these members, thus eliminating the dead weight and shedding the financial responsibility of paying per capita on them. A Secretaries job isn’t always fun, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it…Keep calm, and pay your dues.
RWB, Robert Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the District Deputy for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.