Today’s reader’s question is: what is expected of new members? Well, everything and nothing. So it’s hard for me to address this because I know that how new members are put through the process is different in every jurisdiction and, in many cases, different in each individual lodge.
So let me give you an example of kind of what happened with a brand new member at my lodge and what I did, and maybe that will give you some sort of sense of things. So here in the state of Mississippi, you’re not quote unquote a member until you are a master mason.
So I’m going to address your question as if it’s that, as if it means, you know, somebody who has received their master Mason degree, what is expected of them. If your question is what’s expected of somebody who has just initiated, then we can maybe look into doing a separate blog post about that particular subject.
3 Expectations for new Master Masons
So let’s presume that you’ve received your three degrees and that you’re now a master mason. Now what, now, what’s expected of you? Well, I think the hope is what everybody in the lodge hopes that you will do is continue to study so that you won’t give up and think that now you’re a master mason. You know everything. We try to do our best to make sure that people who are raised in our lodge know that you can start learning now that you’re a master mason.
Now you can be exposed to all the learning that’s available to you, and now you can really start to learn the bigger meanings behind everything. Now that isn’t to mean that you haven’t learned anything as an entered apprentice and a fellow craft, but it is to impress upon you that just because you’re a master mason does not mean you know everything. There is still so much more out there for you to learn.
So we would hope that you’re still looking for knowledge, whether that’s by reading books, speaking to brethren in the lodge, visiting other lodges, joining pendant bodies and learning their information, whatever it is, we don’t want you to stop learning what’s expected of them in any other terms. Well, we would hope that you’re willing to accept some sort of appointment or election within the lodge.
So it may be that as soon as you are made a master mason, you will find that there is already some need within your lodge. Maybe it’s something that feels like it’s at the bottom of the totem pole. Maybe there’s a need for a Stewart, and the only thing that they want you to do is to make sure that the tables are set and that everything gets cleaned up after the lodge.
It’s at that point where you have to be willing to suck up your pride and not try to say, “Man, I’m a master mason now, you know, I’m not going to clean the table.” It’s a totally wrong attitude. You need to be able to serve the lodge in whatever capacity may be needed with the full understanding that unless you go into a particular position that has the tendency to have somebody for a long time just for the stability of it, such as the secretary’s position, you’re only going to be there for a short amount of time and it’s your job to do that position in the best way possible and to leave it better than you got it.
So then the next guy takes over. You can say, hey look, here’s a couple of things that really mattered in making this job easy while I was in it. Take it or leave it, but I just wanted to pass that along to you. Be ready to serve in those positions no matter what it may be and no matter how lofty of a position it may seem to you or not. Let’s see what else we expect of somebody.
I think what I personally would expect out of somebody is that they will inside themselves decide to hold themselves to a higher standard. I would expect that from the day somebody even joins the fraternity, but especially after they’re made a master mason, they would second guess every action that they take and every word that comes out of their mouth and make sure that they are in fact leading their life leading their life in the way that freemasonry has taught them they should lead it.
If they’re not doing that, then they’re probably not listening to the principles that they were taught because I really doubt that they have come into the fraternity already, that a NZPA Tid, so to speak. So that’s something that I would expect. I would expect them to sort of tighten up and do a little bit more self-reflection and think about how they’re interacting with the world.
And even how they’re interacting with themselves as well. But that’s a much deeper topic for another time, outside of those things. I can’t really say that there’s much that’s expected of somebody. In all the things that were sort of a part of my experience, right after I was raised as a master mason, I was asked if I would serve pro tempore for our junior deacon who had been appointed but was then very shortly told he had to move for his employment. He was in something to do with the construction business and he had a new site he had to go to and was taken away from the lodge, and they said, “Hey look, there’s no way this guy’s coming back this year, we know it.” Would you be willing to learn about this chair and sit in it?
And of course I was. Now that’s not common. Most places, the junior deacon would not be where you would start off right away, and certainly not in the same month that you were raised, but as it happens, I’m a fairly quick learner. My lodge didn’t have as many people attending the meetings then as we do now. So it was a matter of, hey, you seem like a smart guy, there’s an open chair, go sit in it, and I’m sure that’s probably a common experience that’s felt throughout the United States, but certainly not in every single lodge.
Okay, I think I’ve tapped myself out on what we expect out of somebody, higher principles of behavior and morality to be willing to serve and to serve cheerfully and to continue to seek knowledge and not presume that just because you’re a master mason, you know everything. So three things, I think, are the big umbrella topics for this.
If you have something that you would expect out of a new master mason or if there are set expectations that are verbally communicated to new members of your lodge, then I’d be interested in learning about those. So drop a comment down below. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read. And don’t forget that if you do have any other questions, leave those below as well. That’s where I get all the questions for these articles, out of the comments section below. We’ll see you next time.
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