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Today’s reader’s question is: I would like to see an article on the pros and cons of becoming a Freemason. I have a friend who asked me that, and I was only able to give him pros. The only con I can think of is that if time is something a candidate does not have much flexibility on, then that could be a small problem. It would be great if you made an article of the pros and cons of Freemasonry so I could show my friend who is interested in joining. Well, that’s a very big topic, and I understand it’s easy to come up with the pros because, as a Freemason, you go man, I got all these good friends. We think the same way about many things, but when we disagree on something, we can talk to each other and nobody has to yell or fight.
There’s no backbiting and no backstabbing, I can trust people and I know when they’re talking to me, they’re telling me the truth and all these wonderful things that make you say, “Man, it’s great, it’s good stuff.” But certainly, there must be something that would make somebody say, “Well, I don’t know if that’s for me, so what, what could the cons possibly be?” Well, I think you hit off on the easiest one to identify, and that’s the potential time factor. You can use time in a couple of different ways, depending on where you are in the world and your individual Lodge. Maybe time is a factor just because of when you have to be at work versus when the Lodge normally meets. So my Lodge doesn’t mean until seven o’clock in the afternoon, which works out really well for almost all of our members. They can get off work and get home, change into some clean clothes or even if they don’t have time for that, they can get to Lodge as soon as work is over and still make it to Lodge before Lodge starts.
Many jurisdictions have very specific dress codes, so you have to go home and get dressed, or at least get to Lodge enough time to put on a suit jacket or something to that effect and get cleaned up before you can go into Lodge. And so I know, because it’s been shared in the comments of the articles in the past, that there are some Lodges that don’t start until 10, 11, or 12 o’clock at night. Now, for me, that would not be for me, I couldn’t do that. And so that would be a major khan as far as I’m concerned. If I was interested in joining Freemasonry, it’s just the time of when the meeting is. That being said, if you hear of one Lodge with a set of meeting times that doesn’t really meet your schedule, it may be worthwhile to see if there’s other Lodges nearby that could meet your schedule better. Here in the state of Mississippi, we can go anywhere in the state we want to for our home Lodge.
So you may have more than one option available to you to be able to pick a Lodge that meets at a different time if it’s that sort of a time problem. The other issue may just be the length of the meetings. Sometimes a meeting can be 30 minutes, but sometimes it takes several hours, especially if there is a degree taking place. So, depending on how much time you can commit on a per meeting basis, this might be a problem. Now there are many people who just make it a part of their daily lives. Say, if your Lodge meets on a Tuesday evening, you just know that on Tuesday evening you don’t schedule anything. Now, if something more important than Freemasonry comes along, you have a duty to your faith, you have a duty to your work, you have a duty to your family. Then you go do those other things instead of Freemasonry.
But generally speaking, if you can work around your regular meeting, then that is just a part of your regularly scheduled life. So the length of the meeting might be a problem for some people. Another concern with time could be the time to travel to your Lodge here in Mississippi. Some Lodges are very close together. You can get to them very simply. Other times you have to drive great distances. The closest Lodge to me is about 10 to 12 minutes away. I attend to Lodge that is about 35 minutes away. All because of when I first joined Freemasonry there were men that I knew personally that were already attending that Lodge. And so my comfort level was that of joining that Lodge, putting myself in a time commitment that it’s going to take a half hour to drive there and a half hour to drive back, just extending the length of how long the meeting lasts in the first place on when I leave my family too, when I get back home.
So that is also another time constraint. Another one here that kind of goes into time is also its own beast and that is learning. A lot of people do very well being told something and, over the course of repetition and time, being able to repeat that same information verbatim back. It’s not too much different than most professions out there going through school. You’re taught something, you repeat it, repeat it, repeat it until it just comes naturally to you and you can perform the work well. The same thing takes place in Freemasonry. You have to take the time to learn these things, but not every person learns in the same way. And so it may be difficult for you to learn. The rule of thumb that I have always heard is that the sooner you can learn it, the better. So if you have the time or you can make the time and do as much learning as you can in a shorter period of time, then it will come to you more quickly rather than taking maybe just 30 minutes once per week or something to that effect, or even less than that, I have heard.
Now, in some jurisdictions, it doesn’t matter if you learn, you’re doing all of your work in one day. You’re still going to have to wait a certain amount of time before you can receive your next degree, but still, getting the learning done early seems to have a benefit for most people. However, other people run into a problem where this is word mouth learning. This means somebody has to talk to you, and you have to hear it, and you have to be able to recite it back. So if you’re the kind of person who can’t remember very much at one time, maybe your short-term memory is not the best one out there and you meet with somebody for a half an hour every day, say you work with him and you can take a lunch break to study with him or something really convenient like that, but every day you’re struggling because by the time you go home in the afternoon you can’t even remember what you learned during the day, well then that could be a con as far as Freemasonry is concerned because it’s going to be a struggle for you to learn that proficiency that’s required for you to get your next degree in Freemasonry but it can be done.
I’ve seen it. Don’t let it completely discourage you. It’s really just a matter of how much you’re willing to make an effort at it because there’s always going to be a brother who’s willing to take the time to help you teach, even if you’ve got to get four different people to teach you because of how much time you need anyway. The next thing that could be a con is the money. It’s a fraternity, so not only dues for just annual dues for being a member, but there are fees associated with getting your degrees. So depending on where you live here in the United States, in the state of Mississippi, you might find a lodge that’s only charging $25 per year, so $2 a month to be a Freemason. I mean, it’s really kind of hard to complain about something like that, but there are other Lodges that charge $150 per year or more.
And really, this is all when you become a Freemason. You’re sitting in the meetings and talking about the nuances of the budget for the Lodge. What does it cost to own the building or rent it? What does it cost to rent the location? Or what does it cost to keep the lights turned on? You know, those are the kinds of things that are used to decide what the actual dues are going to be. So that’s why it can vary from place to place as well. So, if money is a concern for you and you don’t have the ability to think ahead of time, you won’t be able to say, “Hey, next month dues are going to be due, and I have to have, say, $100 available to pay my dues.” If you’re not keen on financing and being able to budget for things like that, then maybe money would be a con to joining Freemasonry.
You also need to be aware that Freemasonry is largely a charitable organization. There are consistently going to be opportunities to provide donations to different fundraising programs. So, if you don’t want to be put in the spot of digging out your wallet to give a dollar or five or 22 to some sort of charity, then maybe it would be a con for you to join Freemasonry in that way. Alright. The next thing would just be the commitment. Everything we’ve talked about here kind of falls under this umbrella, but it does take a certain commitment. If you really want to get anything out of Freemasonry, Getting your first degree is easy. All you have to do is fill out our petition, be thought of favorably by an investigative committee, who tells the Lodge so, get voted in, and then receive your pay, your money, and receive your degree.
That’s it. So, really, the only time you put in was to fill out a petition.It probably took you less than five minutes to meet with the investigative committee. You know, depending on who and where you are, maybe that took 15 minutes to an hour, you know. So you know, if your dad’s a master mason and it’s really, you know, you’ve been to the Lodge 1000 times and everybody knows you, your investigative committee is probably going to go fairly quickly if very few people know you, or if they’re in a Lodge where they like to take you out to dinner as a part of your investigation, then maybe it takes an hour. So it varies, but there’s a commitment with that. Then you have to show up and receive your degree, which, depending on your jurisdiction, maybe it takes an hour or two to receive your entered apprentice degree, and then tack on maybe a meal before or after.
So that’s your commitment there. But if you want to get to the next degree, if you want to become a fellow craft, then you have to commit to it. You have to take the time to do that learning and so forth to be able to take the next step. So that is where the commitment comes in. It’s also a commitment because it is a Brotherhood. You’re joining an organization of men who rely on each other. I can’t tell you how many times I have left the state and had a brother come by and take care of things on my property while I was gone, because I can trust him implicitly to take care of things on my property. I know he’s going to treat all of my belongings as though they were his own and all those sorts of things.
So there’s a commitment that comes with that as well. Are you willing not just to be able to say, “Hey, I trust you?” And if I needed your help, I would call on you, but if they called on your help, are you willing to commit to being able to go and help them? So there’s that commitment as well. Alright, so the last thing I’m going to mention, as far as a con is concerned, as the things that I’ve really seen since starting this Youtube channel, I’ve seen them out in the world in person as well. But it is certainly reflected here on the Youtube channel and over on Facebook. And that is just the hate that can surround Freemasonry. You know, it has been around for 300 years at the very minimum. Nobody can argue that the grand Lodges have existed for 300 years. You can sit down and debate with whoever you choose about how much further back it goes from there and in which direction and how.
But over the course of 300 years, it’s had a long and varied history. And because of that, there have been people who decided that Freemasonry had to be a spouse as being evil and came up with all sorts of crazy things, which people have grabbed onto and even, over the course of hundreds of years, have held on to those, whether they have been proven or admitted to as being false or not, they just run with it. And and no matter how upstanding of a husband or father or community leader or business person you are or how much of a work ethic you have or anything, they’ll say, “Oh, you’re a Freemason.” And so they just immediately get this negative connotation of what you must be involved in. And it astounds me to this day, to think that people really feel that way about their fellow human beings, that somebody could be, you know, 199.9% above board.
But this one thing, it must mean that they’re, you know, behind a closed door, an entirely evil person. And so that’s probably the harshest con about becoming a free mason. Do you feel in your heart that you can join an organization that, you know, good men are a part of and be comfortable with that and be willing to tell people who say, oh you’re a Freemason, be able to say yes I am and I’m really proud that I am and let them walk away questioning themselves of, well gee I know this guy, I know his work ethic, I know how happy his family is, I know how well he takes care of things. Maybe if he’s a Freemason, something I think about Freemasonry is wrong. If you’re willing to be that kind of person to put your best foot out there for Freemasonry, then don’t worry about it.
But know that it exists. I know that people, in anything, like to point fingers and make accusations, whether they have any kind of foundation or not. And it’s up to you to sit there and ignore them. Talk to people who are willing to talk to you and who are able to continue to conduct themselves in an upright and moral way. So there you are. My long list of the pros and cons, with an emphasis on the cons, for the questioner about joining Freemasonry. So I can tell you, I’ve only been a Freemason for about six years now and I will take the pros over the cons any day, every day of my life. Through Freemasonry, I get to talk to a man who I can call a brother. And those sorts of things uplift me, they keep me focused on the kind of person I want to be, and when somebody happens to say, “Oh, you’re one of those Freemasons, huh?”
It doesn’t bother me if there’s something they’re not interested in, so well then fine. You know what? I’m also one of those people who plays solitaire. I’m also one of those people who rolls on the floor and plays with their kids. I’m also one of those people who, despite having been married for 15 years, can cook dinner and wash dishes. You know, I mean, there’s a lot more to a person than just one organization that they choose to be a part of. So if you can let it be water off your back like a duck, then I think you’ll be just fine. If you have anything else that you’d like to add down below, some other sort of encouragement, words of caution, or advice for somebody interested in joining Freemasonry, then please leave it down in the comments below.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read. We will see you next time.
By Brother Jared, a Master Mason of Grad Lodge Mississippi