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What will we get out of Freemasonry?

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Today’s reader’s question is: I am aware of what I can do for the Brotherhood. What will the Brotherhood do for me and my loved ones if I put in work for the Freemasons? What do I get in return?

What will we get out of Freemasonry?
Image: BBC

What will we get out of Freemasonry?

You know, I get this question or questions phrased very similarly to it or with what feels to be the same intent, fairly regularly. And the problem I have with this question isn’t necessarily the question itself, it’s the format. It’s because receiving it online just gets a few lines of typed text. I don’t really know the feeling that’s behind the question.

I’m sure I might not quite be communicating that well, but I think you could understand the difference between me sending you just a couple of lines of text and you having to infer what sort of emotion goes with those lines of text and what I was really trying to draw out of your answer versus me asking you that question in person, where you can hear the inflections in my voice, you can see my body language, my mannerisms and be able to say, “Well, I heard what you said, but I think what you might be asking me is this and we can have that actual communication, that course of dialogue back and forth and really get to the root of what the question is.”

So that’s my problem with this question is that I don’t know whether or not I’m hearing it properly, so I don’t know if I am addressing it correctly. The words taken for exactly what they are call into question a lot of intent. What is your actual intent? Because if the question here simply means, “well, you know, what do I get for my money and my time, and that’s the sort of attitude that comes with it.”

Then the simple answer is, you know, man, freemasonry is just not for you. Don’t worry about it. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your money. It’s just not for you. But if the question is more of a genuine nature, you know, hey, tell me about the things that that freemasonry has inside of it that I can make use of. Heck, even saying it that way just didn’t sound quite right.

But, there is something there. Okay, so let me try to approach this on a couple of different levels first. Please, if you’re not a freemason, I think that it’s, if you’re not a member of any organization, I think perhaps that it’s a little bit arrogant to use a strong word to say that you know what you can do for that particular organization unless you’re intimately familiar with the interior workings of it and understand what is involved. Then you know you can’t really say that. You can’t really say, “Well, I know I can bring this.”

Let’s just take a real simple example. Let’s say you are an astounding accountant. It’s something that you do very well. It comes naturally to you and you think to yourself, “Hell man, I could go join the Freemasons, I could be the treasurer of that lodge and I could have them just understand their financial situation better than they ever could.” Well, you think that until you find out that the man who taught you about accounting is already a freemason, the same person that you still go to when you have questions, and now all of a sudden you put yourself in that position thinking you could do it better than anybody who’s already there, just to find out that somebody better than you already was there.

So I would caution you about that, and there are a lot of those kinds of cautionary lessons throughout freemasonry about, you know, being careful what you say, because you don’t know who you’re saying it to. And you, and you may not know everything that you’re talking about. So I apologize to the questioner if that was not the intent of your message, but for taking the words at face value. And from other questions that I have received that are similar to this, I think that sometimes that is the intent.

So please take that into mind, but what will the Brotherhood do for you and your family? So hearing just those words and taking them at face value sometimes has an interpretation for me. What do I get out of it? You know, I gave my, you know, anywhere, depending on where you live. Maybe you gave $25 in an entire year. Maybe you gave $1,000. You know, I paid my dues. What do I get back?

And sometimes people think that that might even mean something like dividends from the largest checking account or some nonsense like that. I think, first off, that in asking the question, you’re trying to play out the chess game. You’re trying to see what the end results are. In a way, I respect that I don’t get into a purchase unless I understand why I’m making the purchase and identify that I have a need for that purchase and how I’m going to maintain that purchase down the road and all those sorts of things, but realize you are requesting membership into an organization that has the sole authority to decide whether or not you join it. So again, it can sort of come off as a bit arrogant to say, “well, I know I can help you, and what do I get out of you?”

You know, we, the body of Freemasonry, aren’t there to absorb you. Freemasonry is there for you to absorb, and we can sit there and say, “Okay, we think you can learn something from Freemasonry, not that you are flawed or that you have any, you know, great thing that we can teach you, so to speak.”

It’s not a level of arrogance on our part. It’s a part of our experience to be able to say, “We think you’re prepared to listen,” and “If you’ll listen,” we think we have some things that you might find valuable. So when we talk about things of value, we’re talking about basic life skills.

We’re talking about skills like how to study, how to memorize things, how to work in different positions that have business skills in them, different leadership skills, things like, you know, things like minute taking and the work of the treasurer may seem mundane. And the kind of task that some people would shy away from, being the master of the lodge, can seem to be an intimidating and time-consuming task. But the skills that you learn in those positions can be directly applied to any type of profession that is out there.

It can be directly applied to your personal home and how you conduct your life, and how you conduct your home’s business, your home’s assets, and your home’s finances. Those are some of the basic things that you start with. I think I’d be remiss for not pointing out that you also gain a brotherhood, you gain people who you get a genuine friendship with when you have an emergency, you don’t even think twice. They’re the first people you call. You don’t even necessarily think first, maybe to call your family. Maybe the first thing you think of is, “Well, I don’t want to trouble mom and dad, or I don’t want to trouble the kids, depending on which way you are and how far through life you are.” Maybe instead you think, “Let me call my friend, let me call my brother.”

And instead of judging you, he helps you gain that sort of mentorship from people who’ve been there and done that. You can sit down with a brother who is maybe 10, 2030, 40 or more years older than you and gain some life experience through one-on-one mentorship. Sometimes when you hear it from a member of your family or someone that you work with, you kind of need to hear it from outside of that box.

You need to hear from somebody else who has maybe walked a slightly different path in life than you, who hasn’t had the same family ties as you and doesn’t have those connections. Somebody who can sit there and say, “I’ve been there too.” And here’s my experience. So there’s that. A lot of times we talked about this before, and in the article about, you know, the ridiculous concept that everybody that’s famous is a freemason.

But in return, what you can do is take the skills and the lessons that are given to you in freemasonry and apply them to how you conduct your everyday life. And in doing so, I genuinely do believe that you can distinguish yourself, that people will become more drawn to you, that you might advance in your employment, or that if you were to be an entrepreneur and start your own business, that people would be more drawn to you because of the way you conduct your business, the quality you care about, the things that you make, and so forth.

I think that’s what you get from freemasonry. Now you did say for you and your loved ones, well first off, in all of these things that you’re taking away, there’s a bit of a trickle down effect. Freemasonry affected you, you were able to affect your family or affect your employer, which gave you a better position, and now that has affected your family, so it’s a bit of a trickle down or a domino type of effect, but that said, there are programs that are out there for widows of masons who have passed away and things like that, but I would have to entirely defer to your grand lodge. It’s going to be different from every jurisdiction where you go, but what I can assure you is that freemasons take very seriously the care of the family of a brother who’s passed away.

Yes, the brother was a member of the lodge, but we understood that that brother cared about his family. And so when all of a sudden he’s not there, we also want to make sure that the family knows that we care about him too, and that doesn’t mean that we can step in and become the father or become the husband that has passed away, or that we can’t become the breadwinner in the family and pay everybody’s mortgages, so to speak. But there are things that we can do, and there are programs, and there are scholarships. There are a bunch of different things that are out there, but you have to talk to the Grand Lodge and, generally speaking, those things become available to you when you’re a master mason, and then there may be other qualifications in there as well.

So you’re just going to have to check locally to see what might be available for your family. Should you pass away, Okay, so I am sure that this has a whole lot of depth. I would encourage anybody commenting below to please, let’s start by assuming that these questions are being asked with the most genuine curiosity in a very light and happy manner and not in any sort of condescending, give me what you’ve got type of manner.

So if you’ve got a comment to add below, I ask you to try to follow that guideline. And let’s see what more we can discuss. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read. We’ll see you next time.

By Brother Jared, a Master Mason of Grad Lodge Mississippi

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