Becoming a Dues-Paying Mason

by Brother Terence Satchell

Throughout my entire experience in Freemasonry, I have wondered what can be done to bring those Freemasons that do not attend lodge meetings back into our temples. I found these dues-paying Masons to be a frustrating breed. They must believe that being a Freemason is important enough to continually make a monetary payment to their Masonic organizations and yet it is not important enough for them to actually attend and contribute their time. I assisted in planning and executing a number of lodge functions in order to bring these silent members back and there seemed to be no response. I began to develop the opinion that these men were simply neglecting their Masonic duties.

And then, I became one of them.

It wasn’t intentional at first. It started by moving to another town, then I became busy with my career, then I lost contact with my closest Brothers, and then before I knew it, Masonry wasn’t even on my mind anymore. Occasionally I would post a story on The Euphrates that I had written while I was active in the lodge, but that was only because it was convenient and could be done in five minutes. I was literally uninterested in Freemasonry.

This sounds like an easy problem to fix. If you aren’t an active Freemason, just attend a lodge meeting and get involved, right? Wrong. I found out rather quickly that there was nothing motivating me to go back to lodge. There isn’t anything interesting about a lodge meeting. We pay the bills, plan mundane dinners, and discuss our charitable endeavors. I didn’t join the Freemasons to do any of those things and no one ever told me that that is what we really do when I was petitioning. I stopped caring about Masonry, because Masonry was boring and a complete waste of my time. I realized that the only reason I used to be active was because I enjoyed socializing with the many good friends that I had in my lodge. Without that connection, Masonry was no longer important.

That is the problem with modern Freemasonry. I’ve heard so many Masons say “You’ll meet so many good men in Masonry.” Well, sure you do, but I have also met many good men outside of Freemasonry and the vast majority of my friends do not belong to the fraternity. So that is no reason to join or remain a Freemason.

Many men cannot explain exactly why they want to be a Freemason, but it almost always has the same theme. Men join Freemasonry because they believe that it will lead them to enlightenment both mentally and spiritually, give them some sort of moral compass, and will help them to lead a better life. They expect a top-notch society. One in which all men meet upon the level, but upon a level above the profane world outside of the lodge. They expect an education. They expect class. They expect a life-changing experience.

I know, because that is exactly what I expected.

Sadly, our lodges are stuck in a time warp. We are obsessed with sticking to the 1950′s model of a civic organization. We talk about making our lodges more attractive and yet we continue to operate them in the same outdated way. We want to operate on the cheap. We want to “dumb down” Masonry to make it easier to grasp. We want to copy the model that Rotary and Kiwanis have provided instead of following the model that Freemasonry created over 250 years ago. We have turned our organization into an outrageous bureaucracy where every single event requires the unneeded approval of some Masonic dignitary. The world’s greatest fraternity has become the world’s most mundane organization.

That is the state of Freemasonry today. That is why men become dues-paying Masons. That is why I became a dues-paying Mason. If Freemasons want the society to survive, some radical changes must be made. Over the next few weeks, I am going to discuss this in detail. The question that must be discussed is: “What must Freemasonry become in order to be relevant in American society again?”

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