Now that I have your attention! There was a personal reason you joined this great fraternity. Some of you had Fathers who gave you a petition and took you to Lodge. While others may have had male role models who did the same. Most of the Baby Boomers, my generation, were not joiners, divorce became socially acceptable, two income households, lack of time for family, the list is endless, thus membership in Churches, Fraternal and Volunteer Organizations has suffered or lessened. I was lucky enough to have good male role models in my life and was able to pass those lessons on to my sons who are Brothers.
Martin Luther said that the Church was one generation away from extinction. In other words we must educate the next generation. The demographics of our Society has and is changing, thus if we are to be viable part of it we must make some changes. I know Masons don’t like change or we hear we’ve never done it that way before. Your Grand Lodge Officers are making improvements and changes for the betterment of the Fraternity. They form what is now known as the Strategic Planning Committee and are ever evaluating our Fraternity to offer constant and ever improving leadership and programing.
One of greatest changes we have noticed is the use of the internet and social media to find out more about Freemasonry. Today we see young men wanting to find that male companionship, that I’ve got your back attitude that some their Fathers and Grandfathers have or their Great Grandfathers had. Without a Mentor or a first line signer on a petition these men are knocking at our door. Today being such a transient society we know nothing about them other than they want to join our Fraternity. I remember an answer to a question that was asked of a Grand Master at a Friend’s Night Meeting – are we a DISCRIMINATING ORGANIZATION. His reply was, “ABSOLUTELY YES!” We want quality men who bring leadership skills and a moral lifestyle to Freemasonry. I am sure that you would agree; many lodges were worried about numbers of members not quality of members and if a man could breathe, gave him a petition.
Remember those charges to be careful of the ignorant and the uninformed, they’re out there and they breed among us.
We really need to take the time to screen those men who express an interest in joining this great fraternity. I would propose that each man seeking Membership into our Fraternity;
- Should be of Good Report?
- We are not a rehabilitation organization.
- If the individual is not a felon doesn’t mean he’s ideal for membership.
- There are many other legal issues to consider
- Should sign a waiver or consent form to do a complete nation-wide background check
- A separate fee of $50 to the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin
- Should fill out a Petition
- With a separate check to the Lodge for the appropriate fees
- Secretary of the Lodge should receive the Petition and the Consent Form
- Consent form, Petition and $50 should be sent to the Grand Lodge
- The $50 Fee is non-refundable
- Grand Lodge will complete the background check within two weeks
- Petitioner’s name will be kept on file with the results
- Done in case it has an unfavorable result and the individual tries to petition another Lodge
- If found to be unfavorable or there are some other issues these reports will be sent to the Lodge Secretary to be shared with Lodge Membership Committee to make a determination as to whether the Petition should be read in Lodge. (If not refund the Petition Fee)
- A favorable Check is completed and returned to the Lodge
- The Secretary will inform the Membership Committee
- If found to be favorable it will be given to the Master to be read in Lodge
- Committee on Petitions will receive instruction from the Master to begin the interviewing process
- Balloting on the Candidate
- Degrees and Mentoring our new Brother
Note: This procedure is being done in other Jurisdictions.
Remember we are a “Diverse” group or Brotherhood of men. I recently attended the 10th Annual Combined Table Lodge with our Prince Hall Brothers at the Tripoli Shrine Center in Milwaukee and was asked what I thought Brotherhood meant? My answer is simple, “Trust”.
Trust that man, he is a Brother, of good report, came highly recommended and I would let him stay in my home with my family while I’m gone.
We can double our membership, maintaining our high standards, only if the person you see in mirror aspires to those high Masonic Values. If so, ask the question, “Who have I brought into the Fraternity to replace myself?” It’s a challenge to maintain our high standards for membership and “Celebrate our Diversity”.
These are some of my thoughts. What are yours?
Sincerely & Fraternally,