Nobles: Here is one answer to the question we have all Asked:
What is it that attracts younger men to Freemasonry and why do we find it so difficult to keep our numbers strong?
By Bro. Ken H. Dennis
This question has been swirling around in my head for about a week, brought on by a conversation I had with a Brother at the festive board. He had mentioned that in the past year he had introduced several younger men to Freemasonry. As we discussed this I couldn’t help but think in the back of my mind that this guy really knows what he is talking about.
I was formulating in my own mind what I believed to be the biggest draw to Freemasonry and I believe that for me (a brother of the age of 28) these were some of the biggest.
1. Honour and trust
2. Belonging, commitment and friendship
3. Self development
I certainly cannot speak on behalf of all young men, but these tenets of which Freemasonry offers are a major attractor. It is doubtful that most men would openly say, “I am just looking for a place to belong, a place to feel accepted, honoured and trusted, where I can learn to be a better man.” I do believe that a large majority of people do indeed feel that way and would never express it in such an open manner.
When I joined Freemasonry I had at best a superficial view of what we were about, my Grandfather was a Mason and I had always respected him and his outlook on life and treatment of people. I didn’t know he was a Mason until after he had passed on to the Celestial Lodge above, but finding this out made me lookup Freemasonry and do some research.
My generation will search the Internet for hours on a subject before they take any direct action, such as contacting a lodge, or e-mailing a known Mason. We want facts and stories to make us understand more clearly about what or who we are dealing with. I myself joined Masonry by e-mailing the grand lodge!
Even though I had an extremely warm introduction to Freemasonry in North Bay, there is no way that I could have comprehended the full extent of its nature at that time.
It wasn’t until I started traveling, I had so many warm and wonderful experiences, with open arms Brethren from around the world united to help me, show me their cities, welcome me in to their homes and this universal kindness was extraordinary to me. I knew from my own Lodge that the friendships and relationships forged with Brethren was strong, but I had no idea to the vast extent at which it was reproduced globally.
I spent some time in the military in my life and honour, responsibility and team work were reiterated over and over to us. Honour and pride in our work, responsibility for our actions and inactions and working as a group to accomplish something great. These too are qualities that should be instilled in our Brethren.
It is my belief that if we speak about our experiences, or sense of true brotherhood to potential new candidates that we will do a far better of job of getting them in to our Lodges. Don’t treat them as a number, don’t treat them as stranger, treat them as you would a Brother and show them in your actions.
If you want to really make them understand, you need to be excited, proud and energetic about Freemasonry. Talk to them about your experiences, the visitations with open arms, the festivals and friendships and how we aspire to live by moral means and to develop the light within ourselves.