Thursday, November 29, 2007

Top Search on Yahoo....Freemasonry?!

As I was surveying the internet, I went to Yahoo's Main Page and saw that Freemasonry was the fourth most searched term today. I began to look further into why the term "Freemasonry" would be ranked so highly, and I found an article on the AFP (through Yahoo's news search engine) that Dan Brown has communicated with the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia but cut off the talks. I have posted the url here:

The odd thing about this story is that it seems out of date compared to what we have already heard from Dan Brown's publisher that the book has been delayed to a later date with rumors on sites such as, that The Solomon Key will not be released in 2007. Is this just pre-publicity? In a related story, Richard Leigh, the co-writer of such books as Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Temple and the Lodge has died at the age of 64. The article is at the Telegraph Online.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ask A Freemason... Is this okay?

I have been looking at the websites of different Grand Lodges, and I have discovered an interesting advertising campaign by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. One of the main rules of imposed by Freemasonry is that we only accept members who actively pursue us. However, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has decided to introduce a new way to attract new members. At the site, Ask A Freemason, men are encouraged to inquire local lodges on becoming a part of the Craft. The site seems to incorporate different interactive features, i.e. a forum, a personalized questions index, FAQ section. Most importantly, the site includes commercials, both television and radio, that appear to have been aired. Is this okay? Are we allowed to advertise ourselves?
I have some misgivings about the advertising campaign. I know that we are hemorrhaging membership every year, but is this the answer? I believe that a major function that we serve is networking. Another side effect is that we get exposure from people that we may not want to join the Fraternity. I agree that we need to get out into the public, but is this too far?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Exciting News!!!!

I have just been voted as Junior Warden of my Lodge. This is a great opportunity for me to be a voice for the youngest generation of Masons. I believe that it is a very important step, not only to me, but to give all younger Masons the opportunity to have a voice and a part to play. The newest Masons don’t even need to hold an office, but should be encouraged to join a committee and perhaps even head a Lodge project. I have a lot of great ideas, especially getting our Lodge into the public eye in Farmington, Lakeville, Rosemount and the surrounding areas.

I believe that I am up to the task and I want to thank the brothers for allowing me to take this opportunity to lead them into the future.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

College Debt May Pose a Problem for Young Freemasons and what we can do about it

According to the Project on Student Debt, college graduates are graduating with about $20,000 in debt; most of the debt coming from student loans. I know people, including myself, that are over $100,000 in debt. I think one of the barriers that young men may be experiencing that their fathers and grandfathers did not have was this huge amount of debt upon graduation. During World War II, servicemen were able to take advantage of the G.I. Bill with a higher rate of return on their investment in college. The G.I. Bill allowed 51% of servicemen to take advantage lower cost education, with 72% of Vietnam Veterans taking advantage of the G.I. Bill.
The problem of debt also has a silver lining. Many more people in Generation Y are college graduates which means that they are highly educated. This situation is very good for Freemasonry because many of the young men that will join the Fraternity have a desire for knowledge. This desire is directly correlated with the interrogatories ask of all of our candidates. We need these highly educated individuals to keep the strength in our Fraternity.
I am not suggesting that we lower the dues for these young men or that we lower our standards. Dues for the Blue Lodge have been historically low. However, most young men don't know that dues are relatively low compared to many other service organizations or more importantly the networking possibilities. Hopefully, young men will begin to realize that the amount of networking that they can accomplish strongly outweighs the dues paid. As many more students graduate from college, they need these opportunities to network with people that can help them get a job. One program that we could institute is a multitude of guilds based on different professions. Young men should be encouraged to join these groups. Minnesota has a lawyers guilds that law students, lawyers, judges and other legal professionals can join and interact. There should be guilds of many more professions, such as doctors or engineers, etc.
The way to stay relevant in today's society is to realize that we are a Fraternity of mutual support committed to not only to brotherly love and truth but dedicated to the relief of other brothers and their families. Our commitment to relief should include helping young men to enter the workforce. With this proposition for increased networking, we can remain important and relevant to society.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Beginning

What are Masons and what is Masonry? What is the future of Freemasonry? How can we attract younger members? What does Masonry offer me? Will I have enough time to be a Mason? Are you guys worshiping Satan? Are you guys like "The Da Vinci Code?" Is there really a National Treasure and is the Dollar Bill hiding a Masonic Symbol?

I have heard these questions day in and day out. The reason I think people are curious about what I think is simple; I am 25 years old. I am a Millennial or a member of Generation Y and I have a very distinct opinion of the Craft.

I should give a short history of being a Freemason. I am currently a law student from Minnesota in my last year. My first real grasp of Freemasonry was at Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. I noticed a letter on the counter from a group called "The Knights Templar." I was intrigued and I asked my grandfather what it meant to be a Knight Templar. He said that it was an appendant body of Freemasonry. I knew that both of my grandfathers were Freemasons before but this was the first time that I had seen physical proof of them being members. I asked him how I can join and he told me he could arrange getting me into a lodge close to my house. I petitioned Corinthian Lodge #67 in Farmington, MN and was initiated in February of 2006, passed in the same month and raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason in March, 2006. . At this time, I was in my spring semester of law school.

After my raising, I brought my father into the Fraternity and my grandfather being present at my father's raising. It was very incredible to see three generations of Masons in one place. During this time, I was appointed to the office of Senior Steward in the Lodge and have participated in many lectures for the degree work put on by my lodge.

I was initiated into Freemasonry when I was 23 . This fact seems to run counter to everything that has been going on in the Craft for the last 50 years. I think I can change this trend. The Y generation has lived in a world of collaboration and team building. Most participated in some extracurricular activities in High School, College and beyond. They live on Facebook, Myspace and many other social networks. They text each other constantly and are in direct connection with what their friends are doing through Twitter, Pownce and Jaiku. Generation Y can be the next brothers in the Fraternity, all they need to see is that it is still relevant to today. According to the Masonic Services Association of North America, Freemasonry has hit its lowest point ever with a little more than 1.5 million members. We can change this statistic; we just need to reevaluate certain preconceived notions of what young men want.

This blog will attempt to answer these questions and also my own personal views of where Masonry is headed and what is best for the Craft. I also would like any comments or feedback from my readers. If you have any suggestions for topics, post a comment and I will attempt to answer them as soon as I get them.