Friday, July 25, 2008

What a New Guy Should Know, Candidate or Brother

New brothers or guys thinking about joining Freemasonry, don't worry because Help! is on its way.



One of the main reasons that I decided to create a blog was to give a young man's perspective in the Fraternity. However, I have never given advice to the young man that would like to join the Craft. I wanted to write about my own victories and faux pases when I first inquired and joined the Lodge and what men should not do when it comes to Freemasonry. It can be very difficult for a man to come to the door and asked to be let in if he doesn't know what he should do.

DO

1. Ask lots of questions. I discovered a lot of history about the Lodge before I was even initiated. It can be a great ice breaker between candidate and brothers.

2. Go to a Friendship or Fellowship Night if possible. It can really help to meet the brothers of the Lodge as well as other possible candidates. Also, it is very possible to get your questions answered even if you did not think of it at the time as many other guys might ask a good one.

3. Ask for help when learning the exam. I was fortunate enough to have a great Past Master to help me learn the exam with great accuracy.

4. Get involved in Lodge activities early. When I was raised, I immediately got involved in different things to do. Before I had been in for even a few months, I was already helping out with KidsID, the corn dog stand and anything else the Master wanted. I really felt a part of the Lodge and was incredibly excited for every meeting.

5. Learn the basic happenings in the Lodge. I didn't understand what I was supposed to do in the Lodge, like voting and other stuff. I asked what I should do and the brothers helped me out.

6. Ask questions about the decorum of the Lodge. I learned that my Lodge is very relaxed but we still are expected to wear nicer clothes. Many Lodges have different requirements for dress and you should remember what you can wear or when you should arrive.

DON'T

7. Joke about the ritual, i.e. riding goats, paddles, and other stuff. On my initiation day, the brother that I would go through the ceremonies with and myself entered the Lodge and introduced ourselves to the brothers that we had not met and was incredibly nervous. I was talking to them and jokingly said, "I don't have to worry about paddles, do I." I was given a look of curious indignation. Luckily, I was able to bounce back from my speaking SNAFU but I still feel dumb to this day.

8. Try to elicit information about the other degrees before you have gone through them. I have always been curious and I really wanted to know the secrets. Luckily, my brothers were kind enough to not tell me any of the secrets without being mean. I am happy that I did not push as hard I could have and I really felt I learned much more from the slow uncovering of the ritual.

If any of the other brothers can think of some good advice, just leave a comment. I would especially like to hear from other really young guys. I really think it is important to calm the fears of our new brothers when they join the Fraternity.

3 comments:

Ben Rowe said...

Bro Nick

I had quite the opposite experience when talking about goats, etc, with my new brothers on the day of my initiation - in fact, it was them that was bringing it up to me all the time to try and wind me up!! They even got my mum in on it:

http://chequered-carpet.blogspot.com/2007/03/goats-bears-vaseline-and-plasters.html

Anyhow, you said you want other younger brethren to get i touch: so here I am!

do e-mail me:

ben (at) chequered-carper (dot) co.uk

Congrats on such an excellent blog, really glad Justa Mason linked to you.

Ben

Steve said...

Re: #7. Nick, if you think that yours was a significant slip you are worrying too much. The look you got was probably just one of confusion, since they were probably not prepared to answer.

I am no authority; I think we need to play it by ear. There are guys who will respond well to horseplay, and there are guys who will not. Since a big part of the craft is tolerance, maybe it all works out - so long as we all pay attention and use a little respect.

I do not think anyone was really shocked or offended by your comment. Frankly, part of the whole experience is to provide a venue where good men can be made better by being able to express fears, frustrations, and concerns. I would be willing to bet there are few among us who would take offense at a nervous remark.

Other than this one suggestion, which I hope you see as supportive, I think you have a great list going. Keep it up!

Steve said...

Just a second thought; if that person who gave you a "look of curious indignation" was, in fact ME, it was more likely just gas....