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.
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.
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.