“WHAT’S HE GOTTEN HIMSELF INTO THIS TIME?”
It may seem a light-hearted way to ask the question, but still it’s a question many women have when their husbands decide to join the Masonic Lodge. In spite of the fact that we’ve been around for hundreds of years, many people don’t know that much about us, even people whose fathers were Freemasons.
So we’d like to tell you a little more about the Fraternity your husband is joining. Especially, we’d like to tell you about some of the benefits YOU will get from Masonry. It may be for men, but our Ladies get a lot from it, too. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
WHAT IS HE GOING THROUGH? HOW DOES HE ACTUALLY JOIN MASONRY?
There are three degrees or stages of membership: (1) Entered Apprentice, (2) Fellow Craft and (3) Master Mason.
Masonry takes many of its terms and symbols from the craft guilds which built the great cathedrals and castles of the Middle Ages. The beginning craft stonemason, just starting to learn the skills he would need, was an Apprentice, entered on the rolls of the guild. That’s where the name comes from.
He will have to learn some memory work before he can take the next degree. Since that material is not written, he’ll have to learn it from another Mason, and that may take him some time away from home. As soon as he is ready, he’Il go to a meeting of the Lodge and show them that he has learned the material. A little encouragement from you can make all the difference here. For most men, this first memory work is the hardest. He can learn it, millions of us have. If he gets discouraged, we’d appreciate it if you’d remind him that he really can learn it. After the first couple of sessions, it gets much easier for him.
The Degrees are learning experiences. There is nothing silly or frivolous about them. They talk about the duty we owe to God, to our families, our country and ourselves. They teach the importance of self-development, patience and self-control.
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY SECRETS?
Really, there are very few “secrets” in Masonry, and they relate to ways a man can prove he’s a Mason to another Mason. We keep those secrets because a Mason will do almost anything to help another Mason or his family. He earns the right to that help because he promises to give that help to others. But there are no secrets about the teachings or values of Masonry. After your husband receives the Master Mason Degree, he can obtain a Monitor, which sets forth the teachings in the same words he heard. You’re perfectly welcome to read it.
HOW MUCH OF HIS TIME IS MASONRY GOING TO TAKE?
That’s up to the two of you. In most cases, It depends upon the man’s age. Generally, older men have more time to give than younger men. It may be only a few hours a year, or it may be many hours a week. Masonry, itself, doesn’t take much time, but many Masons find things they really like to do. Some serve as volunteer drivers, taking crippled children and their parents to Shrine Masonic hospitals in other states where they are treated free of charge. Some decide they want to be officers, and that takes a tittle more time, just as it does with any organization.
And then you may decide you want to participate in some of the family dinners, picnics, outings and other activities of the Lodge. Each family tailors Masonic involvement to its own needs and wants.
WHAT DO THE REST OF US GET OUT OF IT?
Masonry offers a lot to the family. In fact, there are several Masonic organizations for both women and men. The Order of the Eastern Star, with one of the most beautiful rituals around, is one. So are the White Shrine of Jerusalem, the Order of Amaranth, the Social Order of the Beauceant, and several others. If you have children, there are Masonic Youth organizations. For boys, 13-21, there’s the Order of DeMolay. For girls there is Rainbow and Job’s Daughters. These organizations can be important to your children. Not on]y do they offer a chance for your children to be with others in a structured anti supervised activity which teaches ethics and morality, they also teach social skills, leadership skills, and self-development. All that can be reassuring in these days of drugs and teenage pregnancy.
And Freemasonry offers benefits to you, too. If you need help, at home or in a strange town, that help is as near as the nearest Mason. There are literally thousands of cases in point. Suppose you have car trouble when you’re traveling cross country. You don’t know who to trust in that town to fix the car and not cheat you. Find a Mason (Lodges are listed in the phone book) and tell him you’re the wife of a Mason. He’ll do everything he can to help you.
ARE THERE THINGS MY HUSBAND CAN’T TELL ME ABOUT MASONRY?
Very little. We ask him to keep secret the words of the obligation and the memory work, because that’s one of the major ways we have of recognizing another Mason. We ask him not to tell anyone who isn’t a Mason about the grips, passwords, and other means of recognition. But he can tell you anything you want to know about the teachings, the values, the ideals and the structure of Masonry.
CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MASONRY IF I WANT TO?
Sure! We’re happy to give you all the information you want. Your husband may not be able to answer all your questions yet–it takes a while to learn. But feel free to write to the Grand Secretary, P.O. Box 1020, Jacksonville, FL 32201 about any questions you have. We’ll have a Brother answer your letter personally, and do our best to answer your questions.
(c) Grand Lodge of Florida, F. & A.M.
If he is interested in joining, have him download and fill out a petition and bring it in to us, so we can meet him personally!