The reasons men become Masons today are the same as for all generations, i.e. to become better men, husbands, fathers, and citizens. However, those who are seeking Masonry today know a lot more about our craft than those who joined a decade or more ago, and in many cases may know a lot more about Freemasonry than those who have been Masons for a number of years. As such, they have great expectations about what Masonry has to offer them.
What is it then that Freemasonry is promising these men who seek us out, and how do we as Masons deliver that promise?
Every man who signs a Masonic petition is promised that he will be given a Masonic education, which defines how Masonry applies to his life overall, that will improve his character, and make him a better man. Masons today expect more, they expect an in depth Masonic education beyond the catechisms. They also expect that established Masons will guide and mentor them. These men are not satisfied with the status quo and want meetings where the is discussion of history and philosophy of Masonry is the rule rather than the exception.
Freemasonry has to be ready to except the challenge of meeting the expectations of this new generation of Masons and to deliver the promise. First and foremost, each man who is currently a Master Mason should continue his own education by seeking further light in Masonry. In order to share our history and philosophy, to guide and mentor these new Masons, we must expand our knowledge over and above the first three degrees.
We need to share what we learn with our candidates, guiding them through the catechisms and augmenting those lessons learned with more Masonic Light.
We need to establish a program of Masonic education and instruction within our lodges to improve ourselves as well as our candidates for the degrees.
We need to focus on quality in our ritual, in our lodge buildings, in our fellowship, and in ourselves.
Finally, we need to seek the promise of Freemasonry for ourselves and deliver that promise to our newly made Masons.
There is a renaissance occurring in the world of Freemasonry today. Information about what we do is no longer hidden behind the tiled doors of our lodges and is readily available to anyone who might be curious about us. There are more and more people writing about our history and philosophy than ever before. Major universities are creating departments of Masonic studies, headed by renowned Masonic historians. As such, many more men are seeking the promise of Freemasonry. We as Freemasons must be prepared to deliver that promise.