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A path to light

03 April 24

Freemasonry is different. It is not the same as a bowls club, a church congregation or a trade union.

In the first place, it relies on the shared experience of a series of ceremonies to bind its members together. It uses drama, metaphor and symbolism to impress the principles and teachings of the Order on the mind of each individual joining member. Simply passing each one a handbook, in matter-of-fact modern language would not be as meaningful.

The second point of difference is that Freemasonry is not only the most extensive fraternal and charitable organisation, but it is genuinely interested in the personal development and education of its members. Every initiate is counselled to make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge.

Now look back over your masonic journey. Do you remember the initial excitement when you joined? Do you recall the satisfaction that you enjoyed when you were first clothed in your very own Master Mason’s Apron?

The fact that you are reading this now confirms that you have stayed the course. You have remained faithful to yourself and to the Craft by making steady progress in your understanding of all that Freemasonry has to offer and no doubt you have developed a special affinity for one of its facets – ceremony, charity, fellowship, history, research etc.

But what of those other brethren who knocked at the door, entered and stayed only for a short while, those who had the experience but missed the meaning. Perhaps they needed encouragement and coaching. Did we not notice that they became bored with the repetition of ceremonies with no additional explanation of the symbolism? Did we not make them aware of the history of Freemasonry, the stories of Freemasons who preceded us in our own country and on the world stage.

Why didn’t we take more notice of those members? Didn’t we miss them when they became absent? Extensive interviewing of past members in Victoria revealed that many left because they felt ‘lost’. Structured masonic education programs are being used worldwide. Effective education programs enable members to become more involved in the work of the lodge and the fellowship becomes more enjoyable. In addition, it enables each brother to competently explain to friends and relatives what Freemasonry is and what it has to offer to the individual and to the community. The reason why the general public is not aware of our role in providing care for the aged, in encouraging young people to further their education and in facilitating medical research, is that we have been too modest for our own good.

The path to improvement hinges on having an effective mentoring system. When mentoring is informal and masonic education is an afterthought, there can be no long-term benefits. The United Grand Lodge of England has been very favourably impressed with the development of the mentoring scheme since it was first proposed in 2008.

In order to give further impetus to the scheme it is recommended that the Master of a lodge appoint a brother as lodge mentor.

The mentor should ensure that every new member and any brother within the lodge requiring mentoring, is allocated a personal mentor and that the work of the personal mentor so allocated is co-ordinated and organised. He should be able to provide guidance to the personal mentors on their responsibilities.

The Lodge Mentor will have two principal tasks. He will ensure that a mentor is assigned to each new member. He can be that mentor or he can select another brother who is well qualified to guide the new member. Mentoring is more than greeting the new member with a friendly handshake and a question to see if he is learning the answers required for advancement.

The Lodge Mentor will also ensure that the lodge provides masonic education on a regular basis in the form of talks and discussions. Our clientele will be mostly from brethren who are familiar with the digital media. We will need to use tools with which they are familiar. We urge brethren who are able and interested in developing appropriate materials to come forward and make themselves known.

What is your lodge doing with regard to the mentoring of those new masons who have recently joined?

By MW Bro Murry Yaxley AM PProGM, Grand Lodge of Tasmania. The article was first published in Freemasonry Tasmania. Then in the Freemason Magazine in December 2014.


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