What young Masons want? A view from the U.S.
I do not mean this to be a commentary on the division of young and old, but rather to be a proclamation of a young Mason concerning what I believe we want. This is so we might all improve our understanding of one another and progress our fraternity.
It occurred to me that some may not know what young Masons really want. Worse, I think it is often misunderstood or misstated. We “young Masons” or new Masons bear some of the responsibility for this. We are often uncomfortable declaring our desires, our disappointments, and our frustrations. And what do we do? We quietly stop appearing at meetings and simply slip off the rolls. We return to our communities outside the lodge disheartened with Masonry, and—unfortunately for the fraternity—we will often share our disappointments with our friends. Sadly, we then join a group of Masons as diverse as the lodge itself: unfulfilled Masons.
Well, Brethren, I don’t intend to become an unfulfilled Mason. So here I stand. It is vital for the members of the Craft to understand one another so that we can create an environment that is beneficial for all.
Initially, we must discuss Blue Lodge, the birth place of the Master Mason, for without it, Scottish Rite Masonry does not exist. The young man approaching the Craft today does so to supplement and add to what his church and family have already given him. A certain tugging at his soul speaks to him to seek a deeper meaning in life, in family, and in God. He researches and desires an initiation into the esoteric and ancient quest for Truth. He requests a petition with these hopes in mind. Why shouldn’t he? The eloquent writings of Masonic scholars, including the Scottish Rite’s Albert Pike, have hinted at the existence of such knowledge, and Masonic writings abound with hints of this very thing.
What does this man find once he joins? For too many, it’s membership drives, one-day classes, poor and hastily planned ritual, late nights, and a push to become an officer before he is even proficient as a Master Mason. If that man has made it through the three degrees hoping that at the end of his journey some of the promises might be fulfilled, he only learns phrases like “progressive science” and “self-improvement.”