Bro. Daniel (Doc) Gentry of Millburn Lodge No. 127, A. F. & A. M. of Illinois invited me to post this piece he originally posted on Midnight Freemasons. I do so now with permission from the Managing Editor, Bro. Robert “Whence Came You” Johnson.
Bro. Doc was my first contributor to the From The Mentor’s Mouth column of my blog, which invites seasoned brethren to submit advice or education that could help a new or potential brother on their Masonic journey. You can read his bio here.
The most important part of the journey, in the same as creating a building, is the foundation of the beginning. From the first time we come to lodge and eat with brothers as someone who is “on the threshold” to the day we are raised. This time, for all masons, is critical time for a foundation of Freemasonry. Amazing, this is the time that most people will choose to not come back to lodge and finish their degrees. So let us look at this for a moment and see if there is something that we can take away from this point to make the Journey of Freemasonry more productive, and prosperous.
Freemasonry is a personal journey, an internal journey of the heart mind and soul. I would dare to say that if you see no change in your life, except for paying dues yearly, than you truly miss the function of our great craft. I believe this happens because people forget that our great craft has many different facets, but none of them are taken alone. In fact, that is what we hear, and need to hear more often, that no one takes a step in Freemasonry alone. We find sometimes that Mentors or Intenders do not keep a constant open communication between themselves and their charge. Brothers are left with the notion that they are on their own in studying, and if they need any help just call. Though this will work with a few Brothers, we are not keeping our promise to each other. I am not talking about being annoying, but being available, and willing to learn that there is a two way communication amongst brothers.
When I was going through my degrees, I had an issue where I was not able to retain what I was trying to memorize. Recently out of the military, I had a few things creep up on me, and I became distraught. I did not want to waste my Mentors time, so I refrained from calling him, or anyone for that matter, for help. On the other side of things though, not many brothers made themselves available for me to call upon either. After I admitted that I was having issues, to the point where I asked for more time for my degrees and, how I would describe it, stepped out of line letting brothers that had gone after me, pass me up, so that I could spend more time memorizing. During this time, I truly felt alone, and I did not know what to do.
It would be a good idea to encourage each candidate, to keep a log of each Masonic experience, from the day they sing their petition until their raising. Then, after they have been raised for a year, have them make a presentation to the lodge of their experiences. Let them be honest, and make sure they feel that they are part of the lodge, because we are all just brothers on the level, and take their “problems” to heart. If you can fix it make sure that they are looked into, and make corrections where you can. Remember, the worst thing that we as Masons can do is act upon the old adage, because this is the way we always have done it.