Friday, February 15, 2008

The Stone That The Builder Refused

I was recently asked a question by a Brother that I had no real good answer for. While we usually concentrate on how to get good men to join our fraternity the question on how to turn someone away rarely comes up.
My Brother has a certain someone who he has known for a long time, who constantly hounds him for information on the craft. Good news right? Well, this man, according to him, is far from the type of man who we would wish to call a brother and my Brother asked me how best to turn him away.
Recommending a man for our order is one of the highest honors that can befall a Freemason, but it also comes with great responsibility. With the future of Freemasonry still uncertain it is my opinion that we should be extremely careful of whom we bring among our numbers. It is hard enough sometime just to find good men who are also willing to take the chance on a Brotherhood veiled in mystery and history, but there will always be those out there who have no problem taking solemn vows just to find out what we are about. Men with no honor to keep their obligation and you know sometimes there is no real way of knowing this until way too late.
After getting the idea of what kind of man my Brother was talking about, I suggested he stress the moral basis of our order which might turn off an amoral person and if that did not work I suggested he just tell him that it is just a bunch of old men! I did not know what to say. I try to keep myself away from those type of people and if I must associate with one, and we all have to at one point or another, I keep it as shallow a relationship as possible.
What do you do with a man who wants to join Freemasonry but you think is not a good fit? Or even yet, what about a person who you think is alright but you just don’t like?
Tough questions when most of our lodges need more people, but I don't ever want some visitor to leave my lodge thinking of what I thought when I wrote Higher Standards or Lack Thereof.


Radcliffe said...

It is hard to turn someone away, and it sticks with you when you do. Truth is required, then one is mentoring the individual who is asking, moving that person toward tranformation, someone who truly wishes to join will make change and a way too, I think.

Tom Accuosti said...

I suggested he stress the moral basis of our order which might turn off an amoral person and if that did not work I suggested he just tell him that it is just a bunch of old men! I did not know what to say.

So, you're suggesting that lying or some kind of prevarication is the answer to dealing with someone who you believe to be of inferior moral character?


Seriously, a lot of humor centers around trying to find a way to allow someone to save face while at the same time avoiding the direct approach.

I suggest that you get him a petition for a lodge that you don't like, and let them deal with it.

Seriously, this is why we have the 3 person investigation committee and the whole balloting process.

Blackballing a candidate is especially difficult because that person never has the opportunity to ask the reason; and if he's a friend of yours, then it's up to you to figure out how to break the news. And of course, then he's going to badmouth you.

If it's somebody that works with your friend every day, then it's a difficult situation.

Ken said...

As I read the article it seemed to me that it is not necessary to discourage him from petitioning. As Bro Tom has pointed out there is an investigating committee along with the balloting of new candidates. There are several points at which you could discreetly intercede in the process.

Gingerman said...

It's interesting that we seem to have people in our lives whom we call friends, and yet disapprove of. I have such a one. One of my oldest friends is someone I wouldn't want visiting my home, for reasons I can't discuss here. '

The fellow has asked about becoming a Freemason. I've pointed out some valid points that should discourage him: his religion, his antisocial nature, activities he enjoys that would be interfered with by a meeting schedule and memorization work.

So far it's put him off. He still thinks it's a great contact source, and that's another thing I've told him it ain't.

If push comes to shove, and he does petition, I might be the one to drop the black ball.

Unclmikct said...

As soon as i started talking about our plans to setup a readingroom in th lodge he got quiet. I spoke about the wonderful phylisophical conversations we have twice a week and the cool "performance" like meetings we have and how great i feel about being able to memorize lines again. When i told him joining the Masons was like taking my brain to the gym he said that maybe he would wait awhile before joining anything......
Of course he is welcome to come. Maybe he has a skill or hidden ability that the masonic world brings out in him and makes him a better person, keeping him out of the gangs and away from the drugs.
But first he needs to focus on himself, fly straight for awhile. Get a job, get better a taking care of himself before he joins a group that prides itself at taking care of each other. Thanks for your thoughts and comments brothers.