Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Recruitment Results are in!

Well the votes are in from Much Ado about Recruitment and it appears that most brothers who frequent my blog support Passive Strong Recruitment with 68% of the vote. Active Strong Recruitment came in second with 18%, Passive Weak with 9% and Active Weak with 4%. Unfortunately with a sample size of 22 votes, its impossible to make a direct correlation with the opinions of Masonry as a whole. We would need a much larger sample size to make any statements about how Masons feel in general. However, I was pleased to see that many brothers who read the Masonic Renaissance share the same point of view as myself. I didn't want to basis my questionnaire with my own view point, so I didn't state it at the time. I am a supporter of Passive Strong recruitment.

I believe that we as Masons should not actively ask non-Masons to join the fraternity. Men who are willing to seek out Masonry are more likely to be seekers of truth, the true profession of a Freemason. However, it is important to talk with non-Masons about who we are and what we do. The Masonic Service Association of North America performed a study a few years ago that showed that the majority of Americans (approx 80%) have no idea what Masonry is. Public awareness of Masonry is at an all-time low and it's important that we rectify this problem.

I have never asked a man to join the lodge, however I have signed nearly a dozen petitions in my eight years of being a Master Mason. I take the time to talk about my lodge, my brothers and our good works with my friends and family. I let my excitement show and this makes my acquaintances wish to know more. We don't need booths at fairs, billboards or TV commercials asking people to join. We need brothers who can talk about our brotherhood.

I try to remember this simple axiom when it comes to Masonic Recruitment, "Small is beautiful." I take this idea from economist E. F. Schumacher, who wrote against the idea of globalization in the 70's. Schumacher railed against the concentration of resources and proposed a system of decentralized economics that focused on the human aspects of production instead of an evaluation based solely on efficiency. Freemasonry should take the same approach. We need to focus on decentralized recruitment that focuses on the human aspects of Masonry instead of centralized recruitment. Quite simply, Masonry is about people and that should be the focus. The message of Masonry should be spread in a personal manner. More members can be gained through a supportive handshake, a shoulder to lean on when times are tough or advice to help guide a friend.

What I propose is no easy task. It requires two of the most difficult virtues to embody, patience and trust. First, we must be patient. The Temple of King Solomon took decades to build and the second Temple took decades to rebuild. Masonry is also in the process of being rebuilt. Many of our brothers are not knowledgeable about the craft and they must be taught. Many Grand Lodges wish to take a centralized approach to recruitment, because they fear that our brothers' ignorance will disgrace the dignity of our profession. The answer to this problem isn't to get a new set of brothers, it is to teach the brothers we have already to become true Master Masons. Second, we must trust in these brothers that we have taught. Once they have the tools that they need, let them do the work that they were trained to do. In short, we must patiently train our brothers to talk about the fraternity and then trust that they will help our craft grow.

In my next post "The Best of Both Worlds", I will conclude my four part series on Masonic recruitment. This post will focus on the specifics of creating a fraternity that has both quality and quantity.


Anonymous said...

There is something to be said for "attraction, rather than promotion."

Tim said...

It would appear my Brother, that I am not so alone after all.