How to enthuse the new Mason
is outlined by Raymond Hollins
Helping the new Mason
The Craft has a responsibility to provide
new members with opportunities to meet
and interact with others, to help them to do
their share, and to provide knowledge about
This requires a mentoring programme
and must be a team effort aimed at
developing each Brother to his fullest
potential. But what usually happens in most
Lodges between the request of someone to
join and the initiation?
The scenario goes some-thing like this:
the Lodge committee receives an application
which is turned over to a visiting committee,
which does its job and return their report.
The Lodge ballots on the application for
membership and, if accepted, the candidate is
eventually informed of the date of his
initiation. Is there something missing here?
This is where a mentoring and education
programme should begin. It provides the
necessary methodology to guarantee that
every new Brother, even before he actually
joins, is properly instructed in the basic
fundamentals of the Craft.
The mentoring programme consists of
assigning each candidate an experienced
Brother to act as his mentor, educator and
companion, who will be with him
throughout his journey through the Craft
degrees. He will also be provided with
appropriate literature to explain each of the
three degrees. So, from just being a
candidate, he will become an active,
motivated and educated Lodge member.
Many new members do not stay active in
the Lodge after the Third Degree because
they are not stimulated enough to keep
them interested. Usually it is because they
do not even understand the Fraternity they
have just joined.
Every candidate is a stranger to
Freemasonry and Freemasonry is a stranger
to him. It is not merely a Lodge that he joins,
but a great Fraternity with a history
stretching back over many centuries.
A candidate has every right to expect that
the Lodge will provide much of the
information he needs. But many Brethren
never receive this information and are
permitted to come—and perhaps go—
undirected and uninstructed.
For years responsible Craft leaders have
been only too aware of these problems. It
has been largely through the efforts of a few
enterprising Provinces over recent years that
things are beginning to happen.
Failures incur the danger of weakening
the whole structure by attempting to “build
enduring walls with rough ashlars and
Moreover, it is not solely a matter of
teaching the new member about the
ceremonies, but to imbue them with the
spirit of Freemasonry so they can believe in,
and understand its purposes and ideals.
It is not only the candidate who profits by
mentoring. The Lodge itself is strengthened
from having new members who, from the
beginning, can take part in its activities. It is
therefore necessary to ask four key questions:
Do we allow new Brethren to pass through the
three degrees uninformed and uninstructed?
Do we fail to encourage special items at Lodge
meetings to educate the regular attending Brethren?
Is the Lodge allowing those in the junior
officers to come unprepared to the Master’s chair?
Do we fail to recognise that leadership
qualifications are unobtainable if we ignore the
vital need to become Masonically educated?
If the answers to the above are ‘Yes’, then
the Lodge needs a mentoring programme.
On receipt of a petition, the Master should
appoint a small committee and one of these
will continue as the mentor. They meet
with the candidate and his family at his
home and answer any questions.
On being approved and proposed, the
Lodge mentor serves for a term as part of
a Lodge education team, or the mentor
may work alone to enact the programme.
The Lodge then sends the candidate
a congratulatory letter, including the
The mentor will contact the candidate
and advise him of the tentative Degree
schedule and invite the candidate and his
lady to any open Lodge, or social functions.
The mentor will maintain contact during
the candidate’s progress through the degrees
and will assist him in preparing for each stage,
find out if the candidate has any Masonic
friends or associates who would like to attend
the various ceremonies. Above all, the
mentor will make the new Brother feel that
he has become a part of the Masonic family.
The new Mason needs to know and
understand his duties as a Master Mason and
what are his rights and privileges. He needs
information about the traditions and work
of the Craft as a whole. A properly educated,
oriented and invested new Mason is an active
member of his Lodge.
The mentoring programme is the first step
to membership retention and expansion.
Combined with a carefully structured
Masonic education programme, it provides a
coherent system of Masonic education and