LISTEN MORE TO THE YOUNG
I am 23 years old and my journey into
Freemasonry started at 16 years. During
my teenage years I enjoyed history
and it was during a visit to the local
library that I came across a book about
After reading numerous books and
conducting my own research, I decided
at around the age of 17 that I would like
to become a member.
I wrote to the Provincial Grand Lodge
of Sussex, which was very helpful,
sending me some guidance leaflets
and putting me in contact with a Lodge
The secretary invited me to attend
social functions, which was a great help,
but I was informed that I would have to
wait until I was 21 before I could become
a member. This was disappointing and
I imagine very off-putting for anyone
else in my position.
It is disappointing that the average
age of members is very high. This needs
to be addressed sooner rather than
later, and a way of doing this could be
appoint a ‘Younger Masons Committee’
for each Province.
The age of initiation should be
lowered from 21 to 18. Today, men are
considered adults at 18 rather than 21.
By lowering the age of initiates the
Craft will benefit, it will attract people
at a crucial development age before
they start their own families and fully
develop their careers.
Meeting times should be addressed.
A start time of 5pm is just not realistic
if the Craft wishes to gain younger
members. There are many things
at Lodge meetings which could be
shortened or even cut out all together
and still not detract from the quality
This is something which the Young
Masons Committee could discuss and
put forward, working alongside more
experienced members to perhaps try
as a trial run and see if it works.
Many Provinces have outdated and
poorly designed websites, with the
appearance of a retirement club, its
meeting times conflict with working
hours and generally its members are
not open to change, and are sceptical
of young people.
I am as keen on Freemasonry as
I was the day I discovered the book at
the local library, but my interest lies in
Freemasonry itself, the rich history and
the chance to wear ornate aprons and
We could attract many other young
men by making some clever changes
and appreciating that to attract young
men we need to listen to them as well.
Worthing, West Sussex
Involving younger Masons
I was initiated in June 2003, and at 38 and
fully concur with the salient points by Craig
Adkins (MQ, Issue No. 21), especially about
the ritual, learning thereof and delivery in
open Lodge. This is a particular part of my
Masonic life that certainly gives me a buzz.
At our Lodge we have enough members
to practice two Lodges of Instruction –
seniors and juniors. As ‘juniors’ we hold
two demonstrations a year, mentored by
two seniors, and invite the ‘seniors’ along as
visitors to partake in our demonstration and
to join us at a small festive board afterwards.
This not only allows the juniors the time
and opportunity to show how well they
can understand the ritual and floor work,
but also gives us the opportunity to practice
all roles within the Lodge.
I think this is an excellent way of
retaining new initiates, because we have
relatively relaxed practice meetings,
enabling the new members to settle in, get
to know their contemporaries and have a
more enjoyable time at regular meetings.
We also encourage visiting. As soon
as possible after a First Degree, we organise
a visit to a Lodge with the same ceremony,
giving the initiate a sense of belonging.
After all, visiting is the lifeblood of
We are now open and public enough,
but to go any further would remove part
of the attraction that certainly appealed to
me and to the three candidates I have
introduced so far.
Yeadon, near Leeds
The right age
I am 36, and contemplated joining for a
year or so before taking the plunge, and
now wish I had joined earlier. As Craig
Adkins mentions, it is the conventional,
time-honoured aspects of our fraternity
that provide the most fulfilment.
From my experience, new members are
frequently in their 30s or older. This may
give some indication on when individuals
are ready to join such a fraternity. This is
different for all of us, but it was in my 30s
that I settled down after spending many
years starting a career and working abroad
for long stretches.
It is at this age that I was able to
appreciate what Freemasonry provides.
I am not sure if I would have had the time
or been ready in my 20s with so much
going on in my life.
I am a relatively young Freemason at 36,
with just over two and a half years in the
Craft, a full-time employed lawyer and,
like most young Freemasons that I know,
fully committed to a career. I work 40-plus
hours a week and frequently work weekday
evenings and weekends.
Whilst I appreciate that there are only
four meetings per annum, I am now an
officer in my Lodge, and therefore required
to attend Lodge of Instruction most
Whilst I do try to attend as often as
possible, last-minute work commitments
sometimes make this difficult. My request is
that others, especially older, retired brethren
give due consideration to the workload and
personal lives of younger members.
Undoubtedly, younger Freemasons
enjoy the same pleasures and challenges as
their older brethren. This would also help
recruit and retain younger brethren, who
may refrain from an invitation to join,
given their already busy work and social
Grand Lodge and individual Lodges
must do more to avoid this potential tragic
shortage of younger Freemasons from
joining and remaining within the Craft.
How to solve this? Perhaps open days,
enticing potential younger members
to join. Attaching new members to the
Lodge committee would also reassure
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