The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories.
I’ve always believed in the concept of threes and the power of the triangle. Being a management consultant specializing in Information Technology, I’ve encountered this phenomenon too many times to consider it to be nothing but a coincidence. Consequently I tend to see things in “threes,” such as looking for three reasons for something to occur, three fundamental stages of growth (such as the three degrees), or identifying three characteristics of something, such as Masons. In my travels through the fraternity, it has been my experience that there are three distinctly different types of Master Masons in the world: Anonymous, Amateur, and Professional.
These are the Masons who loyally pay their dues but are never seen in the Craft Lodge. They are either incapable of attending (due to a short cable-tow, they live out of town, or simply don’t care), or they joined for the notoriety of being a Mason in the hopes it might help their professional career, or they joined in order to advance to another Masonic related body, such as the Shrine, and never look back. Lodge Secretaries are familiar with the Brother’s name, but cannot place a face to it. The Anonymous Mason is also commonly referred to as the “M.I.A. Mason” (Missing In Action).
Perhaps a better adjective for this type of Mason is “casual” as they tend to dabble in the fraternity. For example, they may occasionally make an appearance in the Craft Lodge, send in a donation for a worthy Masonic cause, or read a book or article pertaining to the fraternity. They truly like being a Mason but balk at making a major commitment to it, such as becoming an officer or serving on a committee. They are also the first to complain when a dues increase is proposed or if the Lodge doesn’t look quite right. Instead of becoming more active and finding out the cause of the problems in the Lodge, they find it easier to grouse from the sidelines thereby disrupting harmony.
In every Lodge there is a handful of Brothers you can count on for leadership and to lend a hand when the chips are down. They are intimate with the mechanics of the Lodge and the fraternity and do not hesitate to step forward when needed, and help mentor younger and less experienced Brothers so they may grow and take their place in the Craft Lodge hierarchy. The Professional Mason is not a zealous control freak with a huge ego, but rather is unselfish and appreciates the power of teamwork and the tenets of Freemasonry. He rightfully understands that Freemasonry is more about the overall Brotherhood as opposed to the glory of a single individual.
Some time ago I described “The 80/20 Rule” (aka “Pareto’s Principle”) which is a management concept commonly found in business, whereby 80% of the work is performed by 20% of the workers. We see this not only in business but in any nonprofit organization, including Freemasonry. Do not be alarmed, this is natural. In the Craft Lodge, 80% of the work is performed by the Professional Masons, and the remaining 20% is squeezed out of the Amateur and Anonymous Masons. If this is true, the Craft Lodge becomes in danger if Professional Masons are eliminated. Another danger is when an Amateur Mason rises and is elected to the East. This type of person is more interested in obtaining a Past Master’s apron, than doing anything of substance.
So, the question arises, “What kind of Mason are you?” I guess it ultimately comes down to why you joined the fraternity. If you are truly seeking further light, then you are on the right path. If not, you will probably be nothing more than an Amateur or Anonymous Mason, and we have too many of them already.
Keep the Faith.
by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
This is a republication of the article from this site.
A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:
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Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.