Three Types of Masons

The best things in life come in threes, like friends, dreams, and memories.

rules of three

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).

Read: 11 Persona Types of Freemasonry – Part 1, New Members


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.

Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

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:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and

Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

Also be sure to check out Tim’s “Pet Peeve of the Week” (non-Masonic related).

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Tim Bryce and tagged , .

Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant who writes commentaries about the times we live in be it in the corporate world, the Masonic world, or our personal lives. His writings are well known on the Internet and are humorous, educational, and at times controversial. You won’t always agree with him, but Tim will definitely get you thinking.

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  1. I’m currently an Anonymous Mason. I think my contribution to the Lodge is perhaps not what it could be, but still significant. I do contribute my dues and to fundraising, even though I currently have not the time and/or location to attend my home Lodge.

    I find your grouping to be a bit shortsighted, though. Even though I currently cannot participate, it does not preclude my doing so in the future, or from talking approvingly of Freemasonry to others around me.

    Given this type of attitude “we have too many of them already,” perhaps I should take my dues, my limited current contributions, and my possible future ones, and go elsewhere. I am sure my brothers and I both wish I could attend more, contribute more. Luckily, they understand. Do you?

  2. I believe that W/Bro. Tim was making a point that there are some Lodge Brothers out there who have joined the Mason’s, gone through the necessary steps then for some unknown reason dropped out. They are not sick, taken ill, caring for a loved one or disabled. These are the Brothers who chose not to attend, to wear the ring, pin, or other symbolic symbol with pride but do not contribute to the craft. I have not meet with any such Brothers who fit into the ‘Anonymous Mason’ category yet.

    As a new Brother Mason, I hope to continue my support, involvement and helping in my current Lodge or future Lodges where ever they may be in my life’s journey.

  3. Scott, I don’t think there’s anything in Bro. Tim’s article suggesting that “anonymous” Masons should be cast out from the fraternity.

    You can easily shift between any of the three categories. If my career takes a big change I will go from being a Professional Mason to an amateur and if my career steps up further I will become an Anonymous Mason.

    Tim may be a little harsh, but the unfortunate reality is that his stereotypes are far more correct than incorrect. I’ve been on too many NPD committees to be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone – there are things that need to be done rather than waste time searching for those who don’t see the value in coming to Lodge. Communication is a two-way street – Scott your Lodge brothers know that you have an issue – the vast majority don’t bother to communicate that to the Lodge.

  4. Anthony,

    You need only to ask a Mason and he will give you a petition. If after investigation the lodge views you as the type of man that meets their standards (I use that word for the lack of a better term), they will contact you and get you initiated.

    To find a lodge in your area visit the lodge finder found on this site at;

    You can then contact the lodge.

    Hope this helps. Please stay in touch and let us know how things are going. We will gladly assist in pointing you in the correct direction.

  5. we are all entitled to our own opinion, what matters most is for us to remain worthy and upright and will always put into our hearts through our deeds and actions our sworn solemn obligation as a Master Mason…the tenets of freemasonry above self always.

  6. A thread that predates my following Tim’s work, but I’ll chime in on a new posted comment:

    The tendency among modern traditional observance Lodges, as in bygone days, is to expect a Brother to attend and to participate in his Lodge: going so far as to limit membership numbers to encourage that end, increasing dues to allow Lodges to support themselves without resort to superfluous fundraising, and even expecting members to contact the Lodge with ‘regrets’ when they cannot attend.

    That said, there is still a huge difference between a Mason who does not actively participate in the life of his Lodge (for whatever reason…save actual disdain for its purposes) and one who joins only for his own potential benefit or who maintains his status only to remain free to complain about minor issues.

    The old saw that ‘one only gets out of Freemasonry what one is willing to put into it’ is totally false in one major sense: once a man is a Mason, he may well spend a lifetime, whether or not he ever again enters a Lodge room, seeking to ‘improve himself in Masonry’ (insofar as his own character, personality and behaviors might be brought into line with its tenets). No, he isn’t as likely to do so without some continuing involvement, but, if we do our work properly in the degrees, he may be touched and directed to pursue improvement, and that may bring him back to the Lodge in the future.

    Of course, he will never be complete in his practice of the Craft using this approach, for we are also admonished that ‘thus is man made for social and active life;’ so flying solo and apart from those who share with you closely held beliefs and experiences can’t be ultimately fulfilling. However, I suspect that Tim would agree that even the most professional Mason may not be an unfailing benefit to his Lodge or his community (indeed, for example, even his dedication may be at the cost of time with his family or other creditable pursuits). Conversely, a man whose involvement makes him an amateur or an anonymous Mason may do the fraternity more good by living out its principles than a professional may do in works within the confines of the Lodge’s known activities.

    I cannot find real fault with Tim’s observations in one sense. If, at the root of it all, he is saying “we would benefit from less of this and more of that” (which is how I take the meaning of “too many of them already”), then he is absolutely correct. I guess the only thing I’d add to mitigate the more judgmental tone of the essay, is the observation that the only raw material that a Lodge can use to make professional Masons (short of doing an unfailingly exceptional job of Masonic education from candidate to active member) is to renovate and refurbish the anonymous and amateur Masons already on the roles of the Lodge. ‘Stones that the builders rejected,’ right?

    The Lodge is generally at least as responsible for creating the amateurs and the anonymous as it is for the professionals: by and large, we do not raise perfect ashlars!

  7. Good day gentlemen i trust all is well.i came across the article an simply as a means of understandingthe vision of what it is to be a mason…firgive me for the silly question that follows!”if religion an politics is not something which is discussed or encouraged whilst at a meeting be it a lodge or temple,then how does that impact the memorization of scriptures from the bible…does this also not also influence the open door policy of the requirements to being a mason.i.e if i were not a christian an still interested in wanting to join how does it affect ‘my believe’ “.hmmmm unless the part which one needs to believe in a supreme being hs sonething to do with it.please forgive me if i come across as being ignorant i am only asking as a means to understanding.

    Aside from that from a non mason id like to say thank you for all the hardwork an time all brothers has contributed an sacrificed into building an growing a world or society we can all live in knowingly an unknowingly.

    I wish everything ofthe best to each an everyone of u mason or not ancontri utes positively in making this world a better place as it is its only tempory one.
    Take care

  8. Dawood –

    Thanks for your note. I know of no requirement to memorize scripture. Where did you hear this?

    All the Best,
    Tim Bryce

  9. Pingback: What is Fair? | Freemason Information

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