Picture this, a lodge room that is full at every meeting. A constant stream of new candidates. A young and vibrant officer line. New lodges forming, financial stresses lifted, and new members ready to help build the future of Ohio Freemasonry.
Can you remember when our fraternity looked like this? How would you like to see it again?
The Replace Yourself Program is a simple membership initiative designed to shift the momentum from a dwindling population to one that holds its own and eventually turns the tide as we begin increasing our membership.
The Replace Yourself Program will contribute significantly to the growth of our lodges. It will open the door for many good men who have thought about joining Freemasonry but didn’t quite know how to approach it or who to ask.
It also provides us with a clear path to communicate with those who may not know about Freemasonry or have some misguided information about who we are and what we do.
In 1959 there were over 4 million Masons in the United States, over a quarter of a million in Ohio.
Currently, in the United States, the net loss of members every year is about 50,000.
Far more members are leaving than are joining.
Today, there are about 1.5 million members in the United States and less than 83,000 in Ohio.
The Replace Yourself Program is a lodge driven initiative and must be a lodge priority.
The first step begins with you! That first step is to TALK about our great fraternity with non-Masons.
You must be convincing when talking about our fraternity. That will only happen if you truly believe in and take ownership of the Replace Yourself Program.
It is also important to talk about the Replace Yourself Program to our members who we haven’t seen in a while. It is imperative that they take part as well.
It has been suggested that less than twenty percent of our members have the confidence to speak with some competency about what Freemasonry really is. Most members know what they like about our fraternity but find it difficult to express their thoughts to anyone interested in finding out more.
This lack of ability to explain what we do has allowed us to conveniently hide behind a very misunderstood phrase “it’s a secret I can’t tell you.”
In Brother John Robinson’s book, A Pilgrims Path...Freemasonry and the Religious Right, he points out that quite a number of brethren are confused as to what is “secret” and what may be shared with non-Masons.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS THE SECRET OF FREEMASONRY IS…
THERE IS NO SECRET AT ALL!
People sometimes refer to Freemasonry as being a “secret society”. In one sense the statement is true. Any social group or private business “secret” in the sense that its business meetings may only be open to its members.
In Freemasonry, the process of joining is also a private matter, and members are pledged not to discuss with non-members certain parts of the ceremonies associated with the fraternity.
As we all know Freemasonry does have certain handshakes and passwords which are kept private. They are a means of recognizing each other...necessary in an organization which spans the entire world and encompasses many languages.
Regarding what it does, what it teaches, who belongs, where it meets, there are NO SECRETS in Freemasonry! It is a private fraternal association of men who contribute much toward the public good while enjoying the brotherhood of a fraternity.
Is it against the Code of Ohio Masonic Law to talk to a non-Mason about our fraternity? The answer is no. Chapter 34.01 (b) of the code says “there is no objection to selectively identifying a man whom you believe would make a good Mason and explain that you would be proud to sponsor him for membership in a symbolic lodge.” There is another important sentence to remember “After the procedure for obtaining membership in a Masonic lodge is explained, the potential candidate should be left to make his own decision and come of his OWN FREE WILL.”
Brethren, we need to INVITE, CONNECT and SHARE the story of our great fraternity with men who we feel would make great Masons.
I want to leave you with this caveat . . . Remember the Charge to the Entered Apprentice. Be careful who you recommend for membership in our great fraternity.
I hope that we have ignited the spark that will drive you and your lodge to participate in this important membership initiative.
Ensure the future of your lodge and Ohio Freemasonry.
Please visit the RYP website at www.replaceyourself.org
Then click on the “I WILL” tab and commit today!