“If our fraternity began to get as exclusive as you suggest, I might just demit. If I want exclusive, I'll join a country club.” --- a brother in response to Not 4 Everybody.
The Fraternity accepts only men, of certain age bracket, “not a madman or a fool” in addition to other requirements. There are Lodges for language specific speaking Lodges i.e German, Spanish, French and no need to mention race and color specific Lodges. Even within the Lodges in this side of the world, only Master Mason can attend regular meeting to vote and have a voice in the affairs of the Lodge. The point is being “exclusive” also meant a presence of set standard(s). A man who desires to receive Degrees in Freemasonry must his name be read to the membership, investigated by three Master Masons and if recommended, be elected by the Lodge. A single nay overrules the majority. That process was concocted for a reason. To select, choose, restricts, limit, and that e-word---exclusive.
Let us call a spade for what it is--- a spade and dispel the political correctness. The men who govern and care to belong to the Order are far from being perfect. The rules and requirements were debated, compromised and set. To advance to the next degree,” certain parts of the lectures must be committed to memories,” --- mental ability, being “able to support my family,”--- financial requirement, to our neighbor---“relieving his distresses and soothing his affliction,”--- time/financial requirements, “To regard the Volume of Sacred Law…” spiritual requirements. Potential members are expected to possess a fully developed “mental and corporeal faculties” to understand the complex lessons presented in” veiled in allegories and illustrated in symbols.” Those necessities must be present to appreciate what they are joining for. Majority of today’s men are more interested in other worldly interest. The Craft offers a place and opportunity to like-minded men to gather and enjoy each other company. If this gathering is described as “exclusive” then it is exclusive. Same rule could then apply to Catholics, Methodist, Muslims, race car fans, cigarette smokers, police associations, and not to forget ---golfers. There is nothing wrong in joining such groups however, one should not expect a fireman to join a police association, nor expect to see homeless person to join golfers club. There is nothing wrong for rejecting candidates who do not possess the standard agreed upon by the members. It is wrong to disregard the rule in favor of few who can not clear the bar against the majority who where subjected to the same rule. Either the rule should be imposed or be replaced. One should wonder the motive and mental condition of a person without medical degree wanting to join a professional medical doctor association. And a more pointed question of the credibility of the group and its members if they allowed the said person to join.
Watering down the set standards to cater for those who obviously shown inability to meet such requirement is one of the reason why the Fraternity is not retaining and attracting those who should be. Freemasonry is not about community building like Lions or Rotary Clubs, it is not business networking such as Chamber of Commerce and it is not religious support group. While those activities are certainly worthy of their time and efforts, it is not the focus of the Craft. The sprit which drives a man to join those outstanding organizations is one of the lessons presented in our Order. Freemasonry is about “that spiritual building that house not made by hands, eternal in heavens.” A sticker that says, “The real secret of Freemasonry is to make good men a better man” is a better “propaganda” slogan than 2B1ASK1. The former define the mission statement, of a purpose while the later is being “cute” in expressing a state of desperation. The Craft welcome only interested men from the “exclusive” pool of good men. They are free to join and most certainly free to leave. The Craft is not for everybody.