Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Interesting dilemma

It has been quite awhile since my last post. This has mostly been due to being very busy between my two jobs and having no time for anything other than sleep. Unfortunately, it seems I have not learned the lessons of the 24 inch gauge very well.

Currently, I am faced with something of a dilemma. There is a young man at one of my jobs who desires to petition the Craft for membership. As far as I can determine, he meets all of the qualifications to become a Mason. I have known him for the requisite amount of time, and under normal circumstances, I would be more than happy to present him with a petition. There is, however, one little problem. Simply put, I don't like this person. This has nothing to do with anything that might disqualify him from our Fraternity, and we are civil enough to each other, but there is something about his personality that just rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps I can overcome this in the future, but as of right now, I don't want to give him a petition. Am I wrong in this?
What I find most vexing, is that he seems sincere. Over the past year I have been "stringing him along" so to speak, to try and determine his sincerity. Recently, I lent him a copy of "Freemasonry for Dummies" and told him that I wanted him to read most of it before I would proceed any further. Imagine my surprise when two days later he informed me that he had read it cover to cover. I know this may all seem heavy handed, but I have a good reason. About 6 months ago, I recommended another young man from work, and after taking his First Degree, he dropped out. Understandably, I am a bit "gun shy" now.
So my question is, what should I do? Should I go ahead and recommend him, and hope to overcome my conflict with him after he becomes a Brother or am I right in denying him the opportunity to petition our Craft?


Blogger Tom Accuosti said...

What an interesting question!

I well understand your reluctance about recommending someone who may drop out. A few years ago, the WM brought his grandson in, and he (the grandson) didn't take any of it seriously, didn't bother studying for proficiency, etc. His grandfather was very embarrassed, but none of us looked askance at him - he can't control the actions of his grandson, after all.

But the difficult part is that you don't particularly care for this guy in the first place. Ask yourself: would his presence disrupt the harmony of the lodge? Would it be a good thing overall for your lodge? Does he have some skills and abilities that would be helpful for the lodge or the Craft?

If you find that you can no in good conscience dissuade him from joining, but at the same time you're sure you'd feel very uncomfortable sitting with him, then you need to ask yourself what is it that makes you uncomfortable.

Of course, you could also direct him to join another lodge ;-)

6:28 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

It seems to me that disqualifying someone simply because of personal negative feelings misses some of the points of Freemasonry. Not to be personally attacking, but maybe you need to look within yourself first? If the person is truly not a good candidate, then the answer should be clear, but if he is, then could Freemasonry help him in improving himself as it hopefully does you? And if he does eventually drop out, how is that your fault?

It's unfortunate that we judge others and ourselves so much. Yes, you obviously will judge yourself on how you have judged others' characters in the past, but sometimes, we need to get past judging and allow people to develop and grow with our guidance. Who knows--maybe you two will become best friends?

One other thing: Given his excitement for Freemasonry, don't forget that he may also be reading this blog, so you may have to confront this issue sooner than you may think.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Accuosti said...

And following up on Jim's comment, I thought I'd mentioned that when my buddy Dave sponsored me, I remember being particularly concerned for the first couple of years that I would do something to embarrass him.

I'd think that anyone with a concern for the fraternity, and some consideration for the history and traditions might take the obligations and charges to heart. And isn't that what your workmate is doing, when he reads books on the fraternity cover to cover?

7:03 AM  
Blogger J. said...

I have found myself in a similar situation on a few occasions. In such cases, I invite the individual to meet with other Brothers from the Lodge. I tell them up front my reservations, and I am usually informed later that I am, well, being me, and that there is nothing wrong with the individual. Two rather notable occasions come to mind when the Brothers agreed with me - some quality of the individual was not agreeable to the Lodge (or in one case Freemasonry as a whole). Whenever I am uncertain I seek input from my Brothers as to the guiding attitude of my compasses - regrettably, they are often off.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Prexy said...

I have decided that I am going to go ahead and give this young man a petition. I will probably have a "sit down" with him first and also bring him to a few open Lodge functions, but he has more than proved his interest in the Fraternity. It may be difficult for me to put some of my negative feelings aside, but I have no good reason to deny him. Thanks Brothers for your comments and encouragement.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Bo said...

Remember, if he is otherwise qualified, he has a right to petition the Lodge. It's a privilege, in our traditions, to receive the Degrees of Masonry, but to petition is not a privilege, it's a right, universal among those qualified.

7:26 AM  

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