Welcome to 2018!
I will be honest with you, 2017 was a very busy year for us. We did not spend as much time with Masonry as we probably should have, and this resulted in less post ideas, (and therefore less posting). My goal this year, is 12 posts (once a month-ish). My big goal for this year is 100k views, last year we hit 93k, so this should be do-able. My big, big goal is to start working on the book. I did also switch to night shift at work, so if you get email replies from me at 3am, that’s why. I also recently joined /r/freemasonry’s Discord. I mostly do a lot of lurking, but that is now a way to contact me directly as well.
Like I said, I’ve been away from Freemasonry for the better part of a year. Sometimes, other things in life are more important, and sometimes, we just think that other things in life are more important. It’s okay, it happens.
Some of us pay dues, and never go to Lodge or Chapter after our initiation. That’s okay. Supporting Masonry with your money is still supporting Masonry. Sometimes it feels like we blink and we haven’t been to Lodge in three years even though it’s on our “to-do” list. Life happens.
Let’s say you, or your Mason are at a point where you want to get back into Masonry. Initiation and degree have come and gone, but it’s no longer part of your life. Besides diving back in, what can you do?
Keeping Current Dues
Keeping your dues current is the “easiest” way to keep up in Masonry. If you are able to pay your dues, do so, if you would like to continue to be involved in Masonry at some point again. Every jurisdiction has different rules for what happens with late dues, and suspension for dues not paid. In some jurisdictions, you cannot be suspended if you cannot financially pay your dues, and are otherwise in good standing. Other states do not take finances into account.
In Michigan, for example, it’s almost impossible to be suspended for non-payment of dues. However, in New Mexico, you have to re-petition if you let your dues lapse for more than a year. Kansas leaves it up to the individual Lodges. The bottom line is, if you don’t pay your yearly dues, you will be suspended (or possibly removed, depending on where you live).
Once you are suspended, you cannot visit other Lodges or attend meetings until your dues are current. In addition to this, if a relation attempts to use you as a Masonic relative while you are suspended, they will not be able; OES requires a Masonic relation in good standing.
Please note: Do not let financial burden keep you from paying dues. If you need assistance, contact your Worshipful Master/Worthy Matron.
Sometimes we avoid our Lodges and Chapters because it isn’t the right fit for us. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to change. Your Lodge will understand. It happens often in Masonry, and the members would rather that you attend meetings that you enjoy, rather than avoid ones that you’re miserable in.
Some Grand Lodges allow for dual or multiple memberships, allowing you full rights in multiple Lodges. This can sometimes avoid awkward conversations, as well giving the ease of flexibility. This does mean, of course, that you are on the hook for dues for both Lodges. The majority of OES chapters allow for multiple memberships as well. If you can’t, for any reason that’s okay too.
Do know, however, that your petition to change will be read during the minutes. Be prepared for questions about your decision. Do know that you do not need to tell anyone your reasons for wanting to change.
Burn out happens. A lot. I feel like it’s not really something that is discussed in Masonry a lot. T went to Lodge every week for 8 years. His eighth was the year he was Master. After that, he just needed time away. It’s understandable to need time away.
Freemasonry can take a lot out of you if you let it. I live in only a medium sized city, and we could find something Masonic to do every night of the week if we wanted to. Part of healing burn out is taking time off. You may ask, “How much time away do I need?” The only answer I can give you is, “enough”. You will know when you feel that desire to return to Masonry. It could be a month, a year, maybe three. That’s okay (just remember to pay your dues!)
Another part of healing burn out, is learning how to say no. Maybe you don’t need to have a spaghetti feed on Monday, a kids carnival on Tuesday, and a fundraiser on Wednesday. Learning what you can and can’t handle is all part of the super fun stuff we call adulting.
Demitting could very well (and might!) be a post in its own right. There are two major reasons for demitting.
The first is if you want to change Lodges, but you don’t want to hold dual membership. After you are accepted into your new Lodge, you demit (resign) from your old one. You will be given a certificate of good standing from the secretary, and this is to be given to your new Lodge/Chapter.
The second is if you want to revoke your membership from any or all Masonic bodies. As you can imagine, I do not recommend that this is a decision that you take lightly. Do remember that you are able to simply walk away from Masonry, pay your dues, or not, and have, frankly, minimal consequences. However, if you choose to resign your membership, it may be much harder for you to rejoin the body that you demit from if you choose to return from the future. Some jurisdictions or Lodges may blackball you from rejoining, depending on your reason for demitting.
If your resolution this year is to get back into Freemasonry, I hope this helped. If your resolution this year is to get into Freemasonry, check out this post.
As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me here, or firstname.lastname@example.org